Food Waste Friday - Accountability and Avoidance

I first read about Food Waste Friday on The Frugal Girl's blog. Her post, Food Waste Friday & Save It Sunday covers her motivations for taking on this challenge.

Mine are similar. I hope to hold myself accountable by taking my food waste public, and find motivation to avoid future waste.

When Eric and I first lived together, we both worked in restaurants. Working in restaurants leads to eating out ALL the time. I'd kind of forgotten that fact, but a friend reminded me the other day. I'm not sure why it happens, but it does. I guess restaurants start to feel like home. 

When we bought groceries, we took home frozen foods we could reheat and eat. Eric loved leftovers, of which there were plenty, thanks to the restaurant food. 

Then we decided to start eating better. I don't remember exactly what sparked the change (probably a book I read, possibly something by Michael Pollen), but we joined a CSA and suddenly, the house was full of vegetables. We got some cookbooks, did our best, but a lot of food went to waste. 

At some point, I realized the rotting food that sat around too long kept me from trying to cook anything, so I started cleaning out the fridge and cabinets once every week or two. Getting the old food out of the house helped me move on mentally, and then I could do more cooking. The old food made me feel bad, like I don't deserve food, which in turn made me eat cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. 

Which makes me fat, which brings me back to cooking. As our desire to save more and work toward financial independence grew, we started shopping regularly and doing more cooking. My weekly shopping trip is usually followed by a weekly fridge clean-out. 

I try to not waste food, but it happens all to often. The smoothies I'm making have helped, because you can throw fruit at any stage of "old" (short of moldy) in the blender and it comes out fine, sometimes even better. Right now there's a package of sausage in the fridge that Eric thawed out and never cooked, that I haven't made myself throw away yet. Yesterday I tossed a tomato into the compost bin because it was starting to mold. 

So, to keep myself accountable and as encouragement to use up the food I have on hand, I'm going to start posting pictures of our food waste every Friday. Hopefully, you will know ways I can save food I was going to waste and help me out in the future. I mean, I didn't know until last year, when my friend Emma enlightened me, that you can freeze diced onions. 

I'll also share the foods I saved by freezing or otherwise transforming into something longer-lasting. 

So, here's what we wasted this week: 

 

Yuck and double yuck

Yuck and double yuck

  • Frozen drink pouches from the downstairs freezer (they were gross when I bought them, but I kept them anyhow). 
  • A cup of half-and-half that went bad in the fridge. Can you freeze half-and-half? I use it for coffee once in while, and I water it down to make macaroni-and-cheese, but that doesn't use much, so I buy the super-processed stuff. Still, it doesn't last forever. Aldi tricks me into buying more than I can use. And someone left a half-gallon of 2% milk here that I've been using for cooking. 
  • Half a beer someone opened but didn't finish drinking. I have a little wine-bottle stopper that I put on open beers and it keeps them carbonated, but somehow this one sat in the fridge too long and went flat anyhow. 
  • Most of a pastry Eric made that didn't work out. For some reason, it didn't rise like it should have, so it was more of a pastry cracker, but not very good. I also threw out a little of the extra non-dairy cream filling we made for the pastry but didn't use.