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Spring Pantry Challenge - Page 2

post #21 of 92
75% of my freezer has our meat stash right now. But I have two home made baked pies- organic peach and organic apple. Both are very yummy but didnt get eaten when they were made. DH wants to eat them. But I am having my brother and SIL over soon and his favorite is apple, so we can have that for dessert.

We added chicken parm tonight to the freezer. We added chicken and dumplings a few days ago.

Now, for the pantry- I think we are doing ok since I have been rotating and using up stuff since I started these plus it helped to be in the last one a few months ago...but I always sub since I get GREAT ideas from these threads!
post #22 of 92
Thread Starter 
I have some open almond butter that needs to be used up quickly - the expiration is approaching quickly.

Do you think I could substitute almond butter for the peanut butter in this recipe (and drop the peanuts)? I'll probably also add other dried fruit and nuts, but I've never done anything but spread almond butter on toast.
post #23 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by HydeParkB View Post
I have some open almond butter that needs to be used up quickly - the expiration is approaching quickly.

Do you think I could substitute almond butter for the peanut butter in this recipe (and drop the peanuts)? I'll probably also add other dried fruit and nuts, but I've never done anything but spread almond butter on toast.
Probably, but what's the recipe? Or, do you have enough other ingredients to make granola bars?
post #24 of 92
I'm serving lunch out of the freezer-- little cheese tartlets I got at the surplus outlet. The kids think it's fancy, but really, they were 2/$1.

And for dinner I'm using up some ground beef.

This weekend I used up some wings I had in there.

Of course, all this is negated by the chicken quarters I bought this weekend. At 59 cents a pound, I couldn't resist.
post #25 of 92
We are in the midst of a season change. So I dont if others do this, but as the weather gets warmer, we tend to eat different as well. So I am trying to use up our cold months style of food- such as soups, stews etc.

So just like you change up your winter and summer clothes, we also change up our winter and summer eating food!

I made up 2 lbs of taco meat last week and then we eat it for lunch etc. I have a bit left. I am thinking of making up a funky lasagna since I also have tomato sauce DH made last night. Any ideas?
post #26 of 92
I'm in!! I just cleaned out our pantry not too long ago and threw a box of cereal that was nearly 2 years old. I'm on board to start using more of what's in our pantry and freezer and become creative!!
post #27 of 92
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissel View Post
Probably, but what's the recipe? Or, do you have enough other ingredients to make granola bars?
OOPS!
http://www.grouprecipes.com/5211/pea...r-granola.html

Thanks! I was going to wonder why I was being ignored. I blame daylight savings time for my flakiness.
post #28 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by HydeParkB View Post
OOPS!
http://www.grouprecipes.com/5211/pea...r-granola.html

Thanks! I was going to wonder why I was being ignored. I blame daylight savings time for my flakiness.
I was wondering if you meant your ham and beans recipe there for a bit, then decided there was no way! Yes, I would totally use almond butter in that recipe. In fact, it sounds really yummy, and I have a load of rolled oats to use myself. Thanks for posting!
post #29 of 92
Hi there,

I'd love to participate.

I really need to do the following:

Organize my pantry items; so I can see what I have
at a glance. At this time, things are packed in so tightly
that I can see without moving things. On one hand, it's
great that I now have 5 months of food storage, but on
the other hand, if I can't see what I have, it will be hard
to effectively use it.

Store my 126 canning jars in an earthquake proof area.
Since I live on a fault line, no place is safe, but I have
cleared out the space below my sink, and surrounding
cabinets below, to put all my jars. They will be there
at least until they are filled up.


As for my pantry items, I have certain things that we just
couldn't have enough of. After I bought many cans of
tomatoes, I realized that I could buy 3 times that amount
and still need more. I may not have room for all that I need
without starting storage in our bedroom closets! LOL

Fortunately my children LOVE powdered milk, and so I have
30 quarts of dry milk in the pantry.

My kids are so great about this new adventure, and I have
been able to identify some of their favorite dishes which I
can make from pantry items, over and over.

Here's my crux about can goods, and I guess I need some
veggies and beans in cans, but I hate the way they taste.
I like dry beans. I like soaking them (think about the extra
nutrition) and I love fresh veggies. So how can a person
have a healthy diet on canned foods? I'm not talking about
our own canned veggies from our own garden, I'm talking
about store bought cans of food. Do I need to still include
some of those for "just in case"? I do like canned tomatoes,
so we have alot.

As for what we eat per season? We still eat soup year around.
Soup is so nutritious (lentils, beans, veggies, veggie broth, ect).
We LOVE salads and have already started eating a ton of salads
now that we noticed the warmer temps. As the summer burns
on, we will stop using the stove unless we need to (roasting
almonds for example). I don't use a microwave so this doesn't
help with the heat situation while cooking in the summer.

My sister has her stove out on her screened porch. They cook
on it year around. However, during the most bitter times, they
cook on their wood stove. She lives on 80 acres on an intentional
community. I really just can't imagine how my neighbors would
take it if I put my stove on the porch, much less my landlord!

