food waste http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7989/all en-US 10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000069487909_Large.jpg" alt="how to save and reuse stale bread" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After about three days of purchase, I'm eyeing our loaves of bread, planning the possibilities. Shall I make croutons? Stuffing? Bread pudding with bourbon sauce? See, stale bread can still be saved!</p> <p>If you don't have time to deal with stale bread at the moment, just toss it into the freezer. When you're ready to make any of the items below, it won't have suffered much more in quality once it's defrosted.</p> <h2>1. Homemade Croutons</h2> <p>My family eats these out of the pan as fast as I can toast them. Just about any bread (except sweet ones) work. Adding warm, freshly baked croutons onto a salad is so delicious, especially if that salad also contains some avocado, tomato, and onion.</p> <p>Here's how to do it: Slice up your stale bread into cubes. Heat a large skillet and add about four tablespoons of olive oil. Add your bread cubes and toss them until they are covered in oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and any other herbs you like (dried parsley and oregano are good). Over low heat, toast until golden-brown and crispy. Serve immediately. Or, just eat them right out of the pan.</p> <h2>2. Strata</h2> <p>A strata is an almost souffle-like casserole, usually prepared the night before &mdash; which makes it so easy to turn it into breakfast in the morning.</p> <p>Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Lightly butter slices of stale bread and put a layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Repeat until the pan is almost full, like you are making a lasagne. Next, crack four to five eggs &mdash; depending on how big a strata you are making &mdash; and whisk together with a half-pint of whipping cream. Pour over the top, add more cheese, and let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.</p> <p>In the morning, pop it into the oven at 350&ordm;F for about an hour (check it at 45 minutes). It will be puffy, cheesy, and delicious. Caution: This doesn't work as well with whole-wheat bread, so stick with French or sourdough. This recipe is very versatile. You can also add a layer of ham or tomato slices on the top. A layer of spinach is good, too.</p> <h2>3. Cornflake-Covered French Toast</h2> <p>Make French toast as usual, except... after dipping the bread in egg/milk, dip it into crushed corn flakes before adding to the skillet. Fry until golden and crispy. Keep pieces warm at 200&ordm;F in the oven until ready to serve. I like mine drizzled with honey.</p> <h2>4. Stuffing</h2> <p>Stuffing is just too delicious to only eat at Thanksgiving. It also <em>needs</em> stale bread, so that it soaks up all the delicious things you will add to it.</p> <p>Here is how I make mine:</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>10 cups of stale bread cubes (toast in a low oven and cool down, to make sure it will really soak up the other ingredients)</li> <li>1 shallot (a whole shallot, not a section), finely chopped</li> <li>&frac14; cup butter</li> <li>2 T olive oil</li> <li>1 cup sliced celery (with leaves)</li> <li>1 t salt</li> <li>&frac12; t pepper</li> <li>2 t poultry seasoning</li> <li>2 cans chicken broth, heated</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Melt butter and olive oil; add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add shallot and celery; stir until tender. Add bread cubes and stir until coated, and gradually add in chicken broth. If you like a moister stuffing, add hot water until desired consistency is achieved.</p> <h2>5. Meatloaf and Meatballs</h2> <p>I would be remiss if I didn't mention stale bread in meatloaf or meatballs. Our mothers and grandmothers called this &quot;stretching&quot; meat, but it does more than that. Adding bread gives the loaf, or meatballs, a lighter texture, and helps to bind the meat together. I soak my stale bread in milk before adding to the meatloaf mixture. This will keep the meatloaf more moist, too &mdash; no brick-like loaves.</p> <h2>6. Bread Pudding</h2> <p>It may be worth letting your bread go stale just so that you can make this bread pudding. If you don't like a traditional recipe with raisins, substitute chocolate chips. I like both, frankly. I also like mine with a bourbon sauce, but it's also good with some whipped cream. I have had a version with chopped pecans, and that was also a nice addition &mdash; just toast them first. No, the sauce isn't kid-friendly &mdash; although Grandma Ruth allowed us to have some at Christmas, when I was a kid. We'd sneak spoonfuls of it later.</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>2 cups milk, scalded and cooled</li> <li>4 thick slices of bread, lightly toasted</li> <li>3 T butter, melted</li> <li>&frac12; cup packed brown sugar</li> <li>&frac12; t cinnamon</li> <li>⅓ cup raisins OR chocolate chips (or both!)</li> <li>3 eggs, beaten</li> <li>1 t vanilla</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Grease or spray a casserole dish (9 x 9 x 2), or a little larger. Cut or tear bread into pieces and place into casserole dish. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with sugar. Add the raisins or chocolate chips.</p> <p>To beaten eggs, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and cooled milk. Pour over bread mixture and bake at 350&ordm;F for an hour, or until knife comes out clean.</p> <p>To make the hard sauce:</p> <ul> <li>1 stick butter, melted</li> <li>&frac12; cup brown sugar</li> <li>1 cup of Jack Daniel's Bourbon</li> </ul> <p>Melt butter; stir in brown sugar until melted. Add bourbon. Pour over bread pudding. Swoon.</p> <h2>7. Bread Salad (Panzanella)</h2> <p>This is more of a <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/09/classic-panzanella-salad-recipe.html">&quot;stale bread in summertime&quot; recipe</a>, because in addition to the bread, you'll need ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. (You can get those things at a high-end grocery store in the winter, but then your budget will feel it.) I was concerned that the consistency would be soggy, but toasting the bread cubes and draining the tomatoes ensures it isn't. You can easily make this a main-dish salad by adding some sliced salami.</p> <h2>8. Bread Soup (Ribollita)</h2> <p>This is a lovely old recipe which comes from Tuscany. Done in a traditional manner, it takes about 25 hours. Yes, that includes soaking beans. I don't know about you, but it's a pretty rare week when I can devote 25 hours to making soup. Fortunately, there exists<a href="http://www.loveandlemons.com/ribollita-tuscan-white-bean-soup/"> this recipe</a>, which is not only delicious, but can be put together shortly before dinnertime. French or sourdough breads also can be used.</p> <h2>9. Bread Crumbs</h2> <p>Talk about a handy thing to have around, and they're so easy to make!</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>8 slices of stale white bread</li> <li>1 T Italian seasonings</li> <li>1 t garlic salt</li> <li>1 t onion powder</li> <li>1 t paprika</li> <li>1 t dried parsley</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Preheat oven to 300&ordm;F. Tear up the bread and put it in your blender or food processor. Pulse until you have crumbs.</p> <p>In a large bowl, combine the crumbs with the rest of the ingredients. I like to rub them together with my hands to make sure it all gets well-mixed.</p> <p>Spread onto a large cookie sheet and toast for five minutes. Remove and cool for 20 minutes. Store in airtight container. These can be used on pastas, meat, lasagnas, and so much more!</p> <h2>10. Homemade Shake'N Bake</h2> <p>No need to purchase bread crumbs when you have your own! Try dredging thinly-pounded chicken breasts in plain yogurt, with a little lemon juice, and then adding in bread crumbs. Bake at 375&ordm;F for 50 minutes. Or, dredge a thin pork chop in an egg wash, then bread crumbs, and fry. Lastly, coat some halibut or cod with mayonnaise. Cover in bread crumbs, sprinkle with parmesan, and broil.</p> <p>Lastly, if you are just too overwhelmed by thrifty cooking, there is still no need to waste food. Tear up your bread and go feed the ducks!</p> <p><em>How do you use up stale bread? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bake-sourdough-bread-and-save-a-buck-on-every-loaf">How to bake sourdough bread (and save a buck on every loaf)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies">12 Cool Jobs for Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink baking bread Cooking cooking hacks food hacks food tricks food waste recipes stale bread Tue, 19 Apr 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1693273 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_playing_food_000064782535.jpg" alt="Woman taking budget challenge to find food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>This year I am trying to make an additional $31,000 (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">here's the math</a> that explains why). This means that in addition to taking on extra work, I am combing through our budget looking for ways to save money on our household expenses.</p> <p>One of the biggest line items in our budget is food. Our high food cost exists because my husband and I looked at the health of our elderly relatives and realized that we can spend more money now on better quality food, or we can spend more money later on medical treatment for things like Type 2 Diabetes.</p> <p>While the price of groceries at Whole Foods might lead anyone to think otherwise, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health have found that really healthy diets only cost about <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/healthy-vs-unhealthy-diet-costs-1-50-more/">$1.50 per day</a> more than the average diet. This research tracks with our household budget. We spend around $1200 more per year on groceries than most two-person households. So, how can we reduce our food budget by at least this $1200 without sacrificing nutrition or yummy food experiences?</p> <p>By scavenging food.</p> <h2>1. Eat Through Your Pantry</h2> <p>The average American household wastes between 15% and 25% of the food they purchase. To quote Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist for the Food and Agriculture Program:</p> <p>&quot;Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and just not bothering to pick it up. That's essentially what we're doing in our homes today.&quot;</p> <p>To put that waste in financial terms, the average American family wastes $2,275 in food each year. With that in mind, the first place I'm scavenging food is in my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-fridge-tricks-that-will-save-you-big">own refrigerator</a>.</p> <p>In January, my husband finally agreed to buy fewer groceries after he realized how much of the food we had in our fridge was on the brink of going bad. To avoid wasting food, we scheduled meals based on the &quot;best if consumed by&quot; dates of the ingredients, and have been careful to buy only what we need to complete recipes or meals since then.</p> <p>Interestingly, organizing our grocery shopping around food waste prevention has not had a negative impact on our diet. In fact, it has made us cook with greater focus, intention, and creativity.</p> <h2>2. Become the Commissary Coyote</h2> <p>My husband is so skilled at cooking with leftovers, and so unapologetic about bringing home uneaten work lunches that were destined for the dumpster, that the marketing director for his video game company wants him to star in a YouTube office cooking series tentatively titled: &quot;Are You Going to Finish That? Snackin' With Steve,&quot; for the company's website.</p> <p>Some office cultures are super judgmental about eating leftovers, or even brown bagging lunch, so we are lucky that my husband's coworkers are charmed and even impressed by his culinary habits&hellip;and also completely uninterested in eating leftovers themselves. My husband's company orders in dinner at least once a week to reward the salaried workers who work overtime to meet deadlines. There has been enough surplus food from these office dinners that my husband has been getting the equivalent of two free lunches per week.</p> <h2>3. Gleaning</h2> <p>Most people who have fruit trees end up with more fruit than they can handle, and pretty much everyone hates wasting home grown fruit. Since I live in Los Angeles, just about every yard in my neighborhood contains at least one fruit tree. My neighbors are only too thrilled to let me pick their trees clean. It's free yard work for them. I haven't had to pay for orange juice in three months, and I can't remember the last time I paid for a lemon or a grapefruit. All of this fruit is organically grown since none of my neighbors bother to spray their trees for bug control.</p> <p>A great resource for finding free fruit is real estate agents. Fallen fruit looks terrible and attracts rodents, so several agents call me whenever they have a listing with ripe fruit trees. I just donated 300 pounds of surplus citrus I got from one property to a local charity.</p> <p>In previous years, I have advertised on Freecycle and Craigslist to find free backyard produce.</p> <p>Gleaning fruit not only saves me money, it makes me money. Last September, I made $400 from selling my jams and marmalades made from gleaned, backyard fruit.</p> <h2>4. Use Everything in the CSA Farm Box or Grocery Bag</h2> <p>My local grade school offers a weekly CSA farm share subscription that is a fundraiser for both the school and the organic farmers that provide the produce. Every week I am given additional free produce from families who will never try kohlrabi or still haven't eaten through last week's purple potatoes. Usually, I offer to trade something from my CSA box in return, but I rarely get any takers. Also, not one of my fellow farm box subscribers eat the tops of their vegetables, even though they are edible, so every week I collect multiple servings of beet, radish, carrot, or turnip greens.</p> <h2>5. Shop at the End of the Farmer's Market</h2> <p>Gas is expensive and so is garbage pick-up. Farmers don't want to haul away unsellable food from the farmer's market, so most market vendors are willing to give steep discounts on food that is perfectly ripe today, but will be too ripe for them to sell tomorrow. The vendors I shop with regularly know that I make preserves, so they always give me huge bags of damaged fruit for free at the end of the day. No one will buy a bruised apple, but I have to chop up the fruit anyway when I make pies or jams. It doesn't take me any extra time to cut the bad parts off of free peaches.</p> <h2>6. Work a Food Job or Just Work Near One</h2> <p>Many restaurant and catering jobs include a free staff meal and first dibs at leftovers. This is pretty common knowledge. But we don't even have to work a food job to get these benefits.</p> <p>My brother-in-law is a professional party planner. He sends his staff home with surplus food after every event. He's now our cake hook-up. We have been eating a ridiculous amount of leftover wedding cake made by the best bakeries in town.</p> <p>My husband's best scavenge of the year actually came from a side job. My husband recently DJ'ed a house party that was catered by the In 'n Out Burger Truck. At the end of the night, the party host offered him 60 freshly cooked, fully wrapped hamburgers that she was going to throw out. He brought home 26 hamburgers! He ate four of them whole and we performed a burgerdectomy on the remaining 22, removing the meat and onion, before composting the rest of the burgers. We chopped up the patties and the onions and made a huge pot of chili using only ingredients we already had in the house. The chili was delicious. It even retained that special In 'n Out charred taste! It was so good that we were sorry that he had left the rest of the hamburgers behind.</p> <p>The next time we get leftover burgers we are going to make <a href="http://www.urbancookery.com/white-castle-stuffing/">White Castle stuffing</a>.</p> <h2>7. Leftovers Are the New Black</h2> <p>Apparently, our love of catering surplus is totally on point. Two of New York's trendiest restaurants are <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/03/20/new_yorks_trendiest_restaurant_is_serving_you_garbage_and_its_awesome/">serving food waste</a> to ecstatic customers.