Sunday, April 29, 2012

Providing from the Pantry

I think all of us have had the experience of walking into the pantry or opening a cupboard door and realizing that things have gotten way out of control. Well, I had that moment about a month ago and each day after, I swore that that day would be the day that I tore everything out of the pantry and reassembled every thing nice and neatly. And each day I would practice creative diversion. And each day the sun would set on yet another day that saw the pantry only get more crowded from floor to top shelves. Seriously, I could barely get in to retrieve things off the shelf at the far end of the pantry. It was bad. And still, I couldn't seem to bring myself to tackle the project simply because it had gotten so out of control. It was overwhelming.
So I decided to do just a little bit each day until I had it organized again.
And so I began. And it dawned on me that I had food that needed to get used before it went bad. Bags of pasta bought at a great sale price, bags of beans bought when I swore we would eat more meatless meals. Vast quantities of flour and spices waiting to be stored away via the Food Saver and freezer. It would be awful to have to throw away the very things that were bought in order to save money. I knew it was time to pull out my recipe collection and cookbooks and get my creative juices flowing in order to create meals, snacks and desserts with the items I had on hand.
So far, the pantry has provided us with a dinner of pesto pasta with homemade french bread, oatmeal and raisin cookies from scratch, a pan of brownies (boxed) that I added a handful of mini chocolate chips to and grilled cheese sandwiches. All those items were made strictly with items I had on hand already but that had continually been overlooked by me in favor of going to the store and buying more.
Future meals and sweets I have planned are: lemon bars, pasta salad, lemon poppy seed muffins and vanilla ice cream with spiced pear sauce. And I can make all those with items (with the exception of the ice cream) I already have! Our grocery bill is going to be almost non existent! I'm so excited about that! (In all honesty, I will probably use the grocery budget to seek out great deals to re-stock our food supplies.)
I look forward to seeing how long "shopping from the pantry, fridge & freezer" will carry us!

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