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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls & one boy. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. Chicken and goat raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. ♥

Growing your Own {Provision Room series – Part V}

 

 

While spring is not quite around the corner yet, it is nearly time to begin thinking ahead … dreaming … planning for that lovely vegetable garden you will plant this year. It will be the next step at building your Provision Room. In this post, to go alongside our Provision Room series, we will talk over the idea of growing your own food for your Provision Room.
With soil under their nails and the look of hard work on their hands, I come from a long line of gardeners on both sides of our family.

Perfectionist gardeners, I might add (hello, father!) …

And while I do not have the green thumb or summers of experience of our parents, I am learning and trying to improve my gardening abilities.

I am in no way an expert! Every year I make mistakes with our garden and sometimes things just do not grow well for me. However,  I do see the blessings and JOY of having a garden that produces food for your own family. When I was a child, once we did not have room to plant a garden on our own land so we borrowed land from a neighbour and planted a vegetable garden there. I think, in all the houses we lived (and we moved a lot), I believe only twice did we not have a vegetable garden. I have memories of weeding rows with my siblings in our garden, squashing those nasty, monster tomato caterpillars and helping snap ends of greens beans for canning in the summer. Summer day dreaming was an easy pastime for a little girl as she wandered between the garden rows.

 

A vegetable garden is an immense blessing for your family! Not only is it healthy, it provides a labour and work ethic that is easily lost in today’s immediate-gratification society. It is a wonderful family project that requires working together, sweating together and in the end, eating the fruits of your labour together!

 

If you do not have enough land to have a large garden, start small. Anything will help and any vegetables you grow will be a benefit. Perhaps you know of a friend who has room for a larger garden – you can always ask her and share a plot of land, sharing with the tasks of weeding, watering and caring for the garden during the summer.

 

As my dad says, if you have children, assign certain rows as their job to keep the weeds down and to keep it watered. Even little toddlers love to help water the garden.

 

This past summer, we visited a few Mennonite families and were absolutely astounded at the size and quality of their vegetable and even floral gardens. These tremendous gardens were each kept immaculate, not a weed in sight, despite the grand size of their family plots. The vegetables grew strong and healthy, rows were lined up with great precision and the soil was rich and dark. It was very inspiring.

 

 

As it is still winter, perhaps now is the time to sit down and think through what you would like your garden to grow.

 


Starting suggestions would be:

potatoes
carrots
onions
tomatoes
garlic
squash
beans
peas
lettuce greens
spinach
kale

This year, we will be adding more cabbage, carrots and onions, parsnips and sweet potatoes. We planted a large plot of garlic this fall already.

Start your garden small or large –it will depend on your zeal and enthusiasm. I have found the bigger the garden, the more rewarding as it makes sense to have all your efforts pay off with a large harvest. However, if that is overwhelming, start small.  Perhaps you can start with a number of tomato plants in pots, as it seems there is always a use for tomatoes. There is no limit or not minimum to your garden. Find what works for you and plant away. Before long, you may feel so inspired that the next year you will double your garden size.  We have expanded our garden five times since moving to this current home less than four years ago.

With the availability of internet research, it is easy to find good advice for gardening. We are trying this method to help keep down the weeds. We are all praying it works.


Once you have started your garden plans, you will be dreaming of the spring and summer to come, no doubt. Don’t worry – it will be here soon.

Once your vegetables are planted and begin to, Lord willing, grow, you will be delighted to see all those tiny new sprouts and beautiful greens growing so lovingly in the summer golden sunshine.

You are well on your way to providing food for your Provision Room and for your family!