</p> <h2>8. Forage</h2> <p>I took a foraging class last weekend, and in addition to learning to identify five more edible plants that are growing all over my neighborhood and free for the taking, I came home with a <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BC6p-48tN_V/?taken-by=myromanapartment">one pound oyster mushroom</a>, harvested by the instructor, that made the most delicious omelet. The instructor also showed me where to find wild currants on public land (I see free currant jam in my future) and how to use river stones to heat food quickly. It was well worth the $20 I spent on the class to learn how to survive the zombie apocalypse without poisoning myself.</p> <h2>9. Eat What You Know</h2> <p>Before I developed better plant identification skills, I used to worry about eating toxic weeds. Luckily in Los Angeles, it is legal to harvest fruit that is growing on or hanging over public land, including city sidewalks. So even if I could only identify the most common fruits like oranges and apples, I would still be able to forage plenty of food. Over the years, I have learned how to identify about 20 different fruit and nut trees, so I now have access to free fruit year around. Urban foragers in cities around the world have even made <a href="http://fallenfruit.org/map/">fruit maps</a>, which make finding and identifying fruit trees even easier for newbie foragers.</p> <h2>10. Eat the Enemy</h2> <p>March is the best month to harvest the edible weeds in my backyard. Between the chickweed, lamb's quarters, nettles, and mallow, we won't have to buy salad greens all month. Wild plants have very high nutrient and flavor densities when compared to conventionally grown produce. By eating weeds we are getting extra vitamins and tastes without spending a cent.</p> <p>While eating weeds sounds desperate to many folk, restaurants pay a premium for wild foods. In Los Angeles, top restaurants are creating entire menus based on locally foraged, wild crafted food. It should also be noted than many commonly foraged food items like dandelions and garden snails were brought to America by European immigrants as food crops and micro-livestock.</p> <h2>11. Scrounge Like Steve Jobs</h2> <p>Nick Heyer started <a href="http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/december2011/articles/apocrypha/traditions_myths_and_legends.html">the scrounge movement</a> at Reed College in 1966. In order to cut his food costs, Heyer started eating the lunch leftovers of a classmate who was on a diet. Since 1966, hundreds of students, including Steve Jobs, have stretched their scholarship dollars by scrounging.</p> <p>Many universities have less storied, less organized, and less gross scrounging programs. Once a week, I work at a university, between 10 p.m. and midnight. On the way home, I always get a free pastry from the coffee shop on the ground floor of my building. At the end of every night, the shop gives that day's leftover baked goods to any university employee who asks. This employee discount is not advertised. I only found out about the late night pastry perk when I tried to buy a midnight snack from the coffee shop after they had closed their register for the night.</p> <h2>12. Dumpster Diving</h2> <p>I know several people who live extraordinary lives &mdash; as food rescue volunteers, as globetrotting snowboarders, as artists &mdash; who all dumpster dive for food as a logical and practical money-saving tool. Because I have seen firsthand how these people use scavenging to live fabulously, I've been able to put aside all sorts of irrational, ego-based, &quot;ew gross&quot; thoughts and see that dumpster diving is more than just about money, it's a great way to reduce environmental impact and take a stand against the American culture of waste.</p> <p>Obviously, I don't have any squeamishness about pulling edible packaged or peel-able food out of the garbage. However, I have a moral problem with competing with the huge population of homeless people in my city who depend on dumpster diving for their meals. So, unless I find myself on the verge of homelessness myself, dumpster diving for food will not be part of my $31,000 Budget Challenge. (However, I will still be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">dumpster diving for fun and profit</a>.)</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Dearest readers, do you have food scavenging tips you would like to share with me? I'm listening. It's already March and I need to find $25,000 more before the end of the year to make my $31,000 Budget Goal.</p> <p>For us, this last pay period was gruesome. After six weeks in the shop and three failed smog tests, we finally got our Volvo station wagon up and running. Final cost: $1091.90. Alas, this financial hit was not defrayed by the whopping $90 I made last week from a little writing gig.</p> <p><strong>Goal</strong>: $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised</strong>: $8,890.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent</strong>: $4,833.72</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go</strong>: $26,943.72</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink Cooking food costs food waste foraging max wongs budget saving money Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Max Wong 1679503 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_pizza_000021985984.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to stop the takeout meal cycle and save" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're trying to lean your budget or your waistline this year, eating too many meals out is a common offender. In fact, CNN recently reported that the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant comes in at a staggering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/health/non-chain-restaurants-calories-fast-food/">1,200 calories</a>. While prices can range wildly depending on the eatery, the solution for better physical and financial health may be as simple as cooking more meals at home.</p> <p>My family decided to embark on a challenge and stop dining out last month. We survived and have a stack of cash to show for it. Yes! We estimate we saved around $75 (conservatively) each week by skipping takeout and getting better with our meal planning. About $50 of this money, probably more, came from shunning restaurants and $25 is what we shaved off each week's grocery bill, all while making enough food for hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners &mdash; seven days each week.</p> <p>Your results with this type of challenge will vary depending on how much you eat out, the cost of living in your area, and your creativity with using leftovers. Regardless, here are some tips that can help anyone to stop the takeout cycle today and save big. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=seealso">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a>)</p> <h2>Examine Your Habits</h2> <p>Get honest with yourself about your eating and restaurant habits. When we wrote it out, we realized we were grabbing takeout pizza on Friday night, scouting out brunch or lunch on Saturday or Sunday, and sneaking in at least another meal out every week. I say we were spending $50, but I'm sure the amount was closer to $75 at the rate we were going.</p> <p>Beyond that, we had a huge problem with food waste. I found myself tossing rotten fruits and veggies before our weekly grocery trip. We had expired cartons of yogurt nearly full and long-forgotten bags of whatever else going stale. The weirdest part? Our grocery bill was higher than ever. In better days, we tried to stick to around $80 to $100 for a family of three, but we were climbing at least $25 higher than that amount, all while feeling like we never had ideas for dinner. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <p>After facing the hard truth, it became crystal clear that we needed to put more effort into planning and preparing our meals to save money and create less waste.</p> <h2>Embrace the Plan</h2> <p>Meal planning has been the key to our success, and it hasn't taken much effort. Every week before shopping, I take stock of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It sounds like a big job, but it probably takes five or 10 minutes. I figure out what meals we can make with those items first. Some of the ideas come from memory. Other times, I use sites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes">Supercook</a> to help with my creativity.</p> <p>Feeling intimidated? It helps to stick to basic breakfasts (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc.), easy lunches (sandwiches, salads, and other things that can be made in bulk), and use tools like a slow cooker to make simmering satisfying dinners a breeze. We even do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a> to help when we're in a pinch. Example: I made a huge batch of freezer veggie burgers that we can grab on busy nights.</p> <h2>Shop Smart</h2> <p>After I account for all the leftover foods, I look up recipes or write down old favorites for the other nights in the week. What results is an awesomely organized grocery list. At the store, we only buy what we need, nothing additional. That's how food waste is made! And I'll tell you what, there's nothing more satisfying than ending the week with a near-empty fridge.</p> <p>We also found when we changed what day of the week we shop, we felt less compelled to grab takeout. For us, this meant heading to the store on Friday nights so our cabinets were packed with lots of exciting foods for the weekend. We had been shopping on Mondays, and with little in our reserves &mdash; that's when we'd venture out to takeout town. Now, making our meals and enjoying food together has even become one of our favorite sources of frugal entertainment.</p> <h2>Start Small</h2> <p>Does cooking absolutely everything at home sound too overwhelming? I admit, I have a high tolerance for being in the kitchen. If you don't &mdash; start small. You can get great results by replacing just one of your meals out each week. Maybe you can start by packing a lunch instead of buying out. Replacing your morning coffee and muffin habit with a homemade variety. Look for any and all opportunities and add on from there.</p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I would have started with our pizza takeout night. Making pizza at home doesn't take much skill. A plain pie at the place down the street costs around $14. To make dough ($1 for flour, yeast, and water) and top with sauce ($0.99 a jar) and cheese ($2.99 for a two-cup bag)? Well, that's more like $5 if you stick to the basics. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Resist Temptation</h2> <p>There were some tricky moments we encountered along the way. For example, our friends came down to visit and asked us if we wanted to buzz out to get some dinner with them randomly one afternoon. I felt paralyzed and slightly embarrassed, but I told them the truth: We'd love to get together, I shared, but we have some big budget goals this year, and eating out doesn't fit into the puzzle right now. Plus, we had already started cooking dinner.</p> <p>Guess what? It was no biggie. They came over to our place, we hung out for several hours, and they even told us our Crock-Pot dinner smelled amazing. For us, temptation usually comes when we're lazy about planning or when we get social pressure. We know this now. Your own triggers might be different. Be aware of them. Be honest about your goals. And get cooking.</p> <p><em>Did you break your takeout cyclc? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating out Fast Food food waste groceries meal planning restaurants Takeout Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1659930 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_cooking_000065817113.jpg" alt="Couple finding easiest food budget wins" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What I spend on food makes up a large part of my monthly budget, so it's great if I can save a little when I can. The problem is, the most frugal methods of cutting down your food budget &mdash; meal planning, couponing, bulk buying, bulk cooking &mdash; are difficult to sustain given a busy lifestyle and, to be frank, lack of interest. Honestly, I'd much rather be binge-watching Netflix than couponing or meal-planning, and I don't have enough storage space to stockpile a lot of bulk items.</p> <p>I've found that it's much easier for me to trim the budget here and there by using a few tricks. I can go crazy spending on restaurant meals, but limiting the number of times we dine out has helped our food budget tremendously. Many of these tips center around preparing meals easily and cheaply, without spending money at a restaurant.</p> <h2>1. Have Go-To Meals in the Pantry</h2> <p>How often do you get home at 6 p.m., only to realize you have no idea what to make for dinner, and you have no groceries in the fridge? When caught unawares, it's often easier to eat out or order in, but unfortunately, unplanned restaurant meals can add up quickly. Prevent last-minute splurges by keeping your pantry stocked with quick, easy-to-prepare, non-perishable, and cheap ingredients. Make sure you have at least three or four pantry-friendly meals you can call on in a pinch. Supplement this with frozen vegetables and a few frozen entrees like ravioli, meatballs, or salmon burgers.</p> <p>For example:</p> <ul> <li>Canned tuna + frozen spinach + spaghetti = tuna pasta<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried red split lentils + chicken broth + canned tomatoes = lentil soup<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rice + canned beans + salsa = Mexican rice bowl (add a fried egg on top!)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Marinara sauce + frozen meatballs + frozen pineapple = Hawaiian meatballs<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried ramen or soba + dried seaweed + frozen edamame = veggie noodle bowl</li> </ul> <h2>2. Make a Shopping List</h2> <p>Making a shopping list doesn't have to be intimidating &mdash; we're not talking about planning your meals for the whole week. It's more about preventing that moment when you get home from the grocery store only to realize you forgot the ingredient you went there for in the first place. Instead of shopping by the seat of your pants, make a list. In fact, make a list throughout the week, by writing down ingredients that you are running out of or know you'll need. Use the last egg? Put eggs on the list. Use the last can of salsa? Put salsa on the list. That way, you won't need to make a special trip to the store when you find yourself without important staples.</p> <h2>3. Reduce Food Waste</h2> <p>Most of us lose a lot of money through food waste. Something looks good at the store, and it sits forgotten in the bottom of the crisper drawer for the next two weeks. Here are a few easy ways to cut down on food waste:</p> <ul> <li>Look in the fridge before you go to the store. Take note of what you already have and what needs to be used up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a shopping list!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use up leftovers for lunch the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Only buy as much as you need. That giant bulk-size bag of chips might be a good value, but not if the chips go stale before you can eat them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make sure you can see at a glance what you have in the fridge &mdash; this might mean organizing or cleaning out your fridge.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>Spending the extra time to prepare a lunch the night before work (or the morning of) can seem like a chore, but there are a few ways to make packing a lunch easier:</p> <ul> <li>Keep groceries at work. My husband recently started doing this and has cut down on eating out from five meals a week to one or two. He keeps a bag of bagels or wraps at the office, and stores packages of deli meat, sliced cheese, baby carrots, and hummus in the office fridge. He's definitely saving money, and can use his lunch break to go for a run or a swim instead of standing in line to order food.