Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the incredibly thoughtful and supportive comments on my last post. I am still in awe at how amazing of a community I’ve been able to become a part of. Thank you, thank you! And for those of you who could really relate to the message in the post, I hope you stay strong and create your own set of coping mechanisms. We are our own worst enemies. It’s time to become our own best friends.
On another quick logistical point, in case you somehow missed it – I’m hosting a Siggi’s yogurt giveaway. Click here to enter!
Ok, now on to the fun stuff… operation “no food shall be wasted.” You see, I HATE wasting food. That means that I never care about expiration dates on packages (real food will “tell” you when it’s gone bad) where Adam tosses things in the trash without a second thought; I also sometimes eat foods of questionable freshness (yeah yeah, sometimes it’s right on that edge, my stomach and immune system never failed me 😉 ) but mostly, I make sure to plan my meals around open cans of beans, wilting greens, drying bread and try to reuse these ingredients in fun new ways (the freezer is also a big help)! In this spirit, I did a few quirky things this week and realized that it would be fun to share them with you. Ready?
After our bbq last Saturday, we had quite a bit of stale bread left. And when I say stale, I mean the stuff was rock hard. Definitely not something you’ll be excited (or even able) to make a sandwich with.
This girl doesn’t throw away food though. I decided to make some mushroom, roasted red pepper and goat cheese bread pudding with most of it (microwaved it first to be able to slice it – note: a good knife is key!!). Here is the Cooking Light recipe I followed – it was delicious!
Quick side note: bell peppers are on the dirty dozen list, which means that they have the highest pesticide residues and purchasing organic varieties reduces your exposure to them. I haven’t seen jarred organic roasted red peppers in stores (and I bet they would be crazy expensive anyways) so I roasted my own. It’s really easy! You can grill the peppers or just broil them – really make sure the skin is nice and burnt; don’t be afraid. It probably took about 15 minutes all together, turning the peppers every 3-5 minutes. Here is what they looked like after broiling:
After that, cover them completely for another 15 minutes. Basically during this time they’ll sweat…
… and you’ll be able to very easily separate the skin from the flesh with a fork or even just your hands (toss the skin). Easy! You now have roasted red peppers with no sodium, vinegar or other unwanted ingredients!
And you are ready to make this bread pudding recipe! 😉
This bread pudding was fantastic! The herbs were wonderfully flavorful (I used fresh basil, fresh thyme and dried parsley) and the combination of roasted veggies and goat cheese is indisputably a winner. Try it! Best stale bread use I know! (Actually, baked french toast is another good one. Any recipe that basically rehydrates the bread in the process is great!).
After making the bread pudding, I had a few more brioche buns left. Into the food processor they went to make bread crumbs.
Chop, chop, chop – voila!
I froze them in a baggie for future use.
LARGE CANS, SMALL USES
Have you ever noticed how chipotles in adobo sauce always call for a whole can but have you use only 1 (mostly 2) peppers. I have the same pet peeve with tomato paste as well. Are you supposed to just throw away the rest and buy a whole new can next time? I don’t! This is where my body freezer comes in handy. All you’ll need is a freezer tray.
Basically put 1 or 2 chipotles in each compartment, with a little bit of sauce and freeze. I also put about 1.5T of tomato paste into another tray. After they’re nice and frozen, I transfer them into little baggies for easier storage (in the freezer) and when the recipe calls for one chipotle with a bit of sauce or some tomato paste, I microwave a “cube” for a few seconds and it’s ready to go.
I think they look kind of cute.
Freezer is of course also great for overripe bananas, and I even freeze random chopped veggies that I know I won’t have time to use up. They all go great in green smoothies.
I’m hardcore. I have a hard time even tossing an EMPTY pickle jar, mostly because it still has a lot to give. 😉 Sometimes I throw more cucs in it, top it with water to the top, and put it back in the fridge (shake it every day to let the spices redistribute) – the cucs will become more pickled every day. This time I decided to make pickled zuchinni.
Most of the pickling job was already done, I just added a bit more garlic (1 large clove, pressed), a little dried dill and hot pepper flakes. Cut up your zucchini, add more water, refrigerate.
You’ll have pickled zucchini in just one day – it’s perfectly pickled days (maybe even weeks?) thereafter too. Oh how I love pickled veggies!
What about you? Do you find ways to prolong the life of some foods? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!! 😀