Someone Else’s Pantry

No recipe here today. Sorry. But I do have something fun. Some friends of ours moved this week — they left the city this morning and are driving across the country even as I write — and we helped them out by raiding their pantry. There is nothing worse than moving across the country and having to ditch cupboards full of perfectly good food because you just can’t take with you. Right? Or close to the worst thing? Maybe?

We took much of the contents of the pantry off their hands so they wouldn’t have to worry about it. The husband is a chef and so there were a lot of diverse and interesting ingredients in the box we took home, some of which I’d never heard of, much of which I’d never used, and very little of which I have any idea what I’m going to do with. But I’m always up for challenges and adventures, so I’m going to take on this pantry as if it were my own. During the next several weeks I’ll be using these ingredients in the recipes I post here.

Now, I’ve never made anything with many of these things. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them. If you have any suggestions or a recipe you’d like to share that features any of the ingredients, please let me know. I’ll make it and post it. And if no one has any suggestions, no problem. I’ll find my own recipes.

Here’s the pantry:

In case you can’t see it very well, this is what I have:

large tapioca pearls

small tapioca pearls

plain germade

peaches and cream germade

bulgar wheat

pearled barley

dried seaweed

bonito flakes

fideos noodles

acini di pepe pasta

fregola pasta

sweet baking chocolate

mystery baking chocolate (unsweetened? bittersweet? semi-sweet?)

apricot filling

black currant syrup

elderberry syrup

strawberry syrup

clementine syrup

dried hibiscus

wheat germย  bran *Edit: it’s wheat bran, not wheat germ, though I have some of that, too.

coconut milk powder

not pictured: 3 pounds of high quality cocoa powder

Let me know if you have any ideas, either in the comments or by e-mailing me at lizzie (at) motherrunner (dot) com. I’m excited to try some new foods — I hope you are too!

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  1. Fun! And we all know how much you love a good challenge! I just used bulghur the other night in place of couscous in this flavorful recipe–
    I served it with a side of your zucchini fries, except it was so hot I didn’t want to turn on the oven, so I just served the zucchini after they’d been sitting in the salt, no breading or cooking. They were salty and delicious and my 2 year old even ate one or two. I use barley for this breakfast porridge….

    All the other ingredients, you are on your own! Looking forward to what you come up with!


    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks Kathleen. I’m looking forward to trying that breakfast porridge. It looks quite tasty!


  2. This is fun! So I don’t know what to do with a lot of these, but a few I have used. I like wheat germ on ice cream. So tasty. It has a bit of a nutty flavor. Also good to add to bread. Acini di pepe pasta I use for frog-eye salad. Cocoa powder is great in no bake cookies. It uses a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚ Use fideo noodles to make sopa de fideo, a mexican dish. I have a recipe if you like, or look it up online. That’s also really good. And that’s about all I’ve got. I’d love to hear what you do with some of the other things. Oh, all the syrups would be fun to try on waffles.


    lizzie Reply:

    I had never considered wheat germ on ice cream, although now that you mention it, I may have heard of it before. And the sope de fideo is now on my list. Thanks!


  3. I tried making homemade power bars once and they had wheat germ in them. The texture was terrible though, so maybe you could find one that actually tastes good.


    lizzie Reply:

    That’s a good idea. I will hunt for a good powerbar recipe.


  4. I know my mom puts barley in beef stew. I like that a lot.
    The dried hibiscus you can soak in water and add a lot of sugar and it makes a kind of koolaid type drink. Sam had it a lot in El Salvador. I could not give you any idea of what proportions….
    The only place I’ve had tapioca pearls are in a taiwanese drink called bubble tea here in the states. ( You can make it without tea, and can even make it like a slushy. It’s a really fun thing to try and your boys might love it. Buy some really wide straws so you can suck them up the straws.
    Good luck with everything else! I can’t wait to hear what you do with it.


    lizzie Reply:

    We had bubble tea when we were in Boston, I believe. I think that would be a lot of fun. And I like the idea of hibiscus koolaid, too. Yum. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Bulgur wheat makes a great tabbouli base, lots of parsley/lemon/tomato and it’s super refreshing. Ditto Heather on hibiscus, makes a good tea hot or cold, I have a mix that’s dried lemongrass and hibiscus that i use for that, so would be good with a twist of lemon in it too. i have an old recipe of my moms for barley burger stew, with pearled barley … comfort food for sure! glad to send it if you want it. oh, and we drink elderberry syrup for colds, tastes great straight up :). we use tons of regular coconut milk, assume the powder would be a great soup addition ie to thai chicken soup. looks like fun!


    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks so much. I’d love to see you barley burger stew recipe. Send it on over!


  6. Lizzie! Nice lookin’ site.

    Make kibbeh with the bulgur. It’s like a lamb meatball but with the wheat as a healthy filler. (Or at least it’s as healthy as you can get for something that’s fried until crunchy.)

    As for the coconut powder, try this if your family’s hearts and insulin levels can stand it:


    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks so much Debbie. I’ve never heard of kibbeh and never used lamb, but I am definitely putting it on my list. And the pie sounds amazing. I’m pretty sure we can take it. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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