Hackathon my life . . .using up what we already have

It’s taken me a little time to decide what my next hackathon should focus on. I have been steadily chipping away at my project to clear a thousand things and aim to have this finished by the end of the summer. As that is a longer term project, I wanted to pick a project every 30 days to try out the hackathon approach and see what differences I can make.

Slightly by default, I ended up focussing on eating up what we had in the cupboards and freezer. My husband is working away during the week at the moment, which means that I can have some slightly random meals without impacting any else’s tastebuds!

Having said that, I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the meals I have been able to create from stuff already in my pantry and freezer. As I am learning with these projects, if you apply some thought and creativity you can achieve a goal and maintain (or even improve your quality of life).

Using some white bread flour, I created a basic pizza dough (I always use Jamie Oliver’s recipe, it’s very easy to follow and you can have fresh pizza in under 30 mins) and used it to make pizza one night. I topped it with things I had in my fridge (mozzarella, chorizo and mushrooms) and some strained tinned tomatoes. I only used a quarter of the dough in the pizza and during the week I made another pizza, some flatbreads and some garlic bread to form the basis of meals throughout the week.

I also baked a banana and walnut cake and topped it with a cream cheese frosting. I adapted my favourite banana loaf recipe to add the walnuts as I didn’t have the usual marzipan. The cream cheese frosting is based on a hummingbird bakery recipe but I didn’t have enough icing sugar. Usually I would have made a trip to the local shops to pick some up, but in the spirit of the hackathon, I used what I had and made do. The icing was a little runnier than usual but still really yummy! I also made a childhood favourite of macaroni cheese, which was great to take to work and a reminder that some of the most traditional recipes are the best.

My shopping bill has quartered since I started the project. I am eating home made food for every meal and am clearing through the food I have amassed. We haven’t had a take away since we started and my aim is to carry on with this until the freezer is empty.

Before this hackathon, meal planning was loose and largely focussed on what I ‘fancied’. Our weekly shop could often be in excess of £100 for two of us and we would generally eat out at least once a week. This project is reminding me that a more organised approach can take some of the ad hoc nature out of the way in which I shop and eat. Living life by design and intention, instead of taking a reactive approach is something you can apply to every area of your life.


pizza 2



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