New Year's Pantry Challenge: Getting creative with condiments, Day 2

Today's Menu:

Breakfast -
Fruit and Veggie Smoothie
Peanut Butter Coconut Granola cereal and raw milk

Lunch -
Pita bread with Hummus Egg Salad
Sliced apples

Snacks -
Oranges & Trader Os

Dinner -
Wonton Soup
Chicken Fried Rice (with brown rice, eggs, green beans, carrots, onions
Chocolate Banana Coconut Power Cookies and Candy Cane Joe Joe's Ice Cream

Today I had to be creative and resourceful with the new items in my pantry and the leftovers in my fridge. That, I suppose, is what the New Year's Pantry Challenge is really all about: creativity. And I'm sure as the days go on I'm going to be required to be more and more creative. I do know from experience that this is how new recipes are born.

One area I had to be creative was in making our egg salad for lunch. We are all out of our favorite Trader Joe's mayonnaise. I've taken the pledge not to set foot in a grocery store until next Friday so I had to make do. I suppose I could have made mayonnaise (any good recipes out there?) but I didn't have time today. I was watching two other boys besides my two girls and feeding my raging-metabolism hubby. I had to think fast. I decided to substitute hummus (which I made from scratch the other night) for mayo and *voila* a new lunch creation was born. The hummus was a bit thicker than traditional mayonnaise but it did the trick. My hubby was the most excited about this one.

What's hummus?

It's a spread often used in Mediterranean food made out of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). Hummus uses garlic and tahini (sesame butter) and tastes great on pita bread or chips. I love hummus because it's cheap to make - you can buy a few cups of dried garbanzo beans in bulk for less than a dollar. I also love hummus because it's full of protein and it helps serve my need to dip. Are you a dipper? I'm a dipper. Love to dip chips, sandwiches, pretzels, you name it. And I've passed on the need to dip to my kids. Now I know it's a condiment and a dip all rolled into one. Give it a whirl!

Tonight we had our friends, the Fords, over for dinner. I promised Matt I would make wonton soup - his all-time fave. Unfortunately or fortunately we got a call to show our house (which is for sale) just hours before dinner. That meant I had to clean the place instead of prepping dinner. The Fords still wanted to come and happily decided to help us make dinner. I was reminded that the process of cooking with friends is even more fun that setting out a perfectly-plated meal.

Matt and Bev and their kiddos, Bethany and Josiah, showed up with some veggies to add to our meal. We made a fried rice dish to go with the soup using their fresh carrots and green beans mixed with chopped cabbage, egg and onions I had in the fridge. Bev helped me roll wontons. I didn't have all the usual ingredients to stuff wontons but we improvised. I used collard greens, cabbage and onions with ground beef I had leftover from last night's Manicotti. Surprisingly, we had extra wonton filling left in the end. That is sure to be a creative challenge for one of tomorrow's meals...

For dessert, we each savored a small scoop of Candy Cane Joe Joe's Ice cream and homemade Chocolate Banana Power cookies. This was a little hit of sweet at the end of the meal with a healthy twist. And the picky kiddos had no clue I was sneaking flaxseed, coconut and fruit into their dessert.


-2 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked in water overnight and boiled for approximately 30 minutes until soft
-2 garlic cloves
-2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter often found near the peanut butter)
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Throw all the ingredients into your blender or food processor except olive oil. Blend. Add water if necessary.
2. Stir in olive oil.
3. Taste and season according to your desire.

Hummus Egg Salad

-6 hardboiled eggs, chopped
-1 cup hummus
-1 teaspoon oregano
-1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Mix ingredients.
2. Spread on bread for a sandwich.

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