Posted by: Rachael | December 2, 2010

Operation “Cook with What You’ve Got” Month!

I don’t know about you, but I am something of a food hoarder. When it comes to buying food, I do my best to plan out the meals I’m going to eat for the week, make a shopping list, and stick to it as best I can. I really do have good intentions…

But intentions can only get you so far! For some reason, I just can’t stop myself from picking up an interesting item here or there, especially if it’s a new product or there’s a major sale going on. Case in point: last week I bought two giant jars of granola of MixMyGranola just because they were having a 10% sale and I couldn’t decide what mix-ins I wanted. And today I grabbed packages of Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, TVP, wheat germ and hot cereal, only to find that I already had some on hand in my pantry at home! What is wrong with me!? Although I’m secretly hoping some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about, this nonsense has got to stop immediately!

Like I mentioned the other day, December is now upon us- which means I’ll be spending more than enough money on Christmas gifts, festive decorations, and holiday baking supplies. I’m also expecting to book a summer trip to South Africa [talk about a lifelong dream come true!!!!!] before the year is up. So basically, I need to be counting my pennies like crazy! Gone are the days of haphazardly grabbing a handful of carrot cake larabars and $4 bottles of kombucha off the shelves at my favorite food co-op. For the next few weeks, I am determined to eat all of my meals and snacks from the stuff I’ve already got on hand. I smell a challenge coming on….

In the spirit of saving money and actually eating [rather than hoarding] everything that’s  residing in my fridge and pantry, I’m challenging myself to a month of  meal consumption based on the things that are currently in my apartment as I’m writing this post. In fact, from now on let December officially be known as “Cook with What You’ve Got” month!

As of December 1st [eek, that’s tomorrow!], I’ll be cooking only with ingredients I have on hand. Of course, I’ll have to make allowances for purchasing a couple of things I just can’t go a month without, including:

  • apples (I eat one for breakfast every day and am quite sure I wouldn’t survive past 9am without one)
  • dairy products (almond/soy milk, cheese, eggs)
  • fresh veggies (because no one could or SHOULD go a month without these babies)
  • holiday baking supplies (i can’t NOT bake cookies for others…it is December after all!)

That’s it! The list of exceptions is short I know, but if you saw how many grains were in my pantry and the ridiculous amount of protein currently taking up space in the freezer, you would understand. I can already envision how hard this is going to be, but I also think it could potentially be a lot of fun! I see many a recipe involving canned tuna, steamed frozen edamame and protein powder in my near future [not together in the same dish of course!] To anyone else who wants to join me on my quest to save more, spend less, and clean out those pantries just in time for the holidays, I say, “the more the merrier!”

Happy cooking/foraging/inventing and everything else!!!

Hmmm…I wonder what I’ll have for lunch tomorrow…



  1. Good luck!!!


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