Tag Archives: Food Waste Reduction

Monthly Mélange: February 2010


February was my first full month of blogging about food, and I packed it full of new cooking experiences. This has really helped to battle my usual winter blahs. I hope to keep things coming at the same frequency.

Here’s a rundown of some of my culinary highlights of February 2010. If there’s anyone out there reading my blog, feel free to comment with your own rundown of the month!

How did February 2010 taste?

Wrapping up the Waste
The 2010 Food Waste Reduction Challenge is now over, and I can say that it was interesting to see just how much edible stuff we throw out every month. I suppose it’s less of a wake-up call for me, because I’ve always tried to use up everything I can. There are still a few weak spots – frozen items moreso than fresh foods. I can do better there. Planning meals helps with this, and only buying the items you really need for the meals you have planned.

Monthly Spice
I would probably say Berbere, because it probably was my favourite of the month, but it already got its own post. While making a Cajun-inspired shrimp dish the other night, I realized I had misplaced my Cajun mixed spices and had to make some up on the fly! Seriously, I realized I couldn’t find it RIGHT when I needed to add it in. Internet to the rescue, I found a couple of recipes that outlined the herbs and spices to use, and the proportions, and I was all set. The dish turned out great, by the way.

Mystery Ingredient
Leafy, leafy greens. I’m usually pretty good about eating my spinach (bought into the whole Lie of Popeye), but I never knew what to do with things like kale. This month, I chose some recipes that not only used lots of spinach, but also kale and collard greens. Sometimes referred to as a ‘superfood’, leafy greens contain many important nutrients, such as vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, lutein, beta-carotene, folic acid and are high in dietary fiber (among other things). They’re pretty tasty, too!

I Made This!
Hubs says the best stuff I made this month was my Indian assortment, which I should be posting soon. I made three really yummy dishes, and overall we were more satisfied with these three than the Ethiopian three dishes (the closest competition – I wasn’t as impressed with the yellow lentil dish, so it lost some points there!). My favourite of the three Indian dishes was definitely the Saag Paneer – this is one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes, and it came out just the way I like it!! Joe’s favourite was a chick pea dish. Yum.

Shameful Secrets
I am happy to say that I haven’t had any Skittles since my last post, and have limited my Jelly Belly intake to 10 beans per sitting. My stomach has been doing much better, which is important since I’ve been cooking so much

On to March, and hopefully some longer days so my food pics turn out better!!


Food Waste Reduction Challenge 2010: Week 3

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2010

Week 3 is done!!

Week 3 was clouded by my cold, but I still managed to cook a bunch. Not much tossing of food happened here… mostly shoveling.

We’re now in the home stretch, and I think this has been a great test. I’ll post the wrap-up for the month next week in my Monthly Mélange!

This week’s wins:

  • Gooooooaaaaaal!!! I finally started a freezer bag of veggie ends for making broth – and then I used it up to make broth! Didn’t take me long, and that’s just fine, because it’s better to use it up!
  • I also managed to use up one of the four types of squash I had in the freezer.

This week’s casualties:

  • A sadly rotten jalapeno. All of the other jalapenos were fine… but one decided to depart early.

Food Waste Reduction Challenge 2010: Week 2

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2010

Week 2 is done!!

So far, not bad. I only bought items that we needed for the week, and we’re doing a great job of using them up. I didn’t actually make my goal for the week – to start a freezer bag of veggie ends to use in the making of a broth. Boo! I really didn’t have many ends of things in the dishes I made… so no real need for it yet.

Goal #2: Make some room in the crowded freezer by using stuff up!! I already started with some rhubarb that I got from my mother-in-law’s garden, then froze. I’m also trying to think of something yummy to do with the ends of artisan bread (any good recipes, guys?). Those guys are taking up way too much space in my freezer!!

This week’s wins:

  • Bag o’ frozen rhubarb – I’ve had this for around 2 years, and was worried it would taste like death freezer burn. It was just fine! So I used it to make a nice sauce for my crêpes. I did end up putting two portions of sauce back into the freezer, but these are two really narrow freezer bags that take up MUCH less space than the big bag of frozen rhubarb.
  • Remembered to use up the tomato paste – you know how sometimes you only need a spoonful, and then you put the rest in the fridge and you find it a couple of weeks later growing its own ecosystem? We nicely avoided this by using the rest in a pizza sauce.
  • The rest of a lonely mozzarella ball was also put to good use on the pizza. We prefer stronger cheeses, so sometimes its hard for us to use up mozzarella before it turns into a bouncy ball. Another good use of leftover mozzarella is in a cheesy broccoli soup.

This week’s casualties:

  • A wee bit of what was once an edible rind from a soft cheese that was incredibly ripe (the rind gets really bitter when it’s overripe… so I had to sacrifice it). The middle was still tasty, though.
  • Some once delicious MIL-made strawberry jam that has seen better days. These things hide in the dark corners of our fridge, until one day we dig them up and wonder how they stayed there so long. I’m not sure how this one moved here with us… and now it comes back to haunt me in a month where I’m trying not to throw out food.

Food Waste Reduction Challenge 2010: Week 1

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2010

Week 1 is done!!

I think I haven’t done too badly, but it’s just the beginning, yes?

I have been trying to plan out meals, buy just what we need and then use it. I also had a “use it up” pasta sauce that made good use of an interesting combination of leftover items.

I’ve also decided that I would do my best to use as much of an item as possible. For example, we regularly cut off the ends of broccoli and the whole peel of a lemon once juiced. I’ve already started zesting all of the lemons before I juice them (having some dried lemon zest on hand has been great!) and next week, I will start a freezer bag for veggie ends, to be made into an aromatic broth sometime in the future.

Some challenges encountered this past week:

  • Cilantro – can only buy this in a big bunch, and we only use a little bit. To our advantage, we planned two meals that make use of fresh cilantro. But what to do with the rest?? Fresh cilantro is always best, but I did freeze some and dry some. The only stuff we threw out were the handful of stems that had already started to go bad — it goes fast, so there was really no preventing it!
  • Spinach – I used it up, but there were a few baby leaves that were already on their way out.
  • 1 -2  tbsp cut off pastry dough from a recipe I did — it just made more dough than I needed, and I couldn’t think of anything to do with it.
  • 1-2 tbps Some sourdough starter that went funky