Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Bulk Pantry

Happy New Year Friends!

What a beautiful surprising snow day we had yesterday in Portland. Perfect weather for a winter walk with streets covered in white and then snuggling in cozy with a great book and a pot of tea. Today I spent the morning dismantling the Christmas tree, packing away ornaments, cleaning the house top to bottom, and unburying my front deck, garden walkway, and car from under a layer of ice. All the joys of January!

Yesterday I visited my sleepy herb garden coated in a thick blanket of snow, to harvest fresh sage leaves for an incredible butternut squash risotto with leeks and sage.

Winter is prime cooking and baking season for me. After a super hot summer not being able to stand cooking in my kitchen, as soon as cooler autumn temperatures hit I have eagerly embraced cooking. The colder the weather the more eager I am to be in my kitchen creating new recipes.

Bubbling soups, stews, and curries. Simmering risotto, pilaf, and polenta. Flavorful, thick gravies and sauces. Hearty casseroles, gratins, and enchiladas. Fragrant, savory herbed breads, rolls, and cornbread. Sweetly scented quick breads, muffins, cobblers, and pies. And, oh, all the home baked holiday sweet treats-cookies, brownies, fudge, and caramels!

This time of year I assess what is in my bulk pantry. Bulk foods and fresh produce are the staples of my cooking. In January I like to stock up on the bulk foods that get me through the months of winter cooking.

My bulk pantry includes:

Beans-all types including black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, white, pink, pinto, black-eyed peas
Lentils-green, red, french
Split peas-green and yellow
Rice-short & long grain brown, arborio, wild, jasmine
Oats-steel cut & rolled
Gluten-free pasta
TVP (textured vegetable protein)
Soy curls
Nuts-walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts
Seeds-sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame
Dried fruit-raisins, cranberries, apricots, banana chips
Flours, baking powder, baking soda
Sugar-brown, white, and powdered
Olive oil
Maple Syrup

By buying in bulk I save money and I can select the quantities that I will use. I know which items store well and which need to be used quicker. I purchase bulk food in plastic bags that I reuse then recycle. I store bulk food in a collection of airtight glass jars. Some items are stored in the fridge like nuts, seeds, fruit, and sometimes flour. The rest goes inside my pantry cabinet.

To my well-stocked pantry of bulk items I also keep on hand products we frequently use:

Almond milk
Vegan broth cubes
Canned tomatoes & tomato paste
Ketchup & mustard
Peanut butter
Jam & jelly

Weekly I add fresh seasonal produce and few other perishable items like tofu, cheese, butter, and juice. I keep a well-stocked pantry of just what we need so I am always ready for creative healthy and delicious meals while staying within our budget!

I hope that you are embracing all the joys of January!

Happy New Year,

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