Simplifying, the General Idea

This is our pantry in my kitchen. It looks quite disorganised, I know. This is my plan.
I really am dedicated to moving towards a simpler lifestyle for my family, I want to walk that road, it is difficult to start though. There are so many ways to simplify, but getting it all together and starting can seem overwhelming and then not much happens, it’s put off for another day… We already recycle, have a compost heap, worm bins, chickens, grow our own veg and fruit, have a solar geyser but I feel we can do more so now I am turning my attention to the kitchen.

I am going to start with my grocery cupboards, by itemising everything into sections and really SEE what we have and make sure I don’t go and shop and buy more of the same. I want to start cooking from scratch and reduce the amount of meat we consume each week. I would love to reduce our monthly food budget and by eating less meat, this will be more healthy for our family and be economical too. I know there are so many bloggers out there that have already started this journey and I would love to read more about what you do. I really enjoy this blogging world, I have learned so much from all of you.

But for now, to start small here with the shelves in the kitchen, I think that’s a good place for me. I’m going to repack everything, tins, baking goods etc… Decide consciously between wants and needs, try and shop according to my list and less and leave many of the luxury items on the shelves in the shops. I am sure we could make plenty of those items at home, form scratch 🙂

I will update you on how it goes…

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26 Responses to Simplifying, the General Idea

  1. Heather Woollove May 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Linda–I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 25 years, and I highly recommend this particular book…Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass. It combines the quick and easy pressure cooker method with easy (and inexpensive) vegetarian meals, and every recipe I’ve tried in it has been terrific! XXO-

    • Linda May 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Heather, thank you so much, this book sounds wonderful, I am off to buy it now!
      xo xo

  2. no spring chicken May 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I look forward to what you have to share Linda. You’ve already inspired me in creative endeavors… lets see what else ya got!!

    Blessings, Debbie

  3. RobinBrz May 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I try to make as much as I can from scratch. It may take a bit longer but when I consider how much better it is for my family I know it’s worth it! Plus the “real thing” tastes so much better! Are you familiar with the Moosewood Cookbooks?? There are many, they’re all vegetarian and I haven’t met one I didn’t like. I have several in my collection and consider them staples!

    • Linda May 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      Thank you so much Robin, I am going to have a look at those books.

  4. bearlakenana May 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Maybe start with one meatless meal a week. We have “haystacks” once a week. Layer mixed beans over chips (fritos) with lettuce, onions, cheese, olives, salsa & a dollop of sour cream. They’re quick, yummy and everybody loves them. And it’s usually ingredients that you have on hand.

  5. steph May 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    good luck (although it has less to do with luck…and more to do with persistence!!!—been on the “simplifying” track for the last dozen or so years since we downsized….so easy to get diverted!!!!)

  6. Sunshine Mama May 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    I organized my pantry a couple of years ago for pretty much the same reasons. It feels so good to do! I store pretty much everything in glass canning and reused jam (and such) jars. It’s helped not only to see exactly what I have, but when I get low, I usually refill them by buying from the bulk section and it saves money as well! Not to mention the fact that my food is not packaged in plastic any longer than it has too. I think you will see how much easier it is to cook from scratch when you can easily see what you have available and will most likely be more inspired in the kitchen 🙂

  7. Leslie May 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Having to move from 2600 sqft to 27ft trailer made me really determine what was important to me. (But that is the hard way to do it) I love open shelves, I can see at a glance and much more incentive to keep neat.

  8. Danielle ~ A Stash Addict May 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I have a little award for you over on my blog 😀 xxx

  9. Creative Design May 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Heating healthy and with less meat? Simple…get your self a Greek cookbook! I am Greek and have been eating that way my whole life! The reason Greeks can smoke a pack a day, live in the sun, never get cancer and live a long time is our very simple diet! Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, basil, cinnamon, dill, parsley, lots of vegetables and fruit, very little meat and we eat a little bit all day long!
    Can’t wait to find out how it all comes out for you!


