since i was laid off, i absolutely refuse to waste. i hated it before, but only had the time to feel guilty – no time to do anything about it. i can’t even begin to count the amount of fresh fruit and veggies i tossed when i was still working full time.
being home has afforded me the time to bake with very ripe bananas, salvage the end of the red peper before it turns, and plan meals around the last few things in the fridge.
every few days, i am online trying to find recipes for random ingredients that are about to expire or take over the fridge. things like carrot puree, zucchini, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, cauliflower, noodles, peas, pineapple and cottage cheese to name a few. if it’s fresh fruit, i usually cut it fast and freeze it for smoothies or baking.
totally by accident, i am starting to enjoy cooking more.
in the past few weeks, i have made chicken salad (gasp – without a recipe!), zucchini bread (lots of it!), homemade sweet potato fries, power muffins (with peanut butter & carrot puree), blueberry banana muffins, mexican minestrone and even a vegetable spaghetti with leftover peas and zuch.
i have acquired open-mindedness about dropping random ingredients into an existing recipe (which i would have NEVER done before) and i also have cooked without recipes! it’s amazing the confidence you gain in the kitchen when you actually have time to cook and bake often.
i also am letting the flour fly – seriously. my son likes to *help* in the kitchen and at 2 and a half, his accuracy with dumping measuring cups is not perfect. but it doesn’t need to be… it’s good for me to let it go and deal with it later. the excitement he has about cooking is contagious!
this enjoyment is an unexpected perk of being home and living on a tight budget… and it goes beyond me. my whole family is enjoying the new recipes, the stash of baked goods in the freezer and a more relaxed attitude about the kitchen. and my son – a picky eater – is actually eating more, especially when he gets to help prepare.
i highly recommend scanning the fridge weekly and checking for what’s on the verge of turning and making use of as much as possible before you waste. i am a big fan of the site Allrecipes where you can search for recipes by specific ingredients you want (and also excluding the ingredients you don’t want).
try it for a few weeks – maybe you will find a new recipe or snack to spice up your life. my guess is you won’t need to run to the store so quickly and maybe, like me, you will also find yourself wasting less and saving more money. unfortunately, i think the number of diapers we put in the trash offsets any positive gain from reduced food waste… but thankfully, no one seems to be counting.