Waste Not! {Simple recipes out of kitchen items you usually toss!}

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I try to plan my meals and buy only what we need, but it seems like each week for one reason or another, I’m having to toss out food. Annoying, right!?

I’ve come up with a few ways to make sure my family gets the most out of our food AND our budget. I can bet you probably have these items in your kitchen right now. And you may be ready to toss it out.

Bread Crusts {into} Tasty Croutons!

I cut the crusts off the bread each morning and put them into a bag in the freezer. When that is full, I make them into croutons. {Note :: You can also use day old bread that you might otherwise throw out for this recipe.}

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What You Need :: Olive oil, italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, plastic bag, & cookie sheet

What You Do :: Cut up about 4 cups of the crusts into bite size pieces. In a plastic bag, place the bread, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of seasoning. Close the top of the bag and shake well. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven {set to 350*} for about 8 minutes or until nice and crispy brown.

Another great kitchen staple to have around – bread crumbs! Follow the recipe above, but then take the baked croutons and grind them in a food processor. {I put these in the freezer to have on hand for recipes.}

Yogurt, Spinach, and/or Kale {into} Smoothies!

How many times have you tossed out old yogurt or maybe slimy spinach? I love smoothies, so I always have both on hand. So when they are starting to reach the expiration date, I freeze them for later use.

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What You Need :: Blender, ice cube trays, & plastic bags

What You Do :: For spinach and/or kale, I blend it with a little bit of water, pour it into the trays, freeze, and then pop the frozen cubes into a plastic bag.  For yogurt, I just skip the blending step and pour straight into the ice cube trays.  These frozen cubes make the BEST smoothies!

Scraps {into} Fresh Veggies!

Get this. You can regrow certain veggies from scraps you would probably otherwise throw away. How do I know? I DO IT!

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What You Need :: Jars & water

What You Do :: I like to regrow green onions and romaine lettuce, although there are all sorts of veggies you can regrow from scraps. All you do is put the scraps in jars with a little bit of water. It only takes a few days for new sprouts to appear. I usually only use the smaller romaine for sandwich pieces, but regardless – I like the feeling of reusing stuff!

Strawberries {into} Strawberry Chia Seed Jam!

I have been buying strawberries in bulk because they are so cheap right now, and at this point I have enough bags in the freezer for smoothies. So I found another creative way to use strawberries when they get to that “should I toss them?” stage.

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What You Need ::

  • 1 lb of strawberries, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • dash of cinnamon

What You Do :: Mash up strawberries and place in a sauce pan on the stove. Add honey, chia seeds, and cinnamon then cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Put jam in glass container and store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Orange Peels {into} All Purpose Cleaner!

Don’t toss those old orange peels! Here’s one my grandma swears by.

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What You Need :: Vinegar & jar

What You Do :: Just soak the orange peels in white vinegar for about 2 weeks. {I put mine in the sunlight to soak,} The result – a nice smelling cleaner that costs you practically nothing! I use this for countertops and quick cleanups around the house.

It may seem silly to save orange peels or pieces of onion because it’s not like these things are that expensive anyway, right? But for us, it’s fun to stretch our dollar and have a little fun in the kitchen while doing it!  Know any other tips or tricks?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below…

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