Never Purchase Broth Again!

It is not too good to be true, I promise! My family loves soup, in fact, I could probably eat soup everyday, so this hack has really helped me in many ways… Saves me money, I have broth made from fresh organic ingredients with no preservatives and helps food waste and reduces trash. Making broth from scraps

All you need is a gallon sized freezer bag, preferably reusable. I got mine from Blue Avocado or a Tupperware you are willing to keep in your freezer to reuse will work just fine as well. Next, your vegetable scraps, stems and ends! Yup, that is it. Every time you are in the kitchen prepping your dinner take out your freezer bag and add your carrot peels, celery ends, onion and garlic skins, and herb stems to it then, put your bag back in the freezer until it is full. When you’re all full it is time to add soup to your weekly meal plan. Add the contents of your bag to a stock pot with about 10 cups of water with some salt & pepper maybe a bay leaf and a sprinkle of turmeric. Simmer for about an hour and let cool, strain out you vegetable scraps and you will have enough broth for a big pot of soup and then some! Leftover broth is good in the fridge for about a week, or you can choose to freeze your broth as well for future recipes, if you do this remember to leave room in your container for the broth to expand when it reaches its freezing point. Also, I may have only listed a couple vegetables to add to your freezer bag, those were just examples, don’t limit yourself! You can also add things like mushroom stems/ends or even insides of peppers, fennel tops. Really anything you think will maximize the flavor of your broth.

Making broth from scraps
Made a big pot of soup and still have this left over for the week.

Side note: This life saver hack is not my own. This is a tip I got from my Thug Kitchen  cookbook years back, and I feel it needs to be shared. If you are looking to introduce more plant based recipes into your diet this cook book is awesome and hilarious. The amount of money I saved on not having to purchase broth paid for the book in about 2 months (like I said we like soup)

Supplies

  • Reusable gallon sized freezer bag

Ingredients

  • Vegetable scraps
  • A teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
  • A bay leaf, a sprinkle turmeric and/or garlic powder if you have it

Instructions

  1. Collect enough vegetable ends, peels, stems to fill a gallon bag
  2. Add to stock pot with 10 cups of water
  3. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf, turmeric
  4. Simmer for about an hour
  5. Strain
  6. Make some soup

The Delivery Service That Helps Fight Food Waste

Back in April, my son and I were enjoying the Oakland Earth festival when we were approached by the sweetest young lady. She began to tell me all about Imperfect Produce, who they are and what they do. I was immediately hooked and ready to sign up!

Imperfect Produce is on a mission to find a home for the 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables that are deemed too ugly to be sold in grocery stores. This helps the consumer because they are able to sell the produce at a discounted cost because these fruits and veggies have been shunned from grocery store shelves due to size or discoloration. This also helps the local farmers sell their products and helps with food waste. The best part, you do not even have to step foot in a store for your food. Imperfect Produce delivers the food to you!

Imperfect Produce
Bunches of broccoli stalks are so tasty and nutritious! Something you do not find in the store often or at all…

Here’s how it works.  After signing up, they email you at the beginning of each week with a link to customize your box/order.  Log into your account and you can begin choosing your product, it’s that simple!  The offerings that week will be detailed with where it is from, if it’s organic or conventional, why it is imperfect, and how much it costs. You have complete control over what will be delivered to you. Now, If you are the adventurous type, you are more than welcome to let them chose what will be in your box so you are surprised when your delivery comes!  Also, you can sign up for weekly or bi weekly deliveries and it’s easy to skip a delivery if needed. Lastly, in your first box, along with your fresh food you also receive some storing tips. Knowing that the average sized family of four throws out nearly $1,600 worth of produce annually, I think we can all use some storing tips! All boxes after that come with a fun recipe.

Imperfect Produce
There is nothing imperfect about this produce!

No, I do not work for Imperfect Produce, I just love their mission! Americans are leading the world in food waste and we need more businesses out there looking to make a change!! Unfortunately, this particular company only covers the LA and Bay Area but I am sure if you search hard enough in your area you can find something like this.  A lot of times we just don’t think to look for, it but green businesses are out there! If you are in the Los Angeles or Bay Area and this is something you might want click on the referral link to get a $10 credit

https://www.imperfectproduce.com/register.php?referral=80212

 

Spice Up Your Life!

