I have a confession to make: I love buying food. I love going to the local produce market, the small Asian market and, yes, the big supermarket as well. Some weeks, I’m tired and all I want is to get out as soon as I can. But usually, the grocery store becomes my happy bubble. For the thirty to ninety minutes I am there, I can make all the decisions and I can browse as much and as long as I want to. I tend to buy lots of basic canned goods that are good to have around like coconut milk and tomato sauce. I also buy tons of meat to freeze to make sure we always have something available in the house. Ground beef, shrimp, chicken breasts, turkey sausage, we have it all! I also love wandering around an isle I haven’t been in for a while and just look for new things to try. The holy grail of “finding fun stuff” is the Cheese Shop, a neat little bulk store in Stuart’s Draft VA. The store may look very small and every time I go, I tell myself that I probably won’t find/get much. Well, I am wrong every single time (one would think that I’d learn from past experience). I always end up wanting every single thing on every single shelf.
Don’t get me wrong, trying new ingredients is a great thing and I can’t complain about it. The real problem is managing all this stuff. It often all end up thrown in the pantry and forgotten about for months. What a waste! So for the last few weeks, I’ve decided to stop wasting all that good stuff and finally use it up (great excuse to shop some more once I empty most of our supplies!). I started by reorganizing our pantry and a few other cabinets. We had tons of bags (often bulk quantities from the Cheese Shop) of various beans, rice, soup mixes, etc. I decided to transfer everything to mason jars and other transparent containers to make it easier to see everything. I got it all labeled and it looks so much nicer. I wish I had taken a before picture but, at least, here is the final result. It’s not perfect, I admit it, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what it used to be! And, for some reason, it’s making me excited about using the stuff…so I can refill it with new ingredients! 🙂
So, as I said, for the past few weeks, I’ve been on a mission to get rid of the stuff I bought but never used. Each week, I only buy fresh produce and dairy products such as milk and eggs. The rule is, every meal needs to involve ingredients from the pantry and/or the freezer. We got plenty of misses but lots of hits as well! I made a very yummy soup, a rice and beans dinner that was my best attempt so far, some delicious rosé pasta, and a Moroccan-ish rice, grains and beans mixture to stuff my squash on Halloween night! I should probably post all these recipes…as soon as I find the time! I mostly love that this is giving me a chance to get creative. Although I can get inspiration from recipes, I can only use what I have so I often have to make modifications. And anyway, it’s kinda fun to just throw things together and hope for the best! 🙂
Hearty soup with barley, alphabet noodles, mung beans, and old carrots from the fridge. Oh and a drink of the freshly-pressed apple cider made by our friends! Perfect lunch in the fall!
My best rice and beans as of yet! Jasmice rice, adzuki beans, spinach, tomato sauce and a bunch of spices! Such a cheap and tasty dinner!
Locally made pasta (overcooked, I must admit) with rosé sauce. Great way to use up some more tomato sauce and that light cream that was about to expire! I also added fresh basil and halved grape tomatoes.
Stuffing for a squash made with rice and grains mixed with mung beans, dried cranberries and toasted almonds.
So let’s recap, grocery hunting= good, overstocking= bad, playing the “cook with what you have” game= fun!!
I wish you all a very lovely weekend. I will spend mine doing schoolwork, and re-organizing the house with the new Ikea furniture we bought last weekend, yay!
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