Fighting Food Waste


I usually avoid reading articles about food waste, as they are typically written to make Americans feel bad about the rich bounty of our lives. This one, however, puts it in dollars and cents – you PAID for that food! Why throw it away?

First, the depressing statistics:

  • About 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste.
  • The average American wastes about $28 to $43 in food each month, roughly 20 pounds of food.
  • Broken down, about 17 percent of dairy, 20 percent of vegetables, 15 percent of fruit, 18 percent of the grains, 25 percent of seafood, and 33 percent of the meat you buy goes to waste. Money Talks News

How to avoid throwing food (and money) away? There are several tips and tricks you can use – some a little nuttier than others.  The full list is at the original article, but here are some highlights.

1.     Store onions in pantyhose. (I assume you shouldn’t be wearing them at the time.)

2.     Add rice to your seasonings. (Absorbs moisture, and gives your spices that extra ricey flavor!)

3.     Invest in airtight plastic containers. (Keeps crackers, cereal, etc. fresh for two extra weeks!)

4.     Store bread in the fridge. (I don’t buy enough bread to know if this works or not, but my bagels last up to a month!)

5.     Prep salads in mason jars. (Apparently, you can keep salads for 10 days this way!)

6.     Give fruits and vegetables a vinegar bath. (Removes dirt, wax, and bacteria for longer shelf life.)

7.     Keep an eye out for bad apples. (Despite what the Osmond Brothers say, one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch, girl.)

8.     Make frozen buttermilk or cream cubes. (Yes, in an ice tray. Yes, people will think you are crazy.)

At our house, it’s usually bananas and salad fixin’s that seem to get wasted most. How about you? Are these tips useful? Bizarre? Usefully bizarre? Read the original article, and let us know!

Walmart Sneezes

“When GM sneezes, America catches a cold.” This is something people used to say back when General Motors was something more than a pension fund that made cars. Basically it means that when an economic engine like GM is having troubles, it’s a sign of bigger problems.

This came to mind earlier this week, when Bloomberg noted that “Walmart Executives are Sweating Slow February Start”…

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February Month-to-Date sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Walmart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my 7 years with the company.”

Worse, this crappy February comes after a crappy January, which had a different Walmart executive asking, “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”

So, what’s the deal? Well, the payroll tax went up, tax forms were late going out, and tax returns will also be late going out. Gas prices in my neighborhood have gone up about 35 cents since the New Year. They are still arguing over the Fiscal Cliff in Washington. So, it’s a crisis in confidence, paired with an actual pinch in spending money.

So, looking at the old example, you can certainly see how these negative economic factors would cause people to put off buying an $18,000 car from GM. But Walmart? Where a can of corn is 48 cents and my last pair of shoes was ten bucks? Yikes!

So, what do you think? Are you seeing smaller crowds at Wally’s? Are you tightening your belt? What things are you cutting back on or delaying? Let us know and, despite it all, have a great weekend!

So… How Was Your Cruise?

Tonight's special at the Carnival buffet
Tonight’s special at the Carnival buffet

Ah, the Carnival Triumph cruise debacle! Jon Stewart dubbed it the Ship of Stools (it’s funny ‘cause it’s GROSS.) CNN treated it like the worst humanitarian disaster since Hurricane Katrina. At least one bystander (me) wondered how an onion sandwich would taste. And, on cue, the first lawsuits are rolling in.

But, do the passengers have a case? Well, according to the fine print we ALWAYS take time to read, it would seem not…

Carnival shall not be liable to the passenger for damages for emotional distress, mental suffering/anguish or psychological injury of any kind under any circumstances, except when such damages were caused by the negligence of Carnival and resulted from the same passenger sustaining actual physical injury, or having been at risk of actual physical injury, or when such damages are held to be intentionally inflicted by Carnival.

To make amends, Carnival is offering up a buffet of refunds, consolation money, free cruises and onion sandwiches. Personally, I can’t imagine signing up for another cruise after this experience, can you?

So, what do you think? Is Carnival’s gesture enough? What more could they do? Are we too lawsuit-happy? What would you do in this situation? And, most importantly, have you ever had an onion sandwich? Let us know!

So Long, Saturday Mail!

saturday mail

So, the Post Office has announced that it will no longer deliver on Saturdays. Will you miss it? How will affect you? We will get to that. But first, the sarcasm.

First of all, I don’t hate the USPS. I can only report on what I experience day to day. I actually like my carrier a lot. She’s super-nice, and we even exchange Christmas gifts. No, it’s my local branch that I wish they would demolish and turn into a shabby little mini mart that sells cigarettes, scratch offs and night crawlers – basically, ANY other kind of establishment that would treat me like a customer and not a sworn enemy.

The service at my branch has driven me into the arms of the UPS store, where I pay more for actual service. Or, to the tax preparation place that is an authorized USPS dealer, where the people are super dumb but super friendly. Anything to avoid that den of slack called The Post Office.

So anyway, how does this affect you (and by YOU I mean ME)?  That is spelled out in this article that outlines some of the changes we can expect. For example:

  • Medicines by mail: Are considered Priority Mail, and will still arrive on Saturday.
  • Social Security/Welfare/Veterans/etc.: Today, most benefits come by direct deposit to your bank account, or EBT. If yours DON’T, you have until March 1 to make that happen! (visit
  • Bill-payers: You may have some cause for concern. Generally, the credit card companies give you 21 days before you are late. You might lose some days because of this. You might want to switch to electronic pay!
  • PO Box holders: No change. You see, while the carriers lose a day of pay, the hard(ly) working folks that work in (my) branch will still be cramming your PO Box with bills and junk mail. So…yay?

