Tips for a Waste-Free Thanksgiving

1. Downsize the Turkey

We’re not turkey eaters anymore, but obviously a lot of people are. When we did eat turkey, we always got one that was too big and ended up throwing away at least half of it. Either we couldn’t eat it all and it ended up going bad in the back of the fridge, or we’d freeze it and forget about it until it was covered in freezer burn. Whichever way our leftovers went bad, it was just a super sad situation. If you don’t have too many people, there’s no requirement to roast a whole turkey. You can roast a chicken, or if you really want turkey, you can just pan roast a breast.

2. Amp up the Veggies

If you’re not wedded to turkey, you can also just make a million sides. Let’s be real: the sides are the best part of Thanksgiving! We get our vegetables from Hungry Harvest, so we avoid waste by rescuing produce that’s too ‘ugly’ for stores (but honestly, most of the produce is perfect). We find out what we’re getting a few days in advance, and then we plan how to make the most of our box. Last year we made mashed potatoes, corn pudding, green beans, sweet potato gratin, fried brussels sprouts, and the obligatory cranberry sauce. Since we were using the produce we would have gotten anyway, we also didn’t spend any extra money for our Thanksgiving feast.

3. Save your scraps

We keep a bag tucked in the freezer door to save veggie scraps. Once it’s full, we put the scraps in a big pot, cover them with water, add herbs and garlic to taste, and simmer on super low for a few hours until we have a perfect veggie stock. You can use the stock right away or freeze it to use later. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to do this, and you can even throw scraps in the slow cooker and have stock ready in time to make gravy. If you have a turkey, do this the next day with turkey bones instead of veggie scraps.

4. Leftovers Can be for Anytime

I know some people don’t love leftovers. It definitely gets old eating the same meal over and over again for a week. That can drive anyone to give up and order a regrettable amount of Chinese food that just makes the leftover problem worse (not that we’re speaking from experience, we just heard this from a friend). One way to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers so they still feel fresh and fun is to have them for breakfast. Toss some turkey in an omelet, make mashed potatoes into cakes and top them with a poached egg, or make one of our favorites: sweet potato pancakes topped with cranberry sauce. Just pop ¾ c mashed sweet potatoes with 1 ½ c pancake mix, 2 T oil, and 1 c. water.

We hope these tips help you and your family and friends have a beautiful zero-waste Thanksgiving! Keep the tips coming and let us know how you’ll fight food waste this holiday!

Friday Links – 9/15/2017

Just a small sampling of what we’re reading over the weekend.

Are you a vegetarian or vegan, but miss bacon? Give this eggplant bacon from The First Mess a shot. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s a lot better than I ever would have expected.

These Mexi Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers from Sprouted Kitchen look so delicious that I’m actually angry that I’m not eating them right now.

Finally, a couple of recipes that are all about countering food waste. One of our own anti-food waste recipes is our no-waste curry, which is super tasty. But for real, food waste costs real people real money, and puts extra strain on our food system. Where you can, try to cut food waste out of your life.

The Karate Kids

We like to try to introduce the kids to new, fun activities when we can. Over the summer they did soccer and had a great time with it. We also did swimming lessons at the Y. They enjoy doing yoga with mommy. This time we wanted to mix it up, so we asked them if they wanted to do karate.

It was only after a few days of them going absolutely nuts at the prospect that we realized they had no idea what karate actually was. Parenting includes some unforeseen pitfalls, like presuming your kids know what they’re talking about.

This week they had their second class together, and Google is also telling me it’s actually Tae Kwon Do. I mean, I guess at their age it’s not technically anything other than barely controlled chaos, but they have a lot of fun doing it.

Watson takes a little while to warm up, and then once he does, he gets really into everything and doesn’t want to leave. Vivian wants to hold my hand through everything, even exercises where she’s supposed to use the hand I’m holding to punch something. And poor Freddy’s just along for the ride, grumbling as I lug him around while helping the older two with their class.

It’s a challenge to wrangle three young kids at a martial arts class by myself, but the instructors are really helpful, and Watson’s friend’s parents help out too, and the kids make it really a joy even when it’s frustrating and hard.

This Week’s Hungry Harvest

We like to take a nice picture of our Hungry Harvest vegetable spread each week, and this week’s was beautiful. Cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, Anaheim peppers, endives, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, spring greens, green beans, broccolini, and eggplant (including the biggest eggplant we’ve ever seen!

If you’re interested in Hungry Harvest, click our referral link and you and we both will get a little discount!

Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Improvise

Sometimes you have grand plans to feed your kids some nice healthy vegan shepherds’ pie when you get home. You’ll let the kids play together and then put them down for a peaceful bedtime, and relax for a few minutes, proud of the parenting you’ve done.

But then sometimes your car breaks down before you get home and you just have to thank your lucky stars that you’re right next to a pizza place.

Eating Local – Baltimore Breakfast

We’re not natives to Baltimore (actually, our kids are, which is sort of weird to think about), but we’ve fallen in love with a lot about it. It’s a scrappy city with a lot of character and a lot of great food. We like to eat local when we can, and Baltimore gives us a lot of great healthy options.

First up is Zeke’s Coffee, a small batch Baltimore coffee roaster. Zeke’s is everywhere here, and it’s not just because they’re local. They roast a mean bean, they source sustainably, and they make a whole bunch of different varieties to cater to individual tastes. This week we were feeling like the world needed some peace, love, and understanding, so we went with the Hippie Blend. Neither of us knows enough to speak super knowledgeably about taste, but we can say with confidence that Twin Peaks‘s Agent Dale Cooper would think it was a damn fine cup of coffee.

Next up, Michele’s Granola. In keeping with the hippie theme, we went with Ginger Hemp flavor. Michele’s is a local granola maker based in Timonium, just north of Baltimore. Their products are eco-friendly and healthy delicious, and come in a pretty wide variety of flavors. Every one we’ve had has been a crunchy bit of delight to add to some yogurt in the morning, or even just on its own as a snack.

Any local food that you enjoy, either local to Baltimore or wherever you are? Let us know!

Happy weekend

Since it’s Friday we thought we’d share a couple links to what healthy food we’re cooking up this weekend, a fun article, and a recipe for a favorite cocktail!

This looks like the perfect Saturday breakfast as we head towards fall and start to see more fresh apples headed our way.

We saw these tacos and knew that they had to happen.

We’ve been struggling with too much zucchini this summer and this seems like the ideal solution.

As a fruitcake lover, this kind of delights me.

As for the cocktail, we did sort of a cross between a Bee’s Knees and a Sidecar, so maybe we could call it…Motorcycle Hornet? We’ll work on it. Anyway, we wanted to use some of our local Baltimore liquors for this one, and it turned out pretty well!

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Shot Tower Gin

1.5 oz Sloop Betty Honey Vodka

1.5 oz Triple Sec

Juice of 1 lemon

Superfine sugar

Directions:

Full shaker halfway with ice. Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain into martini glasses rimmed with superfine sugar. Treat yo’self.

Play Dates and Finding Friends

Both of us hated dating and neither of us was very good at it. It’s awkward, exhausting, and you constantly feel like you’re trying to impress people. We were so glad to find each other and never have to date again.

We were wrong.

Arranging play dates with other parents is just like dating. Our kids love the other kids at daycare, and we want them to be able to have some one on one time with their friends on the weekends. Kind of like how you see a person at work all week, but you never really talk until you grab coffee or brunch on Saturday.

We see other parents at school events and birthday parties, but first you have to figure out which kids your kids really like and which ones your kid only tolerates. Then you start talking to the other parents, and you have to figure out a way to bring it up, and that’s exactly like asking someone on a date, right down to the butterflies in the stomach. If the other parent tells you they’re just really busy all the time or they’ll get back to you eventually, it’s just the worst. It’s rejection.

This doesn’t even get into the land mines of conversation once a play date is arranged! Do you bring up current events? Can you be sure they won’t say something you find abhorrent politically? What if, God forbid, their taste in films and television leaves something to be desired?

It’s something of a minefield, but we’ve gotten lucky and we’ve gotten a bit more used to it. Now we just need to figure out how to escape the nagging guilt about not play dating exclusively.

Eating Local – A Trip to the Baltimore Farmers’ Market

We’ve been trying as hard as we can to put money into our local economy with our purchases. Sometimes financial concerns make that hard, but it’s something we believe in. The Farmers’ Market is a great way to get healthy local food, and Baltimore has got a really great one. This weekend we stopped by to get some great fresh, local food, and we used it all to make ourselves a healthy, tasty vegan meal. We’ll put the recipe up tomorrow. For now, here’s a preview of the beautiful food we used to assemble our meal.

Heirloom tomatoes, Italian basil, local semolina bread, bell peppers, lobster mushrooms, olive oil, nuts, and wine. If you’ve got a guess as to what we made with all this, let us know. Tune back in tomorrow for the recipe!