 

If you have missed the other posts in regards to building up your Provision Room, here are some links:

The Original Provision Room post

Part I – The Provision Room Update
Part II – The Pantry
Part III – Make Your Own Mixes
Part IV- Buying in Bulk

February 6, 2017 - 7:21 am

admin - Lynda, ohhhh, a green house! Amazing! What a sweet husband!
Amanda, yes, I have loved the concept of Back to Eden. I hope it works for us. 🙂

February 2, 2017 - 7:32 am

The Provision Room – Putting Up Jams & Jellies {part VI} » Gigi Blog - […] Part I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your Own […]

January 31, 2017 - 2:29 pm

Leigh - How lovely! I have done limited gardening although I come from a long line of talented gardeners on my mother’s side. Lord willing, I will properly join their ranks soon!
Blessings, Leigh

January 31, 2017 - 12:37 pm

Amanda - Oh, we love Back to Eden! Bought the movie back when it first came out. Thank you for your blog here. You’ve been such an inspiration! This year’s gardening goal for me–don’t let so much go to waste.

January 31, 2017 - 11:21 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - Your latest provision room article made me want to get out there and start digging.. Brian built us a new greenhouse ,with solar powered skylights to open for venilation, this past fall.. It will be interesting to see how that improves our harvest this year. The only issue I have is that harvesting/preserving time interferes with camping time at kitty Coleman.. but is a blessing to be only 10 minutes away so we can come home and tend to the business of gardening and veg on the cloudy days!

Provision Room Series: Buy in Bulk {Part IV}

“On Saturday, especially the last Saturday of every month,
every department is put in order;
the casters and table furniture are regulated, the pantry and cellar inspected …
everything about the house put in order for Sunday …
a full supply of all conveniences in the kitchen and cellar,
and a place appointed for each article, very much facilitate domestic labor.
For want of this, much vexation and loss of time
is occasioned while seeking vessels in use…”

-American Woman’s House, Catherine Esther Beecher

To continue on with our Provision Room series, we will chat a bit about buying in bulk.

Yes, we are a larger-than-normal family, so buying our pantry goods in bulk is practical for our needs. However, even if you have an average sized family, I still believe buying in bulk will benefit you. You will save money as buying in bulk typically pinches pennies and you will save time (no rushing to the store for a last minute purchase of baking powder). Lastly, you will save energy and learn to be resourceful with what is in stock on hand in your own Provision Room.

If you can find a grocery store that will offer you products in bulk sizes, that will be such a blessing. I find we do not have that option locally. There is a program which we signed up for to buy in bulk wholesale and of course, there is always Costco, although we rarely frequent the store. There is also a local Mennonite store that I will make a trip to every few months to purchase other bulk goods.

Besides some baking spices (which was mentioned in the last post), here are the items we purchase in bulk from the Mennonite store:

whole wheat flour [20 kg bags]
dried soup beans mix
dried kidney beans
dried white navy beans
red lentils

cinnamon
carab powder
pure maple syrup
popcorn
pearl barley
oatmeal
molasses
yeast

Although in the future, I would like to order some additional supplies, for now, this is what we have purchased from the bulk ordering program:

spelt wheat berries
cranberries
epsom salts
baking soda
chocolate chips
egg noodles
rice

Other items we store in bulk are castile soap, coconut oil, various pasta noodles (purchased when there is a sale on at the grocery store), quinoa, peanuts, vinegar, olive oil and cane cane sugar. Those items are frequently found at Costco. I make brown sugar by adding molasses to our regular sugar.

We do not use unnecessary paper products, such as paper towel or napkins but choose to use cloth instead.  We also use cloth diapers so there is a rare need to purchase disposables (for those times we are out or overnight diapers that are needed as the baby grows.) That will help save money, as well. Toilet paper is simply purchased as the need arises.

Lately, I have been making our shampoo from our homemade soap, so even purchasing shampoo is not necessary. Liquid soap is easily made from homemade soap, as well. Toothpaste is made from a mix of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil. Laundry soap, as well, is also homemade. Here is our recipe. This eliminates the need to purchase laundry soap, softners, etc. I am often tempted to purchase store bought products as a luxury in this area {because who does not love a good smelling body wash?}, but if I do, I am quickly reminded that there is not much benefit, so with a little effort, making the items are home as not as challenging as it appears.

Having bulk items requires a slight bit of organization but that is nothing to be afraid of.

You will need a spot to store your goods, but that can easily be arranged if you have a handy closet. As we have mostly live in homes that are over 100 years old, we have never been blessed with closets on the main floor! If you have a good sized closet, you may find it works perfectly for your dry goods.  However, if you do not have a closet, you can still be creative and resourceful in finding ways to store your bulk goods. We have used industrial sized buckets along with plastic totes to store our goods.

