Tag Archives: green

The Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary.

 

Last night, my daughter flagged my attention wanting to show me something on U-Tube well after bedtime. I was in the middle of something or other requiring all my concentration. Of course, I promised to check it out today but somehow closed the tab, lost the link,  and I won’t mention anything else I might’ve got stuck into today, instead of being an attentive Mum. Well, that is other than spending most of the day asleep due to a weird sleep virus we’ve been fighting off.

Anyway, as Calvin Coolidge famously said: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence”, and if there’s any being on this planet who knows the power of persistence, it’s kids….”Muhum!!!” Failing success on that front, she frequently resorts to Plan B…my mother!

So, of course, when she asked me if I’d checked out the hilarious plastic bag clip tonight, I cringed and slunk into my chair  and gracefully resigned myself to the inevitable. Thre was no escape, no more excuses or wriggling out of it this time. Facebook, blog, research, emails were all put on hold as I watched, laughed and absorbed its subliminal, environmental messages and decided you’d love to watch it too.

With it’s mock David Attenborough-esque format, this documentary follows the life cycle of the plastic bag from the supermarket carpark into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where it finally “dies”. Yet, although this mockumentary is very funny, it uses humour to share a disturbing environmental message about how plastic bags are impacting on our animals, waterways and oceans in a format which is hopefully spreading faster than the common cold through the World Wide Web.

Indeed, that’s why I had to share it with you.

xx Rowena

Walking Along Bleak Beach.

Yet another storm…

Once again, Mother Nature has ravaged our precious beach, savagely ripping our embattled Banksia trees out by the roots. I could feel their pain but as a mere mortal up against the sea, there was nothing I could do. No kiss of life was ever going to save them. It was all too late. As their bedraggled corpses lay discarded on the sand, I could only express my heartfelt sympathies after the fact.

DSC_1541

High Tide…the rough surf has turned the foam into whipped cream.

Perhaps, I should write a eulogy or an ode? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you lose someone you love to such heartless destruction?

I don’t know. What else is there?

Build Hadrian’s Walls to keep the Barbarians out? Construct an eyesore to preserve its skeletal remains?

Send the storms somewhere else?

Yet, we all know this isn’t just about the storm, don’t we?!!

That someone’s turned the oven up way too high and someone needs to turn it back down again before Mother Nature blows her stack completely.

When there’s so much more than my precious beachfront at stake, isn’t it about time we revisit how we cook?

I have no doubt and I can only hope that we’re not too late.

Otherwise, what are we going to say?

Am I willing to take the blame?

What about you?

What’s been going on in your neck of the woods? Do you hear climate change knocking on your door?

xx Rowena

surfer

Despite dangerous surf conditions and warnings, there’s always a surfer willing to risk it all for the thrill of the wave.

 

 

M-Dorothea MacKellar Replies #atozchallenge.

Dear Rowena,

Thank you so much for lovely letter. It has been so many years since I wrote My Country when I was in England as a young woman and thinking of home. I was touched to hear that it spoke to you in a similar way when you were in Paris. Well done on the reading!

What you might not appreciate me, was that I am a fighter. Writers and poets have to speak out. Words weren’t only created to sound pretty but to also serve a purpose. Each of us who indeed calls themselves a poet, must ultimately take a stand. Improve the world around us.

Bearing that in mind, I am asking you to fight for your country. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about going to war. Rather, the battle has changed and the mountains, plains, oceans and clear skies I loved so much, are under threat. This means that the battle is now within and unless we rapidly change course, we will self-destruct.

Tough decisions need to be made. However, Australians have always rallied together through a crisis and have what it takes to act!

Yours sincerely,

Miss Mackellar

 

It’s Not Easy Being Green!

G is for Green and as I struggled to think of a meaningful topic for the Blogging A-Z Challenge, I remembered a favourite childhood song: It’s Not Easy Being Green, which was written by Sesame Street songwriter Joe Ripozo and sung by Jim Henson as loveable Kermit the Frog.

It's Not Easy Being Green
It's not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It's not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green's the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be

You might even want to have a sing-a-long: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco

This song is dedicated to Freddie the Front Door Frog. If you go back to my post to my post for F about Fractured Fairytales, you might recall being introduced. Freddie lives with my in-laws about half an hour’s hop from Byron Bay when he hitches a ride in the car.

Freddie the Front Door Frog.

