Money down the drain… wow I hate to see waste. Waste of any kind really. I’ve found that when I’m not on top of the management of my menus and kitchen, waste happens. You know, that one piece of bread that gets old or the Tupperware with cranberry sauce in the back of the fridge that spoils or that can of mandarins that I bought 3 years ago ( I confess) and now has gone bad. Probably this kind of waste is only acceptable in western societies. Do I feel guilt? No, not really, but I do feel responsible for the things that have been given to us.
Here’s a few ways to stop food waste:
- Make a weekly menu plan and shop 1st in your pantry, fridge & freezer
- shop with a list~see how little you can buy and how much you can use that is already in your pantry
- buy the fruit & veggies you will eat instead of the whole bag~ maybe just 2 or 3.
- think out-side the box. My brother-in-law Joe says that any food leftover is breakfast with an egg on top of it. John agrees and loves it. Pizza, mashed potatoes, rice casserole…
- learn to make soups. That last cup of pasta would be perfect for an Italian flavored soup. I (my girls too) always make stock or soup from the turkey carcass after a holiday meal.
Did you know?:
- North Americans waste about $1,000 worth of food a year?
- It has been found that the main foods that are regularly thrown out are:
- Salads – almost 50% of what we buy we throw out!
- Meat and fish
- Yogurts and milk
- Spreads and dips
- All of our scrapes of food and egg shells are used as a supplement for our 3 hens we have in the backyard.
- I freeze what is leftover~sometimes the same day I make it. This also saves on rush trips to the market or the temptation of buying fast food. It takes so little time to defrost a zip-lock bag of soup, beans or casserole I have in the freezer!
8 days left of my 30 day challenge to spend only 10euros on grocery, paper and cleaning supplies.
What I have spent: 7,26€
What I have left: 2,74€
Another day of excitement to see how creative I can be with my food budget. I guess we all get our ‘kicks’ in differently and one of mine is to see how far I can stretch the grocery budget. I love the challenge of that. I also like to eat and cook. I love to shop for food too! All this together makes it even more fun and challenging for me.
Breakfast: John will have the last piece of french toast with an egg. I’m always glad to see that I have used everything and have not had to throw anything out. I will have yogurt as usual.
Lunch: I’m going to make stir-fried rice today. I want to use the last of the chicken breasts from yesterday and I have plenty of rice in the pantry. For vegetables, I’ll add some greens I have growing in the backyard, green onions I have growing in a pot, carrots that I canned in the pantry & green peppers from the garden. I also have rice vinegar and sesame oil to give it that authentic flavor. I like to add a scrambles egg too; which my hens give me daily.
Supper: Hopefully we can finish off the last of that spaghetti! With just 2 of use food tends to last a long time! Since we have our Bible study tonight, we will be eating late. I also made an apple cake to take with us tonight.
I still haven’t spent any money for groceries these past 3 days. Hooray!
We have been so blessed. I really mean it!! We went to a fabulous retreat and they showered us with treats. Very fun! We received among other things:
a brown gravy mix~ loved this!
a book & a video
Today’s meals will be:
Breakfast: I always fix eggs for John + french toast today, and I have yogurt.
Lunch will be… Read more »
Last week went well. I continue trying to stay below 10€ a week.
Last week we walked to the market and I bought:
2 bottles of soda water
1 whole chicken breast
Total spent: 10,36€
I’m using up what we have here on hand. I still have meat in the freezer and for side dishes I’m using up the leftover, lasagna, macaroni casseroles & paella that are all portioned out in the freezer. I also took out 1 package of hot-dogs, and pork chops. We have an iron slab that sits on our paella cooker in the back yard and I’ll be using that today.
Todays meal will be:
macaroni salad (tomatoes, scallions from the garden)
grilled peppers & onions ( peppers from the garden)
Next year 2012 already has several trips we will be making. One to Germany for our conference and one to the USA for my mom’s 80th birthday. We’ll be visiting friends & churches also as the Lord wills. Travel is very expensive from Europe, so every penny (centímo) I save until then is progress.
I’m still on the path to use what I have and stay within my grocery budget but today we have a guest with us. I don’t know her yet … she is a friend of a friend who is in Madrid for a short time. It will be fun to meet her at church and then bring her home for our mid-day meal.
All of these ingredients I have in the house and the meal will be ‘prepped’ the day before. It’s wonderful to be able to use the food I already have.