Most of our supplies are stored in the provision room, while we fill up smaller sized metal containers and jars for the upstairs kitchen pantry.

(I actually think these are bird feed containers … sold at a local farm supply store – they are basically a metal garbage can, which fit perfectly on the floor of the upstairs kitchen pantry.)

Thankfully, I have never had a problem with any our of goods spoiling.

Have you purchased in bulk before? What is your favorite item to purchase in bulk?

If you have missed the other posts in regards to building up your Provision Room, here are some links:

The Original Provision Room post

Part I – The Provision Room Update
Part II – The Pantry
Part III – Make Your Own Mixes

 

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February 6, 2017 - 9:35 pm

Provision Room Part VII: Putting up Stews, Soups & Sauces » Gigi Blog - […] I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your Own Part VI: Putting up Jams & […]

January 29, 2017 - 6:16 am

admin - Ohhh, that sounds delightful! I would love to see it!

January 29, 2017 - 1:14 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - I am blessed to have a “preserves shed” It was on the property when I bought my house 42 years ago.. It is very simple, and we have never done a thing to it. It is insulated with swadust and stays cool in summer and winter.. never freezes or gets too hot.. The bins and shelves in there are original and still in use.. It is just steps away from the house.. so great to have dry goods, pickles extra jars and bulk foods there.. I LOVE MY SHED!

January 28, 2017 - 10:02 pm

admin - Although not pretty, I know of families that store their bulk goods underneath their beds in bins – because that is the space they have. I also store some things outside in the winter time as it is the perfect outdoor (free!) fridge and cool area for certain goods.

January 28, 2017 - 11:06 am

Tawnia - I miss my pantry! Currently our bulk storage consists of a repurposed wood garbage bin in the kitchen (for flours) and a narrow shelving unit in the laundry room. I wish we had more space to store bulk goods- with a family of 6 it is much more economical!

Provision Room Series: {Making your Own Mixes} Part III

 

As a third installment in the Provision Room series, we will talk about making your own mixes and spices for the pantry.

I know we have all been often tempted to purchase readily made spice mixes at the grocery store. Even worse are the pre-packaged cake and muffin mixes. They are easily used and can often help in a time constraint, but they are not healthy and cost more than making the mix at home.


With a little forethought, one could prepare her own mixes – whether baking or spices for cooking – and store them in her pantry, thus contributing to her Provision Room as a whole.
I have gathered together some of the baking mixes we have collected and will link them below:

A Large List of Mixes to use including brownies, scones, muffin (one of my favorites) and pancake mix.

Make Ahead Cobbler Mix

Buttermilk Biscuits Mix

Bulk Pastry Mix (great for a large family or a family who loves pie!)

Single Cake Mix {we prepare five at a time and store them separately in mason jars}

 

{I have adapted some of these recipes to include home-milled flour, but you may also just replace the white flour with whole wheat.}

For seasonings in cooking and preparing your meals, we have a few recipes of make your own seasonings. Recipes gathered from Keeper of the Home magazine.

 


Chili Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
    Mix together and star in a mason jar.

DIY Celery Salt:
Equal parts celery seed and sea salt
Mix together and store in a jar.

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepperHomemade Poultry Seasoning:
  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons of dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried savory (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
    Mix together and store in a glass jar in the pantry.

Homemade Italian Seasoning:

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons of dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried savory
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
    Mix together and store in a glass jar in the pantry. 🙂DIY Ranch Dressing Mix
  • ½ cup dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
    Of course, store it in a glass jar and place in pantry.

    Having your mixes and pre-blended spices readily available in the pantry will help streamline your cooking and baking, especially on those busier days.

For the next installment, we will talk about purchase items in bulk … because that certainly does help in filling the Provision Room.

