Nest-fest continues in my wee, tilty house. Woke this morning to a slow cooker full of dark, rich chicken stock – 13 cups worth, which has since been strained, poured into Ziploc bags, and frozen. Seriously, y’all, my freezer looks SO IMPRESSIVE right now, and I’m not done. Suggestions and/or recipes for other freeze-and-reheat meals continue welcome.
I started the first of three loads of laundry. Tidied up the bedroom because I’m not prepared to do a full clean and cull. Likewise my office, but I think that’s going to have to happen this week. Ooo! There’s a blog post in that! Take that, one more day I don’t have to worry about scrambling for a topic.
Then, because I could put it off no longer, I attacked the pantry**. Our pantry is nothing more than a makeshift closet the previous owner built in a corner of the kitchen. Still, it’s handy and I’m happy to have it, though you mightn’t know it to witness the terrible way I treat this trove of storage. I shove things in, balancing jars on boxes on bags. I do my best to keep things of a like nature near one another, but… #entropy***. Mayhap twice a year I empty the shelves, clear the floor, and reorganize with a will. Things that are woefully expired go, though I am scrupulous about recycling packaging. Things that are still fit for consumption but will never be consumed by me or my sweetie go to our local food pantry. Everything else is piled upon the kitchen counters while I scrub the pantry shelves and floor. Sparkling freshness achieved, it is time to assemble the puzzle once again.
Three main patterns always emerge.
1. Ingredients bought with every intention of using them to the fullest. Fish sauce? Hell, yeah! I will fish sauce all of the things! Ponzu? This deliciousness will grace my table on a weekly basis. Let me just wipe off the dust and put it back within easy reach. If I only have enough bags of quinoa, I am certain to learn to love it!
2. Things that just don’t fit our lives anymore. My sweetie was a hardcore PB&J guy (chunky Skippy, any kind of sweet fruity glop), but health issues nixed that. He gets his nuts (::pause for Regina to giggle::) either whole or grocery-store-ground and uses whole berries for sweetness. Suffice it to say, all the jam and preserves? Gone.
3. Heavens forfend I run out of that! A few years ago, it was diced green chilies (9 cans). After that, ground cumin (3 jars). This year’s winner: herbs de Provence (4 jars). Going forth, everything is going to be seasoned with it: potatoes, stew, ice cream, resolutions. Expect it in lieu of confetti in your holiday cards.
Several hours later, the deed is done.**** I can, at present, see everything I have to hand. This allows me to attempt menu plans that will use up soon to be expired items, as well as inspiring me with bottles and jars I’d completely forgotten. Mostly, though, I’m opening the door every time I walk by so that I can peer at that gorgeous organization. For one brief, shining, glorious moment, I know. I know: damn, I’m good.
Herbs de Provence for everyone!
*aka, I read a lot of Pratchett. Next Halloween, I am making an asterisk hat and stepping up behind random people, adding a secondary layer to whatever they say.
** not in a martial sense, though I do have a nicely balanced hand a half broadsword propped up against the fireplace. Y’know – for zombies. Or burglars. Or recalcitrant food storage space.
***yup. I hashtagged that. I am down with the social media things and stuff.
**** except for the top shelf, which is dedicated to sugar and flour and baking supplies. I have limits. This would have required a stepstool. Anyway, cookie season is nigh. It will sort itself out.