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OK, so i'm making a pact with myself that i'm gonna stop wasting as much food as humanly possible. i'm sure I won't be perfect.

but, time and money are super tight (this is just our new normal it seems). anyway, I think I've really struggled with this cause my mom was a big food waster, and dad is with us for months every year and he's just very in that habit.

well, that's no excuse, and i'm sick of the waste, so i'm done with it. i'm taking the initiative starting today to waste less. I don't care if I don't have a new meal each supper. I don't care if we're eating supper food and lunch or breakfast. I don't even care if we're all eating the same things at the same time right now.

I really make an effort to have the house filled with ingredients and snacks that are healthy, so there's no big risk of anyone just filling up with empty or fatty calories. so, I don't think i'm risking anyone's health.

i'm hoping this will not only help expand everyone's taste buds (although, we're pretty good already), I'm hoping i'm gonna see a huge drop in my grocery expenses.

anyone else up for the challenge?

anyone else already a jedi master at this and have any tried and try thoughts to share?
 

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We are on board!

Do you compost?

We live off grid and do not keep a refrigerator plugged in.

We use ice blocks rotated from a 12 volt freezer to keep food from spoiling.

We prepare what we will eat, plus a smidge.

The dogs get the scrapings and the occasional brown rice overflow - but we are pretty good at redirecting overflow as in a rice omelet, or soup with added rice!
 

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that was our goal for 2014-no food dollar waste! it has gone surprisingly well. my DH will eat anything i toss out there. i am not a meat eater so he feels lucky to get all the meat he wants. i cook a lot of combo items & i have thrown very very little out this yr. we have been keeping track of our grocery shopping costs since 2005 & i am still shocked to see that every yr we spend almost the same amt on groceries. usually only varies up or down by $100 to $200. what this tells us is that we are obviously buying a lot less food considering what huge jumps we've seen in the past 9 yrs & yet we're spending virtually the same as we did clear back then. we avg $4200 per yr for the two of us. this yr. we have purchased way less but expect our yrly costs t be about the same because of the rising cost of groceries. i use every scrap in some fashion or another & virtually NO food gets tossed. i have incorporated many small amts. of left overs into a casserole, soup, in pasta sauce etc etc. i figured if my mom could feed the 5 of us on nothing then so can i. we grew our own heirloom beans this yr to dry & they are better than the navy or pintos we've been buying & eating for years.
 

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acrebound
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At least once a week in our house we have a 'CORN' night. If you don't know it means clean out refrigerator night. Everything gets pulled out and put on the counter. You then grab a plate, put on what you want and microwave your dinner. Any leftovers goes to the chickens. It's a win win situation. Have been doing this now for over 30 years of our 35 year marriage. If you don't have any animals to give it to, like we did in the beginning, invite a friend over to help eat up all that is there. You will have good company that will even agree to do those dishes!
 

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We don't have waste but we are two retired folks with chickens,dogs and compost making. We often have the same dinner two nights in a row,or half lefovers with a new salad,side dish or piece of meat. I also learned about "hobo" omelets where leftovers go in the middle of an omlette the next day. I've been amazed how great some oddball mixes have turned out as omelet stuffing! Kinda fun! It would be harder for a big family or picky kids I guess. :shrug:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
we aren't composting right now, cause we moved this year and haven't got it going at the new place.

I think feeding it to the critters it a good use too. I do feed some stuff to the house pets and livestock when it's stuff they'll do good with.

I grew up with a coupon queen for a mom. So, she didn't fuss about wasting food. Also, she regularly (multiple times a week) would have friends and family stop by at the last minute to eat with us. So, she just would always cook a bunch, so she'd have plenty for everyone. It worked for her, but it definitely isn't where I want to be or need to be.

I'm much better than I used to be. But, seems like over the years I've always struggled with how much to make to have enough at meal time. Even yield labels on recipes don't seem to add up to the right amount. Then, I have the fussy eaters. It's not a huge problem here, but it is a factor.

I think I'm just to the point where this seems the next logical step to trying to get us to cut down on the waste. We're making progress.
 

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A few years ago, I decided to redo my cooking and serving dishes/pots/pans. That made a HUGE difference.

I found I was absentmindedly just cooking what would fill the pots, and the family was absentmindedly just putting food in bowls and plates until they were full. That was in no way connected to how much we were actually eating.

So, almost all of my big pots and pans and dishes and bowls slowly got replaced with much smaller ones. That helped tremendously with cutting down on waste.

I also got a much smaller refrigerator. it's about 7 c.ft I think. so, now I don't loose track of stuff and forget it's there til it goes bad. that also was a big help.

I also got rid of two big freezer (chest and upright). now I have 3 smaller chest freezer. I don't lose track of stuff in them, and I can unplug them when I don't need to use all that space at once.
 

