Cutting down on food waste; update.

So, my empty freezer bags have started filling up.

On the left is a bag with frozen juice from a couple different bottles (we don’t drink a lot of juice, so don’t drink it quickly enough when we do have it in the house). In the middle is a bag full of assorted veggies and veggie “remnants” such as the greens from radishes, and, um, honestly I don’t know exactly what all else as I can’t always visually identify what comes in the CSA basket (as I’ve mentioned before), and also since I’ve been throwing things in there for a few weeks now and didn’t keep a list. The bag on the right contains fruit that was on the verge of going bad such as a slightly brown banana and mushy berries. I’m thinking I could make a great vegetable broth with the veggies, and fruit smoothies with the fruit and fruit juice. So far this plan is working out great, and I feel good that we’re not wasting as much food. Stay tuned for a future post on a composter, which we’re looking into getting soon.

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Green Milk (!)

Another change I made this year was to sign up for Oberweis milk delivery. The facts that they don’t use hormones, get their milk from independent family farms, are local-ish (I’m not sure how far away all of the farms are, but the plant is very local to me), and that they re-use their milk bottles made it a pretty easy decision. Although I’m not much of a milk drinker, my family says it’s noticeably better than any other milk they’ve had before. We’ve seemed to have hit a pretty good amount with 2 1/2 gallons standing order as we’re big water drinkers, too, so have that with some meals instead, although now that the kids are home from school we may have to add 1/2 gallon or so. Sometimes we tack on some yogurt or ice cream to our standard milk order. I can personally attest to the fact that the ice cream is excellent. At the end of the week, our empty bottles are taken away and the cycle starts again.

One Local Summer; Week 4

I’m coming in just past the nick of time this week, but that’s not due to any lack of local food. Despite the cool start to the growing season, our CSA has given us loads of great greens and other veggies, herbs, and some strawberries to work with. We’ve been eating a lot of great, fresh food as a result, but usually in the form of a salad with added non-local ingredients, or just plain. We’ve been out enjoying the nice weather a lot lately, but I finally took some time to come up with something a little different:

Wrapped in a large leaf of CSA provided greens (Erehwon Farm provides a great newsletter with news from the farm, and a list of what’s coming that week with recipes, but I’m not familiar with everything by sight so am not quite sure what this is..it tasted a bit like spinach (Aha, looked up photos for the greens online, this leafy wrap is Swiss Chard)), is CSA radishes, garlic scapes, sugar snap peas, and Lamb’s Quarter (which includes some from my yard, as well), with some melted Monterey Jack cheese with dill and garlic from southern Wisconsin. On the side, Michigan strawberries (the CSA berries were gone as soon as I got them home.) The only non-local ingredients are the butter I sauteed the veggies in, and salt and pepper.

I’ve never cooked radishes before, but read about people roasting them so thought I’d give them a try sauteed. They, and everything, turned out great. Even better than I expected. I’ll definitely be making something like this again.

One Local Summer; Week 3

We had a lot of pretty plain salads this week, which were tasty but nothing new, so I thought I’d submit this meal as the local one for this week since it incorporated quite a few local items from different sources. This salad even made another appearance.

I’m planning on getting some locally milled cornmeal this week, so we’ll see what happens with that.

Toilet paper, toilet paper, as far as the eye can see.

So, about the toilet paper….I had decided that the Seventh Generation worked well for us, and was all ready to continue on with this brand. The problem became finding it. Ordering a four pack to try it was one thing, but ordering the quantity my family needs (and frankly, that I need for peace of mind…I can’t come close to running out of this stuff without getting nervous), cost a bunch to ship. So I looked around locally, and although it was listed as being available at a store near me, it actually wasn’t carried there. After trying a few other “green” brands, which were flimsy and short on sheet count (under 200 sheets was gone in less than 24 hours), I was running out of options. Then, just about a week ago, I noticed that amazon.com started a new “Subscribe and Save” program which enabled me to get a 48 pack of this toilet paper at 15% off with free shipping. My first shipment came today, and I’ll get the next one in 2 months. That should keep us in the stuff with some to spare.
These are just a few rolls from our tp bonanza.

CSA; Week 1

Well, the first week with fresh, local veggies in the house from the CSA is almost over…next pick-up is tomorrow, and I still have some greens left, in addition to leftovers from dinner tonight. They weren’t kidding when they said there’s a lot of food per share, and often enough to give some away. And this is just the start of the growing season! For tonight, to use up as many veggies as I could to make room for tomorrow’s bushel, I made:

Lots of veggies in every bite.

Let’s see…it was a mix of local and non, from our town’s French Market, the CSA bushel, and the grocery store: 1) grilled burger, Wisconsin cheddar, with salad made of CSA spicy mix w/Michigan strawberries and more of the cheddar on top, , on a wheat bun (not homemade, maybe someday!) 2) French Market southern Illinois sugar snap peas w/CSA radishes, sour cream, lemon, salt, pepper, and 3) stir-fried brown rice with CSA Yukina Savoy, on-the-vine tomatoes (deemed safe, and I cooked them, to boot), sliced almonds, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper, and peanut oil. I’ve got some radish tops and Yukina Savoy stems in the freezer to use for something, broth?, some other day.

Cutting down on food waste

This past weekend I found Wasted Food, a blog about worldwide food waste, via what path, I can’t remember, but I ended up following many links from it that I’ll need the whole summer to get through. A link to this post in particular caught my eye. Around the same time I checked out A Slow Year flickr group and saw this, a freezer filled with all sorts of good food, and all of that information combined to inspire me to clean out one shelf in my freezer door to make way for a bag to store leftover fruit and a bag to store leftover veggies:

Yes, they’re empty now…I’m pretty good about using food, and I had just recently cleaned out the fridge of any old items, which I do just about every week.

The change here will be that, instead of tossing any unused and older fruits or veggies, I’ll be chopping them and adding them to their respective bags. The fruits I’ll use for fruit smoothies (which I make by blending frozen fruit, milk, raw agave nectar, and wheat germ), and the veggies I’ll use for whatever I can. Any small amounts of leftovers will go in here, as well. It’ll be interesting to see how fast (or hopefully, slow) these bags fill up.