Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Wasting Food = Pie for Breakfast

Seriously. Leftover blackberry pie, made with blackberries I froze last summer. Yum! To make things even worse, that's what I fed my eldest child, as well.

Then we went grocery shopping. My daughter had no school today, so she tagged along. I had planned my meals for the week last night, again with the goal of using up some of the stored food so it doesn't get wasted. I also planned where I wanted to shop, so I could get it done for the week without making additional trips. I decided on The Grocery Outlet and our local food coop.

If you have a Grocery Outlet in your area, you probably know already that they are a mixed bag. They specialize in scratched and dented cans, stuff that isn't labeled quite right, food that is close-to-expiration-date or that was overstocked, and other stuff that for whatever reason has proven difficult to sell. They also sell the cheapest Umpqua milk in town.*   And the best part is that sometimes they have inexplicable killer deals on really, really good stuff.  Like Niman ranch nitrate free bacon, Rumiano organic cheddar, or Alter Eco free trade Moka flavor chocolate bars (I'm still kicking myself about not buying the lot that time).  Today I bought milk, a couple bottles of wine, cottage cheese, 3 boxes of organic cereal for $1.99 a box, 20 cans of tuna.  I also did buy 2 bags of Hain rice cakes, a box of organic peanut butter snack bars, and a 4-pack of Hansen's juice boxes for emergency snacks for my youngest.  I'm most proud of what I didn't buy - I passed up the Aidell's chicken and apple sausages for $2.99.  This is a great deal, because the usually go for $5.99.  They don't have a lot of added crap in them, and they are so convenient for days when I don't plan ahead.  But - after last month's experience, I know I can't afford that much for protein, especially when I'm getting a local pastured pig for less that that per pound in a week or so.  I also didn't buy any Kettle brand chips or Thomas Kemper soda (no HFCS).  While I used to justify buying stuff like that if it was a really good deal, the truth is that none of us needs it.  Anyway, total damage, $40.32.

I always feel like a grocery store whore when I drive straight from the Grocery Outlet, cheap motel of food that it is, to our nice, pure, organic, GMO-free coop.  I bought citrus, garlic, onions, carrots, peas, brown basmati rice, yogurt, sesame oil, peanut oil, dried cranberries, parmesan, and 2 bottles of GTs Kombucha (total extravagance, but I'm addicted).  Damage:  $63.98.  Cripes.

Then we headed home, I got dinner in the crock pot because tonight's a dance night, and I made a batch of cookies (I have some hazelnuts to use up ;-)).  When I opened the oven to put in the first batch of cookies, I was dismayed to see that the dish containing the remnants of last nights kabocha squash roasted with cumin salt was still in the oven from last night.  Ugggghhhh!  The first day of the challenge, and I've already wasted food?!  Or maybe it doesn't count, because technically the mistake was made last night when I left it in the oven to keep it warm in case anyone wanted seconds (note to self:  never, ever, leave stuff in the oven to keep it warm in case anyone wants seconds).  I composted it, but still.  Humble pie, anyone?  

*I buy conventional milk, for several reasons. One, two different local organic dairy farmers told me that when they got organic certification, they only changed one thing - organic feed, which is only given to the cows during their daily milking to keep them happy for that short time. The rest of the time they are on pasture, year round. At this point, I'm not willing to pay almost double for organic feed that is really a tiny part of their food intake. Two, I am suspicious of ultrapasteurized milk, which organic usually is. And three, out of all our local varieties (except Strauss, which is organic AND nonhomogenized and way too expensive), Umpqua tastes the best, which I figure has to mean something.  I am prepared to change milk-buying habits if new information becomes available, but for now, this is what we do.


  1. I, too, am impressed with what you didn't buy! I always have a hard time at the Outlet. I was so imspired, that I passed up what I didn't actually need when I went last night.
    What's on your meal plan? and for lunches, too? Sorry about your squash. Having to scrub that pan must have absolved your minor transgression. store whore--Josie

  2. I am dismayed by the amount of food that I waste. I thought it was a just our problem (a family of 2), but now realize that I'm not alone in my never-ending attempts to not waste food.

    By the way, my brother's favorite breakfast is cake and ice cream. We occasionally ate that for breakfast when we were growing up and if you ask him now (he's 39), he'll still tell you it's his favorite.

  3. I love it keep posting! I always like to hear what you are cooking and my favorite thing lately is looking through cookbooks you've given me, for your "notes" even if I never get time to cook any of it. :) Love you mean it. You lil sis.