My per­sonal food chal­lenge

Us­ing up the old to bring in the new; clean­ing out the cab­i­nets

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Re­becca Blan­chard rblan­chard@berksmont­news. com

I’ve had the house to my­self for about a week, and I have another week to go. When there’s only one per­son—it’s easy to down­size a bit. And I de­cided to down­size in re­gards to hastily pur­chas­ing food.

I have not done a full gro­cery shop­ping yet—in­stead, I’m forc­ing my­self to come up with meals from scrap, us­ing all up the ran­dom things in the cab­i­nets and fridge.

The older I get, the more I un­der­stand ev­ery par­ent’s frus­tra­tion when kids say there is noth­ing to eat. I know I used that phrase a num­ber of times (prob­a­bly a num­ber of times a day, if I’m be­ing hon­est) and yet I know my child­hood home was al­ways stocked. In this in­stance, you can just say kids will be kids and kids want food with bun­nies star­ing down at them.

Now as an adult, when­ever I find my­self think­ing I have noth­ing to eat—I know bet­ter. I know there are peo­ple out there who lit­er­ally have noth­ing to eat. I may not be able to get a gourmet meal three times a day, but there is al­ways food avail­able. And I’m a smart shop­per—you can even ask the last cashier I had who said “How do you know so much about shop­ping?”

I’m not sure if it was my coupons, my re­us­able bags or my bag­ging skills that gave it away—but yes, I try to be smart in all as­pects of food and that in­cludes the very act of shop­ping. I’m di­gress­ing. I placed this chal­lenge in front of my­self: eat as many things in the fridge and cab­i­nets as pos­si­ble be­fore re­stock­ing.

I’m do­ing this for many rea­sons: to save money, to free up space and to pre­vent food waste. It’s also a way to sim­ply to clean ev­ery­thing out.

Chances are – If it’s been sit­ting in the back of the shelf for two years— it’s not go­ing to get eaten. How long can I tell my­self “some­day” ev­ery time I look at it?

I’m try­ing to avoid an over­stock of un­de­sir­ables. It’s a waste.

As a gen­eral rule, I al­ways try to buy ver­sa­tile in­gre­di­ents. The last time I shopped, I had health­ier op­tions in mind—so that doesn’t hurt things ei­ther.

In re­gards to this chal­lenge, I’m ba­si­cally mak­ing my­self eat all of these things and I feel bet­ter for it. It’s been more than a week since I’ve been to the su­per­mar­ket, though I do ad­mit pick­ing up some items at the farm­ers mar­ket.

I’m happy to say this chal­lenge has been suc­cess­ful. My re­frig­er­a­tor is prac­ti­cally empty and I find my­self pitch­ing some of the older jarred items as well.

Who needs spring clean­ing when this sum­mer heat is push­ing me in­doors?

Some of my made-from­scratch meals in­cluded two chicken sand­wiches us­ing up toma­toes and green leaf let­tuce that had been sit­ting; once I ran out of break I turned those in­gre­di­ents into a salad the next day. Fried rice with veg­gies is a pop­u­lar go-to of mine, though last night I just made but­tered rice with veg­gies be­cause I wasn’t feel­ing very well and wanted some­thing bland. And I was happy to have fin­ished off my hum­mus as an of­fice snack yesterday. All of these items are gluten-free of course.

Tonight I’m cook­ing off the rest of some el­bow nee­dles. The buzzer just rang for those ac­tu­ally, so now I need to go fry up some broc­coli and red pep­per that I bought lo­cally to­day.

To­mor­row, I will be food shop­ping.

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