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan to cook a little more at dinner the night before, so you'll have leftovers to bring to work the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Portion out easy-to-grab containers of sliced vegetables, hummus, fruit, and other lunch components at the beginning of the week to make the lunch-packing process faster and easier.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Have a Snack Before Shopping</h2> <p>It can be dangerous to shop on an empty stomach &mdash; everything looks so appetizing. Stop yourself from giving in to the temptation by having a nutritious and filling snack before you go to the store. Plus, you'll need energy to wrangle all those great deals you'll be finding!</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Staples</h2> <p>When you see non-perishable staples that you know you'll use on sale, be sure to stock up. If pasta is on sale for 79 cents a package, buy as much as you think you'll use before it expires. Same goes for canned beans, canned tomatoes, and pasta sauce. Sometimes meat goes on sale &mdash; you can freeze a bunch for use later (though don't buy more than you'll use in a couple months). The key to stocking up, however, is to only buy what you know you will use. Don't fall into the trap of hoarding food just because it's cheap. You'll only end up wasting more food and money.</p> <h2>7. Cook What's Seasonal and Cheap</h2> <p>Instead of buying groceries based on a recipe you want to try, look for recipes based around what's seasonal and inexpensive at the grocery store. This is especially easy if you have a smartphone. I often check to see what meats and vegetables are on sale, then quickly browse the Internet to see what dishes I can make with them and if I need to pick up any extra ingredients.</p> <h2>8. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Learn to cook the cheaper (and often tougher) cuts of meat. A pork shoulder roast is one of the cheapest meats that you can buy, and can make a pot of pulled pork (or my favorite, kalua pork) in the slow cooker that will last you three or four days. Instead of going for the more expensive chicken breasts, try cooking with inexpensive chicken thighs. And instead of roasting a tender rack of lamb ribs, barbecue a few crosscut lamb leg steaks. Optimize a rotisserie chicken by eating the drumsticks and thighs for one meal, and using the breasts for another dish (we frequently do chicken and dumplings), as well as making soup with the bones.</p> <h2>9. Eat Less Meat</h2> <p>Meat or fish is usually the most expensive part of the meals I cook at home. Try designating one day (or more) for a meatless meal. Instead substitute vegetarian dishes, like chickpea curry, pasta primavera, or vegetarian pizza. Eggs can be bought very inexpensively &mdash; try making a veggie and egg scramble for dinner, a quiche or frittata, or an egg and potato salad.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your food budget low? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink Shopping dinners food costs food waste groceries lunches meal planning seasonal Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1659840 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 20 Foods You're Throwing Out Too Soon http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-20-foods-youre-throwing-out-too-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-20-foods-youre-throwing-out-too-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-iStock_000029291080_Small.jpg" alt="chopping vegetables" title="chopping vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on 20 foods you might be throwing out too soon, tips to get the most out of your garage sale, and tasks that you can easily outsource.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://moneyaware.co.uk/2015/05/20-foods-you-might-be-chucking-out-too-soon/">20 Foods You Might Be Chucking Out Too Soon</a> &mdash; When storing cheese in your fridge, wrap it in wax paper to keep the excess moisture out. Rubbing butter on a hard cheese will keep it from drying too soon! [StepChange MoneyAware]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0524/Sixteen-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-garage-sale-and-11-things-you-shouldn-t-really-sell">Sixteen tips to get the most out of your garage sale &ndash; and 11 things you shouldn't really sell</a> &mdash; Stage your sale and be sure to keep things neat and orderly. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://gradmoneymatters.com/money-making-ideas/5-tasks-that-you-can-outsource.html">5 Tasks You Can Outsource</a> &mdash; Hire someone to manage your email or social media accounts if you find that they're bogging you down. [Grad Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2015/05/28/5-times-to-leave-landscaping-to-the-professionals/">5 times to leave landscaping to the professionals</a> &mdash; Have a professional come in if your landscaping will involve water. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Clean-Your-Toilet-34602909">How to Clean Your Toilet (Without Feeling Totally Grossed Out)</a> &mdash; Step 1: Remove everything around your toilet so you can spray the area without worrying about anything getting damaged. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://blog.mint.com/planning/5-financial-tips-for-starting-a-business-052715">5 Financial Tips for Starting a Business</a> &mdash; Have a &quot;pull-the-cord&quot; strategy so you know when to jump ship without devastating your personal finances. [Mint Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-tips-for-living-one-income-you-can-quit-your-job/">10 Tips for Living on One Income So You Can Quit Your Job</a> &mdash; Consider becoming a one-car family. This will allow you to save on gas, insurance, and other expenses. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.credit.com/2015/05/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-give-your-email-out-like-candy-117336/">5 Reasons You Shouldn&rsquo;t Give Your Email Out Like Candy</a> &mdash; Your email often doubles as a user ID, which makes it easy for hackers and scammers to access your accounts. [Credit.com]</p> <p><a href="http://momsneedtoknow.com/5-tips-spring-clean-kitchen-pantry/">5 Tips To Spring Clean Your Kitchen Pantry!</a> &mdash; Store opened packages in air-tight containers to keep its contents from going stale. This also ensures that ants, roaches, mice, and other critters won't be able to get to it. [Moms Need to Know]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/are-you-really-ready-for-baby-to-arrive-the-conversation-you-must-have">Are You Really Ready for Baby to Arrive? The Conversation You Must Have</a> &mdash; Make sure to revisit your health and life insurance options before a new baby arrives. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-20-foods-youre-throwing-out-too-soon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips food waste Mon, 01 Jun 2015 19:00:23 +0000 Amy Lu 1441101 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Stop Wasting Food http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-stop-wasting-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-stop-wasting-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wasting_food_000026585202.jpg" alt="Woman throwing away food scraps and wasting food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on ways to stop wasting food, how to save more when shopping online, and stupid things that improve your quality of life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-ways-to-stop-wasting-food">7 Ways to Stop Wasting Food</a> &mdash; Before you throw out uneaten food after a meal, consider different ways to salvage some or all of it. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.beatingbroke.com/5-ways-to-save-when-online-shopping/">5 Ways to Save When Online Shopping</a> &mdash; Let the items sit in your cart for a few days. Stores will often lower the price or send you a coupon in hopes that you'll finish the checkout process. [Beating Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Stupid-Things-Make-Your-Life-Better-Reddit-37270312">15 Stupid Things That Significantly Increase Your Quality of Life</a> &mdash; Golf balls aren't just for golfers! You can use them to work out the knots in your muscles. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/lifestyle/10-things-every-woman-20s-needs-know/56759">10 Things Every Woman in her 20s Needs to Know</a> &mdash; It's important to know how to make small talk, especially as you start out in your career. [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="http://www.aspiringmillionaire.com/2015/04/how-to-successfully-deal-with-workplace.html">How to Successfully Deal With Workplace Drama</a> &mdash; Don't become friends with the entire office; this makes it easy to blur the lines between work and play, and it can negatively impact your work environment. [Aspiring Millionaire]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/13441/steps-financial-survival.html">9 Essential Steps for Financial Survival</a> &mdash; Don't make excuses for your purchases. Be honest to yourself about your spending and hold yourself accountable. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0414/1040-surprising-facts-about-taxes-just-kidding-only-seven">1040 surprising facts about taxes ... just kidding, only seven</a> &mdash; Believe it or not, a whopping 90% of taxpayers with hired help lie about it! [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/fighting-identity-theft-and-cybercrime/">The Most Powerful Weapon in Fighting Identity Theft and Cybercrime</a> &mdash; The best thing we can do to prevent identity theft and cybercrime is to be aware and vigilant &mdash; and vigilance is more important than awareness. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/expensive-traffic-violations/">The Five Most Expensive Traffic Violations</a> &mdash; The fines for running a red light varies between jurisdictions, but insurance surcharges can easily run as high as 20%. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.listenmoneymatters.com/can-money-buy-happiness/">Can Money Buy Happiness?</a> &mdash; It depends on your definition of happiness. Money can certain kinds of freedom, experiences, and convenience. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-stop-wasting-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips food waste Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:00:06 +0000 Amy Lu 1388001 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things in Your Pantry That Don't Last as Long as You Think http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-pantry-that-dont-last-as-long-as-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-in-your-pantry-that-dont-last-as-long-as-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pantry-food-Dollarphotoclub_34705108.jpg" alt="pantry food" title="pantry food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's kind of a general assumption that &quot;non-perishable&quot; food means that it'll last forever. That's far from accurate, however, and if you're not careful, consuming out-of-date or spoiled pantry items means your meals won't be as nutritious or flavorful as they might be &mdash; and you could be risking your health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-eat-this-a-quick-guide-to-expiration-dates-and-food-safety?ref=seealso">Can I Eat This? A Quick Guide to Expiration Dates</a>)</p> <p>How do you know which staples are susceptible? Here's a list of 10 common cupboard items to keep an eye on.</p> <h2>1. Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/tazo%20tea.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Tea has plenty of health benefits &mdash; like giving you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/drink-your-tea-types-health-benefits-and-how-to-brew-a-perfect-cup">more energy to exercise and reducing the risk of heart attack</a> &mdash; but only if it's stored properly.</p> <p>&quot;<a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/food-safety-how-tell-when-food-spoiled">Antioxidants decrease an average of 32%</a> after 6 months on the shelf, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science,&quot; reports Prevention.com. &quot;These antioxidants, known as catechins, may decrease your risk of several types of cancer, but they are sensitive to both oxygen and light. Sadly, tea, unlike wine, does not improve with age.&quot;</p> <p>To maximize tea's efficacy, store in a sealed container in the fridge.</p> <h2>2. Spam</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/spam%20can.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're stocking up on food to ride out the impending zombie-pocalypse, Spam is a great option to fortify your nutritional reserves. Yeah, nutrition and Spam is an oxymoron, but when there's very little food left on the planet, whatever you have is nutritious. You just better hope the crisis is over in less than 17 years &mdash; because that's when non-perishables of even maximum strength preservative power start to throw in the towel.</p> <p>&quot;I'm far from a food expert, but my wife and I bought a can of Spam in 1997 thinking that it would last forever,&quot; admits Dr. Dave Popple, president of a leadership development firm. &quot;This year it split one of the seams [because] it was so bloated. Now I can say our love has lasted longer than a can of Spam.&quot;</p> <p>Let's hope it lasts longer than the zombie-pocalypse too. Or just check the &quot;<a href="http://www.spam.com/spam-101/what-is-the-shelf-life-of-spam-products">Best by</a>&quot; date on the bottom of the can before opening the can.</p> <h2>3. Canned Ham and Seafood</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/canned%20tuna.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I didn't call eww on Spam, but I am calling super yuck on canned ham and seafood. There's just something about meat in a four-year-old metal cylinder that's completely unappetizing. To each his own, I guess &mdash; but if you've been letting next year's holiday feast-in-a-tin sit in your pantry, prepare to spend Christmas getting your stomach pumped.</p> <p>Madison Kotack, digital marketing manager at <a href="http://www.mealkitsupply.com">Meal Kit Supply</a>, warns, &quot;Some canned hams and seafoods cannot be stored at room temperature, as many people might assume.&quot;</p> <h2>4. High-Acid Canned Goods</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/canned%20fruit%20vegetables.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Kotack also weighs in on high-acid canned goods like tomatoes. &quot;Canned tomatoes only last 12 to 18 months, while many assume the full 2 to 5 years of standard canned foods,&quot; she says. &quot;High-acid foods contain natural chemicals that continually corrode the container, which can alter the taste, texture, and nutritional value of the food over a long period of time.&quot;</p> <p>To avoid ingesting a potentially dangerous product, always check the expiration date before opening.</p> <h2>5. Dried Herbs and Ground Spices</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dried%20herbs.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I know what you're thinking &mdash; how can dried herbs and spices possibly go bad? It's not so much that they actually go bad, per se, but they don't pack as much of a punch after a while. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Store Herbs to Make Them Last Longer and Taste Fresher</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Herbs and spices don't last as long as you think,&quot; says Lisa Wells, a blogger at Cook Eat Paleo. &quot;They lose their flavor and color over time and should be replaced. Dried herbs will last one to three years, but if they start to lose their scent that's a good indication that the flavor will be weak. Ground spices should be used within six to nine months for maximum flavor.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Whole Grain Flour, Nuts, and Seeds</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/nuts%20jar.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're not a fan of pancakes that taste like turpentine, keep an eye on your whole grain flour along with any nuts and seeds you keep in the pantry.