food waste http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7989/all en-US How to Keep Food Waste From Spoiling Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-459410387.jpg" alt="save money by tracking food waste" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How much food do wealthy nations waste? More than <a href="http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/" target="_blank">all of Sub-Saharan Africa produces</a>, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In the United States alone, from the farm to your kitchen, half of all produce ends up in the trash, according to a report by The Guardian.</p> <p>What does that waste mean for your household budget? If you're like the average family of four, you're literally <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/resources/wasted-how-america-losing-40-percent-its-food-farm-fork-landfill" target="_blank">throwing away $1,800 a year</a>, the National Resources Defense Council estimates.</p> <p>So a melon is a terrible thing to waste. We've heard it before. But what can we really do about it? Here are six ideas for taking action by quantifying food waste. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You're Wasting 1/3 of the Food You Buy &mdash; Here's How to Stop</a>)</p> <h2>Weigh your waste</h2> <p>The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that households spend two weeks separating &quot;preventable food waste&quot; garbage from inedible scraps as part of its <a href="https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-02/documents/get_smart_ftgtw_2_1_2016_pubnumberadded_508.pdf" target="_blank">Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge</a>.</p> <p>At the end of each week, weigh and record the food you could have eaten but tossed instead. Then, spend three weeks using the EPA's tips to improve your planning, shopping, and storage practices. Finally, measure what you waste during the sixth week, and share the impressive progress you've (ideally) made on social media. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a>)</p> <h2>Get the app</h2> <p>So often in busy households food goes to waste because you forget it's there. The iOS app <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nowaste-food-inventory-list/id926211004?mt=8" target="_blank">No Waste</a> allows you to scan the barcodes of stuff in your fridge, enter expiration dates, and track everything you've got. If you don't mark a food item as &quot;eaten&quot; before its expiration date, the app marks that food as wasted. It keeps track of the percent of your food that you waste, and shows you a cute little tree that loses its green if your waste increases. It also allows you to compare your waste percentage with other app users, and gives you an estimate of how much money you're saving by eating the food you paid for.</p> <h2>Create a food diary</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.squawkfox.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Food-Waste-Diary.pdf" target="_blank">printable food waste diary</a> prompts you to record not just the amount of food wasted at each meal, but also the reason and estimated value. This should be helpful to put a weekly dollar figure on your waste and motivate you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad" target="_blank">consume foods that are about to go bad</a>.</p> <h2>Impose consequences</h2> <p>Whether you used a printable from, a smartphone app, or simply scrawled the amounts and values of your waste on a scrap of paper stuck to the fridge, what do you do with this data? Why not use it to (gently) punish yourself? Take the total value of this week's waste, and deduct it from next week's grocery budget. Chances are, the pain of passing up buying the steak you wanted might help you remember to use up that meatloaf next week.</p> <h2>Track it publicly</h2> <p>Recording your food waste alone in your kitchen is OK, but wouldn't it be more fun to inspire others by planning a <a href="https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/research/assignments/mission-no-waste-meal1" target="_blank">Watch Your Waste Meal</a>? In the days leading up to your event, you're supposed to track your waste and share photos of your discards, which a celebrity chef might use as inspiration for a new dish.</p> <h2>Take a picture, it'll last longer</h2> <p>Are you more of a visual learner? Then follow The Frugal Girl's example and photograph <a href="http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/category/food-waste/food-waste-photos/" target="_blank">every bit of food you waste</a>. If you really want to push yourself to improve, share it online like she does! But even a private gallery of moldy horrors should be enough to encourage yourself to save the kale.</p> <h2>Beyond your kitchen</h2> <p>Once you've got a handle on what you throw away at home, turn your attention to the millions of pounds of food that gets thrown away by businesses before you even get a crack at it.</p> <h3>Buy ugly</h3> <p>In California and Portland, <a href="https://www.imperfectproduce.com/" target="_blank">Imperfect Produce</a> delivers weekly boxes of vegetables and fruits that are not cosmetically perfect enough to be sold in stores but still fresh and wholesome.</p> <h3>Take-out the trash</h3> <p>Still in beta, the app <a href="https://foodforall.us/" target="_blank">Food for All</a> will allow you to purchase unsold food from restaurants at the end of the day, at discounts as steep as 80 percent. Lucky Bostonians get to try this super frugal service first.</p> <h3>Save a mint</h3> <p>If you work in or own a restaurant, try the app <a href="https://www.mintscraps.com/" target="_blank">MintScraps</a> to track and reduce food waste.