So… It has been a while since I last updated you on our journey to reduced food waste. And by “a while,” I mean an entire month. An entire month has gone by since I hit publish on the last installment of Diary of a Recovering Food Waster.
The last month has not been great, and that’s putting it lightly. If I am being honest, it has really been a big fat food wasting fail. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Feb 17: Chicken of the grange variety has been brined in a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, salt, egg, and poultry seasoning. Then it basted with the brining liquid as it is grilled to tasty perfection. If you’ve never had Grange Chicken, you simply don’t know what you are missing. It is pretty much my favorite way to eat chicken. And that is why it was such a huge disappointment when I let the grill get a little too hot and burned it. Every. last. piece. But, we ate it anyway. The skin was really the only thing affected by the char. So, I scraped it off and we ate it in the name of not wasting it.
Feb 18: It was Chorizo-esque Burgers with Garlic Shrimp (minus the garlic shrimp) for supper tonight. I used indirect heat for grilling tonight to prevent a repeat of last night’s flaming disaster. The burgers that resulted – delish!
Feb 19: When I woke up and opened the microwave to make my poor woman’s latte, I noticed it – the burger that I had forgotten to put away from supper last night…
Feb 20 – 27: Radio silence…
I did not journal a single word during this time. So, I do not know exactly how this period of time shook out, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that we probably weren’t killing it. I am guessing that my failure to journal happened because I a) fed my family a lot of frozen pizza, b) didn’t want to face the food wasting failure by documenting it, or c) all of the above.
Feb 28: We were running out of some of our pantry staples and running low on many others, so we made our big grocery run this afternoon. Since we live so far out of town, we stock up on stuff that freezes well to get us by until the next trip to town. Some of the staples we stockpile in our freezer include bread, tortillas, cheese, and milk. Yes, milk. It actually freezes pretty well. I also picked up some stuff that wouldn’t normally be on the list to make sure I had enough to feed the two vaccinating crews we were planning for the week ahead.
Feb 29: The first-calf heifers got their second round of the ScourGuard vaccine today, which means I served lunch to the crew doing the vaccinating. I fixed Philly Steak Sandwiches and a green salad with shaved radishes and carrots to use up the veg from our last Bountiful Basket.
In the process of toasting the hoagie rolls for the sandwiches, I was cleaning up the counter I was stung in the pinky by a wasp that had been hiding under a scrap of lettuce. As I was dancing around in pain, I managed to burn the rolls that were under the broiler and ended up throwing them in the chicken bucket. This burning the rolls thing seems to be a recurring theme when I cook for a crew…
Mar 4: It was another crew day and this time I made hot beef and gravy to spread over mashed potatoes, Butternut Squash Bread, and corn. The corn was actually my plan B. I had picked up some broccoli and grapes for broccoli salad on our big shopping trip. However, when I took them out this morning to fix the salad they were already moldy and into the chicken bucket they went.
Mar 5: We enjoyed French toast made from what was left of the butternut squash bread for breakfast, and had leftover hot beef and potatoes for lunch. One of my dear friends invited us up for supper to celebrate her birthday. They were having tacos and I offered to bring Mexican street corn which ended up including the leftover corn.
Mar 8 – 10: Tom was gone, and regrettably, the three kids and I ate really poorly while he was gone. The silver lining is that we did not waste much. Pretty easy to clean up PB & J’s and those teeny-tiny Totino’s pizzas. Mom of the year right here, folks.
Mar 14: Our meals consisted of whatever was in the refrigerator and needed eaten after our fun-filled weekend of friends, family, and lots of food.
Mar 15: Looking back and recognizing that the last month has been less than stellar on our quest to less food waste, Tom and I decided it was time to come up with a way to measure our progress. We felt like we would be more motivated and stubborn about our practices if we had something more concrete to go by rather than just my journal. So, we decided to start physically weighing all of the wasted food before it goes to the chickens.
After a deep cleaning of the refrigerator and the freezers, the wasted food weighed in at a whopping 7 pounds. That is seven pounds of straight-up waste and didn’t include things we wouldn’t have eaten anyway like veggie peels. The bulk of it came from improperly stored veggies from the freezer. I am telling you the FoodSaver® – it’s the real deal!
In the process of deep cleaning, I found a bunch of leeks, half of an onion, some carrots, celery, and four slices of bacon that needed used up or preserved ASAP. There is a lot you could do with those ingredients, but I went with chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles – the big fat noodles that everybody loves.
Mar 16: As you might imagine there was plenty of soup leftover, so that is what we had for lunch and supper.
Mar 17: And lunch again.
Despite our shortcomings over the last month, I am optimistic that we will succeed in our quest to produce less waste. As the say, “the first step is acknowledging the problem,” and that we have done. Stay tuned next time for some leftover-makeovers, more food preservation tips, and some meal planning.