Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spring Cleaning

By Liz Plosser It's spring, the time of year when the weather warms, flowers bloom and you roll up your sleeves for some good old cleaning. A smart place to start: Your packed kitchen pantry. Lurking behind the tomato sauce and canned beans that you keep in regular recipe rotation, you'll probably find noodles in all shapes and sizes, various jams and jellies, bottles of hot sauces, and maybe a can or two of tuna. And while these stray jars and cans probably won't derail your diet, it's tough to justify any form of wastefulness in this shaky economy. Try these easy ideas to make good use of all your canned goods and pantry staples. Do a deep clean. Take inventory of your cupboards, pantry and freezer, pulling out any products you haven't used in the last three months and displaying them on a countertop or table. Check the expiration dates and throw out anything that's expired or spoiled. Play with your favorites. Look over your favorite recipes with an open mind and sleuth out creative ways to use one or more of your forgotten products as garnishes and ingredients in dishes you already know and love. For example, dried herbs and spices enhance almost anything; try adding some to a salad. Look for new recipes. Search online for recipes that include an ingredient in one of your dusty jars—you may stumble upon the perfect dish. Donate the rest. If you have any remaining non-expired products that you don't think you'll be able to use, take them to a local food bank, shelter or soup kitchen instead of tossing them. Rotate products regularly. Set aside a few minutes each month to clean out your cabinets. Make a conscious effort to move products from the back of the shelf to the front so you don't forget they're there. Article courtesy of Best Life

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