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Keep%2520Food%2520Waste%2520From%2520Spoiling%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Keep%20Food%20Waste%20From%20Spoiling%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Keep%20Food%20Waste%20From%20Spoiling%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Keep Food Waste From Spoiling Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget">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/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</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-smart-shoppers-will-save-at-amazons-whole-foods">How Smart Shoppers Will Save at Amazon&#039;s Whole Foods</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/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries">Shop the Salad Bar and Other Ways to Save Big on Groceries</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/flashback-friday-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier">Flashback Friday: 53 Grocery Shopping Tricks That&#039;ll Make Your Life Easier</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/flashback-friday-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food shopping food waste green living groceries grocery bill grocery budget saving money shopping tips Spending Money Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2024819 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bride_groom_wedding_81998933.jpg" alt="What Americans spend too much money on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all guilty of spending too much money at some point or another. Even when we know the importance of a good budget and have a regular savings routine, we can get off track. Because Americans are big spenders in general, it should come as no surprise that we spend way too much on stuff we don't need &mdash; and, interestingly, stuff we do need.</p> <p>Whether you realize it or not, here are five things you're probably spending too much on.</p> <h2>1. Groceries</h2> <p>We need food for survival, and because food is a necessity, some people never think to calculate how much they actually spend on food on a yearly basis. They don't know if they're spending too much.</p> <p>There are no hard and fast rules regarding how much we should spend on food every year. But considering how a trip to the grocery store can be just as tempting as walking through a clothing store, there's a good chance that we're spending more than we need.</p> <p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a family earning $69,629 in 2015 spent an <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm">average of $7,023 on food</a> (includes food at home and away from home), which comes to about $585 a month. The cost of food periodically increases, so we can expect slight increases in our grocery bill. But there are plenty of ways to shave down this number and save.</p> <p>Clipping coupons, signing up for grocery store loyalty cards, and resisting the urge to stock our carts with stuff we don't need &mdash; such as unhealthy snacks &mdash; can result in big savings. And if we limit the amount of times we dine out every month, the savings increase.</p> <p>If you reduce your grocery bill by as little as $20 a week, that's a savings of $1,000 a year. Buying less also makes sense considering how &quot;a four-person family loses about <a href="http://savethefood.com/">$1,500 a year on wasted food</a>,&quot; according to the National Resources Defense Council.</p> <h2>2. Bottled Water</h2> <p>If you're looking for ways to save on groceries, you can start by cutting bottled water from your grocery list. Bottled water has become a necessity in many U.S. households, with many people preferring this over tap water for various reasons. Some people don't trust their city's water supply and others simply enjoy the taste of bottled water.</p> <p>But our love affair with bottled water is costly. On average, Americans spend about <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/bottled-water-statistics/">$11.8 billion on bottled water</a> every year, and the average person in American consumes 167 plastic water bottles annually. Given the average cost of $1.45 per bottle, that's $242 a year per person, which is expensive considering how we can purchase a reusable water filter for $30 or $40.</p> <h2>3. Coffee</h2> <p>If you broke the habit of buying coffee every day, you probably think you're saving money &mdash; and maybe you are. Brewing your own coffee at home is supposed to save, yet a new study found that Americans are spending more on coffee than ever before, despite drinking less due to single-serve coffee machines.</p> <p>It's predicted that Americans will spend <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-coffee-demand-kcups-idUSKBN0P209F20150622">$13.6 billion on coffee</a> in 2016, which is up from the expected $12.8 billion in 2015. This is primarily due to the fact that more Americans are drinking single-serve cups and paying a premium for this convenience. Using K-cups can <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/keurig-cups-are-expensive-2015-3">cost up to five times more</a> than using a coffee pot. Fortunately, there are ways to save like purchasing a reusable filter for Keurigs and other single-serve coffee pots, as well as skipping the grocery store and buying K-cups from discount stores or online from Amazon and eBay.</p> <h2>4. Housing</h2> <p>Once you're ready to buy a house, you'll seek a property that offers everything you're looking for and more. But getting everything you want comes at a price, and unfortunately, some people buy more house than they can afford.</p> <p>A competent mortgage lender won't approve a loan for more than you can afford. But if you have excellent credit, some lenders are flexible and they'll allow you to spend a greater percentage of your gross income on housing. But just because you're approved for a particular loan amount doesn't mean you should spend your max.