Pantry Party!

A big pantry is a good thing and a bad thing.  Good because you can always have one of everything on hand. Bad because then you always have one of freaking everything on hand.

Meet the pantry:
Luckily, organization is my specialty! Organization can improve your productivity and reduce your "losing my mind" feeling. Also, it could save you money because instead of buying olives you would look in the olive section of your pantry and see EIGHT packages of olives. True story.

My plan of attack. Sort items by category:
  • Starches
  • Oils
  • Vinegars
  • Dressings
  • Sauces (hot, buffalo, pasta)
  • Condiments (olives, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup, dips)
  • Canned veggies
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned proteins (tuna, salmon, sarrdddiiinnneeesss!!)
  • Beans
  • Soups
  • Baking ingredients
  • Beverages (coffee, tea, cocoa and sweeteners, creamers)
  • Booze
  • Cat treats (yup)
Cat treats before
Cat treats after

Top tips:
  • Contain small packages into a bowl or other container, like the cat treats above
  • If you have a lower pantry of shelf where canned foods are tightly packed you could write "diced tomatoes" or "cream of mushroom" on top of cans with sharpie for easy reference
  • If it's been in your pantry forever, check the expiration date. It probably expired three years ago. 
  • Put contents of nearly empty packages into smaller packages
  • Oh, and have a helper
Ummmm that expired three years ago....

Big bag ---> Small container
this is my helper.
The results! 

Boozey beverages in back, kitty supplies in front.
Condiments, sauces, dressing, oil/vin, and a bin for onions and potatoes
Starches, proteins, canned fruits and veggies, soups, and baking goods.
Hot beverages: most accessed items in front - coffee grinder, filters, coffee.
Another great thing about really taking stock of your pantry is that you can get inspired for a meal! The one meal that you can nearly ALWAYS put together on the fly is a bowl of soup. All you need is some veggies, some protein, some liquid, and spices. DONE. I will share my recipe from the pantry, but it's really just an inspiration. Whatever you have on hand works! That goes for your produce drawer, too. Half an onion here, half a pepper there... You get it. My rule of thumb on spices is 1 tsp from 3-5 of your favorite spices. More than that and you just get lost. 

Here's what I rounded up from the kitchen:

Pantry Chili

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 15 oz. cans of beans, with liquid ( I used Cannellini, Garbanzo, and a can of Ranch Style Beans)
  •  1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1-2 cups of water, depending on how much broth you like
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. left over diced white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each: taco seasoning, paprika, cumin, cayenne, parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large pot, soften onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil
  • Once they begin to brown, add beans, tomatoes, water, spices
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Taste, add salt and pepper as needed
  • Simmer for 5 more minutes, remove from heat and cool 5 minutes before serving
  • Serve with shredded cheese and greek yogurt to dollop on top

While the chili is simmering, why don't you make these crazy delicious green onion buttermilk drop biscuits?! They are delish!

Disclaimer: I don't really support the use of a processed food like bisquick, but it's ok if you're cleaning out your pantry. 

Cheddar Green Onion Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
this is hardly a recipe, because I basically followed the box...

  • 2 cups heart smart bisquick
  • 3/4 c. reduced fat buttermilk (this is more than the box calls for because buttermilk is so thick and the extra additions of dry ingredients)
  • 1/2 c fresh diced green onion
  • 1/2 c. 50% reduced fat shredded cheese (I recommend cheddar or mexican blend)
  • Mix all ingredients until just incorporated
  • Drop on a greased baking sheet
  • Bake at 450 for 10 minutes
These were incredible... The buttermilk gave them a tart flavor reminiscent of sourdough. And they were less than 150 calories each! You could also knead them a bit and cut them out for traditional biscuits, but who has that kind of time? Like the soup, you could throw any ingredients into these biscuits. Sun dried tomato and parmesan come to mind... Another day.

If you brushed these with melted smart balance after they came out of the oven, they would be a healthier alternative to Red Lobster cheddar biscuits...