I have a crock pot, and I use it all year, as well as my rice cooker.
Unfortunately I read a thread here on MDC about the crock pot
not being safe. I have a Rival crock pot, so I'm worried about that.

How do all of you keep the house cool in the summer while preparing
healthy foods? I live in the south, and we get temps upwards to
105 during July and August. We've even had 110 once or twice.

Obviously there is alot of raw eating during the highest growth time
in a garden, so we will be doing that alot too. What do you do in
the hot seasons?
post #30 of 92
Well I'm in for and I want to brag about my DH.:

I've got quit a bit of random items to use up and would like to keep my overall food expendatures low without giving much/any on either taste or nutrition.

Yesterday he made himself and the boys some homemade pho for lunch using some random veggies and homeraised peashoots, and some Thai Kitchen noodles that had been around forever. The all liked it and DH got rid of his craving for pho without going out to eat (too bad I was at work).

Then for supper he made a dish with a cornbread topping, corn, bacon, leftover black beans, onion, jalopeno, and olives. He used some cornmeal made from corn that we had raised in our three sister garden last summer (and I had been having trouble figuring out how to use up). He had a recipe from a magazine and it looked identical (I was teasing him that he should be food stylist for his next career.)
post #31 of 92
My challenge right now is that I need to work on reorganizing the rest of my basement so I can better fit and rotate my food.

When I get something from my shelves, I end up jostling too many thing to make sure I'm rotating everything properly.

My house is old (built in 1939) and it has this really neat separate room in the basement that was originally a coal room. It is now the laundry room. I'd like to get everything moved in there, but the fact of the matter is, I don't know if I have room in there. My basement maintains a cool 60*F year around, which makes it perfect storage conditions, but I'd have to put an extra dehumidifier in that room if I moved everything in there. This stuff takes up a lot of room.

I need to buy more canned fruit also. I don't want to do this too rapidly, though, because, as all veteran stockpilers know, if you buy all at one time, that means it all expires at one time and I want to make sure it doesn't all have to be used up at once. I think a lot people new to the concept really don't realize that it's a waste to stock up all at once. So a word to the wise... slow and steady for those who are newly stocking up.
post #32 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyotsna View Post

Here's my crux about can goods, and I guess I need some
veggies and beans in cans, but I hate the way they taste.
I like dry beans. I like soaking them (think about the extra
nutrition) and I love fresh veggies. So how can a person
have a healthy diet on canned foods? I'm not talking about
our own canned veggies from our own garden, I'm talking
about store bought cans of food.

As for what we eat per season? We still eat soup year around.
Soup is so nutritious (lentils, beans, veggies, veggie broth, ect).
We LOVE salads and have already started eating a ton of salads
now that we noticed the warmer temps. As the summer burns
on, we will stop using the stove unless we need to (roasting
almonds for example). I don't use a microwave so this doesn't
help with the heat situation while cooking in the summer.


How do all of you keep the house cool in the summer while preparing
healthy foods? I live in the south, and we get temps upwards to
105 during July and August. We've even had 110 once or twice.
Just to let you know- you don't HAVE to soak beans. You can if you want, but if you don't, it'll just take 2-3 hours to cook them, in an oven, on the stove, or in the Crock Pot.

If you want to ditch your Crock Pot, I'd strongly suggest a cast iron dutch oven. We have a Lodge, and I love it. They are about as much as a large Crock Pot, ~$30.

Also, if you are in the south and want to keep the house cool, you should really get a cast iron dutch oven anyway to use in a solar cooker. (A lidded, black pot is the ideal vessel for use in a solar cooker/oven.) If you have any sort of yard, you can use a solar cooker. You can buy or build them (very easy-can be done with cardboard), they can be permanant or portable.

In our short summers, we cook outside a great deal. We have a grill, a camp oven, and a solar cooker. We make a point not to turn on the range if at all possible. (We don't have a microwave, either, but we do have a toaster oven.)

I would say that you don't HAVE to buy canned veggies. We buy canned green beans and canned olives, and that's about it. Everything else is either home canned or frozen- we don't have pressure canner, just hot water bath, so we freeze a lot of veggies.

If you want to have a small stock of canned goods in case of earthquake or other emergency, I'd contact your local county extension office and review their resources.

As far as eating in season and eating locally, the only way to do both where I live is to preserve your own food (or barter with a local person who perserves his/her own food). I suspect that many areas are the same way. Eating locally, in season, and fresh is only possible for me to do 100% for about 4-5 months out of the year. And thru the winter, even if I'm eating unpreserved root veggies, are they really fresh? Potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabegas, beets, squash, carrots- these things last for months if properly stored (a cool dry place, a bucket of sand and carrots will last a year).

I was not the first to observe this at all. I read a great book recently, called the Dinner Diaries, which is all about one (pretty mainstream) mom's attempt to get her picky family to eat better. She comes to the conclusion that she has to pick her battles- she can't eat fresh, local, and in season all the time, it's just impossible.

So I go ahead and buy canned pineapple, coffee, tea, bananas, avacado, cocoa, chocolate, spices, nuts, coconut, and dried fruit. I do organic and fair trade on this stuff whenever I can.

