Monday, March 31, 2014

Pantry Challenge

You know how you squirrel away food that's on sale, that you use frequently, or that you stuffed in the back of the cupboard and forgot about? Yeah, that stuff. Inspired by my blogger friend Erica over at PNW Edible, I decided it was a good time to clear out everything in the "larder". Before the bounty of the garden comes in (hey, a girl can dream) let's get rid of the stuff that's already in our pantry. This is what I'm going to do: for the month of April, only cook with food that we already have in the pantry, freezer, or garden. We will supplement with milk from the grocery store and possibly eggs. Things are going to get creative in the kitchen, we'll feel super practical that we can survive if something terrible ever happens, and we'll make sure that no food is going to go to waste because it expired and we forgot about it. I also feel like we'll be eating as I would if I had my own farm (again, dreaming here), with the "hunger gap" and looking forward to fresh peas and radishes and leaves from the garden. I'm also moving in the fall, and don't want to take this all with me. Ready? I'm not, it sounds really crazy to me. But that's what life's all about! And it's only for one month. Let's jump in...

First I'll start by taking stock of what we have (this feels awfully personal):

In the freezer:
1 lb blueberries
1 mango
4 bananas (sliced) for smoothies
1 lb potatoes, sliced
1/2 loaf whole wheat bread
3 cubes pesto
2 servings crab dumplings
8 pork dim sum dumplings
2 frozen whole chickens ("happy" chickens that were raised sustainably, I know "hippie yuppie bark")
10 chicken sausages
3 lbs bacon (sliced)
5 lbs peas (I LOVE peas)
5 lbs corn (that was a recent impulse buy)
2 lbs mozzarella, shredded in baggies
2 frozen hamburger buns (we couldn't eat them all)
1 lb frozen butter
4, 8oz packages cream cheese, for cooking

In the pantry:
1 can refried beans
2 cans garbanzo beans
3 boxes whole wheat pasta
4 lbs flour
1 lb sugar 
2 lbs chocolate chips
8 lbs of potatoes
4 onions
2 cups dried cherries
10 lbs rice
3 jars pasta sauce
10 lbs oats (I make my own granola)
1 lb honey
2 lbs corn meal
1/2 lb quinoa
1/2 lb pink lentils
4 anjou pears
And dried condiments, spices, etc. 

In the refrigerator:
12 eggs
2 lbs pecans
1 lb carrots
1 lb bok choy
3 mason jars of homemade kimchi
1 daikon radish
milk
1 jar pickles

Growing in the garden:
Lots of radishes (watermelon and french breakfast) - too small to harvest
8 pea plants - too small to harvest
10 kale plants (green leafy jack and red russian kale) - too small to harvest
3 tomato plants (under grow lights)
1 lettuce bumper crop
3 brussels sprouts plants that are going to seed, but we'll eat their leaves, don't worry. (Have you ever tried the flowers of brassicas? They're delicious.)
3 different blueberry bushes
Oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, lemon balm, chocolate mint, common mint, parsley

First recipe on the block: kimchi soup! I'll try to update as we go along. 
Are you doing any pantry-clearing this spring? 

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