</p> <p>&quot;People think that whole grain flour and nuts and seeds last forever, but the natural oils in these go rancid quickly,&quot; explains Dr. Sharon Palmer, author of <a href="http://www.sharonpalmer.com/">Plant-Powered for Life</a>. &quot;This not only makes these products taste awful &mdash; that familiar paint thinner flavor and odor &mdash; and it's not a healthy habit to eat oxidized, rancid food.&quot;</p> <p>As an alternative to the pantry, Dr. Palmer recommends storing these items in the freezer.</p> <h2>7. Potatoes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/potatoes.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A lot of people think that potatoes are still consumable as long as they don't have &quot;eyes,&quot; and even then I bet a good portion of those people just pick them off and prepare the potatoes anyway. Unfortunately, that's not a very smart way to eat your starches.</p> <p>In the pantry, potatoes last only one to two weeks at room temperature, according to <a href="http://www.stilltasty.com/">StillTasty.com</a>, but anywhere from two to three months when stored in a cooler dark area (45 to 55 degrees). That doesn't mean you should refrigerate your potatoes, however. Refrigeration can give the spuds a sweet taste and cause them to darken when cooked. Prepare the potatoes and freeze them, and they're good to go for up to a year.</p> <p>The site also advises to store the potatoes in a loosely covered sack or basket to allow for air circulation. Keep them away from onions, too, as the chemical reaction between the two will speed up the spoilage process.</p> <h2>8. Brown Rice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/brown%20rice.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>While brown rice lasts a good six to eight months in the pantry, that's not always a foolproof way to ensure that it's consumable, mainly because you don't know how long it sat on the shelf before you bought it. Thus:</p> <ul> <li>If it has a sour smell, like rancid oil, it's bad;</li> <li>If it's dusty or oily, it's bad;</li> <li>If it contains mold, bugs, insect eggs, or other &quot;things&quot; in it (which is a real possibility; I'm not making this up), it's reeeeally bad.</li> </ul> <p>And if that's not enough to make you want to run for sheriff of the Brown Rice Police Department, let holistic health coach Wendy Kuhn impart her wisdom upon you:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">&quot;Until this fall, I talked about how if you had healthy choices available in your pantry all of the time, it makes it easier to pull together healthy meals at the last minute,&quot; she says. &quot;I still believe that, but my timeline and quantities have changed significantly after a horrendous pantry moth invasion. The moths started in my brown rice and expanded to virtually all of my food products (except for canned goods). Not only did I have to throw out hundreds of dollars worth of food, but getting rid of them non-toxically was a huge and time-consuming challenge.&quot;</p> <p>Now, before you run to the pantry and throw out all your food, here are ways to prevent this nightmarish invasion from happening to you.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">&quot;First, store food (whether it comes in boxes, plastic bag or sealed packages) in sealed glass containers,&quot; Kuhn advises. &quot;This moves people away from storing in plastic, which, especially as a breast cancer survivor, is a practice that I think is a good thing. Secondly, I have become a proponent of buying what you need. I no longer buy huge quantities of grains, but only enough for a few meals. The upside of this is that shopping for these essentials more often also means buying fresh produce more frequently, which is always a good thing. My point is, even though you think grains, cereals, flour, mixes, and other foods last forever, the pantry moths love them just a little bit too much and, trust me, it is not worth it.&quot;</p> <p>Alas, nothing can get rid of that phantom itch you have all over your body right now. You're welcome.</p> <h2>9. Cereal</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cereal.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Your favorite breakfast cereal doesn't exactly spoil, but I'm sure you've noticed in the past that it's gotten stale. It's not immune to everyday elements, and it'll start <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/10/shelf-life-pantry-foods-_n_3248107.html">losing its texture and flavor</a> about three to four months after its been opened. (But let's be honest with ourselves here; those Fruity Pebbles don't last long in your house.) To extend cereal's shelf life, keep the box well covered so it stays crisper, longer.</p> <h2>10. Coffee</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/coffee%20bean%20cup.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You don't have to worry about any nefarious living organisms infiltrating your coffee, but the pick-me-up does start to lose its flavor after a week or two in the pantry. Stash it in the fridge to preserve its full strength (and to keep the coffee thieves at bay).</p> <p><em>Do you know of other pantry staples to that don't last as long as we think they do? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-in-your-pantry-that-dont-last-as-long-as-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-pantry-foods-that-keep-longer-than-you-think">18 Pantry Foods That Keep Longer Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unusual-but-necessary-staples-to-add-to-your-pantry">12 Unusual (But Necessary!) Staples to Add to Your Pantry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping expiration dates food waste pantry shelf life Staples Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1269733 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-refrigerator-485018303-small.jpg" alt="woman refrigerator" title="woman refrigerator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your freezer a mess? Do you frequently find old food rotting in the back of your fridge? I used to lose so much money this way. Now I take time to regularly clean and organize my refrigerator and freezer spaces, and it has made a huge difference. Even a few simple hacks are helpful here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste?ref=seealso">Schedule Regular Fridge Cleanings to Avoid Food Waste</a>)</p> <p>So, check out these handy tips to get your foods onto the table with less mess, confusion, and &mdash; most important &mdash; waste.</p> <h2>Clear Out</h2> <p>Before you begin any project, it's good to clear out the old so you can start fresh. Take a good half hour (depending on your level of crazy) and take everything out of your fridge and freezer. Trash what's rotting, examine what's expired, and keep the rest. This occasion is also a great opportunity to spray some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners">homemade cleaner</a> in there and wipe all the crud and grime away. If you don't like how your refrigerator is configured, most shelves are moveable, so try a few layouts before putting your food back in.</p> <h2>Create Zones</h2> <p>The next step: Create zones for all your stuff to live in. There's no right or wrong way to divide, however &mdash; temperature and humidity does vary in the box, making ideal environments for some foods versus others. This <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/organizing-kitchen/refrigerator-drawers">organization guide</a> helps to identify the areas that work best for all your foods. For example, eggs do well on the middle shelf where temperature tends to be most consistent. Fruit, on the other hand, thrives in a low humidity drawer, whereas you'll want to keep veggies in higher humidity. And condiments &mdash; which have more preservatives &mdash; can happily hang out in the door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor?ref=seealso">Fridge or Counter? Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor</a>)</p> <h2>Contain It</h2> <p>Whole foods and leftovers can certainly get lost without visibility. So, just as you'd box your belongings in other areas of your home, consider bringing some clean bins into the mix. The <a href="http://www.fourgenerationsoneroof.com/2014/02/hello-organization-refrigerator-makeover.html">before and after shots</a> of this refrigerator are jaw-dropping. Corralling snacks into one spot keeps them from migrating to the back of the refrigerator where they'll likely expire before use. And think outside the box here. I've seen friends use lazy susans or even magazine holders as unique shelving options. These same tips work in the freezer, too.</p> <h2>Freeze Flat</h2> <p>If you do any <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk or assembly cooking</a>, space is at a premium in your freezer. Even if you have a dedicated chiller, like I do, you can get much more out of your investment by <a href="http://www.onedishdinners.com/2011/03/flat-freezing.html">freezing foods flat</a> whenever possible. Of course, you can't do this with absolutely all foods, but soups and stews, pre-cut fruits and veggies, sauces, meats, and even some baked goods can be placed in zip freezer bags and flattened. You can even freeze smoothies, soups, and other liquid items in ice cube trays and then transfer to flat bags. Try to remove as much air as possible to create even more space (and avoid dreaded freezer burn).</p> <h2>Label It</h2> <p>From there, you might notice that many foods become almost unrecognizable once frozen. And, though you think you'll remember what's what, that's rarely the case. Keep a Sharpie marker on your fridge or in your junk drawer and immediately label anything that goes in with the name of the dish and the date it was made. Otherwise, try to stick with clear storage containers versus opaque for quick identification of, say, applesauce from chili. It's a simple trick, but it cuts down significantly on time and guesswork.</p> <h2>Section Out</h2> <p>If you have a chest freezer &mdash; great! But I know how tricky it can be to organize. This blogger built <a href="http://www.thegigsdigs.blogspot.ca/2013/05/chest-freezer-organization_6.html">DIY dividers</a> to section off space for different items using plywood. If you don't have a jigsaw at home, you could take all the measurements and ask your local hardware store to make the cuts for you (usually at a small price). If you're not into that idea, consider buying a few larger plastic bins to put your flat bags into and dividing them into broad categories like breakfast, lunch, and dinner or soups, desserts, and whole ingredients. Then stack the bins on top of one another. You get the idea.</p> <h2>Make Lists</h2> <p>Once all your food is happily organized, it helps to make a list of what's there to aid with meal planning each week. That way, if something does disappear from the inventory, you'll still know it's worth digging out. I also write the date it was purchased (with produce), the date it expires (with packaged foods), or the date it was packaged (with frozen foods) and try to list in order of what spoils first. You can keep a spreadsheet if you're more computer-oriented. A small dry erase board works well in my household. Always consult these lists before bringing more food into the house.</p> <p><em>How organized (or disorganized) is your fridge or freezer? What's your system? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization food storage food waste freezer fridge storage Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:00:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1248262 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Wasting 1/3 of the Food You Buy — Here's How to Stop http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-478783767.jpg" alt="food waste" title="food waste" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ugh, food waste. I think we probably all feel pretty crummy when we waste our food, and those of us who have depression-era parents remember admonitions of &quot;Clean your plate!&quot; The unfortunate truth, according to the USDA, is that Americans are <a href="http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-americans-waste-nearly-one-third-of-their-food-worth-161-billion/article/2544486">wasting nearly one-third of the food</a> produced in America. How can this be reduced? Here are some suggestions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Be Realistic and Honest</h2> <p>Sure, I should buy the healthier whole-wheat spaghetti, but after 32 years of marriage, I know that my husband doesn't like it, and so the pasta will sit on the pantry shelf. Similarly, 19 cents a pound for cabbage is a good deal, but an entire head of cabbage is too much for us. Be true to yourself when grocery shopping. Just because it's good for you, or a great bargain, doesn't mean you're going to use it.</p> <h2>2. Get Organized</h2> <p>Before you can efficiently plan meals (see #3 below), you'll need a starting place, so get ready to take inventory. My suggestion is that you clean out your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and/or cupboards. This is a big job, but it has big payoffs, too: cleanliness, order, and inventory. Being that it is a big task, try breaking it down over a few days. When you are through, you will have a very good idea of what you need to use up soon, replace, and stop buying (hello, whole-wheat spaghetti). You'll also be prepared to tackle a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">pantry organization project</a>.</p> <h2>3. Start Menu Planning</h2> <p>Now that you have a good feel for what you really like to eat and what you actually have, you can better begin to plan your meals. There are various &quot;apps&quot; and services to which you may subscribe to plan meals. Pen and paper work fine, too. Plan your menus with your calendar at your side. For instance, I see that I have a hair appointment at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. That means I will want something easy to make on that night, rather than starting, say, a baked spaghetti. You also might try making larger meals on Sundays or Mondays, so that you can use the leftovers during the week. Lastly, if you use a grocery ad to plan your shopping, you may want to keep that by your side when planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable?ref=seealso">Best Cooking Apps to Manage Meals</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use Some Self-Discipline</h2> <p>You knew this lecture was coming, didn't you? In order to reduce food waste, you are going to need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fancy-ways-to-use-leftover-food">eat your leftovers</a>. This shouldn't be painful, if you have been honest and cooked things you liked in the first place. Also, you don't have to eat them the next day. If you don't want to take leftovers for lunch, then have them again for dinner a few days later, or freeze them and have at a later date (make sure to label and inventory). It's also easy and fun to change up your leftovers. Last night's roast chicken will make a great chicken wrap; a few slices of leftover steak make a delicious steak salad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fancy-ways-to-use-leftover-food?ref=seealso">Fancy Ways to Use Leftover Food</a>)</p> <h2>5. Buy Less</h2> <p>I love fresh coleslaw, but an entire head of cabbage is too much. Solution? Ask your store's produce department employees to cut a head in half. In the meat department, ask for similar service. If you are a regular shopper, you will find that this service is cheerfully provided. Also, when shopping at warehouse-type stores, be wary. As much as I enjoy certain types of cereal, for instance, when it's time to start on the second box of it, my enthusiasm tends to wane. That brings us to tip #6.</p> <h2>6. Band Together</h2> <p>Because warehouse-type stores can offer some pretty amazing deals, you may be able to reduce waste if you find a family member, friend, or neighbor who wants to split the cost of a warehouse item. Similarly, when we had more freezer space, it made sense to split a lamb, hog, or even a quarter of a steer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco?ref=seealso">How to Stay Frugal at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>7. Let the Internet Figure It Out</h2> <p>Did you over-buy on asparagus? Too many pounds of potatoes? There are some great sites to help. Simply enter your ingredient(s), and let the 'net come up with dinner suggestions. Check out gems like <a href="http://www.recipematcher.com/">Recipe Matcher</a> and <a href="http://www.supercook.com/">Super Cook</a>. You might also wish to try out a <a href="https://www.mediabistro.com/appnewser/5-apps-to-help-you-cook-dinner_b23095">cooking app</a> for those times when you are stuck.