Tag Archive | Food

Food Waste Friday 8/9/2013

FoodWasteFriday ย This week I so wanted to have a “no waste” week. I wasn’t fully successful, but I’m not too disappointed with my efforts. I had to throw away some cherry tomatoes that were icky and a couple of slices of home made bread that smelled sour when I took them out of the bag. Some small eggplants from the garden may not make it. I’m going to try to use them today. A small amount of buttermilk that was out dated and a small amount of milk that was out dated. We really should have used that up! We were really good about using up several leftovers this week. How did you do with your food waste?

If you are interested in helping to do your part in not wasting food, join us and The Frugal Girl . You can even get her nifty logo to link up with her. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just click the logo above.


How to make your own Vanilla Extract

How to make your own Vanilla Extract

Some people use vanilla extract in passing. Some people use it like it’s going to go bad tomorrow. I’m the latter. Since I’ve started making my own vanilla yogurt and homemade granola I am using more vanilla extract up than I really thought possible. So, I thought that it would probably be prudent to just make it myself and save a fair amount of money. ๐Ÿ™‚
To buy an “inexpensive” store brand 2 oz. bottle of vanilla extract I recently spent $5.49.
Today I spent $8.79 on the vanilla beans and $13.26 on a 750M bottle of Fris Vodka. Which is the least expensive bottle I found at our local package store. Total = $22.05.
750M is about 26 oz. So, let’s do the math. (I am a math teacher after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) If I bought 26 oz. of vanilla extract at $5.49/2 oz. then I would spend $71.37!!!! OMG So, basically I am saving $49.32 making my own.

Steps to saving nearly $50.


  • Select an inexpensive bottle of vodka and some vanilla beans. The recommended ratio is 3 beans per cup of vodka. I only have 2 beans, so I may go get some more to add to the bottle.
  • Slice the beans in half length wise to expose all of the yumminess inside.IMG_20130802_164646
  • Add the beans to the bottle and shake it up. At least once a week give the bottle another shake. After 2 months it should be ready to use. You can see the little flecks of vanilla floating after I shook the bottle up here.IMG_20130802_164847

I think I can handle that! ๐Ÿ™‚ I added a label so that nobody would think this was available for evening cocktails.

Food Waste Friday…Not too bad this week.

FoodWasteFriday I had a better week than last week on the food waste front.

Thrown Away:

  • a little lettuce from the garden
  • a little tuna salad that didn’t get eaten
  • a few slices of homemade bread that started to mold
  • some cherry tomatoes from the garden
  • a little milk that was out of date


  • Some really ripe bananas were sliced and topped with peanut butter for a snack
  • Some left overs were eaten up

How did you fare this week with food waste?

A Shameful Waste

FoodWasteFriday This is my first week participating in the Food Waste Friday (albeit a day late). I was really dreading my confession time. I had to throw out a lot of things…though I did have some good saves too.

Thrown out:

2 cabbages that had soured, a small bag of collards, a couple of small eggplants, 2 tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes (all these from the garden). I also ย threw away 1/2 a container of salsa that I’d gotten from Sam’s Club that we didn’t care for, some black bean and corn salsa that I’d been eating on for a week, 1/2 a jar of homemade strawberry syrup that looks like a spot of mold got on it, 1/2 a carton of whipping cream (out of date), 2 slices of Swiss cheese that were suspicious, and worst of all 2 quarts of home made yogurt that is too grainy because I overheated the milk. *sigh* ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s shameful all this waste!


A very ripe tomato was sliced and added to dinner plates one night, a couple of very ripe bananas were topped with peanut butter for a snack, some salad lettuces from the garden were on the verge of going that were saved by having dinner salads, some black beans were frozen for later use, some home made rolls were processed into bread crumbs and frozen for later use. Some celery was diced and frozen for later use. I did use up 2 flour tortillas by making breakfast burritos one morning.

