Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ktichen Makeover - Part 1

It seems both my mother and sister had determined that my kitchen was lacking in some regards, as they both gave me various kitchen items for Christmas. Granted, I did put a couple on my list, but only after my sister came to visit one day and exclaimed (with slight judgement I think) "What, you don't have a wire whisk?!'. Apparently I was also lacking a decent peeler, a spice rack, a working blender, good kitchen scissors, a plastic scrapping thing (for scraping pots & pans), and an 8 in square baking pan.

With all this new loot for my rather tiny kitchen, I figured I might as well go the whole nine yards and do a total makeover of my kitchen, including a major cleanse of my pantry and fridge.

I've been meaning to get rid of temptations in my pantry for awhile, so last Friday night I got a big garbage bag out and started tossing food into it. I had another bag for temptations that I didn't want to throw out, but also didn't want to have in my kitchen. My main goal was to get rid of all the baking supplies in my kitchen, as well as any refined carbohydrates that aren't going to do my health any good.

Since my progression towards healthy eating has been an on-going journey, I think I'd give my pre-cleanse pantry a B- based on its contents. There was definitely no shortage of baking supplies, including sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and flour, but the seasons of holiday baking had just past! What wasn't in my pantry before the cleanse was more telling: no Kraft Dinner, no cereal boxes, no cookies or chips, no 'healthy' rice cakes, no packaged 'fake' foods, and the only boxes of pasta and crackers were remnants of partie or special birthday dinners that had been prepared in my kitchen.

Despite giving my pantry a decent report card rating, I still had a big blue recycling bag full of food to bin and one of those 'Bags for Life' from Sobeys filled to the brim with stuff I didn't want to throw out (because I know there's going to be a time when I just 'have' to bake cookies for some sort of event).

Post-cleanse, I am giving my pantry a straight-up A. I cleaned out pretty much all my baking supplies, save for a bag of flour (in case I need to use it for thickener in a stew or something) and a small bag of sugar (in case someone wants sugar in their coffee....even though I don't actually have any coffee in my kitchen). I also disposed of a lot of mystery bags from the bulk barn...mostly spices I wasn't able to identify.

So, what the heck is left in my pantry? I decided it'd be easiest just to show you!!

As you can see from the top photo, I have some herbal teas (even though I'm not a tea drinker), along with some nuts and cranberries (for my salads). Tucked behind these top shelf items is a can of hot chocolate - my one indulgence that I shall not cede! There's also some chicken and beef boullion - not as ideal as homemade stock, but everything is a work in progress right!?

The next shelf is mainly canned goods, primarily in anticipation of being invited to a potluck (the obvious dish will be some sort of bean salad). Canned wild pacific salmon, while not the ideal source of salmon is, possibly, better than freshly frozen farmed Atlantic salmon (and all Atlantic salmon is farmed...now it is more often farmed in S. America and shipped to us Atlantic Canadians!). I like to make salmon loaves, and the canned salmon works well and is inexpensive. I also have some coconut milk and cream, which are paleo-friendly, so long as they aren't the low-fat versions (and they aren't). I'll use these in my thai cooking experiments, along with the peanut satay sauce, which is surely laden with sugars (that's when moderation is a useful tool!)

In the middle photo, you see the next two shelves are basically all my little bags of spices. Despite have a lovely 20-jar spice rack on my countertop now, I still have some additional spices that I'll be turning to, including a favorite for making baked sweet potato fries taste yummy: cumin (mix it up with curry powder and sprinkle over 'fries' that have been tossed in olive oil).

The bottom shelf is definitely my least paleo-friendly pantry. I have kept some rolled oats, because I use them in my salmon loaf as well as my pork burger recipe. Once in awhile it's also nice to have a hearty bowl of warm oatmeal for breakfast. I discovered three bags of quinoa during my cleanse and have kept those at hand as well. Quinoa is an ancient seed that originated in S. America. It has a high protein content, plenty of nutrients and is super easy to prepare. Of the grains/seeds out there, I reckon I'd label this the 'Super Seed'!

So, there you have it, my kitchen makeover has begun. My pantry is relatively barren and I have a Sobeys bag brimming with 'bad' foods tucked away in a corner of my bedroom. Watch this space for more exciting adventures as I delve into my freezer and fridge. Maybe I'll make it even more dramatic with a live video!!!


Rob said...

It's the only way I can stop tempting myself - well done

Raeanne said...

Good job Shan! I can't help but laugh when I see all those bulk bag bags! I so remember your pantry in Ottawa... Get yourself some mason jars, girl! The best and cheapest storage, in my humble opinion! :)