</p> <h2>8. Try Gardening</h2> <p>I have raised some of the ugliest, most misshapen carrots ever seen, but you better believe we ate them. With the work and time you need to expend to raise fruits or vegetables, you are more likely to eat them than let them go to waste. Even the peels from vegetables can go back into your backyard compost. And can you ever beat a sun-ripened tomato?</p> <h2>9. Don't Throw It Out, Yet!</h2> <p>Just because you see a &quot;Sell By,&quot; Use By,&quot; or &quot;Best By&quot; date, you may not need to toss that food. Many foods are perfectly safe to eat <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-eat-this-a-quick-guide-to-expiration-dates-and-food-safety">past those dates</a>. You may also be able to perk some stale foods up. When I recently tried oven-toasting stale Triscuits, I found that I <em>preferred</em> toasted Triscuits to ones that are fresh! If cereal is past its date, try making it into an oven-toasted mix with nuts. Bruised apples make good applesauce, heels of bread are great as garlic croutons, and of course mushy bananas are fine for banana bread.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to reduce food waste? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food costs food storage food waste grocery cost Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:24:23 +0000 Marla Walters 1134181 at http://www.wisebread.com Eat Your Garbage! Turn Your Trash Into Delicious Holiday Food http://www.wisebread.com/eat-your-garbage-turn-your-trash-into-delicious-holiday-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eat-your-garbage-turn-your-trash-into-delicious-holiday-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/270433978_851e50828b_z.jpg" alt="apple peels" title="apple peels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans throw away 40% of the food that is produced in this country every year. While there is plenty of waste that happens before the food ever gets to our dinner tables, according to the latest reports from the <a href="http://www.nrdc.org/food/wasted-food.asp">Natural Resources Defense Council</a>, the average American family of four throws away $2,275 dollars in food annually! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a>)</p> <p>As the granddaughter of both a livestock broker and a restaurant owner, I was raised to have an insane horror of food waste. My frugal mother trained my sister and I from infancy to eat last night&rsquo;s dinner leftovers for breakfast &mdash; a habit that is stomach-churning to anyone who has never eaten prime rib or a side salad at brunch. This dinner-for-breakfast practice pretty much insured that there were never cooked leftovers languishing in the fridge, and it&rsquo;s a habit that has cut tens of thousands of dollars off my sister&rsquo;s and my food budget during our lifetimes. But this isn&rsquo;t the only kitchen waste hack we picked up from our ultra-foodie family. Here are several others that make for great holiday eats.</p> <h2>Citrus Peels</h2> <p>I remember being shocked as a kid to discover that people actually paid $1 to buy a tiny jar of dried orange peel in the spice section of my local supermarket. OMG. Highway robbery! My child brain immediately started tallying up how much money I could make by reselling the peels that were leftover from my school lunches, instead of putting them into the &ldquo;orange chicken&rdquo; Tupperware container that lived in my grandfather&rsquo;s freezer. (If you&rsquo;ve never wondered who supplies Chinese restaurants with all those peels for their <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tangerine-Beef-369492">tangerine beef</a>, well, now you know too much). While most of my citrus peels now go toward making homemade citrus cleanser and <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">improvised garden equipment</a>, I still have a small container of peels in my freezer for home cooking and a second container of citrus zest for holiday baking.</p> <p>Candied citrus peels are a luxurious way to turn your kitchen trash into an old-fashioned holiday treat. While it&rsquo;s possible to candy any kind of citrus peel, or even entire kumquats, my favorite candied peel is, by far, grapefruit. Their peels are thick enough to have just the right amount of tooth.&nbsp;My favorite recipe for candied grapefruit peel comes from Georgeanne Brennan&rsquo;s fabulous cookbook &quot;The Glass Pantry,&quot; because I think her version has the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, but <a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/candied-grapefruit-peel.html">Williams-Sonoma</a> uses a similar technique. If you want to get extra fancy about it, dip the finished candied peels into dark chocolate. They are a great addition to the holiday cookie basket. Also, candied peels can last a month without refrigeration and ship well, so they are a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">great homemade gift</a> to send to friends who live in far-flung places.</p> <h2>Apple Peels and Cores</h2> <p>Apple peels and cores are never wasted in my kitchen because I use them to as the basis for <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Pectin-from-Scratch/">homemade pectin</a> for jam-making. Homemade preserves are my favorite make-in-advance gifts because they use up surplus backyard produce. None of my precious summer fruit gets wasted, and my friends get delicious, artisinal food that costs me less than $2 a jar to create.</p> <p>Even if you are never inspired to the &quot;Little House on the Prairie&quot; heights of canning your own fruit, there are a number of less food science-intensive holiday recipes that use apple peels like these <a href="http://community.tasteofhome.com/community_forums/f/30/p/218603/219954.aspx#219954">homemade gummy worms</a>&nbsp;that are great stocking stuffers for kids, or these elegant <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/925882/apple-peel-twigs">apple peel twigs</a> from Martha Stewart that serve as decorative, after-dinner snacks.&nbsp;</p> <p>Boiling apple peels with cinnamon and cloves also makes a delicious <a href="http://joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com/2009/10/apple-honey-tea.html#.UJh44hyChN0">tisane</a> (hot herbal tea) that will make your whole house smell good. It's a party beverage and an air freshener in one!</p> <h2>Meat and Vegetables for Stock</h2> <p>The most obvious garbage-to-table transformation for most home cooks is homemade stock. Before your throw away your Thanksgiving turkey skeleton or your Christmas ham bone this year, put those bones and any spare chunks of meat into a large pot of water with a spare onion, some carrots, and celery to make your own savory bouillon.</p> <p>Wait.</p> <p>Did I just say spare onion, some carrots, and celery? Because I meant to say onion tops, carrot tops, and that &ldquo;butt end&rdquo; of the celery that you&rsquo;ve saved (for now) from your compost heap that are sitting in a zip lock bag in your freezer. The limpest, palest, saddest celery will still add great flavor to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">homemade stock</a>. For stock, it&rsquo;s not about how it looks, it&rsquo;s how it will taste once it&rsquo;s been simmered for a few hours.</p> <p>If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can also save money by making your own vegetable stock. Collect the ends of your carrots, celery, and onions in a container in your freezer. (You&rsquo;ll know when it&rsquo;s time to make stock, because your container will be full.)</p> <h2>Bread</h2> <p>What do French toast, seasoned bread crumbs, croutons, and bread pudding all have in common? If you answered &ldquo;They&rsquo;re too ding dang expensive to buy considering that they&rsquo;re all made with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">stale bread</a>,&rdquo; you&rsquo;d be right.</p> <p>As long as it&rsquo;s not growing black mold, dried-out stale bread is a fabulous flavor sponge. Don&rsquo;t believe me? Check out the top-rated recipes on the internet for <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bread-pudding-ii/">bread pudding </a>or <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/down-home-with-the-neelys/homemade-croutons-recipe/index.html">croutons</a>. Most call specifically for day-old bread as the main ingredient. Bread pudding makes a splendid main dish for New Year's Day brunch, but it also works well as a make-ahead dessert to bring to holiday potluck parties. (No one has to know that they're eating the leftover dinner rolls from your family's Christmas dinner).</p> <p>The French, incidentally, do not call old bread dipped in egg batter &ldquo;<a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/09/21/pain-perdu-recipe">French toast</a>.&rdquo; They call it &ldquo;pain perdu&rdquo; which means &ldquo;lost bread.&rdquo; (The more you know).</p> <p>So get busy! Don't you have some stuffing to make out of your recycled turkey and bread crusts?</p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s your favorite food waste hack? Please share your genius in the comments section.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-your-garbage-turn-your-trash-into-delicious-holiday-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food waste holiday food homemade gifts Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:36:43 +0000 Max Wong 955605 at http://www.wisebread.com The Produce Worker's Guide to Storing 25 Common Fruits and Veggies http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/outdoor_produce.jpg" alt="Outdoor produce market" title="Outdoor produce market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="135" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you belong to a CSA or grow your own garden, produce can take up a huge chunk of your grocery budget, and throwing away food can also feel like throwing away money. As a former professional cook and produce worker, however, I know that getting the most out of your produce can be tricky if you don't know the best way to store or prep it. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not,&nbsp;Want Not:&nbsp;Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a>)</p> <p>A note about freezing in general &mdash; there's less chance of freezer burn when you use a sealable freezer-weight bag; you can also suck out the air with a drinking straw to ensure that there's no air in the bag before you close it. I have also found that freezer bags are ideal when you are really hungry and impatient, because you can rip them open and toss them into whatever you are cooking to shorten the defrost time. Freezing is a much faster and easier way of preserving food than canning or putting in jars for the winter. For vegetables, you just need to blanche them first. There are many methods to blanching vegetables, and cooking times vary depending on the size and thickness. All you really need is some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/howto/blanching-and-shocking-vegetables/">basic blanching instructions</a> and a little practice.</p> <p>Whatever your preferred method may be, I've rounded up all 25 items from the previous produce worker's guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">picking produce</a> and laid out some basic prepping and storage tips to help you get the most out of your favorite fruits and vegetables.</p> <h3>Avocados</h3> <p>The key to making an avocado last for a few days is to save the pit once you cut it open. I learned this trick from a chef when I worked at a ranch in New Mexico, where guacamole was part of our daily menu. Now, any time I have leftover guac, I&nbsp;place a pit in it before I&nbsp;store it in the fridge (a little lemon juice can also do the trick). If you only used half of the fruit and want to save the rest for later, keep the pit inside the half you want to save to prevent it from turning brown. I&nbsp;learned recently that you can also freeze avocados. Mash the avocado as if you were making guacamole, mix in a small amount of lemon juice, and place the mixture in a freezer bag. For suggestions and photos demonstrating different ways to cut an avocado, check out this Simply&nbsp;Recipes post on <a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cut_and_peel_an_avocado/">preparing avacados</a> (I always use the knife method to remove the pit, but I recommend not using this method unless you are comfortable with a knife).</p> <h3>Bananas</h3> <p>Other than the peel-and-eat method, there are a number of ways to make bananas last, even for bananas that have already started to turn dark brown. You can always turn overripe bananas into bread, pies, pudding, smoothies, and, if you are feeling industrious, use them to make your own <a href="http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/bananababyfoodrecipes.html">baby food</a>. Freezing them is another option if you don't eat or use them right away. It's a good idea to freeze them in slices, though I&nbsp;know some people who peel them and freeze them whole. If you don't want them to ripen too quickly after bringing them home, you can put them in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that they will not continue to ripen in the fridge, so make sure they are ready to eat before you do this.</p> <h3>Basil</h3> <p>Most stores sell basil in large bunches, which is frustrating when you only need a few leaves for a recipe. Or if you have a garden, you know that once basil turns to seed or gets too tall, it is too bitter to eat. Pesto is always a way to turn all that extra basil into a meal, and it is easy to freeze (better to leave out the cheese and add when you are heating it up). When I'm not in the mood for pesto, or I'm just too lazy to make it, I like to chop up basil and freeze it with water in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ice-cube-trays-your-passport-to-huge-savings">ice cube trays </a>so that I have small amounts of it to cook with after the garden has been put to bed. You can do this with any fresh herb, and it's a smart way to use up what you don't use from bunches you get in the store.</p> <h3>Beets</h3> <p>Beets and other root vegetables tend to get soft when you store them for too long in the refrigerator, especially during the summer if your fridge tends to &quot;sweat&quot; like mine. The moisture makes the beets break down and lose their firmness. Like carrots, beets last longer when you peel and grate them. Beets make a mess any time you prepare them, but especially when grating them, so remember the apron and get creative. I love shredded beets on salads, and they make a nice garnish for meat and rice dishes. You can use a standard cheese grater, but remember to peel them first. Steaming them and adding a little lemon juice before storing them will stay fresh for up to a week at least, and they make a great quick snack.</p> <h3>Berries</h3> <p>No matter what kind of berry it is, it tends to have a short life span in my house, and the raspberries from my bushes rarely make it inside before they are eaten. I will say that most berries are delicate and shrivel within a few days of picking. Unless you are eating them immediately or turning them into a pie, freezing berries is the best way to extend their lives. The good news is that you don't have to do a lot of prep, with the exception of strawberries. Wash them if they need it, and when they are dry stick them in a freezer bag.</p> <h3>Broccoli</h3> <p>While broccoli will last in the refrigerator for up to a week without any prep, it will last a little longer if you cut the tops and store them in a container. You can also blanche and freeze them if you like to keep a regular stock of veggies in your freezer. For most people, the only question about getting the most out of broccoli is what to do with the stalks. Most stores sell broccoli by weight, which means you are also paying for the stalk. Even though it is a little tougher than the head, it is a versatile ingredient if you know what to do it with it. Peel and slice the stalk to toss in a stir fry, use it in a vegetable stock, or chop it into small chunks to throw in a pasta sauce or stew. My favorite use for the stalk is to grate it or chop it finely and make broccoli slaw. You can replace the cabbage with broccoli stalks, or you can add them as an extra ingredient. I think the stalks are just as tasty as the crowns, and you will get a lot more out of the cost of broccoli if you find a way to use them.