10 Tips to Minimize Food Waste and Save Moolah

I’ve been working in professional kitchens for 25+ years

In that time, I’ve learned a lot about food waste and how to avoid it. The restaurant industry is a nickel and dime business. The cost of waste adds up quickly. We try to do whatever we can to save costs, but not only that, to save food. There are millions, if not billions of people in the world who don’t have enough to eat and it’s reckless, irresponsible, and just downright mean, to throw away food.

I’ve put together a quick post here on some simple ways to re-purpose scraps and food that might not be super fresh, but still good. Also some items you might not have thought were usable at all!

1. Save bones for chicken, beef, or fish stock

2. Bake carrot peels into chips, or make carrot pesto

3. Freeze veg scraps for veggie broth or stock

4. Cook spinach (link to spinach w/ lemon and garlic recipe, posts on 11/30)

5. Composting/Fertilizer

6. Natural Dyes for Easter eggs

7. Turn leftovers into a new meal (tacos, stir fry, casseroles, chicken salad, soup)

8. Save old bread for croutons or breadcrumbs – old flat breads such as pita or tortillas can be baked, fried, or air fried, into chips

9. Turn leftover rice into fried rice

10. Turn overripe brown avocado into flourless and fudgy avocado brownies

Remember, when you cook from scratch you know exactly what is going into your body. Have a happy and healthful life!

 

~Thanks for reading
LC

Flourless and Fudgy Avocado Brownies

Avocado stars as the fat substitute for butter is this delicious fudgy brownie! This is also a great way to use up overripe avocados that have begun to oxidize and turn brown. A hint of avocado flavor can be detected. If you want to hide it even more try adding in a 1/4 cup maple syrup or a few tablespoons of molasses.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe or overripe avocado (1/2 cup mashed)
  • 2 whole eggs, large
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • A pinch of fine sea salt

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Grease a 9″ square baking dish and line with parchment paper
  • Peel and pit the avocado
  • In a food processor add in everything but the chocolate chips
  • Process until you have a smooth mixture, scraping the bowl as needed. (This entire process can be done by hand in a single bowl as well, just make sure you mash up the avocado well)
  • Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter into the baking dish
  • Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until there is no “jiggle” left in the dish
  • Set baking dish on a cooling rack and let it cool entirely
  • Cut, serve, enjoy!

Lemon and Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Light, delicate, and healthy, this simple spinach dish can accompany so many things. It goes especially well with fish. It can also be tossed in with pasta.

Yields ~ 1 serving, or 2 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large handful of baby spinach
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, shaved on a mandolin or sliced thin by hand
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2-3 TBS canola oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 TBS EVOO for drizzle (optional)

Method:

  • Heat the canola oil in a saute pan
  • Add the garlic chips to the pan and simmer until golden
  • Remove the garlic and reserve for later
  • Pour out almost all of the canola oil
  • Add in the spinach and juice half the lemon while it’s in the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Flip the pan a few times. You just want to wilt the spinach, not cook it all the way. it only takes a few seconds.
  • Remove from the heat, toss the garlic back in, and flip it around again.
  • Top with lemon zest, squeeze more lemon juice on top if needed.
  • Drizzle with EVOO if desired
  • Enjoy!

Meditation: A Tool for Better Health and Better Life

Meditation is an invaluable tool that has helped me in my journey to a better, healthier life. I haven’t mastered it and I hope I never do. For it’s the practice and learning process that keep me moving and growing.

Like a shower is for cleaning your body, meditation cleans the mind and soul. When I first sit down, getting still is the hardest part. My mind is still racing, full of different thoughts, things I need to do later, things I have done that bother me, things that make me happy, or sad. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, worry, regret, future plans, etc… All this stuff flying around in my head, in no particular order, makes it difficult, but not impossible, to calm my thoughts and feelings.

One thing I’ve come to realize is this: Feelings aren’t Facts.

Meditation helps me to sort out my feelings and thoughts, acknowledge them, learn from them, and let them go.

Carl Jung stated that “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

I acknowledge my thoughts but I don’t dwell on them.