These changes are expected to save the USPS $2 billion each year. Ironically, the solution for some of the inconveniences seems to be “going electronic,” which is likely going to cost them even more business. I suspect this isn’t the last time we will be addressing this issue.

So, read the original article, and have a great weekend! Tomorrow, give your Saturday mail a hug, and appreciate the time you have left together!

Last Minute Valentine Gift Ideas!

white-elephant-gift-exchangeWhen it comes to gift-giving they always say, “It’s the thought that counts.” On Valentine’s Day, and other holidays both important and made-up, I like to amend this statement by saying this is only true when actual THOUGHT went into the gift.

This week, in roadside vacant lots across the land, suckers gentlemen may purchase a wide assortment of desperate romantic gifts. The one I am seeing most often is a shrink- wrapped teddy bear & candy basket arrangement, ranging in size from “Aw cute!” to “Dude, can I borrow your truck?”

So, as a public service for the romantically challenged, I have combed one or two websites the entire internet for fun Valentine’s gift ideas!


  • Tame the clutter: Be a hero for cleaning out the garage, like you said you would last September!
  • Foot rub: Remember that old man on Funny Videos who used the disc grinder on his wife’s crusty heels? That’s love y’all!

From the BBC:

  • Choco-face! How about 3-D scanned, laser-etched sculpture of your face in chocolate? Totally tasty and not creepy at all!

From the New York Post:

  • Frisky Fortunes! Concerned parents cause makers to pull sexy/romantic fortune cookie messages. Better grab the romance before they’re gone!

Fun ideas? Unique? Totally lame? Say what you will, these are all better, more romantic ideas than this one: Detroit lawyer holds Valentine’s contest – first prize a free divorce! Reached for comment, the attorney said: “It’s the thought that counts!”

Anyway, best of luck, lovebirds. If, SOMEHOW, this article didn’t give you any good ideas, check these (for real) gift guides FOR HER, and FOR HIM.

And Happy Valentine’s day!

Tough Love for Shopaholics


It used to be that we just “spent too much, ” or that we couldn’t “stick to a budget.” Today, in a world where the list of  “-oholisms” seems to get longer every day, we are told that compulsive spending can be a sign of larger emotional issues.

Between 2 and 5 percent of Americans have some form of shopping addiction, which means they struggle to control their purchases. It can lead to debt, damaged relationships, and might even be related to depression.  US News Money

The bright side (I guess) of turning everything into a disease is that it draws attention to the problem. The eggheads study it, identify symptoms and suggest ways to deal with it. And it tells those affected that they aren’t alone. So here is a brief list of behaviors that might point to a compulsive shopping problem:

  • You lie about your purchases.
  • You don’t talk openly about your shopping habits.
  • Your shopping habits are hurting your relationships.
  • You usually shop alone.
  • You think of shopping as a hobby.
  • You shop to feel better about yourself.
  • You feel a rush of euphoria when making purchases.
  • Your shopping habits are interfering with your life.
  • You use credit cards to finance your purchases.
  • You don’t know where your money is going.

I guess, like anything else, one or two of these behaviors might not be a problem. Five or six may be a different story.

And don’t get me wrong – this can be serious. I may not agree with turning everything into a disease, but wrecking relationships and going bankrupt are real things – things that you, like, want to AVOID. So, check out the original article for more details, and see if you notice these behaviors in yourself or others. And have a great weekend!

Love, Debt and Gender

(photo credit:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a reminder that tying the knot with someone means taking on his or her debts. And, according to a survey by, how we feel about that seems to be a gender-specific thing.

About 70% of women would break it off if they found out their partner had lied about their ability to pay routine bills. That’s the same percentage of women who would stop seeing someone with a criminal history. 66% of women find secret credit card debt a relationship deal-killer, and 55% would cut it off if they found out a partner was heavily in debt.

For whatever reason, guys seem more…forgiving? Those same numbers for men are 50% (vs. 70), 50% (vs. 66) and 37% (vs. 55).

Other fun statistics?

  • 57% of women, and 48% of men, say that a partner with debt is a turnoff.
  • 57% of women, and 47% of men, think it’s OK to ask for their partner’s credit score before taking the plunge.  (ooh, sexy!)
  • 68% say that sharing money attitudes is important, BUT…
  • 73% say that money causes the most arguments.

Why the gender differences in attitude? Totally unscientific but, with the wage gap, I imagine women are more worried about their future security, and that of their kids. There’s also the depressing notion (and everybody knows someone who has said this) that “we can never begin OUR lives because half of his paycheck goes to the Ex!”

SO… girls, guys –what do you think? Do these things matter to you? Have you ever jumped in blindly and later regretted it? Or did you work through it? What did you learn? Read the article, and let us know!

The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads of 2013


My Super Bowl viewing habits have changed over the years. First off, I am not the biggest Super Bowl fan. That old adage that there is about 12 minutes of play in a 4-hour presentation is the reason why. But the commercials used to help. Then, it got to the point where I would tape the game and then play it back and watch only the commercials. THEN, it became reading the Web the next day to hear about the Best ‘n’ Worst, and then looking them up online.

Progress is exhausting, yo!

Now, there’s a website where you can watch the ads BEFORE the game. It gives smarty-pants armchair critics (ahem!) the chance to form opinions early and lord them over their friends.

So check out website. And leave a note in the comments or over at the MindFieldOnline Facebook page.  Likes? Hates? Surprises? Any “Little Darth Vaders” in this year’s bunch?

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the game commercials!