</p> <p>Whether you're renting or buying, keeping house payments below your means creates more disposable income that can go toward saving a rainy-day fund or paying off debt. According to a 2014 report, millions of Americans spend too much of their monthly incomes on housing &mdash; <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/03/real_estate/housing-costs/">more than 30%</a> of their income. Ideally, house payments should be no more than 28% of your gross income.</p> <h2>5. Weddings</h2> <p>Weddings are a special day. If you stay together forever, this can become one of the best days of your life. But just because weddings are a memorable event doesn't mean you should wipe out your savings or go into debt.</p> <p>In 2015, the average cost of a wedding <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/pf/average-wedding-costs/">increased to $32,641</a>. Some people could argue this is a reasonable amount. But given how nearly one in two marriages in the U.S. <a href="http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/">ends in divorce</a>, spending this type of cash is a waste of money.</p> <p>Even if a marriage never crumbles, $32,000 is too much to spend on a day that's only the beginning of your journey together. Rather than begin a marriage in debt or wipe out your savings account, plan an inexpensive ceremony and put the majority of the money toward a home purchase or save it for the future.</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/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-better-prices-on-these-6-grocery-store-buys">Negotiate Better Prices on These 6 Grocery Store Buys</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-stay-on-budget-while-eating-paleo">How to Stay on Budget While Eating Paleo</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/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping americans bottled water coffee food costs food waste groceries housing overspending spending habits weddings Wed, 26 Oct 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1819950 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Leaks You Need to Plug http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_empty_wallet_101494811.jpg" alt="Man finding money leaks he needs to plug" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to tighten your budget, but can't figure out where you can save money? Look for leaks in your budget &mdash; places where money is slowly but surely leaking out. Here are seven places to start:</p> <h2>1. Insurance on Old Vehicles</h2> <p>Have cars or trucks sitting in your garage, driveway, or backyard that rarely or never get road time? Or maybe you're paying insurance on other types of vehicles &mdash; like boats or motorcycles &mdash; that have become permanent fixtures on your landscape. If this situation sounds familiar and you're still carrying insurance on these vehicles, it's time to make a decision. Either cut the insurance and put a tarp over the machine(s) for preservation, or put it up for sale so you can make a few bucks.</p> <h2>2. Bank Fees and Out-of-Network ATMs</h2> <p>Many checking and savings accounts have maintenance fees related to a minimum balance, and if you don't keep that minimum in the account, you'll be charged the fee &mdash; and you may not even realize it. For instance, last year I upgraded my savings account to a higher-yield savings account that pays more interest, but I recently took out a large sum of that savings for a down payment on a home. Unbeknown to me, the new savings account charges a $12 monthly fee for not keeping a minimum balance of $10,000, which I was quick to flag, and I reverted back to my previous account until I've replenished my savings to accommodate the higher-year account's requirements. Now, $12 a month may not seem like a big deal, but if you let it go too long, it really adds up. It's worth calling your bank or sitting down with an in-bank representative to discuss your accounts' requirements and to ask about what types of accounts best suit your needs.</p> <p>Another way you can plug money leaks from your account is to avoid ATMs that charge a fee for use. I've seen service fees upward of $10 at some ATMs, and that's not counting the fee that your bank may also charge &mdash; my institution's is $2.50 per transaction &mdash; every time you use an out-of-network ATM. If you need quick cash (like for a night out, for example), try to remember to go to your home back earlier in the day or stop by a convenience store, like Rite-Aid or 7-11, and use the cash back option if you're on the go.</p> <h2>3. Unused Memberships and Subscriptions</h2> <p>Over the past several years, the availability of membership and subscription services has skyrocketed thanks to our increasing attachment to mobile devices. Services like Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and more extract their monthly fees from our bank accounts, and that can be dangerous if the price is not justified by the amount we use a particular service. If you lost your interest in an existing subscription, cancel it. This also applies to traditional month-to-month memberships too, like your gym. If you're not using them on a consistent basis, put them on hold until you get back on track or end them so you're not paying for rather pricey services you're not receiving.</p> <h2>4. Credit Card Interest and Late Payments</h2> <p>Avoiding <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">credit card interest</a> and late payments should be a top priority when you're trying to stop hemorrhaging cash. Maybe you can make up the difference by plugging up the other money leaks listed in this article. But, if that's not feasible or if you fall short, consider picking up a side gig, like pet sitting using services like Rover.com and Dog Vacay or becoming an independent taxi service with Uber or Lyft. I personally do both, and the money I've made from these &quot;extracurriculars&quot; has helped me pay off bills and put a substantial amount of money in my savings account.