Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cooking and Baking from the Pantry

Like many others, I'm trying to find ways to reduce how much I spend on grocery shopping. For the past few months, I have not purchased any new ingredients to try new recipes but have focused on using what is in my pantry (except for some macadamia nuts I bought to make ginger macadamia coconut cake--I realized after that I could easily have use walnuts but the change of pace was refreshing and I'm on the lookout for recipes that use macadamia nuts so that they will not go to waste). I focus on stocking my pantry with basics that I can use in a myriad of ways and try to have at least a month's worth of food on hand at all time. In the upcoming days, I will be re-organizing the pantry and I will try to post a picture.

I borrowed Veganomicon from the library again just because I like to read cookbooks and not because I was looking for anything special to try and found a recipe for Orange Cranberry Walnut bread. The recipe calls for fresh cranberries but I had dried in the pantry. We have walnuts and we always have fresh oranges. The bread turned out fabulously. I immediately thought that this bread would make a fabulous holiday mini-loaf to maybe sell at the hubby's friend's restaurant come holiday season this year. I could sell a mini-loaf for about $5 each and do well (thanks to my sister-in-law who gave me plenty of mini-loaf pans a few years ago).

Anyway, everything I needed to make the bread, we had already. That was so satisfying and comforting in a very real way. Personally, I'm growing weary of how much it costs every time I go to the grocery store. I watch as the prices of things I buy by default, including some vegetarian convenience foods like veggie burgers and soy yogurt, go up. With a picky toddler, it's very difficult to put these things down knowing that I will have to jump through hoops to get him to eat something else. For example, last I saw they were trying to sell soy yogurt for $1.20 per 6 ounces. Insanity. Plain soy yogurt is actually cheaper and less sweet than the flavored kind. I've tried to add vanilla flavor and maple syrup to see if he'll eat it. No go. I've tried mixing in various types of fruit preserves. "Mom, are you bugging?" And smoothies? You might as well offer him kerosene to drink. It's tough to swallow as a mom but I simply cannot pay $5 for 4 veggie burger patties when I know I could make about 12 Perfect Tempeh Burgers for even less than that. I'm eternally grateful that Z1 tolerates these burgers even though he's doesn't request them.

So after making this bread, I began to fully appreciate how much peace a successful garden will give me . Everything I need right there. I'm even considering planting soy beans to make soy milk and soy yogurt and maybe even tofu and tempeh (I used to make soy milk and soy yogurt--even bought a soy milk maker and returned it--wishing I had kept it). This "pantry" bread has increased my enthusiasm by leaps and bounds and even the newly fallen foot of snow on the ground outside hasn't curbed it a bit!

2 comments:

blackgirlinmaine said...

It is hard with small kids, my girl is also picky about food and considering she is on the small side, I try to accomodate her needs/desires. Yet its getting costly to buy the individual yogurts rather than one large tub.

At this point, I have given up anything extra for myself to accomodate her needs.

Like you, I am struggling with eating from the pantry. My thing is I get inspired to cook but its something I don't have the ingredients for...can't do that anymore.

Raet said...

I feel you. Yesturday, I wanted something sweet. Now, I dont make complicated recipes so I am sucka for vegan treats from the bakery. But, yesturday I had all the ingredients to make a apple crisp at home and saved money.

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