I am always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly, produce less waste, and save money, In doing so, I am always making new discovieries but my most recent, bulk spices!  Why has it taken me so long to discover this? This is such a simple money saver! The average cost of organic spices is around $3.99 a jar. Just the past two weeks when my spices ran out I have been washing, and saving my jars for grocery day. The first thing I did when I got to Whole Foods was go to customer service where they are always so kind. I had all my spice and mason jars weighed right there and it only took a minute. They just add a little piece of tape to your jar and write how much it weighs on it so when you check out, the cashier knows how much weight to deduct and you’re only paying for the weight of the contents your jar. Here is a list of spices I have purchased bulk lately with their weight and prices.

Can your old spice jars save you money?
Can your old spice jars save you money?
  • Pink Himalayan salt – 9.6oz – $1.19
  • Organic fine ground pepper – 3.8oz – $5.04
  • Organic Cumin – 1.45oz – $1.53
  • Organic Garlic Powder – 2.72oz – $2.55
  • Organic Paprika – 1.92oz – $1.80
  • Crushed Red Chili Flakes – 1.28oz – $0.76

Can your old spice jars save you money?

Although these weights vary, so do the pre-filled spice jars in the grocery store. I found  most of my pre-filled jars state that they contain about 1.2-1.9 oz of product. It’s hard to visualize weight but they all filled up a typical 3 oz capacity spice jar with the exception of salt and pepper which filled up smaller mason jars that hold about 12oz. I have since used some of these spices so some are fuller than others.

I am so excited I no longer have to toss out my spice jars! No more plastic tops and sea salt containers rotting in the landfill, No more wasted labeling, and I get to save a few bucks and you do too!

Are You Still Brushing With Plastic?

Over one billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year, this is enough to circle the earth 4 four times! These toothbrushes end up either overflowing our landfills or polluting our waterways while destructively impacting our ecosystem. Not to mention the greenhouse gases that are produced while making these plastic handles and nylon bristles that take an average 450 years to completely decompose.

Simply switching from plastic to bamboo will help our environment immensely! This purchase can be the start of your journey into a zero waste life. If the phrase “zero waste” sounds like a little too much of a commitment for you, it could just be the start of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Many of us, including myself until a couple of years ago, are blind to how the products we use on a day-to-day basis affects our environment and our health. By making the switch you will be reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals like BPA, PVC, and Phthalate. These are just some of the ingredients found in the typical plastic toothbrush.

Are You Still Brushing with Plastic?

There have been a good amount of bamboo toothbrush companies popping up within the last couple of years. Bamboo is the quickest growing plant on earth and has natural antimicrobial properties, so there is no need to treat this plant with toxic pesticides or fertilizers. It is a pretty awesome, sustainable choice! Bamboo handles are 100% biodegradable but unfortunately sometimes the bristles are not. With that being said, I always recommend reading up on the company before purchasing.  For example, Humble Brush does not state what their bristles are made from but the packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and each purchase goes towards the Humble Smile Foundation which helps fund sustainable projects for children in need of oral care. Brush with Bamboo is a company that uses plant based bristles and compostable packaging along with their bamboo handle and is a certified green business. This company seems to be the most promising choice for bamboo.

We really have a good amount of eco-friendly options here so breaking up with your plastic toothbrush wont be too hard!

 

How Do You Prepare Your Broccoli Stalks?

My entire life I had been limiting myself to the florets of the broccoli, until one day about three years ago I was walking through Trader Joe’s and saw a bag of broccoli slaw. I stood there for a moment and just stared with a big, bright lightbulb floating over my head…I was thinking, “wow, I can make that myself!” I felt enlighten and foolish all at the same time. I realized how much food I had been wasting all these years.

Both the Florets and the stalks have equal amounts of vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The stalks actually being a little bit higher in fiber, stated on the University of Berkeley’s wellness site. But both having a tad bit different consistencies.  Towards the end of the stalk, it seems to get a little bit tougher and stringier, so I always just cut a little bit off the bottom before hand.

How to use your broccoli stalks

 

I have two favorite ways to prepare the stalks. One way is to throw it in my food processor and pulse into smaller pieces to make broccoli rice. You can even toss some cauliflower in there and make a rice blend. The other is to shred the stalks to throw in a salad or slaw.

Broccoli Rice & Slaw

     (left) Broccoli rice (right) Broccoli slaw

Broccoli slawCheck my next blog post for a this fresh and delicious broccoli slaw recipe!

Fall in love with these Guilt Free Potato Chips

Who doesn’t like chips? I don’t know a single person that does not love them. Unfortunately most brands of chips are unhealthy and let’s be honest here, you are paying for a lot of air in that bag. So lets talk about healthy, cheap, and delicious chips.