Remember:

February 6, 2017 - 7:14 am

Provision Room Part VII: Putting up Stews, Soups & Sauces » Gigi Blog - […] I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your Own Part VI: Putting up Jams & […]

January 27, 2017 - 5:38 am

admin - Leigh, well said. 🙂

January 27, 2017 - 5:38 am

admin - Nic, thank you for your sweet encouragement. You are a blessing!

January 26, 2017 - 11:40 pm

Nic - Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting all this. I follow your blog religiously. You are an inspiration. You are so blessed to live the life you do.

January 26, 2017 - 11:22 pm

Leigh - I love homemade mixes! Homemade is better because it has love in it. Thank you for sharing some of your favorites.
Blessings, Leigh

The Provision Room Series {part II: The Pantry}

 

“Our willingness to be free of the responsibility of preparing daily bread
has now put the control of what we feed our families
into the hands of huge food companies who have one goal in mind – money.
As we have delegated the responsibility of milling grain and baking bread to others,

it has freed us up to do ‘other things’.
These ‘other things’ unfortunately, have taken us more and more out of the home.

Many don’t have time to cook any more.
Many of the foods we now eat for convenience are literally making us sick

because they are devoid of the fiber
and the nutrients that are essential to our health.”
– Sue Becker

 

To build up your Provision Room, let’s start with the pantry in the kitchen.

If you do not have a pantry, do not worry – you can simply use any cupboard space available. It is handy to have most of your items store together so you are not wandering around your kitchen during the times of cooking. Sometimes it is a good idea to find a stand alone cupboard that can serve as a pantry. Be creative. Of course, it is convenient to have your pantry located in the kitchen, but I know of some who store their pantry goods in a large cupboard on their porch or back room.  In my last kitchen, I had very limited space, but I was given a closed cabinet that I used as a dry goods pantry. Now the same cupboard holds my medicinal herbs.

When we purchased our home in the country, I was absolutely delighted to see a pantry style room attached to the kitchen. A dream come true for me! I’m very grateful for this space. It was used as a laundry room for the past owner, but since it is in the heart of the kitchen, it only made sense to make it a pantry. I painted it (with the help of my mother in love) and, of course, girlied up the shelves (just because it is a working space, it does not mean it has to be ugly).

Walking into this pantry and seeing all the good supplies God has provided brings me joy!

It will be your task to ensure your Provision Room is stocked.

It is a good habit to attempt to keep the room ready for the scratch beginnings of a healthy meal for your family. Perhaps, on this journey of establishing a Provision Room,  it would be prudent to start with stocking your smaller dry goods pantry first.

Ensure you have certain dry goods readily available.

A suggested list of necessities would be:

flour (or flour alternative)
wheat/spelt berries (for those who grind flour)
baking soda
baking powder
salt & pepper
yeast
honey

sugar (which ever kind you prefer)
various herbs for seasoning
oils for cooking
dried beans of all varieties
nuts and seeds

barley
quinoa
pasta noodles(or you could make them yourself)
rice

Extra ingredients that are handy to have on hand:

carob or cocoa powder
dry milk (you never know when you may need it in a pinch)

cranberries
raisins
chocolate chips
coconut
cinnamon

cornstarch
dried fruit
popcorn

You will also need herbs and spices of all kinds. Buy as many spices and ingredients in bulk as possible. That will save you money overall.

And while this may not be an option for everyone for reason of time and space, an even more frugal option would be to grow your own herb garden.

That may sound overwhelming if you have never planted a vegetable garden before, but start small. Just plant what you need. In time, your garden will grow and you can add more herbs. Start with basil, thyme, oregano and parsley. They are fairly easy to grow. From there, you can pick and choose which additional herbs to grow and which ones are needed in your pantry. You can buy herbs, already growing, from your local garden nursery, and plant them straight into your garden or keep them in pots, if you space is an issue. Watch them grow … and then when it is time, you can easily dry your herbs and store them in jars for the pantry.

 

 

 

 

For the rest of your dry goods, stock up and store them in pretty {frugal} jars (mason jars do the trick) and label them for your pantry. There are some lovely labels available online – I have some saved here.

 

 

Having your base of readily-available goods in your pantry will ensure you have what it takes to create a delicious, nutritious meal for your family.

