About that not-so-successful week….

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.

It looked like this:

FYI, that white stuff on the strawberries? Not frosting or whipped cream.


The poor avocados were forgotten about until they turned brown and dimpled and mushy. And then there’s the broccoli and chicken, which I had plans for…plans which got derailed when I got sick.

I also foresee some future casualties from my sick week, mostly of the green, leafy variety. I’d planned to make a bunch of salads, but that kind of didn’t happen. As of right now, the greens are still ok, but they’re getting on in lettuce years, so I’m a little iffy about our ability to eat the all before we lose some.

I’ll give it a big ol’ try, though. Bring on the salads, baby!

Oh, I do have one small win to report. I found a not very wonderful sweet potato lurking in my kitchen, so I cut out the bad spots, peeled, boiled, mashed it, and used it to make a batch of Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip muffins.

My feelings about the virtuousness of this activity are mixed, since the muffins aren’t exactly health food. But they are a delicious treat, and I have to tell you, I think they’re WAY better made with sweet potato than with pumpkin.

So, if you find that a slightly bad sweet potato has taken up residence at your house, do give that recipe a try.


How did you do this week? If you blogged about your food waste, link us up by entering your info into the widget below. You’ll save money, reduce your trash output, and get a little publicity for your blog! And if you don’t blog, you can still share about your food waste by leaving a comment.

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Joshua’s 365 post: I love water!


  1. says

    Glad you’re feeling better. There’s nothing like a bout of sickness to put all our good habits straight outta the window! But sounds to me like you fared pretty well all things considered.
    Just grape-waste for me this week – I really should know better by now. Got some tasty parmesan crusted chicken lined up for dinner though!

  2. says

    You did okay for a sick week :) I had some rather spectacular mould in my fridge this week – I think because I moved house and had stuff out of the fridge for a bit.

    Those muffins look yum. We really only use pumpkin and sweet potato in savoury dishes in Australia, so I would never have thought about adding sweet potato to muffins.

    • Kristin says

      Have Australians discovered the wonders of Sweet Potato Pie? Brown sugar + mashed sweet potatoes, top with another coat of brown sugar and walnuts, add marshmallows on top of that, and bake in the oven. DELECTABLE. It’s traditionally a holiday dish around here (thank the Lord, or I would be 400 pounds eating it year-round!).

  3. Ellen S says

    I make the pumpkin ones all the time… Have never tried the Sweet potato ones… I guess I better get to buying a sweet potato……. and try them out……

  4. says

    Sweet potato muffins, now those sound delicious! And everyone needs a little treat now and then.

    I lost a bowl of oatmeal that went uneaten (by moi :0 but what can I say, my tummy is still recovering from a bad bug, and the oatmeal just looked horrible).

    And there’s an uneaten square of cornbread, several days old, on the counter. I’ll have to freeze that to add to “crazy bread stuffing” later on, as I’m sure it’s too stale to eat by now.

  5. says

    I found some winter squash near the end of it’s storage life so I cooked it up and froze it – for future use in soup or even baking….
    Not too much else wasted this week since I made Chili and put in all the leftovers in the fridge, even chicken! lol

  6. Barbara says

    So one sweet potato = 16 ounces of mashed? I can never figure out recipes that don’t say how many to use.

    • says

      No – definitely not 1 sweet potato = 16 oz of mashed. We’ve been able to buy a variety of sizes of sweet potatoes here in Canada. My dad generally sticks to two sizes: small ones about the size of ‘new potatoes’ OR super jumbo ones like the $4 type of loaded baked potatoes you get from big box chain restaurants. I think you should buy the a couple of loose sweet potatoes, boil & mash them up then measure.

      FYI – 1c = 8oz (if that helps)

      • Kristen says

        Mine was fairly large and it ended up being a little more than 8 ounces once it was cooked and mashed. I just halved the recipe, threw in the extra bit of sweet potato and the muffins were fine. Muffins are kinda sorta flexible creatures…you can play a little with the ingredients here and there and they’re usually not the worse for it.

  7. says

    Wasted the last serving of salad here – iceberg lettuce is not a favourite for us b/c its just not as hearty and long lasting as leaf or romaine lettuce. Thus explaining my waste this week. BOO for iceberg lettuce.

  8. WilliamB says

    I did better than I did last week, but that’s not saying much. (Last week I wasted happy chicken carcasses and usable meat scraps, with no mitigating circumstances.)

    This week:
    – 1 c. rice cooked in a meat stock that just didn’t come out right.
    – Bag of small oranges that were too sour (but see below).
    – Half a supermarket birthday cake; I decided better to compost the cake than eat that chemical-laden leftover case, but it was tasty while it lasted.

    Saves or Semi-Saves:
    – The sour oranges became juice, which is not too sour to be used in baking.
    – Meat scraps from 6 happy chickens became protein in mushroom-wild rice soup.
    – The meat from the wasted carcasses was close to spoilage when I froze them, so I’m being very careful to use them as soon as they defrost.
    – Overly tart strawberries will become strawberry ice cream, and maybe strawberry shortcake.

    FG – I think we get something of a pass for food that gets wasted when we’re ill.

  9. Jen says

    Lost an avocado here, too. And the last two pancakes from a batch of horrible GF ones–I just couldn’t stand the taste any longer and they’d crumbled into pieces. And some salad weeds. Salad is just not that appealing when you have a horrid head cold. Did save the rest of a bunch of cilantro and a drying-out lime by making salsa.

