This week's installment is about new starts, clean breaks, and all that. It's New Years, after all. If you are gluten-free or have celiac disease like me and your parents grew up during the depression and World War II, you may have a "stock up and save", "Waste not want not" sort of mentality as I do. When I find new gluten-free items or gluten-free stuff on sale or when it comes to me through gifts, gluten-free fairs or work, I bring it home and shelve it for that "someday." Some of it I try and don't like much (amaranth), but since I paid nearly $10 for the bag, it patiently waits in my cupboard for that day when I figure out what to do with it.
The picture on the right is only about 2/3rds of what I have. I found more after I staged the photo shoot. And, there are some items that are gluten-free that I didn't get solely because of it's gluten-free status (quinoa). And there is some mainstream stuff (Cheerios) that I bought that I've had second thoughts about and have left it to other family members.
Have I mentioned that our kitchen is 100 square feet? I am the only one in my family with celiac disease, and yet my stash of mostly ignored gluten-free packaged goods is taking up far more than my share of the space. This has to stop! (That's what Jenn's ex used to say when she was displeased with something -- it's a bit of a family joke now.) So here's the TOAD plan (yes, I worked hard to make it silly. That's how I roll. If you've got a good one, let's hear it!). I freely admit there is nothing revolutionary about this advice. This is where anyone reading this could say "Wow. Maybe I could be a blogger too." Bring it.
Toss: Throw out anything that a) is expired, b) is open and you remember not liking, c) you decide just isn't worth keeping. That took care of about 1/3 of my stuff.
Organize: I found that my stash fell into three categories: a) stuff to bake with, b) stuff that's ready to eat, and c) stuff I have to boil. I know that I'll bake again sometime, so I put the baking things together. Likewise for the stuff I have to boil, which is mostly pasta and breakfast cereal sorts of things. For the ready-to-eat collection, frankly, if it was a salty or sweet snack or cold cereal still in my cupboard, it must not have been good enough for me to finish, so I threw it out in step 1.
Appraise: (That's just a second tier synonym for the word "plan", but I needed a vowel to make TOAD work). When I was organizing, I noted that I have a number of side dish and meal ideas just waiting for me to execute. For example, I made a mental note to make cornbread (I seem to have a lot of cornmeal but don't cook with it too often. I can clear out a bunch of space with one batch, and there's a recipe on the side of the amaranth package, so I can use up some of that too.) I have a lot of pasta, but don't eat it that much. So, I can look for recipes that might make it appealing. I can make something for the whole family -- they'll only know it's gluten-free when I dig in with them. Or I can see if there's a good gluten-free kugel recipe. I love desserts. Or, if my "waste not want not" brain wins, I'll just resolve to eat pasta and sauce once a week until I've cleared the shelf, making a note of which kind I like best, and then saying "no" to future opportunities to fill my shelves with a food I don't eat so much.
Donate: Souper Bowl Saturday is coming up. Boy Scouts will come get food right from my porch. If I don't have a plan for something that's unopened and haven't eaten it by February 5th, I'll bag it and put it out for the Boy Scouts to pick up. Pasta is pasta, after all. If it's open and there's still no plan, out it goes.
There you have it! TOAD. Enjoy your week!