July 10, 2012

Pantry Challenge: The Produce Inventory

10 days into our pantry challenge and we're low on fresh produce, including our daily staple, avocados.  We have exactly two bananas (not counting the frozen ones), alot of onions, 10 pounds of potatoes, 1 small head of broccoli, a handful of cherry tomatoes, some dried out carrots, a bunch of watermelon from Sunday's party, some romaine hearts leftover from Sunday's party, and a pound of brussels sprouts.  My plan for all this is: feed the bananas and watermelons to the kids as snacks, cook the broccoli for hubby at lunch today, tuck the tomatoes into hubby's breakfast burritos, eat a lot of salads, pan roast the carrots, and make Bacon and Brussels Sprouts sometime this week.  I want to stretch the potatoes as long as I can, so I will probably fry them a few at a time (hubby's favorite), and of course the onions will keep for a while in the fridge.  So, besides the potatoes and onions, we will be finished with all our fresh produce by the end of this week.  That is a little scary.  But, we've got alot of frozen goodies and few canned items to tide us over until, well, until I get sick of not having any fresh stuff around!

Here's what we have for frozen and canned produce (not counting tomato products):
- one open jar of applesauce in the fridge, plus another jar in the pantry
- 1 can of asparagus spears
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
- 3 14 oz cans artichoke hearts
- a few snack sized boxes of raisins
- 1 1/2 6 oz bags dried apricots
- 6 oz bag of dried apples
- an open bag of dried dates
- 2 bags frozen peas
- 1/2 gallon frozen raspberries (a gift from a neighbor last summer)
- several frozen bananas
- big bag frozen blueberries
- small bag frozen mango
- 2 bags frozen strawberries
- 1 bag frozen carrot "coins"
- 1 32 oz bag frozen green beans
- 1 16 oz bag frozen collard greens
- 1/2 bag frozen broccoli
- 1 bag frozen cauliflower
- 2 cups cauliflower/ leek soup (frozen)

I didn't include the beans I have stored up, because I consider most beans (except green beans) to be very different nutritionally than other fruits and veggies.  I also left off the corn we have because that's a starch, not a veggie.

I see from this inventory that I'm just going to have to break down and buy some greens.  I consider dark green leafy vegetables to be a food group unto themselves and I try to eat some every single day.  I am not going to compromise my family's health to save some a few bucks this month.

I also see that I have a lot of frozen fruit.  I plan to serve more smoothies and make a gluten free fruit pie to take to a picnic this weekend (using up a box of gf pie crust I bought months ago).  The applesauce will be served as a dessert or snack (along with some protein of course) and made into muffins.  This would also be a great time to make Bacon Wrapped Sausage Stuffed Dates (from the Everyday Paleo cookbook), since we have plenty of bacon and sausage in the freezer.  The dried apples will be made into Stewed Apples (an experiment!) since we don't really care for them plain.

Taking inventory of what you have is essential to a successful pantry challenge.  For more tips, visit Good Cheap Eats all month long.

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