</p> <h3>Carrots</h3> <p>Other than grating your carrots to extend their shelf life at home, you can also turn soft carrots into juice or other purees. I like to make <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrot-Ginger-Dressing-233572">carrot ginger dressing</a> because it's versatile, and you can customize most carrot dressing recipes to match your tastes. Blanching and freezing most vegetables, especially root veggies, is best to do when the vegetable is fresh. This is an excellent option if you have a garden or belong to a CSA, since there's often more than enough for an entire family in one share.</p> <h3>Citrus</h3> <p>Citrus needs to stay cold unless you are going to eat it soon after bringing it home. The one type of fruit that tends to go bad in my fridge is citrus. I don't know why, but I always remember that blood orange when it's too late, and I find it shoved in a corner covered in blue fuzz. Like most items in this list, my recommendation is to peel it and place the slices in a clear container in the fridge. This method also helps you remember what is in your refrigerator, so you are more likely to eat it before it goes bad. Or you can make juice. Citrus juicers are cheap and easy to find.</p> <h3>Corn</h3> <p>Even if you've already read the article on how to pick produce at the store, this bears repeating &mdash; corn will last longer if you buy it with the husk and don't shuck it until you are ready to cook it. The husk keeps the corn moist and fresh. Also, keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it. Most stores will display corn out of the cooler because customers tend to buy what's right in front of them in a beautiful display, but our department would take down the display at the end of the day and put the corn in the cooler overnight (same for other perishables that you might typically see displayed out on the floor). Corn can also be blanched and frozen, either on the cob or cut and cooked slowly for a cream-style corn.</p> <h3>Cucumbers</h3> <p>Cukes will last several days without any prep in the fridge. But they last a little longer if you take an extra minute to slice them and store them in a container in the fridge, or put them in separate plastic bags for ready-to-go snacks. Making a cucumber-and-onion salad with your favorite vinaigrette will extend their lives, but they can get mushy. When slicing cukes for salads, you can also make them a little fancier with a potato slicer. Just peel four or five small strips in equally-sized intervals, from the tip to tip, and then slice as you normally would.</p> <h3>Eggplant</h3> <p>You will find many <a href="http://www.foodsubs.com/Eggplants.html">eggplant varieties</a> out there, and this is one produce item I would recommend not cutting before using it. What's most important to consider when prepping eggplant is that it tends to have a bitter flavor unless you press all the liquid out before cooking. There are many ways to press and prep eggplant, and I've picked out a short YouTube video that shows you one of the simplest ways to <a href="http://youtu.be/COb8QvutwWU">press eggplant using Kosher salt</a>. The longer you leave the salt on the eggplant slices, the less bitter it will be.</p> <h3>Figs</h3> <p>Unless they are fresh, figs should always be stored in the refrigerator. Even if they are fresh, you should eat them within a few days after they ripen, or put them in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Figs are a great addition to any holiday or winter dish. Try dried figs on salads or slice them and add to a grilled cheese using a strong cheese such as Gruyere or Fontina. If you love lamb like me, try this recipe for <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/stuffed-leg-of-lamb-with-balsamic-fig-basil-sauce/detail.aspx">leg of lamb with balsamic-fig-basil sauce</a>. It takes about two hours, but it is completely worth it!</p> <h3>Green Beans</h3> <p>Beans will break down faster in a plastic bag, particularly if there's moisture in the bag. Freeze them if you aren't going to use them right away. Blanching green beans is easy, but you want to make sure they are cooked but still crisp, so be sure not to leave them in the boiling water for longer than about a minute. Also, be sure to drain and dry the beans completely to avoid freezer burn. I like to eat green beans raw if they are really fresh, but in the middle of the winter, they tend to lose their luster. No matter how you choose to prepare them, make sure you don't over-cook them. The same goes for asparagus and broccoli.</p> <h3>Kale</h3> <p>Even the healthiest bunch of kale should be eaten within a few days, before it starts to wilt. Cutting it up won't make it last longer. If the bunch has started to wilt, simply chop off the ends and soak it in warm water. Then put the kale in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it looks alive again. The easiest way to remove the leafy, edible parts is to hold the stem at the bottom and pull the greens away from the stalk. Kale cooks quickly, so unless you are putting it in a soup or stew, you don't need to leave it in the pan for very long (five minutes usually, or until it starts to get soft).</p> <p>One of the easiest side dishes to make is garlicky kale. Finely chop some fresh garlic, using whatever amount fits your taste buds, and saute the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil on a low heat for about five minutes or so. Add the kale, and salt and pepper to taste; then stir around the mixture until the kale turns bright green (or purple depending on the variety). I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet if you have one. I've found that kale doesn't tend to freeze well, but you can certainly try it. I would recommend not leaving the kale in the boiling water for more than 30 seconds. If you like to make your own veggie stock, save the stalks to add to your mix.</p> <h3>Lettuce</h3> <p>Unless you live in a warmer climate, the lettuce you buy at the grocery store in the winter has probably traveled thousands of miles to get there, leaving it dried out and wilted. Reviving a wilted head of lettuce is similar to prepping kale and other leafy greens. Trim off the bottom of the heads and soak it in warm water before refrigerating it for a few minutes just before you are ready to prep it. You may need to rinse it again and send it through a salad spinner before making your salad.</p> <p>Romaine tends to be one of the heartier and more versatile varieties of lettuce, which is why I&nbsp;usually go for romaine, especially in the winter. Also, I try to find fresh romaine instead of the packaged romaine hearts, since those tend to be more expensive. One way to save time during the work week is to prep your lettuce ahead of time. Be sure to rinse and dry it as well as you can before chopping it. Then store the chopped lettuce in an airtight container in the fridge. I've found that it lasts up to a week longer than keeping a fresh head in the crisper.</p> <h3>Melons</h3> <p>Buying melons that have been cut in half and wrapped in plastic saves you prep time, but the melon will not last as long. Try to find fresh melons when they are in season. If you are only using half of the melon, and you need to wrap the other half in plastic wrap, remove the seeds and pulp in the middle. The melon will get a lot mushier if you don't. Watermelon tends to last longer if you cut it into large pieces or chunks and store in airtight containers in the fridge.</p> <h3>Mushrooms</h3> <p>Mushrooms tend not to last more than a week, no matter what you do to them. However, it is important that you don't wash them until you are ready to use them. It's best to store them in a paper bag in the fridge if you don't prep them. You can slice them and store them for a few days after, but make sure you use a good container, and remember to wash and dry them thoroughly before prepping or storing them. You can also <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1950,152186-246193,00.html">freeze mushrooms</a>, but be sure to use them within three months. Dried mushrooms are always a nice addition to soups and stews in the winter.</p> <h3>Onions</h3> <p>If I know I'm making a recipe that calls for onions in the coming week, I will sometimes prep them when I get home from the store. All you need to do is dice or slice them and put them in a container in the fridge, but try to avoid plastic containers since they will retain the strong odor. Sliced red onions are great on salads and sandwiches, and it's always nice to have them on hand. If you don't prep your onions immediately, store them in a cool dark place (root cellars are ideal if you have one). Try to avoid putting onions in the fridge since the moisture can cause them to break down faster, and avoid plastic bags for the same reason.</p> <h3>Pears</h3> <p>Unless they are not ripe yet, pears should be stored in the refrigerator. You can always slice them for snacks throughout the week, but be aware that they turn brown faster than most fruits. Use a little lemon juice to keep them from getting dark spots.</p> <h3>Peppers</h3> <p>As with onions, peppers can be sliced or chopped ahead of time or stored whole. Either way, they should be stored in the refrigerator. Sweet peppers are also a nice addition to grilled cheeses. My favorite grilled cheese is cheddar, avocado, Dijon or spicy mustard, and sliced orange peppers. You can use tomato as well, but I prefer the crispness of the pepper.</p> <h3>Potatoes</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/potato-ideas-that-pop">Potatoes</a> and onions are very similar in that they should be stored in a dry, dark place rather than the refrigerator. Potatoes tend to turn brown soon after you cut them open, so use lemon juice, or soak thick slices in water overnight for excellent oven fries. Soaking them keeps them from drying out when you bake them.</p> <h3>Radishes</h3> <p>Like other root veggies, radishes will go soft more quickly in a fridge. Chop, grate, or slice them and store in containers. If you buy an entire bunch, cut off the greens once you get them home, but don't toss them. The greens are edible, and they are a delightful addition to soups or raw on a salad. Be sure to chop them finely, since they can be stringy and hard to chew.</p> <h3>Tomatoes</h3> <p>Try to avoid storing tomatoes in the refrigerator unless you are chopping them to cut down on prep time for a later meal. Green or less-ripe tomatoes will ripen after they've been picked, but you have to leave them in a warm spot, such as a sunny window, or in a brown paper bag. Placing them near apples can also quicken the ripening process. If you do prep and store them in the fridge, make sure you use them within a few days. They tend to get mushy and lose their flavor after.</p> <h3>Winter Squash</h3> <p>Winter squash should be stored outside of the refrigerator, unless you are preparing it for a recipe. Always peel any kind of winter squash, and to make your life easier and to avoid wasting any of the meat, cook the squash in the oven at around 350&deg;F until the squash is soft but not mushy. This makes it much easier to peel. But make sure the squash has cooled off before you try peeling it. Steaming or baking beets and turnips also makes peeling much easier and less wasteful.</p> <h3>Zucchini (and Summer Squash)</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gadzukes-10-ways-to-use-up-your-zucchini-bounty">Zucchini</a> and summer squash are some of the most versatile vegetables to use and can add variety to any dish. You can slice, julienne, or chop them, leaving the skin on or peeling it according to your personal tastes, and store in containers for later use. They also store fairly well without being prepped, but they start to break down after about a week depending on the shape they are in when you buy them. Because it is moisture-rich, you don't necessarily have to blanch zucchini if you want to freeze it. If you plan to make zucchini bread, all you have to do is grate and measure out whatever the recipe calls for, and then place each serving in a freezer bag. When you thaw it, just remove the excess water. For a southern flare, try fried zucchini or summer squash. You don't have to use breading if you don't have any; just make sure you use enough oil to get them golden brown. Fried okra or fried green tomatoes do require some kind of breading for optimal flavor (and authenticity).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-tricks-to-make-groceries-last-longer">12 Tricks to Make Groceries Last Longer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food leftovers food waste fresh produce kitchen storage Mon, 28 Nov 2011 11:37:52 +0000 Ashley Watson 650005 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Bread Fresh http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-bread-fresh" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4242988538_f34d67c40e_z.jpg" alt="bread" title="bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you live alone, you're all too familiar with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste" title="Schedule Regular Fridge Cleanings to Prevent Food Waste">food going to waste</a>. It's hard to buy single portions of many perishable foods, including fruits and vegetables. Let's tackle another food that can go bad before you're ready to say goodbye &mdash; bread.</p> <p>Often known as &quot;the greatest thing,&quot; sliced bread can go stale pretty easily if you don't care for it properly. Here are some tips on how to keep bread (sliced or not) fresh for longer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread" title="17 Uses for Stale Bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a>)</p> <h3>Refrigerator vs. Room Temperature</h3> <p>Our first inclination is to keep food fresh by throwing it in the fridge. In the case of bread, that's the wrong move. Doing this draws out the moisture and causes the bread to go stale sooner.</p> <p>Putting bread in the refrigerator is equivalent to three days at room temperature. To keep bread around longer, the best move is to store it at room temperature in a tightly closed package. Some people recommend <a title="linen bags" href="http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=156232">linen bags</a> because they can be tightly closed.</p> <h3>Different Breads Need Different Treatments</h3> <p>Not all breads have the same shelf life. For example, French bread can go stale in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. Crusty breads are best eaten on the same day you buy them. Don't plan on buying crusty bread and keeping it for the whole week.</p> <p>The good news is that once crusty bread dries out and the crust becomes chewy, it can still be used for croutons or French toast for the next few days.</p> <h3>Freezing Breads</h3> <p>If you want to store your bread until after the &quot;best before&quot; date, the freezer is your best option. Bread can be stored for up to three months in the freezer. Wrap it in foil and then put it in a sealed plastic bag to avoid freezer burn. When you're ready to use it, just defrost it at room temperature or wrap it in aluminum foil and stick it in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code:&nbsp;How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a>)</p> <h3>How to Bring Bread Back From the Dead</h3> <p>If your bread has become a little stale, you're in luck! (But if it's moldy, all is lost and the loaf should be thrown out.) You can refresh your stale bread by wrapping it in aluminum foil and putting it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Once it cools, it should be eaten quickly. This process will dry out your bread more quickly, so don't count on refreshing your bread more than once. This works great if you just want one last hurrah for your bread.