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thleensd

Pimp My Fridge!

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Ok, so I am embarrassed to admit that pre-celiac Dx, when my fridge was opened, I might have some corn tortillas, two left-over dinners from restaurants, some cheese and a couple beverages. I never learned how to buy and use all of what food I need. So, here are my perceived problems, I hope someone can help me with solutions!

-my diet is now 95% non processed foods, so I need a fridge full of perishables

-I need a high calorie diet, say five meals a day.

-I get tired of a meal easily... Leftover full meals are rare and limited to things like casseroles

-I tend to get half way through something (let's say a melon) and then forget I have it or lose interest.

-if I store food in Tupperware, it tastes like plastic. Glass bowls are ok, but the lids absorb odors and tastes quickly. I'm freakishly sensitive to that taste!

-I'm not a big fan of old food. I don't do well with the "taste it to see if it's good/just cut the mold off" type of thinking.

I'm tired if throwing away food! How can I organize my food/meals?

Oh yeah... I tend toward ADD, and am not inherently skilled in organization (follow-though) so those of you in a similar boat with good coping skills here, please chime in!

Pimp my fridge!

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Ok, so I am embarrassed to admit that pre-celiac Dx, when my fridge was opened, I might have some corn tortillas, two left-over dinners from restaurants, some cheese and a couple beverages. I never learned how to buy and use all of what food I need. So, here are my perceived problems, I hope someone can help me with solutions!

-my diet is now 95% non processed foods, so I need a fridge full of perishables

-I need a high calorie diet, say five meals a day.

-I get tired of a meal easily... Leftover full meals are rare and limited to things like casseroles

-I tend to get half way through something (let's say a melon) and then forget I have it or lose interest.

-if I store food in Tupperware, it tastes like plastic. Glass bowls are ok, but the lids absorb odors and tastes quickly. I'm freakishly sensitive to that taste!

-I'm not a big fan of old food. I don't do well with the "taste it to see if it's good/just cut the mold off" type of thinking.

I'm tired if throwing away food! How can I organize my food/meals?

Oh yeah... I tend toward ADD, and am not inherently skilled in organization (follow-though) so those of you in a similar boat with good coping skills here, please chime in!

Pimp my fridge!

Oh dear... that is a mess.

Really the only advice i have for you is to pick up a gluten free cook book and have at it, buy ingrediants as needed.

If you are worred about old food, take post it notes and place the date of the day you opened it (say a can of green beans) and that way you know how long its been in a fridge.

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I'm very good at buying lots of fresh produce. Not so good at using things before they go bad. :(

The vegetable crisper drawer used to be called the "drawer of death" here, because I'd put things in it and forget them.

Now, with my change in eating I'm doing better. I find it's better to buy smaller amounts and go to the store more often. If I can buy a 1/2 melon or a 1/4, I get it. It's easier to see if it's a nice ripe one too that way. It might cost slightly more than a whole one, but of you end up throwing it away..was the whole one really a bargain? I find if I cut it up before putting it away it's easier to grab it and eat when I'm hungry.

Are you more likely to eat a salad if you have salad mix rather than a head of lettuce and seperate veggies? If so, buy the bag od ready to go.

Make some stuffed celery for a snack and put it in a little baggie or container. It will be ready to go.

I make up my own "tv dinners" with left overs and freeze them. I don't want to eat the same thing all week. :blink:

I'm pretty new to the gluten-free diet too. I used to grab a cookie if I was hungry. Now I'm learning to open the fridge and grab something from there instead. It's just that we have to retrain ourselves?

Good luck!

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Your best strategy is to meal plan and shop frequently. When your diet consists of mostly fresh stuff you can't buy a week or two weeks worth of food and expect to not be throwing a good bit of it out.

1. Figure out what you are having for JUST the next two-three days and shop for those days only.

2. After 2-3 days re-evaluate what is left in your fridge and pantry--do you have leftovers? Did you not use as much of a certain thing you bought? Can you make another meal out of it or does it need to be tossed? This will help you figure out the shelf life of things and how much to buy/use/make in the future.

3. If there are still fresh things in your fridge that are good, then plan a few more meals based around those items and shop again ONLY for what you need to make those meals work. This way you use up what you have before it goes bad.

4. Start the process again when your fridge gets almost bare.

Some caveats: Obviously this strategy will not work if you live far from stores. If you work and at least drive past a store on your daily commute however you can make it work if you are organized. Get to know the layout of at least one store really well so you can zip in get what you need and get out as fast as possible.

This plan can be costly if you don't pay attention to what is in season and on sale at your stores. If you need to save money, you may want to take a look at the sales ads for your stores and plan meals based on what is on sale and in season. Most stores put their weekly sales online now so you can find them that way if you don't get the paper.

