As I finish whipping up a batch of coconut flour cupcakes, a la Elana's Pantry, I'm suddenly struck with how much I have to give up. Maybe it's cold feet or approaching the challenge jitters, but I'm longing for my coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate already!
We've decided to ease into this challenge gently by reducing our coffee drinking, buying only local produce and meat and eating up food in our pantry instead of buying new items. I've realized just how dependent we are on certain food and ingredients and the sheer convenience of certain items. What's my morning porridge without raisins and cinnamon? Mornings without coffee? Mid-days without tea?
Aside from the simple items that make ordinary food extraordinary (read: nutmeg and vanilla) is the practical side of how I'm going to manage being fairly gluten intolerant when the only grains available to me are oats and wheat. While Jeff and Honey Bear benefit from the creativity of a pasta maker, I'll have to settle with pouring contents over mashed potatoes, since homemade rice pasta seems near impossible to make. I've decided to compromise with purchasing locally ground (but imported) rice flour, which will at least open up some possibilities for baked goods, but I already miss having gluten free ingredients at the ready.
All whinging aside, there has been some positive steps forward already. Having limited ingredients forces you to become creative. Without canned soup and needing to use up some canned tuna, I decided to make a tuna casserole with bechamel sauce. Instead of who-knows-what-is-in-it canned creamed soups, my bechamel sauce benefited from a big flavour boost from my own uncanny Lemon Wine and Sage Mustard. A big spoonful of that in the sauce was the citrusy tang the sauce needed and perfectly complimented the tuna. I threw in a combination of frozen cheeses I needed to use up, diced any vegetable I saw and called it a casserole. This was easily the most delicious tuna casserole I've ever had. I will never resort to canned soups again.
So, as we hit the holidays, I'm feverishly baking and cooking and savouring the last few days before the challenge hits. Soon, we'll clean out our cupboards and take stock of our inventory and keep our fingers crossed that the 100 days pass by without too many difficulties and temptations.