Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Using It Up

Being frugal means not letting much go to waste.  I'd say not letting anything go to waste, but, well, experience has shown that it is pretty much impossible to never waste anything.

Because it has always been important to DH and I that our family be able to live on one income--so that I could be home with the kids as much as possible while they were growing up--frugality has been a requirement.  The less wasted, the more efficient our money is.  The less wasted, the less gets thrown out and the less we need trash removal services (ours is currently the lowest plan offered on a weekly basis).  The less wasted, the less we need to bring into our home.  It's a cycle.  I think some people call it 'the simple life', yet it is far from simple.  Being frugal can be pretty complex sometimes.

Through the years, there are some things that have just become a normal part of life for me.  Such as creatively using foods that most people would rather toss out because they no longer look grocery store perfect.  Withered apples that have been in storage too long.  Potatoes with growths from their eyes.  Bananas that are just about completely brown.  Carrots and celery that are a bit slack.

All are still perfectly edible, perfectly safe to ingest.  Brown bananas make the tastiest banana breads, muffins, and bars.  Withered apples can be sliced and cooked into fried apples or diced and made into apple coffee cake with no one being the wiser except the chef.  Potatoes with growths?  Peel (and you can actually plant those peels with the sprouts on them for a new crop of potatoes) and cook as usual.  Wimpy carrots and celery turn out fine in the soup pot.

Recently I bought some kiwi fruit (on sale, and with a coupon to boot!).  The first six got eaten quickly, as kiwi is somewhat of a treat at this little place here.  The remaining two sat in the fruit drawer of the fridge for over a week, looking like they were attempting to turn into kiwi raisins (Hmm, is there such a thing?  Future science experiment? Maybe I should Google it.) until I decided that apparently nobody in my house wanted to eat them anymore.

So, being the frugalista I am, I looked up recipes that called for two kiwi fruit.  And, by the magic of the internet search engine, I found exactly that.  Who knew you could make kiwi squares pretty much the same way you make lemon squares?  Not I.  Not until the other day.

Those two over aged kiwi got eaten as dessert in their new, baked form.  They were okay.  Not as tasty as lemon squares, but at least the kiwi got used up instead of wasted.

Creativity in the kitchen (and turning a blind eye to less than picture perfect fruits and veggies) is a must for a frugal lifestyle.

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