I’ve been on a kick since around the new year to de-clutter the house. We are considering putting our house on the market within the year….or next few months. Not sure yet. In any case, just the thought of it has pushed me into this torrential cleaning-organizing-decluttering-nagging task whirlwind. Incidentally, about a month after I put together the list of things we needed to do, I started reading The Happiness Project, the author of which is just WAY too much like myself, and so reading about all the stuff she did and took on and organized and tackled is just sending me over the edge. Anyways, how that is related to a blog about food is that I realized my pantry and cabinets had become stuffed with items that were not being used, were half-gone, bought for one crazy recipe then never looked at again, etc etc. OR, there were duplicates of stupid things that I always assume I never have, so I always buy at the grocery store, just to come home, open up the spice cabinet to see that I already have two unopened containers of coriander. Great.
We have also recently had two good friends move out of state, and in doing so, they have done meat/liquor/canned food drafts with their friends to get rid of most of their food in their cabinets, because nobody wants to spend time trying to move some jars of peanut butter and a half empty box of crackers. No offense to my friends, but when I move I don’t want to have to get rid of all my food. I just want to eat it.
So I have started a pantry raid project to try and use up all the items in my cabinets. Of which there are many:
SO MUCH DRIED FRUIT
First, I created an inventory of all the food I had in my cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, pantry, etc etc. I did this on paper and also digitally through an app on my iPad. Second, I started researching recipes that used random things or things I had too much of like how I had three containers of oatmeal. Really? Or poppy seeds. Why do I have poppy seeds? Or bags of dried Arbol chilis. It’s all a mystery. Finally, I started implementing the recipes into our weekly meals or other items. My first foray into this was using up some of the oatmeal by making oatmeal breakfast cookies. These are an awesome way to use up odds and ends in your cabinets. They are also super healthy, are dairy, flour and sugar free.
breakfast oatmeal cookies
Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 whole Ripe Bananas, Mashed Until Creamy
- ⅓ cups Peanut Butter, Creamy Or Chunky
- 1/4 cup honey or Agave
- ⅔ cups Unsweetened Applesauce
- ¼ cups Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Butter Extract, Optional
- 1-½ cup Quick Oatmeal, Uncooked
- ¼ cups Chopped nuts or seed, Peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.
- ¼ cups Chocolate Chips, white chocolate morsels, chopped dried fruit, etc
- Preheat heat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, mix mashed banana, peanut butter and honey until completely combined. Then add in the applesauce, vanilla protein powder and vanilla and butter extracts. Mix again until completely combined.
- Add in the oatmeal and nuts, morsels or dried fruit to the banana mixture and combine.
- Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten cookies into circles, about a 1/3″ thick.
- Bake cookies approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown and done. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack.
- When cookies are completely cool, store in a covered container.
I split the batter in half and in half I put diced dried plums, white chocolate morsels and walnuts. In the other half I put chocolate chip and peanut butter morsels, cashews and sunflower seeds. Almost everything in the recipe I had on hand except apple sauce, because I don’t have a four year old in the house . . .
It was a great way for me to use up some half-empty packages of nuts and dried fruit – two things that just seem to multiply in our cabinets. These cookies were great – Jeremy and I had them for breakfast everyday for over a week – the batter makes a pretty good amount. In fact, I think I’ll keep making them every few weeks just to have on hand, especially since it’s really hard to find granola bars at the grocery store that aren’t as bad for you as anything else on the aisle.
Next up: tackling dried chilis, frozen unidentified sausage and wild rice. Stay tuned!