</p> <h2>5. Mobile Data Overages and Outdated Plans</h2> <p>Many of my friends complain about never having enough data and subsequently having to pay for overages. It's annoying for them because either they have to suck up the cost of going over, or cut back on their data usage, which becomes quite prohibitive after a while. In addition, if you've had the same mobile plan for a while, now is a good time to call your provider to see what savings are available. Last year, I called my mobile provider to inquire about my plan, which had remained the same for about 10 years, and I was happy to come off the call with about $8 in savings per month moving forward.</p> <h2>6. Wasted and Spoiled Groceries</h2> <p>I know far too many people who have pantries packed to the brim with boxed and canned goods that are many years old &mdash; and many years past their expiration dates &mdash; who continue to purchase even more boxed and canned goods every time they visit the supermarket. It's pure nonsense.</p> <p>First step, clean out your pantry! Throw out what's expired and the things you know you're not going to eat (or deliver the still-edible goods to a local food pantry), then bring whatever's left to the front of the pantry to be consumed immediately. Next, stop buying items for which you don't have specific plans; this also includes perishable foods. If you not sure when you're going to eat something, why are you buying it? Just in case? <em>Just in case</em> is how you spend way more than you need to at the supermarket. Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it when you next go grocery shopping.</p> <h2>7. Vampire Energy Consumption</h2> <p>Is your air conditioner constantly running &mdash; even when you're not home? Do you treat the heat the same way in the winter? TV left on? Dryer turned to high? Faucets dripping? Everything plugged into outlets even when they're not in use?</p> <p>Every time you quietly answered yes to those questions, it costs you money. To curb your energy consumption, make sure everything is off when you leave the house. Also, unplug non-daily-use electronics and appliances &mdash; like that nightstand lamp that you never use &mdash; so they're not eating up electricity for no reason. And for goodness sake, fix water and air leaks around the house so you're not almost literally throwing money out the window or down the drain. Be mindful of other ways you may be consuming more energy than you need to, like turning off porch lights, adjusting the temperature in your fridge and freezer, cleaning air filters, and using more efficient cycles on the dishwasher and washing machine if a lower setting will get the job done.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Money%2520Leaks%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Plug.jpg&amp;description=7%20Money%20Leaks%20You%20Need%20to%20Plug"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Money%20Leaks%20You%20Need%20to%20Plug.jpg" alt="7 Money Leaks You Need to Plug" width="250" height="374" /></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/7-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug">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/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</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/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits">Pets, Old Cars, and 3 Other Common Money Pits</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/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</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/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill</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/5-sleek-marketing-ploys-aimed-at-getting-more-of-your-grocery-money">5 Sleek Marketing Ploys Aimed at Getting More of Your Grocery Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living atms bank fees car insurance data energy food waste groceries late payments memberships money leaks subscriptions wasting money Thu, 15 Sep 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1793090 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_burned_chicken_51534210.jpg" alt="Woman trying to salvage a burned meal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband likes to joke that his mother cooked by the &quot;smoke alarm method.&quot; I laugh, but not too hard, because people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I have burned my share of meals &mdash; I'm also prone to burn some types of things more than others. It happens, but you may not have to waste food and money if you burn, or overcook, your food. Here are 10 ways to salvage your &quot;Cajun-style&quot; food.</p> <h2>1. Rice</h2> <p>Rice came in first on my list, because to this day, sometimes I get distracted and burn the heck out of it.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Quickly (before the smell gets bad), scoop out as much rice as you can and put it in a separate bowl. Fill the pan with water (don't just let it sit) so that it's easy to clean up, later.</p> <p>Another method is to turn off the heat, put a slice of white bread over the rice, and re-cover for five minutes. This might help to absorb the bad smell, but you may still have a stuck-on layer on the pot bottom. The rice may still be okay for other uses, such as fried rice. You may also be able to use it in meatballs or soup.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>If you eat a lot of rice, consider purchasing a rice cooker. Alternatively, check your water to rice ratio. I use two cups of water to one cup of rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. I cheat and check under the lid once in awhile, to make sure it isn't burning. Turn off the heat at 25 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork, cover, and let it sit for five to seven minutes.