There are a couple of reasons this is happening. I have Ulcerative Colitis and sometimes eating produce isn't an option for my stomach, while other days it seems fine (makes no sense to me either, folks). If my stomach is too sensitive for salad mix and vegetables, I leave it up to my husband to eat that stuff.
The other reason, which sort of relates to the first reason, is that we obviously have more stuff in our refrigerator than we can consume before it all goes bad. Last night we tossed so much bad produce (and some too-old-to-eat leftovers) that I was really annoyed. That's money in the garbage! And it's not like we don't try. We eat it and cook with it, but still throw away a fair amount.
No more, I say!
I'm tired of seeing mold. I'm sick of leftovers that don't get eaten. Time for a change.
This is what we're going to be doing to successfully shop and cook for two people while cutting out the wastefulness. Maybe it'll help you, too.
- Plan! We've been planning our grocery list since we moved into our house in August, but we're going to plan an even tighter list now. I like to plot out our meals for the week (kind of necessary since I write a weekly cooking column, and one night a week our dinner is the recipe I write about). By plotting, I know exactly what we'll need. From now on, when planning the shopping list, I want to have a clear and specific idea of when and how each item will be used. If we're grabbing something "just because"... well, I need to know when it goes bad and if we will realistically eat it by then.
- Reduce! By reduce, I mean scale down. As in, scale down the recipes. I'm a fan of allrecipes.com and grab most of our meal ideas from there. The problem is most of the dishes are for families of 4 or more. While I usually cut the recipe in half anyway, sometimes we'll make extra for leftovers... not a good idea in all cases. From now on, we make enough for two people to eat.
- If you must leftover... leftover wisely! Sometimes the leftover thing works. My husband likes taking food from home to work with him for lunch, so when we have leftovers, he'll pack it for the next day. The problem is, he only likes to do this once (maybe twice). Besides, leftovers should be eaten within 3 days of preparation. Which means, between that fact and my husband's lunch habits, we can cook 3 servings of a meal and that would be just enough. So from now on, when we have leftovers, if we have more left than he can take for lunch, we need to plan when the rest will be eaten. In a timely manner.
- Avoid impulse buys! This is hard since there's always something on sale that you can't help but scoop up "just in case," but come on. Impulse buys are dangerous; they add up and can wreck a shopping budget, and sometimes they're the very item that goes rotten before you can eat it. I'm sticking to the list unless I had a specific use for the impulse item.
- Grow it ourselves! This one I'm most excited about. We're planning a vegetable garden, which means when we want produce we can grab it, prepare it, and not worry about it going bad. Frankly, I'm tired of how expensive produce costs at the store, and I'm paranoid about pesticides. So the logical solution is to grow our own food when we can. It may only be for part of the year, but I'll feel better knowing we're saving money and avoiding nasty chemicals.
Hopefully this will fix the problem. I'm off to make my air-tight grocery list...
Do you have any money-and-produce-saving tips?