A Simple Compost Trick

Packaging

Photo Credit: carobe

Michael is my “compost guy”. He takes it out and dumps it so I don’t have to deal with the smelly heap (what a man!). But his pet peeve is scraping all that yucky guck out of a plastic tub or glass bowl. We wanted something we could just toss into the compost with the waste. Obviously it had to be something biodegradable and organic, and because our city doesn’t allow the compostable plastic bags, we started purchasing paper lunch bags and keeping them in the fridge, filling them to the top.

The problem with these was a) they toppled over after getting too full (resulting in a messy fridge that needed washing more often than normal); and b) I hated the thought of throwing out 7¢ with every paper bag.

One day, Naomi and I were visitng a good friend of ours for lunch. When I asked where I could scrape up our leftover banana peel, she pointed to a half-filled tissue box on her kitchen counter, containing egg shells, crusts of bread, avocado pits and carrot shavings.

Eureka! A brilliant solution to my problems! After I checked into it, not only is it encouraged by our city but it can actually be beneficial to our compost!

So we started saving all our cardboard boxes and paper bags and use that to hold our vegetable peelings, baby food droppings, egg shells and the mystery container from the back of the fridge.

Another side benefit — it has made us more aware of the packaging on our purchases. We look to purchase things in cardboard boxes (without windows!) and paper bags instead of plastic packages. No need to buy paper bags anymore! Hurray!

How do you simplify your compost? What tricks do you use? Share them with us!

This post is part of Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

All Purpose Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Simmering

Photo credit: Shaw Girl

I never understood the purpose of all the variation of tomato products. Spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, marinara sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, oy! I find that with the exceptions of some different spices, they pretty much all taste the same to me.

Eventually, once we have made some headway with out attempts at gardening (which reminds me, I have to order some seeds soon!), I intend to make our own stewed tomato sauce. But for now, I simply purchase a bottle of basic plain organic tomato sauce and use this for all our tomato-based needs. With a bit of extra flavorings, I can have:

  • a smooth and garlicky pizza sauce (swirled with diced garlic, onions and a drizzle of olive oil)
  • a rich and delicious tomato-based soup (mixed with a little chicken broth and diced leftover vegetables and meats)
  • a chunky medium-spiced salsa (add cut up tomatoes and spices to suite your tastes)
  • a thick and hearty tomato sauce (thickened with a bit of cornstarch and water, and a few chunky mushrooms and cheese)
  • a delightful rose sauce (stirred into a lucious Alfredo sauce)
  • a mild tomato dip (combined with a bit of cream cheese, chives and spices)

If you find a basic tomato sauce you love, the possibilities are truly endless!

How do you dress up a basic tomato sauce? What other tips and tricks can you use to stretch a bottle out? Any recipes for your own homemade tomato sauce? Share it with us!

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

Farmer’s Market Find: Yellow Potatoes

Photo Credit: digiyesica

The following is an excerpt from today’s guest post on Frugal Granola.

“Without the potato, the balance of European power might never have tilted north.”
Michael Pollan

Can you guess how many different varieties of potato there are? 60, maybe? 240 perhaps? Possibly 483? Actually there are over 575 different types of potatoes. Wow!

However, all of these can be divided into roughly 6 categories: yellow, white, russet, red, fingerling, and blue. In this post of Farmer’s Market Finds, we are going to work on the yellow variety.

To read more, including my recipe for Creamy “Green” Mashed Potatoes, please check out the rest of my post!

Menu Plan Monday: March 27 – April 2

We are enjoying a quiet, relaxing week this week — no errands or rushing around to be done (yet!). So we will be enjoying simple crockpot dishes and getting some delightful spring cleaning done.

Soups of the Week:  Chicken and Rice Soup, Corn Chowder

Breads of the Week:  Store-bought Sandwich Bread

Sunday:  Pizza

Monday:  Crockpot Beef Stew

Tuesday:  Crockpot Meatloaf

Wednesday:  Crockpot Pork Tenderloin with Gravy

Thursday:  Chicken with Shake & Bake

Friday:  Grilled Steak, French Fries, Steamed Veggies

Saturday:  Hamburger with Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

This post is part of Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.