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Five Frugal Things | food waste prevention

I did not plan this to be themed, but today’s Five Frugal Things is gonna be all food-related!

bag of black lentils.

It’s basically a tour through my adventures in trying to avoid food waste.

1. I baked all my sweet potatoes

When I got back from Hawaii, my Hungry Harvest box included a bunch of sweet potatoes. Zoe’s not a fan, so it’s up to me to eat these.

I kind of forgot about them (whoops), so on Sunday I put them all on a half-sheet pan and baked them.

baked sweet potatoes.

Once they were cool, I peeled ’em and put them in the fridge; a baked and peeled sweet potato is much easier to grab than an uncooked one!

I also cooked a small pot of black lentils.

(I’m embarrassed to tell you how long these have been in my pantry, unopened.)

(Ok, fine, it’s probably been since 2016/2017. It’s a good thing lentils don’t really go bad.)

I also made a cilantro/sour cream sauce (eyeballed, but made of cilantro, sour cream, mayo, salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

cilantro sauce.

So now I can throw together some simple lunch bowls with the lentils, sweet potatoes, and sauce.

sweet potato and lentil bowl.

I read that black lentils are the healthiest among lentils, and whether that’s true or not, I do know they are a good source of protein.

And more than that, I know they needed to be used up. 😉

So, I’d be eating them right now regardless of their standing in the Lentil Nutrition Olympics.

2. I rescued my crystallized honey

I don’t know why, but my last container of honey crystallized a lot faster than usual. Sooo, there was still a lot of honey left in the container.

To fix this, I submerged the jar in hot water, using a bowl to weigh it down.

jar of honey in hot water.

I said to Zoe that this looks like a mini version of those umbrellas at splash pads!

After a few minutes, the honey was soft enough to pour right into a glass jar.

glass jar of honey.

I think we’ll finish this before it re-crystallizes, but if it does crystallize, I can always just submerge the glass jar in water again.

3. I made a use-it-up bowl of oatmeal

In addition to the aforementioned half-full jar of honey, I also had the previous honey jar still in my cabinet. This one had only a teeny bit of crystallized honey in the lid, so I scraped that out into my bowl of oatmeal.

Also, before I went to Hawaii, I had thrown my container of blackberries into the freezer.

blackberries in freezer.

For longer storage, that’s not ideal (you’d want something more airtight!), but for temporary purposes, this works fine.

bowl of oatmeal.

Bowl compliments of my Buy Nothing group

I stirred about half of the blackberries into my oatmeal yesterday, and I’ll probably use up the rest in a bowl today.

If it was summertime, I’d make a smoothie to use these up, but man, I don’t really love drinking a cold smoothie in January/February!

(Here’s how I make my one-serving bowl of microwave oatmeal.)

4. I made some croutons

I barely looked in my kitchen freezer last semester, so I didn’t really know what was hiding in there.

But, as I was searching through it this past weekend, I found a small bag of bread cubes.

I sauteed them in butter, then baked them in my toaster oven on the air-fryer setting until they were crispy.


Then I ate ’em on top of a bowl of butternut squash soup (also from my freezer!)

squash soup.

5. I made a small batch of applesauce

I had a gallon bag of thinly sliced, peeled apples in the freezer and honestly….I think I had grabbed these from the freezer at my old house when I moved out.

Sooo, they were kinda* elderly.


*that is, if “kinda” means “actually-factually”

But I wanted to at least try to rescue them, so I threw them in a pot with some cinnamon and cooked them until they were soft and falling apart.

bowl of applesauce.

They tasted just fine as applesauce, so I’m glad I gave this a try.

Your turn! What frugal things have you been up to lately?

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Monday 12th of February 2024

In all the years I've been rescuing crystallized honey, I never thought about using a bowl to weigh it down. That's brilliant! Thank you.


Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Frugal things: -I sold some outgrown toddler winter and rain boots on FB -as usual, all coffee and lunches at home -gotten the husband on board with taking lunch three days a week to work (this is a big one!) -I did my annual review of my jobs benefits and found some new free offerings! Subscription to the calm app, cash incentives for certain health activities I already do (like preventative care)


Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Oo that applesauce is a good idea! We have a giant bag of green apples (not my fave) that we need to use up. SOMEONE insisted they would eat it and changed their mind (it was the four year old ;)) I’m thinking apple pie but maybe apple sauce could work instead? Hmm


Wednesday 31st of January 2024

1. The adults were sick this week, so only the oldest kid spent any money on entertainment. Everyone else found stuff to do at home for free. 2. We ate all of our meals at home and used up food from the freezer. 3. We looked through boxes and closets to find bigger clothes for one kid. We did not need to buy anything this time. 4. I returned my library books on time. Our library doesn't actually have late fees anymore, but I like to return items on time. I was able to do it when I was driving the oldest to youth group. 5. I didn't order anything online while I was home.

Hawaii Planner

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

1) I actually went through the effort of listing a few things for sale. A bunch of stuff at low prices on FB. I find that, for me, $20-30 is the sweet spot. Not enough value to be the target of a scam, but enough that it's worth my while. I also try to keep the price super, super reasonable compared to the item value, to reduce back & forth with buyers. I sold three items really quickly, which was awesome. I ordered the wrong size of running shoes, & didn't notice until they were past the return window. For those (a niche item that sells for more), I used eBay & they sold in one day. 2) I made a couple of "use it up" recipes this weekend, including a coconut curry chicken dish (used 2 cans of coconut milk) & a Greek veggie bake, which used up some old potatoes that were close to needing to be tossed. 3) I picked apart a rotisserie chicken, & used the bones from that (plus, a bonus bag of chicken bones from the freezer) to make a double batch of chicken broth. 4) I've been giving a ton of stuff away on Buy Nothing. Frugal for others, & I love a cleaned & organized house. 5) Booked 3 hotel rooms, x6 nights each for an upcoming trip using points. (See below).

In wildly unfrugal news, we booked flights to Turkey to see my husband's family (potentially the last time he can see his mom, due to her difficulty traveling & his inability to visit her in her home country). It's emotional, and we definitely want to make it happen. I did manage to use flight credits to offset a teeny, tiny amount of the cost of four international tickets.

Meg in SoTX

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

@Kristen, I agree.

The point of frugality is to have enough for what really matters.


Wednesday 31st of January 2024

I think those flights to Turkey are a very very wise use of Money. I hope the trip is everything you guys need it to be.

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