Use It or Lose It

by Sarah on September 21, 2011 · 18 comments

So after last week’s What I Ate Wednesday post about hating to waste food, and then going to see DIVE!–which further solidified my strange need to avoid wastefulness as much as possible–well, I’m back with what we might call, Part II*: Use It or Lose It. I hope you (the party guests) and Jenn (our unfailing hostess), will forgive me for revealing yet more ways in which my frugal sense of repurposing [AKA "trying as hard as possible not to throw anything away"] has served to influence what I’ve been eating this week.
*Anyone else think Roman numerals look SO much more awesome in titles than standard numbers.^
^If the others are Roman, do we call these “English”?

Just because I’m avoiding food waste as much as possible doesn’t mean I don’t buy fresh fruits and veggies. [Hello! Y 'all KNOW my life is a produce lovefest.] I would have been very sad to miss out on those incredibly sweet grapes I stumbled upon at HEB. And obviously I cannot live without gum.* ;)
*Not a vegetable. Occasionally a food group.No, it just means that I try not to overbuy, and get just what I think I’ll actually eat. Pairing fresh with leftovers is sort of how I’ve been eating these days. One lunch featured leftover BBQ chicken on top of cauliflower salvaged from a roommate dinner, and peas I’d thawed for my Indian Butter Chicken. Twice this week that meant I ended up with rather boring* looking salads, both featuring fresh spinach, mushrooms, and cucumber, with my Baked Falafel (in patty form) on top.
*But is boring really that bad?My need for color (for once) did not lead me to unnecessarily go buy more tomatoes or bell peppers or extra carrots—which I already had as a snack–but instead pilfer through open condiments in the fridge for some Stonewall Kitchen Red Pepper Relish.This wasn’t so bad, really, especially as I was able to continue the Greek theme following a dinner with my lovely friend Katelyn at El Greco, which featured us sharing the Hummus Trio [traditional, roasted red pepper, and a Hatch chile hummus not nearly as awesome as mine ;) ] platter……and me taking home the leftover pita bread to pair with some remaining tzatziki in my lunchbag.The olives we didn’t finish? Well, they were the perfect addition to an impromptu charcuterie platter created from some saved-from-languishing-in-the-fridge-unenjoyed proscuitto and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop-purchased venison pate and duck salami.*
*Amazing as you imagine it might be. Unless you think it sounds gross. Then you’d be wrong.Of course, you can’t go to a cheese shop and not also buy cheese….and then to a market for bread, where you’ll obviously have to leave with marinated artichokes. Right?There aren’t always such smooth transitions in this “Use It Or Lose It” philosophy. Sometimes you come home from a fabulous lunch at San Francisco Bakery & Cafe…bearing a hard-boiled egg and a slice of the best sourdough bread EVER.And after eating the bread with lunch, you end up with a REALLY random dinner: mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, that egg, and tomato…topped with garam masala, nutritional yeast, red pepper relish, and…mustard (?).Plus a random piece of California roll. [Why not...?]

Followed by tortilla chiplets and spicy smoked black bean hummus.

Who am I kidding?
It might seem random, but it’s not really to me.
Most of my dinners look like that.

Just like most of my breakfasts look like this:

Except because my new philosophy has been a bit of “What should I eat?” rather than “What do I want to eat?” I didn’t touch the ‘weeks ’til expiration*’ date and focused on using up other calcium sources in the fridge.

*Not that I ever pay attention to that with yogurt. ;)

Like buttermilk.

Yes, I did eat buttermilk for breakfast. But when you think about it…it’s kind of like kefir, isn’t it? Cultured milk instead of yogurt? Besides, mix it with a little almond milk and add some maple extract…and it was actually quite good.In my ode to Raffi, I ate it all mixed up with ‘opals and banonos.’
This “should” vs. “want”* idea also means that despite the fact you might have noticed your Maple Coconut Peanut Butter jar is PERFECT for finishing with breakfast…
*Which is almost sounding like a first grade economics lesson.That will last indefinitely…but almond milk? Well, it won’t.^
^Although it does last a helluva long time.So you make a very large pancake with a flax egg and multigrain pancake mix….and due to the fact that the first pancake ALWAYS fails…well it’s not pretty.
But you can dress it up in my love (in my love)…with coconut butter, raspberries, and mango and Tiger Stripe fig so ripe they are like jelly.And although you SHOULD eat it in Pan-crepe or Pan-rollito form…
…you’ll WANT to eat it with a fork on a pie plate…while driving. [And this time the want will win.]