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OK, so i'm making a pact with myself that i'm gonna stop wasting as much food as humanly possible.
Dogs, chickens, pigs, cats, etc take care of any leftovers for most people. I don't think anything is ever really completely wasted if you have animals around.
 

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I'm just careful with the dogs. seems like some stuff does bad things to their bellies. ask me how I know :)

really, at this point in my whole "zero waste" plan, I think I'm just having to let go of my whole "momma's not doing her job if she's not putting out 3 squares a day" mentality.

I work really hard to keep the junk food away and to not eat out. it's not flawless, but I think we do a pretty good job at it.

I am mainly letting everyone eat whatever for breakfasts and lunches. so that's cutting down on the waste. but, not being in the kitchen and calling everyone in for a meal....that's what hard. but, it's just a mental thing, that I have to let go of.

I'm not doing great at supper quantities. but, I'm starting to make a few nights of food and then letting us eat a night or two of just those left overs. so, I'm making progress.

just wanted to chat with others. it's nice to get some encouragement. we all have certain things we're raised being good at usually. for me, this is a struggle. but, I'm happy with the progress we've made and looking to do even better :buds:
 

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Pick a day, I use monday as I do my shopping on a Tuesday, and take everything that you are going to throw away out of the fridge, write down what it was and how much it cost, keep another note of just the cost (so you don't have to trawl through miles of scribbles to find that) Remember to write down anything else that gets thrown out as well, I include vegetable peeling etc in that, since it IS waste even if less avoidable than say a pint of milk. (at the moment I do not have any animals that will eat it OR a garden! STILL waiting on completion SIGH)

If the price at the end doesn't shock people into not wasting, nothing will. I found it also pointed out where I was wasting food, I found I eat one and a half cucumbers a week.. so now only buy 1 one week and 2 the next, if it's not enough on the first week, tough! eat something else. Milk is a huge waste round here. Can't figure out what to do about it either, we use less than 1/2 US pint a week but the smallest amount we can buy is 1Ltr (1.7pt) I only use it in cooking, but some recipes HAVE to have it!
 

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CORN Clean Out Refrigerator Night... I like that, I usually make refrigerator soup, kind of the same thing. Sometimes a casserole. Like others have said between dogs, cats and chickens not much is left. My parents went through the depression so there was no waste allowed when I grew up. About 3 square meals a day, Breakfast is fend for yourself, I usually eat toast, while my daughter eats eggs, my other daughter eats cereal, and my wife eats yogurt with fruit and maybe oatmeal on it. Lunch, my daughters take leftovers from last nights supper to work, I just snack on something, my wife the same. Supper is our main meal, sometimes meat, sometimes vegetarian (with eggs), soups, or casseroles, occasionally I make a pizza (not just tomato based, but I experiment). Usually I have 2 or 3 vegetables as well. Then I usually have something before I go to bed, either left overs from supper or crackers and cheese, toast or cereal. That is how we eat, mostly fend for yourself except for supper when everyone is home together.
 
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I have always used the CORN diet one or two nights a week. We call it Grazing, though. :)

I have noticed that when the fridge has less in it, that folks eat what's there efficiently. I also threw out all my assorted butter bowls and cottage cheese containers a few years ago and use clear glass for storage - Pyrex bowls, Mason jars, whatever. When you can see what's in there, it usually gets eaten.
 

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...anyone else already a jedi master at this and have any tried and try thoughts to share?
In my world, most self-respecting traditional Cajun cooks do not waste anything edible. Ever. That's how gumbos and jambalayas were born.

Mais cher! We can float just about anything in a pot of flavorful gumbo and it will taste wonderful.

If you have a well-flavored base (casserole, soup, stew, gumbo, jambalaya, etc.) you can toss in all KINDS of stuff in there (think bits and pieces of leftovers), and it will be just fine.

A yummy stock made of things that most people throw away will enrich the most basic recipes. Even the shells of crabs, shrimp, and crawfish will yield a most delicious layer of flavor. Bones make healthful and wonderful broths. Vegetable scraps (including onionskins), too.

If we don't have all the ingredients on hand for our recipes, it's not the end of the world. Instead, creative substitutions can morph into out-of-this-world culinary experiences worthy of a repeat performance.

Ha ha! Sometimes when I am busy improvising, and someone asks "Hey that smells good, whatcha making?", I may respond, "I have no idea, but it'll be good!" .:stirpot:



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Skandi, try freezing some of the milk.

I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays, pop them out and put them into a freezer bag and other containers. Sometimes I also freeze larger amounts, including whole gallons (with a bit removed to allow for expansion). After thawing, I shake or stir the milk well before using.



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Great thread! I enjoyed everyone's ideas and will put most of them to good use in my house, f'sure. (I miss my lil' chickens :sob:)



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