Freddie the Front Door Frog.

Well, being an Australian Green Tree Frog, I thought Freddie would appreciate this song. After all, we wouldn’t want him deciding that he didn’t like being green and going all fancy dress, turning himself rainbow colours or hopping around weighed down by too much bling.

That’s right. We want him to know that we love him just the way he is or even because of what he is…GREEN!

By the way, Freddie says that it’s actually a lot easier to be green than you think. That you don’t need to go and change your skin colour, or anything else that radical. Rather, you can start small. Get a worm farm. Reduce the amount of packaging you use and don’t buy snacks in individual serve packets. You can grow a few tomatoes,. Have chooks. Walk instead of drive.

Apparently, all these little things add up and even the smallest and seemingly weakest among us, can make a difference for the survival of our beautiful blue planet and he points out, save more frogs!!

Today has been brought to you by the letter G as part of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.

xx Rowena

Recycling the School Jam Sandwich

Despite the stories of starving children in Africa and “waste not, want not”, our kids stubbornly refuse to eat their school lunches.After even more full lunchboxes arrived home, this time with sandwiches made using my own homemade strawberry jam which was just  oozing with lusciously plump delectable fruit, I became desperate. I could not… I would not… throw them out.

Somehow, they had to be eaten!

I'm getting sick of the sight of these full lunchboxes arriving home again completely untouched. What is it going to take to get my children to eat?

I’m getting sick of the sight of these full lunchboxes arriving home again completely untouched. What is it going to take to get my children to eat?

You see, I hate waste…particularly food waste.

For awhile there, I dutifully fed their sandwiches to the dog and I swear he could pick a lunchbox from space. Code-named “Garbage Guts”, he simply doesn’t stop eating.

Walking with the dog

Out trying to walk off more than a few kilos worth of school lunches. Bilbo alias Garbage Guts just can’t say “no”.

But there’s waste and then there’s waistline. Unfortunately for the dog, avoiding waste on my part meant he packed on the kilos. After getting slammed by the vet, there were no more sandwiches for the dog.

Yet, I still hated the thought of throwing out perfectly good sandwiches spread with lashings of my home-made strawberry jam so I decided to take up Bob the Builder’s environmental challenge to “reduce, reuse, recycle” and came up with this little invention:

Jam Sandwich Bread & Butter Pudding

Ingredients

6 eggs

4 tablespoons castor sugar

2 teas vanilla essence

1140 ml (2 pints) full cream milk

Cinnamon

125g or ½ cup blueberries or sultanas

4 jam sandwiches, crusts removed

Spreadable butter

Directions

  1. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, using a medium-sized bowl, crack in the eggs. Add sugar and vanilla essence. Beat together lightly with a fork or hand-beaters.
  3. Add the egg mix to warmed milk gradually and stir to combine evenly.
  4. Pour into a shallow, ovenproof dish.
  5. Sprinkle blueberries or sultanas evenly over the surface.
  6. Turn oven onto 180° C and grease a shallow, ovenproof dish.
  7. Now to prepare the sandwiches. Using a bread knife, cut the crusts off the sandwiches. Pull the sandwiches apart. They need to have plenty of jam and I prefer my homemade version which contains large, juicy pieces of fruit so you might want to add some extra butter and jam.
  8. Crusts
    Crusts
  9. Arrange the pieces of bread over the top of the custard and they’ll float across the top like boats.
  10. Add a few bits of butter on top of the bread if desired.
  11. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  12. Carefully place the dish inside a baking tin with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. This is called a water bath. See note below.
  13. Bake in a moderate oven at 180° C (160° C fan-forced) for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderately slow oven to around 160° C (140° C fan-forced) and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until set. My oven timer broke sometime ago so cooking times are an approximate science for me.
  14. Serves 8.
The pudding baking in the oven.

The pudding baking in the oven.

Obviously, while this approach worked well with jam sandwiches and could be adapted to include the honey sandwich, obviously it really isn’t an option for your leftover Vegemite or peanut butter sandwiches. Yet, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It looks like I’ve just set myself my next food challenge.

Enjoy!

Xx Rowena

Note: Why do you bake custard in a water bath?

