This past week I threw out a half-used loaf of mozzarella cheese I originally bought to make a panini, a third of a bunch of celery I bought to make sloppy joes, the moldy end pieces of some gruyere I bought to make a croque monsieur, nearly an entire head of ice burg lettuce that I only used to make two salads, a good half-cup of the crumbly remnants of my Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal, and a half bag of shelled edamame with freezer burn.
The great fridge purge got to me. In my efforts to keep my blog fresh with new recipes and exciting ingredients, I have become reckless with my shopping -- buying my way through the grocery store without considering how I will make use of the leftovers. While I usually do make a concerted effort to use up everything I buy, I know I can do a better job. I am not the kind of girl who gets a B- in anything, but I'm currently straddling C territory on this one. It isn't right. And it isn't me. I am an "A" student, and do not want to settle for anything less!
Unless of course, being an "A" student in thriftiness involves freeganism. Cute Anthropologie skirts and coordinating tees/sweaters do not mix well with dumpster diving. (Nor does germaphobia.)
This past weekend, I endeavored to make a few changes in my spending/eating habits. I decided not to try any new recipes. Instead of marrying myself to a certain dish that I felt I had to make, I listened to my cravings and then made something based on what I already had at home.
On Friday night, I defrosted a chicken breast and used up some leftover veggies to make a healthy and delicious chicken stir-fry with quinoa. On Saturday, my mom treated me to lunch out and a wonderful home-cooked dinner. On Sunday, I didn't go to brunch after church and instead made whole grain pancakes with wild blueberry maple syrup (pictured above) using items I already had on hand (frozen blueberries, maple syrup, whole grian pancake mix, wheat germ, etc.) and scrambled eggs. Even though the recipe I used called for buttermilk, I didn't hi-tail it to the nearest grocery store to buy a carton. I mixed a half-cup milk with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice and called it a day. The result was perfectly fine -- great even, and now I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do with the rest of a carton of buttermilk.
After all this unremarkable cooking, yesterday afternoon I started to feel the pressure to do something great and fabulous and worthy of exclamation points and comments like, "that looks so good!" I wanted to try to recreate a pork chop dish from one of my favorite restaurants, but knew it required buying several items that I would not immediately be able to use up. I walked aimlessly around Whole Foods, and later in the day, Gelson's, trying to let myself be inspired by something, but I had nothing but scorn for everything I considered. I didn't want any of it, and for once in my life, was sick and tired of thinking about food and what to do with it.
I finished my shopping and then went for a quick and ferocious hour hike up Runyan Canyon. I blasted the new Kelly Clarkson cd on my iPod and charged up the hill like I was on a mission to burn holes in my seriously worn down Nikes. It felt good. It felt cleansing. And after busting out some Bar Method style ab work on my purple yoga mat at home, I was ready to get back in the kitchen. Not to make something exotic and worthy of photography, but to make the wonderful chicken dish I made last Monday night. I used the half & half I already had, the remaining 1/4 cup of white wine in the bottle I opened for friends that past Thursday night, and plain white mushrooms that were $4.99 a pound as opposed to the $9.99 a pound shitake mushrooms. The result was delicious and satisfying. Especially since I didn't have to break the bank or dive into any dumpsters to make it.