Saturday, September 24, 2011
The Canned Food Stockpile
I wasn't the greatest cook at the time, but the few recipes I knew involved generous amounts of red pepper and my own criteria for picking a dish when we went out often involved looking for the "spicy" or "hot" warnings that restaurants sometimes post at the side of the menu to warn people like my husband that a particular dish probably isn't his best choice.
Over the years his palate has definitely changed. It was a matter of survival in our house. He no longer thinks that ketchup is spicy and doesn't mind my constant overuse of cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, chili pepper and my personal favorite, the large red peppers that most pizza parlors have next to the parmesan cheese. And I'm increasingly thankful for these spices (along with, especially: garlic, basil, oregano and tarragon).
Before he left I simply bought flats of kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, white beans and chickpeas, along with flats of various veggies and broths. I packed boxes with the extra rice and flour, pounds of pasta, dry beans and peas, as Paul watched, likely wondering if I thought there weren't stores in Florida.
I was really just indulging a feeling that I had, a feeling that things would likely be very tight after we moved, even with the sale of our car and that we might have a hard time buying food right away. If we had the food, the money I'd saved for food, couldn't get whisked away to pay for some other emergency expense and so I packed everything up and sent it on ahead with him to Florida.
In the past month I've been very grateful for that feeling, as hospital bills (which we're still fighting) and car repair bills (at least it's fixed!) have piled up.
Another addition to my stockpile that's made everything a little tastier, was my discovery of the spices that are often in the "ethnic cooking" section of grocery stores. I'd much rather buy ten giant packets of cumin for $10 then one little glass cumin shaker in the spice section for $10. The same goes for paprika and quite a few other spices. I'll add half a bag of paprika and cumin, to some garlic and a mixture of different red peppers and there's an instant sauce to accompany the beans that's quite tasty.
My improvisation skills are definitely expanding and our freezer is usually pretty full of freezer dishes since I try to make three dinners at a time. I use one and freeze the other two so that we always have a week full of dinners in the freezer in case there's an emergency, or I just don't feel like cooking. So far it's working pretty well and challenging me to come up with different combos so that people don't get bored!
We've worked out way through about half of the stockpile, but I'm hoping that life has settled down and I can spent a bit more time couponing again to replenish the stockpile.
My next goal is to learn how to cook the lentils that I have stockpiled. Are there any recipes that you love for lentils? I'm not sure I've ever had them before, but that's my new goal for the week!