Starting on January 22, 2010, I plan to challenge myself to cleaning out my pantry, my freezer, and my spice cupboard. Why? Because I went a little too far during the nesting phase before having my son and have accumulated about 3 months worth of food and the spices, oils, and vinegar, for the most part, to flavor it well. And I’ve done nothing with it.

The reasons are vast, but none of them good. I’ve been tired, busy with the new baby, adjusting to life as a mother of two, wife to one, figuring out how best to deal with our current monetary situation. These are all things that are important, true, but nothing is more important than feeding your family. And we’ve been doing it far too much with stuff from McDonald’s. It’s starting to show in my house.

If you look hard enough, you can probably figure out what Rinoa likes to do with my pantry staples; potatoes, cans of beans, tomatoes, and soups, onions, heads of garlic, and the occasional bottle of juice are scattered around the house. Her favorite way to pass time is stacking tin cans; it’s as if she doesn’t have enough blocks to do that with. Her favorite place to stash the right size potato is in someone’s shoe; invariably she selects one that is sized just so it fits perfectly in the toe of your shoe and you don’t see it until you go to put on said footwear and stub your toe on the waiting spud.

I think it’s time for pantry-as-plaything to end now.

Until my pantry, freezers, and fridge are cleared of the stuff that’s been there for some time, some of it, in the freezer, almost a year, I’m counting my pantry as the grocery store. Oh, we’ll need milk, eggs, flour, and the occasional fresh something-or-other and diapers/wipes/baby wash/formula, but the majority of the ingredients for what we eat have to come from what I have in storage. I’m sick of having, almost literally, five million things I can cook and, instead, just going to some fast food place because it’s easier. I am a good cook and I should be doing the cooking for my family. Surviving motherhood isn’t going to happen on a McDonald’s and Subway diet.

To keep me honest, I’ve come up with a few things that will help me.

  • I plan to create an inventory of what I have, put it next to each area, and cross it off when I run out. I will add or subtract new things as I go along. Keeping a running tally will tell me how close I am to my goal as well as keeping me organized.
  • I’ll share a meal plan on here as well as type one up to put on the refrigerator. This will give me a basic outline for the week and I’ll be able to cross it off as I go along. If I want to change something at the last minute, I can do so by crossing out or erasing what I had and writing in the new thing.
  • I’ll post the recipes that I find successful as well as a few photos if I can. My camera may suck, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t at least illustrate a point or two.
  • Finally, I’ll be willing to try some things I haven’t before to add variety in my everyday cooking. Before I met my hubby I used to be quite adventurous in my eating. It’s time to bring some of that back into my eating habits.

The ultimate goal is to get rid of 80% of the stuff I have laying around here before it goes to waste. Let’s just hope I don’t lose interest before I get there. I have a small problem with that.

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