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Toss It Tuesday: Garlic

If you are composting, it’s likely that you don’t use a lot of processed products, right?

We try to keep processed things to a very bare minimum around here and when we do buy packaged items we choose the highest quality, least processed products, without any added chemicals, and especially without high fructose corn syrup.  Of course, every now and again, I find a convenience item that I just can’t pass up.  In this case it was fresh whole peeled garlic cloves from Whole Foods.  Bad move.

Long ago I gave up the jarred chopped garlic.  For one thing it doesn’t taste like garlic.  For another thing it smells like formaldehyde to me.  Plus it has a shelf life of … forever.  That’s not my idea of “fresh” food, so I take the time to peel garlic cloves every time a recipe calls for it.

I buy and peel a lot of fresh garlic, so when I noticed this little tub two weeks ago, I thought, why not give it a try?  The ingredient list reads: garlic.  Although the flavor doesn’t seem too off, it’s not as good as fresh from my pantry.  Maybe it’s just that keeping garlic in the fridge isn’t optimal.  Whatever the case, yesterday when I opened the container this is what I found:

toss it tues garlic

Yuck.  Furry garlic.  I didn’t even toss this in the kitchen bucket but took it out and buried it deep in my compost pile.  Peeled garlic might be convenient, but it’s not worth the cost and certainly not worth the compromise for me.  How long had this mold been brewing?

Do you have any “fresh” convenience foods that you regularly use?

 
 

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Toss It Tuesday: Sweet Potato

When I first started photographing my kitchen scraps I had lots of food to show.  Each Tuesday (trash day) when I cleaned out my fridge I felt equal measures guilt (throwing away food!) and virtue (feeding my future garden!) and could justify one with the other.  But after weeks of pulling out slimy cilantro, gross green beans, and leftover lettuce, the little light bulb started to go off in my head while I was food shopping.  Did I REALLY need that second head of lettuce?  Or three different kinds of berries?  Or more pineapple?

When I am confronted with an array of gorgeous produce all of a sudden reason goes out the window.  Forget about shopping hungry, I need to shop without imagination.  Each perfect new ingredient is the star in a new dish or in a dish that we loved but I have not had in a while … and before I know it my basket is piled high and my brain is full of menus and I’m hauling home way more food than I need for a week for four people.  And then Toss It Tuesday happens.

But I’ve changed.  I still don’t shop with a list or a menu plan (although I know that is a good idea for many) but I order just enough meat for two meals, then plan two more vegetable based meals with what I find at the market, replenish my pantry staples and then I know I can “pasta” through the remaining nights of the week.  It’s working much better.  I’m more mindful and while I have less to throw on the compost heap I also have more money in my pocket.

So this week, I have one moldy sweet potato.  Woohoo!  Luckily I grabbed it before it alerted me that it was lurking in my pantry.  Here’s the rest of my bucket:

toss it tuesday sweet potato

What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • a rotting sweet potato
  • broccoli leaves and stem scrapings
  • banana peel (hiding)
  • garlic paper
  • orange rind
  • yellow onion skin and stem ends
  • 2 tea bags (hiding)
  • iceberg lettuce core & outer leaves (on the bottom)

What I made with all of that: Cream of Broccoli Soup, classic Wedge Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Black Olives and Ranch Dressing and Pineapple Orange Smoothies (breakfast), baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup & Grated Nutmeg (lunch).

How mindful are you when you are grocery shopping?

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Musings, The Daily Bucket, Toss It Tuesday

 

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Toss It Tuesday: Avocado

Does your grocery store have those too-good-to-be-true deals?  Ten for ten dollars, five for five dollars, etc… Normally, I glance and look away.  I rarely need five or ten of anything, except last week, the avocado deal was too good to be true.  Five for five bucks.  Well, we love avocados, made into guacamole, on tacos, in sandwiches, even as a snack.  Good deal, right?  

Apparently, in the winter, avocados do not hold the same appeal as in the warmer months.  Three was all I could palm off on the troops and even I had trouble mustering enthusiasm for any more of their green goodness.  After a week, they developed the telltale black shade, the sickening squishiness, and then finally the mold spots that told me loud and clear to never succumb to grocery marketing again.  Know thy eating habits!

