It is hard to believe that it is only Wednesday! It has been a busy week. I finished work yesterday. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to the kids, families, and other therapists. It is a little surreal.
I started having some health concerns in early January. It has been a flurry of imaging and specialists, all culminating in a test this morning and a review of my most recent MRI. Fortunately, the testing revealed no significant issues and I have been cleared to go on our trip. We have been crossing our fingers that all would be fine, and now (knock wood) we can really embrace the fact that we are leaving in less than a week!
In getting ready for the Grand Départ, We have been trying to use pantry staples (dry goods, freezer, fridge). Below are a list of recipes for using up when you are hitting the road and/or moving…
...flour, sugar, baking spices:
1. 100% whole wheat bread. I used a combination of honey and maple syrup. I had five pounds of King Arthur whole-wheat and doubled the recipe for two loaves.
2. Dutch baby (German pancake). Make sure the cast iron pan is hot (put it in while preheating and add the butter for about 10 minutes). Add bananas, apples, or cranberries when the butter melts and before pouring the batter. A good use of milk, eggs, and small amounts of flour. Would be great with chiles and grated cheddar if you would like to to be more savory.
3. Squash pull-apart rolls. I used canned pumpkin purée, whole-wheat flour, and skim milk. We have them warmed with butter, or with soup. These are really good, and would freeze well for weeknight meals (this recipe makes about 32 rolls).
4. Tim. B.’s pizza dough. Always and forever. I will ask him if I can publish his recipe…after years of searching, this is it. Use King Arthur bread flour because it makes all the difference. We eat this once a week. I double the dough and freeze it.
…veggies, fruits, perishables:
1. Detox crockpot lentil soup. I follow this recipe very loosely. Right now, I am using carrots, squash, celery (and chopped leaves that I wash, dry, and freeze…they add nice color and flavor), leftover canned pumpkin, lentils, and split peas. Don’t skip blending with olive oil at the end. It makes a big difference!
2. Roasted veggies. Roast for 25-35 mins at 425 with some olive oil, salt (if you like), and pepper. Also good with Herbes de Provence. Serve with protein, or rice, in pasta salad, or with eggs as a hash.
4. Burritos with black beans, miscellaneous vegetables, a little leftover rice/grain, salsa, chiles, cheese. If out of tortillas, serve over greens. The black beans are easy to make in the crock pot, require no soaking, freeze beautifully, and taste much better than canned beans.
5. Mac and cheese. Good use of milk and leftover bits of cheese. The more varieties of cheese, the better!
6. Frittatas. Even better with leftover pasta. Sounds strange but so good. I ate this a lot in my subterranean Maryland apartment.
7. Curry/stir-fry. Depending on what spices you have in the pantry/fridge (soy sauce, green curry paste, coconut milk, sesame oil, etc). We make a stir-fry with veggies, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Otherwise, we use a bottled curry base from Aldi (or curry paste), add coconut milk, veggies, beans, and tofu (if we have it). Serve over rice/quinoa with nuts or sesame seeds.
8. Spinach strata. Good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Great use of bread/bread ends, eggs, milk, cheese.
Our van is not a full camper (in other words, it does not have a sink, stove, or fridge). We are using a 50 quart YETI cooler with a divider for perishables, and we have a 40 quart box for our pantry staples. We have another 50 quart box with our cooking utensils/supplies and a propane stove/grill combination. We will provide a list of food that we are bringing with us in a further post.
Fortunately, we have planned our weekly meals to use up most of the items in our kitchen. We will have very little to throw or give away.