Once your pantry is stocked, you have no excuse. 🙂

Start cooking your meals from scratch!  When I was a newlywed, I am ashamed to say I did not know how to cook – at all. I truly did not know the basics. I think making grilled cheese sandwiches was the extent of my kitchen abilities.
I remember once leaving a note for my husband (as I was working late as my job) that read:

“Working late. Dinner is in the oven. Love, Gillian xo”

When he opened the oven door, there was another note that said:

“Tricked ya!”

How sad! As you can see, I truly did not know the meaning of being a homemaker or cooking at all, let alone from scratch. It took a few years before I realized the importance of cooking and baking for your family, providing healthy meals to the little and big ones in your care.

 

Many of you are already wonderful chefs for your family! That is such a blessing! Perhaps now is it time to take it one step further. Cook all your meals from scratch. Toss out pre-packaged goods. Make homemade soups and stews. Watch what vegetables you buy and avoid buying anything (rice, vegetables, garlic) that comes from China (read the labels!).

Learn to bake your own bread. It is so much healthier! {This is, by far, one of my favorite tasks.} Here is a great article to read about bread and health.

 

Refuse to buy boxed meals of any kind!

They are generally unhealthy and in the end, may cost more financially and physically.  So many young children are gaining an unhealthy weight. In fact, statistics show that the weight gain among infants and children in Canada has steadily risen over the years, with over 42 million Canadian children labelled as being “overweight.” Where does this come from? Many aspects but the two most important are lifestyle and eating habits. With a little planning and a dash of determination, you can provide healthier meals for your family. This is a benefit to your child, your husband and yourself.

 

Do you have a dry goods pantry already? What do you store in it? I would love to hear from others in regards to this topic.

I hope to add to this little series on the Provision Room. If you have something you would like to add or a suggestion, please leave it in the comments below. It would be greatly appreciated. ❤

 

{Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}

 

February 6, 2017 - 7:07 am

Provision Room Part VII: Putting up Stews, Soups & Sauces » Gigi Blog - […] I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your Own Part […]

February 2, 2017 - 7:34 am

The Provision Room – Putting Up Jams & Jellies {part VI} » Gigi Blog - […] I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your […]

January 31, 2017 - 6:04 am

Growing your Own {Provision Room series – Part V} » Gigi Blog - […] I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in […]

January 28, 2017 - 11:45 am

Anne - Your pantry is lovely! I keep a large pantry and store everything in glass jars, but it could use a little help in the aesthetic department. I’m marking this post, so I can come back for the series. Thanks!

I found your blog through The Modest Mom link up.

January 28, 2017 - 10:54 am

Tawnia - My pantry is a disaster! We are very short on space in our current place but I can not remember the last time we bought a packaged or premade soup! My family like homemade so much better- the littlest 2 won’t even eat the store bought kind. Lunches are always a challenge for me as I find that if I make more dinner with the intent on leftovers for lunch, everyone eats more than usual! I love the idea of homemade soups and bread for lunch!

January 26, 2017 - 5:15 am

Maike - Hello Gillian, I just sent you an email. Sometimes the email deliveries don’t work, so let me know if you don’t receive the message. 🙂

January 24, 2017 - 7:38 pm

Hannah Avery - I am really enjoying this series! Your pantry and Provision room are amazing! I came upon your blog from “A Wise Woman Builds Her House.”

January 24, 2017 - 12:20 pm

Sarah - Your pantry is beautiful! I am truly enjoying this peek into your pantry and store room. It does take time to become organized and collect all of the ingredients needed. After 3 1/2 years of marriage I am finally feeling organized and well stocked on the basics. : ) Soup really is the perfect winter meal. It is a great way to utilize the vegetables preserved in the fall. I love all of your beautifully labeled jars! Thank you for sharing the link.

January 24, 2017 - 11:56 am

Leigh - I buy so many more things in bulk now than I did as a newlywed and I cook from scratch more often, too. A stocked pantry is a real sanity saver!
Blessings, Leigh

January 24, 2017 - 9:49 am

Sarah Koontz - Your pantry makes me so happy! I am a gardener, and can a lot of our produce. I also buy in bulk, so you have definitely inspired me to get my organization on and create a pantry space that makes me smile (and makes it easy for me to do meal prep). Love your photography!

