Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 5: The Fridge

If there was ever a place that needed purging, it is the refrigerator (and my closet, but that's another post....)

Despite our best efforts of using up all that is in the fridge, some things get pushed to the back, or passed over with the thought, "I'll get to that...." And suddenly it's weeks later and it's way past doing anything with it other than tossing it out.

I despise it.

Food waste.

And I'm disappointed when it happens. So, I've implemented a few things to try to keep this from happening with any frequency.

It was a good day to clean out the fridge. It was my off day from work, the kids were in school, and I had to go to the grocery so the fridge wasn't nearly as full.

I started by pulling everything out, wiping down shelves, and setting aside anything that was past it's prime.
Things that didn't make the cut:
-1/3 of a bottle of salad dressing that had expired. We didn't like it anyways.

- Bottles that had one or two squirts left but the kids had already opened a duplicate bottle so we had a lot going on that didn't need to be

- A jar of jalapeno stuffed olives. Something that was left at our house at some point that I can't remember. Paul would be the only one who would even eat them and I'm pretty sure he didn't know they were in there or they would have already been consumed.

-Celery tops that I was hoping to use. Half were brown and slimy, the other part usable. The good went into tonight dinner prep and the rest went to compost.

-A handful of BBQ packets from various fast food restaurants.  I don't like to have them around, but Paul sees them as 'free food' and they always make their way into the house.  They never get used, they just crowd up space....bye-bye.

The rest went into the fridge with a more clean, streamlined appearance....sigh...

Strategies for using up what we have and cutting down on food waste:

I said it last week, I'll say it again: Meal Plan.  It makes me take stock of what we have and use it while it's still good.

Not the best week to show you a pic of the menu board....Owen helped pick the meals...

Embrace the leftover:  when we first married I was opposed to the thought of leftover food. Why? I don't know. My mom was a stellar cook, no doubt the leftovers were grand, too. I just didn't like the idea of it. But as 20-year-old newly weds in college, we looked to save in any way possible. Leftovers helped with that.  And.....slowly but surely, I embraced the idea of leftovers. I grocery shop on Tuesdays, which means often leftover night is Monday. All leftovers are pulled out and consumed. If there are various things that don't quite make a meal in itself, we turn it into a night of Chopped.  It's fun to see what we can come up with. And it's like we created another meal for free. Score!

Zone defense:  Group things together that go together.  Leftovers have their spot, condiments, jars of jellies and similar, etc. When things are grouped it's easier to see how much of what you have on hand.  Also, I'm not sure if it's good for onions to be in the fridge, but it's always worked for me. To keep them contained and keep the skins from shedding all over the fridge, they get their own container.

Take a week off: Every once in awhile, we'll take a week where we don't go to the grocery store at all. Instead, we get creative and work with just the food we have on hand. Sure, we run out, but that's the point. Because then you look to other less-used items that need to be used up, too. Plus, it helps the grocery budget for that week!

OK, 5 weeks down....47 to go. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I'm past that, but with only posting once a week.....does that mean 21 weeks?  I've committed to sticking with it and I don't want to be a quitter.  I'm almost done with kitchen stuff...we'll see what needs tackled for next week.

Until then my Pare-down Friends!

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