  10. says

    I also have to say that I think a bit of a pass is in order when one is sick. Sickness throws the meal plans out the door in my house and not always just my own sickness. Even my son’s or hubby’s sickness. IE my hubby was sick a few weeks ago, and if I cooked, we wound up with a bit too many left overs, but I had planned a specific meal for my son, so made it anyway. In the end we ate the left overs, but did skip cooking a day or two.

    Overall a good week, but next week may not be so good. IE we have a bit of a glut of left overs that I have been afraid of the calorie count on, and others just haven’t been eating. The peanut stew I made is quite good, but it had a large amount of peanut butter in it, and well, I slightly cried when I typed in the ingredients to get the calorie count. I also have some restaurant leftovers of a yellow curry and rice. Very good. Need to have a fend for self dinner night, but not sure when.

  11. says

    Those strawberries look awful. At home, it is very rare for us to have foods that just go to waste because we eat them before they rot; we usually don’t have any leftovers. I guess that’s the reason why we are a bit overweight we love to eat.

    By the way, the sweet potato muffins look very delicious. I will try the recipe too. Thanks!

  12. says

    I have a yeast allergy so I can’t eat regular bread, hence I have perfected the art of making quick breads & muffins healthier. I just finished a piece of thoroughly delicious banana bread – I used 3 bananas and only a quarter cup of brown sugar for the entire recipe which made 2 loaves. They don’t have to be as sweet as cake. I vary the sugar depending on how sweet the ingredients are (zucchini bread gets a bit more sugar like about a half cup – and pumpkin breads get more or less sugar depending on how sweet the pumpkin is). I think you need a little sugar to get the breads to rise properly, but you really don’t need much. You can get extra flavor by upping the spices.

    You can also cut the oil down or out completely by replacing it with unsweetened applesauce or just use more pumpkin/zucchini/ banana/ sweet potato/ carrots or whatever. Also, where my recipe calls for 3 cups of white flour, I use 2 cups of whole wheat and one cup of rolled oats. Gives it a nice crunchy feel without being too heavy.

    BTW – last time I was sick I let a pile of stuff go bad too – especially greens and salad veggies. Not sure why, but somehow salads just don’t seem very appetizing when you have a cold! :-)

    • Kristen says

      Yes! Fruit still appeals to me (I ate through piles of clementines while I was sick), but salads just seemed very…bleah.

  13. Natalie says

    Wasted a whole box of strawberries. I did not forget about them, bought them on Saturday, by Tuesday morning the entire box was rotten and moldy. In the past I had strawberries last for a week in the fridge. And a very small piece of parmesan cheese that also grew some fury mold.

    • says

      That is why I am the world’s pickiest strawberry buyer. I see some people grab one and run and here I am standing there picking one up. I see some mold, so I hand it to a produce clerk or cashier. Then I pick up another and see a bit much in the way of liquid or something that looks overcolored and mushy. I usually pick up about 10 before I take one. This week, I did find one with mold hiding inside one, and so only bought one, out of fear that they all may be a bit old. Managed to buy it on Tuesday, I think and just finished them today and they were all good. A few soft, but overall good. I have had bad luck with strawberries.

  14. says

    I hate the amount of food waste and lack of nutritional meals that happen when I get sick. During my last trimester, my husband was sweet to take over dinner prep a few nights a week. Of course that meant it would be grilled cheese and tomato soup or quesadillas those nights. Oh well, at least we all got our calcium!
    I had a pretty good week as far as food waste goes. I threw away a small container of some unidentifiable goo, which I narrowed down to a tahini sauce with some other ingredients in it. Since I didn’t know what it was, nor did I remember exactly when I made it, I tossed it. Better luck next week!

  15. Hazel says

    Good ways to eat/use up salad without eating cold salads is in soup or frittatas. Lettuce soup is good, or add it to any vegetable soup that your going to blitz. If you have a lot of leaves and put it in an orangey coloured soup it may look a bit murky, so I’d add it to potato/pea/leek (and potato) or similar I think. Cooked lettuce (probably not Iceberg though) is really very tasty, and I got the soup tip from a Swiss lady who learnt it from WW2…

    For the frittata (Spanish omelette/tortilla/egga), toss the salad in your favourite dressing or just a little (balasamic) vinegar or pesto with olive oil (trust me on this!). Beat about 2 eggs per person, season and stir in the salad and any chopped herbs you may have to hand- I especially like chives, mint and/or parsley. Fry a little garlic and some onion too if you like- spring onion is good- and when softened add the egg mix and cook as usual. I often grill (broil) the top with a little grated cheese.

    This is a good way of using cold cooked potatoes (fry with the onion before adding the egg), or cooked peas, chopped asparagus etc (add with the egg). It’s also really tasty with leftover pasta. Either use sauced pasta or if the pasta is plain, dress as per the salad (balsamic vinegar or pesto and olive oil are my favourites, and I’d add fresh mint in too, in the summer).


  16. Tarynkay says

    If the lettuce is past it’s prime, trying grilling it, roasting it, or adding it to stir fry. Seriously, it sounds weird to cook lettuce, but all of these are really tasty ways to salvage less than crisp lettuce. If you grill or roast it, top it with a vinaigrette.

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