Today is the first day of September, and that means the first day of September's Eat Your Pantry Challenge!
The Task: To eat all the stuff that is in our pantry. (With the exception of almond, vanilla and coconut extracts, meringue powder, salt and corn starch...we don't have to finish those things!) We will be endeavoring to eat the beans that have been there for a year, the chickpeas and split peas of unknown vintage, pastas, barley, and specialty flours. Whether we like it or not, we are going to muster up the creativity and courage and turn them into dinner.
The Why: We are spoiled. I am guilty of standing with the pantry door open and exclaiming that there is nothing to eat for dinner. And what I really mean is that there is nothing that I want to eat. Or that I failed to plan ahead enough to make something great from scratch.
Even though the shelf life of some of these dry pantry items is supposedly as long as 6-8 years, at the rate we're eating them (which is pretty much not at all) they seriously run the risk of going bad in our pantry. So we are going to do what we should have done from the beginning: be thankful for a pantry full of (mostly) nutritious food instead of wishing we had something more delectable.
The How: You can create whatever ground rules you want for your own Pantry challenge. You could plan to eat from your pantry 3 nights a week, or to make a soup from scratch every weekend using what you can from your pantry and freezer.
For us, I've moved all of the pantry items so that there is one big empty shelf in my pantry. This is where any new things will go: a bag of flour I need to get, some fresh potatoes, that sort of thing. The rest of the shelves are the ones we need to eat up. And eat them we will!
There is no rule against buying new things. We will need to buy fresh veggies and dairy products and meats to go with our pantry adventures, we just need to make a point to eat what is in the pantry. And to be grateful for it.
So, what inspired pantry meal is kicking off this challenge in our household? Black bean soup? Enchiladas? Split pea and brown rice burgers? Errr....Um....well, actually we are grilling beef burgers with friends today! But I had to do something to commemorate the first day of eat your pantry month, so I'm simmering some chickpeas (and then roasting some garlic, YUM!) so that I can make some homemade hummus to go on the burgers.
Are you joining us? What are your rules to help you eat your pantry this month?
P.S. If you know of any recipes containing beans that are so yummy that even this avid bean-hater will like them, please leave a link in the comments below! And don't forget to get the button to share on your own blog if you're following along! Thanks!
New here? We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!
My mom believes if you eat black eyed peas on New Years eve that you'll have good luck for the year, the more you eat the more luck you'll have. She's been forcing us to have a bowl every year. So last year I went recipe hunting and found this wonderful dip, that I've been meaning to do again, and it uses black eyed peas and it's AMAZING. Totally recommended!ReplyDelete
do you have any lentils? do you like curry? i have a fantastic curried lentils recipe! seriously, even chris loves it :)ReplyDelete
oh! and you could totally make chili and add in random legumes instead of just kidney beans. it's yummy. and lots of soups!! man, i'd totally be having fun with this challenge if only i had a pantry at the moment... lol.ReplyDelete
I'm in! We love beans here! The point of this for us is we are currently making a transition to a nourishing traditions style of eating, but we still have some foods that we don't plan on buying again, as they are less than ideal for our goals, yet we don't want to be wasteful either. Our goal for this month, is to use up the "bad" foods, and only buy that which is what we would like to continue to eat on a regular basis. Thanks for all your hard work... it has been very motivating!ReplyDelete
what a fabulous idea - thank you - one that I am definitely gonna give a try! ps found your blog through Vanessa at Strickly speaking!ReplyDelete
Love this idea!! I need to do this also ;) As far as bean ideas, I put black beans on my tacos or I make a quesadilla (sp?) with smashed up pinto beans, corn, black beans and cheese. Good luck!!ReplyDelete
Have you tried Roasted Chickpeas? http://www.thekitchn.com/party-recipe-spicy-ovenroasted-43595ReplyDelete
They are really crunchy and satisfying... kind of like a grown-up "Corn Nut". I like to make mine with Jamaican spices!
mmm roasted chickpeas are so addictive and delicious!!!Delete
this is my children's favourite brownies (my #2, but i dont make #1 often because these are healthier):ReplyDelete
2 cups black beans (or 1 can of no salt added)
3 lightly beaten eggs
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or melted butter)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey (or other equivalent sweetener)
1/2 cup chopped up bittersweet chocolate (or semi-sweet chips if you don’t mind the added refined sugar in them)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts -optional (Really, i never add them.)