In other news, I had my first class of my MBA education last night: Statistics! I'm really looking forward to it... My professor was entertaining and engaging and my classmates are so friendly. I'm excited for my two other classes on Wednesday, Organizational Theory and Business Ethics. It will be a busy semester, but I welcome it with open arms. 

Happy Tuesday!


Praise Baby Bok Choy Jesus

We have a vendor at our farmers market that has some of the strangest things I've ever seen. I can't even describe all the stuff... spiney looking cucumbers, greens that I've never seen or smelled in my life, peppers of varying sizes and unknown scoville units. We've hit up the okra a few times, which kinda scares me because of its sliminess, but this week we picked up a vegetable that doesn't scare me at all: baby bok choy.

I present to you, dear reader, baby bok choy stir fry.


Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry

  • 1 bottle Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette/Marinade (or any other similar marinade)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, in large slices
  • 4 heads of baby bok choy, halved

At least two hours ahead of time, prepare the marinade:
In a large bowl, carefully toss tofu, ginger, garlic, sesame soy ginger marinade and soy sauce. Try to submerge the tofu so it soaks up all the flavor. Fridge it until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, pick the tofu out of the sauce (keep the sauce!) and place tofu pieces on a baking sheet. Broil on high for 10 minutes, then turn pieces and broil on high for another 10 minutes. 

While all that oven magic is going on, heat EVOO in a saute pan or wok. When oil is heated, add in mushrooms and onion and saute until slightly softened.

Reduce heat to medium, place bok choy on top of onions and mushrooms, and pour the marinade over the bok choy. Cover and cook until bok choy is tender, about 3-5 minutes.  

When the tofu is done, it will lightly crispy on the outside and golden delicious, but not like the apple variety.

Serve with brown rice and plenty of sriracha! I like the tofu on the side, but you could definitely toss it in before the bok choy if you so desire.

 Now that wasn't so hard, was it?


The employed folk might call today "the day before Friday" and say something like "yay tomorrow is Friday." For me, everyday is Friday. Or Saturday, really. BOO PITY PARTY. I'm not taking to unemployment well. I'm realizing just how much a job defined me for the past four years! I think that's a good and a bad thing. Good in the sense that I had so much commitment (FOCUS?) to my job. Bad that I didn't carve an identity otherwise. Good thing I have another three quarters of my life to fix that!

Happy eternal Saturday to all and to all a good night!


Got buttermilk?

I need something to do with this buttermilk.

I don't want pancakes. They always end up coated in syrup.

I don't feel like chicken, but I make mean oven fried buttermilk chicken tenders. (another time...)



Here's the thing. I pulled the buttermilk out of the fridge but ended up using soy milk cause I have focus issues. Just ask Kameron.

 How about blueberry pomegranate whole wheat scones?

The ingredients.
The audience.

Blueberry Pomegranate Flax Whole Wheat Scones, or "Super Scones"!
Inspired by Skinnytaste Lowfat Pom Scones


  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (soy, almond, buttermilk, cow's milk)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg or 1/4 c. egg substitute
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter, cut into tiny pea sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds, defrosted (Trader Joe's frozen section!)
  • 2/3 c. fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp whole flax seed
  • cooking spray
  • 1 egg white (or 2 tbsp liquid egg whites)
  • 2 tbsp coarse sugar
Let's Cook!

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cooking sheet with spray and set aside while you work.

Bowl 1: Combine milk, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg. Whisk.

Bowl 2: Combine flour, baking powder, salt and whisk to combine. Add in chilled butter and cut into flour mixture until butter chunks have disappeared into flour and flour just slightly holds together when you squeeze it. Don't use your hands because the heat from your hands will melt the butter and then your scone won't be... sconey.

Hot tip: Don't muscle into the flax seed package. Those suckers are tiny and a biotch to clean up. 

Delicately fold in blueberries, pom seeds, and flax. You don't want to break the berries.

Mix in wet mixture and stir carefully until combined. Be nice to the berries.

Dump onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Don't press too hard because well, you know, the berries... broken record...

