Use What’s Left – Earth Day and Beyond

Earth DayHow do you use what’s leftover? Leftover as in food – carrot tops, coffee grounds, orange rinds. All those things that get tossed in the trash with little regard to what else you could do with it. Have you ever watched Chopped on Food Network – the episode that uses leftovers and chefs have to figure out what to do with them? Well – think of this as that episode. Use What’s Left – Earth Day and Beyond gives some simple ideas of what to do with food, besides the trash.

This months the Recipe Redux theme kind of had me stumped and really had me thinking of what to write about – how to use leftovers, scraps from food, without having to toss it all. Everyone’s interpretation of leftovers or food scraps and what to do with them is different – I am not so adventurous to try and think of recipes to use food scraps, so outside the box is what I did. Below are different ideas of how to reduce, reuse, and maybe recycle those scraps.

Since it’s Earth Day it’s also time to rethink all the things that you do – or try new things. Don’t recycle yet? (um, why not?) then start! Every apartment complex has recycle bins, and it’s not hard to have a separate bag for recyclables. And if you can’t afford the extra bin at your house – take some to work and dump them, I’m sure your work wouldn’t mind you bringing in your newspapers or magazines and putting them in the cafeteria for other people to use! I also leave my magazines at the gym for other women after I’ve read them – there is nothing better than finding a new magazine left by someone else in the women’s locker room and actually having something to read on the dreaded treadmill!

Earth Day

Another simple start – don’t overbuy groceries! Not only do we waste hundreds of dollars a year on groceries we don’t need – we don’t end up eating them all in time, whether it’s fresh produce, frozen meals, or baking goods. How much of your produce gets tossed because you bought too much for a recipe or you couldn’t get to all your salad fixings in time? How many freezer-burnt meals or bags of veggies have you tossed because they were in the freezer for way too long? How many bags of way-too-expensive GF flours or spices have gotten the boot because you couldn’t remember the last time you bought them? Think before shelling out the extra money – remember to look through your fridge, freezer, and pantry before leaving for the store, and make sure you have a real meal plan for the week … all meals, not just dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and for weekdays and weekends. All days matter for your money! This goes for restaurant leftovers too – if you bring it home – eat it!

Use What’s Left Ideas:

Coffee grounds: There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest for using coffee grounds. My SIL and I saved coffee grounds with the intent of making a scrub and then ended up using them to deter ants! We Pinterested how to get rid of ants in the house, and coffee grounds were supposed to do the trick. They kind of did, but it was messy with the coffee grounds sprinkled all over her counters. We did end up doing the coffee scrub, and it was messy washing it all off – worth it, but do it when you know you need to clean your shower 🙂

Potpourri: There are so many different potpourri scents that you can buy, but you can also use your citrus rinds! Toss the rinds in a pot with water, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg pods, and cranberries and turn it to simmer on the stove – holiday scents will soon permeate your house and you will feel amazing because of it. Happiest time on earth all year round!

Earth Day

Disposal: This may seem weird but I read a long time ago that if you put any citrus rinds down the disposal drain, grinding them with water running, it will take the nasty stench out of your drain. Believe me that is a biggy when your drain stinks so bad!

Grow More: Did you know that many veggies can be popped back into the ground so you can grow more? Celery and Romaine lettuce both can! The bottoms of both just need to be placed into a planter with dirt and watered (obviously watch/read tutorial for how deep, etc.) and you can have more home-grown veggies! You can even do this in an apartment complex with some cute little jars or planters on your little deck or patio! Supposedly Romaine can be regrown in 11 days!

Neighborhood Garden: When I lived in Arlington, outside D.C., I didn’t have a deck or patio for my apartment (I guess the high price of the apartment just goes to being in the area not actual luxuries like a deck) but a few blocks away was a community garden. If you know of a community garden in/near your area you can ask if they need food items for composting or regrowth – and by donating you could ask about helping out in the garden! Get a workout, meet people, and free veggies!

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