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How to Reduce Food Waste

Food waste is a big problem that is costing us a lot of money and is bad for our planet. There are some easy ways to reduce this waste and save money.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

In the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted! That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person, per month. Not only does that waste contribute to pollution, it also is wasting us a lot of money.


Things like meal planning, labeling and dating leftovers, planning your shopping trips, and even once a month grocery shopping can help prevent food waste.

There are so many other great tips to help you reduce food waste. Below are some bloggers’ top tips. They are sure to help you stop the food waste and save money.

Top Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

We’ve all had lettuce go bad. Sometimes it seems like the day after you bring it home it’s already going bad. Victoria at A Modern Homestead used to deal with this issue but not anymore. She learned a tip that can help keep lettuce fresh for up to 5 weeks.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Merissa at Little House Living shares a lot of great tips for helping make your produce last. Produce is something that gets wasted a lot because of improper storage so be sure you are storing your’s correctly

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

It’s never fun to be craving guacamole and go to the fridge and find it brown and gross. Paula at Dinner with the Rollos find the secret to keeping guacamole green longer and it’s simple!

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

No one likes a soft apple but don’t throw them out just yet. Habiba from Craftify My Life has an apple sauce recipe for using up old apples.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

All food waste is bad but there is something extra sad about throwing away desserts that have gone bad. Thankfully Jennifer at The Jenny Evolution has tips on freezing cookies and desserts.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

You don’t even have to waste your citrus peels. They are great for cleaning your garbage disposal. Over on Retro Housewife Goes Green you can learn how to deep clean your garbage disposal with citrus peels.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

You can also use lemons that are past their prime for cleaning. Bren at Bren Did has 15 all-natural homemade lemon cleaning products that are perfect for those lemons you need to use up.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Another way to prevent wasting lemons and limes is by juicing them and freezing the juice. Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen shares how to properly freeze fresh lemon and lime juice. She also has great tips for freezing fresh basil.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Did you know you can also freeze kiwi? Stock up when they are in season and freeze them for smoothies later. Pam at Sidewalk Shoes shares an easy way to freeze kiwi.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Garlic scapes are a food that is often wasted before we can ever end up with it. They are often cut off to allow the garlic bulb to grow larger. If you garden or can find some at a farmers’ market Ellen at Confessions of an Overworked Mom has some tips for preserving garlic scapes.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

What about once you have cut fresh fruit, can you still keep it fresh? Yes, there are ways to prolong the life of cut fresh fruit as well. Kim at Two Kids and a Coupon has great tips for keeping cut fruit fresh.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Did you know you can also freeze milk? Spoiled milk isn’t something any of us want to deal with so Victoria at A Modern Homestead shares how you can freeze milk and thaw it perfectly.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

If you have chickens or just don’t always get around to eating all of your eggs, you may be wondering what you can do to avoid wasting them. Karrie at Happy Money Saver shares how you can freeze eggs.

When Food Does Go Bad

Even following the above tips you will likely end up with some food that is forgotten. For non-animal products the best way to deal with this is by composting. It helps keep more food waste out of the landfill and creates useful compost that can be used in food or flower gardens.

Helpful Composting Supplies


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Natural Red, White, and Blue Recipes

It’s almost 4th of July. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family, and of course eat some delicious food. These red, white, and blue recipes are not only delicious but are natural and dye-free. You don’t have to feel as guilty with these treats!

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

It’s fun to make red,white, and blue themed food for patriotic holidays and parties but that often means a lot of artificial dyes. Artificial dyes have been linked to behavioral issues in children and a host of other health concerns.


You can still have fun themed treats without all of the dyes. These treats use natural dyes and ingredients that are naturally red, white, and blue. They are perfect for any patriotic parties like 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc…

Natural Red, White, and Blue Recipes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Fun Red, White, and Blue Supplies


Encourage healthy eating habits for your kids by teaching them how to cook. The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse can help your kids learn the skills they need to eat and cook healthy food.

Organic Food on a Budget

Eating organic food doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget. 

Eating organic food doesn't have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget.

Eating organic food is better for us and the planet. Organic food is grown without harmful pesticides and usually is better for the environment. Some studies have shown some organic food to have higher nutritional value as well.