Baking your custard pudding in a water bath is your best insurance against curdled custard. You see, although you set the oven temperature to 180° C ,the egg proteins which thicken the custard, set below 212°F.This means that unless these egg proteins are protected from the high heat of the oven, they’ll overcook and tighten or shrink, causing your custard to crack or separate into curdled egg and liquid. A water bath insulates custards from the direct heat of the oven because the water can’t exceed 212°F, unlike the air in a 350°F oven. Without a water bath, the outside of your dessert would also overcook before the centre is done. Moreover, in a water bath, you have more time to bake your custard to the perfect degree of doneness.

Banana & Macadamia Nut Cake

 I might be recovering from chemo and to be perfectly honest with you, I could barely walk today and felt like I’d survived another direct hit by the proverbial Mac truck. However, there was still that part of me which is so averse to waste that even in the midst of this near death experience, I couldn’t ignore the pile of rapidly rotting bananas in the fruit bowl. If you bake, you’ll know exactly what I’d talking about. It’s like hearingTarzan calling out as he swings through the jungle “AHHHHH!”  except in this instance I’m not hearing the call of the wild. Bad bananas means that I’m hearing “banana cake”.

After all, you can’t throw out bad bananas. You can’t even feed them to your worms without feeling guilty. That is, the worms in your worm farm.

Throwing out rotten bananas, waiting until your bad bananas are so far gone that they are no longer edible, is almost a capital crime…even if you only care a teeny weeny, little bit about the environment. If you are trying to reduce your environmental footprint from a brontosaurus print down to a much more environmentally friendly ant print, the very least you can do is salvage those bad bananas. It’s all a matter of duty that has nothing to do with whether you even like banana cake. If you buy bananas and they go bad before you’ve used them for their intended purpose, you have no alternative. You must make a banana cake!!

We all know the rules.

As my grandfather said to my mother and my mother said to me: “Waste not, want not.”

So before being condemned to burn in hell for letting my bad bananas go to waste despite being decimated by chemo (Okay so I am exaggerating about the effects of chemo but I have been exceptionally tired today), I decided to grab Miss and give her a quick lesson in how to make banana cake.

The original banana cake recipe comes from the Margaret Fulton Cookbook which was first printed in 1968 and my edition, which has a relatively youthful Margaret Fulton on the cover, was printed in 1991. Last year, she celebrated her 90th birthday and she is still cooking!! I have never met the great Margaret Fulton but I have to admit she feels a bit like a surrogate Grannie who has shared so much of herself in my cooking adventures. You can check out her website here: http://www.margaretfulton.com.au   That said, this is the first time that I’ve actually read the introduction to the cookbook but it appears that I’ve absorbed her intentions by osmosis:

“Cookery is now accepted as one of the creative arts, andone by which women can express their own individuality. Never look on this cook book as a rigid set of rules, but rather as a starting point. Once a dish has been mastered, be adventurous- give it the stamp of your personality by adding your favourite flavours or your choice of garnish.”

This is exactly, what I have always done with her banana cake, which I have been making ever since high school. It started out by decorating the top of the cake with slices of banana arranged in circles and sprinkling the top with brown sugar. Since then, I’ve added coconut, chocolate chips, sultanas and pecans. It turns out that the kids don’t like sultanas in cooking and aren’t mad keen on dark cooking chocolate either. So I’ve revisited an old friend tonight and the basic banana cake was reborn yet again.

I have doubled the original recipe, which will make a 20 cm round cake and 9-12 muffins. We ate the cake straight out of the oven with ice cream for dessert and the kids can take the muffins to school for recess tomorrow.

I don’t think I’ve told you about our new recess challenge but I’m trying to bake something both kids will actually eat. Last week, they had Strawberry Coconut Slice using our very own homemade strawberry jam and Miss came home from school and said she preferred her milk arrowroot biscuits with butter in the middle to our home made excellence. I was shocked. Plain Jane has no appreciation for good food whatsoever…the pleb!

I know many parents would probably be thrilled that their children aren’t billboards promoting childhood obesity and would much prefer slapping a bit of butter on a couple of Milk Arrowroots to home baking. I should be thankful perhaps that our daughter has such simple tastes. It’s certainly much easier than baking…especially when I am having chemo. But if you’re a cook at heart, you pour so much of yourself and so much love into your cooking that you know packet stuff just isn’t the same. It isn’t a part of you…your love. When you cook for your child, your love somehow fuses to the food molecules and is absorbed and becomes a very part of your child nourishing and nurturing each and every precious cell.

