Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to keep food waste (and thus, wasted money), to a minimum. First of all, I’ll state right now that I absolutely do not have a food budget. I buy good food, not junk, that I prepare fresh almost every day not only because I want to but also because my body is important to me. I grew up in a very ethnic (Hispanic) family of incredible cooks, however, the ingredient choices were very high fat to say the very least. On the Mexican side, we had the refried beans cooked in lard, tamales filled with pork, chicharrones (fried pork rinds—scary stuff!), and lots of melted cheese on everything from tacos and enchiladas to burritos. On the Cuban side, lots of meat (especially pork and chicken), tostones (fried plantains, fried TWICE), and papas fritas (fried potatoes).
I don’t recall a lot of salads or grains growing up. As a child, I hated all vegetables until I was in college. Now I can’t get enough of them. I experiment with all kinds of vegetables (fresh beets, Brussels sprouts, & kale from the Farmer’s Market) and grains (jasmine, basmati, & brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, barley, wheat berries, couscous). As a vegetarian (and before that, when I ate meat), I pretty much ate only bread, meat, potatoes, a lettuce/tomato, cucumber salad, & white rice. That is NOT a varied diet.
So, getting back to the title of this blog entry, when I shop I don’t pay attention to how much I spend. My health is first and foremost in my mind. Family members on both sides are riddled with diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and all kinds of cancers. I truly hope to avoid all of that and eating well is how I think I can do it.
To prevent wasting an entire loaf of bread, I will freeze half a loaf and pull it out later when I need it. If I make too much rice (or any other grain) for a meal, I will toss that grain into salads or soups later in the week. When I get up in the morning, I fill a kettle with the first cold water of the day and then use that water to either water plants or to filter for my own drinking water. Anything I can do to reduce waste I will try to do.
I did make those brownie cookies yesterday afternoon. The recipe was from one of Sarah Kramer’s wonderful vegan cookbooks. The batter came out a bit runny with the first batch so I used the rest of it in cupcakes, and they came out great. I froze the cookies & some of the cupcakes for later and kept out a few to enjoy this week.