I start by getting into a comfortable position, usually lying flat on my back. I close my eyes and take 20-30 deep breaths breathing in through my nose, and out my mouth. When I first begin, it’s really hard to count. Sometimes I lose count and have to start over, depending on how much junk is flying around up there. Sometimes I imagine the numbers I am counting appear, and then slowly drift away and fade as I count.

Once I get to 30, I stop counting, but continue to breathe deeply. I think about a large piece of white paper. Whenever a different thought pops into my head, I go back to the white paper. Blank. I concentrate on my breathing. How it feels when the air goes in my nose and out my mouth. This process takes as long as it takes until I reach the point where I’m not concentrating so hard.

When junk thoughts enter my mind, another thing I’ll do is imagine those floating up and fading away, like clouds. It takes a lot of practice to get calm, but the end result is well worth the trouble. I come to, feeling refreshed, less stressed, and better equipped to handle life as it comes at me.

I’ll probably never get to the point where I can just turn stress off immediately, but it’s in the practicing where I find the real me and achieve personal growth.

 

~Thanks for reading
LC

 

 

Why I Keep My Trash Can Clean

Emotional garbage can fester and eventually stink up everything around it. Keeping spiritually fit and conducting a daily inventory of my actions, thoughts, and feelings every day is imperative to my overall happiness.

Much like the physical garbage can in my kitchen, my mind and body accumulate trash. Poor eating, poor thinking, and poor actions build up a kind of filmy layer of scum that is much easier to clean and sanitize than if it’s left to rot.

My daily inventory includes reflection and ideas for action. I identify the character defects in play and then look at the opposites.

Resentments, anger, jealousy, condescending thoughts and words, arrogance, hatred, fear, frustration, selfishness, hard-headedness, guilt, sarcasm, hurt pride… These are all things I need to be wary of because these are the things that run me off the rails and into a severe downward spiral if left unchecked.

What are the opposites of these?

Resentment :: Contentment, Happiness

I’ve discovered it is possible to choose joy, live in happiness, and to love and be loved.

Anger :: Calm

Deep breathing exercises and taking the time to re-center myself help with this. Anger and resentments are luxuries I can’t afford.

Jealousy:: Admiration

What can I learn from this person? What do they have I don’t? What is it about them I can emulate to improve myself ?

Condescend:: Respect

It’s important to show people respect even when I don’t like them. I can learn something from someone even if I don’t think they possess the same level of education or experience as I have. At the very least I can learn what not to do, and show them the same courtesy I would to those I actually do respect. Perhaps by setting a good example I’ll be able to be helpful to them

Arrogance :: Humility, Modesty

It helps me to remember we are all human and that mistakes will be made daily. No one is perfect, even me. First I have to learn to give myself a break. When I can forgive myself for my imperfections, it makes it easier to forgive others for theirs.

Hatred :: Love

I don’t have to like everyone, but I have to love them. My sanity and sense of well being depend on it. Hatred is a very heavy load to carry around all the time. It will wear me down in a very short time if I don’t keep it in check. It’s also a lot easier to hate than to love, which is why this is something that requires constant vigilance.

Fear :: Faith, Calmness, Confidence

I connect with my higher power on a daily basis. I ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what it would have me be. I turn over my will to my higher power. When I try to force my will I become disconnected and the fear takes over. Being connected helps me stay calm knowing everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. Even if it’s not the way I think it should be, I have faith that there’s a reason for it.

Frustration :: Satisfaction

This goes hand in hand with fear. When progress is not being made the way I think it should be, I need to look at how I can be helpful instead of looking at how it should’ve gone. Criticizing something that is already done is not helpful and adds to the frustration. Having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way I wanted it to go, helps me achieve the feeling of satisfaction.

Selfishness :: Generosity

‘Tis better to give than to receive. Getting what I want at the expense of others doesn’t make me feel good. Giving to others in need does. Generosity builds confidence, goodwill, and awareness of others. I am not in this world alone. We are all in this together. This is one of the best deodorizers for my “trash can”.

