Thursday, August 12, 2010

Waste Not

This article makes me so ashamed.

Americans waste 40% of the food we produce??? That''s insane. What if it were money? What if we literally threw into the trash 40% of the income we made each year? Why is it okay to toss food? And SO much of it? Especially when so very many people are going without. It's appalling. 

If we can hire someone to figure out how to pinch every last penny in business, how to be the most efficient, why can't restaurants & grocery stores do that with food? We don't need the shelves stocked to over-flowing. We don't need enormous portion sizes that we can't finish when we go out to eat. It's terrible.

At home, I know I waste food. We scrape leftovers into the trash. Tupperware containers grow mold in my fridge. Potatoes sprout gnarly eyes. I can do better. We are going to do better. 

I've been planning meals around what we have in the cabinets, pantry, & fridge. I'm starting to buy from the bulk bins so that I only get the amount I need. And I'm really working on only buying what we are going to eat, trying to eliminate impulse buying. 

The cool thing is, it's so much cheaper. By making things myself, buying more produce & less packaged goods, buying less meat, and basing meals off of what is in the pantry, I've spent in the last two weeks what I used to spend in one. We aren't filling our shelves with food just to have it. 

Five kids. One husband. Two of which are kinda picky. All of whom are good eaters. Two of which have begun football practices and all of the ravenous hunger that goes with it...

and not a single complaint. 

No one has said, "There's nothing to eat." We have enough. They're eating fruit, yogurt, homemade zucchini bread, and they're happy. It's really exciting. I feel...fulfilled. Self-sufficient. We're learning so much. 

We've had two meatless meals recently. The first was a simple pasta dish: bulk bow-tie noodles, couple of jars of spaghetti sauce that were lurking in the cabinet, a few mushrooms, and garlic bread. They loved it, and I think in part because we usually have penne or spaghetti. Some how bow-tie noodles= special. Girl one even asked for, "More butterflies, please." :)

The second meal was Bean Quesadillas. This was a bigger risk. It's full of peppers, onions & tomatoes, which are a tough sell sometimes around here. I used this recipe from, with a few tweaks:


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 12 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Mix in beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, and corn; cook until heated through.
  2. Spread 6 tortillas with equal amounts of the bean and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with equal amounts of the Cheddar cheese, and top with the remaining tortillas to form quesadillas.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place quesadillas in the skillet and cook, turning once, until cheese is melted and both sides are lightly browned.

The tweaks:
I doubled it, not knowing how filling it would be. I used a red pepper and a green one. I had some canned jalapeƱos from a friend of mine, so I chopped a few & added those. I added cumin and pepper too. When it came time to fry up the tortillas, I folded them in half and just used a little olive oil to coat the pan. I used a ton more cheese. 

It was Fan.Tas.Tic. Kids loved it, the man loved it, everyone had seconds. There were some leftovers, which I ate for lunch today, and there will be more tomorrow. I'm thinking the filling on corn chips would be awesome. No meat. No complaints. Win.

I've also started making baby food at home. I did spaghetti squash yesterday. Girl 2 adored it. It was really easy, and half a squash made a ton. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to cut into the thing, but other than that it went really well. I used the second half of the squash as a side dish with the quesadillas. I added some sugar, honey, and a little vanilla. I've never made squash anything before, so I was a little nervous, but it was good. 

The food side of things seems to be going well. We just have to keep eating our leftovers. I'm still researching composting, but that should help the waste issue too. Off to make dinner...

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