Friday, August 14, 2015

No Waste August

It is almost halfway through the end of the month, so I thought I would share an extra special, extra crazy project that we have going on in our house these days. We are trying to go through August with no food waste. No produce that has gone bad, no leftovers not eaten, no cheese with that mold growing in the corners. Just kidding- cheese could never mold in our house... it doesn't last that long. 

I wouldn't categorize us as very wasteful- at all. We meal plan every meal, only go grocery shopping 1 x a week (no matter what... except deodorant), and are generally really thrifty with daily expenses to save for big ones. But I would get to the fridge on Sunday afternoon and see the last three rogue strawberries nearing the rotting point and decide against eating the fermented fruit and toss the little guys in the trash can.

We started No Waste August a bit by accident. Since moving into the new place we have eaten pretty cruddy. A frozen pizza shoved in the oven at 9pm because we forgot to eat while re-doing the bookshelves or chipotle leftovers on our one night without projects because that Netflix isn't going to watch itself, wasn't synonymous with a healthy diet. Normally we enjoy cooking together and get a kick out of trying new recipes, but it was all we could manage (and sometimes not) to eat cheezits and beer for dinner. So we aimed to put down the paint brushes and focus on healthy eating and spending more time with each other.

Once we got back into the cooking swing of things (crockpots totally count, I see your eye roll) we realized everything really is bigger in Texas. Our grocery budget in California could buy x,y,and z, but here you could get the whole darn alphabet. So we had a little of this and some of that and a bit more of that over there because you only live once. Our fridge filled with non-matching tupperware and we were not eating it all. So we pulled back. Way back. If you COULD get this much at the grocery store, but only need that much then lets go with the smaller amount and make life simpler.

And that is what we have been doing. On some days it is a challenge, but on most it makes life so much simpler. I make 1 meal for dinner and then we eat it for leftovers. Or I make a lot less of one thing and freeze the extra ingredients for the next time the recipe is on the docket. We are pretty light on meat, so produce is the challenge to keep fresh.

What has not been the easiest was when plans change. And we are in our mid twenties... plans change all the time. So if we are planning to go out for dinner one night and someone's schedule changes we may be stuck at home without defrosted meat. We wiggle our way around it and find something else to nom on. 

Also produce about to go bad is my personal kyptonight. So I'm freezing a lot of it for smoothies... and I hope I survive the smoothie apocolyse. 

Generally, however, it makes me look on how different our lives were in California. We weren't wasteful there either, but our routines were much more settled. There was not a strong possibility of having X extra people over for dinner and we knew our work schedules a lot better. Yes, sometimes we ended up with 3 things of cilantro (none fresh), but life chugged on. Here in Houston, there are so many (wonderful) unknowns. We may last minute go have dinner with family or have a work lunch and not need that leftover noodle dish. I can say that ober the last 2 weeks, we have barely thrown away anything (actually nothing that I can remember)... and I'm proud of that.

What do you always have extra on hand at your house? Or do you throw down a meal planning gauntlet? My least favorite so far... Leftover sweet potato wayyyyy past it's prime. I'm gagging thinking about it.



  1. I think this is amazing! We only go grocery shopping once a week as well and I find that we do waste food a bit - I might be taking a cue from you and trying this myself! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Cheese can also not go bad in our home - we're like a bunch of mice, lol!

    I also freeze all the fruit that's about to go off and banana halves abandoned by the children to use in smoothies - works really well!

  3. What an interesting idea, never thought about a no waste month. Will have to look into this more.

  4. This is such a great idea! We are definitely with you that cheese never goes bad, but I never thought about freezing fruit for smoothies. I really want to try that!

  5. Such a great concept! I know that there are so many things in our freezer that we need to cook instead of buying more!

  6. I love that you're doing this! I hate throwing out food too. It's hard to buy and cook for just two people.

  7. What a great idea. I don't find that we are very wasteful in our house. Creating different meals out of the food you have available is important. Food is too expensive to throw it out.