This last week we started our holiday baking and are now beginning to stockpile those non-perishables for our holiday cooking. Before we get carried away, we need to make sure our pantry can keep up with extreme efficiency. This weekend, set aside a few minutes to prep your pantry for the holidays. Don't feel the need to go through small appliances or old Tupperware that may be hiding in there. Just focus on your food shelves. Clean out cans, boxes, and bags that have been there a while. Eat your inventory, plan it into your menu, and make room to begin stocking up on extra non-perishables for the holiday season.
Buy an extra canned good or two each time you do your weekly grocery shopping. The holidays always bring plenty of opportunity for donating food. Spending an extra dollar or two now helps spread out the cost and guarantees those less fortunate get something other than that old can of garbanzo beans.
Inventory your baking supplies. If you are a baker, or at least pretend to be during the holidays, now is the time to prepare for your baking. You probably already have an idea of some of the things your family enjoys at the holiday. We all have our "go to goodies"- the things our family can not celebrate without. At our house it's our butter cookies. That means we need to have on hand plenty of flour, sugar, and you guessed it...butter! These things are not cheap when you have to purchase them in bulk all at once. Look for sales now and take advantage. Make sure you have extra flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, etc in your pantry. Butter is expensive but freezes beautifully! Stock up when it's on sale and stick it in your freezer. It will be handy when you are ready to begin baking!
If you haven't had a chance to bake your first batch of goodies this week, don't sweat it. Focus on preparing to bake something next week. Use your time to organize your storage space and purchase what you need. Tomorrow, you'll be ready to hit the ground running!