Thursday, July 3, 2014

My big fat pantry challenge

Every now and again I have to stop buying groceries and use up what I have and I have decided that now is as good a time as any.

Pantry beginnings
I consider my freezer, fridge, garden and physical pantry all part of this challenge. I didn't have a pantry until August last year, before that my groceries were in a normal cupboard. When we did our renovations we decided on taking a small awkward passage way and turning it into a pantry and a "cloakroom" where we keep sports equipment, homeschool resources, sewing and scrapbooking stuff. These two rooms are separate from one another but used up this dead space so well.

My pantry is a real pleasure...except when it comes to keeping it tidy. Superman says "entropy" (movement towards degradation!) is something that takes place all the time in the universe, so I will spend each holiday giving a cupboard a good cleaning and sorting out, only to find out that within a week stuff is in the wrong place, mixed up, untidy and messy...almost as if it happened on its own :(

Trying to keep order

So yesterday I got stuck into the pantry for a deep clean. Every basket was unpacked, cleaned and repacked in an orderly fashion, shelves wiped down, jars and plastics without lids sent to recycling, and lids without jars too!

I also check expiry dates on whatever I put back into the pantry and fridge. If you keep medicines in your fridge, now is a good time to check those too.

This left me with a clear idea of what I have as basic ingredients with which to create meals.

The garden has some peas, carrots, spinach, lettuce and herbs for me at the moment. Then this morning my freezer was subjected to a stock take.

Tidy pantry
My freezer holds grass fed boerewors, mince, pork hocks, chicken necks (for stock), chicken livers, raw cat and dog food.

My fridge holds eggs, cheese, milk and some odds.

I am truly glad we are having a break from schooling at the moment so that I can be creative with our meals. When I am doing a pantry challenge like this (generally not more than twice a year) I do not plan meals...I take each day as it comes. I figure that besides for milk we should be eating quite well for the next few weeks.

Last night I made a delicious lamb and lentil pie with left over roast leg of lamb. On the side were the last peas and cabbage.

This morning for breakfast was almond and banana pancakes with yoghurt and honey and bacon.

Lunch was sweet potato and sweet pepper soup.

Tonight will be chilli con carne meatballs on bulgar wheat...nom nom, can't wait! Oh...and a peach almond crumble with homemade custard. (We have guests coming!)

Are you up for a pantry challenge?

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