Food Waste Friday

February 26, 2010

Boy, oh boy, I picked a doozy for the first time to post a photo of my Food Waste Friday! In my defense, February was an absolutely chaotic month as far as work. Ended up being pretty chaotic personally, too. Anyway, last weekend we drove 6 hours for my new nephew’s baptism, so we didn’t get a lot of food eaten and little time to prepare food this week due to a busy work and personal week. So I wasn’t going to even take a picture, but then I figured that is exactly the point of this! Even though I’ve cut down on what I buy as far as weekly groceries, I still overestimate how much we will eat in a week. So this week I do not plan on buying any groceries other than the absolute necessities like milk and eggs. So, without further ado, here is my cumulative food waste from the week (I now have a pretty clean fridge!):

Yes, that is half a Sub sandwich.  It’s been a processed food week as I desperately needed quick foods and didn’t have to cook or even do dishes.  Also some leftover pizza from our pizza night last week – normally it would have been eaten on the weekend, but we were gone.  A few peppers from many weeks ago when I actually “overbought” them – forgot I had some at home so I bought more at the store.  You can’t see it, but they’ve got some fuzzy growth on the stems.  Grapes and salad that I just didn’t put out enough for the kiddos.  Plain yogurt that the kids ended up not liking, even with fruit added.   A little chip dip – one of my weaknesses!  And then the meals from last week – some rice and steak and rice with beans – mostly went to waste because the kiddos didn’t like any of it and again, because we were gone for the weekend.  Sadly, the frosting is from more than a month ago, from my daughter’s birthday.  We really tried to use it, but it just didn’t go.  Same daughter asked to try brussel sprouts, but I just never got around to taking the time to learn how to prepare them.  And last but not least, the beans.  I had such good intentions of doing something with them.  The chickpeas were going to be snacks for my daughter’s lunch and I was going to use the kidney beans in recipes.  I should’ve known better than to start soaking on Saturday and then do nothing with them on Sunday.  My weekdays are way too busy.  Which is the whole point of this.  I plan to try freezing the beans next time and cooking the chickpeas right away.

And now, to avoid another bad Food Waste Friday, I’ve got some veggies to prep and fruit to push!



February 8, 2010

I must say, I have been so blessed and encouraged by the comments you all have left! Something I’ve needed this week. It’s a rough month at work and it’s been a rough time lately at home, healthwise, and so I ended up getting some Coke at the grocery store today – as my friend put it – “my car just turned right into the parking lot!” Yes, it’s an emotional crutch for me. But I’ve decided that I need to do whatever I can to make it through the month.

I didn’t actually get the sandwiches made last night, but did this morning and had a few other things to bring, too, for supper tonight. So though I had to pay for drop-in childcare to attend my work thing tonight, at least I didn’t have to pay the outrageous prices they charge for meals. And though it was tempting, we didn’t get fast food on the way home, either. I even made tomorrow night’s supper when we got home (a school thing tomorrow night, but babysitter coming to my home). I’m a little discouraged that I had to pay for childcare tonight, but it was an unforeseen circumstance that my parents couldn’t watch the kids.

Actually, it’s been a little discouraging (hopefully just this first month), realizing what seems like a lot of things that I’ve forgotten to include in my spending plan. I’m trying not to get too down with it, as I know it has to be the norm in the first month or two. And I try to remind myself that if I didn’t menu plan we’d be eating fast food much more. For instance, we’d probably have gotten fast food tomorrow night because I would get home shortly before the babysitter arrives and not have thought ahead to supper or have time to make anything at that point. Now I have it all done and it’s in the individual sealed plates, ready to just heat and eat!

I’ve been thinking about getting one of those Kill A Watt gadgets to see where I could save the most money. I’ve been trying to unplug things much more, but there are still a few places, I’m sure, that I’m missing. One I thought might make a noticeable difference is the flat screen TV (and maybe the computer). At a homebuyer ed class I attended a while ago, a lady from the electric company was saying that a plasma tv kept plugged in uses more electricity in one month than I think a refrigerator in a year. (If you have the actual stat, go ahead and post it – I hate being inaccurate, but it was something crazy like that.)

