Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eat from the Pantry Challenge - Update

 We are halfway through our Eat From the Pantry Month Challenge, or as I like to call it, Eat This and Give Me Back Some Kitchen Space month.

We high fived ourselves for doing this challenge during the Polar Vortex. No one wanted to venture outside when it was  – 9  degrees (F,) including Lacey. As it was she was less than thrilled we made her wear a  Thundershirt and dog booties to protect her from frostbite when she had to take care of business outside.



At least I know I’m not the only dog in town wearing silly dog snow boots. Lisa made fleece dog boots (learn how she did it here) for me because all the pet stores sold out of dog boots before the storm hit.


The Polar Vortex helped us in another way (besides the incentive to toss random leftovers in the slow cooker and call it dinner) because I’m trying to make the best out of a cold situation. I passed the time decanting the last of the kitchen and pantry items from their boxes and bags and into jars we emptied over the holidays.

Which lead to three new projects:

  1. Eat this food too (fortunately none of it expired)
  2. A vacuum sealing party to test my new to me Foodsaver. Mine is like this Foodsaver on Amazon except mine is black and cost a lot less on eBay. It didn’t come with the bags (do I need them?) so I sealed food in jar  because I already have the Foodsaver mason jar attachment  from my DIY vacuum sealer tutorial (you can read it here.) I don’t know if I will keep everything sealed in jars but it was a fun way to pass a Saturday afternoon!
  3. Relabel and reorganize the kitchen and pantry. Moving the stuff from the shelf in the utility room to the kitchen would be nice too. That’s how I ended up with 8 unopened bags of lentils. I had lentils in all three places. Whoops!
Well, at least I don’t have to buy steel-cut oats because I have more than enough to fill almost two half-gallon mason jars. I have enough tea to fill three half gallon mason jars and this is not counting the tea I got as a Christmas gift. A jumble of jalapenos I dehydrated for Husband because he likes lava hot food and I’m not a fan. I knew we had pancake mix but I didn’t realize we so many and the contents couldn’t make a full batch of pancakes. I consolidated three opened bags of seaweed I didn’t know we had into one jar, and a full bag of Bulgar wheat neither Husband nor I remember purchasing and for what.


6reasonstoorganizepantry


What did we make to use up this unexpected food stash?

  • An ebleskiver (Danish pancake) brunch smorgasbord.  We didn't have enough pancake mix to make regular size pancakes but we had enough to make tiny Danish pancakes if I served more than one mix.


Danish pancakes!



  • I’m drinking more tea in the afternoon and gave one of the big jars to my tea loving sister in law after I took the photo above.
  • Husband experimented with spices and created a Moroccan style lentil, chicken, and carrot dish for dinner one evening. Sadly I didn’t take photos or ask him to write down the recipe for you. Bummer. It was good and I hope we can recreate it later. It’s not like we don’t have lentils…
  • Several meals featuring leftover Christmas ham like ham and cabbage and  ham and chickpea soup. I  eventually froze the rest when we started to get hammed out.
  • I used the seaweed to bake District 4's seaweed bread from The Hunger Games because we are out of bread. I didn’t create the recipe. I have The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook and this is the first recipe from it I tried. It’s good!
  • Lacey is getting into the spirit too. We are out of training treats. She is happily making due with the carrots I dehydrated from leftover holiday relish trays. Since my freezer burns everything, I dehydrate fresh produce if it gets to the eat me now or compost me later stage.


  • The only thing we had to buy so far is milk. This isn’t surprising. Husband drinks a gallon of milk or more a week. I offered him some of my non dairy milk. He declined after the first latte and declared that someone in this family needs to keep the local cows in business and he is the right person for the job. 

    I love that he cares so much for the local economy.

    What is the strangest thing you found during a kitchen cupboard clean out?

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