Food Waste and Exhaustion

I didn’t mean to leave you hanging without the latest Change the World Wednesday challenge from Reduce Footprints. I was simply busy from morning till morning.  My day started off being woken by the little ones who wanted to visit and check their garden, which is coming along nicely.  As I began to work on a small piece of furniture I hope to show you Monday, I received a call from a friend who had received a large box of apples that had fallen from her mother’s tree.  She asked if I would want to spend the afternoon processing them in exchange for half of the finished apples.



I had no idea how large the box was, we took a break for dinner and then returned to working on the apples.  Before I knew it I was yawning away and found it was 2 am!  My day was gone, but you should smell the aromas of cinnamon applesauce lingering in the apartment.


This morning my old computer and scanner was picked up by a gentleman through Freecycle, and I had a delivery of 2 more end tables to repair and restore and a stack of old textbooks to find homes for.


The grandchildren are coming over this afternoon to harvest their lettuce for a dinner we will share.  My granddaughter has gazed through my pantry shelves recently asking about my jar of black beans, so I have a pot of beans on now to make a modified southwestern salad.  Since she is new to eating leafy lettuce, the only one she loves is Romaine, we will be adding the black beans, then mandarin oranges to add some sweetness and eliminate the need for a dressing.  Her mother will bring anything else she thinks little one will want to add to her salad, such as chicken which is her favorite thing to add

First Ladybug spotted this year. I had been wondering where they were.

First Ladybug spotted this year. I had wondered where they were.



After dinner, I have a surprise for the little ones.  My neighbor has harvested some of the potato crop, but has a lot more to do.  Remembering how much my granddaughter loved digging up the potatoes last year gave me the go-ahead to let the children dig them up.  I will share pictures tomorrow of today’s fun.

Spotted this on a walk.

Spotted this on a walk.


Back to Change the World Wednesday, this week’s challenge is:

Zero Waste Week is less than a week away (September 2nd thru September 8th). Mrs. Green has a pre-event challenge for us designed to raise our awareness. Here you go …

This week conduct a daily food waste audit. Pay attention to what is being tossed out, how much is thrown away, where it’s ending up (compost, city compost, trash bin, etc.) and why it’s being tossed out. You might find this Food Waste Diary helpful. If you’re feeling truly ambitious, sort out the food waste and weigh it. This challenge is all about realizing just how much food we waste.
Food waste is a huge problem.  If we look at the family and household expenses buying food you toss out costs money, money we may not have.  It is also an environmental problem.  Food waste takes up a large percentage of the total landfill space we are quickly running out of and adds to the carbon footprint from the fact that it does not decompose in a landfill the same way it does in your back yard compost bin.

How fortunate I am where I live.

Since being without a fridge my food waste has been zero.  I make enough for a meal with no leftovers.  Any food scraps are put in the compost and the few things the children may not finish but are not something I want in the compost goes to the wildlife.  Here is one example of something I wasn’t sure I wanted in the compost.
I allow the little ones to create meals which sound interesting to them.  With a tortilla, my granddaughter pulled honey and raw sunflower seeds out of the pantry and decided this was going to be her sandwich.  She then rolled this up as you would a burrito and enjoyed her concoction.  A few bites were remaining.  As I have never put honey in the compost I tossed it in an area which I knew was traveled by our skunk, groundhogs and rabbits.  Sure enough come morning it was gone.
Since this is a weekly challenge I will be back next week to share with you how I did and if my zero food waste has continued.

How do you fare when it comes to food waste?  Do you have suggestions on how to reduce the amount of food tossed out?





  1. I also agree, that it is a wonderful idea to let the kids make up their own lunch with those healthy options, how fun! And if it was their creation, then they will also eat it :D

    My boyfriend and I now have almost zero food waste, although there are weeks where I do have to throw stuff out because we have been too disorganised to coordinate properly.

    Firstly, weekly menu planning helps me not to overbuy the food, and I know the usual suspects that are thrown out. I ask my boyfriend what he would like to eat for the next few days and by involving him, this stops us overbuying. He usually spontaneously decides our Thursday / Friday meals, so I only buy food for Mon-Thurs, leaving him room to have what he likes. This is also a tiny thing but really made a difference. I give my fridge a little wipe midweek and this helps me to see what needs to be used up, moving the older yoghurts to the front etc.

    Any leftover veg is usually chopped up small to put into curries or stews, pasta sauces or soups. Same with gravy. Another thing i like to do is roast miscellaneous veg in the oven with some olive oil and then take it to work with me the next day with a side of couscous. Yum!

    About food-waste when eating out, years ago I would have been very shy about asking for a doggy-bag, particularly when in company, but these days I have no qualms with that at all! Even a takeaway for a work lunch, if it is too much to eat in one sitting can often be reheated the next day with no trouble.

    • P, you have a good system in place to avoid food waste, being organized enough to wipe down the fridge mid-week would have saved me a lot of waste with my boys when they were growing up. It’s so easy to have something hidden in the back until it’s too late. Your quinoa and vegetable lunch sounds delicious, maybe I’ll check what is available in the garden and make something similar for dinner tonight, you’ve made me hungry. :-)

      I never had a problem asking for a doggy-bag, it was something I grew up with because my grandparents would never have allowed food to go to waste. Also I don’t know about your restaurants, but here the portion sizes are huge and not what anyone should eat at one sitting.