  10. Anna May 23, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    I love the open cabinets where you can see everything you need at a glance. It does seem to take more work keeping them organized, though.
    I am in agreement on reducing the meat costs. I was looking at meat at the grocery store over the weekend and thinking that I am going to have to nearly become a vegetarian just to be able to afford to eat because meat prices are now out of this world! Good thing I love chick peas so much. They are a great substitute for meat… lots of nutrition and high in protein.
    I really enjoyed your pic. I find it fascinating to see how packaging may differ from country to country. Odd, I know, but I think interesting.

  11. Brave New Fiona May 23, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    You are already doing more than most Linda! That is awesome. But I hear you on the pantry thing. I decided about 8 months ago to really knuckle down and shop smarter. You would already know the benefits of menu planning. I plan from my pantry stock then shop to fill the gaps like fresh items. And this may sound boring, but I cook the same 20 or so dishes over and over. It actually doesn’t end up that boring as my little boys love the predictability and it helps when shopping. I do mix it up depending on the season. Since then our pantry is only full when there is a special on an item we use frequently eg tinned tomatoes. There are heaps of bloggers out there with delicious veg recipes that go beyond just cheese substituting meat. Feel free to peruse my recipes too(although there aren’t that many) as I was a vegetarian for 5 years but now only eat meat perhaps once a fortnight if that. I look forward to seeing more from your pantry transformation! You are very inspiring. xxx Fi

  12. Sarah-Our Island Home May 23, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Hi Linda! It’s such a good feeling to have a well organized space, especially in the kitchen where we spend so much time. I love cooking from scratch as much as possible and cooking veg for my family. I just joined the 30 day vegan workshop at Beauty that Moves for some new inspiration and recipes. It’s fabulous! I highly recommend it! I also wanted to let you know that I just finished knitting your daffodil pattern and I really enjoyed working on it: Thank you!

  13. Eva | Natural Toys May 23, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    Wow, I must say your pantry looks pretty organized to me! You’re doing so much already, so I don’t think it will be to difficult for you to be even more self-sufficient. Will be exiting to follow your progress 🙂

  14. Tanya May 23, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Been on a similar path for a bit now. I see lot’s of potential for a wonderful pantry there:-). A friend of mine recently shared this post with me, isn’t this a simple, lovely pantry? My goal:-)! I look forward to reading future posts about this endeavor and best to you!

  15. Dana Biddle May 23, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Not sure about simpler, but definately a better lifestyle 🙂

  16. Curt May 23, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    most decidedly for success for this transition for THE FAMILY it must be simple and gradual. using up items that you will not be replacing will make it seem so very much less drastic..noting earth shattering here is there?? easy

  17. Elizabeth May 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Love the idea of a simple pantry and kitchen. Things that have helped us – glass storage so I can really see what I have, narrow shelves so that things don’t get lost, buying in bulk once a month from a co-op, menu planning with a recipe “system”. Helps me try new recipes, rate them and file them for future use. My dh is a meat guy. I have gotten our menu to include two meatless days, and try to use meat more as a condiment or flavoring, rather than the main star of the dish. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey. Slow and steady always seems to work for me when trying to change. Too much as once and I just can’t keep up with it. Good Luck! Blessings ~ Elizabeth

  18. Baa-Me Kniits May 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Good idea Linda. I would love to cut the meat from out budget, my eldest and I could quite easily go without it but hubby and youngest would eat meat 3 times a day. We are slowly becoming more self sufficient and I am lucky my neighbours are retired and have a wonderful veggie garden that they don’t mind sharing. I have the bread making down to a fine art now and that is good fun 🙂

  19. patchouli moon studio May 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I’ve been a vegan now for 25 years. We raised our 2 children as vegans too. I follow a blog called “What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyhow?”. Great photos of yummy food and lots of recipes, although some of their recipes are a bit more on the gourmet side. Lots of vegan/vegetarian blogs, recipes websites, etc. online. I made most of our meals from scratch when the kids were young. We had a garden and the farmer’s market nearby too. If the kids are involved with the meals, they enjoy it more too. I read the book “The Little Red Hen” a lot to them too so they realised all that went into growing and cooking food. Funny my son was so reluctant to help when he was young and now he is the one who loves to cook for his girlfriend and other friends. He is 26 years old (today in fact is his birthday, well I suppose it was yesterday where you live). Good luck with your journey.

