Category Archives: home economics

Food Waste

I’m guilty of throwing out more rotten veggies and uneaten leftovers than I care to admit. I’ve been thinking about food waste more lately since I read a really eye-opening article about how much cheap food is thrown awayWhen I last cleaned out our fridge, I felt super guilty about the money and resources we had wasted. Just because scraps are going to our worm bin, doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. I can relate to the story of the non-consumer advocates struggle with food waste.

I love this age of empowered information, and I found several great sites to help us all reduce our food waste, saving money in the process. The Love Food Hate Waste is pretty, and you’ll want to browse your way to becoming an enlightened food storer. They have a quick recipe for leftover carbonara that I’m sure I could pull off after work. 

You’ll be an empowered join the food revolution and start reducing your food waste. And just because you’re not dumping food from your fridge when eating out, doesn’t mean there is no waste. The food service industry wastes tons of food, but we as consumer need to share the responsibility. Food waste certainly add to our personal and collective carbon footprint, but we all can do better.


My favorite magazine, Whole Living has 12 great tips for preventing food waste

What tricks do you have for avoiding food waste?

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Farmer Fresh

Nothing says summer more than a flat of Oregon strawberries. Add some blueberries on top of some vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got a simple and fabulous desert! 


I’ve been to the farmer’s market twice this week on lunch breaks, and plan to go on Sunday too. I’ll pick up a flat of strawberries and making my first-ever batch of strawberry jam! I agree with a fellow blogger from the Greenest Dollar who refuses to be intimidated by canning. Really it’s not rocket science, but it is more sustainable and will save you money.


I was definitely aghast to hear that Safeway tried to host a faux farmer’s market – minus real local farmers! It’s enough to make me want to boycott Safeway, but since it’s the only grocery store I can walk to, I don’t think driving for last minute items would pay off for the environment or our pocketbook. But since I buy most of my produce through Spud’s organic delivery, I already avoid driving and buy almost all organic.


Do you support your local farmer’s market?
Do you find good prices and unbeatable freshness?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Preserving Primer

Canning, and food preservation in general, is finding its way back into busy modern lives. Whether you preserve your own backyard harvest or simply store up the fresh farmer’s market flavor for a colder season, food preservation is both more sustainable and more economical.


Unfortunately, there’s also good reason to can for your family’s health. Many commercial canning companies line cans with an epoxy resin containing the BPA chemical. I’ve known for several years about the potential harm from BPA laced baby bottles, but it was only this past winter that I realized that all my handy tomato cans contained BPA.


This has renewed my motivation to become a confident canner. I’ve only dabbled in canning really, but have fond memories of making blackberry jam. I was eager to do more than just freeze this past summer, but with an infant the learning curve seemed too steep. 


So, I’ve been educating myself lately, well in advance of the harvest peak. A month ago I attended a lunch brown bag at the library, then gleaning some wisdom and recipes from my mom’s group, and an evening class on “preserving the harvest.” The most important thing I’ve learned so far is not to be intimidated! If you preserve in smaller batches it doesn’t take as much time as you’d think. Make it part of your lifestyle and have fun with it!


I also checked a few books out from the library Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys & More





There will be more posts throughout the summer on food preservation, and I would love to exchange ideas with other newbies, dabblers and veterans.


What are your favorite foods to preserve for your family?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Green Grilling

Last year Hubby was elated to get a quintessential Father’s Day gift: a grill. Hubby did the research and new that he wanted wanted quality over lots of bells and whistles that we’d never use. So he asked for a Weber, but the only problem was that they cost about twice as much as I wanted to pay for a grill.


I opted to search Craiglist, but it turns out that June isn’t the time to find good second-hand grill. I ended up finding the perfect grill/price, but after not hearing back for a few days I thought it was long-since sold. Yet, I had all the luck, because when seller finally took a moment to listen to all his messages, he choose me because I sounded the nicest! I’m sure I got extra points for saying that it was a Father’s Day gift. 🙂 


Now on to the green part of grilling. I was stoked to find a great article comparing the carbon footprint of grilling options. Believe it or not there are hybrid grills available for the green gourmet.


Grilling in the Pacific NW often includes salmon, and the beauty is that it’s so easy to grill up a delicious balsamic glazed salmon fillet for family and friends. Make sure to always buy frozen salmon, because it’s really the best choice for the environment and is usually cheaper too. Wild salmon may cost a premium, but the food chain will thank you. I’m also going to challenge myself this summer to grill my first portabello mushroom, I love them in restaurants but have never grilled them myself.


What’s your favorite grilling recipe, I’d love some new veggie ones?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Ode to Green Dads

I guess the cards must have been stacked in my favor from the beginning, because I was raised by two “Dads.” Actually my Mom married my “Dad” when my Twin Sis and I were two and we’ve always had a friendship with our biological father. As it turns out, they both fit the “Green Dad” title in their own unique way. 


My father was a tree planter for 25 years, and planted thousands of trees across Oregon and Washington. He was actually the President of Hoedads Cooperative for several terms. During the summers, he often took contracts to pick cones needed to grow the tree seedlings. He scaled giant fir and pine trees from Kodiak Island to the Redwoods. My father didn’t get rich from his career as a tree planter, but he offset his own carbon footprint before society realized the need.


My Dad was a car mechanic, and has always had a passion thinking about how to fix things. His van has over 300,000 miles on it and he kept my parents washer running for thirty years! The Berenstain Bears are smart enough to know that “everything needs a fixer,” but sadly in our throw-away consumer society fixing things is almost a lost art. My Dad reminisces fondly about when my family lived off the grid, with spring fed water and a root cellar to preserve food for the year. They lived off the land and not much else, but they were happy.


Both my “Dads” are innately frugal and eco-conscious, no wonder I’m on this path. Thanks!


Do you have a “Green Dad” who inspires you?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.