The Provision Room {an Update} – Part I

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

 

As it is now in the dead of winter, so they say, I thought it would be a good time to update how the Provision Room is holding up.

For those who may have missed the post, our Provision Room is an extension of our regular pantry – it is much more. With the goal in mind to be as self sufficient as possible on our little bit of land,  it holds hundreds of jars of home-canned goods – from spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes to carrots, green beans, apple sauce, pie fillings, jams and jellies, canned fruit and applesauce. There are rows of homemade soups and chunky stews and homemade chili, preserved and put up. Onions are strung from the ceiling, dusty potatoes are stored in the makeshift cold room attached to it and cabbages and squash line the shelves while sweet potatoes are nestled in a bin of wood shaves.


Dry goods are also stored in our Provision Room. Bulk wheat berries for our flour grinder, bulk flour (as our grinder is electric, I like to have both on hand in case of a power outage or for when the grinder is not able to be used), coconut oil, barley, different kinds of pasta, rice and dried beans of many kinds are stores in large totes.

 

Upstairs in the kitchen, there is the regular pantry (more to come on that later), which holds more of the everyday necessities. Between the two rooms, I am finding it an incredible blessing! It is helping me be more prepared at home, it means there has been a definite decrease in the need to visit a grocery store. Fewer trips to town saves time and money – and random purchases that are not needed. It means I need to think more about the meals I am preparing, use what is on hand and be a little resourceful and creative. It means I can come up with meals in a pinch, even if I have not planned out a week of meals. [This still takes creativity but at least I know the ingredients are available.]

Keeping cabbages in their whole state has proved to be just fine. They are now just beginning to wither and therefore, I will either make sauerkraut with them or spend a day and can the rest of cabbages.

Potatoes are doing splendidly – in past winters, they froze in our cold room, but my husband insulated the room this fall and they are not freezing.
The apples, which we picked from a local orchard and from our own little source of apple trees, are storing well – we wrapped each apple individually in paper and that has stopped some of the rotting if one apple goes bad.  I would like to have more fruit in the Provision Room next year.

I try not to freeze our vegetables because for one, our freezers (we have three) are full of meat {turkey, chicken and beef} and various items {cheese, butter, locally grown corn, etc.}, and two, vegetables in the freezer do not last as long. I also find it challenging to keep the freezer organized and tidy. I would rather line jars up and have them ready in a moment’s notice. [Does anyone have tips on keeping a chest freezer organized?]

From our labour in the late summer and fall season, we have enough canned goods to definitely get us through the winter and spring, when the canning sessions will begin again. I truly feel as if all the hard work paid off. It was worth every morning of sowing seeds, early evenings of weeding and more weeding, afternoons of canning and more canning.

I will be encouraged to plant even more varieties of vegetables this year, as I can see how it truly has benefited us – not just providing us vegetables for a few meals, but literally providing a winter supply of food.

 

Our weekly vegetables rotate with a cycle of cabbage, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans and sweet potatoes. All of those vegetables are in the Provision Room, ready for the dinner plate. What a blessing! There are no trips to the store to purchase vegetables when they are high priced over the winter.

 

For side dishes, we have rice, pasta or potatoes and beans. There are lots of variations to be made from those options.

Dried beans, which are a fabulous source of fiber and protein, are often utilized as they are just so healthy and cost-effective – and my family loves them! They can be added to  soups and stews to make them more hearty and “stick to your ribs”, they can be a side dish or a full meal, depending on how you prepare them.

Nearly every lunch is a serving of homemade soup {either canned or made fresh with the ingredients that are in the fridge} with homemade bread. Often we will buy bagels at the store as a treat I have not mastered the art of bagel making.  I love to serve soup at lunch time as they are loaded with vegetables and nutrients for all those little children who need it ever so much.

We choose to not buy fruit other than oranges and bananas in the winter. Our whole fruit supply consists of the locally grown apples stored in the basement, along with canned peaches, apples, blueberries and even some apple cider to drink on chilly days.