I’m not saying it was smart.
But it happened.
[Although I put it on the floor after I was finished.
Goll, otherwise that would have been STUPID.]
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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan September 21, 2011 at 7:02 am

I definitely have a similar philosophy when it comes to grocery shopping – bare bones! What do I need, and nothing more. However, I find this helps me with eating what I want versus eating what I need – less stuff is sitting there expiring. Of course, I also consider the freezer to be a gift from the angels.

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Shannon September 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

Yummy eats! I love buttermilk :) Ive never had it with cereal though..

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atastelife September 21, 2011 at 7:38 am

I was distracted by the hummus platter. But I'll throw just about anything that's in my fridge (or pantry for that matter) in a bowl and call it a salad.

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girlgonegrits September 21, 2011 at 8:01 am

Love the post could not help giggling thinking I was reading "If you give a mouse a cookie" I get it-It's how food lovers roll. I need to check out coconut butter -that is new too me.

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Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 21, 2011 at 8:32 am

Is it weird that the "random dinner" looks the best to me? You know you're a true foodie when all you want to eat are odds and ends of meals haha

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Michelle {the lively kitchen} September 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

My favorite is the lone California roll on that plate. My daughter has been on a buttermilk pancake kick lately, so I've been buying that same HEB buttermilk. I can't drink it, but I can't drink kefir either.

Thank you for putting that Apples and Bananas song in my head. Not really.

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean September 21, 2011 at 9:05 am

love that big bowl of randomness you made! looks so good!

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iheartvegetables September 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

I love the way you combine things together! I also like the idea of incorporating fresh veggies into leftovers. Why do I never think to do this?!

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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert September 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

Your eats always look so good. The salad with hard boiled eggs really speaks to me! Miss you – wish you were here!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm

That plate of mish mash, complete with sushi roll is brilliant.

I'm using everything in my fridge/fruit bowls before Italy and it is harder than it looks! I almost stopped for a burger last night… but no. I ate food I already had. It's amazing the money I've saved! :)

P.S. I don't know about the buttermilk, my friend. *shudder*

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mindrunningwild September 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

YOu never fail to make me laugh. I'm still in the what should I eat mode. I've taken 2x as long to make my meals this week just because I want to make sure I'm using as much up as I can. Lots of the same but I can't wait to go grocery shopping in London!!
that said, everything you ate today looks nommy. especally the breakfasts. But what can I say, I'm a breakfast gal.

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Ty September 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I try so hard to use up stuff before it goes bad but… yeah. There's only two of us and I basically haaatteee eating the same thing over and over again. *le sigh*

I waste lots of food. :(

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homemadeadventure September 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I feel the same way about wasting food! I have been eating the same batch of winter melon soup for a week now so it won't go to waste!

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Leila @ Spinach and Skittles September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I love throwing random things together and eating them in a nonsensical manner. The hubs doesn't. I try to feed him this way every once in a while and I don't get the enthusiasm I think I should.

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Brittany @ A Spoonful of Peanut Butter September 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Haha! I love this! You had me cracking up!! I live by this also- I will never waste any food and always find a way to use it!

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Jenn @ Peas and Crayons September 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

Baha that song is totally stock in my head now! You dressed it up well my love! ;) stuck not stock… Stupid phone!

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Errign September 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I try to buy basic things that are cheap (canned beans, etc), supplement with some cheap fresh produce and make amazing things. They usually turn out boring though!

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Lalaith October 11, 2011 at 11:56 am

I think they're called Arabic numerals, actually :)

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