And it means that I'm not in the office.
Whatever my weekend plans are, they always end up changing. I never end up getting the big stuff accomplished. Sometimes, it's because of the opportunity to sleep in, and then take a nap on the sofa. After all, a girl has to catch up from the week, right? Sometimes it's because a friend calls with a better offer for how to spend the day - last week it was mattress shopping with my brother.
This weekend, I was determined to be productive. I cooked. I folded laundry that, I am somewhat ashamed to admit, has been in the laundry basked for more than a week. I cleaned. I organized. I turned down an offer from my friends to go to the Renaissance Faire (I really wanted to go, and with these particular friends, but I had to resist because of what follows...).
A while back, I had been a victim of a home invasion of the four-legged rodent variety. This was the first mouse I'd seen in the house in the 5 years I've lived here. Georgia, of course, was of no help other than alerting me with her neurotic behavior to the fact that a mouse was running around the kitchen. Once the little devil was caught, I thought I had done a good job cleaning up after him (her? I didn't bother to check.). But here we are, weeks later and still finding little surprises all over the pantry.
So I decided enough was enough! I was going to take back control of my pantry!
The first step was to empty everything out of the pantry which, for a townhouse, is not very small.
I didn't realize until I started running out of space on the dining room table just how much I had in the pantry. As you can see, not only was the table fully loaded, but a chair and the kitchen island as well, with the heavier items stashed under the table. If I had to move next week, the local food pantry would hit the motherload, because there is no way I could pack all of this up!
Not only did I pull everything out, but I had to wipe all of it down. Some of my lesser-used bakeware is also stored in the pantry, and it all went into the stack of dishes to be washed.
Now, when my friends texted me about going to the Renn Faire, I was tempted. I mean, REALLY tempted. But not only was I not feeling 100% due to some mouth issues I'm getting checked out later this week (I'm sure my mother would say that it's not possible for a doctor to cure all of my mouth issues!), I knew my downstairs looked like this. It was reloading day, and my undiagnosed OCD was up for the challenge!
I actually loved the opportunity to reorganize, condense, and sort. I'm either super easy to entertain, or slightly crazy!
I didn't notice so much as I was pulling items out and wiping them off, but as I attempted to put everything back into the pantry in some semblance of order, I found a few really cool things that I had forgotten I had, some of which I still haven't figured out what to do with yet.
One of my friends from Europe gave me this chocolate sauce, so you know it's the good stuff. I always figured I'd save it for when I was entertaining, but always forgot to put it out. I have a little fondue-sized crockpot - I'm thinking dipping sauce for strawberries and pound cake at my next craft day!
For some reason, I have four giant cans of pumpkin, each one big enough for two pies, or two large loaves of pumpkin bread. I'm not really sure why I have these - my best guess is that I got a little paranoid about the reported pumpkin shortage a few years ago and bought it when I could. Thank goodness the fall baking season is almost here!
Couscous! For a while, I was on a real couscous kick - I'm the only member of my family who seems to like it. The craze has kind of worn off - I like it, but don't obsess about it now, and this package is the only remnant of those wild months!
I found this intriguing item last year at my local produce market, and could resist buying it. Combining two of my favorite spreads - apple butter and barbeque sauce - how fascinating! And it's a locally made product! Unfortunately, I'm still at a loss for what to eat with it (chicken? pork?), and every attempt to find a recipe that would use it just gives me a recipe for - you guessed it - apple butter.
My four-and-a-half years in South Carolina didn't change my diet astronomically - I resisted attempts to become an acolyte of all things chicken-fried - but it did give me a love of grits for breakfast. While on vacation in Georgia, my parents picked up this bag of stone milled grits as a gift for me, but It got wedged in an unseen corner of the pantry, and I've never gotten around to using it. I'm thinking there may be some variation of shrimp and grits in my immediate future!
As a reward for all of my hard work this weekend, I then baked these amazing Blackberry Cheesecake Bars from The Pioneer Woman to bring to the office. I couldn't resist having some for breakfast (don't judge!), and they are amazing! A satisfying weekend, indeed.
So your question for today is, what odd or interesting items do you have lurking in your pantry, waiting patiently for you to rediscover them?