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Sad, aren’t they  I threw them on the pile, seeds and all.  Maybe this spring we’ll have a volunteer avocado plant shoot up somewhere.  And then I’ll probably yank it like a weed.  Oh well, the thought was good for the second it lasted.  Happy Toss It Tuesday Y’all!

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in The Daily Bucket, Toss It Tuesday

 

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Toss It Tuesday: Guilt

I sort of hate this weekly post.  All through the week I find myself trying to have NOTHING to toss from my fridge on Tuesday … and that’s a GOOD THING!  Knowing that I have to photograph what I did not use keeps me on my toes.  It’s so easy to buy more than we need.  I can’t resist getting whatever veggies or fruits look fresh when I pick up my raw milk, regardless of what I already have in the fridge.  All of a sudden I have a really full fridge and then it’s a puzzle to everything them into meals so we don’t waste anything!

Apparently one way to avoid wasting food is to plan your meals.  I’m not a big meal planner; instead I think of a handful of dishes to make for the week and then I cook those according to my mood and the weather.  (You know, we don’t like chili on a hot day or salad on a cold day.  I’m grateful for the luxury of choice.)

Anyway, I’ve gotten so much better, but sometimes I still overbuy.  As you can see here.  Those raspberries are my guilty toss of the week.

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • homegrown cucumber peels & stem ends
  • pineapple core (my Vitamix blends this well, but we hate the strings, so…)
  • lovely but moldy raspberries (I bought two containers at Costco but should have known better!)
  • banana peel
  • orange peel

What I made with all of that: smoothies & fresh cukes for lunch.  Surprisingly, Toss It Tuesday has become the best day for using up all our leftovers.  Less guilt all around and THAT is another GOOD THING!

My message for today is BE MINDFUL!  Americans waste A LOT of food, so try to break the trend and not be part of the statistics.

 
 

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Pretty … Moldy

Isn’t this a beautiful basket?  I love the purple flowers against the red berries!  Sadly, those berries were a HUGE disappointment.  Two for $5 was NOT a bargain.  The first half-pint was lovely, but this one was so soft – and sour, yuck – that I couldn’t even consider throwing them into a smoothie.  Same goes for the last few overripe strawberries and blackberries.  This pretty-on-the-outside fruit was only fit for compost.

Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Eggshells
  • Irises
  • Strawberries & blackberries – a few very soft berries way past their prime
  • Onion skins
  • Lemon half
  • More eggshells
  • Raspberries – disappointing pint that was so soft and sour – yuck -it was inedible
  • Red pepper slice
  • Blackened banana peel
  • Rose petals (white and pink)

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What you can’t see:

LOTS of leftover lettuce – remember the cast party earlier in the week?  Spinach & romaine leaves sat out for about an hour after the party.  We’d eaten salad for the past several days, so these leaves just sat a few more days in the fridge.  Final fate: compost.

What I made with all of that:

Ebelskivers – tiny, fluffy filled pancakes.  These require a special pan but they are so delicious!  My little ballerina begged for this breakfast treat prior to a six-hour rehearsal day and I couldn’t NOT make them, even thought they are a multi-bowl & mixer recipe.  We made two kinds: whole-milk ricotta & homemade strawberry jam filled and sharp cheddar filled, dipped in pure maple syrup.  Worth every minute of prep & cook time!

So, the weekend was jam-packed with activities on top of ballet rehearsals, namely two days of performances, SAT’s for my boy, and the bustle of regular life.  Here’s what happens when the compost bucket sits on the counter for two more days …

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Sorry it’s sideways (busy days, right?).  We did add a few banana peels (standard morning smoothie) and a sprig of old jasmine.  Anyway, MOLD is what happens when you have a lot of soft, warm organic material sitting in the sunshine with a warm, humid breeze from the open window wafting in.  Luckily, the banana covering the onion skins effectively blocked any nasty onion smell.  Just sitting on the counter this was not pretty but at least it didn’t smell bad.  Until I dumped it on the compost heap … It was a fully rotting, juicy mess perfect for the production of great new dirt!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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