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-packer">Daniel Packer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bread food waste fresh bread stale bread Wed, 17 Aug 2011 10:24:20 +0000 Daniel Packer 659379 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Frugal Food Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frugal_food_changes.jpg" alt="Vegetables at the farmers market" title="Vegetables at the farmers market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard about the rapidly rising cost of food lately. From corn to soy to dairy, our wallets are getting hit harder than usual during those weekly trips to the grocery store. So what's a dedicated frugalista to do to avoid busting her budget during these tough economic times? Why, I'm so glad you asked! I've come up with a list of 25 easy changes you can make today to keep your food budget down and your savings account up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>Make Your Own</h2> <p>Make-at-home versions of virtually anything are less expensive than pre-packaged, store-bought goods. The trick is to practice making your own food so it becomes quick and easy over time. Here are my favorite DIY alternatives to store-bought goods.</p> <h3>1. Salad Dressing</h3> <p>I actually prefer salad dressing made at home. My favorite standby is three parts extra virgin olive oil and one part red wine vinegar with various spices and garlic mixed in. Or, make your own favorite dressing or vinaigrette with the help of <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/salad/dressings-and-vinaigrettes/main.aspx">Allrecipes</a>.</p> <h3>2. Bread Crumbs</h3> <p>Bread crumbs are easy to make and are a great way to use stale bread or crusts left behind by picky eaters. Simply pop the bread into a food processor, blender, or (my favorite &ldquo;As Seen on TV&rdquo; product) the Magic Bullet. Bread crumbs are handy for making meatloaf and meatballs, or dredging chicken or fish in before frying.</p> <h3>3. Croutons</h3> <p>Like bread crumbs, croutons are an excellent way to use stale bread. In my little two-person household, we rarely use a whole loaf of bread in a week. The excess (when I&rsquo;m not in need of bread crumbs), is cut into one-inch squares, topped with olive oil and spices, and placed in a 300&deg;F oven for about 30 minutes (stir them about halfway through). Store in an air-tight container. Bonus &mdash; try making rosemary and butter croutons. De-licious! (For even more uses, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a>.)</p> <h3>4. Tortilla Chips</h3> <p>Use extra flour tortillas to make tasty <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/baked-tortilla-chips/detail.aspx">baked chips</a>. Put your own spin on the chips by adding dried cilantro, cumin, or red pepper. Or, as an alternative, use left-over pita pockets to make pita chips.</p> <h3>5. Soup Stock</h3> <p>Soup stock is a perfect base to homemade soup (see #25 for ways to save by making soup), and you can make it out of the bones of just about any animal (chicken, fish, veal, turkey) and <em>mirepoix</em> &mdash; onions, carrots, celery, and sometimes other vegetables. Learn how to make <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=stock&amp;fnSearchType=site">different types of stock</a> with these recipes from the Food Network. Just freeze bones and/or vegetables until you&rsquo;ve accumulated all the ingredients, and you&rsquo;re set. I love making stock on a Sunday afternoon while doing other chores around the house.</p> <h3>6. Granola</h3> <p>Buying granola in stores is generally pretty pricey, but fortunately, you can make your own for breakfast and quick snacks. The <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/kathleen-daelemans/crunchy-granola-recipe/index.html">easiest recipe</a> I&rsquo;ve found so far involves only five ingredients &mdash; rolled oats, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and nuts &mdash; although you can add in dried fruit and other items too.</p> <h3>7. Grind Your Own Coffee</h3> <p>This one is possibly the easiest change to make of all the frugal changes on the list. Ground coffee can be marked up to 30% more than whole bean versions, making it worth your while to grind your own coffee at home. (Not to mention the superior taste afforded by grinding your own beans.) I simply pop the coffee beans in my Magic Bullet (when not using it to make bread crumbs, of course) and grind away. For those of you without a grinder or Magic Bullet, consider investing in a basic blade grinder. It should run you less than $15 at any major grocery store chain.</p> <h3>8. Start a Garden</h3> <p>Make your own vegetables and herbs by growing them in a backyard garden. Start with the vegetables and herbs you use the most &mdash; in my case, just one tomato plant, green pepper plant, and some herbs will do for this year. If you&rsquo;ve never tried out your green thumb, get started with some advice from the <a href="http://www.garden.org/">National Garden Association</a>.</p> <h2>Healthy Alternatives</h2> <p>Some dietary changes are good for your wallet. Some are good for your health. And then there are those delightful few that are good for both. Here are my favorite frugal and healthy food changes you can make today.</p> <h3>9. Go Meat Free</h3> <p>No, I&rsquo;m not suggesting you become a vegetarian permanently if you&rsquo;re not one already (although you could also save money if you choose to go that route). I am recommending that you try incorporating one meat-free dinner a week into your routine. What I&rsquo;m suggesting is nothing new &mdash; the Meatless Monday campaign was started in the U.S. in 2003 and by April of 2011, the American Meat Institute found that 18% of Americans regularly participate in Meatless Monday. Not only can it be argued that eating a vegetarian dinner once per week is healthy for individuals and healthy for the planet; it can also help save on groceries, since meat is one of the most expensive proteins you can buy.</p> <h3>10. Try One New Protein You've Never Tried Before</h3> <p>While you&rsquo;re at it, why not incorporate other sources of protein into your diet on a regular basis? According to the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meatless-meals/my00752">Mayo Clinic</a>, people who eat a more plant-centered diet normally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have lower cholesterol levels. They also save money, since protein sources like eggs, tofu, and beans cost less per-ounce than meat.</p> <h3>11. Eat What&rsquo;s in Season</h3> <p>Eating fruits and vegetables during their natural growing season saves you money because those peaches you love don&rsquo;t have to be transported halfway around the world! Not only that, but they are more packed with vitamins and nutrients (also due to less required travel and storage time) and they taste better, too. Check out this handy list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">fresh fruits and vegetables by the month</a>.</p> <h3>12. Cut Back on Processed Foods and Snacks</h3> <p>Those 100-calorie snack packs sure are convenient, but that convenience will cost you. For the most nutritious (and cost-effective) snacks, cut up fruits and veggies at the beginning of each week, divide into single portions, and store. If you just don&rsquo;t want to sacrifice your daily Goldfish, buy a large package and divide into sandwich baggies to save over 30% of the cost on the single-serving packages.</p> <p><img width="605" vspace="1" hspace="1" height="439" border="1" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u898/Grocery%20Shopping.jpg" alt="Grocery Store" /></p> <h2>Grocery Shopping Tips</h2> <p>The key to making frugal food changes at the grocery store is to plan, plan, plan! Unless you absolutely have to, you should avoid last-minute trips to the store at all costs. For when you have the luxury of time, here&rsquo;s how I would use it to help minimize your food costs.</p> <h3>13. Shop with a List (and on a Full Stomach)</h3> <p>Sure, we&rsquo;ve all heard this one before, but it bears repeating &mdash; shopping with a list helps you to avoid impulse buys, and so does shopping when you&rsquo;re not a voracious bear. I plan a week of meals before going to the store and prepare my list (and stomach) accordingly.</p> <h3>14. Store Food Correctly to Help It Last Longer</h3> <p>Minimize food waste by storing your food correctly, whether it be in the freezer or fridge. Lifehacker has an excellent <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5814958/how-to-store-food-properly-in-the-freezer-and-fridge">guide to storing food</a> to get you started.</p> <h3>15. Shop the Sales</h3> <p>OK, people can get a bit obsessed with learning stores&rsquo; sales cycles and matching them up with coupons, but if you&rsquo;re like me, you don&rsquo;t have the time (or motivation). Instead, I make my grocery list and then choose the sale version of whatever I need. If you happen to see a pretty outrageous sales price, consider buying enough of that item to last you about three months (if possible) &mdash; that&rsquo;s the general sales cycle for the majority of grocery store products.</p> <h3>16. Buy Store Brands</h3> <p>There is some debate as to whether shoppers save more money by buying brand-name items with a coupon or by buying store brands. The verdict is clear on store brands vs. name brands, however &mdash; as <a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2009/09/save-almost-1200-a-year-using-store-brands.html">FreeMoneyFinance</a> points out in several posts, you can always save a bundle by going with generic.</p> <h3>17. Shop With Coupons</h3> <p>&hellip;but only if you&rsquo;re buying things you needed anyway. None of that <em>Extreme Couponing</em> nonsense where you have to store toilet paper in the bedroom, please.</p> <h3>18. Don&rsquo;t Waste Money on &ldquo;Deals&rdquo;</h3> <p>If you save money on an item, but nobody wants to eat it, are you <em>really </em>saving money? This one seems to be a no-brainer, but it took me a while to catch on. Case in point &mdash; my fiancé does not like bread that is not pre-sliced. He says unsliced bakery loaves fall apart when he tries to slice them up for sandwiches. So even though it&rsquo;s a bit more expensive, I buy the pre-sliced loaves of bakery bread. Lesson learned.</p> <h3>19. Shop in Your Own Pantry</h3> <p>Is your pantry and fridge full of random items that you need to use up, but you aren&rsquo;t quite sure how? Use a site like <a href="http://www.recipepuppy.com/">RecipePuppy</a> to plan meals based on what you already have at home.</p> <h2>Make Your Grocery Dollars Go Further</h2> <p>Use economies of scale to stretch your grocery dollars today. Only two people in your household? No problem! These tips apply no matter how many mouths you have to feed.</p> <h3>20. Buy Meat on Sale</h3> <p>OK, this goes with tip #14 (Shop the Sales) too, but it applies doubly for meat. Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items, per ounce, that you buy each week. If at all possible, buy your meat on sale. In fact, I plan my whole week&rsquo;s meals based on what meat is on sale that week. The best day I have found to shop is, unsurprisingly, the day the specials in store circulars start (Thursday in my particular area).</p> <h3>21. Make Two Batches at Once</h3> <p>In my little household, we save money by making two or more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">batches of meals</a> at once and freezing the extras. Lasagnas, soups, stews, and enchiladas are just a few of the easy-to-freeze meals I make in bulk.</p> <h3>22. Don&rsquo;t Let Food Spoil</h3> <p>If you have some fruits or vegetables that are <em>thisclose</em> to spoiled, but have absolutely no way to use them up before they go bad, go ahead and slice them up anyway. Then, just pop them in the freezer until you need them. I always seem to have those last few stalks of celery that are beginning to droop in my crisper drawer &mdash; rather than throwing them out, I cut them into slices and freeze until I have all the ingredients to make chicken stock (see tip #5!). I also freeze extra fruit for smoothies and pies and dice surplus onion for, well, anything.</p> <h3>23. Brown Bag Your Lunch</h3> <p>I always re-purpose the previous night&rsquo;s dinner for lunch the next day. For example, after enjoying some spaghetti and meatballs, I&rsquo;ll set aside a few extra meatballs and sauce for a delicious meatball sub at work tomorrow.</p> <h3>24. Substitute Frozen, Canned, or Dried</h3> <p>Using one of these alternatives to fresh food generally provides the same nutrients at a lower cost. Furthermore, you can usually save any excess after using what you need, thereby minimizing waste. If you&rsquo;re feeling adventurous, you can also save money by buying fresh food in bulk and <a href="http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/">canning your own fruits and vegetables</a>.</p> <h3>25. Make Soup. Lots of Soup</h3> <p>Soup is one of the most versatile dishes in the world: it can be cream-based or broth-based, vegetarian or full of meat, and it can accommodate just about any vegetable known to man. It is also, happily, quite cost-effective. I love making soup on the weekends from leftovers throughout the week: chicken and wild rice, turkey, and potatoes with ham are a few of my favorite leftover soup specials.<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today"><br /> </a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-get-coupons-for-healthy-foods-too-heres-where">You Can Get Coupons for Healthy Foods Too — Here&#039;s Where</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping 25 changes cheap groceries cheap recipes food waste healthy food Mon, 11 Jul 2011 10:36:51 +0000 Janey Osterlind 603954 at http://www.wisebread.com Schedule Regular Fridge Cleanings to Prevent Food Waste http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/open_fridge.jpg" alt="Man looking in his fridge" title="Man looking in his fridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It is a job no one likes to do &mdash; especially in my house &mdash; but with the price of groceries steadily rising, cleaning your refrigerator needs to be a weekly task to prevent food from going to waste. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>When refrigerators are messy and remain unclean for a long period of time, two things are going to happen:</p> <ol> <li>Leftovers get pushed further to the back each day and are forgotten about quickly.</li> <li>Smells and food gases can ruin otherwise good food by making it taste funny or outright causing spoilage.</li> </ol> <p>Here are some tips for keeping your fridge a priority in your weekly cleaning schedule.</p> <h3>Start Heavy</h3> <p>It likely will take one good cleaning to get you back on track for an effective maintenance schedule. Take a few hours of a weekend, and then commit to one weekend every month to ensure the refrigerator is in good condition. Remember that regular cleaning will help extend the life of your appliance and keep repair and replacement costs down.</p> <h3>Get Everything Out</h3> <p>Remove every object residing in the refrigerator. If you don&rsquo;t have enough counter space, use cardboard boxes to house your foods until the cleaning job is done. Next, remove all racks and drawers. You can place them outside near the hose, or in a bathtub or utility tub. Spray shelving with a bleach solution, or a natural cleaner if you prefer, that will disinfect and sanitize the components of the refrigerator.</p> <h3>Sanitize</h3> <p>Use a bucket containing half bleach and half hot water, and a clean sponge. Start at the top of the refrigerator and scrub all of the walls, ceiling, and remaining shelving. You can use an old toothbrush to get into the hard-to-reach areas. You will need to pick up debris with a paper towel, then repeat the washing process to ensure the interior space is clean. You can then wipe down the entire inside with a clean cloth and warm water, especially any components that are rubber or soft plastic (bleach can cause the disintegration of these materials). The bleach is necessary because the dampness of the refrigerator&rsquo;s interior can cause the growth of mold and mildew. After the interior of the refrigerator is cleaned, tackle the shelves and racks in the same way. Once they have been cleaned, rinsed, and dried, place them back into the refrigerator.