Cost is often what stands in people’s way when they want to eat more organic food. While organic food doesn’t always cost more it often does. While the increased cost may be worth it not everyone is in a place where they can add the added cost to their budget.

As organic food has become more popular the cost is down and there are more ways to save. Now more people can afford to add organic food into their budget.

How to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

  • Eat at home more often. This will help you save overall as eating out can be very expensive. This is also better for your health.
  • Buy grains in bulk. Stores like Native Roots Market, Whole Foods, and Sprouts have a great selection of bulk foods.
  • Eat less meat. Meat can be very expensive and most of us eat too much of it. You don’t have to go vegetarian just try adding more meatless meals to your diet. One great way to do this is, Meatless Monday.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen to find what produce is most important to buy organically.
  • Eat seasonally. Produce is cheaper when it’s in season so learn to eat in season produce. Frozen fruits and veggies are a good choice when the food is out of season in your area.
  • Be careful not to waste food. American’s waste around 27 percent of the food available for consumption. Making sure you aren’t throwing away food will help you save. Meal planning is one way you can reduce waste.
  • Grow your own food. You don’t have to have farm land to grow your own food. Even a few pots with some favorite produce can help you save.
  • Check out local CSA’s, farmer’s markets and co-ops. You can often get better prices by going straight to the source.
  • Buy less packaged food. Packaged food almost always costs more than making it yourself. This also helps cut down on waste.
  • Use coupons. There are a fair number of coupons out there for organic food. Check out Saving with Organic Coupons for more.
  • Use apps to save money. There are some great apps that you can submit your receipt to and earn cash back. It’s a great way to save a little extra money.
  • Use online services like Thrive Market and Amazon Prime Pantry to find good deals on organic food.

Following these tips can help you buy more organic food without breaking your budget. Do you have any tips to share on saving on organic food? If so please share them in the comments below.

Eat Local and Support Local Stillwater Farms

Eating local is made easy with 1907 Meat Company in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

Eat Local and Support Local Stillwater Farms with 1907 Meat Company

Eating and buying locally grown foods has many benefits.  It supports local farms and helps the regional economy. Many of us look to local farmers markets or stands to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. But where do you find or buy your local meat? In Stillwater, 1907 Meat Company, a whole animal butcher shop and restaurant, is working with local ranches to offer locally grown beef, pork, lamb, and chicken.


Eat Local and Support Local Stillwater Farms with 1907 Meat Company

On a recent trip to Stillwater, I stopped in at 1907 Meat Company to talk with owner Adam Gribben about his business and learn more about how he is working within his community to offer locally grown products that customers want. I even sampled a few items off the lunch menu that will have me returning again and again.

Adam is an OSU graduate who recently returned to the area. He opened 1907 Meat Company to reconnect people with local farmers and locally made products. He wanted to focus on food transparency because customers are demanding it. He said,

“We tell the truth. You know where it comes from, what’s in it, or what’s not in it, because there’s nothing in it. It’s meat from an animal that was raised on a farm that you can go visit.”

Eat Local and Support Local Stillwater Farms with 1907 Meat Company

 

The shop works closely 22 local ranchers to produce beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. Every animal is humanely raised, pasture fed, and finished on grain and grass. They use a local processor and an in-house butcher, Chad Smith who is a 3rd generation butcher. The shop is involved in every step.

In addition to locally sourced meat, you can find fresh local produce from Bear Creek Farms that is delivered fresh produce to the shop weekly. You can often find him and other local farmers in the shop. That’s the beauty of this local shop. It is connecting the community is so many ways.

Eat Local and Support Local Stillwater Farms with 1907 Meat Company

Because this is a whole animal butcher shop, you can get hard to find tongue, lard, heart, and more. Leftover bones are smoked and available for dog treats. Products are also rotated out of the meat case and offered in the restaurant. Executive Chef Matt Buechele creates a unique daily menu for breakfast and lunch Tuesday thru Saturday and Brunch on Sunday. When we were in town, we went for both Saturday lunch and Sunday Brunch. My favorite thing has to be the Short Rib Hash with potatoes, peppers, onions, and two eggs. I mean there isn’t a word in that title I don’t love. Everything on the menu is equally as delicious.

