Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

How do you balance food waste and nutrition when you’re dealing with food that’s given to you?  

I know you do the vast majority of your cooking and have control over this, but I’m thinking of scenarios like when there’s a party or pot luck and as a host you’re stuck with leftovers that are unhealthy.  Do you try to eat them in the name of food waste, or toss them in the name of healthy eating or give them away (I’m not sure that’s the best solution either if the recipients don’t have a conscience about these same topics but perhaps should)…?  

There’s a lot of junk food out in the world so I find this topic unavoidable if we’re to have any kind of social life!

That depends.  If the food is something like a dessert that’s unhealthy, but quite delicious (like homemade brownies), then I keep it and we eat it in moderation.

If it’s something like funfetti cupcakes from a mix topped with frosting from a can, then usually even my kids don’t want to eat it, and we end up throwing it away.


As a rule, I don’t stress myself out over food that’s entered my house outside of my control.

If we can eat it, great, if not, I throw it out.

Like I’ve said before, what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.  If you throw out party leftovers once in a while, no big deal.

But if you’re regularly throwing out food you’ve bought and prepared, that IS going to add up to a lot of waste.  So, that’s where I focus my energies.

In your effort to minimize your waste, have you ever considered things like mama cloth (washable menstrual pads), family cloth (washable toilet paper) or un-paper towels?


I definitely do try to avoid using paper towels by choosing cloth towels and rags for cleaning and drying purposes. I’ve found it’s fairly easy to almost entirely give up paper towels.

cloth dish towels

Washable toilet paper?

That’s a definite no for me.

There are a lot of other things I could do to minimize waste in my household before resorting to that. And besides, even if I was up for it, I’m pretty sure my family would completely rebel. I certainly am all in favor of other people doing it if they want to, but it’s not for me.

Washable menstrual pads have a lot less of a squick factor to me, but I’d be more inclined to go the cup route instead. I just haven’t made the leap yet!

I enjoy reading your reviews! But what I want to know is this: when do you find time to read?? You homeschool, blog, you’re active on social media, you make stuff from scratch… I think that’s quite amazing.


Aww, thank you for the encouragement!

It’s pretty rare that I have hours to sit and read a book straight through (generally that only happens when I’m sick.), so most of my reading is done in small snippets, here and there.

For instance, if I get ready for bed a little early, I hop into bed and read a chapter or two until Mr. FG joins me.  Or if I have to wait for an appointment, I bring a book.  Even if it’s just five minutes, I like to take advantage of that time.

So, I guess I’d say that if you want to find time to read, don’t fall for the lie that you have to have an empty hour to make any progress on books.  I get through a decent number of books in fairly short order by reading 5-10 minutes at a time.

A note about the social media: I find that social media eats up the most time when I consume content rather than when I produce it.  It doesn’t take long to type a tweet or post an instagram, but it does take a long time to scroll through a feed of 1000 people.

So I generally am very careful about how many people I follow on my social media accounts.  I suppose that sounds a little bit selfish, but there’s only so much that I can keep up with, and I find that I’m much better about relating to people (by commenting and replying and such) on social media when I don’t follow anyone and everyone.


Readers, as always, I welcome your input on these questions.  Have at it!


What didn’t survive

by Kristen on September 19, 2014 · 20 comments

in Food Waste Friday

Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it. Because this often embarrassing practice was so helpful for me, I invited other bloggers to join me in posting their food waste photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

When I cleaned out my freezer the other day, I found a few things that were too far gone for saving:


The corn was smelled super freezer burnt, the chipotle peppers had been in there way too long (The ones I mentioned in my post yesterday were from a new can), and the ham had been hastily thrown in there without any wrapping (??) to keep the lid shut, so the ham was super-duper dry.

Aand, I had to compost a bad avocado (whyyyy do I ever buy avocados from a store other than Aldi? I hardly ever get a bad avocado from Aldi.)

Freezer Challenge Update

Yesterday I finished using up the random bits of bread from my freezer (Yay!).

I made a small batch of garlic croutons, which my kids and I devoured in about 5 minutes.


And I made a pan of bread pudding.


(No one complained about that.)

I used eggs that had gotten a bit cracked and stuck to the carton.  I just turned the carton upside down over the bowl and broke the eggs one at a time.


And if you follow me on Instagram, you already know I made a pot of broccoli noodle soup to use up broccoli and turkey broth from my freezer.

(I’d forgotten to mention the turkey broth in my freezer inventory.)

So, I’ve used up bread odds and ends (lots!), bananas, broccoli, turkey broth, and whole wheat flour so far.

Might be time to tackle some of the meaty contents of my freezer next…


How did you do on the food waste front this week? And if you’re doing the freezer challenge, how’s it going?


P.S. Totally forgot to tell you all that Ashlyn is the winner of The Make Ahead Cook giveaway. Congrats, Ashlyn!  And happy cooking.  :)


Yeah. There was a lot of stuff in that freezer.

September 18, 2014
Thumbnail image for Yeah.  There was a lot of stuff in that freezer.

I didn’t realize quite how much until I put it all out on the counter. Good heavens.  No wonder it was hard to close the freezer drawer. I found two frozen whole bananas, so I thawed those, mushed them up with some overripe bananas I had in the fridge, and made a double batch of […]

43 comments Read the full article →

It’s time.

September 17, 2014
Thumbnail image for It’s time.

You guys, this is the current state of my kitchen freezer. This is ridiculous. Especially because I have a chest freezer in my laundry room. It’s slightly tempting to just dump all of this in the chest freezer, but I’m scared that if I do that, I’ll never manage to get to it all! It’s […]

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Paint your nails, paint the walls…

September 16, 2014
Thumbnail image for Paint your nails, paint the walls…

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I post a picture and just a few words. At least, that’s how it went here yesterday. A bottle of nail polish went flying as the girls were painting their nails, and it splashed all over the wall, the molding, and the tile. (Wouldn’t you know, not two minutes earlier, I […]

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Nothing like waiting til the last minute! Uh, there’s an ebook bundle available.

September 15, 2014

You know the huge ebook bundles that come out a few times a year? Well, in case you haven’t already seen this on all the other blogs you read, I wanted to let you know that there’s a healthy living bundle sale happening right now. (Actually today is the last day it’s available.) Normally I […]

2 comments Read the full article →