Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saving Money: Saving Food

I looked in my pantry and fridge on Sunday. I was trying to figure out what I needed for dinners and lunches this week. I have so much damn food. Like ten different kinds of rice, four one gallon bags of frozen leftover soup, cans of beans, veggies, and pumpkin, stockpiles of flour and sugar, four different kinds of squash, beets from the garden, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and walnuts, boxes and bags of pasta, and tons of cream cheese! It is ridiculous that I was going to buy more food. I decided to plan and make meals from what I have already.

So far, I have made quinoa and lentil burritos (frozen leftovers), pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, apple crisp, and pizza. Tonight is butternut squash sauce on pasta with kale from the garden and homemade bread (making the dough in a moment). The rest of the week looks like potato leek soup (frozen leftovers), minestrone, and something with rice and all the frozen veggies I have.

I am doubling the bread dough recipe and making and freezing vegan hot pockets for the boys lunches. I'm also baking another batch of muffins for breakfast. (The next batch will be maple, pecan, date.)

It is silly to have all of this food and keep buying more. Having staples like rice, flour, butter, and dry beans is essential in any kitchen, but being so privileged that I buy more when I don't need it is wasteful. My goals are to bring my pantry down to a reasonable size so I can see what I really do have and reduce my own food waste. Also, saving money is awesome!

Things I buy that can easily be made: bread, bagels, muffins, jams, tea, pizza, soup, smoothies (think Naked and Odwalla), coffee, pasta, sauces, taco seasoning, beans, pickles, almond milk...okay...almost anything. Time is an issue? Pick a day, prepare and freeze a weeks meals. Or do what my friend, Rosemary does: quadruple one recipe, have your neighbors do the same, invite them over for a meal and exchange the extras that you made. You each get 5 different meals for the time it took you to prepare one!

Can I get a fuck yeah?!

I challenge all of you to look at what you have and use it before it goes rancid. Americans waste as much as 40% of the food produced here, yet 1 in 7 people in our country are food insecure (http://help.feedingamerica.org/HungerInAmerica/hunger-in-america-2014-full-report.pdf). This cannot be happening in my kitchen. This could be a time of food abundance in America if we all bought what we needed and ate what we made (and ordered).

Let's make supply meet demand! The benefits are huge to our country and the world: less water wasted on irrigation, less pesticide and herbicide usage, less worldwide hunger, less plastic packaging, more forest left intact, less fossil fuel emissions, less landfill waste, more money left in our pockets, farmers getting paid fair wages, less preventable food borne illness, and on and on.

What do you say? You in?

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