Last night my boys were at the Cotton Bowl and I was home alone. (Great game by the Aggies, but that is not what I am blogging about today) You see, I thought I would be spending my solo time getting organized for my Lakeside crafts next week. Luckily for me I stumbled on an awesome wooden heart picture frame for the residents to paint that was dirt cheap and requires zero prep time for me! Score!
So, without the crafts to work on I decided to tackle one of the major areas on my 40 Bags in 40 Days Purging list. I have done just about every area in the kitchen with the exception of the dreaded P A N T R Y.
Cue the scary music from the scariest movie you have ever seen.....
It was a daunting task.
I started pulling everything out, shelf by shelf, so I could clean the shelves really good before reorganizing and reloading.
I pulled out tons of stuff that was easy just to chuck right in the garbage....empty boxes (why, why, why does someone put an empty box back in the pantry????), one cracker left in the box, chip dust in the bottom of a bag, a handful of Cheerios, two inches of wax paper left on the roll, snack size microwave popcorn that burns every single time you try to make it (TIP: never buy snack size microwave popcorn), crushed fruit bars, a bottle of White Zinfandel with a 2003 Beach Prize Certificate for "Drinking the Most" attached to it (apparently my award winning drinking is only for the beach since I didn't crack this bottle open for nine years. It was hard to toss my award though....I don't win much these days and I am awfully proud of what I do win.)
Anyway, you get the idea....there was a lot of trash and junk in the pantry that was easy to pitch.
Then I started examining the expiration dates on the remaining items and before long I had to pull out a brand new garbage bag.
Here is just a sampling of the bottled items that had expired in my pantry. How does vinegar expire? That seems like it should last forever. And why do I have two giant bottles of it? The Fat Free Balsamic Dressing on the far right had never even been opened. WASTEFUL!
Hands down, the most alarming item of all was the Fish Sauce which expired on 12/10/05! WHAT???? I had to get out my cheater readers to make sure I was reading that correctly. OMG! I am sure that is a health code violation to have seven year old fish sauce in your pantry. It is the third bottle from the left. You can see that it is damn near full.
If I recall correctly, I needed it for a recipe to make some knock-off PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps. That is also what I needed the Hot Chili Oil for that is sitting next to the Fish Sauce. Also expired by many, many years. The other thing I recall about that recipe is that it was hard. Required a ton of dicing and slicing, marinating, and lots of specialty ingredients I wouldn't normally have in my pantry. It was good, but who wants to spend hours in the kitchen making lettuce wraps? Not me. I would rather just make reservations and enjoy them at PF Chang's! Lesson learned.
Anyway, I filled up bag after bag of trash and put back just the items I would use and that were not expired. My pantry is now a thing of beauty.
NOTE FOR MY NEIGHBOR KAREN: Based on this cleaning and purging exercise you should be warned that when you borrow something from me, you should definitely check the expiration date!
To wrap up and give you the most current tally...25 of the 40 areas on my list are complete. Hubby and the boys are going to be home momentarily and we are going to tackle the closet under the stairs. It should be an all day affair!
Have a great weekend!