</p> <h2>2. Overdone Turkey</h2> <p>Haven't we all been there? The table is set beautifully, and everyone is awaiting the grand entrance of the Thanksgiving turkey. You start carving, and oh, no. It's so dry.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Reconsider carving at the table. It makes a mess, anyway. If you carve in the kitchen, you have time to do some rescuing, if need be. Ladle some broth over the turkey pieces; it will soak in. Another tactic is to brush the pieces with a little melted butter. Or, just 'fess up, and tell folks they'll need a <em>lot</em> of gravy. Fortunately, chopped turkey (even if it's dry) will be fine in creamy casseroles, or enchiladas.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Before you start cooking your turkey, make sure it's thawed. Also, for beginners, buy the brand with the pop-up button, or use a turkey cooking bag.</p> <h2>3. No-Longer-Rare Roast</h2> <p>There you were, making a nice roast for Sunday dinner, and the phone rang. You forgot about that roast, and now it's toast.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Shift gears. You can still probably use some of it. My mother made <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/traditional_roast_beef_hash/">roast beef hash</a> a lot when I was a kid, and now I suspect I know why. Also, try tossing it, along with veggies, into a stir-fry, or making fried rice.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>A good meat thermometer is a wonderful thing.</p> <h2>4. Burned Chicken</h2> <p>Visions of a picture-perfect cookout go right out of your head when flames turn the chicken black, right?</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If it has skin on, remove the skin, and finish baking it in the oven. You may also be able to cut the burned parts off and chop up the meat. Having a salad with the picnic? Toss the remaining meat into that.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>If you really must keep the skin on (I know, it's so tasty), trim the skin so that it doesn't hang down and catch on fire. Make sure you brush the grill with oil before heating it, so that it doesn't stick and burn. Don't put the sauce on until the chicken is almost done, because any sugars in the sauce may cause the chicken to burn.</p> <h2>5. Chocolate</h2> <p>It's a pretty sickening feeling to burn chocolate while attempting to melt it. I mean come on, it's chocolate. Ouch.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>First, get it away from the heat. If you have any more chocolate around, chop it, add it, and stir. That will stop it from melting any further. Still lumpy? Try adding a little vegetable oil or shortening to the chocolate and stir it. If it still cannot be saved, just let it cool, chop it up, and toss it into cookies.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Rather than melting it on the stove, try short bursts in the microwave. Start at one minute, and stir. Try another 20 seconds, stir, and check. If it still has not melted, give it 15 seconds more and stir. If you own a double boiler, that's also a safer method than just melting on the stovetop.</p> <h2>6. Very Well-Done Vegetables</h2> <p>The veggies were steaming along nicely, and you got a phone call. The water evaporated in the pan. Oops.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Scrape out what you can. There is still hope! One idea is to add grated Parmesan and a little cream to the leftover vegetables. This might actually be yummier than the original healthy steamed vegetables. Or, you can puree them with a little butter, and use as a thick sauce. Lastly, puree, add some stock, and call it soup.</p> <p>How to Prevent It</p> <p>Set the timer, or turn off the stove if you are distracted.</p> <h2>7. Butter</h2> <p>There you were, just melting butter to make a sauce, and... It went from melted to muddy-brown.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Grab a coffee filter and a bowl. Strain the butter through the filter. Now you have delicious, nutty, brown butter. Add some chopped herbs, and pretend you meant to do that. Browned butter makes a great sauce.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Use low heat to melt butter, and don't leave the stove. If you get distracted, turn off the burner.</p> <h2>8. Pie Crust</h2> <p>You were feeling like Betty Crocker there, for a while, until you burned your pie crust. All that work, down the drain? Nope.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If it's just a little brown, who cares? It looks better than <em>underbaked</em>. However, if it's really obvious, see if you can cut up your pie and put it onto a serving plate minus the outer crust. If it's burned beyond being edible, remove the whole top and make a crumb topping (combine one cup flour, &frac12; cup butter, and &frac12; cup brown sugar, mix together, and sprinkle over top). Put it back into the oven at 425 and bake until brown.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Next time, wrap foil around the edges of the pie, removing just for the last 15 minutes of baking. Also, bake on the bottom rack of your oven, not the top.</p> <h2>9. Burnt Bacon</h2> <p>It happens quickly. You aren't alone.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>It's still edible. Let it drain, crumble it up, and sprinkle over salads, soups, or onto scrambled eggs.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Try <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AALN13mQhRw">cooking bacon in the oven</a>, which is easy and makes less mess, too. Don't forget to set the timer!</p> <h2>10. Crispy Lasagna</h2> <p>My grandmother always burned the top of her lasagna, so I actually learned to like it that way. But that's probably a unique thing.