Thursday, May 07, 2009

Reducing Kitchen Waste By Going Small

Why is it that kids will gobble samples at Sam's Club, only to refuse the very same items at home?

My guess: those cute little cups.

I've started picking up tiny bowls, ramekins, and condiment cups whenever I see them priced 10-cents and under.

As the cook, I waste less when I portion into smaller, individual bowls. Even better, there are fewer ketchup smears to scrub from every plate--and face.

(Pictured above, Fire King from a yard sale last weekend.)

28 comments:

Christi said...

My boys have always loved something tiny. Their favorite was tiny bites of something (anything) put into the cups of a washed out egg carton. They also love drinking out of tiny cups & eating with shrimp forks.

Michelle said...

I have a bit of a bowl fetish...so this post is right up my alley. I got a pack of four clear dipping size bowls at the Dollar Tree a while back and LOVE them. They come in so handy! Obviously I paid a bit more than a dime...but worth it!

TJ said...

I do the same thing Meredith! I use my grandma's green custard cups to hold ranch dressing or other dips. Also I plate up our meals on smaller dishes. It also helps with portion control for the adults.

I admit though that I think we are using too much ranch dressing the last few days, as I've been too tired to watch the extra dishes. I've also resorted to paper plates a few times. At least pregnancy is only a short time.

Workin' MAMA! said...

Meredith - since I think I'm the first to post, I'll give you a few thoughts on this one:

* IT WORKS! Condiment cups WORK for my children too!
I put soy sauce, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce - even 'rice' in those small cups - Rice works for my 3 year old - he loves his little 'cup' for rice and for dipping - I have had the same 10 pink and white (had 12 - 2 broke when the kids came HA!) condiment cups since before I was married - I think I got all of them for .50 - at a yard sale when I was in my
20s =
Always good knowing that a great value can least years and years down the road!
I've always given my children small portions - and if they want more - they ask - but on condiments especially, condiment cups are worth it!

latrice

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

smart. very smart.

Christina said...

Love, love, condiment cups. I have various ones too and they work so well for sauces, syrups, etc. or even for small portions of things that the kiddos don't care for, but have to at least try. We also bake eggs in the oven or microwave proof ones. Add bacon bits in the bottom--or whatever, break an egg over the top, add some salt and pepper and bake.

I also love au gratin dishes for veggies. My hubby doesn't like liquid from veggies and such on his plate. Kinda like how they serve things on a blue plate special.

kykathy said...

When I buy Pillsbury or Kroger Danish or cinnamon rolls (the kind in the tube with a plastic cup of glaze with it), I keep the cups for ketchup, pickles, olives, grapes, etc. Works great! I don't buy them often, but I have about 6-8 of them I have saved over the past two years. They also work well for dipping water color brushes in when painting.

Roxie700 said...

I love the small tiny cups for children. Some of my day care children do not like for their food to touch on the plate. So I can put peas into one small cup, meat on the plate and another small bowl of what ever else is served.
I have got some small condiment at Walmart. I got metal ones and they came 4 in a pack for $1.00. I also buy baby food at Walmart in the small bowls (Parent's Choice stage 2 and 3) comes in a small bowl with a lid. Washable bowls. Works great for my home made baby food or serving small amounts of food. Belssings Roxie

Sandy Toes said...

Wonderful idea!!! Just perfect..I am going to be on the hunt for little cups.
sandy toe

WackyMummy said...

I totally agree. I got cheap little bowls at Ikea... always a good place too, when you can't find a garage sale handy. :)

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

You know, I have never been to an IKEA, but I imagine that when I do, it will be a near-religious experience : )

SwishDesigns said...

It's soooo true about kids and Costco/Sam's Club. I have bought more mega-sized "stuff" that my son LOVED eating from the cart only to find that he wouldn't touch the stuff at home. Now I have a solution! TY!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Clever, clever, clever you are!

:)

Jenn said...

It worked for all 3 of my boys, too. We also eat off of small-sized plates to keep portions smaller, reduce waste and keep from overeating. I've got fancy parfait glasses that hold about 6 ounces of liquid and they enjoy using these for special occasions when we have soda in the house (rarely). It keeps them from pouring a huge glass, makes it last longer, and they feel important using the "special" glasses.

Tammy said...