Making these could NOT be simpler. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8×8 pan. Toss all but the final 2 ingredients (the chopped up chocolate and walnuts) into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, really really smooth. Fold in the chopped chocolate and walnuts. Pour into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
So you use the beans instead of flour? That is so neat! Does it taste beany?Delete
it tastes different to me, but my kids and daycare kids are clueless. I ussually make it from a mix, not homemade.Delete
i have made this before and it is SOOOO good!Delete
Is 2 cups based on dry or canned beans? I use only dry and I really want to try this recipe. Thanks!Delete
Ham and white bean soup with a llittle ketchup in your bowl. Yum! Serve with cornbread for a great meal!ReplyDelete
Here are a few of my favorite bean recipes (I'm a bean lover)- I have used both canned and dried beans, obviously you just need to plan ahead a bit more for the dried ones :)ReplyDelete
A Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Pork Crockpot meal (I use super cheap pork cuts for this)
And Black Bean Peanut Butter Brownies (on the cake-like side of brownies)
Black Bean Soup
and Chickpea Tilapia Patties (which I've also made with only chickpeas)
I'm in! :)ReplyDelete
I inventoried my pantry and realized how little food there is, other than a few bottles of ketchup that we stocked up on during summer sales. We try to "eat our pantry" several times/year, so I guess this time won't take much effort ;-) It'll still save us a bit at the grocery store!ReplyDelete
Why not cook and puree the beans and add them to meat? Or use them as 'meat'? I've had bean burgers before, they're quite tasty. Or put them in chili.ReplyDelete
We have a half of a shelf filled with canned foods that our families gave us when my husband and I first got out on our own (4 years ago) that were mostly foods that had been in their shelves for around a year or more. So I'm going to go through these foods, toss what I can't eat (ha-can...) due to expiration and endeavor to eat the rest. Whatever we don't finish will go to the food bank at the end of the month. So tonight I promised my daughter lime chicken that she helped buyt he limes for (she gets to pick out one veggie style item from farmers a week and she chose limes this week) and I'll do something with canned green beans or corn. We have a lot of that to eat this month... :(ReplyDelete
I'm excited to be following you on this journey. I'll have to think about what rules we will have for eating our pantry, but I love the notion of using up what we have before buying more, especially on the things we don't use often. I cringe every time I have to throw out something that has spoiled or gone stale. I try to reuse as much as I can, but our family could certainly step up our game on this. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyDelete
Where do you get all your beautiful jars and containers? My husband broke his ankle last week and we've had an unexpected week together with no kids (they're at the in laws) So I'm going to try to clean/organize our kitchen/pantry/toys before the kids come back home!ReplyDelete
I love your year of less blog, living in India in an appartment there were a lot of things I was doing already, some that would not be doable for us. And I just had to chime in here, because you mentionned beans and lentils :-) They are a huge staple in an Indian diet, I don't like eating them daily since I never grew on that diet (I'm Swiss) but my husband LOVES them (he is Indian), and we have a massive collection of lentils, beans and grains in the kitchen cupboards, I love chickpeas in a dish called "chole" it's boiled chickpea tossed into a gravy made of tomatoes, water spices, google it and you are sure to find reciepes you can use, it tastes amazing with or rice, or flat fired bread we call "puri"ReplyDelete
I've been actually working on the eat your pantry challenge for the past week or so LOL
We don't have a pantry cabinet as such, we live in a city in a tiny appartment with a tiny kitchen, so all the food has to fit in one over head cabinet, and all the spices in the other, yet, I still found stuff we rarely eat and will not buy again once they are finished, we optimized the space in the cabinte too slowly getting all "modular mate tupperware containers" because I got sick and tired of opening the cabinet to see a sea of jars of all sizes and shapes with some hidden in the back. I found out that having all my food stuff containers on a single row, and stacked neatly on top of another minimize wastage, now we know at one glance what is there, what needs to be purchased, what we have nough of, and the rule of my game is that the thing that ends up in a my pricey new tupperware storage solution are things we use all the time, we are still working at it buying a few container every month, but so far the lower shelf of rice, beans and lentils have been done and looks neat, next is the spice cabinet...there will be a lot of clearing to do for us in that one.
I live in India too! I love chole!! It's my favourite and very simple to make! Although we cut out the puri's because we are trying to eat less oil!Delete
I'm a huge chole fan.. we eat it with pita. Yum.Delete
Hi! I have a great recipe for chickpeas ( and I hate chickpeas!). You just need some chorizo ( which I sometimes replace with some spices as it can be pricy), fry it in some olive oil, bublle away a bit of vinegar, add some tinned crushed tomatoes and chickpeas! Cook 10 minutes and it's done! I serve it with some coucous and fried vermicelli!ReplyDelete
I love your blog (s), it really helped me get my home together. So thank you!
