I had the opportunity to teach a workshop today for the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine Annual Health & Wellness Conference in Baltimore. It was held at the Institute for Integrative Health in Harbor East, where I will be teaching a two-part Eating Empowerment Workshops in May (if you want to have a judgment-free, joyful relationship with food and learn to connect with, savor and nourish yourself sign up here!). 

During the workshop, I focused on making common recipes that we buy at the store at home. Since Cinco de Mayo is coming up, I thought I would put a Mexican spin on my recipes and share how to make my Chipotle-style bean burrito bowl, dairy-free cashew sour cream, and no-bake Mexican brownies.

RNK Chipotle Burrito Bowlwords sourcreamIMG_4708

In addition to the recipes I made in the class, I shared how much cheaper it is to buy bulk foods (beans, grains, nuts & seeds), whole foods (carrots, cabbage), and condiments (salsa, salad dressing, sour cream, hummus) instead of canned, bagged, frozen or pre-shredded versions.

Let’s take a look at some simple math that makes the case for why we might want to consider making some basic food ourselves rather than buying the premade versions in the store.

Two cups of dry brown basmati rice costs about $2.30 and triples in size once cooked, yielding SIX cups of cooked rice. Compare that to ONE frozen or precooked bag of brown rice, which typically contains only two cups of cooked rice…for the same cost as six cups! I’m not a mathematician, but I’d say it’s a much better deal to get six cups of rice for $2.30 than it is to get two cups of rice for the same price. The same ratios and similar savings hold true for dry beans vs. canned beans.

Another food worth making yourself at home is shredded carrots. One 10-ounce bag of organic shredded carrots costs about $2.99. BUT you can get 32 ounces of whole carrots (2 pounds) for only $2.29 per pound and shred them yourself using a box grater or your food processor. Then, you can take your carrot scraps and add them to your frozen bag of other veggie scraps to Make Your Own Vegetable Broth. The savings definitely add up over time! 🙂

I mentioned one of my favorite books about the basics behind how to cook everything, so if you want to check it out, visit your local bookstore or Amazon.


In addition to using the great tips, tricks and recips in Mark Bittman’s book, here are some other tips, how-tos and recipes to try that are easier (and cheaper) to make at home than to buy at the store:

How to Cook Brown Rice by The Kitchn. (The key is NOT to stir it or uncover it while it is cooking. It will make your rice gummy!)

How to Cook Beans on the Stove by The Kitchn. If convenience trumps cost for you, try precooked canned beans in BPA-free cans by Eden Organics (my #1 fave!) or Field Day Organics.

How to Make Your Own Vegetable Broth from Scraps by Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchenveggie broth banner

Easy Restaurant-Style Blender Salsa by Averie Cooks

Basic Hummus Recipe from Inspired Taste

Easy Tangy Apple Cider Vinaigrette by Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen

How to Make Salad Dressing from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition

How to Make Your Own Granola {Recipe & Video} from Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen

Super Food Trail Mix by Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchentrail mix

What are your favorite storebought-inspired recipes to make at home?

Feel free to share below!