Hi I'm Tammy,I'm new to your blog and have enjoyed reading some of your post.

My daughter age 6 almost 7 is so picky. My mom found 2 of those trays that they use in school for lunches at a yard sale and gave them to me. I often serve her meals on them adding little cups for her dips and such and her forks and things go in the slots where they normally would and she loves it. Not that I can get her to eat any more but hey one battle at a time right. LOL

God Bless,
Tammy

Kelly said...

I was just realized the same thing! We have a gazillion little ramekins and they probably get used more than all the other dishes.

Michelle in HI said...

Have you heard of Muffin Tin Monday? If not, Google it, there are a lot of creative people out there! I loved the idea and now serve my toddler's food in a muffin tin (in our case a red silicone version) about half the time and it is great! For some reason having his food in those little cups is so exciting.

I think he likes the variety too - I try to make each space in the muffin tin something different and at least one is usually a dip or condiment.

Michelle in HI said...

I also wanted to add that when I lived in Japan I stocked up on Bento accessories - little plastic cocktail forks with animals on them, teeny-tiny squeeze bottles for dressing, etc.

Our favorite are the molds for hard-boiled eggs (you peel the egg and stick it in the mold while still hot and it comes out shaped like something else). My son goes crazy when I give him an egg shaped like a car for a snack!

Roxie700 said...

The first time I went into Ikea was just over a year ago when a store opened in my city. (Round Rock Texas) WOW. Never have I seen so much stuff in one place. It makes a super Walmart look small. The only thing I do not like about it is that you can get lost so easy and you must walk the whole store to get out. I do not have any Ikea furniture, but I have some of their dishes etc. Their glass ware is not expensive and is pretty. I got a really nice set of dishes for a college gradutation not too long ago.

Miss G said...

We have quite a few little bowls, mini latte bowls, etc. I like them a lot and eat ice cream out of them which really helps my portion control. Kelly

Nancy said...

Like Michelle, I too have a bowl fetish. Love them. All sizes really. I do have lots of small ones though and I've been using them for this very thing since our children were small. Now even at 16 and 13 they still like their little bowls.
I've also found that they work great for mixing spices when there's a long list in recipes or just pre-measuring baking ingredients.
My mom just recently gave me a mini pyrex pie plate that she used to make a special treat in for me. She'd make a tiny crust out of the 'extra' dough, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, bake it and then I got to eat it as my snack.

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

I have a set of four of those same fire king bowls, bought for $1 (for the set) at a yard sale. I love, love, love them!

Great thought on keeping it small, especially with younger ones.

Daiquiri said...

Great idea! I do "toothpick snacks" from time to time - the fruits and veggies seem to disappear so much more painlessly than when served up with a fork or spoon :) Kids...

Tubo Family said...

I use Anchor-Hocking custard cups for the kids' cereal and rice, but now you've inspired me to use the garage-sale metal condiment cups a bit more.

Susan said...

Meredith-
Your comment about IKEA made me laugh....because that's how it was for me the first , and so far, only time I went to IKEA! If you love home decorating and design, and wonderful ideas for the use of space, IKEA is your place. I like modern/European design somewhat (which is what they seem to have a lot of), but mostly I am fascinated by their approach to design and how it affects price, and by their very creative use of space. I spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Germany in high school, and I know firsthand from that year that most families in Europe do not have the luxury of large houses like we do here in the US. Anyway, I know I'm not writing about little portions and condiment cups, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents about IKEA, anyway!! Go there soon... you'll have a blast! (And plan on eating lunch there at the cafe, too. We thought we got a good meal for a pretty reasonable price.)
Susan
PS- And Roxie's right....it does make a super Walmart seem tiny in comparison!

Susan said...

We used to call my granddaughter "condiment girl" 'cause everything had to be dipped in either honey mustard, sweet 'n sour, ranch, mayo, or maple syrup before eating. Those small cups/bowls have been a lifesaver.

Stephanie said...

What a great idea! I have learned over the years that small portions are always better with children--they just overwhelmed by too much and end up not eating. Little bowls and cups are fun!

Workin' MAMA! said...

you mentioned ikea -

meredith - it's amazing - just amazing - we have one here -

and when i go - i go 'alone' -
it's a near-religious experience 'each' time sister -

and yes, i usually buy things when i go --- hee hee hee

latrice