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It's also important when you plan your meals to know how long things will stay fresh. Here's a website for figuring out how long you can safely store things: http://www.stilltasty.com/

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lol! I just gotta say, your topic title made me giggle. :lol:

You sound like me. I'm still adjusting to this thing myself, and I feel like I'm in a retraining mode.

As for leftovers, I usually don't have much trouble with them, because my hubby is like a garbage disposal :P . But here's a money saving idea for you that I learned from some friends (when you find a storage container that agrees with you). When you have leftover rice, corn, beans, peas, etc, of any amount, put them in a container that you keep in the freezer. Keep adding to it after each meal where you have leftovers. When the container is full, get some cans of broth and diced tomatoes (enough to cover the "leftovers") and make a soup out of it. I've never been able to try this out myself because of my hubby, but I had some at a friend's house (pre-celiac) and it was very good!

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I was going to suggest meal planning, which someone else has already done. What I can suggest is googling 'meal plan Monday'. A friend of mine who lives alone swears by this method to make sure she uses all her food efficiently. She also freezes a lot of food, as do I, which avoids waste and really helps on those can't-be-bothered-to-cook days :)

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RE: Containers. There are glass containers with glass lids. The Container Store online and in stores carries a 3 qt square container and 16 oz. container with glass lids. It is called Vintage Glass Food Storage (I think the brand is Anchor Hocking). Here's a link: Vintage Glass Food Storage at The Container Store

WalMart carries the 3 qt container and used to carry the 16 oz (at least the one near me, maybe it's still at other WalMarts).

RE: Food planning

I found "Quick Fix Meals" by Robin Miller, which has 200 recipes, to be very helpful. There is a 60+ page chapter ""Morph It: One recipe, Many Meals." She takes a recipe and uses it as a base to "morph" it into other recipes. For instance: Roast Chicken with smokey apricot sauce can be morphed into chicken & mushroom quesadillas; Thai Chicken Salad; and Chicken Curry.

There's another chapter titled: "From Pantry to Table in 30 mins. or Less"

In Chapter 1, she has helpful suggestions on what to have on-hand and includes lists like "10 Pantry Items I like to Have Around" and "10 Pantry Items I Am Never Without".

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As someone mentioned buying more frequently and buying in smaller quantities. Yes,it's more expensive by the pound but not wasteful so I bet it balances. Buying like a container of precut cantaloupe instead of a whole melon will prevent waste and allow you a shorter time span to enjoy the food, then on 2nd weekly trip buy differnt fruit. Same goes for veggies.

If you plan at LEAST 2 trips to store a week you can change up your fruit and veggies and prevent too many leftover of the same stuff.

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I thought I would also mention another thing that helped me..I tend to get "brain fog" and not be able to think as clear sometimes. I find writing a list of meals I have the ingredients on hand to make is very helpful, along with a list of fruits and veggies, and snacks. If I'm kind of drawing a blank as to what to cook or snack on..there's my list! ;)

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I make a habit of surveying the fridge contents daily. For the things I want to use up, if I don't think of a meal right away, I can use the ingredient search at allrecipes.com. If you use the gluten-free checkbox, it seems to exclude tons of stuff that is really gluten-free, so I wouldn't use it. There are tons of easy substitutes for wheat recipes anyway.

I also am not a fan of leftovers the next day. I find if I eat a dinner for lunch two to three days later though, it doesn't seem so repetitive.

Plus, it is very easy to throw several things in a corn tortilla along with some cheese and heat it up. I am DF and use daiya, which I keep frozen.

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You can get appliance paint in red, orange & yellow to add a "flame treatment" to your fridge. Maybe a disco bulb inside when you open the door?

Oh wait.....that wasn't what you meant. I have the problem of food I don't use up & is sitting in the back until it would make a good science experiment. When we open any jar or package or put something in a ziplock, we take a Sharpie & write the date on it. Then we have arguments over if its safe to eat after 3 weeks or 3 days.

Becareful putting things in the freezer. This becomes the black hole of leftovers.

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Canning jars are great for storing leftovers.

Are you cooking for one? Frozen vegetables (in bags) are a huge convience and work very well for portioning out appropriate amounts.

Learn to dress up your leftovers and focus on the same ingredients in multiple meals.

For example:

Meal one = tuna steak with baked sweet potato and green beans (Cook extra tuna and beans)

Meal two = tuna in vinaigrette with green beans, olives, and mint over rice or sliced white potato

Meal three = tuna spring rolls with greean beans, lettuce, chopped carrot, etc and peanut sauce

Meal one = cabbage and tofu stir-fry over rice

Meal two = blanched cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, meat, and tomato sauce (you don't have to cook them to death...)