I so need to do this too. My pantry is absolutely choccas and yet there is 'nothing' in there. I think I could feed a small army on baked goods alone with all the sweet add-ins I have in there. I'm going to dive in and find something to go with/jazz up chicken tonight.ReplyDelete
We are also doing an eat through the cupboards - although usually it is in the cupboards because I don't want to eat it so it is a difficult task!ReplyDelete
I have actually had things go bad in the pantry so really looking forward to this challenge. I would say check out your local libary for books with bean recipes. I found a couple "Peas and Thank you" and "Bean by Bean a cookbook" Both made me think maybe a could go vegatarian. Until I see a steak but I can definetly eat more and Love it.ReplyDelete
Hi!! I've actually done this once before, and loved it. But it's about time for another round- so I'm joining your challenge. I plan my meals a week in advance on a meal planning board in my kitchen. So to do this challenge, I'll be using these rules:ReplyDelete
1. Every meal must include one item from the pantry.
2. I'm not buying anything new for the pantry (only buying fresh foods, or ingredients I may need for the pantry meals.
I love your blog- and many of my friends and I have been inspired by some of your ideas. We've eliminated paper towels in our house, and next weekend I'm decluttering my kitchen :) Thanks for all the time you put into this :)
I usually only read here, but I wanted to tell you how inspired my family is by your blog, especially the pantry challenge!ReplyDelete
We have been eating only out of the pantry and freezer for awhile now, but this weekend was a particular challenge due to the Labor Day (US) holiday. We normally host a party for family and friends, and it generally starts with a giant shopping trip for groceries.
This year, we were struggling with figuring out how to stay true to our traditions while respecting the pantry challenge. I am so thrilled to tell you how we did!
We started by taking a look at everything we already had, then we took our stack of (mostly unused) cookbooks and started looking for recipes that fit our ingredients. (Note-the older cookbooks proved to be the most useful)
We ended up with the most magnificent spread we've ever presented! We had 3 different noodle salads, bean salad, a broccoli and rice casserole, baked beans, 2 different gelatin desserts, a pudding, a pineapple cake, 3 kinds of cookies, fruit punch, and iced tea. The only thing we had to purchase was meat for the grill!
Everyone loved the food, and we had a great time. The most fun, though, in my opinion, was all the brainstorming and time in the kitchen the day before. We really came together as a family to pull this off. It was a ton of work, but a ton of good times, too. Thank you!
We made white beans and cornbread, a pasta dish (I was stupid and bought pasta from Costco and we rarely eat pasta), and the black bean salsa from this recipe:ReplyDelete
I am going to try this recipe for black bean burgers:
The white bean soup made a ton (I used the whole bag) so 1/2 of it is going in the freezer... not where I want it to be going. Maybe I'll do better next time ;) Thanks and have a great week!!
Try Smitten Kitchen's Vegetarian Cassoulet -- it's totally delicious! Don't skip the bread crumbs -- they're really good. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/03/vegetarian-cassoulet/ReplyDelete
Also, make some hummus with those chickpeas!
And falafel. I forgot falafel, but it's awesome. The recipe I use is from Family Fun.ReplyDelete
Delicious! And it doesn't seem like bean at all. My kids all like it.
Here's a few ideas for cooked beans:ReplyDelete
- Use as a binder in meatloaf
- Mash and mix with tuna for tuna salad, adding relish / chopped celery / onion / pickle / whatever you prefer for crunch, along with just a dab of mayo to hold it all together. This really cuts down on the fishy taste of the tuna.
- Mash 2 cups of beans with one ripe avocado and 1/4 cup of salsa; use as a spread inside of quesadillas
If you opt to make bean soup with a ham hock or ham bone, each person can season their serving with horseradish to taste. Gives the soup a nice zing that complements the ham flavor.
I love this idea, but I'm so guilty of lazy grocery shopping. I meal plan ahead like 5 meals and when they are gone I go out and buy 5 more meals. Sometimes I might actually have enough food in my pantry for a whole week, but that's rare. You know it the old cartoons when someone opens up something empty and the moths fly out? Yeah, that would be my pantry. I could totally do this if I go shopping first. :P But I really should, I think I probably should be keeping more food on hand. If we ever had an emergency and the stores were closed, my family would be the first to starve to death.ReplyDelete
Well, September only has one more day, but there's no reason why I can't start hitting this now, especially since it's just now getting into "not so strange to be using the crock pot" season. I've been sporadically poking at my freezer to prepare it for a bulk order, and trying to eat down old supplies.ReplyDelete
Thank you for challenging us to really look at what's in our pantry and then USE it. I wanted to share with you how my family did after the month challenge : http://organized31.blogspot.com/2012/10/organizing-your-pantry-by-using-up-food.htmlReplyDelete
I'm doing this for November. We're getting our kitchen re-done next month and it's going to cost us a fortune so we're saving any way we can, including eating what we have.ReplyDelete
I am coming late to this party, but this looks like a great November task. We spent the late summer filling the pantry and freezer with produce form our garden, so now it is time to eat it! It will be interesting to see how long 600 lbs of garden veggies lasts for our large family.ReplyDelete