Having the Provision Room stocked has proven that yes, indeed, our trips to the store are fewer and further between over the long winter months. Having bulk baking goods, such as baking soda, has helped, as well. Late last year, a friend organized a bulk buying program which I then purchased many goods through her (such as chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, along with pasta noodles etc.).

If any one has thought about having a Provision Room or a deep pantry, I would encourage you with great enthusiasm to plan for one this upcoming year. There are so many ways it will bless your family.

How can you start this journey? Does the task seem unattainable?
Perhaps you feel you do not have room in your house or enough storage in your basement. Or you do not know how or where to start …

This Provision Room journey has been an ongoing journey for a few years for our family. It all started with a little canning with my mom and my grandma quite a few years ago in our home in town. After a lot of hard work and effort, it has shaped a lifestyle and a work ethic that I cannot shirk. I would love to encourage any mother or wife out there to look into ways of preparing and preserving their food for future times. Not only will it bless your family, it will bless you in return and create a healthy lifestyle.
If you are interested, Lord willing, I hope to do a series of posts to help you on your Provisional Way.

Stay tuned …

{Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2, 2017 - 7:31 am

The Provision Room – Putting Up Jams & Jellies {part VI} » Gigi Blog - […] Part I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk Part V – Growing your Own […]

January 31, 2017 - 5:59 am

Growing your Own {Provision Room series – Part V} » Gigi Blog - […] Part I – The Provision Room Update Part II – The Pantry Part III – Make Your Own Mixes Part IV- Buying in Bulk […]

January 27, 2017 - 2:09 pm

admin - Jes, I have and that book is one of our favourites! We call our littlest girl, Lavender, “Phronsie” as she just reminds of her so.

January 27, 2017 - 12:22 pm

Sherry - Wow! Your provision room is beautiful!

January 27, 2017 - 7:58 am

JES - P.S. I am hoping you read the FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS? If so, Mamsie would be amazed at your provisions! 🙂 Such a sweet book!

January 27, 2017 - 7:56 am

JES - To have such a room!! I always love peaking into your home! I will be featuring this next week. Thank you for linking up with us! 🙂

January 26, 2017 - 8:22 am

admin - That is so true, Leigh! It does make it easier to help others with meals without a trip to the store. Good point.

January 24, 2017 - 12:00 pm

Amanda - Omgosh! This is a dream! I wish we had a garden or enough space for this! Currently, (today actually) I’m trying to figure out how to best maximize space in our one room cabin’s pantry! How I wish I could sit and watch how you do it! I love your site, and your photography and will be sure to stick around!

January 24, 2017 - 11:53 am

Leigh - I think there is just something about a provision room (I call it my deep pantry) that speaks to a mother’s heart. How comforting it is to see the shelves lined with jars of home canning (or economical bulk purchases) and bins or buckets of dry goods. It also makes charity easier because it’s not necessary to run to the store in order to provide a meal for someone in need.
Blessings, Leigh

January 24, 2017 - 8:22 am

Annabel Smith - Just wonderful! I found you through the link up at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. Your provision room is amazing! I am striving to have something half as good! Love Annabel.xxx

January 23, 2017 - 12:54 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - You are a true inspiration!What a peaceful wholesome provision room you have created..

January 22, 2017 - 8:08 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Gillian, such an encouraging post! I canned alot too but certainly nothing like you have done …. and I LOVE the provision room. Saving trips to the stores and also not paying high prices for fruit and veggies, is a wonderful economical idea .. think of all the impulse shopping you are NOT doing!!
Everything looks great … thanks for inspiring other moms and women to have a PROVISION ROOM. xoxo
PS, I too used boxes with cut off lids, for separation in the freezer. Or milk crates are good ideas too. xoxo

January 21, 2017 - 10:36 pm

Tara - Amazing!! Love it! As for organizing the freezer, that was one thing that bothered me about stocking up. I used old boxes and cut the top flaps off. I put them in the freezer and separated things into categories in the boxes. I love it! So much more organized!