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Waste Not, Want Not: Confessions of a Recovering Foodie Pt. 1

So I missed spring cleaning in my pantry. Then I ran around in the mountains racing all summer. I looked at my well stocked pantry full of various whole grains and legumes, spices, seasonings and other random ingredients, and wondered, how long have they been in there? Like those French green lentils du puy? When was the last time I used those? These dry goods don’t last forever, even if they do store well. And then there was the refrigerator. Untold numbers of little jars and bottles of strange sauces and condiments required for some random dish I cooked maybe once. Time for a bit of cleaning. My sister does this at our parents’ house, and it’s pretty funny to watch as she tears around checking expiration dates.

Well the refrigerator is easy because those little jars and bottles actually have dates. But what about my dry goods that I buy in bulk? Well, I use so much rice that I know that is turned over regularly but what about the mung beans, adzuki beans, yellow split peas, and French lentils? SO I have begun an autumn quest to rotate through my dry goods and use up the odds and ends. I am aiming to use this as an opportnity to make cheap dishes and save a little on groceries as prompted by a few recent articles and bloggers, like the Slow Food Movement’s $5 challenge. How much can I make this pantry bounty produce? A lot, I think. Of course with Murphy’s law lurking in the background, I suppose a natural disaster is around the corner, just as I use up my stock!  I also hope that this will lead me to rediscover some dishes I haven’t made in a while, and clear out old stuff. Like those black-eyed peas. Man, I haven’t made Hoppin’ John with collard greens in a long time. Maybe it’s time . . .


Menu Plan Week of 10/03/11

I love this time of year, lots of great veggies and fruits at the Farmer’s Market. This week’s haul included peppers of all kinds, eggplants, baby potatoes, heirloom tomatoes and some green beans. So this week’s training table looks like:


Crockpot chili over baked potatoes


Farm House Stew


Ratatouille over steamed potatoes


Hoppin’ John with collard greens


Too far ahead to plan. Y’know, like the weather. We’ll see. Maybe leftovers, maybe somethin’ else.