Eat ALL the Things!


Yes, this is an homage to Hyperbole and a Half, possibly the most humorous blog. Ever.

But back to the topic at hand: EATING! As part of our Uber Frugal Month experiment, Mr. Frugalwoods and I challenged ourselves to eat the backlog of food in our home. We’re not over-buyers by our very frugal nature, but we still had quite the collection of unique foodstuffs. All that bulk grocery shopping can sometimes come back to bite ya…

To identify our stash of food:

  1. We explored our refrigerator:
    • Found a jar of lemon curd (?!?, but it was tasty)
  2. We examined our freezer:
    • I’m not sure whose idea it was to buy a 5 lb bag of frozen green beans, but I’m sure it was a good deal at the time.
    • Also, 6 lbs of frozen fruit.
  3. We excavated our pantry:
    • At some point in our lives, we decided we needed a lot of canned salmon. Like, a lot.
    • Plus, one can of anchovies!

We’re a month in and no one has contracted scurvy. First to go were the perishables–fruits, vegetables, dairy.

It’s taken a good deal of creativity in the cooking department–directed, staffed & managed entirely by Mr. Frugalwoods–but he says it’s been a delicious and often hilarious undertaking. Right now he’s roasting sweet potatoes for dinner (with a side of, yes, green beans) while cooking our lunches for the week: black beans, vegetables, and rice.

The legendary green beans! Paired with cheap frozen shrimp and leftover jalepanos

The legendary green beans! Paired with cheap frozen shrimp, shallots, and leftover jalapeños.

Consuming your backlog of food is a great way to:

  1. Have a super frugal month
  2. Examine the food you’ve been purchasing and make educated decisions on future purchases in order to frugalize your groceries
  3. Recognize when to buy bulk and when not to. I think we’re going to be eating those green beans for 6 months…

 What’s the most unusual meal combo you’ve made from random and forgotten food?

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18 Responses

  1. K says:

    We are doing this experiment this week. Our fridge supplies are already a little low due to holiday traveling since last Wednesday, but I am refusing to do anymore grocery shopping until after the new year, longer if we can last! Luckily we have a pretty good supply of lentils, rice, and beans, as well as some frozen veggies. And we were gifted a dozen home-grown eggs from M’s aunt and uncle who have several chickens. Omelets for dinner, lentil chili for lunch, woot!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Woohoo! That’s awesome! Lentils, rice, beans, and veggies are such great staples–we eat some combination thereof pretty much every week. Omelets and lentil chili both sound delicious. Good luck!

  2. T says:

    Do you ever use a pressure cooker for your beans or rice, or for making soup? If not you should consider trying one out. I was surprised to see that your recipe used canned beans. Back in my 20’s I was a climbing bum and thought canned beans were an extravagance. Dried beans turn out really nice when pressure cooked, and very cheap.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      We haven’t in the past, but I’m on the lookout for a pressure cooker on Craigslist now that the internet has schooled me on bean prep 🙂

      • AnnJo says:

        Hi, I’ve just been exploring and enjoying your website, and although it’s a very old post, thought I’d put in my 2 cents worth on pressure cooking equipment.

        Most pressure cookers use rubber caskets, which wear out with use and degrade with time, so if you’re buying a used cooker, you should assume you’ll need to replace the gasket. Before you decide if a used one is a good deal, check Amazon on the cost of the new gasket for that model first. It may turn out not to be such a bargain. Also, chances are you’ll end up wanting to do some pressure canning at your homestead (veggies and meats all need to be pressure canned). Keep in mind that a pressure cooker of under 16 quart capacity (that’s fluid volume, not number of quart jars it will hold) should not be used for pressure canning because it can’t hold the heat necessary to safely can low-acid foods long enough. So if you want dual use, you must get one over 16 quarts. But on the other hand (and isn’t there always another hand?), once you get in to the big canners of that size or more, they’re just too cumbersome to use for daily cooking. BUT a used All-American pressure canner, if you can find one, is probably a good deal if its parts are all intact, just as a single use (canning) item. They are practically indestructible, don’t use gaskets, and can process big batches.

        I bought a 10-quart gasketed Fagor pressure cooker for beans, stews, etc., and that’s about as big as I’d want to go for cooking. Frankly, I’d rather it was even a little smaller (or my sink bigger), but it is non-stick, so that helps with the cleaning. Otherwise, I really love it, and use it almost weekly. My canner is an All-American 921 (21 quarts) and it’s HUGE and HEAVY, and I’d never use it to cook up a batch of beans unless I was feeding an army, but it works great for canning big batches of meat or veggies.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I just discovered your blog, and having exhausted Mr. Money Mustache until the next post, am really enjoying yours! I agree about the beans- we buy dried beans and cook them in batches, then freeze. Soak the beans overnight or during work day, then cook them in fresh water until tender. I don’t have a pressure cooker- just use a big pot (more electricity than a pressure cooker). I throw in some type of seaweed because I read it cuts down on flatulence. I have no idea if it works, but the extra minerals can’t hurt. This will give you good practice for growing your beans and shelling them once dried on your homestead! My children are quite picky, but are happy to snack on chick peas, kidney beans and black beans straight out of the freezer.

