There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you'd rather jump straight to the current challenge, you can do so by clicking here: This Week's Challenge
Last week we bravely explored the recesses of our freezers, cupboards and pantries vowing to use what we have before buying more. Harold Shaw upped the ante by suggesting that we inventory, in written form, the items we have on hand. And Bekka raised the ante by challenging us to use leftovers in a new dish. It was all designed to reduce food waste ... and was great fun!
We have a whole bunch of people who use Twitter to pass the word about our challenges. They tweet using the hashtag #CTWW ... and we lovingly refer to them as our #CTWW Gang. Let's meet them:
Our Honor Society is comprised of people who write posts and/or leave comments in support of our challenges. They have a lot of great things to say so ... let's check in with them now:
EcoGrrl gave us an update on a previous challenge where we asked everyone to give up paper towels. The only thing she used them for was buttering a dish. She reports that she is now using a cloth ... or sometimes her hands. For this week she shares that meeting this challenge also saves one money ... and she reminds us that food that does go to waste can be composted.
I love how honest and forthcoming the Honor Society is. For example, Jessica not only shares how she's using up the items in her refrigerator and pantry (complete with recipes), she takes pictures of her food "stash" (check them out HERE). So let me ask you ... how does your food supply compare to hers? Thanks, Jessica ... and have a wonderful "green" vacation!
Amy, who suggested this challenge and who has taken it on for the past month, says that she's only had to buy a few things each week. She's using veggies from their garden and food from her freezer. If you visit her blog, you'll find several posts where she talks about how she's using up her food "stash". One in particular that I liked was this POST about how she used the grill to make several meals at once. Not only did she reduce food waste, she saved energy. Yay! Thanks, Amy!
Dear Ann, your mind works in a lovely way! From our challenge about food waste, she thought about ... are you ready for it ... our colons ... yep, waste removal. In this POST you'll find out about colon health and how eating fruits & veggies helps your digestive system. If you're eating lunch/dinner, you might want to reserve this post for later reading. :-)
Here's a puzzle to solve ... what do green smoothies, an Ozonator and thoughtfulness have to do with this challenge? Brenna tells us in this POST. It's a wonderful piece so be sure to head over and read it.
Fake Lasagna Bake, BBQ Chicken Pizza and Overnight French Toast ... these are a few of the dishes that Kristina made this week with items from her food "stash". While using up what we have on hand is good, she recommends going a step further and planning out meals so that there won't be extra items sitting around and/or leftovers (which account for a lot of food waste). In this POST she offers some great tips and ideas. Thanks, Kristina!
Tiffany shares that she has continued our paper towel challenge. Yay, Tiffany!! That is what we ultimately hope for ... new habits formed. The only area that she has trouble with is cleaning windows ... towels don't do well. She asks if anyone has an idea for something else that works. Have you tried newspaper & vinegar? It works well. I have a reusable "Mystic Maid" towel ... I've literally had it for years and it works great on mirrors and windows. Anyone else have ideas?
Jennifer took the challenge. Yay! She says that her cupboards are probably a little too well stocked and that this challenge will be great on her food budget. Jennifer recently wrote a terrific article (read it HERE) which ties in nicely with our challenge ... it's about having enough ... not just food but everything. Check it out ... it makes one think about what we value in life.
Brian accomplished this challenge right before it was posted ... it's something that he and his family do on a regular basis. He shares that food is rotated through the freezer and doesn't linger, there, long. At this time of year, using up what's in the freezer is necessary because he needs to make room for vegetables from their garden. Mmm ... bet those veggies taste good in the winter months!
Lynn says that one of the problems with forgetting about those hidden containers of food ... and then finding them only to realize that they are indistinguishable ... is that it creates a chain of buy-toss-buy again. In a post entitled "That moldy thing at the back of your fridge" she shares why it's a problem for the planet. She also shares a recipe for Hod-Podge stew (her "go-to" recipe for using up pantry items).
Green Legume participated in our paper towel challenge. She did a great job and only used two paper towels that week. Can you guess what she used them for? Find out HERE. And if you have any tips about how she could do that particular job without them, be sure to leave her a comment ... in fact, come back here and leave it for us, too, because it's usually the biggest obstacle to giving up paper towels. For this week's challenge she shares that, to prevent food waste, she uses a whiteboard in the kitchen. In her words "I keep a running list of things I need to use, much like most people keep a grocery list. It lists thing like the dill I bought earlier this week. I only needed a tablespoon, so I have a TON left over. When I think about what to make for dinner on any given night, I start by reviewing the whiteboard to see what ingredients I already have that I need to try to use up. We just used up our remaining mozzarella, basil, and red pepper tonight thanks to the whiteboard. I would've completely forgotten those were in the fridge otherwise!" What a great idea!
Lori accepted the challenge and says that her freezer is packed with food and that it would be nice to use it up. By the way, she attended BlogHer recently and wrote about it on her blog. Check it out ... there are some great photos of her experience.
