Giving [pantry] shelf warmers a second chance

[Alternative title: What happens when I have too much fun editing my pictures …]

Unlike previous weeks’ WIAW posts that were about overcoming fear foods this one’s about another challenge of sorts. Let’s give second chances on today’s What I ate Wednesday. Thanks for hosting, Jenn!


I did what had been on my list for weeks – or dare I say: months – already. Tackling not a list of fear foods but the bags upon bags of staple foods I had neglected in the back of my pantry. Thanks to Liz and Amanda for reminding me to make a more conscious effort to use them up than previously rather then keep buying new items.

Note: If it's not making a pretty picture just add a little editing magic.

Note: If it doesn’t make a pretty picture just add a little editing magic.

One of the above-mentioned shelf warmers was polenta. Is it just me or does polenta/cornmeal really happen to be one of the most unpopular grains in the blog world? At least for myself I can say that even now after giving it yet more chances I’m simply not impressed. Wanting to try new breakfast and having been quite fond of semolina pudding during my childhood I gave the classic a try with polenta. Unfortunately, though, no matter how much nut butter I added it failed to please me.

Not wanting to give up just yet I went the savoury route. Chili topped with polenta sounded like a good idea in theory but turned out lacking. There’s still some more polenta in the bag so I have some more ideas but I won’t pick up another package afterwards, I think.

Okay, this might not have left me heartbroken but disappointed nonetheless.

Okay, this might not have left me heartbroken but disappointed nonetheless.

Another grain that had been sleeping in the back of my pantry for ages was buckwheat. Having seen them on numerous blogs I’d purchased some groats and used them a single time so far. With my current zucchini pasta kick I thought they might add a nice texture to the plate. My verdict? Don’t judge me but I still haven’t warmed up to the little [pseudo] grain. Even as a yogurt add-in I wasn’t amazed by the texture.

Yes, avocado sauce on the side once again.

Yes, avocado sauce on the side once again.

One item that I hadn’t had in months but welcomed back very warmly was Lindt Chili chocolate. I may or may not have had several squares every day. I’ll call it making up for the other failed dishes ;).

Lindt Chili

Studying requires chocolate fuel, right?!

Happiness inducing today: Getting my sister’s absolutely adorable wedding invitation [which I might just have to share with you in one of my next posts] in the mail.

Which are some items that you bought and then forgot about in the back of your pantry?

What are your favourite recipes using polenta and buckwheat? Please tell me that I just didn’t prepare them the right way and will be amazed by their goodness after all :).

24 thoughts on “Giving [pantry] shelf warmers a second chance

  1. Aimee @Cinnamon Castle says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever tried polenta, and to be honest I’m not that bothered to! It just looks a little odd to me… Buckwheat is also something I’m not really fond of. I just found it lacking in flavour, and the texture was weird. But the Lindt chilli chocolate? HUGE fan! You have my approval on that one!

  2. Flake And Cake says:

    I have to say I’m not convinced about polenta porridge but it does make fabulous cakes – like a lemon and pistachio polenta cake or a zesty orange cake. We have quite a few bits at the back of the cupboard, including a bag of lots of different types of pasta we are slowly working our way through. It is quite a fun way to eat it though!

  3. jessielovestorun says:

    All of your meals look fabulous, however, I’ve never tried polenta before so I can’t say whether or not that’d be a food i’d enjoy or not!! …but that’s okay because the chili chocolate sounds pretty awesome!

  4. Alex (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) says:

    Chocolate IS needed for proper studying, a very true fact indeed 😉
    I actually love polenta! They had it in the cafeteria this past school year, and it was a favorite of mine. I think they just cooked it in soymilk (it was vegan) and added in some vegan butter+salt+pepper. Then they had all sorts of toppings like sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions, though I preferred it plain. I want to try it at home only with almond milk and some real butter 🙂

    • letsgetupandlive says:

      I’m glad we agree on the chocolate :).
      Regarding the polenta I guess it can be prepared to be tastier and I’ll surely give it another go. Even eating mostly vegan I’ll agree that sometimes a little butter adds a whole lot of taste.

  5. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    Lol sorry girl – I definitely can’t speak to the wonders of polenta or buckwheat because I’m not crazy about them either. I have bags of both sitting in my pantry as well, and I’m still not really sure what I’m going to do with them. Sigh.

    I’ve been trying to use up a lot of shelf warmers lately too, which has resulted in some less than stellar eats. The only thing I can say is thank goodness I no longer put so much weight onto my food, because I would definitely be all sorts of cranky with my less than satisfying meals.

    • letsgetupandlive says:

      Wait, you’re not fond of buckwheat, either? But … your blog was one of those that I discovered it on. Well, now I guess we’ll both do a little happy dance once we reach the bottom of our buckwheat bags :).
      Admittedly, I was a bit bugged by some of the disappointing meals I’ve created with those shelf warmers. Then again, I wouldn’t blame it on the food only but my overall mood in those very situations.

  6. Emily says:

    I need to do this too- SO badly. There are bags of things in my pantry that have been there for months and I just have no idea what to do with them. Your post is totally inspiring though. Thank you!
    And I can’t say I’m a big fan of polenta or buckwheat either…I wish I was! At least you had some delicious chocolate to enjoy. (:

    • letsgetupandlive says:

      Chocolate is the best compensation for any failed meals, right?!
      Don’t feel bad for not liking buckwheat and polenta. They really don’t seem to have many fans in the blog world.

  7. Sara @ Nourish and Flourish says:

    Oh bummer! I’m sorry to hear polenta wasn’t as delicious as you remembered! I must be in the minority, but I actually love it. However I never eat it in porridge form; I buy the round blocks and pan fry it so that the edges become a little crispy. I love to top it was sauteed spinach and cheese. So good! I know you’re not a cheese-eater, but I can imagine it might be good with a little nutritional yeast or tomato sauce? Since I love polenta, I think your chili casserole looks wonderful! Are there leftovers I can help you eat? 😉

    Lindt Chili chocolate is one of my favorites! Would you be adventurous enough to try Wasabi? If so, I’ll throw a bar in your care package! Huge hugs, my dear! ❤

    • letsgetupandlive says:

      Now if I had known you were a polenta fan I’d have mailed you any leftovers :). Your idea of cheesy polenta with tomato sauce is right along the lines of what I’d planned to prepare it like next. Let’s see how it works …
      Actually, the Lindt Wasabi is available in Germany while the Sea Salt Caramel isn’t – the company clearly doesn’t have its priorities straight ;). So: Should I be daring enough to try the Wasabi flavour? It scares me …
      Hugs back <3!

  8. sophia1991999 says:

    Ok- polenta can be so amazing!! I cook it up slowly in vegetable stock stirring for a good 30-40 minutes (the real polenta takes time ;)) and then I add butter (you could use vegan kind?) and fresh milk (again maybe plain vegan kind?) and stir usually I add parmasen but even without and just some fresh salt and pepper it should be great- its nice with some roast tomatoes and basil. Hope you give it another shot 🙂

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