And now my thoughts are running in all sorts of random directions. Which means it’s time for me to go to bed so I can conserve *my* energy – meeting tomorrow and who knows how many trips to the doctor this week (it was two last week). Good night and thanks again for reading!

Menu Plan Monday

February 7, 2010

I am going to participate in Menu Plan Monday.

Since becoming inspired by the likes of The Frugal Girl and I’m an Organizing Junkie, I’ve been doing my own sort of challenges. I’ve started Food Waste Fridays, which led me to do my own Eat from the Pantry Challenge.

I had already had an eye-opening experience with this last summer when my son was put on a gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, egg-free diet. I was AMAZED at how much processed, flour food was in my home! I began trying to use up things I had on hand and began at that point trying to buy mostly what we needed for the week, instead of stockpiling. Well, he got off of that diet and I sort of slid back into my pattern of relying on prepared, processed foods on those days that I just hadn’t planned well enough and didn’t want to get fast food.

After poring over my statements last week and discovering how much money I WASTE (not to mention finding tons of great, inspiring blogs), I once again sought to simplify my life and start really working towards my goals (the two biggies are getting a new vehicle because mine is, I believe, on its last legs, er, wheels, and buying a house).

So, creating a Spending Plan, going on my own Eat from the Pantry Challenge, and anticipating Food Waste Friday naturally leads to menu-planning. Last week was the first try for me, and I must say, it was much less stressful than normal, knowing what we would be eating for dinner and not once getting fast food! I’ve tried menu planning before, but I’ve finally found the key to my success – I cannot plan it to a T, but if I have the main dish and maybe a side dish figured out, then I’m set. And in the process of thinking about Food Waste Friday, I’m amazed at how many days I can feed my family with what I thought was only a little food in my pantry and refrigerator. Apparently it’s much more than a little! Boy, have I been wasting money on food! So, in the spirit of frugalness, here is my week’s menu (I planned it on Saturday):

Sunday: beans and rice or soup

Monday: chicken sandwiches, fruit, veggies

Tuesday: organic mac and cheese (last prepared box of food in the pantry), Lil’ Smokies (last prepared food in the fridge/freezer), green beans

Wednesday: our standing pizza night, since it’s a church night and I only have half an hour between getting home and getting to church. We vary it on whether it’s bought hot, ready-to-bake, frozen, or homemade.

Thursday: spaghetti, green beans

Friday: steak, potatoes

By creating this menu on Friday, I discovered that I didn’t even have to go grocery shopping this weekend! Just one more reason it pays to plan.

The Spending Plan has been going well, too. It helps to be able to look at such specifics – much easier for me than just going straight to a budget. Which, of course, preceded the Spending Plan. I was never taught these things growing up and certainly never learned them when I was married, so I’m excited to be learning now and will be so excited when I actually meet one of my goals!

I’ve also created another challenge for my family – how much can we decrease our energy consumption (and thus, energy bill) by the next statement? So I’ve been reminding the kids to turn lights off when leaving the room, etc. I must admit, this is definitely an area where I’ve been lax. I hadn’t been too concerned with conserving energy, until I really looked at the last electric bill (it’s on automated payments, so I hadn’t been watching it real closely, knowing that it was getting paid anyway). It’s not that we’ve increased our usage – it’s exactly the same as it was last month, as well as last year – but it’ll be interesting to see how much we can bring it down just by awareness.

And now it’s off to make the sandwiches for tomorrow so I don’t resort to fast food!

(Since this linking up may increase traffic here now, does anyone have any suggestions or tips on cloth “pull-ups”? I’ve just discovered they are available and think I could save a ton of money if I go that route instead of the disposables – it’s only for nighttime, but for 3 kids. If it’s important, they are super skinny and very heavy wetters. This is my first venture in cloth “diapering”. Thanks for any help!)