      Congratulations on reaching zero food waste the majority of the time, it really is important.

    • Hi, Kandice, applesauce is so easy to make and is one of the safest foods to can for a newbie to build up confidence in canning. Starting a compost bin can feel overwhelming from reading the books. Some make it sound like a chemistry experiment that must be done just so. In reality, it couldn’t be any more simple, I don’t bother with a bin, just work it right in to a dormant garden bed. By next spring I will have gorgeous and healthy soil. Another way to do it is to dig a hole and toss the scraps in and cover it back up.

  2. First, Lois, I love the applesauce! You’ve inspired me! I need to find a farmer’s market and get us some apples, to make our own. ;-) We haven’t made it since we’ve moved here.

    We’re slowly getting better at the food waste thing. We eat a lot of meat-and-veggie (or just veggie) mixes, over rice or (soaked) grains, so we just freeze the leftovers, all in one container. Eventually there are enough leftovers, to fry them up with some home-made sauce and have a yummy meal! Kind of like a pepper pot.

  3. I don’t know how you manage without a fridge either!. Digging for potatoes in like digging for treasure for the littlies isn’t it – I love those times, appreciating they will be teenagers before we know it and potato hunting could possibly be at the very end of a list of things they’d like to do today :)

    • Wendy, it was the highlight of the day for the little ones. Watching how excited they were to play in the dirt and really dig down for their prized treasures made my day. When a worm was found it was carefully carried over to the compost bin where it would have more food. :-) I am hoping as teens they will still enjoy working in the gardens or at least appreciate nature in their own way.

  4. Hi Lois,

    Fall gardens are great aren’t they. So glad you’re involving your grandchildren.

    Our food waste is practically zero even though we do have a fridge and frequently have leftovers. I always eat the leftovers as lunch the next day. Sometimes we cook for 3 or 4 meals at a time – it almost always gets eaten by us and the pups get anything leftover.

    Dan &

    • Hi, Dan, yes I am enjoying the gardens. This is the time of year when we can finally reap the rewards from all the work. It is so refreshing to hear how many people take the investment in their food seriously. I am looking forward to cooking enough for several meals and having the ability to store the leftovers for another meal.

  5. Smiling Big time as your little ones echo my granddaughter as her granddad dug up some potatoes she couldn’t wait last week to get her hands dirty and put them in the bag to take home, Like me Lois you put into the compost bin and to be honest we hardly have any food waste. As we buy only that which we need and prepare to our portion sizes, although after the children left home cooking for 4 then 3, it took some adjusting to cooking for two. I missed having my Granddaughter on Tuesday as her parents were on holiday, but to make up we have her for a few hours tomorrow.. Enjoy your day too :-) xxxx

    • Sue, the little ones are so cute in the gardens. After digging in the garden, my granddaughter, covered head to toe in dirt, hugged me and told me this was a good day. Watching her get excited about a few the size of a pea made me smile, who else but a child would find happiness in a potato that small? Like you I went from cooking for 3, and teen boys having huge appetites it took a bit of time for me to learn how little needed to be prepared just for myself. Enjoy your granddaughter tomorrow.

  6. My kids tease me sometimes because of my aversion to wasting food and call me the food-recycler actually they go on saying I’m a specialist in improvising recipes to recycle food.
    I know that food that is one day old won’t be touched so I blend it and add salt, oil, spices, starch and put it in the oven and call it a … pie!
    That’s one idea… I sometimes fry onions and heat the food after it’s nicely brown or add tomatoes, paprika, or if it blends well mushrooms… I play around according to the ingredients I have and try to be creative.
    Thanks for sharing,lovely post :)

  7. Mrs Sensible and I agree with the above, we only buy food we actually need. But I don’t know how you manage without a fridge!!

    Any food waste goes to the hens; what they don’t eat becomes compost (The earth at the bottom of the chicken run is very fertile). Mrs Sensible saves the oil from tuna cans and is it mixed with the hens grain. The skinny cat from across the way meows at crazy times in the evening and is rewarded with chicken skin or anything that was left over. There is a saying here, today’s leftovers become tomorrow’s meal, for example any left-over cooked vegetables with a couple of eggs makes a nice frittata.

    • Zero Waste Kitchen, it’s always good to hear others who are watching what they buy to ensure they have no waste. I hadn’t heard of mixing tuna oil with the chicken feed before, but then again I’ve only cared for chickens once for 2 weeks. Past generations were better about watching their food waste. My grandparents had 2 days per week where we ate leftovers. I enjoyed those meals. Our usual meal was meat, potatoes, and a vegetable for dinner. It can get boring. But on leftover nights everything became up for grabs. There could be hard boiled eggs, lunch meats, my grandmother’s baked goods, and fruits/vegetables along with the dinner leftovers. It was more like a buffet to chose from.

      I manage without a fridge because I am a vegetarian. I would say I am vegan, but do eat honey. During the cold months I sometimes eat eggs or buy butter which really doesn’t need refrigeration, but if I want them to stay really cold all I have to do is put them in my front window as our winters are so cold here.

      Thank you, I always believed if you have healthy foods around letting the children make up their own meals is fine and it allows them opportunities to learn how to make decisions, which I believe is an important skill to practice from very young up.

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