Here’s my menu for the day:
John had eggs & toast & I had a piece of fruit
Cream of Butternut Squash
~ I got this in the village… for FREE
~ I bought 2 baguettes …leftovers will be used for bread pizzas
Chicken Fillets (breasts)
~ I have some breasts in the freezer and will make breaded fillets.
Pasta with tomato sauce & Parmesan cheese
~ which I have in the pantry
green beans w/bacon
~ I have a large restaurant sized can which I added bacon, onion (green onions from the garden) and garlic to. The leftovers will be used throughout the week as our vegetable until it’s gone. The bacon was purchased recently, sliced in individual baggies and frozen. I’ll use one of these.
We’re going to a friends house for supper tonight. I have a meeting for the Ladies Ministry Team and we meet over a meal. No cooking tonight.
Our son John asked for the recipe. So here is the video and recipe on how to make roti’s.
1/2 c flour
pinch of salt
1/2 lukewarm water
a few drops of oil
Day #8 and I’ve only spent 5,48€. I like it. John called the butcher to see about the price of turkeys per kilo and try to order one, so my efforts to save $ for a turkey are paying off in my frugality (comments below)
Today the menu is:
Dinner at 2:
1st plate: a re-worked potato/carrot soup (adding beef broth & hot peppers)
Fried Chicken Thighs (freezer)
Instant Mashed Potatoes (from pantry)
Fried Cabbage (last of the cabbage)
Sliced Tomatoes (1 left!)
Leftover burritos or paella from yesterday
What I have left:
a few cherry tomatoes from my garden
plenty of Swiss Chard in my garden
a few onions
I spent today: 4,98€ on 2 fresh pumpkins. This was the 1st year ever that I have seen them in the store so John rushed out to buy them. I had hoped for more than 2 so I could can them for pies, but that was all there was. John went for me because I continue with this flu bug!
My total for 8 days on groceries is: 5,48€
I feel that I’m doing well on my savings budget and we got the price per kilo (2.2lbs) for the turkey today: 5,40€ or $8.10 per kilo in USD. We look forward to sharing our feast with friends on November 21st to celebrate our Thanksgiving.
Here is my menu for today:
I eat lightly usually a yogurt with cereal in it. John will eat the leftover meatloaf and any other thing he finds in the fridge.
Cream of squash soup (I’m making it with hot thai seasonings this time)
Machaca Burritos- a Cailfornia favorite using 1 jar of my canned shredded beef, 3 scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa, wrapped in a large flour tortilla
Fried flour tortilla wedges sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar
You may have noticed that I’m trying to finish off a package of flour tortillas in the fridge!
Paella- we are still working through all the paella in the freezer in 2 portion baggies.
Money spent on groceries today: $0
Total spent the last 7 days: .50¢
What I have left:
a bit of cabbage
1/2 of a zucchini
I also can still pick 2-3 cherry tomatoes each day from my garden.
We have guests coming on Thursday evening so I have to get a few things to buy for that, but I don’t plan on spending anything until then.
Today I spent $0 on food! Five days in a row!! Hallelujah! I was gone working at the church until 4pm and John ate leftovers. For supper I took out some pizza from the freezer & made a salad.
We are gathering up the fragments here and trying not to waste anything.
Total spent since October 20th: $0!!
Wow, we had such a great time with our kids, Jerusha & Nathanial. Now it’s time to save any extra money I can for the Thanksgiving dinner I want to have in November with 17 of our closest friends (Spaniards & 2 Brazilians).
So… here’s the deal… I see how little I can spend each day! Fun, eh?
Today the 20th of October, we ate leftovers… soup (several kinds that were leftover), pizza and rice and canard (duck in french… got it while visiting the kids, Anita & Neil last summer)
So this is what I spent today: $0!!
Not one single cent!!
So far so good!
A menu plan saves money. Reducing trips to the supermarket, a menu plan reduces impulse spending. Using leftovers efficiently cuts food waste and ‘working in’ an ingredient that I already have helps me use what’s in the pantry or garden.
A menu plan saves time. No frantic searches of what to prepare… I know exactly what meals I’m fixing at all times. This frees me up to do other things.
A menu plan improves nutrition. John and I basically eat little or no junk food. We eat real homemade meals and we always have homemade bread on hand. I buy only fruit and vegetables on sale. When traveling, I also pack lunches to save on money. Almost anything I make will be tastier & more nutritious than buying on the road.
*I like to plan my menus by the week and I also plan for leftovers. I try to include at least one menu for guests too.