Thursday, 15 November 2012

Stocking Your Thanksgiving Pantry

crowded thanksgiving grocery store
You DON'T want to be here on Thanksgiving Day! 
It's only a week until Thanksgiving!  I LOVE Thanksgiving! It's a holiday all about family, but there are no presents to buy and no religious observances to work in.  It's just about food and friends and having a great meal with people I love.

But what I don't love is heading to a grocery store on Thanksgiving Day to get those forgotten ingredients!  The lines are super-long, the parking lots are packed (who ever knew there was a parking space that far from the store's door?) and I always feel guilty for keeping the clerks away from their families on a holiday.

So when I saw the HEB's (the local grocery store here in Austin) guide to stocking your Thanksgiving pantry, I thought it would be a great thing to share. Everyone remembers the main course and the major ingredients for the side dishes, but it's the little things that always seem to be missing from the pantry on the big day.

I tried to find HEB's list on their website, but couldn't find it, so here's their list, plus a few ideas of my own. (There's a link to download the whole list at the end of this post, so no frantic copying and pasting needed!)

HEB's List

  • Sugar: brown, white, powdered, and extra fine sugar
  • Flour: all-purpose, cake, and seasoned frying flour (that last one is new to me!)
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Spices: cinnamon, allspice, pumpkin pie spice mix, ginger

It's a great start, and it got me thinking, so here's my own list, too. If you stock up on these extras and staples before next week, you'll be able to enjoy your holiday without those panicked trips to your local store.

Lindsay's List

  • Natural sweeteners (honey, agave, Stevia)
  • Flour and baking mixes: whole wheat, gluten-free, multigrain
  • Canned and frozen veggies (a great fill-in if you need more of something!): green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, peas
  • Ready-to-use broth (buying the kinds in cartons lets you use a little or a lot and not waste the rest of a can)
  • Spices: sage, poultry seasoning, pepper corns (and a grinder), salt
  • Canned fruit pie filling
  • Canned olives
  • Cheese (grated, cheddar, and according to my friends, the stuff in cans is a must-have too!)
  • Crackers
  • Heat-and-eat or ready-to-bake rolls
  • Stuffing mix
  • Butter, salted and unsalted
  • Instant mashed potatoes (better than running out!)
  • Gravy mix (vegetarian, chicken and turkey)
  • Canned milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Corn starch
  • Beverages (whatever you're serving, from tea to cider to soda)
  • Cake mix
  • Instant pudding
  • Cooking spray
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic food containers for people to take home leftovers
  • Paper towels
  • Paper napkins
And then two or three days before Thanksgiving, stock up on some extra:
  • Ice
  • Celery
  • Onions
Can you image?  A Thanksgiving without a last-minute store run?  What a concept! 

Of course, if you really need that chance to escape the chaos for a little bit, there's probably at least a one or two things I left off the list, right?  Frozen pizza, anyone? 

Download your own printable Thanksgiving grocery shopping checklist here.  And while you're shopping, do try to add at least a few things for your local food bank or homeless shelter.  It's been a tough year for many, and they could use your help in having a reason to be thankful.

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