Tag Archives: inspiration

Searching for More Ideas to Waste Less

well, I did … and didn’t!

I have a favorite resource: Waste Less, Save Money! 2018, it’s a Meredith Special publication. Because of the times and the title’s date, I was hoping they’d done a 2019 issue. If they did, I can’t find it. I did find some other publications which are new to me, but since I only have titles, I can’t say whether they’ll be good resources, or not.

I use my original publication (pictured below) a lot. Our fave roasted veggie recipe, Garlicy Roasted Vegetables, is there. As are recipes for herb vinegarette , veggie stock, chicken stock, etc. I had many recipes for those things before but they were scattered through a range of books, notes, and printouts. It’s handy having them in one place.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

      • Food Waste Strategies
      • Swap This for That
      • Crop Wrangler (in-season veggies)
      • Rethink your Beans!
      • What to do with Cheese
      • Saving Scraps & Seconds
      • What to do with Herbs
      • See & Toss Salads
      • Use it Up!
      • One-Pan Dinners
      • What to do with Crackers
      • You Choose! Skillet Suppers
      • Meat Smarts
      • Max out your Freezer!
      • Tasty Freezer Stashes
      • What to do with Bananas
      • Baker’s Pantry
      • Everyday Bakes
      • Scrappy Dog Treats
      • Use-It-Up Ingredients Index
      • Recipe Index
      • Superstar Vinegar

One thing I love about this publication is the changeable/zipper recipes, for example, skillet suppers. It’s a stir fry, you pick 1) A denser vegetable, 2) A less-dense vegetable, 3) A sauce, 4) A topper, and 5) A splash-on.

I almost always have a combination of the listed veggies. Right now: sweet potatoes and celery from #1, asparagus and bell pepper from #2, I’d have to make their citrus sauce:  OJ, marmalade, soy sauce, and grated ginger. Also chopped almonds (I’d have to toast them) from #4, and soy sauce or sriracha from #5 (I’d put them on the table).

Given the oriental feel of this, I’d probably cook rice to go with. Add leafy green salad and jarred salad? There’s dinner!

So I just constructed our dinner menu, took what 5 minutes? Oriental veggies skillet, rice, green salad, jarred salad.

To do: prep veggies, cook pot of rice, make citrus sauce, and toast almonds. Since it’s about 7:40 a.m. as I type this, that should be easy.


You can see why this is one of my favorite cookbooks! I don’t need to buy anything, make substitutions or replacements, I can look at a recipe and use what I already have. I wish they’d do another volume! Yes, it was a $9.99 “magazine,” but in the 2 years I’ve had it, it has saved us how much? Likely more than its original cost.


Many years ago, when Marie Callender’s was only a SoCal restaurant, and fairly new, they had a steamed veggie plate we both loved. It was a highlight of getting to the big city and not cheap for college students like us. DH loved it. He thinks the roasted veggie recipe from this publication is better. Whether that’s genuine, flattery or a faulty memory, as it was long ago?

I’ll take it! 

magazine cover001

The roasted veggie recipe is denser veggies (potatoes, carrots, or parsnips*) onion, oil, acid (lemon juice or vinegar), garlic, salt, pepper, and softer veg (zucchini, summer squash, peppers, grape tomatoes, etc.) . There’s a note about adding fresh herbs, either woodier ones (thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.) or tender ones (parsley, basil, cilantro, etc.)  I have enough of any of that to make up a pan of this most of the time. Right now: potatoes, carrots, lemon, onion, garlic, peppers, sage or dill and parsley. (I’d probably make it with dill and parsley, as those are fresh AND fragile — the sage is struggling along in the garden, and will keep.)

*I usually add celery.

If you can find a copy of this, I absolutely recommend it!

J

Frugality: Schmaltz and Extreme Food Frugality Discussion/Links

Partly because of some reading I’ve been doing about fats and cooking more frugally, I’ve been doing a few things differently.

My dad every now and then would cut fat from a steak and cook it in its own grease. Tasted great. We hardly eat beef these days, mostly because of cost, but there’s also environmental concerns.

We also eat very little fish, that’s been true much longer, I decided back in the 1980s we were over fishing and stopped using fish as a regular food.

