Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

The motto of the kitchen.  There are so many things we can do in the kitchen to make our lives healthier, happier and easier.

In recent years, I have read several article or listened to news stories about American food waste.  Reducing food waste in our homes is not only good for the wallet, it is also good for society in that food you aren't wasting can be purchased and used by someone else.

The primary waste in the food budget occurs in the produce department.  Often, we have lofty ideals of how much fresh produce we will consume in a given week.  (We have all fallen prey to not consuming the salad we purchased after telling ourselves we were going to eat salads for lunch most of the week.)  The grocery store is smart too.  If they place the grapes and cherries in convenience bags for shoppers, 99% of us will grab the whole bag and go never thinking about whether we will actually EAT all the grapes or cherries before they spoil.  The reusable produce bags I showed in Saturday's post are perfect for getting around this glitch.  Only purchase the produce you WILL use in the week.

Another waste in the grocery store - spending more money than necessary because you don't have a PLAN.  At our house, the menu plan for the week is posted on the side of refrigerator.  Everyone has to contribute one meal idea and I fill in the rest.  I make the grocery list from the plan.  This process cuts down on waste and totally removed the middle of the day "what the heck are we going to have for dinner" feeling.

The ultimate in reuse - leftovers.  Honestly, there are few folks who enjoy having leftovers.  How many times can an adult (kids don't count) eat spaghetti in a week and be happy about it?  Luckily, we have a second refrigerator (family member was getting rid of a old refrigerator - best hand-me-down ever) and use the freezer compartment specifically for leftovers and coffee beans.  I pack leftovers as a meal in reusable storage containers.  Each container is clearly labeled with foods included and dated.  If my husband or I need a lunch for work, we "shop" in the freezer.  Need a quick dinner after schlepping the offspring to practice?  Everyone "shops" in the freezer.

We are a household of three.  I love to cook.  More times than not, there is way more food than we need.  My solution is to "repurpose" the food into new foods!  Having baked chicken?  It isn't any more trouble to bake a "family pack" of leg quarters than it is to cook two or three.  After the meal, I debone the remaining chicken and double wrap portions in plastic wrap, label a gallon freezer bag, place the small packages of baked chicken in and freeze.  The frozen chicken could become: soup, nachos, pizza, chicken pot pie, or pasta topping.  If we want to have beef brisket, I purchase a whole fresh brisket at Sam's and smoke/grill on a Saturday afternoon.  We end up with a wonderful dinner and tons of smoked beef brisket in the freezer.

Recently off the needles:
Plain ol' socks in Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints (color #9903).  Knit on US 1.5 needles.

Coffee cup sleeve.  Knit in my handspun Spinning Awesome Good October fiber club installment (Ghosts and Gremlins).  I had leftover bulky weight yarn after spinning/knitting a hat.  I knitted the sleeve (my own design) then felted it.  After it was dry, I needle felted some remaining yarn on the outside for decoration.

I won't wonder which coffee cup is mine when I am at my next meeting!

1 comment:

  1. You could always repurpose by sending it my way!