I’ve been talking all week about a stroke of inspiration I had that I was excited to announce to everyone. Well here it is!
I’m not sure if this happens to everyone, but occasionally I have a mild anxiety attack regarding our monthly household budget and where the money goes. I’m generally a super saver and really anal about spending money, but sometimes I see a recipe I cannot resist even if it has something expensive, like saffron, in it which may not fit into our budget that month. I’m not saying The Hubs and I are in money trouble or anything, we can definitely afford everything I make, but I just think its important never to get into the habit of spending money without thinking about it. When these anxiety attacks pop up, I usually institute what I call “no spending month” which is a month where we don’t spend any money unless its on bills, gas or groceries. No eating out, no clothes shopping, nothing. This will usually bring us back in check.
Well this time around, I realized that maybe the overspending was mainly my fault. Obviously I try a lot of new recipes here on betsylife. This often requires me to buy unusual ingredients which I don’t necessarily use all of. That combined with just random stuff that collects in our pantry has led to quite a tight squeeze,space-wise over here, not to mention blowing our grocery budget up for the last couple of months. So, what I am going to be doing for the next however-long-it-lasts, is cooking up every spare thing I have in my pantry and fridge. I need a clever name….any suggestions? Right now I’ve been calling it “cook my pantry”
Here’s the loose rules I have set for myself.
1. I will continue to grocery shop for things such as produce, milk, eggs, butter, cereal etc. Things we eat every day
2. I will still shop for items relating to Seasonal Potluck
3. Leila’s birthday is coming up this month and I have a very special cake in mind for her. Still buying that stuff.
4. Everything else, I’m going to try to use ingredients I already have, most likely combining them with fresh produce I get each week, and the meat I have in my freezer.
5. I’m going to try to AT LEAST halve what I’ve been spending on groceries lately (no, I don’t care to share what that is! Just trust me to be on the honor system with that one)
So, that all being said, THIS is what I’m dealing with
Taco seasoning, cornmeal, self rising flour, bread flour, corn flour, farfalle, graham crakers, dates, stelline pasta, black eyed peas, chocolate pudding, brown rice, sushi rice, egg noodles, fondant, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, dried chilis, quinoa, barley, pancake mix, unsweetened bakers chocolate, quick oats, variety of chocolate chips, lentils, yeast, orange gelatin, nori, tons of sprinkles, golden raisins, lemon extract, raspberry extract, almond extract, cookie icing, instant iced tea. Not pictured: pesto, canned chipotle peppers, refried beans, black beans, white beans, red kidney beans, refrigerated pizza dough, plain yogurt, salsa, cream cheese, canned tuna, giardiniera spread, apricot preserves, BBQ sauce, frosting, cake mix, frozen berries, whipped topping, frozen peas, frozen okra, frozen asian mixed vegetables, frozen hashbrowns, frozen lima beans, frozen spinach, and a ham hock.
See! Total randomness. I’m really looking forward to A. the challenge B. getting this crap out of here! Anyway, it might get a little weird up in here as I figure out unique ways to use all this stuff up. Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m not going to be cooking with ONLY this stuff. I have a full spice rack, and a variety of oils, vinegars and other kitchen helpers that I’ll use to (hopefully) make something great!
Now, HELP! Please send suggestions! I’m really interested to see what my readers and I can come up with!