There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
February is Heart Month so to celebrate we took on a heart-healthy, Eco-friendly activity last week. We challenged ourselves to experiment with turning fruits and veggies into smoothies, soups, etc. Fruits and vegetables are great for our health because they are full of fiber and nutrients. But sometimes, when they are a bit "tired", it's tough to get enthused about eating them ... and too often they get tossed out. Juicing them or tossing them in a soup pot not only gives them new "life" ... it reduces food waste. And that's a good thing!
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing a post about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Let's see what they had to say this week:
EcoGrrl turned mushy pears into pear sauce, tired veggies into stock and even treated her dog with some veggies in her food bowl ... gotta love a dog who loves veggies.
Argentum Vulgaris loves to make smoothies ... his favorite being banana com aveia (banana, milk and porridge flakes). Doesn't that sound good! Vegetables, however, are another matter. You see, he's just one person so doesn't need great amounts of stock or soup. So, what happens to them? Here's a hint ... "Lixo" helps him out ... so does the dog next door. Curious? You can read all about it HERE.
Most of us know that we can use over-ripe bananas to make banana bread, pudding, etc. But what if one doesn't have the time? Kim has the solution! She suggests mashing the bananas and then freezing them in measured amounts. She uses (and reuses) zippered freezer bags. She also uses the freezer for soup stalk. Here's another creative idea ... Search engines. Yep, Kim suggests using search engines to find new recipes for the items which need to be used up and shares that doing so has given her some terrific meals.
When I was a kid, my grandmother always had a pot of soup on the stove ... we teased that it contained everything except the kitchen sink. That's what I thought about when I read Jacqueline's article entitled Kitchen Sink Vegetable Beef Soup. This recipe, which she graciously shares with her readers, was born out of a desire to NOT waste food and also to live frugal. The soup looks delicious!
Amy (aka NonMom) has a terrific suggestion for boosting the nutritional content of things like hamburger-helper and tuna-helper ... she adds veggies to them. Nice! She also does this for leftovers and says that it helps to "stretch" the dish.
Miss T uses her freezer sharing that almost anything can be frozen for later use (bread, potatoes, etc.). She recently wrote a post on world hunger and 5 simple ways to make a difference ... if you have a moment, head over to "her place" and check it out.
Stephanie dropped in and, as always, is such a great CTWW supporter. I was recently at "her place" where I learned that some stores, like Whole Foods, take compost. In fact, they take compost that is often refused by the local waste management companies. She's done an update on her first composting trip to the store where she learned some interesting facts. Be sure to head over and check it out!
Alicia made my mouth water with her ideas. She regularly goes through her crisper and roasts vegetables which she uses to make vegetable broth. She then freezes the broth for later use and says "If you have never had homemade veggie broth do yourself a favor and make some. You will never want store bought again." Here's another great idea ... cut over-ripe bananas into small pieces, freeze them and then use them to make banana ice cream (pop them into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth). Yum! On a side note ... Alicia is giving away some of her fabulous, Eco-friendly products so ... head on over to "her place" for your chance to win.
While reading Kris' POST I was reminded that, while using tired fruits & veggies is preferable to tossing them, it's even better if we don't get to that point. Kris offers some wonderful ideas, including buying frozen fruits & veggies so that one can take out only what is needed and keep the rest frozen.
In this PIECE Katie offers some fabulous ideas for not only using up food items but ways to sneak them into a dish for picky little eaters. I especially like #4 (who knew).
I'd like to welcome Kelly to our CTWW family. She hops rights in with this IDEA for apples. Not one bit of the apple is wasted ... not even the core, seeds or skin. Nicely done, Kelly!
Jennifer has another suggestion for apples ... she blends them. While they are a bit pulpy, they work nicely with other ingredients. Her favorite spring/summer breakfast is two apples, a cucumber, and a generous quantity of berries blended together. Yum!
I love getting tips from our Twitter friends! They say so much in 140 characters or less! Check it out:
-RT @graceonline #GreenTip: Stale bread? Cube it, freeze it, 3 cups makes a scrumptious bread pudding bit.ly/ckK8Yu
-Berries a bit on the ripe side are terrific for making a dressing for spinach salad. Get creative with it.
-If your spinach is getting too wilted for fresh spinach salad, toss it in with a homemade soup, spaghetti sauce, lasagna for nutrients
-Ripe bananas are great for smoothies, muffins, and banana loaf. If you don't have time to bake right now toss in freezer w/ peel on
-Ripe berries are a great addition to pancakes or muffins. Hint: Freeze them first then fold them in the batter last.
-Create hearty soup with leftovers & broth &/or tomato juice, Left over chili + beans + corn + tomato juice + chili powder garlic onion
-Spicy chili soup is great for a winter or fall meal. Dress it up with some shredded cheese & dab of fat free sour cream & pita chip
-For my #ctww I have been bulking up dishes w/every veggie in the fridge. Hate waste but love the health benefits!
-Don't toss out your overripe bananas!
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts: We began this challenge because of heart month ... fruits & veggies are simply good for us. As Eco-minded people, we also strive to reduce any kind of waste because our landfills are already overburdened ... and even biodegradable foods don't break down in a landfill's anaerobic environment. But there's another side of this story to consider. Most of us live in a land of plenty ... we have enough to eat. But many people in the world do not. It seems somehow obscene to waste food when so many are hungry. And while we may not be able to help them with the food in our refrigerators, we can never take for granted the resources we enjoy.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
So ... what would you like to do next? How about this ...
With colder temperatures and, in many places snow, outdoor exercise routines have moved inside. Exercise is good but some of the indoor methods are less than green. This week's challenge comes from Katie. I like it!
This week unplug your exercise routine by using no power. No treadmills, ellipticals, gyms, TV, music, or anything powered to assist in exercise. Make your workout Eco-friendly ... and, as always, let us know all about it.
If you're not really into exercise, please consider it. In the meantime, take a look at your daily routine and choose one activity which uses power and accomplish it without power. Some examples might be preparing a meal without the use of the stove, washing dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher, visiting friends and family instead of watching TV, etc. And oh yes, we want to know all about it (you'll get points for creativity).
Doesn't this one sound interesting!! Thanks, Katie!
If you have a challenge for us, please send it to me HERE.
Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!