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If the top is black and crunchy, peel back a layer. Add more sauce and cheese, and return to the oven just to brown it up.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Before you pop it into the oven, cover it with foil. Halfway through baking, remove the foil.</p> <p>If it's overdone, don't throw it out! You may be able to save some food <em>and</em> some money.</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-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">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/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/7-podcasts-for-foodies">7 Podcasts for Foodies</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-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink burned food Cooking food waste Mistakes recipes repurposing salvaging Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Marla Walters 1775892 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Uses for Food That's About to Go Bad http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_herbs_kitchen_000057836846.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart uses for good that&#039;s about to go bad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It happens all too often that we buy food that we don't get around to eating fast enough, and it ends up on the verge of spoiling. But all isn't lost when there's a soft spot in your fruits and veggies. Turn lemons into lemonade &mdash; literally &mdash; plus a few more edible hacks with these smart uses for food that's about to go bad.</p> <h2>1. Make Smoothies and Bread Out of Bananas, Zucchini, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots</h2> <p>Banana bread is best when the bananas have been left on the counter to turn into black vessels of near mush &mdash; we all know that &mdash; but there are other fruits and vegetables that can be utilized in a similar manner before they're completely wasted.</p> <p>Zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach all can be salvaged for smoothies, and in some cases, like zucchini, baked goods. I can't give you my grandma's recipe for the latter &mdash; she'd have my head &mdash; but you can try somebody else's grandma's recipe for moist, delicious, <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6698/moms-zucchini-bread/">spicy zucchini bread</a>.</p> <p>As for the smoothies, it helps to have a <a href="http://amzn.to/1NWuFdJ">juicer</a> to separate the pulp when using carrots and spinach for smoothies, but you can strain it all the same, and many blenders these days can pulverize the ingredients so there's nary a stringy piece in the drink. I always recommend the <a href="http://amzn.to/26TUnpA">Ninja brand</a>, but another may work better for you.</p> <h2>2. Make Vegetable Stock From Near-the-End Veggies</h2> <p>If you have a crisper full of veggies that are on their last leg, turn them into a stock that you can freeze and use later in soups and other recipes.</p> <p>&quot;You can save all the bits and ends from vegetables you've trimmed throughout the week (stems of broccoli or leafy greens, ends of carrots, garlic and onions, soft tomatoes, or wilted greens), gradually adding to a freezer bag, and when it's full you'll be ready to start a new batch of veggie stock,&quot; says Rebecca Lewis, HelloFresh's in-house registered dietician. Here's a recipe:</p> <h3>Ingredients:</h3> <ul> <li>2&ndash;3 pounds vegetable peels (enough to fill a 1 gallon freezer bag). Suggested vegetables: onions and garlic (including skins), peeled carrots, fennel, celery, leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens), and herbs</li> <li>12 cups water</li> <li>1 bay leaf</li> <li>6&ndash;8 peppercorns</li> <li>1 t salt</li> </ul> <h3>Method:</h3> <p>Empty the gallon baggie of veggie trimmings into a large stock pot along with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Add eight cups of water and see where your water level is. Remember it &mdash; this will be the level of where your stock will roughly be after reducing it. Then add the other four cups of water and the salt.</p> <p>Bring to a slow simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain the simmer, keeping the pot uncovered. When the liquid has reduced to the point you recalled earlier, taste the stock. If it doesn't seem concentrated enough, simmer for another hour or two.</p> <p>Remove the stock from heat and strain through a colander. Squeeze all of the stock out of the veggies then discard the veggies. You should end up with roughly eight cups of concentrated stock.</p> <h2>3. Freeze Herbs in Olive Oil</h2> <p>I love cooking with fresh herbs, but it's annoying to buy a huge bunch when I only need a little for the recipe I'm making, like a chicken noodle soup. Parsley and cilantro are the major culprits in this dilemma, and cilantro, in my experience, tends to go bad much quicker than parsley.</p> <p>To get the most herb for my money, I started chopping them up all at once when I get home (or when I first need them for a recipe). I put a bit of the chopped herbs in a plastic baggie in the fridge so I can cook with them throughout the week. I put the rest in ice cube trays with olive oil, place them in the freezer, and then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag for sautéing and other recipes later. This is a really simple and easy way to preserve your herbs instead of buying a new bunch every time and throwing half of it away.</p> <h2>4. Infuse Olive Oil With Herbs and Peppers</h2> <p>People pay a pretty penny for flavored olive oils at fancy gourmet supermarkets, but you can make your own at home by putting your on-the-verge-of-spoiling herbs and peppers in the bottle for preservation and flavor. Let it sit for at least a week for maximum flavor, and either use them in your own cooking or give them as gifts if they're in a presentable bottle.