I know it’s not January yet, but I’m all set with resolutions. I have only one, and it sounds almost too simple:
Use all the things in my pantry.
I see how privileged that sounds. And that’s exactly why I want to work on it. I realized when I got home from the grocery store the other day that the huge 5 lb. bag of flour I’d bought wouldn’t fit in the pantry, and I was stressing about it – walking back and forth between the pantry and the island and not getting anything done.
Now, our pantry is pretty small, and several shelves are taken up with cake domes and cake pans, and the next ones up are too high to reach, even with my footstool. But even so, I have two baking bins in there, one of which is filled to the brim with strange flours (almond meal, oat flour, brown rice flour, flaxseed meal…you get it), and then there’s the rice bin and the pasta bin, and the crackers and snacks shelf.
I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt so uncomfortable, because isn’t having too much food a good problem?And I DO eat all this stuff, eventually. Well, most of it. But I definitely don’t consume all the food I buy before I start buying new things. If Tamari is better than soy sauce, and I go ahead and buy the Tamari, then the soy sauce sits there twice as long.
It feels like every book I turn to is all about stocking up and building the perfect pantry. This week I did that. I went on a mission to *finally* get our pantry in working order, like all the books tell me. Four types of oil, seven types of rice, legumes every direction you look. But when I stood in my kitchen with the perfect pantry at my fingertips, I realized it didn’t feel very good.
It turns out I was okay all along. Well, maybe I wasn’t really doing so hot when I had nothing but canned vegetables in my sophomore year at college, but I was definitely okay in grad school with just enough money to buy the almonds I would eat that week, and I was more than comfortable last week with my pantry bursting at the seams.
It got me thinking – why did I believe all the books and guides that say you need to have hoards stocked up? Unless I’m planning for an apocalypse, I really only need what I’m going to cook right now.
Sure, I won’t be able to whip up anything that strikes my fancy on a whim, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe restricting myself to a smaller selection will actually lead to creativity.
For now, my task is to use up all the things. I’ll keep stocking fresh fruit and vegetables, because VITAMINS, but if you see me in the pasta aisle, you better ask me if I don’t already have some short grain rice sitting on the third shelf.
So, granola! I’m all about granola now that I’m clearing out the pantry, and I already used up the last of the ground ginger on this recipe. Woohoo! Check.
Oh yeah. It’s Monday, and this isn’t cake. I’m sorry, I guess, but I’m sure you guys will forgive me, because – holidays. And because I’m migrating CrandleCakes to a new blog platform. You don’t have to do anything but watch and wait for a brand new look…
Makes about 3 ½ cups
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
⅛ teaspoons allspice
⅛ teaspoons nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
- In large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup.
- Add remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated.
- Bake in a 350º F oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown and fragrant, stirring the granola every 5 minutes. If nuts begin to darken, remove immediately.
- Cool completely, then store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.