  20. Heather aka Proud Mama May 24, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    I read a lot of food blogs like 101 cookbooks and have several veggie cookbooks. These help us. We recently returned to eating some meat though. I also recommend the Moosewood books. They are full of yummy things. I keep all of our products in glass containers. I buy very little packaged food. Most of our food is from the farmer’s market, a share of meat, and the bulk bins. You can do it. It may take some time, but you can make the changes.

  21. Christine May 24, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Pantries would have to be the heart of the kitchen, wouldn’t you say? If they aren’t operating properly, the rest of the kitchen is pretty much caput!

    I do struggle with my pantry – it’s poky and small..but cutting back on packaged foods helped enormously. Storing ‘ingredient’s rather than ‘food’ was a lot more fun too..I got to finally put into use all of the jars that had been cluttering up hubby’s study. My one weakness is breakfast cereals though..I just can’t seem to get off this merry-go-round of packaged convenience.

    Anything that is preserved in jars I’m finding has to be stored in another cupboard or shelf as there is just NO more room in our pantry! It’s all fun though and you’ll discover by sorting through just what your family eats and is worth continuing to buy and not. Have fun, Linda! 🙂

  22. seekingjoyfulsimplicity May 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    “…but getting it all together and starting can seem overwhelming and then not much happens, it’s put off for another day…”

    Oh! I know exactly what you mean. It can be soo hard. Keep giving yourself credit for the wonderful things you are already accomplishing, while continuing your journey, one step at a time. Hmm, this sounds like advice I could use myself…

  23. K May 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    It always sounds so satisfying and virtuous and sensible, simplifying. Until you are sitting on the floor with everything you had stuck into the pantry and the closets – specifically because you couldn’t come to terms with it at the time – on the floor around you, and suddenly, coming to terms becomes an Everest. I usually end up paring off the obvious, then sticking it all back in until another day when I’ll REALLY get down to it.

  24. Amber June 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Linda, I have been meaning to comment on this blog post of yours.

    I have been transitioning over the last couple of years to cooking from scratch. I now bake my own sourdough bread a couple of times a week, spout, dehydrate nuts/seeds and other goodies to make snacks, make cheese/kefir and kefir water. Oh, and did I mention lact-ferment?? What’s that?

    This all changed after I did the fundamentals course and sourdough course online at So fantastic to do a cooking course online at your own leisure. And I did not take on everything all on at once. Even though I did all of the course, 2 years ago, I have taken my time at incorporating what works in my life. She bases her course on a cookbook by Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” ( I now make a pot of fresh free range chicken or organic grass-fed beef stock once a week and use the stock in my meals throughout the week. So, now, we eat less meat, but when we have a vegetarian meal, I put the stock in (so obviously not vegetarian). When I do buy meat now, I am very careful on the quality and try to get organic/grassfed.

    In the last couple of weeks, I have been making the most delicious recipes from “Wholefoods for Children” by a lady who lives near me in Perth, Jude Blereau ( She also references Sally Fallon’s book. Check out Jude’s blog too:

    These cookbooks have changed my life. Real food!

    Another favourite blog of mine is:
    Katie also has some recipe e-books for sale which are worth every penny. Do sign up for her newsletters. She is a wealth of information and very passionate about real food.

    I would love to know how you get on with things in the kitchen! Please keep us up to date!

    Love, Amber xoxo

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