It has been almost a year since we moved into our apartment. Although we are undecided about continuing our lease for a variety of reasons, ...

Fall Cleaning

It has been almost a year since we moved into our apartment. Although we are undecided about continuing our lease for a variety of reasons, we are starting to think about whittling down the pantry.

First, it's great to just clean out old stuff once a year. Things like flour and spices don't last forever, and if they're not getting used up in a year, we should finish them and reclaim the pantry space.

Second, it'll force us to use different ingredients. For example, we have a lot of bread flour and black lentils. Homemade naan with lentil stew? Yes, please!

While we still plan to restock many of the basics, as well as most non-condiment refrigerator items, there are certain things we will try to use and won't plan to replace.

Here is a list of things in our pantry we need to use up. Creative ideas are welcome:
- canned beans (black, garbanzo)
- dried beans (black, garbanzo, black lentils, red lentils)
- rice
- quinoa
- oats (quick, rolled, steel cut)
- puffed rice
- popcorn
- potatoes
- pasta

- hamburger patties
- chicken breasts
- canned sardines
- cheese
- butter

- flours (bread, white, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, cake)
- sweeteners (white sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, corn syrup)
- wheat bran
- vital wheat gluten
- corn starch
- cocoa powder
- yeast
- corn muffin mix
- baking soda, powder
- seeds: chia, sesame, ground flax
- unsweetened chocolate
- vanilla, peppermint extracts
- spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cumin, garlic powder, dill, chili powder, curry, onion flakes, thyme, nutritional yeast, sage, oregano, paprika, juniper berries, saffron, turmeric, cumin seeds)

- frozen fruit (bananas, berries, mango)
- dried prunes
- marshmallows
- chocolate pudding mix
- nutella
- peanut/almond butters
- jams

- condiments (gochujang, sriracha, sweet chili garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, BBQ sauce, veggie stock concentrate, lime juice, salad dressing, mustard, mayo)

Much of this will be used by incorporating more spices and condiments into our meals. The beginning of fall baking season will also help with the plethora of baking supplies.

I'm most concerned about the ingredients I purchased before I really got my food intake under control--when I still thought it was ok to eat three desserts a day. Things like a pound of butter, and chocolate pudding mix, I'm afraid will all sit in the pantry forever.

I'm hoping that thinking a few months in advance will help me use these ingredients slowly enough to maintain a healthy diet. I also hope to pawn them off on friends who come over for meals--a lot of dessert becomes a little if you share!

Any great ideas for using these ingredients? Bonus points if I don't have to buy anything new, except fresh produce, milk, eggs, etc.

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