Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do Without...

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic and I'm not accustomed to doing without any of the necessities of life and enjoy many little luxuries, but really, we went a little overboard on some budget items last year and I'm vowing to live more providently this year. But other than not spending so much there are other areas that need improvement.

One area of waste is food and I feel very guilty about it because my mother taught me better. So I have make a promise NOT to throw away any food this year and find creative ways to use it all while it is still considered edible. Things like one of a dozen different veggies, bits of cheese and apples going soft.

A few wonderful foods that lend themselves to fresh or frozen "bits and pieces" are things like muffins, quiches, omelette's, french toast with sliced fruits or berries, granola, pizza, soups and stews, roasted or stir fried veggies, pasta dishes, with or without any meat, SMOOTHIES, and so on. Two days before I left for my recent trip to Utah I used up 12 different vegetables, a box of mushrooms and a dozen eggs. It felt great because we ate most of it and only a bag of carrot muffins went into the freezer.

Instead of looking in the fridge and thinking "what do I want?", I ask "What needs to be eaten?" I am going through the fridge first, then the freezer and pantry for items that need be be used before they expire.

I am also going to give away pantry items that I know I will probably never use. Recently I put together no less than 5 different waffle and pancake mixes into one Ziploc bag and put directions on the bag with a sharpie marker. It tastes fine and five boxes went into the recycle bin! And more space in the pantry. I also combined all the leftover nuts and seeds into a jar to sprinkle over waffles or use in granola or cookies or whatever. Put all the leftover baking chips together for one batch of cookies. Go to Wal-Mart and buy some of those glass containers with the screw on lids - they hold one can of food storage - or a bunch of thrown together items like the ones I just mentioned. And they look pretty in your pantry.

Lastly, this morning I looked at the four half eaten jars of jam in my fridge and decided they had sat there long enough taking up space so I pulled them all out, put them all in a pan, heated them up together and now I have one container of very tasty plum-cherry-strawberry-boysenberry jam in a recycled plastic container, four clean jars, and old metal lids in the recycle bin. One teaspoonful of the jam on my yogurt this morning was just enough to make it sweet and tasty. Yesterday I made some lovely chicken veggie soup with fresh veggies and leftover near empty bags of assorted chicken parts from the freezer and those yummy egg noodles from Costco.

We need to eat more fruits, veggies, beans and grains anyway and I am finding out they are much more versatile than once believed. Bon Appetite!


deerhollow said...

Ok. I am inspired. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed it!

coolmom said...

Right - as if!!!