Meal three = cabbage, fennel, and white bean salad with crackers

Also, focus on less perishable vegetables. A head of lettuce is not your friend (unless you have planned to eat it in multiple meals or spontaneously eat and love salad). Carrots have a good shelf life; kale/collards are hardier than spinach or chard. Cabbage is also a great keeper.

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You guys are the best, thanks. I was so excited to see the glass storage containers. Some of my meals are for three, but I eat 2x more often... and I'm not a big fan of eating the same meal 2 or 3 times in a day!

My malnourished celiac brain-fog is staring to recede, but I can't think very well when I need to eat (come to think of it, I'm not very coordinated then either... I'd fail a sobriety test when hungry :P ), so on top of all of it, learning how to get organized sounds like a good idea. =) ...now if I can just follow through.

....and I'm TOTALLY going to get a disco bulb/ball for my fridge! =D

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Ok, so I am embarrassed to admit that pre-celiac Dx, when my fridge was opened, I might have some corn tortillas, two left-over dinners from restaurants, some cheese and a couple beverages. I never learned how to buy and use all of what food I need. So, here are my perceived problems, I hope someone can help me with solutions!

-my diet is now 95% non processed foods, so I need a fridge full of perishables

-I need a high calorie diet, say five meals a day.

-I get tired of a meal easily... Leftover full meals are rare and limited to things like casseroles

-I tend to get half way through something (let's say a melon) and then forget I have it or lose interest.

-if I store food in Tupperware, it tastes like plastic. Glass bowls are ok, but the lids absorb odors and tastes quickly. I'm freakishly sensitive to that taste!

-I'm not a big fan of old food. I don't do well with the "taste it to see if it's good/just cut the mold off" type of thinking.

I'm tired if throwing away food! How can I organize my food/meals?

Oh yeah... I tend toward ADD, and am not inherently skilled in organization (follow-though) so those of you in a similar boat with good coping skills here, please chime in!

Pimp my fridge!

OMG! You sound just like me! I don't know if you have a wholesale store in your 'hood, but I find it helpful to buy chicken breasts, fish filets, shrimp, etc in the big bags or boxes. Then I just figure out which one I want tomorrow and stick it in a glass bowl to defrost on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. When I come home from work I figure out if I want to marinate it or not and how it will be cooked. Luckily, my sidekick will usually cook it, and cook an extra piece if I ask him to. (Like an extra piece of fish to throw over my romaine salad for lunch).

I will say that I usually purchase a whole melon and refrigerate it. It's easy to do watermelon or other melon balls with an ice cream scoop for the next day or two. You can mix that with fresh berries or other fruit for a yummy fruit salad, or you can let it sit in the frig' and rot. That's when I stick it in the composter.

It's all good. Evem if you're tossing food out, you're probably spending less money on what you're eating now vs. then.

I reallly like to prepare my lunch for tomorrow the night before. That makes me feel armed and dangerous when I wake up, and helps me ue up more of my food.

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Many leftovers are technically improved upon resting overnight such as Beef Bourguinon, chili con carne, pulled pork, etc. These are all easy to make in large batches. I am a big fan of these types of leftovers. When I have risotto left over I make arancini out of it. Chili will likely be heaped onto corn tortillas and baked with cheese/scallions. Leftover grilled sausage may go into braised lentils or broken up and put into stuffed peppers. Glazed pork loin may appear as kebabs the next day. Roast chicken may be Chicken a la King or used in a stir fry or whatever. The sweet potato fries may be pureed the next day. I love looking into the fridge and turning the ingredients into a feast! People often call me (almost daily) to ask, "I have such and such in the fridge. What should I make?" I LOVE that challenge.

What helps me is to wash and prep the veg after buying the groceries. I often slice my leeks as I know they will likely become vichyssoise or a gratin; the shallots are almost always minced for sauces, etc. Mise en place really saves time and is motivating when it comes to cooking.

My husband goes through the fridge for me weekly (as I cannot bend or squat from pain it is impossible for me to do so) and I plan the menu.

If you have fun ingredients to work with it really helps, too. I am inspired when I open my pantry and fridge as it contains really fabulous stuff. :D

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The one thing that helps me THE MOST is to clean out my refrigerator. Throw away all of the bad or old stuff, THEN WASH DOWN everything inside and all the racks with hot, soapy water.

Organize the good food back inside the fridge in a way that makes sense to me, e.g. I have one whole shelf that is all gluten-free flours.

Foods that will go bad quickly, I leave out in plain sight (not in drawer) so I won't forget to use them up quickly.

AFTER THAT, I'm ready to plan what I need to buy.

Great psychological lift. Burden is OFF because of throwing away the old and the bad. Everything smells nice.

Ready to do some serious cooking.

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