As part of my January challenge of wasting less food (get up to speed here), I think it’s important that I show you where I’m starting. I took these pictures last night after dinner and this afternoon. I did not clean up, hide, or otherwise primp my pantry, fridge, etc. This is an uncensored look at the food we keep at home. Obviously, you won’t be able to see everything, but it will give you an idea of what I have to work with on this challenge. Before I get to that, a quick update on Day 2.
Today was a big leftover day, so this part of the update will be short and sweet.
We had intended to get up early and make ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. This did not happen, but we did eat at home. Rich had cereal and milk. I had peanut butter and jelly on honey wheat. My tolerance for dairy is hit and miss, mostly miss on an empty stomach.
For lunch, we had planned to eat the last of the leftover ham and beans, and we did, supplemented with turkey and cheese sammies. I was so very tempted to go out for lunch today, though. I had one of those ‘can’t stand to eat leftover’ feelings, but you know what? Once we got home and started prepping things, I thought our lunch sounded awesome, and it was!
Tonight, we’re having the leftovers of the shrimp, mushroom, and bok choy dinner from last night. I don’t think either of us will try running away from that. I will definitely savor it since it is so fresh tasting. We only have a few days of fresh produce on hand. I’m plotting to use it all to its advantage!
Our Pantry & Food Stores
You’ll see that I keep a well-stocked kitchen. It’s a product of growing up with family for which the Great Depression, floods, and other natural and financial disasters were always kept just in the back of the mind. Not to mention, for several years my family lived in a house that all roads to would get blocked due to flood waters in the creek a few times a year. Actually, one of the three roads became a creek a few times a year. I was raised to be prepared.
The Fridge. This is actually fairly lightly stocked for us. As always, there are a lot of sauces and condiments. In proteins, we have beef summer sausage (leftover from Christmas), bacon, sausage, and deli ham and turkey. This is much heavier in fatty meats than typical due to the holidays. There are a variety of cheeses including at least colby, sharp cheddar, chipotle cheddar, tomato basil cheddar, brie, swiss, colby jack, and some interesting foreign cheeses. I’m kicking myself for running out of parmesan, romano, and asiago before starting this challenge! In other dairy, we have skim milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, cream cheese, butter, blended butter (butter and olive oil), sour cream, and plain lowfat yogurt. In produce, we have baby eggplant, karela, green beans, and a variety of fresh herbs. We have a little bit of booze: tequila, champagne, hard limeade, wine, as well as some Mexican sodas. To round things out, there’s some naan, eggs, and active yeast. That blank spot in the fridge door is where the orange juice goes. I’m already missing something.
The Freezer. To be completely honest, I’m not totally sure what all is in the freezer. That’s part of why I wanted to do this challenge. It’s ridiculous to have so much food you don’t even know what you have in there! I know that there are a few packages of meat, some frozen vegetables, overripe bananas, blueberries, ice cream, and several bags of leftover soup, chili, and gumbo. One thing I am a little concerned about is running out of vegetables before I get to the end. It’s something I’ll have to keep in mind as we proceed.
Also, I hate to admit it (especially since you can’t see them!), but there are two small frozen dinners inside. We bought them back in November when I had the flu and Rich was going out of town. As it turns out, he got sick, too and stayed home. We’ll see how far we get down in our stores before those are consumed!
The Pantry. The pantry is actually a series of cabinets. We’re doing a small kitchen remodel that includes a small pantry, but I still have everything spread out all over. This is another reason for the challenge–making room for my cooking wares.
In this first picture, we have tea, tuna, lentils, sauces, spreads, jams, fruit nectars, canned milk products, and other non-perishables. There’s even a microwaveable soup (1–again from the flu period) and a little stash of ramen noodles. I will probably never grow out of having these now and again.
This cabinet is primarily my canned goods, pasta, and rice. I buy most vegetables fresh or frozen, but I do buy canned tomatoes, beans, and some soups. I don’t use canned soups often, but I can’t replicate some of my family recipes without them. I keep a decent variety of dried pastas, both conventional and wheat. My favorite is a whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi. I get them on subscription through Amazon. I also keep about a dozen types of rice. Rice is easily my favorite food. It’s incredibly versatile and simply delicious.
This cabinet holds my baking supplies including flours, meals, sugars, extracts, and leavening agents.
The next couple of pictures are from our new pantry. We’re in the midst of a minor kitchen remodel. This pantry used to be the old ’60s Magic Chef wall oven. We bought a new slide in range, so it’s a pantry. I’m waiting on hinges to be delivered so the chalkboard painted door can be put on! Anyway, this isn’t very well stocked yet, but I need to clear some things out to make room for organizing. We have a some new potatoes, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions. There are chips and crackers leftover from Christmas, as well as bread and cornbread. Below there are some miscellaneous items like oats, granola, and even more rice. I buy long grain white rice by the 10 lb bag. I told you it was my favorite food!
The cabinet below holds my vinegars and oils. I have a few fantastic things in there like my cilantro onion extra virgin olive oil, jalapeno white balsamic vinegar, and my oh so special balsamic from Moderna in the cute little bottle up front.
This cabinet is for my spices. I recently pared down a bit, passing on some duplicates and throwing away some that were just too old. That top basket has some seriously fantastic spice blends from the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder.
Here are my dry goods on the counter: white flour, cane sugar, and long grain white rice. What do you put in your third canister? I don’t think rice is normal, but it’s what works in our house.
This is our coffee station–which Rich says is a very important spot! We have coffee and tea for the Keurig coffee maker. I have quite a bit of looseleaf and bag teas, too, but this is super handy. This is where the fresh fruit goes as well. Right now, we have tangerines, grapefruit, and limes. I’m looking forward to some fabulous marinades with those limes! If I can’t use them all, they’ll get squeezed into my water or used in cocktails.
This is where the majority of the bad food lives: in the buffet. This is usually in the kitchen, but it’s hanging out in the middle of the dining room at the moment–more remodeling. There’s a bit more junk food here due to the holidays. We have sodas and candy, but there are also nuts, popcorn, and dried fruit. It’s not all bad.
There you go. Our pantry–completely uncensored. We’ll see what I can do with it!