One of the first simplification projects that Captain and I decided to take on this year was what I’m calling the Clean Cupboard Initiative. I have a terrible tendency to buy way too much at the grocery, and pander to my present cravings and whims as I shove things into the shopping cart. Occasionally I will be good, and stick to a shopping list for a specific menu, but nine times out of ten, I will try to go by memory and get Captain and I’s “regular” grocery items (Stand n’ Stuff taco kits, cereals, bananas, ground turkey, pastas, chicken quarters, breads…), and in the process, things like $15 goat cheese and Sour Patch Kids will make it into the cart. Now that we have a little one, we’re going to have to get in better eating habits, since she will be sharing with us eventually. I plan on making homemade baby food for her, though that is another blog entry entirely.
The objective of the Clean Cupboard Initiative is simple; get rid of all of the stuff in the cupboards, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before buying any more non-perishibale items. Of course things like milk, eggs, coffee creamer and Sour Patch Kids will have to be replenished on a regular basis, but everything else must go.
We’ve made pretty admirable progress so far, though we haven’t really had to have any weird dinners yet (think dinner just composed of canned corn and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese…it is inevitable) because of the sheer volume of good groceries I’ve hoarded over the last year. I think my favorite so far has been whittling away at a giant bag of four-cheese ravioli from Sam’s Club. The grated cheeses inside of the pasta are creamy and light; not grainy and “gamey” tasting like some pre-made raviolis are. We had also bought some Bertolli pasta sauces in bulk, and I added fresh broccoli and fresh sauteed portobello mushrooms (left over from the previous day’s tempura experiment) to the garlic alfredo, and had that sauce with the pasta for one night’s dinner. Another night, I used some of the Bertolli red sauce with a whole can of artichoke hearts that I don’t even remember buying, it had been in the cupboard for so long (not expired, though!). I put that on the ravioli, and it was another great meal. The red sauce was the Fire Roasted Tomato with Cabernet Sauvignon; really, really good! Not as good as a homemade sauce, of course, but with the huge pieces of artichoke added, I thought it was genuinely as good as anything I’d get from a chain Italian restaurant like the Olive Garden. I could distinctly taste the wine in the sauce, and there was a deeply tomato-ey flavor and tang. There is still at least one more meal’s worth of ravioli in the freezer; though I don’t know what we’re going to do with it, now that our Bertolli sauces are gone.
I’ll try to keep posted on the progress! I think it will be neat to have a fresh start for the new year, once all of the old stuff is gone.