</p> <h2>5. Place Vanilla Bean Pods in Sugar</h2> <p>If you have an unused vanilla bean after a round of baking &mdash; this is particularly useful at holiday time &mdash; consider adding them to your sugar to enhance its flavor. You can place the pods directly in the sugar or slice them open and scrape out the insides and mix them in the sugar. If you want to do it the easy way, just put the pods in the sugar and let them sit for two weeks. Your sugar will have an amazing vanilla taste and scent.</p> <h2>6. Put on a Pot of &quot;Peasant Stew&quot;</h2> <p>I'm not a huge fan of soups and stews &mdash; I'm a very picky eater and totally &quot;anti-chunk&quot; in my food (my fellow finicky foodies know what I'm talking about) &mdash; but cookbook author Cynthia MacGregor's idea of taking just about anything you have lying around the kitchen and making a meal out of it before it goes bad seems pretty ingenious. She didn't invent it, of course, but it sure sounds like she's perfected it.</p> <p>&quot;Ideally you'll start saving food for a peasant soup/stew as you go along, freezing whatever will freeze well,&quot; she says. &quot;When you have one or more foods that won't freeze well or have reached their outer limit, or you're just in a cookin' frame of mind, defrost what you've saved frozen &mdash; from complicated recipes down to simple simmered veggies &mdash; in a suitably large cooking vessel. Add whatever you want, from herbs to wine to chicken stock to garlic to onions to Worcestershire sauce to plain yogurt or sour cream &mdash; the list goes on.&quot;</p> <p>Got celery that's looking droopy? Toss it in. Got nothing crunchy in the fridge and you'd like to sink your teeth into something? Try a can of water chestnuts. Want color? Add a jar of pimentos. Looking to make the stew/soup more hearty? Add potatoes or, for a twist, yucca. Taste as it cooks.</p> <h2>7. Cut Old Bread Into Croutons and Bake</h2> <p>Instead of throwing away your stale bread, cut it into cubes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and dried herbs if you'd like, and place it in the oven in a single layer on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. You'll have perfectly crispy croutons every time. This hack is for stale bread only, by the way; moldy bread is not salvageable &mdash; just throw it away.</p> <h2>8. Puree Delicate Berries for Yogurt and Dessert Toppings</h2> <p>I have a love-hate relationship with berries &mdash; strawberries and raspberries, in particular &mdash; because they spoil so quickly. I've picked up raspberries from the market that have gone bad within 48 hours of purchase, and considering how expensive they can be, it's not something to which I look forward.</p> <p>Now, if I know I'm not able to eat the amount of berries I've purchased within that short window of time, I'll take a portion out for other purposes. One thing I like to do is mash up raspberries and mix them in my yogurt. If you do this and store them in an air-tight container, they last up to a few more days than if they were left in the fridge whole. As for other berries, like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, I like to either boil them down with a bit of <a href="http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/blueberry-compote.html">water, sugar, and lemon juice</a>, which makes a nice, thick sauce for desserts or pancakes, or freeze them to throw in smoothies.</p> <h2>9. Make Patties or Fritters Out of Beans, Grains, and Shredded Meats</h2> <p>What to do with those little bits of beans, grains, and shredded meats that may not be substantial enough for a decent meal? Turn them into patties or fritters says Liza Baker, an integrative nutritional health coach.</p> <p>&quot;Cooked beans, vegetables, grains, and even flaked fish and shredded meat and poultry can be mixed with egg, some bread crumbs (gluten-free or not), and some herbs (dry or fresh) and/or spices and quickly browned in a little butter or olive oil (or ghee or coconut oil) and served on their own, on a bun, under an egg (poached or fried), or crumbled into a wrap,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>10. Use Old Lemons as a Cleaner</h2> <p>Lemons too soft and bitter for anything but the trash? Not so fast. Even if the lemon is past when it tastes its best, its lemony power can still be used to clean and sanitize surfaces in your home. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-use-your-food-that-dont-involve-eating?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Use Your Food That Don't Involve Eating</a>)</p> <p>&quot;If you have lemons that are going bad, they can be used as a cleaner,&quot; says money-saving enthusiast and blogger Karen Cordaway. &quot;If you have stains that are hard to get off of your pans or stove top, mix baking soda, vinegar (tablespoon of each), and some lemon to scrub off those stubborn stains. It works extremely well.