Dining with Miss Lil: Taking Stock

May 3, 2009

By Lil Nickelson

listHow many times have you said, “There’s nothing here to eat?” You use this as a reason to justify buying take out. The truth is your refrigerator and cabinets are filled with stuff, but it would take you too long to get it together. Cooking is easier when you have what you need available.

Even better is when you first have to throw out stuff you purchased the last time you went shopping that has spoiled before you can put new purchases away. Times are tough; stop wasting your money on food you don’t use.

Do you go grocery shopping without checking your inventory only to discover you forgot to pick up the item you were out of that you need to cook a dish? Ever discover you already have two opened items on the shelf that you just purchased a third one of? Do you buy enough fruits and vegetables to make sure every family member is getting enough daily servings?

Do you even own the right types of pots, and pans or have cooking ingredients in house that facilitate cooking healthier meals for you and your family? The truth is you just aren’t prepared to consistently fix healthy meals at home until you take stock of what you have.

How long has some of the stuff in your kitchen pantry been there? Has it expired; does it even have an expiration date? You check for dates on items that need to be refrigerated immediately or after opened, but you also need to do so on items that stay in the cabinet as well. You’d be surprised what things do and which ones don’t.

So before you go to the supermarket again set aside enough time to take stock of what you have that is still good, what you have to discard, and what needs to be replace and replenished. So it’s spring cleaning time for your kitchen.

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Starting with the freezer, take all foods items out and write a list of each item along with the date it went into the freezer. To make it easier buy the freezer bags with blank labels already on them. Make sure you check the dates on any boxes of frozen food as well.

Go through your refrigerator and pantry cabinets shelf by shelf listing the items that are good and can stay, and discard what has expired, spoiled or past your personal time limit of eating leftovers or canned goods. Write down on your grocery list the items to be replaced.

Last, but not least, do an inventory of the types and sizes of pots, and pans your have and noting their condition. Do you have tops to cover over each of them? List your mixing bowls, measuring cups for dry and liquids, steamer inserts, strainers, grill pans, fryers, stock pots, etc.

Once you have determined what you have and what you need, and then we can begin. We’re getting ready to plan some meals, cook and dine.

Enamel Measuring Cups
Enamel Measuring Cups (Photo credits: West Elm)
Food (Photo credits: www.campgroundsigns.com)
Labeled Kitchen Mixing Bowl Set
Labeled Kitchen Mixing Bowl Set (Photo credits: West Elm)
Grocery store
Grocery store (Photo credits: www.campgroundsigns.com)
SMEG Refrigerator - Pastel Green
SMEG Refrigerator – Pastel Green (Photo credits: West Elm)
Refrigerator (Photo credits: www.mydoorsign.com)
Refrigerator (Photo credits: Best Buy)

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