This is bound to be the worst Food Waste Friday I’ll have…I know I can do WAY better than this. If you would like to participate in Food Waste Friday, click on the logo above to get the html code to add to your blog…or just tell us about it here in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Food Waste Friday

FoodWasteFriday In an effort to be more mindful of using up food in the fridge instead of letting it go to waste, I am participating in Food Waste Friday starting this upcoming Friday 7/19/2013. This is where I will post embarrassing pictures of food that I have to throw out. I expect it will force me to rethink throwing it out if I have to be publicly accountable. ย If you want to participate in Food Waste Friday on your blog, just visit The Frugal Girl blog (the link is in the margin on the right, or just click on the logo). She shares the code for this logo and leads the crusade in being more mindful or our food waste.

Canning and Preserving 101

If you have ever wanted to try canning/preserving your own food but were afraid to mess something up and give everyone food poisoning…then this post is for you. Canning is actually pretty easy to do. I’m going to show you how to process using the boiling water bath (bbb) method. This method is only suitable for preserving pickled foods, jams/jellies, tomatoes, and other foods with a high acid content. If you want to can other types of vegetables you will need to process them in the pressure canner, which I will show you how to do in a future post. ๐Ÿ™‚ To start you will need to make sure you have a few supplies on hand. I will need some canning jars, lids, rims, a funnel, canning tongs, and a large pot. I will also use a dutch oven to cook the jam in.

Today I am making a batch of strawberry-kiwi jam. YUMMY! I got this recipe out of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing, and Dehydration.ย This book is a great resource for putting up food. It also gives very nice illustrated directions for exactly what to do each step of the way. It’s available a lot of places that you find canning supplies. I picked this one up at Wal-mart years ago, and I just recently got a newer version with my sister-in-law at Wal-mart again. (I’m not endorsing Wal-mart in any way…I’m just letting you know where I got the book.) Here is the recipe as it is in the book. I am going to adapt this ever so slightly.

Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration

Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration

Strawberry-Kiwi Jam

3 cups crushed strawberries

3 kiwi, peeled and diced

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon minced crystallized ginger

1 package powdered pectin

5 cups sugar

Combine strawberries, kiwi, lemon juice, ginger and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about 6 half-pints.

1. ย  Get water boiling in your canner. I put my jars, lids, and rims in to sterilize while I do this.


2. ย  Gather all of your ingredients. I am using liquid pectin today instead of the powdered. I am also doubling the recipe above, so there is a lot more strawberries and kiwi pictured. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have never used crystallized ginger, I found it in the Asian section at Publix. It really is worth putting in the jam. It comes in little disks of ginger covered in sugar. Just slice and dice them as fine as you can. One or two pieces is equal to about a Tablespoon. I have used fresh lemon, bottle lemon juice, and substituted a little fruit fresh for the lemon in the recipe. Today I happen to have fresh. Another thing to note…my strawberries are pretty ripe. This is going to cause my jam to be more soft set. If you prefer a firmer set to your jam, use fruit that it less ripe. (The olive oil happened to be in the back ground…it is not a part of this recipe.)


3. I put the sugar and ginger in my pot first, then I chop the strawberries and kiwi up and add them on top as I go. Finally I put the liquid pectin in.IMG_20130710_112813

4. I gently stir the mixture until it starts to melt over medium high heat. Then, when the sugar is melted, before it comes to a boil I use a potato masher to crush the fruit.

IMG_20130710_1137065. After you have let it come to a rolling boil, while stirring the whole time, you take it off of the heat immediately. You should gently scoop the pink foam off of the top. Your jam is ready to put into the jars when you see more red than pink foam.

6. Use a funnel and ladle the hot jam into your hot jars. I use the bottom of my funnel as a guide for how high to go. Leave a 1/4″ head space.

7. It is very important to wipe the rims of your jars with a damp cloth before you put the lids on. It helps to seal the jars properly.

8. Carefully put the jars into your boiling water canner. Hopefully the water is boiling by now. You can’t start timing the batch until it is boiling. Since I used pint jars instead of half pints, I added 5 minutes to my processing time. (15 minutes).

IMG_20130710_114511 IMG_20130710_114903 IMG_20130710_115012 IMG_20130710_115350 IMG_20130710_115553 IMG_20130710_121417

9. When the jars are ready to come out of the canner, use the tongs to set them on a folded towel to cool. Listen for them to “pop”. This means that they are sealed. ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Let the jam cool for 12-24 hours. Remove the rings. Wipe the jars off with a damp cloth and use a sharpie to label the jam with the date and type of jam on the lid. Store them in cool dark place.