Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sometimes cupboard rotation gives cooking inspiration!

I spent a lovely day with Mom in the States today!  What that usually means is: Target, Joann's Fabrics, Wal-Mart, Marshalls and lunch!  It's always a great time, and I really cherish the time with her (Thanks Mom!).  It also usually means, that I come home with a car full of groceries, goodies and "stuff" that we just can't get in Canada. 

As I started to organize my cupboards this week, one by one, I decided, before unpacking my new loot, I would empty the pantry and re-arrange things!  If you're anything like the "normal" households in America, you have way too many condiments in your fridge, and way too many "extras" or stocked items in your cupboard/pantry.

We are one of those "normal" households.  Mostly because things either go on sale and I stock up, we go to the States and get our favourite pantry items (either because they don't have them here, or are substantially cheaper), and also because we like a WIDE variety of foreign foods, which can be hard to find sometimes.

Every season, I tend to empty the cupboards, rotate the items on to different shelves and write a list of what we have on hand.  I tend to do this when I am hitting a "food rut", not knowing what to cook that could widen our horizons again (I do most of the cooking around here, since I am working from home).

I use the list of ingredients that we have on hand, to make a grocery list for the next 2-4 weeks, depending on how much is in the cupboards (winters we usually have a more stocked cupboard).  This is great in so many ways!  It makes me think outside the box, it makes me come up with new and unusual recipes and combos, it makes for ENORMOUSLY low grocery bills (just milk, eggs, yogurt and produce), and it allows us to use up any meat in the freezer, or cook 2 weeks entirely vegetarian (we don't stock meat in our house, as I don't eat much of it).  We feel efficient when the cupboards are almost bare, and although that next grocery bill is costly, it allows us to start fresh and creatively! That and...

Sometimes you can be amazed at what you had in the cupboards that you totally forgot about, or didn't even know why you ever bought it in the first place!

Here are most of the contents of our pantry, before unloading.  We didn't have too much of any one thing (apart from jam.  Does anyone else have this problem?).  I didn't have to do the two bottom drawers, as those are my baking/spice items in mason jars.  My FAVOURITE part of the pantry.  Again, compartmentalized items, labelled and in their proper place!  Thank you, Chef  Michael Smith!!! 

When I have more energy tomorrow, I will *maybe* post an updated picture of it all organized.  MAYBE.


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