Category Archives: Food

Recap: A Week Without Wasting Food

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know my family tried to go a week without wasting food.  You can read about what prompted the challenge here.  It even prompted this week’s Bible verse.

I thought I’d take some time to let you know how the week went.  It’s certainly a “first world problem” but it’s easy to waste food if you don’t pay attention.

The first night of the challenge (Friday) after supper we had about a half cup of chili cheese dip and some tortilla chip crumbs left over.  Normally we probably would have thrown both out.  My oldest daughter finished them as an after dance snack a day or two later.

The week of our challenge was a busy one so we planned in advance to use the crock pot almost every night.  Our menu for the week was planned and groceries were purchased for the week on Saturday.

On Sunday our Church held it’s annual chili cook-off.  I entered and had fun trying and comparing 10 different entries. That meant 10 half full Styrofoam cups of chili to eat.

About halfway through sampling them I was full and realized there was no way I could finish them all.  I didn’t plan ahead and bring a container so I threw away the uneaten chili.

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I had about half of the chili I brought left so I froze the leftovers as soon as we got home from Church.  Chili freezes well and we’ll have two easy meals to thaw and reheat later.

My oldest loves to cook and wanted to make some chicken tortellini soup for supper Sunday night.   She started making it as soon as we got home from the cook-off.

During the prep she accidentally dropped some carrots on the kitchen floor.  At first she thought I was kidding when I told her to wash them off and use them.  Then I reminded her about our attempt to go a week without wasting food.  She reluctantly washed and used them.

The soup turned out great but there was a lot of it.  More than I had planned on.

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Not wanting to waste any of it we decided to eat the soup again for supper Monday night.  The tortellini were mushy the second time around but still edible.  After supper there was still plenty of soup left.

I boxed up the leftovers in two containers.  One I made sure had no tortellini in it.  That got frozen.  We can add some rice or fresh noodles to it later.

The second container had all the mushy tortellini in it.  It was my lunch Tuesday and Wednesday.  That’s right. I had that soup four days in a row.

The first day it was awesome.  The last day it was barely edible because of the totally disintegrated tortellini.  It will be awhile before I’m ready to have chicken soup again.

Wednesday we made sesame ginger chicken in the crock pot.  It was good.  We froze the leftover chicken.  It will be good to include in stir fry sometime.

Thursday brought our biggest waste of food for the week.  We had planned to have meatball subs and got everything ready to go in the crock pot Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, in the craziness of our morning, the crock pot got turned on to low… but it wasn’t plugged in!

I was beyond bummed when my daughter called after school to tell me what had happened.  That was probably 5 dollars worth of food wasted… but I can guarantee this… I don’t think I’ll ever use the crock pot again without double checking that it’s on and plugged in.

Here are my take aways from the week:

* It is extremely easy to waste food if you’re not actively trying not to.

* When planning meals for the week I need to really consider the amount of leftovers.  Had I done this we still would have made the soup but would have only made a half batch.

* When planning meals for the week I need to quick survey the leftovers we have frozen and make sure they get used before they get too old.

* It’s important to keep the refrigerator cleaned out.  That way it’s easier to keep track of leftovers.

I’m glad my family tried this experiment.  It’s opened my eyes to how easy it is to waste food and to the amount we were wasting.  It’s a week that will stick with me.

I did a little Googling about food waste in America and found out that according to a report from the USDA,  “In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten.”

Those are some pretty big numbers! I think that if everyone paid just a little attention they could be reduced somewhat.

How about you? Could you go an entire week without wasting any food?  Leave a comment.  I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on food waste.

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A Week Without Wasting Food

Most weeks my family is pretty good about not wasting food.  We have a meal plan that we stick to and only get the groceries needed for the week, plus whatever is on sale to stock our pantry.

However, when we have a week when the planning doesn’t happen things get missed.  Leftovers get unintentionally hidden in the back of the refrigerator.  A third of a loaf of bread blends in with the other things on the counter to get stale.  We forget about the half of a bag of spinach in the vegetable drawer.

Those are all real world examples of things that have gone to waste in our house from time to time.  We don’t think about it or agonize over the waste.  It just eventually gets thrown out.

Wasted food is something I’ve been thinking about this week.  It started after listening to one of Father Roderick’s podcasts.  In it he explained that for Lent this year he was limiting his food budget to what someone at the poverty level in his country has.

That equals out to be about $2.50 – $3 in the United States.  I wondered if my family of four could make it on $10 dollars a day.  It’d be really difficult.  A school lunch costs around 2 bucks and that’s just one meal for one kid.

Knowing I could have a revolt on my hands if I suggested my family try it for a week I thought I’d take a different approach.  Could my family make it a week without wasting any food?

No “bites left on the plate”.  No “there really isn’t enough left to save so just put it in the trash”.  No “oops we forgot about this in the back of the fridge”.

So that’s the goal.  Seven days without wasting any food.  My wife got us off to a great start by cleaning out the refrigerator. Tomorrow the kids and I will map out our menu for the week.  That should get us headed in the right direction.

To make sure we’re held accountable I’ll be sure and post a recap of how the week went here on the blog.

What do you think? Could you go a week without wasting food.

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Quality vs. Quantity

Recently I spent a great day out shopping and running errands with my oldest daughter.  We had a lot of fun and when it was time for lunch we wanted to try something different.

We chose a place that we’d never be able to go with my youngest daughter because of her peanut and tree nut allergy.  It was what I’d describe as a “super buffet”.

There was a little bit of everything; American, Japanese, and Chinese food.  We were excited because they had several sushi offerings and that was something new for both of us.

At 12:45pm on a Saturday there was a crowded waiting room and a 15 minute wait for us.  Time passed quickly and soon we had a table and were headed to the buffet!

We surveyed the options and then headed for the sushi!  The options were a little overwhelming.  Since we’re both shrimp fans we each took a shrimp lovers roll.  After adding small portions of other things to our plates we went to our table.

The sushi was the first thing we tried.  We were not fans!  It was edible but not enjoyable.  For us, that seemed to be the theme of this buffet.

There were probably hundreds of options.  They all looked great but nothing we tried was spectacular.  We agreed that the best thing we had was the fresh fruit and green beans with sesame seeds.

It was a disappointing meal but it lead to a great conversation about quality versus quantity.  My daughter said, “I would have preferred one entree that was amazing instead of all these choices that are just OK”.

I had to agree with her.  We decided that in the future buffets would drop to the bottom of places we’d like to try.

We also aren’t ready to give up on sushi yet… but want to go to a place known for sushi with someone knowledgeable to help us order.

I purposely left the name of this place out of this blog post for several reasons.

First, it was clean and the staff was friendly and attentive.  Second, the price was very reasonable… $7.59 a person.  Lastly, other people seemed to really enjoy it.  There was still a wait when we left at 2pm.

Others may really like this place but for us it was lack luster.

What’s your opinion of buffets?  Do you feel like they sacrifice quality for quantity?

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