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you extend the life of your foods that are about to go bad? I'd love to hear some of your ideas 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-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">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/beer-donuts-and-11-other-recipes-you-can-make-with-beer">Beer Donuts and 11 Other Recipes You Can Make With Beer</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/11-smoothie-bowls-you-want-right-now">11 Smoothie Bowls You Want Right Now</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/12-tasty-ways-to-cook-with-wine">12 Tasty Ways to Cook With Wine</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-easy-and-delicious-recipes-for-your-dutch-oven">18 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Your Dutch Oven</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/these-10-simple-swaps-will-make-your-baking-so-much-better">These 10 Simple Swaps Will Make Your Baking So Much Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink baking desserts dinners food waste groceries herbs lemons recipes smoothies snacks stocks using up ingredients Thu, 12 May 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1705413 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-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/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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</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-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</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/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies">12 Cool Jobs for Foodies</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-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> </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 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" target="_blank"><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" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">$1.50 per day</a> more than the average diet. This research tracks with our household budget. We spend around $1,200 more per year on groceries than most two-person households. So, how can we reduce our food budget by at least this $1,200 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" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">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" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">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" target="_blank">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" target="_blank">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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</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/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> <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/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</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-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/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/9-ways-restaurant-menus-are-designed-to-make-you-spend-more">9 Ways Restaurant Menus Are Designed to Make You Spend More</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-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</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/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> </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-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/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/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/how-to-stay-on-budget-while-eating-paleo">How to Stay on Budget While Eating Paleo</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-7"> <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/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/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Storing 25 Common Fruits and Veggies</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-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</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-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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-7"> <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/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/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Storing 25 Common Fruits and Veggies</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-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</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-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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-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/8-essentials-you-need-in-your-emergency-home-food-bank">8 Essentials You Need in Your Emergency Home Food Bank</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-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">The 10 Most Versatile Foods in Your Pantry</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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-8"> <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-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</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/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</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/dried-fruit-paint-brushes-and-8-other-things-you-should-keep-in-the-fridge">Dried Fruit, Paint Brushes, and 8 Other Things You Should Keep in the Fridge</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/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</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/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</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-9"> <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/13-ways-to-cut-costs-on-holiday-feasts">13 Ways to Cut Costs on Holiday Feasts</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/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</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-10"> <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/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-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</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-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Storing 25 Common Fruits and Veggies</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/flashback-friday-80-holiday-treats-that-wont-bust-your-budget">Flashback Friday: 80 Holiday Treats That Won&#039;t Bust Your Budget</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