Move onto that prepared baking sheet and press out into a 3/4" thick circle. Using a knife, cut into 1/10's. This is extremely complicated geometry, which is a sign that I REALLY need to get a further education. This took me at least 15 seconds to figure out.  Don't cut all the way through to the pan, just half way.

Brush on egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake 22 minutes or until golden.

Don't you want one?

In all their fruity, flaxy, wheaty, healthy, decadent goodness?

You want this one?

You want to eat it with your favorite sweet spread? (2 tsp lemon curd, 2 tbsp plain nonfat greek yogurt?)

Yeah, you do.

Blueberry: vitamin c, fiber, anthocyanin antioxidants / memory booster, GI cancer fighter
Pomegranate: vitamin c, vitamin k, antioxidant polyphenols / immune booster, cancer fighter
Flax: omega-3's, fiber, antioxidant lignans / cancer, heart disease fighter
Whole Wheat: fiber, fiber, fiber / GI efficiency warrior, cancer, obesity fighter

What's not to love?


BeErs, Beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Well, two for three. Or 1.5 for three. I did a little play on words with Beers and Bears there.

What did you do this weekend?

I did this:

Leah, Bjorn, our friend Erin (shout out!) and I headed to an International Beer Festival in Thousand Oaks. We were hoping for some good cougar sight seeing, but we only had one possible D list celebrity sighting instead. I'll take it. It was a really nice California evening with wonderful and entertaining company. And some yummy beers! Bears! Beers!

Today I cooked one of my very favorite vegetables. Kimberly Doyle loves this vegetable one million times more than I do, so I dedicate this blog to YOU, momma! I hope you read this. Will someone tell her to read this? Tell Doris, too.

First things first. Put your kitty apron on.

loooooking crazy.
 We have a great farmers market in Camarillo, and I picked up these gems last week:

Red and Gold, like Gryffindor

Roasted Beets
My favorite way to prepare beets is roasted. I think you get a lot more flavor and concentrated moisture than when you boil them. I like to eat them slightly warm on a salad with a strong cheese (goat, bleu, gorgonzola) and balsamic vinegar. Golden, red, whatever, they are ALWAYS good. Yes, Kim, ALWAYS.

Note: This time I tried putting all the beets in one foil pouch to cook them but I recommend individually wrapping the beets snugly in foil in the future. The skins will come off more easily that way.

  • Beets (try to pick out beets that are equally sized for equal cooking time)
  • Foil
  • EVOO
  • Salt
  • No desire to maintain a manicure

  • Wash and trim beets
  • Drain dry
  • If necessary, cut beets in halves/thirds so that all are the same size
  • Wrap each beet individually in a sheet of foil with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt
  • Wrap tight so that any leaking juices don't burn in the oven
  • Place on a baking sheet
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes (this time is for lime-sized beets... use your judgment)
  • To test for doneness, unwrap one beet (BE CAREFUL!) and stick a knife in it. If it slides out easily, it's done!
  • Let cool 15-30 minutes, depending on how impatient you are
  • Unwrap and skins will slip right off!
  • Slice to your preference and serve

Arrrreee ya done?

Oh, hey sprinkles! You gonna help cook?

Where ya going?



And no salad is complete without a homemade vinaigrette, right? I rarely like balsamic vinaigrettes out of a bottle. And I don't like the excessive oil. So I make my own.

Basic Vinaigrette
Can be adapted one trillion different ways. My favorite way is to add 1 tbsp of nonfat plain greek yogurt to make a creamy balsamic. Amazing!

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp very finely diced (or grated) red onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp good dijon mustard ( I recommend Annie's or Grey Poupon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together, in order, with a whisk. The mustard will make the oil and vinegar emulsify.

And now you have all the skillz to make a fancypants salad. Like this one:

Lettuce, red onion, red and gold beets, goat cheese, chicken, vinaigrette.
Wonderful way to end the weekend! Who am I kidding... every day is a weekend right now. Gotta get a job...

So now I look like I murdered someone....

And the kitchen looks like a crime scene.

But it was totally deliciously worth it.