That leaves poultry. Recently, I’ve been doing Dad’s trick, but with chicken. I take the skin/fat off the pieces of meat, and use the chicken fat to grease the pan. This is easiest when the chicken is partly frozen, but the fat is a resource I’ve frequently ignored in the past. Laying chicken skin, fat side down in the pan where you’re cooking onions you’ll add to the chicken a bit later isn’t all that hard, tastes good, creates less waste, and costs $0! (Remove the skins with a fork after the fat melts, or you can make them cracklings, I rarely do.)

I finally found a recipe for schmaltz, but have yet to make it. If I’m skinning the chicken and not using the fat otherwise, I’ve been freezing the skins/fat, with the idea that I’ll make schmaltz. Not quite enough in the freezer yet…soon!

Don’t know what schmaltz is? It’s rendered chicken fat. Here’s a recipe.


The spring CSA we’re a part of this year put up an expected harvest chart, so I’ve spent much of the morning figuring what to make with it. On average, the produce cost us $3-$4/lb, not including the overhead to get it. That price is right in line/a little bit cheaper than organic produce at the local market. It will be fresher,  local, and supporting a local farm too. All good!


I found a youtube channel with a woman doing extreme frugality for a family of 6. It was interesting to watch her make up 126 meals for $31. Don’t know that I’d like to eat all the food she made without additions — but it sure reminded me how nice it is to have a backlog of herbs/spices/condiments to just casually add to make a meal more satisfying!

You can find her youtube video here.

Things I don’t do that she does?

  • I don’t shop at Walmart.
  • I don’t use house brands.
  • I don’t use chicken boullion.
  • I can’t eat tomato paste out of a can without having a major stomach upset, so I don’t.

I could do all of that and if I need to in the future, I will. I’ve admitted before that we’re food snobs. We are. But I’m also a realist.

My job, as long as we can manage it, is to keep the food as we like it, at a price we can afford. If our economics changes? Obviously, other things change too.

She’s making 126 meals for $31  — I spend on average $50 a week to make lunch/dinner, or 10-14 meals, with staples and other items set aside towards future meals.

In the video, she says one criticism she’s gotten is using foods she already has in stock, so she didn’t do that in this extreme frugality post.

 

Why You’ll (Maybe) Hear G & S at My House

I have an itunes recording of “When the Foeman Bares His Steel” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance on my computer. I will set the controls to repeat it as a loop. When I’m alone (and only then) I will turn the volume up and

—-GO!—–

I clean house to it. I love that piece because, musically, it is the internal dialog that all of us go through when we face something difficult.

There are three main groups singing: the policemen and their sergeant (who’ve been tasked with going after pirates), the girls (daughters of the major general) and the major general.

The Police: “When the foeman bares his steel, we uncomfortable feel. . .”

When facing anything scary, we’re uncomfortable.

“…we find the wisest thing is to slap our chests and sing tar-an-tara!”

We do what we we have to, to get ourselves psyched to do whatever it is.

“…when your heart is in your boots, there’s nothing brings it ’round like the trumpet’s martial sound, like the trumpet’s marital sound. . . tarantara, tarantara, tarantara.”

We play inspirational music, read things, go to places, whatever works, to goad ourselves forward, right?

The girls: “Go, ye heroes, go to glory,though you die in combat gory, ye shall live in song and story. Go to immortality!”

Don’t we all tell ourselves we’re doomed to fail? But if nothing else, someone might just notice how hard we tried?

The sergeant: “Though to us it’s evident, these intentions are well meant, such expressions don’t appear, calculated men to cheer. But it’s very evident these intentions are well meant.”

Our internal reasoning.

The girls: “Go to glory and the grave! For your foes are fierce and ruthless, false, unmerciful, and truthless; young and tender, old and toothless,all in vain their mercy crave.”

You’re going to fail. You can’t do this. How many times have we told ourselves that? (Too many to count, if you’re me.)

policeman pirates of penzance

Lastly, there is the internal dialog steeling yourself to actually DO the thing:

General: “Away, away!

Police: “Yes, yes, we go!”

General: These pirates slay!”

Police: “Tarantara!”

The General: “Then do not stay.”

Police: “Tarantara!”

General: “Then why this delay?”

Police: “All right we go.”

Girls: “Yes, forward on the foe.”

Police: “Yes, forward on the foe. ”

General: “Yes, but you don’t go!”

Police: “Yes, forward on the foe.”

Girls: “At last they go.”

Police: “We go, we go.”

Girls: “At last they go, at last they go!”

Police: “We go. We go.”

Girls: “At last they really, really go!

Police: “We go, we go, we go!”