Spring Cleaning Your Fridge and Pantry

Yes, I hate to say it but it's time to get a little spring cleaning done in your refrigerator and pantry. You don't have to take a lot of time to do it, but do it you must.

Besides getting rid of a mess of food items that are past their prime, you'll also be inspired to create a few summery dishes, now that your fridge, pantry and palate are cleansed. Greek pasta salad, anyone? Quinoa patties with a little spicy mustard (from a fresh jar, please), and shaved asparagus with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds? Your eyes just lit up, so I know you have some good ideas brewing once you get past this quick spring clean.

Here's how to do it fast:

Refrigerator:  Pull out virtually everything that may be questionable. Don't be surprised if there isn't much left still in the fridge. Empty out 1/4 full bottles and jars that have just a bit of this or that, along with some unwanted, gut-roiling bacteria that may be setting up shop. Recycle all containers. Replace your box of baking soda. Pour the old baking soda down the sink drain, followed by a slow stream of hot water from the tea kettle. Hmmmm, nice!

Pantry: Take a quick pass through the pantry for outdated and/or stale flour, bread crumbs, sesame seeds (which turn rancid when you look the other way) and more. Raisins and other dried fruit last a long time, but they don't last forever. What about that protein powder you tried last summer and never finished? Dump it. If you didn't use it by now, you aren't going to. Get rid of the evidence and start fresh.

Actual cleaning: If you have a few extra minutes to spare, great! Get some all purpose cleaning spray or hydrogen peroxide and a cleaning towel and wipe shelves of crumbs and little spills left from leaking sauce jars and your almond milk

Make a list, you'll feel better: OK, so you tossed the questionable 3 final tablespoons of last fall's mayo. Better make a list of a few replacement items you need from the market. Add a cheap box of baking soda to the list, too.

Ready, set, go.

PS: The next free moment you get, your vitamins, supplements, and prescription meds could use an expiration date check, too. 

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