This challenge is a way of life for Shane who has been doing it since 2008 when the economy took a nose dive. Wowee! In her words "the important thing about this challenge is to just be conscious of what you are consuming. Again, it is going back to the ways of our grandparents, or great grandparents, for some of you youngsters out there. Using only what you need." Excellent point, Shane. As a "side note" ... Shane is an environmental powerhouse!! Seriously! Her site contains such great information ... if you've never visited, I strongly encourage you to do so. And ... she has a great community on Facebook.
I'd like to welcome Sylvia to our #CTWW family. She is in the habit of using what she buys. The only exception to this is when her husband finds a new item at the grocery store and wants to try it out. It often gets stashed away and forgotten. Sylvia's solution to the problem? She "tries" to keep him from shopping. :-) Glad to have you with us, Sylvia ... hope to see you again!
Kath joined the fun ... nice to have you with us, Kath! She was doubly motivated to make this challenge work because she donated her grocery money to Unicef and their efforts to help the people of Somalia who are suffering through a severe famine. That certainly puts a different slant on this challenge, doesn't it? Yes, we want to save the planet but what if we took the money we saved by not over-consuming and helped people who have nothing. Wow! Your generosity, Kath, is inspiring!
In this POST, Rachel gives us an update on a couple of previous challenges. As many of you noted, paper towels are easy to avoid except when it comes to cat vomit. Rachel has come up with a very unique alternative to paper towels for cat messes ... definitely something that I've never thought about. Can you guess what it is? For this week's challenge she shares that some items in the pantry, which are beyond the pull date, are still quite usable (like baking soda) ... one just needs to know which items are safe and which are not. She's busy filling up her freezer with veggies from her garden. Hey Rachel ... what did you ever do with that green pepper?
A member of the #CTWW Gang, @greenereveryday (aka Rachel White), wrote this POST about composting ... which is another way to avoid food waste. She offers quick and easy ways to set up and maintain a compost bin at home. Thanks, Rachel!
Jen took the challenge and wrote this POST. In it she talks about keeping an organized pantry which helps her to see what she has and what she needs. She also offered another excellent idea ... if we've purchased too much and won't be able to use some items before their "pull" date, donate them to a local food bank. Great idea, Jen!!
Harold Shaw, who upped the ante on this challenge, had some great ideas. He wrote this ARTICLE where he suggests that we not only browse through our pantries but that we look through our camping/backpacking provisions and emergency stores as well. Did anyone accept his challenge to make a written list of everything currently on hand? Come on ... it was a "double dog dare" after all! :-)
For as long as I've known Mrs. Green, she has been passionate about eliminating food waste. In fact, she has worked towards, and accomplished, ZERO food waste. Wow! In this POST she talks about how easy it is to "back slide" when it comes to the diligence required to achieve zero food waste. She also talks about UFOs. UFOs??? Yep! You know you want to see how they tie in with this challenge so ... go ... read!
Check out this LIST of fabulous environmental articles. Our challenge got mentioned on August 4th. I'll warn you, though ... when you head to this site, be prepared to spend some time ... there are so many wonderful posts to read. Thanks to Brian Joseph Ranum for including us!
Our friend Argentum Vulgaris has created an entire page on his new blog for all things Eco ... or as he puts it "Eco-Crap". On this PAGE you'll find his response to our challenge. He has a totally unique view of why we should clear out our pantries. It has to do with the economy and what he believes to be a sure eventuality. What do you think? Do you agree with him?
Has anyone heard form Rewinn? I'm a bit worried! In this POST, which was written on Sunday, he cleaned out the veggie drawer in the refrigerator and learned that plastic speeds up food waste. He promised that on the next day, Monday, he'd tackle the pantry and asked us to call the police if he wasn't heard from again. I haven't seen him "around" or heard from him ... perhaps he's lost in the recesses of the pantry or worse ... the freezer. Stay tuned ... the drama continues!
Alicia checks the refrigerator often and pulls older items to the front to be used. She also prepares a menu plan before shopping so that leftovers can be incorporated into meals. Not only has this reduced food waste but it has saved her nearly $600.00 per year. Wow! Protects the earth and our wallets ... brilliant!
Our challenge got a center page write-up in McBride's Organic Farm Daily. WhooHoo! This edition includes articles on "Market Scene: La Boqueria in Barcelona", "The Most Nutritionally Complete Food Source In The World!" and "Dark Chocolate for Hypertension Support and Possible Cholesterol Improvement".
Wow ... fabulous job everyone! Thanks to all of you, these challenges have become a forum to share ideas and information. As always, if you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted and Facebooked it.
This Week's Challenge:
This week we're going to attack energy use. Are you ready? Here you go:
This week, for one entire day, do not use Air Conditioning in your home. Instead, employ other ways to stay cool (ceiling fans, adjusting curtains, swimming, etc.).
If you live in a cooler climate, or simply choose not to use A/C ever, please look around your home at all the ways you use electricity. Choose one and don't use it for one entire day. Some ideas might be lights, the computer, TV, the stove, the hot water heater, or the radio. The idea is to NOT use the electricity which you typically use in a day.
If the only electricity you use is for the refrigerator, we'd like to know how you've managed to live off the grid.
Who's up for this challenge??
Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!