‘Recycling’ Food and A New Breakfast Favorite

Arthritis Today magazine is always filled with great articles about the latest arthritis research, drug and supplements information, and arthritis-friendly gadget recommendations (you know how I LOVE gadgets). Also in each issue – like the toy surprise in Cracker Jacks – I find an article not directly related to arthritis but is just so darn interesting. In the latest issue (Nov-Dec ’09), the little gem was an article called “’Recycling’ Recipes.” I thought I’d share a part of it here. (My comments are in red.)

“Americans throw away roughly 96 billion pounds of food each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Yet much of it is completely safe and healthy to eat.

Before you toss those leftovers into the compost pile, trash can or garbage disposal, consider transforming them into dishes on the advice of chef Hinnerk von Bargen, an associate professor of the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus.

Overripe Fruit
Fruit spread: Peel and dice apples, plums and pears that are past their prime. Cook in a pot over low heat until thickened into an all-natural fruity spread.
(I’m wondering if it would need a little water?)
Smoothie cubes: Overripe bananas, cantaloupe and peaches can be pureed in a blender and frozen in ice-cube trays. Toss the cubes into the blender with milk and yogurt and whirl. (Cantaloupe smoothie? Hmmm…not sure. Your thoughts?)

Vegetable Scraps
Soup stock: Simmer 2 to 2 ½ pounds of mushroom stems, wilted cabbage leaves, tomato trimmings, carrot and celery ends – even aged cheese rinds – together in a quart of water for one hour. Strain through cheesecloth and use the stock as a base for soups and stews.
(I’d add some spices to it before cooking like cloves, basil, tarragon, rosemary, bay leaf, or thyme.)

Potato Peels
Potato crisps
(my personal favorite): Place peels from potatoes that have been washed well in a single layer on a baking sheet. Mix with a little vegetable oil (I’ll use cooking spray instead) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crispy. (I can taste them already. Just need a little condiment action and I’m set.)

Pineapple Skin (This one might be even more fun with a little rum, maybe?)
Sweet-tart cooler: Place sliced pineapple skin in a pot with a quart of water, one cinnamon stick and ¼ cup sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and serve over ice with a splash of lemon or lime juice.”

So there you have it. Recycled food. Let me know if you try any of them.

You know how you go through food cycles? I’ll go months and months eating a certain kind of roasted potato or making the same kind of soup. Then it gets boring and I latch on to another kind of food and eat it for months.

Recently I’ve grown tired of smoothies, but I still love Greek yogurt and have been looking for ways to jazz it up a bit. The other day I was on Weight Watchers online and saw a link to a post on one of the discussion boards about adding “seasonal” spices to yogurt. The person who posted said she adds apple pie spice, vanilla and Splenda to her plain yogurt. Sounded tasty.

I don’t have apple pie spice, so I substituted pumpkin pie spice and oh my, it was fabulous! I mixed it all up with stevia (not a Splenda fan), a banana and 3 T of Grape Nuts and it’s now (with or without the cereal) my new almost favorite breakfast. My favorite (albeit once-in-awhile, as in a few times a month) breakfast is still Arnold’s French Toast. I made some this morning along with a side of leftover steamed cauliflower sprinkled with a little parm. It’s another North Country Trail hiking day – another 63-degree afternoon on tap – and so I loaded up on protein and carbs to keep me going.

Happy Sunday, all!

12 thoughts on “‘Recycling’ Food and A New Breakfast Favorite

  1. I'd do a cantaloupe smoothie – maybe have to mix in some vanilla yogurt, but it sounds good.

    Using the pie spices in Greek yogurt is a great idea! Will have to try that soon…I'm thinking pumpkin pie, some craisins and of course some Kashi Golean…yum!

  2. In the summer I have often used overripe/mushy cantaloupe in my morning smoothies. I use plain yogurt, maybe some blueberries, cantaloupe chunks, a bit of OJ, and ice. Spinach is good in there too.

    I also take any super-overripe (even black) bananas and throw them in the freezer, with the peel on. When I want to make banana bred I take them out and thaw a little. Makes nice bread.

  3. Heck yeah I would have a cantaloupe smoothie, and I have. Add the spinach too, for a green monster (you won't taste it, I promise!).

    I actually eat potatoes with the skin on, but the baked ones sound really good. Might have to peel some just for that purpose.

    We actually buy overripe fruit to make jams and I love to get overripe bananas and just stick them in the freezer to pull out and put in my oats. So delicious.

    We are hoping to start a compost pile for those other scraps to put in my garden next year.

  4. I often use cantaloupe in smoothies, usually mix more than one kind of fruit at a time. Cantaloupes are high in flavour and have low calorie density.

  5. it's so wrong but its so true:
    I kinda love that you, too, will use splenda upon occasion 🙂

    I do enjoy me some cottage cheese, cinnamon with s packet of spleanda sometimes…

  6. my mom has been talking about boiling veggie 'scraps' to make broth also. (she calls it veggie water, I call it broth base).

    I have been looking for someone with a serious compost pile for a long time. I do not want one here, because of the (rats) they attract. but would love to have a local gardners one where I could save my 'stuff' and then drop off once a week or so.

  7. If I don't have too many calories left at the end of the day, 1/2 cup of yogurt with a little cinnamon/splenda really hits the spot for me. I also really like it with Bob's Red Mill Muesli. I am going to make my own muesli today.

    I like the idea of recycling food. I do that on purpose with over ripe bananas (make ice cubes.) I make fruit spread by shredding pears and putting in microwave with no water added. I've done it with a few other fruits, but pear is my favorite.

    Ah yes, didn't realize til I read your comment, but thanks for changing the comment thing around!

  8. Thanks for this food post. I love your food posts! And I loved your post from Friday, but I didn't comment because I was out of town and didn't have access to a computer. I did not think what you shared is too much information. If people like you aren't willing to share about missed periods and fear of going to the doctor when our weight is too heavy, some of us will never know that we are not alone. So thanks for sharing what is going on. That is why I so appreciate this blog. That and the fact that I think you are a wonderful writer so I am not reading a bunch of rambling musings!

  9. Lynn, I'm using my home-made 'Greek' yogurt as a topping for my pumpkin 'mash' which is a staple for breakfast in the fall. I take 200 grams of roasted pumpkin – not canned – and mash that up with 1 packet of Sun Crystals, cinnamon. nutmeg and a splash of vanilla. Then I take 100 grams of my yogurt and mix in another packet of Sun Crystals and a splash of vanilla. Spoon that on top of the pumpkin and refrigerate overnight. When it's time to eat, I add a few pecans for some healthy fat. Yummy fall breakfast!

    I love the idea of making fruit spreads. I made something not quite a spread with apples this weekend. I would use a tiny it of water and after the fruit starts to cook, turn the heat down as low as it will go and cover the pan. Stir often.


    Thanks for posting the ideas!

  10. Lynn,
    I'm new to your blog. Did you lose your weight using weight watcher core plan? You seem to eat so healthy. Sorry to ask this in the comment section I'm not sure if you will be able to respond.
    Thank you, Liz

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