The thing about curling and working from home is that it’s easy to become distracted with things in the home.  Like say you’re on the way to get a drink of water and you walk by the pantry and all of a sudden it strikes you that there are an AWFUL LOT of random items that have been sitting on the shelf for a really long time.  The work I had planned for the afternoon?  Pushed to another day, because I immediately became mildly obsessed with using that stuff up.  I went through my entire kitchen and inventoried all the ingredients I hadn’t touched in 6 months and stuck it to the side of the refrigerator.   The initial list filled both sides of a sheet of paper from a legal note pad in 3 single spaced columns.  I said there was an awful lot.

In the beginning, many of the items were easy to cross off.  The big jar of grits?  Shrimp and grits, grilled grit cakes, cheesy grit torta.  Mmmm, comfort food.  I also got to revisit some questionable purchasing decisions, like “what the hell was I thinking buying 20 pounds of le puy lentils?”  I like lentils, but sheesh, we’re only 2 people!  Some of the trickier items required more creativity, but it was still fun to figure out how to use them.  Rosewater?  Pistachio rosewater cupcakes, cocktails, and a dinner party featuring Morrocan food.  Naturally, I struggled at times.  The quinoa was particularly torturous.  It is super nutritious, a complete protein, high in fiber, blah, blah, blah, I know, I know.  I bought 5 pounds of it when I don’t even like quinoa.  I must have been thinking quantity would win me over.  It didn’t.  Then there was the egg replacer.  I tried a couple of times to use it, I tried to develop a special vegan cupcake recipe, but that shit is just plain gross.  It pained me and I felt like a failure, but I had to throw that one straight into the garbage bin.  There were also a few things that as soon as I used them up, I wanted to go right out and buy them again.  The Bomba rice that I used up in a seafood paella?  I must have more.  Now.

After a year of fretting over this list, it’s getting down to the dregs.  Items that are mocking me with their stubborn ability to remain on my pantry shelves.

  • Juniper berries (did I think I could make my own gin?)
  • Annatto seeds
  • Eight jars of bacon grease (the bacon cupcakes were good and all, but consumption should probably be limited to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest)
  • Barley malt syrup and barley malt powder
  • Protein powder (from Sparklepants’ short-lived flirtation with a weight-lifting regimen)
  • Dumpling flour (combination of wheat flour, wheat starch, and corn starch that makes horrible dumplings)
  • Orange blossom water (Every recipe seems to only use a minuscule amount.  It’s gonna take FOREVER at this rate.)
  • Pomegranate glaze (Some went into a marinade with a vinegary BBQ sauce that was also on the list.  Now the BBQ sauce is gone, but there’s still more pomegranate glaze.)
  • Black rice  (is there anything else besides black sticky rice pudding?)
  • Flaxseed meal  (I’m using a few tablespoons here and there for flax eggs, but I think the seeds are better for that purpose.)
  • Tapioca flour
  • Mint extract
  • Hazelnut extract
  • cherry extract
  • Agar agar
  • Powdered maple syrup and maple sugar (And no, the reconstituted maple syrup is not good enough to put on pancakes, not even for camping.)
  • Elderberry flower syrup
  • Dried herbs and spices:  basil, cilantro, italian seasoning, garlic granules, garlic powder, curry powder (Someone gave them to me.  I don’t want to throw them out, but I prefer fresh herbs and garlic, and curries don’t actually contain curry powder.)
  • Powdered vanilla

I’m stumped.  Any good ideas?

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