    I’m trying to eat all the food in our house- I love the challenge, but it takes time when we don’t start using bulk purchases regularly after purchase. 5 lbs of red lentils? Bought a year ago and completely forgotten about. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hey Rebecca! I’m so glad you found us–welcome :)! Hooray for beans, we love ’em. They’re so inexpensive and such a great protein source–vastly cheaper than meat. 5 lbs of red lentils is a lot of lentils. Good luck with the challenge and thanks for saying hi :).

      • Belinda says:

        I would love to have a 5 pound bag of red lentils. I would make Chef AJ’s Red Lentil Chili for sure. It’s a tried and true family favorite.

        Chef AJ’s Red Lentil Chili

        Makes 14 cups


        1 pound of red lentils (I used green since that is what I had on hand)
        7 cups of water
        2 (14.5 ounce) cans of salt-free tomatoes, fire roasted preferred
        1 (6 ounce) can of salt-free tomato paste
        10 ounces of chopped onion (approximately one large)
        One pound of red bell pepper, (approximately 2 large) VERY finely chopped
        3 ounces of dates (approximately 12 Deglet Noor) (I had/used 5 dates)
        8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
        4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (omitted since I was out)
        1.5 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes (0mitted)
        1.5 Tablespoons Oregano
        1.5 Tablespoons Salt-free Chili Powder
        2 teaspoons SMOKED paprika
        1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste) (0mitted)
        1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste) (0mitted)


        Blend the dates, tomatoes, red bell peppers and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth.
        (I didn’t blend anything, I just put them all in the pressure cooker as is)
        Place all remaining ingredients in an electric pressure cooker and cook on high for 10 minutes.
        Alternatively, place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

  4. Gira says:

    Oh this is my challenge for April! I need to eat all the things in the house! I, too, found myself with a 5 lb bag of green beans in the freezer. I cooked some and ate some with my oatmeal for breakfast, and I do not recommend it! I will have to try them for dinner instead. Plus I have so many kinds of lentils, dried beans, dals, etc. I don’t know when I can eat them all. And then my mom gave me some bags of kala chana (black chickpeas) and brown mung beans. I don’t even have bottles to put them in! Aaaaacccckkkkk! This challenge will probably continue into May for me!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      HAHA! Black beans in the oatmeal… that sounds like something I’d try! It gets to be pretty fun to dig through the cupboards!

  5. Mrs. FI says:

    Oh my gosh, call me crazy but I absolutely LOVE doing this. I do it at least once a month (once a week more often than not) and am always finding new and creative ways to make our food go further. I’m in agreement with Mr. Frugalwoods, it is “a delicious and often hilarious undertaking.” Just last week we had some left over crescents (that I graciously took from a work potluck), 6 eggs, a little bit of Gruyere cheese left from Christmas (that’s right, CHRISTMAS. the stuff lasts FOR-E-VER), remaining almond milk from my juice cleanse and some leftover breakfast sausage. What does that make? A breakfast casserole! For normal people it probably would have lasted a whole week, but given our appetites are those of a full-grown gorilla, we ate it in 3 days. It still saved us time and money AND gave us something other than granola and oatmeal to eat for breakfast. I can’t think of any unusual combos…but that’s probably because we’ll eat just about anything in any combination and think it’s totally normal. 😉

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Heh, we’re similarly so jaded by odd combos that the occasional weekend lunch of olives, black beans, and leftover pasta (goes pretty well actually) doesn’t even make us bat an eye 🙂

      All I’m going to say is that cheese of any sort rarely lasts very long in our house… 😉

  6. Sam says:

    I used some *old* frozen bag of green beans to make homemade baby food for my 8 month old. Old wilted sad looking frozen green beans don’t matter when you puree them in a blender and they taste just the same to him. That helped to get rid of a ton of frozen bags of green beans.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great idea! We’re going to have to learn the ways of making baby food before too long, so that’s good to know 🙂

  7. Darleen says:

    Love you folks!! Especially the ever Elegant,Frugaldog!!! You make me laugh and you give me hope that we can do this too. Thanks!!

  8. Marisa says:

    The big win I found in our area is Cash and Carry, which is a west coast restaurant supply store. They have a great assortment of dried beans that our local Costco does not have. And cheese is crazy cheap, we can get 16 ounces of buffalo mozzarella for 1/2 the price of 8 ounces at a regular store. They also carry this amazing pizza sauce(no preservatives) for $2.29/can, which will make about 4 pizzas.

  1. June 30, 2014

    […] also took on the Eat ALL The Things! challenge to, well, eat everything (edible) in our […]

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    […] yogurt, for instance. The Frugalwoods family combined their Uber Frugal Month challenge with an “Eat All the Things” challenge, which sounds like a good idea to me. Got a freezer full of cooked-ahead rice and beans, […]

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