Let's stop food waste.....creative ideas 1

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Food waste is the single most effective way to lose money. I say lose money because if you spent hard-earned money on food, and then wasted the food, you effectively lost the money. Now speaking for myself.....

When I lose money, say a 5 or 10 dollar bill that I might have lost misplaced, I get quite upset. Why? Because it really is not misplaced, it is gone and I know it was wasteful. But when.........

We go to the produce market on Sunday's and stock up for the week, with all that lovely and healthy produce, as the days in the week roll by and for whatever reason produce begins to go bad instead of being eaten, I don't always see it as wasteful.

Which is really, really silly because the half of a cucumber that softened quickly and immediately molded, is waste. The radish cluster that got lost in the vegetable drawer until it declined into a green puddle with red bumps, is waste. The lemon that sat so pretty in the fruit bowl until it became a hard leather shell, is waste. The salad greens that started out as good intentions, becoming limp, yellow and slippery, also waste.

I also think this is so much easier to have this happen when it is a just small family or in our case, just us. In past years with the kids home, there was no waste. Life was a busy cycle of, get the food home, get it prepared and then zoom, it was eaten! Therefore with our family of two, I need to work smarter, not harder wasteful. One way to tackle the waste problem is with creativity. And that even I can do.

Here are some examples from this past week.....

We had oranges in the fruit bowl, they had been there just long enough that we had lost interest in peeling the leathery skins at lunchtime. The solution was fresh and delicious.


4 or more oranges, reserve one orange - do not peel
peel the remaining oranges, remove as much white membrane as possible.
slice thinly
layer in a pretty bowl with coconut
juice the reserved orange, pour juice over fruit and coconut
let rest in the refrigerator, until serving time, delicious!

We tend to keep a lot of condiments in the refrigerator. There would possibly be even more if we only had a bigger refrigerator! For some reason, I don't think you can have too many, or maybe I just like them. Either way, I will buy something to try and sometimes it can get lost, in that secret vault area known as the back of the shelf. Which is where we found a jar of roasted mild peppers with lime juice. So, it was time they were turned into a delicious dish to enjoy.....

 Scalloped potatoes with roasted peppers

Scalloped Potatoes are a wonderful way to use up a flavorful condiment or ingredient and prevent waste! Plus they are really easy and more of a process than a recipe...I still make scalloped potatoes the way my mom did. 

8 medium potatoes - peeled if desired
1 onion sliced and ringed out (did not use for this dish)
4 T flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 c diced or shredded cheese
1 large can evaporated milk
anything else you wish to add

Butter a large baking dish
Layer half the sliced potatoes, onion if using, flour and the extra ingredient, season with salt and pepper
repeat layers
add the cheese to the top

pour the milk over, cover and bake for 1 hour, uncover and bake 15-30 minutes more or until bubbly and the potatoes are cooked. 

Enjoy for dinner now, but conveniently these reheat well, so you can make the day before for a quick meal later.

Small families also have cookie troubles. Cookies can get stale before they are gone. Especially a purchased cookie. We purchased some ginger cookies during the holidays, only because we loved the copper-tin they came in (please don't judge, I love to collect copper...). Fast forward to late February and we still have cookies. Ginger snaps being a crisp cookie, keep a long time. But we were now a bit tired of them. Plus......

I had one of those hard-shelled lemons to deal with. Combining the two, I made ginger-lemon cream cookie sandwiches.....a simple lemon buttercream was spread on half the cookies, then sandwiched together. Store in a covered container and you have delicious soft and chewy Ginger Lemon Sandwich cookies. 

Weekends are a relaxed time to see what is in the refrigerator and make sure you use what you have, in ways that you can, to stop food waste. We often make a dish we refer to as "Eggs and". Today we are making Eggs and with the leftover scalloped potatoes. Eggs and are also great for dinner. 

Warning! Even when cooked Eggs and are not pretty, but they are always tasty!

You may recall that we were given a sack of onions, and to prevent waste, some were diced for the freezer and the rest were made into Caramelized Onions in the crockpot. 

And when we were given heads of garlic, we used a very easy peeling method for peeled garlic and put it in the freezer for easy to use, already peeled garlic. 

When I overbought celery at holiday time, I turned it into a delicious and Creamy Celery Potato Chowder

Although in the past I have done a fair job in preventing food waste, my goal is to do a much better job in the future. This will also give me the opportunity to sharpen my creative skills. One never knows how much better they can be, until they try!

Thank you, I think I will!

If you like this, you may want to see Let's stop food waste creative ideas 2, here.


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  1. I feel the same way! We waste so much produce at our house. I just sat down and made a dinner list for next week using whats left in the fridge.

  2. Oh Melynda! Your descriptions of produce going bad in your fridge is very vivid and I'm afraid I know because I've seen it.

    One problem I face is cooking for two. If I need 2-3 stalks of celery for a recipe, I have to buy an entire bunch. Etc.

    If I can use it in a smoothie or vegetable stock, that helps. So do your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Liz, I try to "shop" the refrigerator first. And fortunately for me, I have never been a whim eater. I tend to enjoy what we have, how it is cooked.

    Rocquie, I really need to get on your smoothie habit, it sure could make my toast and almonds on the way to work a little more exiting. For some reason celery is not a problem here, often I will take peanut butter stuffed celery as my lunch main dish. The same with celery and cheese sticks.

    Thanks to you both for stopping by!

  4. I agree! I am so guilty of so much food waste!

  5. As a little girl, my parents always used to tell me "Waste not, want not." You make some excellent points here, and those recipes look amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. This is an important article. I struggle with this,too, and most of the time I am only cooking for two. The freezer is a great help. Most celery, for instance, I use for soup and stir fry, so when I get some, I leave some out for fresh eating and then chop and freeze the rest in small batches. When I make chicken bone stock (very concentrated) I freeze it in little half-pint jars and one of them is just right for making a small batch of soup for the two of us. If I want to make a large batch, I just freeze the extra in meal-sized portions. I make our bread, and slice it and freeze it and only take out just what we need. If I do get some homemade bread that is getting rather stale, I crumble it in the food processor and freeze it to use in salmon burgers and meat loaf. It really is a constant creative process. When there are, um..., "leftovers" - the chickens get those. ;)

  7. such a great post, a wake up call I should say! We need to follow your lead for sure!!

  8. Loves2spin, I really like your tips. My goal is to get the bread baking and storing in place. Thanks for stopping by.

    Linda, my parents always named a country where there were starving children and pointed out how fortunate we were to have so much. And of course they were right. We followed the same waste not want not thought and possibly that is exactly whey it bothers me so. Thanks for visiting.

    Pam, your recipes always look wonderful and I find it hard to think you are wasteful in your kitchen. You cook with such flair and precision. I appreciate your visiting!

  9. Hello Laurie, thanks for visiting! How do you keep waste at a minimum in your home? I would love to hear your ideas.

  10. I have a drawer full off "wasted" produce, but at least I soothe myself somewhat knowing it will go into my composter, to make compost to feed my plants to make more produce...


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