With my daughter and her family moving in for a short time, I’ve been busy trying to deplete my cupboards like it’s a Red Cross evacuation. I need to make space for the usual children’s school lunch items and basic snack favorites to satisfy those hungry little tummies. I’m not exactly sure what those snacks will be, but I do know it’s most likely not anything I currently have in my pantry and cupboards.
In the process of this evacuation I encountered several items that were purchased with a purpose in mind. Like yellow split peas. I’m sure they were intended for soup of some sort, perhaps something Moroccan? Being I had smoked a chicken, I quickly turned them into a delicious smoky chicken split pea soup.
The mission continued as I came to the realization I have enough in my pantry to feed the entire county. Stocking up for Y2K clearly has stayed with me, in fact, I have items that expired in 2000! For those that haven’t expired, I need to come up with a plan to eat down my pantry. How can one person have so much food? Am I a food hoarder? I don’t think so but I do have a food obsession of some sort, actually I like to think of it as a passion rather than an obsession.
There really is some cool stuff in my pantry too, like chocolate cups. These are screaming a French theme dinner party.Or these petite appetizer bowls. Perhaps intended for Superbowl Sunday? They would be yummy filled with tarragon chicken salad. Check out these adorable cookie and cake decorating sugars? I see cupcakes in The Hurricane and Little Mister’s future! I discovered a couple of boxes of Lipton Onion a Soup mix. I could probably use these in braised beef or pork roast now that comfort food season is just around the corner.
Long grain white rice, sushi rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, wild rice, spelt, Israeli couscous,quinoa….carbolicious, if I do say so myself. The recipe development could be never-ending with all this rice and “hotdish” season.Mustard, mustard and more mustard. The only thing missing is brats, beer and some hot guys in lederhosen serving them. Octoberfest at the homecienda! Pappardelle noodles, mmmmmm, and the aroma of Beef Daube…. Rice noodles….Pad Thai anyone? The Cupboard Evacuation is sure to stir me in the direction of creating a few good recipes. I imagine the rice noodles with a New Orleans twist, like tossing together Cajun seasoning, red, green and yellow sweet peppers, these dried peppers and call it Noodles on the Bayou. Cajun Shore lunch would make a great coating on deep-fried chicken tenders tossed in buffalo sauce….which would help put a dent in the 3 bottles of hot sauce I have in my pantry. I have tea for every health ailment and health benefit under the sun! Being somewhat conservative (when it comes to wasting anyway) I’ve decided to focus on using what I have in my pantry over the next several weeks. In the process of this evacuation I learned that all this stocking up just isn’t necessary. I’m sure I had good intentions with many items but somehow time got away from those well intended purchases.
I have plenty of non-perishable mainstays too that will always have a space in my pantry like kidney beans, black beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato juice and diced tomatoes along with my beloved coconut milk and red curry sauce which I turned into a fish stew for dinner. These are all frequently used items so you can never have enough of any of them.
On the other hand I also got to face the music on some poor purchases like lemon extract and orange extract. Not being a baker, I have no clue of their intent and am reminded of what not to buy in the future. Hmmmm, I wonder if it was to flavor vodka? Who knows! I find it quite strange that I treat my refrigerator differently. You would think it would be bursting at the seals with all kinds of open jars of contents used once. But honestly when I open a jar I make sure I use it all up fairly quickly. Like roasted tomatoes, easy to use up on a salad or in an egg bake. I did purchase a 1/2 lb brick of tamarind that’s been in there since Easter….all I needed was a tablespoon, oops!
I’m challenging myself to use one item a day to eat down the over-stock of food in my cupboards and in the process I’ll create new recipes. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? If they turn out well, I’ll be sure to share them on my blog.
Could your pantry use a good clean-out? I challenge you to a Cupboard Evacuation! Please feel free to comment on your findings and what you plan on doing with them.
I’m off to figure out what to do with all this tamarind…thank goodness for Google!