Cleaning up the pantry -- again

January 22, 2015

Now that I'm embracing a lean, clean, and green, healthier lifestyle, I really need to have another look at my pantry.

It's gonna be a job. Let's light a yummy candle, and listen to my "Crooners" station on Pandora, featuring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Peggy Lee.

So, now, the pantry. I've been down this road before (how did all this sugar- and chemical-laden food re-appear to take up residence?). Each time it gets easier, but I'm really ready to Make. This. Permanent.

Goodbye to white sugar, white flour, white rice, and white pasta. Goodbye to barbecue sauce with high fructose corn syrup in it (how'd that get in here?), seasonings with MSG (what?!), jams with corn syrup . . . etc. Some things will be donated to the local food bank, others tossed.

I hate to throw out food. What a waste. Really. Another reason to be careful what I buy.

The only sweeteners in the house now are honey, organic maple syrup, and stevia. In place of white flour, I have some almond flour and spelt flour in the freezer, but right now I'm not doing any baking.

My rule will be if I really want a white sugar, white flour treat, I will get it at a good restaurant or bakery. That way, I don't have to have any of the "supplies" for making it in the house. 

I can forego crackers, pretzels, ice cream, french fries -- lots of stuff. But homemade baked goods really seem to equal comfort and home to me.

So, either I have to re-define my idea of comfort, or come up with some tasty, yummy treats that use healthier ingredients. But if it doesn't taste good, forget it. But I'm thinking as I remove sugar, my taste buds will change and alternative desserts may taste better than I expected.

So, you know how one thing leads to another? After doing another sweep of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, I'm ready to start in on my spice cupboard.

Etta James is singing "At last . . . "

Nothing unhealthy there, but wow. Some spices were six and seven years past their expiration date.

The expiration dates are so hard to find. Once you find them, they're hard to read! Out came the magnifying glass. And then I marked the expiration dates where I could easily see them.

Here's a few fresh herbs, dried from my little container garden.

And some fresh dill I didn't use up that I'm drying.

I need one of those indoor herb gardens with grow lights. Not enough sunlight this time of year for herbs to grow inside.

Oh, look what else I found. Cinnamon sugar? And powdered sugar in a shaker? Sorry, guys, out you go. Just plain cinnamon for me. Did you know cinnamon aids in weight loss? Lovely in some oatmeal or in a smoothie.

Oh, and all this stuff . . . 

My husband is mostly on board with this program, but he does like to have pretzels or a cookie occasionally, so he has his own private "stash." He also loves homemade soup, so I'm making him some ham and bean soup with a ham bone I found in the freezer today. It will be nice and warming after a long day's work. Salad in January in Michigan isn't always the easiest to take, and I don't want to make life too hard on him! And I can freeze it for his lunches.

Whew. Time for some tea.  Speaking of lack of sunlight, here's my light box, mandatory during these long weeks of cloudy days. I sit in front of it every morning for a half hour. Prevents seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It's very bright.

I promised a couple people the recipe for my Berry Bliss Bar, a granola bar I showed in my last post. I got the recipe as part of a nutrition program I signed up for online, so not sure I can share it. But I can tell you it's mostly made of ground nuts, chopped dried fruit, cinnamon, and protein powder. I'm sure you could find a similar recipe online, or go to Tone It Up if you want more information on the program I'm doing with my daughter.

Thanks for sharing my journey with me, friends. I really love hearing from you all.


  1. These posts have been so informative and inspirational, and it's different seeing it on a blog instead of a magazine. More like getting the news from a friend. I especially like the idea of telling yourself that you'll give yourself permission to indulge in a sweet only from a restaurant. I remember what fun it is when a group of us goes to a nice restaurant and we order different desserts after dinner and pass them around cutting small portion off--well, we women do but the men seem to take huge forkfuls, which is probably a good thing!

    I hope you do keep posting these good ideas of yours.

  2. Keep up the amazing work, dear Deborah! You are an inspiration to MANY! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey :)

    Happy weekend, my friend. Hugs!

  3. Deb, you are AMAZING! I am not yet ready to go there with you but man oh man am I inspired by you.

    I am proud of your strength and the way you are changing your life. You are a dear SWEET lady and I am praying for you (and for myself to join you soon, I need it more than I can say.)

    So keep at it - and I love your posts. Go go girlfriend! ♥

  4. Best of luck on your new health journey. It's good to get rid of the temptations in your home. I love soup and make homemade broth from our roasted chickens. I can it or freeze it and it's so good in soups.

