In Which I Dumpster Dive in My Own Fridge Again

(Image credit: Anne Wolfe Postic)

Saving money is the name of the game around here these days. With college looming and some travel plans on the horizon, I cut corners where I can. Though I’m kicking myself for this now, we raised our kids to be “good eaters,” which has translated into “kids with expensive culinary tastes.”

But good, healthy food can happen on a budget, especially if you use what you have on hand instead of going to the store. The other night, I came up with French onion and kale soup, topped with Brie crouton. ‘Cause why not?

Our fridge was full, because I’ve been out of town. Last week, I went to one of the most awe-inspiring conferences I’ve ever attended, ONE’s AYA Summit. After a couple of wonderful, humbling days spent learning about and hearing from women and children who need so much less than I have, I looked forward to coming home and hugging my own children, thankful that all of our needs are met. Opening the fridge and seeing the incredible amount of food that was there drove the point home. We have enough, more than enough, and we are incredibly fortunate to be able to have satisfactory meals any time of day. I also have the luxury of time, which allows for some creativity in the kitchen. I enjoy figuring out how to make something out of “nothing to eat.”

Our meal was simple. I caramelized all-the-onion-like-things-in-the-house, which included shallots, a bunch of wilted scallions, and two yellow onions. I added some chicken and duck stock, a version of which I always have in the freezer. It all went into the slow cooker, along with a splash of wine I used to deglaze the onion pan and about half a bunch of hand shredded kale. I seasoned it with a little pepper and a few dashes of Beautiful Briny Sea French Picnic salt, because…French.

What is French onion soup without a crouton full of cheese on top? Pretty plain soup is what it is. In a stroke of great, great luck, I had a hunk of brie left over from an evening in and some almost-stale-but-fine-for-toasting bread. Voilà!

Get the real recipe: How to Make French Onion Soup at Home

This season, I’m working on appreciating the incredible bounty we have, the wealth of time, food, space, and health. In my house, that starts in the kitchen. Our children are generally pretty grateful guys, but the next time they complain that something isn’t fair? I’ll open the fridge and tell them, no, life isn’t fair, but for the most part, it’s unfair in our favor. And we’ll continue ending our prayers at the dinner table just like my father did, after giving thanks for all we have,

“Make us mindful of the needs of others, and help us to do something about it.”

What are you grateful for today?