When your child rejects your cooking, you know they’re rejecting your love and indeed YOU.

I need to keep baking until I find the missing key to our daughter’s heart. Open sesame! She will magically open up like Aladdin’s cave and all that treasure will be mine. After all, isn’t that what the relationship between mother and daughter is supposed to be?!!

I just need to keep trying, searching for that ultimate perfect recipe.

At least, I know Mister loves banana cake. Good on him although he isn’t usually so easily pleased either!

Tonight, it was Miss and I working together to make the banana cake.

Speaking of madam, there was some insurrection in the ranks tonight.

As everybody knows, there is only room for one chef in any kitchen. Even though I am teaching  my kids to cook and am expecting them to stand on their own two feet, they haven’t graduated yet. I am still the master…the chef. They are still very much the apprentices and if it wasn’t for the dog, they’d be at the very bottom of the food chain.

My daughter doesn’t fancy life at the bottom of the ranks and has long considered herself something of a Master Chef. In the past, this has included rejecting any kind of recipe and making her own mixtures using her own ideas of what goes together. She was somehow above the rules of cooking. Surprisingly, a number of these mixtures weren’t too bad and could even be considered edible. That said, she still needed to learn the ropes. Moreover, she needed to learn how to follow a recipe and not always be in charge!

Tonight, her path towards world domination continued as she attempted to demote me to the role of apprentice and appoint herself as Head Chef. The cheeky upstart! However, her ideas of what it means to be Head Chef were rather unsustainable.

These are her words: “You’re the apprentice Mummy. You have to do the work while I play on the computer. I’m the Head Chef!”

Something tells me she wouldn’t be Head Chef for very long with that attitude. She’d be sure to have some kitchen equivalent of Mutiny on the Bounty.

You will notice that this banana cake is a variation of a basic butter cake. It is based on the traditional creaming of butter and sugar. While creaming butter and sugar together seems rather basic, there are a few important points to consider…

Firstly, use butter which has been softened to room temperature. I am writing this at the peak of a hot Australian summer where I reckon the butter would melt within a few minutes so I’m not going to suggest how long it is going to take your butter to “warm up”. When you can cut through the butter easily with a butter knife without resistance, the butter is ready. Be careful leaving the butter out of the fridge for long on a hot summer day as you don’t want it to melt.

Secondly, when butter is creamed with the castor sugar, the sugar grains cut through the butter and aerate it, creating air bubbles. These air bubbles mix with the rising agent helping the cake to rise well and also give the cake a light texture.

Finally, the mixture is creamed, when it has doubled in volume and is pale, off-white in colour.

Recipe for Banana & Macadamia Nut Cake

250g butter

1.5 cups castor sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 eggs

4 ripe bananas

3 cups SR Flour

½ cup milk

½ teas bicarbonate soda

Ingredients for Topping

2 extra bananas, sliced

Roasted Macadamia Nuts

Brown sugar

The apprentice sitting on the bench.

The apprentice sitting on the bench.

Directions

1. Take the butter out of the fridge and allow to warm to room temperature.

2. Grease and line tin with baking paper and set muffin tins up with patty papers.

3. Set oven temperature at 180ºC.

4.Cream butter, then add sugar and vanilla. Beat until the mixture pales and sugar has “dissolved”.

5.Crack eggs into a cup one and a time removing any stray pieces of shell with a teaspoon. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar.

6. Mash the bananas in a bowl, then add to creamed mixture. Fold in the sifted flour. Dissolve the bi-carb soda in the milk then stir into the mixture gently but thoroughly.

7. Add coconut.

8. Pour mixture into greased round cake tin and muffin tins.

9.Arrange banana slices in circles on top of the cake.

10.Cover the cake with roasted macadamia nuts.

11.Sprinkle with a generous covering of  brown sugar.

12. Bake the round cake for around 40 mins and the muffins will take 15-30 mins.

Happy Cooking!

Love & Best wishes,

Rowena

PS Please note that meal preparation has gone on the back burner at the moment. We are currently enjoying a stash of meal kindly provided by our Church. These came at a very good time as my last session of chemo has knocked me out. Wasn’t sick and my hair hasn’t fallen out but I’m exhausted.

PPS I should also let you know that our worms didn’t go without. They enjoyed the banana skins and egg shells. Everyone was happy except the dog.