Eating and buying local is a win for the consumer, grower, and the community. Reconnect with your local farmers and ranchers to taste the Made in Oklahoma products today.

Organic Milk: Not As Healthy As You Think?

Think all organic milk is healthy? It may not be as healthy as you think.

Is organic milk as healthy as you think? It may not be.

Did you know that most cartons of organic milk have an average shelf life of 6 months, no refrigeration required? Gratitude for this amazing shelf life belongs to a process called UHT or ultra-high temperature pasteurization. While milk pasteurization has been around for over a hundred years, UHT has only been commercially used since the 1970s. The consequences of UHT on organic milk (or any milk) are questionable.


Pasteurization is a heating process, legally mandated in any milk being shipped across state lines, to kill harmful bacteria. States also have laws about whether or not pasteurization is required for in-state sales. Pasteurization was implemented during a time when thousands of people were dying from diseases carried by milk. While several different pasteurization methods exist, two are most common:  high temperature short time (HTST) or flash and UHT.

HTST Pasteurization Method

Milk is heated to 161 degrees F for atleast 15 seconds. It kills harmful bacteria but leaves good probiotic bacteria. HTST ensures that your milk is fresher and likely, more local than UHT milk as its expiration date is much shorter.[i]

UHT Pasteurization Method

This method heats milk to 280 degrees F for 2 seconds. UHT quickly kills 100 percent of bacteria in milk, even the good ones. Milk that has undergone UHT often tastes “burnt.” Furthermore, the UHT process requires more energy than the HTST method. Using UHT method, it is also possible to reheat any unsold/unopened milk and place them back on the store shelf.[ii]

Controversy exists whether or not UHT is actually a beneficial process to keeping our milk healthy and safe. Some research claims that the nutrients that are killed through the UHT process are not necessary for human health. However, what is known is that yogurt or keffir cannot be made from UHT milk, but it can be made from HTST milk, implying that certain healthy bacteria are only present in HTST processed milk.  It is also important to keep in mind that much of the organic milk is packaged in a non recyclable container. Milk companies will state that consumers are demanding milk with longer shelf life for convenience. It is up to us to demand otherwise.

Want to know which brands of organic milk don’t use UHT? Thanks to research by the Sweet Beet blog, we have a list of milk producers, but always make sure you read the labels first before purchase.

Brands that don’t use UHT
Natural by Nature

Brands that use both HTST and UHT (read the label): 
Horizon
Organic Valley
Whole Foods 365 Organic



[i] If you want to find out where your milk is from, find the code on your milk and use this website Where is my Milk from?

[ii] Controversy exists whether or not this is actually happening, but research has been conducted on reheating milk using the UHT method. See Cattaneo, S., Masotti, F., & Pellegrino, L. (2008). Effects of overprocessing on heat damage of UHT milk. Eur Food Res Technology, 226, 1099-1106.Sources

  1. CDC. (2013) Raw Milk Questions and Answers.
  2. The Sweet Beet
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica
  4. Food Renegade
  5. Locavore Del Mundo

 

Getting to Know Your Meat

Get to Know Your Meat

Have you ever stopped to think about where your meat comes from? The USDA says that roughly 8-20 percent of U.S. meat supplies come from foreign sources, but also said that only the portions that are imported directly as meat are obvious.

“While it is relatively easy to track the amount of meat imported by the U.S. (2.1 billion pounds of beef and 0.8 billion pounds of pork in 2011) and the number of livestock that enter the U.S. (2.1 million cattle and 5.8 million hogs in 2011), it is more difficult to estimate the amount of meat produced in the United States from animals that originated abroad. ERS estimates derived using data on imported livestock by weight category and assumptions about animal growth patterns and the timing of production from imported animals show the share of domestic production attributed to foreign-born animals is significant and trending upward.” – How Much U.S. Meat Comes From Foreign Sources?


We have become very disconnected from our meat. Food blogger and author, Jamie Schler wrote on the Huffington Post about going shopping with her French husband in the U.S., this was his first trip the States.

