The Hubbers is such a good sport. He is supporting this insane idea of eating from the pantry and freezer for 30 days, substituting missing ingredients for what is on hand, even though he may not like the substitution. Correct that – detest the substitution.
We were sitting in bed on Tuesday night, when the conversation turned to the blog. I was looking at the grocery store ads and commenting on what sale items I would buy if I could shop. He chuckled, shook his head, and said that he didn’t know why I tortured myself by looking at the ads. I didn’t see it as torture. It was kind of like being a kid and looking at toys in a catalog before Christmas. Except it was January, and these weren’t toys. Then The Hubbers shared how he was searching for something to eat for his lunch. He decided to have the last can of tuna. He was out of his regular mayo, so he had to use some light mayo I had bought. If there is one thing that you need to know about my husband, it’s that he is a Texan. Like Paula Deen, it’s all about butter. As an old-school Southern cook, he doesn’t like diet anything. But he is committed to doing this challenge with me, so he had tuna with light mayo. He made it perfectly clear that he did not enjoy it one bit (or should I say bite?), but he did it for me. Who knew that light mayo would turn into such an expression of love?
We have completed three weeks of the 30 Day Pantry Challenge. We have spent less than $10 on groceries so far (spices and sour cream two weeks ago, and lettuce earlier this week). We are out of quite a few staples (like onions, eggs, milk and some of my favorite fresh veggies), but I am really trying to hold out on going to the grocery store for most, if not all, of these items until after the 30 days are up. I really want to continue to use the items in our freezer. Besides, I still have fresh carrots!
To show my appreciation for The Hubbers’ support, I wanted to make him something special. He has a HUGE sweet tooth, so I knew I had to make a dessert. Thanks to Facebook’s newsfeed, I came across this recipe from Cooking Light for Cherry Almond Crisp. I used King Arthur’s whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour, and because I didn’t use tart cherries, I was able to cut back on the sugar in the fruit filling. I also think it would be fantastic to use melted coconut oil instead of butter in the topping and dried coconut in place of the almonds.
Whole Grain Cherry Almond Crisp (Adapted from Cooking Light)
1 c. dried sweet cherries, soaked in 1 c. boiling water for 30 minutes
2 16-oz bags frozen sweet cherries (I used organic – see note in step 3)
1/3 c. sugar or honey
3 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon, divided
3.4 oz (about ¾ cup) whole wheat flour (regular or white whole wheat)
¾ c. old fashioned rolled oats
½ c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. sliced almonds
½ tsp. salt
5 Tbs butter, melted
¼ tsp. almond extract
- Pour the boiling water over the dried cherries in a large mixing bowl; let stand 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (350 if using honey).
- After the dried cherries have soaked for 30 minutes, add the frozen cherries to the bowl of dried cherries and their soaking liquid. (Note: I got the bags of cherries out of the freezer at the same time that I was preparing the dried cherries. They were still partially frozen, but that didn’t matter. If you are using honey, I would suggest making sure they were completely thawed and at room temperature, to make mixing easier.)
- Mix together 1/3 cup sugar, 3 Tbs. whole wheat flour, and ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Add vanilla to the mixing bowl, then sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top. Stir well to blend. If you are using honey, stir the honey and vanilla mixture into the cherries, then stir in the flour and cinnamon. Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes.
- Pour cherries into a 9” x 13” baking pan (buttered or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray), and bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit mixture is thick and bubbly.
- Meanwhile make the topping. Use a kitchen scale to weigh out 3.4 oz of whole wheat flour. If you do not have a kitchen scale, this will be approximately ¾ cup. Stir in rolled oats, brown sugar, almonds salt, and the remaining ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Mix together the melted butter and almond extract, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork to form moist clumps. Set aside.
- After the fruit is done baking, remove it from the oven, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the crisp. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow the crisp to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Blogger’s Disclosure: I use King Arthur flour because that’s what The Hubbers likes to buy. King Arthur doesn’t really know that I exist. If you were to ask them about me, they would say, “Who?” Unless one of their employees has an Aunt Elsie who places orders, the only way they have done business with my Pantry is through orders I have placed with them. I’m only in their customer database under my real name, just like The Hubbers is. Yes, we get two catalogs from them. It keeps us from fighting over who gets to see the catalogs first when they come in the mail. Trust me, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.