Monday, May 2, 2011

Freezer scrap bag for stock/broth, and a new vegetarian life, smaller footprint

So, we started composting, but we are also keeping ALL fruits and veggie scraps, and left over bones, shrimp shells and the like in our repurposed produce bags, sandwich bags, etc. Plan to get away from storing food in plastic soon, (leaches chemicals) but one thing at a time. :)

Every night as I cut up vegetables for dinner, it seems if I don't start with a crock pot around lunchtime, I start in the evening with onions, ginger and garlic - sauteed. I never used to peel the ginger, but I do now, and those skins go in our scrap bag. The garlic and onion paper as well as the ends, also go into that scrap bag. Any soft spots, bruises, brown spots, anything I woudn't want to eat for any reason, go into that bag. Then it's simply, thrown in the freezer.

The dog gets the carrot ends, unless there's significant greens, but he lays claim to carrots. And of late, kale. Go figure. He's becoming a vegetarian too I guess. We've gone down to eating meat only 2 or 3 times per week and everything else is made from scratch.

Beans have always been a staple side, pinto beans, and rice. We've been trying to go to brown rice, but last fall we were gifted with a 50lb bag of white rice and then this spring with a 20lb bag. We keep giving much of it away, but still have lots to eat and can't justify buying brown rice til this is gone. So, we keep giving more away, and yet, I think the rice is still reproducing in that cupboard. So, we are blessed.

Beans and rice and vegetables are now what usually fills up our plate, and if we do have meat, we have a much smaller portion. The other stuff takes up more space on our plate. It's a good thing. Our goal is 80% produce and the rest can be whatever. I find we're probably closer to 60%, but it's a start. :)

So, start throwing your produce scraps in the freezer - don't forget your citrus rinds, apple cores, pineapple scraps, anything goes!

We then just fill up our crock pot with the produce scraps once a week or so and fill it with water, let it come to a boil, then simmer anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Add some sea salt and whatever spices out of the cupboard that need to be used up and yummo!! Sea salt is the least processed...

I use this broth for making rice, soaking or cooking beans, peas, lentils, etc. I use it in the blender to provide liquid for salsas, at the bottom of the roaster when cooking a roast and of course as a starter for soup, we love soup in this house!! And I love that nothing goes to waste!!

We have even reduced how much trash we throw out. Most of it is either compost or freezer/broth scraps, and the last bit of plastic that we're trying to get rid of. I've been repurposing as much plastic as I can for seed starters, etc. but sometimes I get overwhelmed with stockpiling it and have to purge, but we are doing much more to reduce our footprint. Instead of one kitchen bag a week for the two of us, we only have about one grocery bag of trash in a little bin that fits under the sink - outta sight!!! I hate tripping over the trash in the kitchen!!

I am buying everything in glass jars now, but we are even starting to make our own condiments, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, mayo, salad dressings, this way we know we are eating 100% WHOLE food, organic, less processed, etc.

Loving our new life of just being aware! :)

Le Chaim, to life!!

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