Slaying the Dreaded Pantry Beast

Although you might think I’m paranoid, for quite some time now a wild beast or monster has taken up residence in our kitchen pantry. The doors won’t shut and last week, a glass jar suddenly fell on my foot. The monster’s getting angry and quite frankly, I fear for my life!!

Moreover, I’m pretty sure this isn’t some cute, fluffy harmless monster of the cookie monster variety. Rather, it’s dark, sinister and very, very mean! The sort of monster that keeps you tossing and turning at night…all night!

I think there could even be drop bears inside. You see, the glass jar isn’t the only thing that’s fallen out of there and I often hear the sound of falling cans or jars. I’d always thought that drop bears lived deep in the Australian bush but I’d swear there’s an entire tribe of them living in my pantry and they’re all having a party….Boom! Crash! Bang!

There’s a lot of activity going on behind those almost closed doors!

Well, I’m no Shrinking Violet so I’ve decided to reclaim my pantry and get rid of that monster and its friends once and for all. Unlike David Attenborough who would quietly study the monster in its native habitat, I’m going to kill it. Exterminate! This is a time for decisive action!

It’s my pantry and I want it back! It’s mine! Mine! All mine!

Well, although it’s generally a good idea to prepare for battle and at least do a few push ups, I actually slept through most of last week. I’ve barely been able to get out of bed and actually enlisted help getting the kids to and from school. I came to an absolute grinding stop due to some kind of stomach bug or extreme stress. Either way, my stomach ached. I couldn’t really eat and then I ran out of ergs. I was like a ghost wafting through the house.

Not exactly the time to tackle pantry monsters perhaps but I needed to clear my head. I have way too many things on my to do list and they’re all swimming round inside my head. I need to clear my head…or have I mentioned that already?!!

I’ll say it again. I need to clear my head.

Anyway, I was feeling recharged today and was ready to slay the beast once and for all. It was going to die. Meet its maker. Moreover, it was going to happen today too! No more “tomorrows”!!

The monster inside my pantry is the familiar “clutterbeast”.  Perhaps, you know it well. It doesn’t just settle with one of something but always goes for multiples. For example,  I found three separate bags of polenta stashed in different parts of my pantry. There were also two packets of sponge finger biscuits. You see, I’ve been intending to make a decadent family dessert called Chocolate In-Betweens but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. We also won the school’s Christmas hamper and there are a few delicacies left from that as well. It’s quite an assortment really and everything tells a story.

As chaotic as it sounds, my pantry hasn’t been total anarchy. Rather than a place for everything and everything in its place, there are general areas or shelves dedicated to particular categories. All, or at least most, of the breakfast cereals are together for example. I have got something right!

It’s just that over time, things get shoved in gaps and any breathing space at all fills up and the whole place begins to suffocate (for some strange reason Cluttermonsters defy science and can still breathe in these difficult conditions and moths continue to breed as well).

Traditionally, I am not an ordered or structured type but I’ve come to appreciate that being able to find things quickly can save me a lot of time and stress.

I also hate waste with a passion…particularly food waste. We have a worm farm and I’ve also made a commitment not to use plastic packaging for the kids’ school lunches anymore. They do have plastic containers but that’s it. So while I could be doing more to save the planet, I am trying.

Throwing out unused food stuffs from the pantry, wastes both food and packaging. These are my two pet hates so it’s really something I want to avoid. Having a more organised pantry where I can see what’s actually there, will hopefully prevent such waste in future.

So my reasons for cleaning the pantry were as follows:

  • Being more efficient. I want to find things straight away.
  • Clearing my head. Get another task off my to-do list.
  • Saving my feet from future glass jar attacks
  • Keeping a better inventory of what’s in my pantry
  • Preventing waste
  • Saving money
  • Having a happier family life. Peoples have been grumbling about the drop bears in particular.

I’m certainly not cleaning my pantry to win some Housewife of the Year Award! I absolutely detest the term “housewife”. Moreover, if I was a domestic goddess of any variety, my pantry wouldn’t be in such a mess. I’m just your garden variety dreamer. That’s all.

Anyway, I probably could have looked up a zillion web sites and blogs to find out how to clean out my pantry without reinventing the wheel. However, I just wanted to get on with it. I’d put it off for long enough!