Hard-Headedness :: Realistic

I’ve learned that being right just for the sake of being right, isn’t right. It doesn’t make me feel good in the long run. It creates animosity and is generally unhelpful in every way. Its much more practical and realistic for me to collaborate and hear others thoughts and ideas.

Guilt :: Peace

What’s in the past is done. I can’t go back. I can only try my best to correct my past behavior. Only once I can forgive myself can I move forward.

Sarcasm :: Sincerity, Kindness

A first cousin of anger, sarcasm is the gateway into all the other defects. It’s a very quick way to begin the decomposition of garbage in my “trash can” and the smell, and consequences are horrendous. Before opening my mouth I try to remember to ask myself the following questions:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Helpful?
  3. Is it Inspiring?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

This is known as the “THINK” method of speech. It has really been a game changer in my quest for self improvement.

Hurt Pride :: Let it go

As stated above, no one is perfect. The sooner I can get over myself, the sooner I can move on. Dwelling on the words and actions of others doesn’t do any good. Those are things I can’t control. Sulking leads me into that downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. It’s better for me to laugh something off and learn from it than it is to fixate and worry.

Keeping my trash can clean every day helps me be better equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Not mine.

Eating healthy foods and getting physical at least once a day are also important building blocks in my inner transformation.

When I put junk in my body, junk comes out of my mouth.

When I do something active every day, no matter how brief, I feel physically better and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This carries over into my mood.

A great mood becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Am I Still Learning?

I remember back when I knew everything. It actually wasn’t all that long ago…

I didn’t need to listen to anyone because I had all the answers. When I asked you a question I already knew the answer, I just wanted to see if you would lie to me.

I had a closed mind and there was nothing anyone could tell me that would, or could, change my mind.

Because I was right and I knew everything.

It turned out, much to my surprise, that I in fact did NOT have all the answers. That there actually were people out there who knew more than me. This realization made me feel like a fool.

I was worthless and stupid. The most worthless and the most stupid person on the planet. Of all time, living or dead. There was no one worse than me.

My ego had me thinking I was all or nothing. Never in the middle.

I was at the end of my journey. I had stopped learning. I had hit my bottom.

The good thing about hitting bottom is, there’s nowhere to go but up. Or die. I was so convinced I was so worthless that I couldn’t even possibly get suicide right so I chose to go up.

I chose life.

I chose to listen rather than speak.

I chose to open my mind.

I chose to learn all I could about how to improve my life.

And then I took action.

Every day I choose to expand my mind and explore views other than my own. I choose to be a worker among workers and a friend among friends rather than let my ego dictate that I should be at the top of the heap. Because I know that will just end up with me feeling like I’m at the bottom. Under the heap.

I choose learning over fear of the unknown. I accept and adapt to situations rather than force my will.

I choose joy and happiness over fear and anger. I choose gratitude over resentment.

What will I learn tomorrow?

~Thanks for reading
LC

Set Yourself Up for Success

The best way I’ve found to set up my day for success is found in my morning routine. After I make my coffee (first things first haha..), I think about the day ahead, what needs to be done when, and set my priorities.

I make a list of things and/or people I’m grateful for. This helps to keep me balanced and humble rather that resentful towards things I don’t have and people I don’t particularly care for.

I remind myself that things don’t always go as planned and tell myself to be ready to adapt to any changes that might arise.

I make sure I eat something. Healthy is best, but in a time crunch that’s not always an option. As long as I have something in my stomach to keep me from getting “hangry”, I can make it until I have time to prepare something better.

I get still and quiet, and practice deep breathing and meditation for 8 minutes, where I try to clear my mind and bring myself back to center. This was very difficult when I first started out. My mind would still be racing after the full 8 minutes, but after a lot of practice it got easier to calm my mind. If I don’t have time for the full 8 minutes I do less, but I do a minimum of 10 full deep breaths where I focus solely on my breath, the flow of air in and out. I find when I do this I have a much easier time with the things that go wrong during the day.

I also remind myself to pause if I become irritated. I remind myself that I can restart my day at any time. I try to work with things rather than against them. When I try to force my will upon situations rather than adapt to them it always leads to a bad day.

