As we are entering our second winter of the coronavirus pandemic, it's time to start thinking ahead to the holidays, and being inside more. If you are a last minute type of person, that might not work for you, but during a pandemic, it's critical. With cooler temperatures comes challenges in the south, and for those of us in Louisiana, it's pretty rare to experience really frigid weather. But it happens. And let's don't forget that we had a late season hurricane last year to really screw things up.

So it's time to get prepared. And we mean for cold winter days, cooking more, and being inside for extended periods of time. I put together a list of things you might want to stock up on before things get too crazy, or you don't have time. And keep in mind, some of those shortages on grocery store shelves last year might happen again in 2021. I'm hearing rumors that stores still can't keep up with supply and demand, and frankly, I'm not surprised. I still can't find Ziploc Vegetable Steam bags, so the pain is real, y'all.

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Ingredients for Gumbo. If you hunt or fish, you probably have a pretty good supply in your freezer of items to put together for a good gumbo. But if not, now is the time to stock up on your favorite sausage, fresh shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish and chicken. Remember the chicken shortage last year? We're not going to let that happen again, because gumbo is too important in south Louisiana homes for us to be caught short with ingredients. Even though chicken and sausage, and seafood gumbo are front runners, whatever your favorite is, make sure you have enough ingredients to tide you over during the winter months. And that includes extra "cajun trinity",  which you can chop those peppers, onions and celery, and put them in freezer bags for future use.


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Baking supplies. During the winter months we do a lot of baking, and nothing is worse than getting halfway through a recipe for your favorite banana bread and discovering that you are missing a key ingredient. Some things can be substituted, but not everything. And remember the shortages we had last year on flour and other baking supplies? Stock up on flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, seasonings, and other essentials while you can. Hopefully we won't have an egg shortage, because we need those as well.


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Alcohol. No self respecting south Louisiana home would get through a cold winter without being prepared to offer some cocktails to guests. Or make something refreshing for yourself. We don't need anything high end, just a good variety to make sure we can enjoy a sip or two. Don't get caught short if you are expecting lots of company during the holidays. Cheers, y'all.


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Cleaning supplies. Cold and flu season is upon us, and if 2020 taught us anything, it's to not let your stockpile of ANYTHING dwindle. I still feel a little bit of panic when I head to the disinfectant aisle at the store after last year. Especially after hearing rumors that purchase limits are back on toilet paper and cleaning supplies at one of our nations biggest retailers, Costco. Don't be caught short again, y'all.


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Rice, beans, pasta. So many of our south Louisiana dishes include these dried ingredients, and we definitely don't want to run out during the colder months. And if you can find them on sale right now, why not just get some extra for all those delish dishes you're going to be making. And they will keep in your cupboard for a very long time, so it's no problem if you get extra.


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Generator/Propane. Hurricane season goes through the end of November, so if you don't have a portable generator in Louisiana, you should probably get one. And even if we don't get hit by a hurricane (fingers crossed) it's always good to be prepared in case we have another freak weather event. Like an ice storm that shuts down the entire state. And make sure you're stocked up on propane as well.



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