Random Meals

Saturday Upsides: Overstocking

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!

Bonnie at Recipes Happen came up with the brilliant idea of Saturday Upsides blog posts. Because every situation should have an upside, otherwise, just keep looking for one! :)

Wanna share your Saturday upsides or read more about everyone else’s? Just click on the image below!

3 thoughts on “Saturday Upsides: Overstocking”

  1. This is really a fantastic post! Your food creations look excellent! This is such a good idea, cooking from the pantry! I always say I’m going to do this and don’t! haha. 🙂 I have done a few things similar, but not completely all-out-just-buy-staples-and-eat-from-my-pantry. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Bonnie

  2. I do the same thing. The boyfriend laughs at me for having so much of everything because i buy in bulk (clearly I’m saving money, right?).
    This sounds like a fun way to use up those bulk things. Yay!

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