</p> <h3>Sort and Organize</h3> <p>Clean out your bucket, add fresh hot water, and get a new sponge or cloth. Start sorting the items you took out of your refrigerator. Select the jars and other objects that go back on the door shelves. Clean each bottle and jar off with a damp cloth before putting it back in the refrigerator, checking dates of expiration as you go. Toss all expired foods and group similar items together. This will help you know exactly what you have on hand and what you need to purchase from the store. Many times consumers overspend at the grocery store on supplies they already have.</p> <h3>Add Baking Soda</h3> <p>Baking soda is cheap and very effective at eliminating odors in the refrigerator and freezer. Put a baking soda box in the back of the refrigerator in a place less likely to be disturbed daily to prevent spillage. Replace the box every 30 days, and write the date you added it to the fridge on the box to help you remember. Add a note on the calendar too.</p> <h3>Develop a System</h3> <p>In order to keep up with refrigerator maintenance, arm your pantry with some necessary items including freezer bags, permanent markers, and more baking soda. As you add food back to the refrigerator, mark the date you made it and what it is, if necessary. Select one day each week when the refrigerator should be cleaned. It may be ideal to select the day before garbage is collected so the expired food doesn&rsquo;t sit around the house for long. When that day comes, reorganize food items and throw out spoiled leftovers. Use a pre-moistened cleaning wipe to tackle spills and wipe down exposed areas weekly.</p> <h3>Buy Only What You Need</h3> <p>At the grocery store, buy only what your family can eat within the week, unless you can freeze it. The less you buy, the less chance the food will go to waste. You should get a basic idea of how much your family eats and what is left over after a typical seven-day time period. Use the information to shop accordingly. You&rsquo;ll save not only money, but also the frustration of seeing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">wasted food</a> being dumped into the trash week after week.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips baking soda cleaning tips food waste refrigerator cleaning Wed, 29 Jun 2011 09:48:11 +0000 Tisha Tolar 600372 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Uses for Stale Bread http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-uses-for-stale-bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/anadama.jpg" alt="Sliced bread" title="Sliced bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stale bread is a given in most households; even the best-intentioned foodies will occasionally find themselves staring down a rapidly drying loaf of white bread with no idea how to cope. Throwing away food isn't just a waste of money &mdash; it's a downright shame. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a>)</p> <p>Bread is a varied and delicious staple that is delicious fresh and yet still incredibly useful when past its due date. In fact, one of the better supermarket/bakery deals that can be had is bags of day-old bread. A bakery near my house sells large bags of day-old bread for approximately $2, and it includes things like scones, cinnamon rolls, and raisin bread. Perhaps I could bake these things on my own for less, but considering what an untalented baker I am, these leftover bags are a real bargain. Check with your local bakery to see if they sell or even give away their day-old extras &mdash; you might even be able to <a href="http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/the-wonders-of-stale-bread/">make an entire meal</a> out of a freebie bag of bread.</p> <p>Here are some ideas on how to make the most of your leftover loaves.</p> <h3>1. French Onion Soup</h3> <p>You can have French onion soup without a cheesy toasty topper. Well, OK, you <em>can</em>, but no one will want to eat it. Try Alton Brown's recipe for the <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/french-onion-soup-recipe/index.html">perfect French onion soup</a>, but remember that your bread topping doesn't have to be perfectly even or perfectly round. You can toss a handful of stale bread on top of your soup and still find plenty of room for the cheese to settle in.</p> <h3>2. Easy Soufflé/Quiche</h3> <p>Stale bread and eggs were somehow made for each other. If you love soufflé but aren't in the mood to worry about it rising or collapsing, use this shortcut <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/cheese-onion-bread-souffle-10000001038756/index.html">recipe for cheese, onion, and bread soufflé</a> that is easy as pie. Love having quiche for brunch? You can even use that healthy, high-fiber bread for a <a href="http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/96925/high-fiber-bread-quiche">delicious weekend quiche</a>.</p> <h3>3. Stuffing/Dressing</h3> <p>Is <a href="http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/holidays-and-events/thanksgiving/stuffing-and-dressing/Main.aspx">stuffing</a> too obvious a use for stale bread? It's my favorite, so I can't resist. The only dish at Thanksgiving that I would be heartbroken without, savory stuffing is a sure-fire accompaniment to any poultry-based meal. A small helping of rich, delicious stuffing can save a dry turkey dinner from despair or add some oomph to an otherwise normal chicken sandwich.</p> <p>Stuffing doesn't always&nbsp;have to be served alongside fowl, though; it's also wonderful next to baked tilapia or oysters. Because stuffing has so many regional variations, you are free to branch out and try out all kinds of different recipes. Stuffing is also very forgiving &mdash; it will accept the presence of all kinds of other flavors, including squash, broccoli, spinach, sausage, nuts, cranberries, and more.</p> <h3>4. Breadcrumbs</h3> <p>Just how handy are breadcrumbs? You'll never know until you have your own stash in waiting, ready to top <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html">macaroni and cheese</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1742,147162-251195,00.html">casseroles</a>, to coat your <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/moreseafood/r/bl31010k.htm">filet of fish</a> or <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/friedchicken/r/bl90821b.htm">famous fried chicken</a>, to use on top of cakes and cupcakes, or to coat the bottom of a cheesecake when you are low on graham crackers.</p> <p>Breadcrumbs are incredibly easy to make &mdash; just bake your stale bread on low heat (say, 150&deg;F) in your oven or toaster oven until the bread is extremely dry and brittle. Then place the bread in your blender or food processor and churn until you have a golden brown crumbs. Further drying can be achieved in the oven or on the counter.</p> <p>You can add herbs and salt if you want a savory mix for dishes. Add some brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and coconut flakes for a delicious ice cream topper, or leave the crumbs plain for versatility.</p> <p>Freeze breadcrumbs&nbsp;in an air-tight container for maximum storage time.</p> <h3>5. Meat Loaf</h3> <p>Probably one of the best-known uses for stale bread, meat loaf can be a family favorite if you make it right. Breadcrumbs are often added to meat loaf in order to add heft and save money, and they can also act to make meat loaf more tender by keeping the protein separated. The <a href="http://www.amandascookin.com/2010/02/best-meatloaf-recipe-ever.html">best meat loaf recipe</a> that I have ever tried called for crushed saltine crackers, but crumbled stale bread is a logical (and inexpensive) substitute.</p> <p>Meatloaf doesn't just have to be made out of beef, of course. <a href="http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/diabetic-recipes/Salmon-Loaf/r795.html">Salmon loaf</a> (top with dried dill and sour cream) makes a wonderful treat either hot or cold.</p> <p>Did I forget to mention crab cakes? Like meatloaf,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hometownannapolis.com/food5_crabcake.html">crab cakes</a>&nbsp;are held together by a small amount of egg and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs (also, I've learned that using one chopped scallop per crab cake will add a certain cohesiveness to the patty without changing the flavor). Used canned crab for the best, and cheapest, results.</p> <h3>6. Refreshed Bread</h3> <p>OK, so let's say that what you really want is fresh bread. You can always <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_114477_refresh-stale-bread.html">refresh your stale bread</a> using this trick.</p> <h3>7. Cinnamon Toasts</h3> <p>Think you know how to make cinnamon toast? You probably do. But we're talking about <em><a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2010/05/her-recipe-box.html">cinnamon toasts</a></em>. You've never made cinnamon toast quite like this. It's the perfect way to use up fluffy-but-stale white bread, and the results last for days and are a perfect treat to take with you to a party (scroll down a bit for the recipe and pictures).</p> <h3>8. Bisques and Bread Soups</h3> <p>I'm a big fan of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-iii-the-crisper-from-hell">bisque</a> as a pre-meal appetizer (slowly sipping a cup of bisque will help you eat less in your main course), and stale bread is a great carbohydrate that you can use to thicken your soup if you lack potatoes or yams. Just toss the bread in and let it get mushy like the veggies, then blend carefully in batches.</p> <p>If you don't feel like blending, <a href="http://italianfood.about.com/od/favoriterecipes/tp/aa022809.htm">bread soup is big in Italian cooking</a>, so try out a new recipe while using up leftovers.</p> <h3>9. Bread Salads</h3> <p><a href="http://www.tuscanrecipes.com/recipes/panzanella.html">Bread salad</a>, also known as panzanella, is a nice change from regular old lettuce-and-dressing and often a hit at parties. Remember that the word &quot;salad&quot; comes from the Latin word for &quot;salt,&quot; and it refers to salted things, not necessarily to veggies. If you want to throw a can of artichoke hearts, some sliced tomatoes, a few handfuls of stale bread, some leftover chicken, and some dressing in a bowl and call it a salad, you're well within your semantic rights to do so.</p> <h3>10. Bread Pudding</h3> <p>I don't have a big sweet tooth &mdash; I can honestly pass on most candy, ice cream, and even pie. But <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/the-best-bread-pudding-recipe/index.html">bread pudding</a>? Nearly impossible to resist. Also, it turns out, it's incredibly easy to make. I avoided making bread pudding because I was terrified that it would end up being as tragic as my cheesecake disaster, but&nbsp;bread pudding is delicious and simple. It's a good way to use up dessert-y breads, but don't let the rosemary loaf go to waste &mdash; just combine the flavors with complementary tastes, like rosemary with lemon.</p> <p>Similar to bread pudding (and yet different) is <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/apple-pan-charlotte-10000001038760/index.html">fruit charlotte</a>. A good way to use up both old bread and excess apples, charlotte may not be the healthiest dessert, but it's certainly among the most warming.</p> <h3>11. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches</h3> <p>Hey, half the point of grilling a sandwich is to get the bread nice and crispy, and with dried sliced bread, you're already halfway there. To get a perfect grilled cheese, I lightly butter and grill both sides of the bread before applying the cheese. That way, the bread is extra crispy on both the outside AND the inside, and the cheese melts faster.</p> <h3>12. Open Faced Sandwiches/Bruschetta</h3> <p>Feeling like you want less bread and more filling? Toast stale slices, and then top with anything you like, from olive tapenade to leftover meat loaf. Any variation of <a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/bruschetta_with_tomato_and_basil/">bruschetta</a> will do, and the crunchy, toasty base will hold together better than fresh bread in the face of moister toppings.</p> <h3>13. French Toast</h3> <p>French toast practically begs for the use of stale bread, and there's no reason to limit this tasty treat to breakfast time &mdash; you can enjoy French toast for dinner, too. I personally love all flavors of French toast, but my new favorite involves spreading one side of the stale bread with a light layer of cream cheese (or chevre), and the other side with a tart jelly (like cherry or marmalade) before dipping it in egg batter and cooking.</p> <p>French toast doesn't have to be limited to large slices of sandwich bread &mdash; a popular snack in my household is French toast bites made of slices of tiny French baguettes that are past their prime.</p> <h3>14. Gourmet Croutons</h3> <p>Nothing can be easier than turning stale bread into delicious gourmet croutons for soup and salad toppings. Simply toss the bread in a mixture of olive oil, dried herbs, and salt and toast until golden brown. You can add parmesan cheese after toasting (adding it before toasting might cause some burning).</p> <p>Croutons are great for fondue and also to top off a particularly gourmet Bloody Mary.</p> <h3>15. Potato/Rice Substitute</h3> <p>Are all carbs created equal? Could you substitute bread for rice or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/potato-ideas-that-pop">potatoes</a>? There are some who might disagree, but consider that a <a href="http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/Rfisa.htm">very popular Moroccan dish</a> is basically a chicken stew poured over day-old bread. You don't even have to make Moroccan bread to make this dish. Just tear us slightly stale bread into bite-size pieces and smother the bread with your own curry, Irish stew, or whatever floats your boat.</p> <h3>16. Bread Dumplings</h3> <p>Semmelknoedel are <a href="http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/semmelknoedel-bread-dumplings/Detail.aspx">German dumplings</a> that are a little bit like Italian gnocchi, but are made using stale bread and milk. Enjoy in a soup, topped with mushroom gravy or marinara, alongside meats and fish, or however you like your dumplings. Create a slightly sweeter version (minus the garlic, pepper, and herbs) and eat warm with honey, almonds, and ricotta cheese.</p> <h3>17. Bird Food</h3> <p>OK, I've heard that bread isn't good for birds and all that. I'm sure that the Audubon Society would have me stuffed and mounted for saying so, but seagulls aren't really birds, are they? No, they are just big, flying cockroaches, and bread won't hurt them at all.</p> <h3>Storing Old Bread</h3> <p>How you store your bread depends an awful lot on the kind of bread it is. When I buy &quot;artisanal&quot; loaves of bread from the supermarket, I do so with the understanding that the bread will last approximately four days on the kitchen counter, wrapped in a paper bag and then loosely in a plastic bag. Regular sliced bread from the bread section of the store (as opposed to the actual bakery) can last for as long as two weeks, so long as the last week is spent in the fridge. Your own storage methods and preferences probably depend a great deal on your climate and your ability to spot the first few strands of mold.</p> <p>Incidentally, if you see a loaf that is just starting to mold, there is no shame in cutting off the fuzzy part and saving the interior.</p> <p>The freezer, though, is where stale bread goes to await its reincarnated fate. If you've never <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/article/good-thing-how-to-freeze-bread">frozen bread</a> before, Martha Stewart can tell you how to do that. Much of my bread ends up in freezer-safe Ziplock bags, which seem to do the trick. I don't recommend keeping bread frozen for more than six months, but how long you can tolerate the bags of bready scraps might also depend on your type of freezer and how much space you have.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-delicious-homemade-gluten-free-bread">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Delicious Homemade Gluten-Free Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bread easy recipes food waste recipes stale bread Thu, 03 Mar 2011 13:36:17 +0000 Andrea Karim 496393 at http://www.wisebread.com