Posts Tagged ‘pantry’

Hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there during this odd, bizarre and unprecedented time. I, for one, am still processing it all!

By now though, hopefully everyone has completed a puzzle, learned a new language, hopped on some type of ZOOM call or rearranged the pantry. And has established a new routine. Or is that just pie in the sky thinking?

We have no real routine. Our pantry has been rearranged about four times. At least. One day it looks like a neat 7/11 mini-grocery with its shiny offerings neatly aligned on the shelves. Another day it looks like a home invasion gone wrong. Very wrong.

Enough of that.

My #6 suggestion is to actually try something that has momentarily sparked your interest. You know the one. When you were thinking, “How cool! Best thing ever!” Only to forget about it two seconds later as you scroll down the screen.

Doesn’t have to be a big deal. Something simple.

Like when I shared (a while ago) my attempt at ripening an avocado in the oven. I have always had a love-hate relationship with them and was determined to beat the little non-native suckers into submission. Because I felt like Goldilocks every time I had one in my hand. Too hard. Too soft. Oops, I waited a minute and now it’s brown and rotten. When an article about bucking Mother Nature and hastening the aging process caught my eye I was so ready. Totally willing to manipulate the little green orb.

Didn’t work. Wrapped the avocado up, snug as a bug, with aluminum foil, baked it and eagerly waited for the results. Well, the fruit definitely softened but there was also a funky, metallic taste that came along with it. FAIL. Let’s chalk up that little experiment as a big no-go.

But here is a small success. I viewed this kitchen life hack in a video on more than one occasion. Always thought it looked great. And always forgot about it two seconds later. LOL. My friend, Stacy, recently posted it again so I thought, “Why not give it a try?”

This one is a winner. Great for spinach, parsley and mint with their long stems. Don’t forget-mojito season is just around the corner! This would work for anything with long, thin stems. Except for wine glasses.

Just push the stem through the small hole in the colander and grab the end. The stem pulls out easily, beheading in the process, with only the perfect leaves remaining in the colander.

Would using a knife be quicker? Sure. But this is a calming, easy chore. Even little kids can help in the kitchen without the possibility of an emergency room visit.

So the next time something new/interesting to try catches your eye jot yourself a little note. This will ensure you don’t forget! Then make it happen. Could be a dismal failure or a resounding success.

Either way, at least, you tried!

Stay safe and keep practicing safety measures!

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I made a nice red sauce yesterday. Nothing new for me. I also made meatballs to go along with it. Wasn’t that pleased with the meatballs but that was just because I didn’t like the quality of the meat. Was blah.

But then I thought, “At least, it’s fully cooked! You’ve come a long way, baby!”

It wasn’t always easy. When it was new.

I remembered when I first got married and telephoned my mother to ask her how to make lasagna. This was before google so I just had to “Eileen” it. She detailed each step and about halfway through her directions I said, “Oh, just forget it! That’s just a bit too much!”

Eventually, I would make lasagna. But it was years later.

So, you can see, it wasn’t exactly a great interest of mine.

There was also the time we had our friend over for dinner. Yup, the chicken sure looked good on the outside. Pinker than pink on the inside. Another glass of wine, anyone?

And the most recent kitchen mishap within the last decade was when I grabbed mushrooms out of the pantry. I was making an omelet or something for my husband. But they were DRIED mushrooms. I didn’t realize you had to soak them in water. Totally hadn’t given it a thought. I should have but I didn’t. The firemen were so very nice about it.

At my cousin’s, I plopped kosher salt into my coffee. And spewed it out. That was totally her fault having salt just sitting on the counter looking like all sorts of sugar in the early morning hours.  Who cooks that much that there just has to be kosher salt at the ready? Oh my gosh, it just occurred to me. Maybe she is not cooking at all but just knocking back Margaritas on a regular basis. Note to self….ask cousin why she’s always in a good, silly mood.

So, yes, the kitchen was not my natural habitat. It has gotten better through the years and I do enjoy being in there once in a while. But it wasn’t always easy or comfortable.

Most new things aren’t. First we have to have the desire, then pay some attention, try a little harder and give it our best effort.

It gets easier. I am proof that it does.

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It’s winding down. Only a few more weeks until the big move. Or at least the big packup. Going to visit (hide) at Mom and Dad’s for a week before heading to Asia.

Still unloading stuff. The pantry is not quite bare but it is getting there.

And Rory said that the inside of my fridge looks like an old person’s fridge. So, I guess it’s working. But it’s slow going.

Not wasting is hard work. Way harder than wasting.

I brought over all the canned goods that I had (that weren’t expired) and won’t use (ever) to my elderly neighbor.

The spices made their way to friend Ken since he’s always got something cooking on the smoker (slow smoking grill.) He did ask, “What would you use sumac for?”

Bag of school uniforms being sent back to thirteen year old Annie’s school. At least the ones that don’t have oil stains or tire tracks on them. Honestly, I am like,”Do you attend an automotive vocational school that I don’t know about?”

Scooter, school supplies, stuffed animals and some toys left at the front door of my little friends, Nicholas and Natalia. They are so sweet and precious. Natalia whispered to her mother the other day, “I don’t want Miss Mary to move.” Awww.

Bags of clothes continue to be left on the front stoop for various charities.

I am using up the remaining pantry food. So, if you do peek into my old lady fridge you might spy a half emptied jar of sweet and sour red cabbage. Or some canned Spaghettios. Just depends on what day. And my mood. Sometimes there might still be a protruding fork or spoon in the can or jar. Okay, I’m just kidding about that.

Yes, it would be so easy to throw everything in the trash. But knowing I did my best not to waste and maybe helped other folks not want? Well, that just makes it all worth it.

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Sure, we have all heard the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life.”

And that might be all well and good when it comes to say something like lovers or shoes. But when it comes to actual spices? Umm, no.

In preparation for the big move I am targeting one area a day. Today it’s the pantry.

There’s a list of things that we are not allowed to take with us to Malaysia. Handguns and spices are on that list. That spice trade is so yesterday. Unfortunately, handguns are still very much today.


Spices are exactly like the assorted bottles of salad dressing we have crammed into the side doors of our refrigerators. Hardly ever used, purchased for one recipe (or guest) and expired!

I remember going through my salad dressings during one of my last moves. I had every kind of dressing. That I never used. Blue Cheese, Russian, Italian, and Episcopalian. Why, Mary, why?

Back to spices. Most of these little yet pricey spice bottles are getting the heave ho today.

Salad Supreme Seasoning. Not even sure what that is but it was purchased at the East Side Market. I moved from the East Side of Providence to Texas in 1994.

Grill Mates. Spicy Montreal Steak. Best used by April 28, 2009. And how do they pick out the date? Why the 28th and not May 1st?

Ground White Pepper. Almost full. Expiration date was March of 2011.  That’s like the new kid in the neighborhood.

Celery Salt. Looks old. Can’t remember the last time I used it. Can’t find the expiration date but it does have the price on it. $1.43. That in itself is telling. Since spices can now cost more than a quick drive through the fast food line.

Okay, one more and then I will let it go. Because I could go on all day!

Bay Leaves. I sort of despise bay leaves. It dates back to an Italian restaurant in a strip mall in Georgia. I was about eleven and visiting my uncle and his family with my grandparents. I took a bite of my meal and then there was something God-awful in my mouth. I felt like I ate a bat! It was a stinking bay leaf. Never liked them since. I am so surprised a tin of them snuck into my pantry.

You get the picture. Have a look in your pantry or spice drawer.  What’s in yours? Are there things in there that you just don’t understand? Do you have spices in there that are older than your adult children?

Or is it just me?

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