  5. Its a job I have been putting off since Christmas but must be done. I have finally sorted out my wardrobe, I haven't quite got it down to 30 but I have made a really good start.

  6. Just did this yesterday. I am going through the whole house each drawer and cupboard to organize it. It is amazing how many things you can acquire when your not looking.

  7. Well, you go girl...
    Healthy, wealthy and wise is good for the body. I always have to re-do some part of the kitchen cooking!
    I do most things in moderation as it works best for us! Keep posting!
    Blessings, Roxy

  8. Hi Deborah, Congrats to you and the direction you are going. Your taste buds will change going without sugar and you will enjoy less sweet goodies. That's what happened to me going gluten free. I don't miss the taste of white flour or wheat at all. I can see a difference in my skin too. I do still get some sugar but not much and I read labels like crazy. Any sugar in double digit amounts are a no go for me!!
    Cleaning out the NO foods from the pantry is a smart thing to do. If it's not there you won't be tempted.
    I like how you are dating your spices too. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing!!

    Have a great weekend. Stay warm.
    Hugs and Blessings xo

  9. Deborah, what a joy it is hearing of your journey, congratulations!
    I suffer from UTI's and discovered years ago it was sugars, white flours, pastas and the like, so I did a program with Sheri Rose Shepherd, "Fit for my King" that changed my way of eating and living. It sounds similar to what you are doing. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. Before one month was up I enjoying the new of it all, and didn't crave sweets or starchy foods. I didn't miss them at all! I just know you will reach that point, Deborah, because I see your desire and enthusiasm.
    You have been an inspiration to many, may God be glorified through you as you continue to honor Him with your body.

    I liked your idea of dating the spices. I keep most of my spices on the freezer, even the fresh ones I dry.

    What a delight it was to visit with you this morning.
    Have a most blessed beautiful day!

    Joy to you!

  10. You're really doing great! Since I can't have any, because of some kind of terrible allergic reaction I have when I eat hubby has his own personal stash. Since I get deathly ill if I eat sugar, it's not even a temptation to me. I can't eat honey or maple syrup either. But I can eat a small bowl of cereal, like oatmeal, with cinnamon on top and real fruit. That has become my sweet treat. I thought about cake this week and missed it but I'll live! lol Keep up the good work! Hugs, Diane

  11. I like what you are trying to achieve. Excellent values.
    But I am concerned for you, my friend far away, that you may be going a bit too fast. What you are doing here may be seven steps at once. One step at a time might be more prudent. There are reasons why you had these items in your pantry. I wonder if the reasons have disappeared.
    I want you to succeed, not to fail in your journey to a healthier lifestyle. Are you being too hard on yourself?
    Next time, maybe when you decide to sort hats, put the deleted items in a box. Check that you can truly live without them. After a month you can get rid of the box of bits-no-longer-needed-by-Beautiful.
    We have never met face-to-face, but it seems as if we know each other. You are an open, caring, and honest person, a good person. Please do not take my criticism as totally negative. I want you to have long term success. I hope this path will be smooth for you and not a series of gains and losses. Hasten slowly. Be careful. Weigh the facts. But still be a winner!

  12. You are on a roll! Kudos to you for cleaning out the pantry of all those sabotage substances! Now, you have more room for all the healthy stuff. I've 'downsized' my daily dose of sugar and starches, but cannot go cold turkey; small steps, for me, right now, and I need to start walking on a regular basis after this head/neck/shoulder pain eases up.

    Thanks for sharing all your 'weighty' wisdom!

    Happy weekend, to you!


  13. I was gonna say that making granola or granola bars is a GREAT, healthy snack, but you beat me to it! :) I love the smell of granola being made. We also keep lots of fruit in the house, and nuts (but I can go overboard with nuts...). Today I made homemade applesauce, and needed no extra sugar in it (yay!). I don't enjoy a whole apple much, but love a small bowl of warm applesauce. Good job! Good tip about the spice dates!

  14. Dearest Deborah,
    Oh, I've traveled that road, for tossing out so many things that I no longer could eat but our pantry is looking a lot healthier the last couple of years and it is worth it!
    Sending you hugs and blessings for the weekend.

  15. Way to go, Deborah! You are a girl with a mission that's turning into a passion. Best of luck on your journey to a new way of life.


Thank you for visiting! I'm truly delighted to hear from you.