Tag Archives: pantry

SPICE PANTRY REDO

My Organized Spice, Vinegar, and Oil Pantry

My Organized Spice, Vinegar, and Oil Pantry

Many of you may remember my great pantry and freezer clean out (to read the post click here).  I think I made mention during that post that my spice pantry was is massive need of cleaning and organizing.  I tend to be very Type-A (I sometimes think they modeled Monica Geller after me), so I am not sure how it got so out of hand in the first place.  My excuse is going to be that when you have young kids and all the activities that come with that, something has to give…I guess it was my spice pantry.

A few weekends ago we had a much-needed day at home.  NOTHING was planned.  Sometimes that is so blissful.  The kids were given the rare opportunity to veg in front of the TV for longer than their allotted hour, and I took to cleaning out the spice pantry.

I am embarrassed to say that there were multiple duplicates (does anyone really need 3 half used jars of oregano?) and quite a few spice jars that had completely caked together, thus rendering them totally unusable.  It was so cathartic to combine the duplicates and trash the caked jars (that part wasn’t fun…I hate waste). 

Now that my spice / vinegar / oil pantry is organized (yes, it is alphabetical), I find that it is so much easier to cook.  I can see everything I have and I don’t have to go hunting for the ingredient I need.

Are any of you in need of a spice pantry clean out?  If  so, take the time and do it.  You will be so happy that you did.

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CLEANING HOUSE – Results

A Big Mess

A Big Mess

It has been a month since I challenged myself to only buy produce and bread products (to see my original challenge post click here). I am sooo happy I did this.  My pantry feels so much more manageable and it really forced me to get creative with my meals and use things that I already had in the pantry, freezer, and fridge.

I did end-up buying some things that I was not supposed to, but let me explain… while on this challenge my meat-loving husband decided to try living plant based for a month (with the occasional bit of seafood).  He was not ready to jump into eating plant based AND eating all whole foods, so I did buy him some mock meats.  I am so proud to say that he has been sticking with it and doing really well! 

What is clear to me is that even after completing this challenge I still have a lot of food in my pantry.  I also still have a bunch of food in my freezers, but a lot of the food in there is food I always use (I am a big fan of making big batches of meals and freezing them for another night).  I also still have a bit of meat and seafood in my fridge that I plan to share with others because I don’t see the point in throwing away food (Although I’s LOVE to throw away the chicken wings…no one’s heart needs that!). 

I really think this challenge has changed me.  I am going to try much harder to plan out my meals and not impulse buy.  I don’t need to have so much on hand.  Fresher is better!

So, here are the pantry results…

Pantry BEFORE

Pantry BEFORE

Pantry AFTER

Pantry AFTER

Pantry BEFORE

Pantry BEFORE

Pantry AFTER

Pantry AFTER

And the freezers…
Freezer BEFORE

Freezer BEFORE

Freezer AFTER

Freezer AFTER

Garage Freezer BEFORE

Garage Freezer BEFORE

Garage Freezer AFTER

Garage Freezer AFTER

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Filed under Cleaning, Vegan, Vegetarian

BAKED LIMA BEANS

Baked Lima Beans

Baked Lima Beans

When I was a kid I HATED lima beans.  My dad loved them, so we ate them a lot.  Just thinking of lima beans used to make my mouth dry…they always tasted so mealy and intensely dry to me and no amount of butter could fix that.  To this day I see one of the bricks of frozen Jolly Green Giant lima beans and shudder.

Fast forward to adulthood.  A few months ago my husband and I had the priviledge of enjoying an amazing night at the Segerstrom Family Farm in Costa Mesa.  Our friends invited us to join them at the farm for a charity event (The Festival of Children) and it was truly one of my favorite events ever.  We began by going out into the fields to pick the produce that would be used in our dinner.  There was a private chef who prepared all of the food with her team and we spent the night dining outdoors under the stars right next to the fields.  It was spectacular.  The food was phenomenal and the company was even better.

The Segerstrom Farm began as a lima bean farm, so when the night ended we were all sent home with bage of dried lima beans and fantastic pumpkins to take home to the kids.

Segerstrom Lima Beans

Segerstrom Lima Beans

For the holidays my mom and dad gifted me a HUGE (750+ pages) vegetarian cookbook  called World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey and one of the lima bean reciped jumped out at me.  The time had come for me to give lima beans another try…I already had some outstanding beans in the pantry from the Segerstrom Farm, so  I had no more excuses.

World Vegetarian

World Vegetarian

Shockingly I LOVED this recipe.  The beans were creamy and so flavorful.  I am sure it is attributable to high quality beans and a well written cookbook.

Madhur received this recipe from the nuns at the Ormylia Monastery in Macedonia.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dried lima beans or any large white beans, picked over and washed

¼ cup oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices

2 good-sized (6-7 ounce each) tomatoes, finely chopped

1 ¼ tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano

~~

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 5 inches.  Drain, discarding the soaking liquid and rinse with cold water.

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Dry Beans vs. Soaked Beans

Put the beans in a pot with 3 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil.  Remove the scum that rises to the top.  Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the beans are just tender (If the dried beans are very fresh it may only take 20 minutes).  

 
 

Skim the Foam

Skim the Foam

 

 Meanwhile, put the oil in a flame and ovenproof casserole-type dish and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion.  Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion has just wilted.  Put in the carrot and cook another minute, stirring now and then.  Now put in the tomatoes and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened.  Turn off the heat.
Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Sauteed Onions, Carrots, & Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

When the beans have finished cooking, add them and their cooking liquid to the dish with the onion, carrot, and tomatoes. 

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

Gently Mix in the Lima Beans

 Add the salt, lots of black pepper, the parsley, and oregano.  Stir to mix

Add the Herbs

Add the Herbs

Put the casserole dish into the oven and bake, uncovered for 2 hours. 

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

Serve hot.  I served this with a salad and some crusty whole wheat bread, but it would taste great over barley or pasta as well.

Baked & Ready to Serve

Baked & Ready to Serve

For a printable version of this recipe click here

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Books, Farming, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

CLEANING HOUSE

Suffocating Beans
Suffocating Beans

I have a problem…

Some people have a show addiction, some people have a substance addiction, I have a pantry and freezer stockpiling issue.  I think I could run a neighborhood bomb shelter for an entire month and we would all eat like kings and queens!!!  I am putting myself into rehab.  I have now made the commitment to ONLY BUY PRODUCE, BREAD, or DAIRY ALTERNATIVES for the next month.  Yikes!  Putting my goal out there in the cosmos is going to help me stay accountable. 

I took a trip to Mother’s Market today (where my husband likes to say I am amongst “my people.”) and I have to be honest, I actually had to put three things back on the shelves.  My daughter who has a gluten allergy ran out of her box of flavored gluten free (GF) oatmeal, so I absent mindedly put its replacement in the cart.  I had to stop myself and realize, “Nope, Gretchen you have plain old GF oatmeal at home.”  I am perfectly capable of flavoring plain old oatmeal for her.  My second boo boo came when I saw some vegan hamburger patties I just read about in Kris Carr’s new book (more on that later this month) and again, they went into the cart.  Ugh…back onto the freezer shelf they went.

So, here goes.  Here are the pictures of my pantry:   

More Clutter
More Clutter
More and More
More and More

And my freezers:

Kitchen Freezer
Kitchen Freezer
Outside Freezer
Outside Freezer

I’ll check back at the beginning of February and show my progress.

What are your addictions???

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