I remind myself to be kind to everyone even if I think they don’t deserve it. I remind myself to think of others and to be helpful rather than selfish and self-centered.

What can I do for others? What can I pack into the stream of life?

I look at where I went wrong the day before and try to take corrective measures to amend that behavior. This takes a lot of practice..

I remind myself that it’s ok to not be perfect. Not just for myself, but other people too. This also takes a lot of practice..

I don’t dwell on worry or remorse. When I do I’m not useful to others. I try to focus on the next indicated thing.

I remind myself to not dwell on fear but to direct my attention to love, tolerance, and acceptance.

When I do all these things I set myself up for success and even if my day doesn’t go as planned, it’s still a good day.

And lastly, I remind myself that a great attitude becomes a great mood. Which becomes a great day. Which becomes a great year. Which becomes a great life.

~Thanks for reading,

LC

Humility, Why is it Important For a Healthful Life?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines humility as the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride.

When we can recognize other people’s value as well as our own while keeping our heads up, and we can achieve a practical recognition of our weaknesses as well as our strengths, we have achieved sincere humility.

My recovery has taught me a lot about humility in that I, in fact, had absolutely none when I thought I did. I have learned that humility is the opposite of self-righteousness, ego, pride, and self-esteem. While I feel it’s important to have a little bit of these qualities, humility helps keep them from getting out of control and helps to keep me “right-sized”.

Having some humility has helped me a lot in being able to go with the flow of life, rather than constantly trying to battle to get things to go my way. It makes no difference in the grande scheme of things whether or not my way is right or not. This was a very tough pill for me to swallow, but I was finally able to do it.

Humility keeps me human.

Humility has given me more freedom to enjoy life on life’s terms. Not mine. This in turn opens me up to be able to be more helpful to others, which in turn helps make my life better.

Humility has given me the ability to forgive myself for not being perfect and to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m also more forgiving of others which has helped heal and strengthen my relationships with other people. We are all here on this earth together. I’ve found that it’s much easier to get along with people in spite of our differences than it is to try to change other people to suit me.

Holding on to grudges and hate was slowly killing me. I see that now. Gratitude, forgiveness, appreciation, compassion, and acceptance serve me much better than excuses, blame, being mean spirited, holding a grudge, or being right just to be right ever did.

And I owe it all to humility.

~Thanks for reading – LC

Apples

Apples are one of the top five fruits produced in the world and are readily available year round. They’re also delicious! And the magnitude of health benefits they hold makes it seemingly impossible to not eat one every day!

Apples are an abundant source of:

To get the full benefits, wash them well and leave the skin on. That’s where most of the nutrients are. Unpeeled apples have 2-6 times the antioxidant activity as peeled ones.

Apples are extremely versatile in the kitchen! You can eat them raw or cooked, hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner… They’re amazing!

Try pairing them with dark chocolate, cheese, or pork. They’re awesome baked with honey, cinnamon, and walnuts!

The fiber in apples can help promote circulatory and heart health, while helping you lose weight by helping you feel fuller, longer.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for the development, growth, and repair of your body’s tissues. Antioxidants boost the immune system and protect against free radicals, which are molecules harmful to the body. Vitamin C can’t be produced by the body so it’s important to consume it through fresh fruits and vegetables.

A diet rich in potassium can help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of a stroke, and regulate fluids.

Phytochemicals play a prominent role in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cognitive decline due to aging.

 

 

Try to make apples a daily part of your healthy eating routine!

Thanks for reading ~ LC

 

Baked Apples w/ Cinnamon, Honey, and Walnuts

Here’s an easy, healthy, and delicious way to enjoy apples! (As if they weren’t delicious and enjoyable on their own..)

 

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Walnuts

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Core and slice an apple (or several apples)
  • Drizzle with honey
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Toss in some walnuts
  • Mix all together in a bowl
  • Transfer to a baking sheet
  • Bake for 35 min, turn oven off and let sit for awhile
  • Enjoy!