I always know summer is in full swing when the springtime blooms are spent and I hear the whiny squeal of the pantry door opening and repeatedly closing about fifty times a day accompanied by, “I’m hungry.” Hunger is never satiated by what can be found within a pantry and I have tried to tell my kids this time and again. Foods that fill tummies are found in the refrigerator. I try to remind them what I heard from somewhere one time: “Foods that don’t go bad are bad for you. Foods that do go bad are good for you.” This summer my mission is to teach my kids to change their eating habits and learn how to make better food choices.
I keep an idea book full of a combination of things: items to buy, ideas of things to make, what I need to do, appointments, sketches, and anything else that finds its way into it – including kids’ drawings and their own lists. Cleaning the pantry has been in my idea book for some time and hasn’t been crossed out. I knew it would be a lengthy task to empty the pantry and sort through the odds and ends of leftover food items so I left it as my first to do item during summer break. I went shopping for new canisters to hold dry goods and it looks pretty good so far.
I kept as much as I possibly could from the purge and stuffed it full again with better organization so I could see what I had and I’d be more likely to use it in a timely fashion. The biggest amount of leftover items ended up being things like pasta, crackers, and cookies that are still sitting on a bin on my kitchen counter – now known as food purgatory.
My next goal is to improve my creativity with leftovers and using foods I have on hand in addition to fruits and vegetables from my own garden and the local farmer’s market. Today’s lunch was pasta salad. I chopped tomatoes and green peppers that I picked up yesterday from the farmer’s market.
I boiled pasta using two small ziplocs of pasta – egg and elbow – to save it from the counter bin.
I added half of a can of black olives that I had in the pantry and clipped fresh basil from the garden. I chopped leftover filet mignon from the other night’s dinner for the meat eaters and mixed everything together with a little bit of Italian dressing.
I ate leftover salad with grilled salmon on top. Yum.