I made a stew that called for peeled sweet and russet potatoes. So, I peeled my potatoes and made my stew. But I was not going to throw out my peels, no way! The skin of the potato has more nutrients than the interior itself and is loaded with fiber and potassium. This recipe is a simple, awesome snack time treat and is almost free because you were probably going to throw your skins out anyway.  This little trick helps reduce food waste and since these chips aren’t coming from a bag, you’ll be saving space in your trash can.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

     Rinse, then dry your skins, drizzle with a little bit of avocado or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake on 400 for 15-20 mins depending on your preference of crispness. You can even get adventurous if you like and sprinkle some cumin or paprika for extra flavor.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

  • Potato skins
  • drizzle of avocado or coconut oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

*Organic ingredients preferred

Enjoy your next snack!

DIY Loose Finishing Powder

DIY Loose Powder

What if I said you could make your own finishing powder out of food? Yes, that’s right! More specifically out of items you find in the baking and spice isle of your local grocer. This three ingredient make-up will leave your face looking, smelling, and even tasting good.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and has the ability to absorb everything you put on it.”Under the law,cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.” This was sited from the FDA website that I will provide a link for if anyone is interested in reading further. Also, Huffington Post put out an article last year stating the average women puts about 515 synthetic chemicals on their body a day without even knowing. These are just some of the facts that are incredibly worrisome to me. this is why it is extremely important to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, colors, fragrances, and preservatives found in most beauty and hygiene products.

My rule of thumb is if you can’t or won’t eat it then you should not put it on your body. This is why I took myself to the kitchen to see what I could come up with!

Making your own products is also eco-friendly. Some grocery stores have spices and flours in bulk. Bring your own reusable bags if you can. I also continue to use the same glass jar every time I make a batch so not having to throw out plastic every time I need new makeup reduces trash.

We all have a different yet beautiful complexions, due to this I can only provide the base of the recipe. As everyone’s measurements will be different, you will have to have fun and play with the amounts of the ingredients to match your skin.

*Organic ingredients preferred

-Arrowroot powder
-Cocoa Powder
-Cinnamon

https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceRegulation/LawsRegulations/ucm074162.htm#Does_FDA_approve

DIY 3 Ingredient Multipurpose Cleaner

Yes, you read right, only 3 ingredients! Vinegar, orange peels, and water. Vinegar being the main ingredient is such an inexpensive and non-toxic alternative to multipurpose cleaners. It is used very often in my home due to its effectiveness and versatility.  With that being said, we all know vinegar does not smell the best by itself. The orange peels really help with a clean, fresh citrus scent.

I made breakfast smoothies for my family over the weekend and had peels from two oranges left over. In the event you have peels from lemons and limes, feel free to throw them in. The batch you make is subjective to the amount of peels you have left over. Good rule of thumb, is a 1:1 ratio, one cup of vinegar per one medium-sized orange. The batch pictured is two cups of vinegar and peels from two oranges.

  

This recipe does require some patience, the peels will need to soak in the vinegar for 2 weeks. After your peels have soaked, strain the vinegar into your reusable cleaning bottle. I use old recycled glass kombucha bottles that I purchased a spray top for. But you can use whatever works best for you.

Now, it is time to dilute your orange infused vinegar with water, the amount of water depending on the size batch you make but always 50/50, water to vinegar. If you soaked two cups of vinegar then add two cups of water to your batch. Once you have soaked, strained and diluted your vinegar you are ready to start spring cleaning.

DIY Citrus Cleaner

2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
Peels from 2 oranges

BOGO Green Onions

Because who doesn’t love a good buy one get one deal? There are tons of cool ways to use your kitchen scraps. One of those ways is by regrowth. Green onions is probably one of the easiest scraps that you can regrow considering all you need is a jar, water, and some sunlight. When you have used your onions, leaving about an inch and a half at the bottom just toss them in a bowl or jar with about an inch of water and put them outside or in a sunny window.

Regrowing Green Onions

     I recommend giving your onions fresh water every few days. In my experience if you let the onions grow in murky water they tend to have a slightly murky flavor rather than the fresh crisp flavor you are looking for in a green onion. Give your onions about 2 weeks and voila`

Regrowing Green Onions

     Although these onions will keep regrowing over and over I suggest only regrowing them once. Each time you regrow your onions they get slightly thinner with less flavor and less nutrients, so in my opinion they are only good for one regrow. But hey, you still got 2 bunches of green onions for the price of one, enjoy!