“He glanced over the display: perfectly aligned Styrofoam platters each holding a perfectly cut, sliced and trimmed steak, chop or burger, each as gorgeously and evenly red as a fine bottle of Bordeaux. Clear plastic stretched across the surface of each piece of meat, displaying to, yes, perfection the item now shiny and smooth, as shiny and smooth as the waxed apples and eggplants over in the produce section. My husband turned to me, shaking his head in disappointment, and said, “You Americans really do not want to know that you are eating an animal, do you?”- This Little Piggy Went to Market: Where Does Your Meat Come From?

And he is right. Ask most Americans where the meat they are eating came from and they will tell you a name of a grocery store, and that’s all the information they can give you because that’s all they know. And chances are, we don’t really want to know where the meat came from or how it got to our grocery stores.

“It’s one thing to pick your own strawberries or buy green beans and fresh corn at the local Farmers’ Market, but it’s very different when you talk about where that New York Strip Steak or pork loin came from.  Do you want to have the conversation about the way chickens are raised before they are braised in your Le Creuset Dutch oven?  Probably not.  As Allison Bryant told me, “If you knew how those chickens were raised, you would probably eat more red meat.”- Honor the Animal

Is it possible to break away from this American habit of not knowing what we are eating? Yes it is, and it’s not as hard as you may think.  Buying local meat not only helps you have connection with your meat, it also helps our local economy. A much larger amount of the money you spend on local food will stay in the community and help strengthen it. It’s also likely safer because a lot of meat bought in grocery stores can contain meat from multiple animals making it hard to track if there is a problem. Local meat means you can also make sure that the meat is raised in a way that meets your standards.

You can find local meat in many places around the state. Locally owned natural food stores, like Native Roots Market in Oklahoma City, often stock local meat and can let you know where it came from if you want to know more about it. Even some chains around the state have local meat at times. Farmer’s markets and straight from the farms is another great way to get local meat. And one of the best ways to buy local meat is the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. All of the food they sell is local and they always disclose where the food came from and give you information about the farms. When you order from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative you know you are helping support Oklahoma’s farmers and ranches

As food recalls become more and more common, maybe it’s time to take cue from the French and get to know our food a little better.

 

Thanksgiving with the Oklahoma Food Coop

thanksgiving with the oklahoma food coop

Thanksgiving will be here soon and the Oklahoma Food Coop has many great items available to help make your meal delicious. Shopping at the Oklahoma Food Coop also allows you to help support local Oklahoma farmers and businesses.

There are lots of free range turkeys now available from the coop. They range in size from 6.61 pounds to 15.49 pounds.


rolls

Don’t want to have to make rolls but would like warm rolls? Try warming one of the many great roll options available from the coop. There are whole wheat and white options.

pumpkin puree

Want to make some pumpkin desserts? Try the pumpkin puree made from Oklahoma pumpkins from Backyard Bounty Bakery.

sweet potatoes

You will find sweet potatoes from several Oklahoma farms or sweet potato puree from Backyard Bounty Bakery, great for Thanksgiving sides.

green beans

Making a green bean casserole? Try the green beans from Wagon Creek Creamery.

pumpkin pie

There are many great pies to choose from, including pumpkin pie from Backyard Bounty Bakery.

There are many other great items available from the Oklahoma Food Coop this month and orders are open now. Orders close November 13th and will be delivered on November 20th. Get your order in soon to be sure to get all of the goodies available for Thanksgiving.

10 Perfect Fall Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkinrecipes

It’s fall and time for pumpkins! Here are some great recipes using real pumpkin for you to try out this fall.

sausagepumpkinsoup
Spicy Sausage Pumpkin Soup

pumpkinchocbars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

saltedcaramelpumpkinmuffins

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Muffins

Roasted-Pumpkin-Seed-Hummus-5

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus

oatmealpumpkincreme

Oatmeal Pumpkin Creme Pies 

pumpkin-spice-latte

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte 

Pumpkin-Flatbread-FoodieCrush-021

Pumpkin and Fried Sage Flatbread

curriedpumpkin

Curried Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

pumpkinchickenchiliPF-1024x638
Pumpkin Chicken Chili 

Pumpkin-ButterWB

Whipped Pumpkin Butter

Celebrate National Coffee Day in Oklahoma

coffee day

Today is National Coffee Day. It may surprise you but there are several great coffees roasted right here in Oklahoma. Here are just a few of the great locally roasted coffees available in Oklahoma.

primacafe

PrimaCafe is roasted in Oklahoma City. They offer a wide range of organic and Fair Trade coffees.

mariposa coffee

Mariposa Coffee Roastery is located in Norman. They are committed to fighting social injustice and helping bring clean water to those in need.