So here’s a dreamer’s guide to sorting out your pantry, which I believe could be used to sort out just about any kind of mess in your life. It is surprisingly methodical and structured, probably because I find it so difficult to organise stuff.  However, I’m starting to suspect this is somehow related to my lousy sense of direction and difficulties parking my car and isn’t some dreadful character flaw after all!

This is what I did:

1)      Emptied the pantry.

I took everything  out. That means everything. This process is not for the faint-hearted. You need to see this space with fresh eyes and not simply put everything back where it came from. Be extremely critical!

2)      Stacked everything on the kitchen table.

You will obviously need a clear, flat surface.  At this point, I felt completely overwhelmed. There was just a huge, amorphous blob…a veritable haystack… packets, jars, cans, bottles and quite a few moths flapping around. The monster had now materialised and boy was I scared!!

3)      Wiped down pantry shelves.

4)      Threw out things that were out-of-date.

This sort of felt good because I was getting rid of stuff and creating space but at the same time, I felt guilty about the waste. I threw out two bin bags worth of stuff. That was a lot of needless waste! That waste also cost money.

5)      Merged things together.

I topped up containers and generally added like with like.

My labeling machine

My labeling machine

6)      Labelled everything.

I used my Dymo labelling machine to do the labelling. This may seem a bit anal but I am so naturally disorganised that I need to be super-organised (if that makes any sense). Some of the containers had been labelled on a previous cleanup.

My Pantry Mind Map

My Pantry Mind Map

7)      Made categories.

Everything needs to be grouped or classified before being put back in the cupboard. By putting like with like, it makes it easier to find things.  At this point, I drew up a quick mind map to get some kind of structure in place. Again, this may seem a bit over the top but with that great big blob on my kitchen table, I needed to impose some external order. It was my way of trying to establish some boundaries and control…and subdue the beast!

8)      A place for everything and everything in its place.

This was easier said than done. How do you find a place for everything and as all of us know, there’s always a handful of homeless stuff left over after every big clean up. Where does it all go? How do you work out where to put everything? I’m still working on this one. Most of this superfluous clutter usually sneaks its way back in there somehow.

A common rule of thumb with these declutter projects is to put the things you use most at the front where you can access them easily. That might work in some households. However, in my last stop-gap pantry clean-up, I put all my chocolate in one plastic container and I had my Tim Tams and other chocolate biscuits in another. I labelled the containers and stuck them at the top of the pantry. Before I knew it, the kids had spotted my stash and it was gone. It had all been a sitting duck just like the US fleet in Pearl Harbor.

I have put all the sweet contraband type stuff on the top shelf, which while it’s not out of reach of the kids, they’ll at least have to work harder to get it down. If I’m really lucky, they might also realise that the stuff on the top shelf isn’t for kids but somehow I doubt it!

DSC_6946

Next I drew up a little diagram of the cupboard and wrote on the things that were easy to place first and slowly tackled the rest. Breaking down the space into more manageable blocks helped me feel less overwhelmed and that I could tackle the pantry one step at a time.

9)      Give away food I won’t use.

I accidently bought a huge jar of olives with pips and I’m going to drop them down to a local food charity. I won’t need to feel guilty anymore. I’ll be generous instead.

10)   Use what’s in the pantry.

It looks like we’ll be eating a lot of polenta!

11)   Buy what we need in future.

Don’t be lured in by specials and supposed savings in future like buying two for less when we’ll only use one anyway. Maintain a shopping list.

My storage tubs.

My storage tubs.

Rowena’s top pantry storage tip:

I have some medium-sized lidded crates where I store like things such as packets of biscuits, dried fruit and baking “bits” (bicarb, patty papers etc). These all stack up almost neatly on each other. They manage all those really annoying bits and pieces and make it so much easier to find things.

The finished product. It isn't perfect but at least the doors finally shut!

The finished product. It isn’t perfect but at least the doors finally shut!

Well done Ro! I’d say that it probably took me almost five hours to clean out the pantry. I threw out two garbage bags worth of food and I’ll be taking that jar of olives down to our local food charity. I found quite a lot of what I would call “exotica” in the pantry. Ingredients I’d bought to make some kind of fancy or different meal which I’d never made. That felt a bit disappointing because there have been so many nights when I haven’t known what to cook and we’ve had the same old same old when we could have been eating polenta (all three bags of it) instead.

But now there are no more excuses. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday…we’ll all be having polenta! Ha!

Do you have any funny pantry or clutter stories? I’d love to read them!

xx Rowena