As far as other staples go, I don't ever buy anything that was grown outside the U.S. or Canada (I'm closer to Ontario than I am to 48 of the 49 other states). Michigan is pretty agrarian state, so I can buy beet sugar and wheat and corn and all kinds of fruit and veggies that are MI and even UP grown. We buy Alaskan salmon, farm raised catfish and some ocean seafood, but we mostly eat smelt, walleye, whitefish, trout, perch, and other local lake fish. And, funny as it is, meat is the easiest one for us- all our meat is local, and either organic, grass fed, humanely treated or was hunted by DH's parents.

If I screw up at the store and grab tilapia by mistake, or I mis-calculate and we run out of homegrown frozen corn, I don't beat myself up. We eat the fish, and I buy frozen corn when it's on sale.

These are my priorities and systems. Obviously, yours will be different depending on what's local to you and the issues you care about the most.

We grow sprouts in the winter- just mung and alfalfa, just with a mason jar and cheesecloth, nothing fancy here- to put on sandwiches and stuff, but if we want a salad in the winter, we go ahead and buy some organic California greens. I think the key is to not rely on that as a staple all year round. Again, we don't beat ourselves up, we just try to make better choices most of the time. Again, YMMV.

I hope becoming familiar with someone else's process helps you make you own.
post #33 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I need to buy more canned fruit also. I don't want to do this too rapidly, though, because, as all veteran stockpilers know, if you buy all at one time, that means it all expires at one time and I want to make sure it doesn't all have to be used up at once. I think a lot people new to the concept really don't realize that it's a waste to stock up all at once. So a word to the wise... slow and steady for those who are newly stocking up.
I could not say this better myself! I myself and others have had to throw things out because your intention was to eat but the time passed or it was damaged etc from a storm or accident. Slow and steady is a wise choice for stocking up. also visit our bulk purchase thread in the stickys.
post #34 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
Okay, so last night, I inventoried the basement pantry.


Sweets
3pack Sugarless Gum-1
Tablets Rennet-8
Envelopes Knox Gelatine-2
Boxes Pectin-4

I don't think I have ever seen those labled as "sweets" before!

I am imagining the dessert you will make with those.
post #35 of 92
Thread Starter 
Last night I made my MIL's recipe for Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce. YUM! The tofu was expiring, and every time I looked at the package I would crave it.

Tonight I made the almond butter granola. It's not all that great, but it used up the almond butter. It was too heavy on the honey and almond butter, in my opinion. I like a more oat-y granola. I also added craisins and slivered almonds when I took it out of the oven.

It's felt really good not to go to the grocery store. But this week the Corned Beefs are on sale, and I love those. So, I'll probably go to the store on Friday. There were some other really good prices, such as cheese. But I'll try to limit myself.
post #36 of 92
I'm in! We are oving at the end of April and I reeally need to clear some of this food out! We won't be having our freezer for 6 moths so that's a big priporty as well as all this colds cereal I have gotten from WIC or .25 a box. I just opened a 20lb of rice and I have a 10lb bag of dries pintos that will be a challenge. Oh well I guess we'll have tons for burritos, lol.
I guess my biggest goal is not to shop I usually only buy lost leaders/WIC/fresh, I have a hard time passing up a good deal. Must be why there is so much canned soup in here (good for hubby lunches, evil cackel!)
post #37 of 92
You know what is hilarious - to me at least? I thought this was about STOCKING your pantry and freezer. I didn't even click it because I am all about clearing mine out right now. We are moving as soon as this blasted short sale goes through (praying we get a yes) and I want a clean slate. I don't want to move 3 month old chicken.

I am also trying to better utilize what we have and start a new, fresh stock that is what we actually eat rather than randomness. I also need to finish off our home jarred jams. The best tasting thing? I basted a turkey breast in elderberry jelly. Delicious.

Needless to say, I am in for more ideas and support!
post #38 of 92
Thread Starter 
Welcome Magpie! That jelly sounds good - did you make it yourself?

I am actually considering stockpiling some Sure Jel pectin. Sav A Lot has it for $1.99; I think I paid $3.29 last year at the regular supermarket. We don't use all that much, so the savings wouldn't be great. However, I am thinking of offering to teach my friends to can, and that might require some extras.
post #39 of 92
I used up some of my frozen bananas yesterday to make bread. I have enough for 1 more loaf- but the rest was a bit groddy from thawing during our ice storm. These were just ones I rescued from the kids half-eaten though. Hopefully - I can get that almond butter ate today- it seems that the kids are kind of reacting to that now so I need to eat it myself I guess. It is not expired, but I could use the jar it is in for other things. Oh- and I have a way to use my dry sea veggies- my friend bought a pill maker- so I am going to borrow it to make it up into capsules so I will actually take them- which would be good for me anyway.
post #40 of 92
Oh! Oh! Oh! I just remembered a cool site I have bookmarked. You can input the ingredients you have on hand and it will search the web for recipes that use them. http://www.supercook.com/ It is really fun to play with. Especially with random stuff that you have no idea what to do with.
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