Empty pantry scramble

8 Jan

My bank account is so close to empty right now that every In N Out order – and, heck, dollar in the parking meter – stings. So I decided to spend no money yesterday (which addresses my financial goal) and cook using only what we had in the fridge and cabinets (touching on my dairy-free one, since we have very little in the apartment). Here’s what I was working with:


Food cabinet. This is where I keep my beans, grains, peanut butter, oils, vinegar, and such. Eventually this will go in the pantry . . . once it has shelves.


Grapefruit and tomato (that ended up being rotten – blech) on the counter.


Spice cabinet. I also keep tea and a few random things in here. This, incidentally, is my favorite thing about the kitchen.


Fridge scariness. Normal things, plus really old takeout.


Freezer. Apparently it only contains, flours, sugar, vodka, and ice.

For breakfast, I decided to go with a classic bowl of oats:


Ugly but delicious. In the mix: Trader Joe’s hot breakfast mix (oats, barley, rye, and wheat) with peanut butter, homemade pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, a splash of coconut milk, six (yes, six) chocolate chips, and a pinch of raw sugar. ‘Twas delicious. A couple of hours later, I made Mr. X a slightly different oat combo (jam instead of PB) and we split the grapefruit.

For lunch, I was excited to use up two little zucchini (and the tomato and partial onion, but both ended up being deceased). I decided to give farinata a new twist:

It was incredible. I know I said the last one I made was the best, but this one was even better. It contained: garbanzo flour, water, garlic, nooch, oregano, zucchini, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. I sauteed the zucchini and topped the farinata with it after about a minute on the stove.

I dusted off the slow cooker (literally — the thing was pretty dirty inside) to make dinner:

Weirdly glowing barbecued lentils and rice with steamed Swiss chard. The meal contained: dry brown lentils, dry brown rice, water, garlic, a tad of zucchini, barbecue sauce, chard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. For the entree, I added half a cup of lentils, a cup of brown rice, three cloves of chopped garlic, and three cups of water to the slow cooker and set it on high for about three hours. When everything is cooked, I added a small amount of zucchini (what was left over from lunch) and about a half cup of barbecue sauce. I didn’t measure, just pouring and mixing until it coated everything well. Then I put the lid on and set it to low for another three-ish hours, when we were ready to eat. It made a lot! Probably four servings.

Just before eating, I prepared the chard: set a pan over medium-low, washed the chard, tore it, and tossed it in the pan without drying it. About a minute later, it was lightly wilted. I plated it and squeezed a little lemon juice on top, as well as salt and pepper. Yum!

While dinner simmered in the slow cooker, I decided to throw together some dessert:

PB&J Cookies! These contained: unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, oats, raw sugar, peanut butter, canola oil, water, salt, vanilla, and jam. I’ll share the whole recipe tomorrow, but I will tell you now that they are awesome!

All in all, I was really excited about the success of my experiment and plan to try the challenge again soon. Not next Saturday, though, since we’ll be celebrating our anniversary. 🙂


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