Decluttering is not just about throwing out the piles of junk gathering dust in the basement. Nor is minimalism about having a sparsely furnished apartment with almost no sign of human habitation. They are words which are open to interpretation but the over-arching concept is to simplify our homes and lives so that we can make time and space for living.
It is important to keep baking and cooking simple. Creating meals from scratch can easily lead you to acquire all manner of ingredients. All too often these are used once and then end up relegated to the back of the cupboard. I have a well-stocked pantry that has the basic ingredients that I use to create the meals we eat.
I also regularly make substitutions to new recipes so that they fit my ingredients. It is easy to be conned into having many varieties of one ingredient, such as sugar. There is caster, white, soft brown, raw, Demerara and numerous others. I use raw sugar for most general use. I also keep soft brown sugar and caster sugar. If a recipe demands a specialty sugar that I feel cannot be satisfactorily substituted I discard the recipe.
Flour is another example of many options available – white, wholemeal, organic, stoneground, plain, self-raising. I prefer to keep both white and wholemeal. I use white flour for pastry, pasta and making roux for sauces but other than that I tend to use wholemeal or half and half if I want a lighter texture. I only buy plain flour and add baking powder to make self-raising flour as required.
I buy my flour in 5kg bags from Simply Good. I also buy my baking powder in bulk from the same store.
The baking powder is sold from bulk bins so I fill a recycled paper bag with it and then decant into the large glass jar. which is in my stock cupboard. I refill the small container in the pantry as required. Please do not not confuse bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) with baking powder. Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.
With basic ingredients to hand it is easy to bake for your family where you know exactly what is in the food. I made these muffins this morning with the last of some bottled cherries I had bought a couple of years ago – not sure why? The recipe was the basic muffin recipe from the book, “Down to Earth” by Rhonda Hetzel. You can find out more on her blog.
Have you tried to simplify the ingredients in your pantry?