Waste Not, Want Not: A Breakfast Tutorial

by Ivory Soap

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If you’ve been following me this summer, you know that my kids lived on whop biscuits and nitrate-free hotdogs.  Apart from oatmeal, there wasn’t a whole grain to be found in my pantry.  But now that I’ve recovered from summer and returned to my natural state as homeschool mom and spontaneous short order cook, I had a strange personal realization.

I am a super-frugal nut.

But, it’s not money.  If it were money, I’d buy less wine.  No, I’m nutrient-frugal.

I threw away SO MUCH food this summer.  But, all the sudden, I can’t do it.


Because this summer, we lived on TRASH.  WHO cares if we save the fries or the white flour bun on the fried chicken-esque sandwich? I’m almost excited when they don’t eat it.  But the whole-grain, brown rice and quinoa, ground-hemp seed spiked, honey and raisin sweetened, hot cereal? Can’t do it.  Yeah, some of those ingredients are more expensive, technically.  But my MIL gave me the cereal.  It wasn’t an expensive breakfast or anything, but WOW was it nutrient dense and had some really neato variety.

So, we had too much.   But I know that my kids won’t eat it from the fridge.  No point putting it in there at all.  But Baby really liked it, so I hauled out the ice cube trays.

She’s going to love this on days that the kids are eating something she can’t have. (BTW, those raisins were ick little bricks before I boiled them for cereal.  Awesome save.)

 And the half-eaten “germy” leftovers went in the chicken bucket to be eaten again later as eggs.  Conservation of nutrients, the law in the Caswell house.

Also, I made a blueberry/blackberry/raspberry shake this morning.  We had lots of leftovers.  So, I got out the Popsicle mold.  One kid took two sips before he gave up, so I put his in first and marked the sticks with his name.  (We just got over a cold here, so I’m making a half-hearted effort to not share germs.)

So, I guess preparing nutrient-dense food motivates me to be less wasteful.  What does it for you?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie September 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

How funny! We just started up our school year here at home (about our 6-7th year) and I have found myself making way more from scratch food the past couple of weeks than I did all summer. What’s up with that? Maybe because I know it helps them think better?

Tammy September 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

All at the same time I stopped bringing packaged food into my house, started taking full advantage of the city’s recycling program, and set up a compost bin. My trash is now less than a third what it was, I feel so much better, and my garden is so happy!

On days when life is feeling completely out of my control, eating “real” food that is nutrient dense makes me feel so much better.

Kris September 12, 2012 at 7:58 am

There are some really good “Leftover Oatmeal” muffin recipes out there, that I’m sure would work for any good hot cereal like yours if you want to change it up. Also, in honor of school starting again, I am sharing with you a FANTASTIC chewy granola bar recipe that’s great for breakfast, lunch, snack, anytime. One of these bars weighs twice as much as a Quaker bar. You will love it.

Granola Bars

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ or flax seed meal
1 scant tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts, your choice
1/2 cup chocolate, bscotch or other chips
1/2 cup raisins, craisins, or other dried fruit

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and press firmly into foil-lined, sprayed 9×9 pan. Bake at 325 33 min. or until lightly golden. Chill before cutting into rectangular bars, wrap individually.

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