Posts Tagged ‘waste case project’

Waste Case Project: Weekend Wrap-Up

March 31, 2012

The week is coming to an end, and the Waste Case Project diary is coming to a close.
As a grand finale in using my food to the fullest, I had the chicken stock I made last night with a bit of shredded chicken and diced carrots for lunch, bringing the meal toll for one lowly little roasted chicken up to 6!

Tonight, a little celebratory take-out and a glass of wine (which somehow never goes to waste around our house) while I reminisce about the project…

The week has been an eye-opener. Here are a few of the big take-aways from my experience:

1. Consciousness is half the battle. I knew we were wasting food, but never really thought about how much we were tossing out needlessly. The idea that others are starving and we are lucky enough to live where food is plentiful and accessible, is a gift which should not be taken for granted. Thinking about the issue inspired me to find ways to decrease our food waste.

2. Taking inventory of exactly what you have laying around that is still fresh and usable is the key to avoiding waste. Planning around those items, instead of starting fresh every day, makes a huge difference in what gets eaten and what gets tossed out.

3.Proper wrapping and storing of food makes a big difference in it’s taste and freshness. Leaving the seed in the leftover avocado and wrapping it well, and drying the washed lettuce and rolling it in a paper towel before bagging it are just examples of how I increased the shelf life of our food.

4. Shoving food down your throat so it “doesn’t go to waste” is worse than throwing it in the dumpster. Eating excess food  and stuffing yourself leads to weight gain and health issues. If you have to choose between your food “going to waste and going to your waist” I choose the former every time.

5. Leftovers can be boring. Just reheating last night’s dinner held very little appeal for me. Up-cycling last night’s dinner was an interesting challenge. I could reinvent that roasted chicken in 100 different ways, yet I rarely tried. Now I know that a roasted chicken means at least 2 dinners, not one. The creativity will come in the second night.

5. Nobody is perfect. There will be food that goes to waste. But, just because this experiment is over, it doesn’t mean we will go back to our old ways. I will be a conscious shopper and chef, now that I have seen what a difference a little planning can make.

6. The only thing more frightening to your husband than the thought that his wife will turn into her mother, is the fear that she will turn into his mother. My mother in law would save a bread crust in the hopes that someone would eat it. She kept everything way too long and thought the freezer was a cryogenic crypt that preserved things for perpetuity. While there is definitely a limit to my food scrap hoarding, she was definitely on to something! Know when to say when. and if it seems at all ‘iffy” I say toss it, rather than risk illness.

7. Indigo Jones readers are loyal and loved having something to follow everyday. I promise to find something new to pique your interest, and post more often, even if it’s just a little tidbit that your might find of interest.
Thanks for joining me on this journey !

Waste Case Project: Day 4

March 29, 2012

Tonight was the big test…a whole roasted chicken! Every week, I buy a whole chicken, and of course we never finish it. I’m told that it is going to get eaten for lunch, but every Saturday, I throw away what is left. Today, I decided to take the “chicken challenge” and make sure it gets eaten. I personally packed up the leftovers, so that I could assess the remnants. There is a huge amount left, and easily enough for dinner tomorrow night. I bought 2 organic carrots and an onion, thinking I would make a small pot of chicken stock with the leftovers,and use up some herbs festering in the produce drawer. Will there be enough chicken left to bother, or will we actually eat it all? If I don’t make the stock, what becomes of the onion and carrots? A new dilemma!

I cleaned and chopped all the lettuce I bought, including the arugula that is miraculously still hanging in there after a few days, and put what I didn’t think we needed in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it to absorb the moisture. There is plenty for another meal,and the work is already done for me!

I even used a rubber spatula to get ALL the yogurt out of the container, instead of tossing those last few spoonfuls.

Awareness of the problem is proving to be half the battle for me. Planning for waste is helping me eliminate waste.

Stay tuned to find out what REALLY happens to that roasted chicken!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Waste Case Project: Day 3

March 28, 2012

Last night, I was a careful shopper and chef, using what I had to enhance what I bought. Some wanted tacos, and I used the shredded mozzarella cheese and arugula that I already had on hand, instead of purchasing regular lettuce and jack cheese, and having all 4 items go to waste. There is still some left, and the arugula is looking a little sadder than I’d like it to. One more day and it’s going to be history. I cut the avocado in half, and wrapped the unused portion with the seed left in, to prevent it from going brown.
I had salmon, cut to a single serving, and literally bought 5 small mushrooms and a handful of  shredded kale from the”prepped and ready to cook” section at Whole Foods. While it might have cost more per pound than buying a full bunch of kale, I purchased only what I could eat in one serving, so it ended up being a better choice.

Lesson of the day: Bigger is not always better! Buying in quantity often seems like a bargain, but spending more per oz. for a smaller amount and not wasting the rest is a better deal in the long run for your wallet, your waistline and the environment. Being conscious of food waste is helping me think through grocery shopping, and causing me to be more selective about what will actually get consumed in it’s entirety.

Stay tuned: it’s only Wednesday!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Waste Case Project: Day 2

March 27, 2012

Last night, I made a real effort to use what I had on hand.

I chopped up the last of the lettuce from a previous dinner, tossed it in an aged balsamic vinaigrette made right in the bowl ( no leftovers there!) only to throw away the remaining portion at the end of the meal. I find this happens a lot when I have guests, and dressed salad is a soggy mess the next day. A good solution would be to serve dressing on the side, or only dress a small part of the salad, and replenish as it gets eaten.

I took some leftover tomato puree that would have normally gone by the wayside, and spiced it up as a dipping sauce for B’s breaded shrimp. Of course there was way more than she could eat, and it ended up down the drain anyways, but I felt proud that I am heading down the right track.

I just threw out the sorry remains of a container of cottage cheese, with just a couple of bites left  in it. I am not going to become one of those people who eats up every morsel and gains 10 pounds, just so things don’t go to waste. In my mind, throwing unwanted food into my stomach is worse than throwing it in the trash.

This is a work in progress, but awareness is half the battle. Let’s see what tonight’s dinner holds in store.

To be continued…

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