KAF Roasters

KAF Roasters is located in Tulsa. They produce organic and Fair Trade coffee.

These locally roasted coffees not only taste great they are environmental friendly, support the local community, and help to end some of the social injustices in the coffee industry.


They are available at many natural and local grocery stores and online. You can also buy KAF and Mariposa through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Check the the roasters websites for more information on where to buy these great coffees.

What’s your favorite locally roasted coffee? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page

Field Peas with Ham

Field Peas with Ham - Little Family Adventure - Simple Field Peas cooked with Ham. It's Southern Comfort at its best. #glutenfree #paleo #cleaneating

This winter, I picked up a few things from local producers, Cattle Tracks and Rowdy Stickhorse Wild Acres. Both are family farms here in Oklahoma. I wanted to introduce you to these great local farms and share with you a tasty dish I made with their products. I created Field Peas with Ham with Dried Field Peas from Cattle Tracks and Ham Hocks from Rowdy Stickhorse. Simple, tasty, and great for this winter that just won’t end.

Cattle Tracks/John’s Farm 

A family owned farm in Fairview, Oklahoma. They are Certified organic, non-GMO project verified, Animal Welfare Approved farm. They offer beef, wheat, flour, seasonings, and beef jerky. They have numerous retail locations around the state. I order their products through both the Oklahoma Food Co0op and at the OSU-OKC Farmers Market on the 1st Saturday of the month. 

Rowdy Stickhorse Wild Acres

A certified naturally grown family farm located outside of Covington Oklahoma. They offer Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat, Eggs, Bird Feed, Goats milk herbal products (Soaps, Creams, and Laundry Powder, etc.) I have also ordered from them through the Oklahoma Food Co-op and the Oklahoma Farm to Fork Market truck. This truck is an old yellow school bus that travels the state of Oklahoma (on a schedule).  A group of Oklahoma farmers gathers together to bring you farm fresh, clean food directly form theirs farms to you. You can find everything from local meat, cheese, bakery items, fruits, vegetables, canned goods, and household items like laundry soap with goat’s milk. I usually pick up at Mercy’s Heart Hospital North on Memorial in Oklahoma City Thursday afternoons.

Cooking Peas and Beans


The field peas from Cattle Tracks/John’s Farm were a combination of organic Black-eyes, Victors, Chinese Reds, Red Rippers. With any dried bean or pea, soaking overnight in water is the preferred method to remove make them easier to digest . You could also do the rapid soak method of bringing the peas to a rapid boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. 

Dried peas and beans can cause some to get a little gassy. I add a 2″ x 2″ square of dried kelp (seaweed) to all my beans and peas to help eliminate the “toot”. It doesn’t add any flavor to the dish and is removed before serving. You can pick it up at most large grocery stores or any Asian market. I get mine at Cao Nguyen on Military and NW 26th in Oklahoma City.

This dish, Field Peas with Ham is a simple and delicious dish I know you are goingto enjoy. Serve it with cornbread, corn tortillas, or try something different with my Irish Soda Bread.

Field Peas with Ham 

1 pound dried peas
3 cups chicken broth + water to cover peas
1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin
2″x 2″ piece of dried kelp, optional

Garnish: freshly chopped cilantro, optional

Directions:

  1. Soak peas overnight.
  2. Drain peas and place them in a large Dutch oven. Add fresh water to cover them by 2″.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Remove ham bone or ham hocks, kelp, and bay leaf. 
  6. Once ham has cooled enough to work with, remove the meat and return to the peas.
  7. Spoon peas into individual serving bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired and serve.

Have you purchased anything from either of these two Oklahoma farms? What have you enjoyed?

 

For more great recipes and family related articles, be sure to check out my website, Little Family Adventure.