Stocking Your Pantry for CHEAP (Hawaii Pt. 1)

I’m not sure if many of you really want to know, but for those that do I am going to give you a little bit a of a detailed update on Hawaii. So I had my stage at Morimoto Waikiki this weekend (Yes the Iron Chef’s restaurant!) and got the job!! In nice restaurants, they will have you come in for something called a “stage” (pronounced “stodge”). This is to make sure that you are not lying on your resume and that you will be a good fit for their kitchen. I am excited to learn more about seafood and Asian cuisine while being here too! We made sushi for my roommate’s birthday and it was such a blast! I also finally bought my plush bed, a twin sized lifted air matress with a blanket from Target, and pretty much the rest of the essentials. That included a bike, surfboard and surfboard rack. I went surfing this week for the first time since being here, it was weird not wearing a wetsuit and having to swim so far out for the waves, but I think in the end it will be MUCH better than surfing in Oregan or Cape Town.

I have met a few people here, pretty quickly, but it is way different than meeting people traveling in different countries. I was surprised how many people are from Colorado, went to school in Colorado, have visited Colorado, wanted to go to Colorado, etc. Plus how many people have been to the places I have been and/or have traveled to places I plan on going! I’ve decided that living a certain lifestyle attracts a certain crowd, something to think about.

I have also been thinking about all my friends and family (yes for those of your who think I forgot about you ;)). I have called my mom an abnormal amount of times, almost to the point that I think she is sick of it haha. The one thing I have been thinking about is how I had such a close, great group of friends in Colorado, but not here yet.  I know things take time, but I would kill for a group of guy friends like the ones I lived/hung out with in the mountains of Colorado. But, like I said, things take time. Either way, I am so happy and I have been loving this experience.

Now onto the big secret of how to stock your pantry when you are B-R-O-K-E. Moving to a new place is always hard because you don’t want to spend the money buying new spices and pantry staples, but it actually will make you save money!

To stock my pantry, I bought about 5 essential spices (for me these were garlic powder, basil, parsley, oregano, cumin and a spicy cayenne blend). These spices will enable you to add flavor to so many different dishes. Next, I got canned food.. no not the expensive organic canned food, I got the cheapest “great value” canned food at Walmart. I got beef broth, chicken broth, cream of celery soup, different types of beans, canned tomatoes and canned corn. The broths enable you to cook a huge number of things and the cream of celery soup is great for making sauces or soups. Beans are always a great healthy addition to meals (and don’t forget hummus with garbanzo beans!). I also got a box of dry milk; before you say gross hear me out. I am not a big milk drinker, but milk is a very important ingredient in cooking. There is no point in buying milk for recipes all the time and then having it go bad. Dry milk tastes exactly the same in recipes and won’t spoil. Then of course I got olive oil, sugar, flour, rice, potatoes and pasta, a few more essential pantry staples. After you have this stuff, you can get some frozen vegetables and proteins and VOILA! Your possibilities are endless!

In the end, buying pre-packaged dinners are so much money for what they are! If you can stock your pantry efficiently, you can make all sorts of things and freeze them for later even. Hope this is helpful for some of you who are tight on money right now (like me!). If you are looking for recipe ideas with these staples, message me and I can  give you some good ones!

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14 Responses to Stocking Your Pantry for CHEAP (Hawaii Pt. 1)

  1. Photos look pretty! And your mini-pantry list is perfect. And call me whenever you want – I miss you too! XO

  2. Amanda says:

    Hey I’ve been kind of away from blogging, but congrats on the job and moving out to hawaii! What an adventure that will be! It already sounds wonderful :)

    Good call on the dry milk. I love milk but it always seems to run out at the worst times. It would be nice to have some back up.

    Best of luck!

  3. Kim Bee says:

    I would love to live in Hawaii. We visited eons ago and I just fell in love with it. We were on Oahu. I am wicked jealous and hope you make the best friends of your life there. Congrats on the job!

  4. I am so jealous of you being in Hawaii and working for Morimoto! Great job!
    I’m in freezing cold Boston! Had an interview to teach baking and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu but I don’t think I’m going to take it. They told me that 70% of people who work in food service have some sort of learning disability and I would have to seriously consider that before taking a job there teaching. As much as I want to teach I don’t think I can handle that kind of stress.

  5. All great ideas! Congrats on the job! That is absolutely fantastic!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Congrats on the job! How fun, enjoy every little bit of it.

  7. Eliot says:

    Congrats on the cool job! My best friend is vacationing in Hawaii as I type. I can’t wait to hear about her trip. Please keep us updated with your adventures!!!!

  8. Kiri W. says:

    I still think it is beyond cool that you got a job at Morimoto’s! I am dying to try it out.
    I can relate to the moving issue though, but it looks like you should survive for a good while on your haul. :)

  9. sara826 says:

    Wow! What a great adventure! Were you nervous when you had to do the “staging”? Congrats on the new job. I can’t wait to read the next adventures!

  10. Ann says:

    Congratulations on getting the job! How exciting! I completely agree with you on stocking a pantry. You buy what you can afford, but with good pantry staples, you can make most anything! Enjoy Hawaii – it’s lovely!

  11. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    Congrats on the job, and what a beautiful photos. Having a stocked pantry helps to make life run more smoothly, and it looks like you have all the basics!

  12. Kimberley says:

    Sounds awesome! Staging in Hawaii, how idyllic. (Organic canned goods aren’t necessarily expensive, either! :)

  13. Sarah says:

    That’s so exciting Jenny – congratulations on the job and on being in Hawaii! I totally agree with you on prepackaged meals not being good value; besides, it’s so much tastier to make your own!

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