Foodie Friday: Waste Not, Want Not

Around 220 million tonnes of food is wasted on an annual basis. On a global level it seems ridiculous that there are people starving and other people throwing food away. On a personal level and as the CFO of this household, it makes me wonder how much money we spend on food that does not even get eaten.

Thanksgiving is a prime culprit. Often there is way more food than needed and inevitably after a few days of eating leftovers, it is thrown away.

This year we were many miles away from any friends or family to spend the holiday with but we still wanted the traditional thanksgiving meal.  I wanted to make sure, however, that we did not end up with more food than two people could possible eat in a few days.

It was fairly easy to scale down most recipes and I got a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. (We both missed the dark meat though.) The only issue we ran into was the pumpkin pie.  I made the crust from scratch, scaled to make just one crust, and my husband used the filling recipe from Epicurious. Somehow, after everything was put together, we had about two cups of filling left.

As I mentioned before I hate to waste, so I started thinking what could I do with this? It had raw eggs in it so I couldn’t hold on to it forever so after about 15 minutes of staring at it I decided to make it into pumpkin bread.

I wanted something quick and easy since I was already in the middle of making Thanksgiving dinner. Also I was keeping in mind the fact that my husband had to work the next day and I like to have “eat on the go” items for him to take for breakfast.

Here is what I did. I also think this would have made good cookies; the soft and pillow-y kind. Might need to add more flour for that.

Leftover Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 cups pumpkin pie mix (this is using the mix from the Epicurious recipe! I can not guarantee how it will work with a different filling.)

1 1/4 -2 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat pastry four and all purpose)

1/4 cup oil

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Slowly mix in all ingredients one at a time. Once everything is incorporated stop mixing. Do not over mix. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour mixture into a greased pan. (Muffin tin, bread pan, cake pan; almost anything will work.) Bake for 40 mins or until a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out clean.

Ready to go into the oven. I used a round tin because that's what I had!

Ready to go into the oven. I used a round tin because that’s what I had!

 

This isn’t a real exact recipe because it all depends on what you have on hand. If you have made muffins or quick breads before you know what the batter should look like. If not all I can say is if it looks like cookie dough you have added too much flour. If it is thin or “soupy” you need more flour. Instead of walnuts you could add in other nuts or chocolate chips; whatever you would like. Experiment!

This is what the mixture should look like before baking.

This is what the mixture should look like before baking.

Somehow I managed to forget to take a picture of the finished product (probably because we were too busy eating other delicious food!) but trust me it turned out golden brown and moist; just like pumpkin bread should be.

Do you have an recipes you use to eliminate food waste? I would love to hear about them!

-Christy

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Wooly Wednesday: Crochet Christmas Cowl Free Pattern

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A few days ago  I shared my tips on how to have a handmade Christmas and with those tips in mind I created this pattern. It takes me two days at most to finish one of these cowls and that is with running errands, doing laundry, making dinner etc. The high quality but not too expensive yarn makes this project great for gift giving. The size makes is perfect for everyday wear but it is long enough it can be worn doubled on a bitter cold day.

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Crochet has a tendency to be stiff so the choice of yarn for this pattern is important. I picked Cascades Cloud/Eco Cloud. The chain-like construction helps the piece drape and keep from becoming stiff. The yarn is a lovely mix of merino and baby alpaca and it runs around $15 a skein. $30 for a handmade Christmas gift is a steal! Rowan’s Lima would also be another great choice.  If you google “chainette yarn” you will find other options as well. Some are listed as bulky but they would still work well with this pattern if you increase your hook size.

The pattern is simple and straightforward. There are pictures after the pattern to make a few of the directions clearer. Please post any questions regarding the pattern in the comments. If crocheting isn’t your thing check out my Etsy shop where these cowls are for sale.

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Crochet Christmas Cowl

Materials:

2 Skeins Cascade Cloud or Eco Cloud (Worsted/Aran Weight, 164 yards per skein)

Size K/10.5 6.5mm Crochet Hook

Tapestry Needle

Finished Size: 9.5 inches wide, 50 inches around (approximately)

Abbreviations:

CH=Chain

SC= Single Crochet

DC=Double Crochet

Directions:

Chain 28.

SC into 2nd CH from hook. DC into same CH. (#1.) Skip next CH. SC, then DC into the next CH. Repeat this until the end.

Work a SC/DC in the last chain. CH 1, then turn.

SC into the hole created by the SC/DC from the previous row. DC into same space. Repeat this all the way across.

The last SC/DC is worked into the turning chain from the previous row. (#2.& #3.) CH 1, then turn.

Continue the SC/DC in the holes then CH 1 before you turn your work. (#4.)

Keep this going until you have used almost all of the yarn from both skeins. (#5.) Remember to leave yourself plenty of yarn to sew the ends together. If you would rather have a scarf with fringe on the ends then you will need an additional skein of yarn.

Use your tapestry needle to weave in the yarn tails. Then hold both ends of the finished piece together and sew. When the cowl is flipped inside out the seam is hardly noticeable. You are DONE!

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I hope you enjoy this pattern and it helps with your holiday gift giving.

-Christy

Wooly Wednesday: Crochet Baby Blanket Free Pattern

Finished blanket waiting to be sent to the new baby girl.

Finished blanket waiting to be sent to the new baby girl.

Before we left Weston we learned our neighbors would be expecting an addition to their family and since I knew I would have plenty of free time I decided to make my first baby blanket.

I am a much faster crocheter than knitter (I think that’s true for most people) so I knew it needed to be crocheted. First I looked at some beautiful granny squares.  However, after several days of making these I realized I was not up to making hundreds of those things AND weaving in all the ends AND having to stitch them all together. No thank you.

So I brainstormed a bit and picked a granny square that I could use as a starting point. This allows you to work from the inside out so you can make it any size you want, and have as many or as few color changes as well. The main hang up with me was getting bored with it because it was so simple.

Here is the granny square I used to get going. I am not claiming this as a my pattern- its a very basic granny square pattern and I have seen it in magazines, books and online. Really any simple granny square could be used in this way- just keep moving around and around until its as big as you want. I used DK yarn and a 5mm hook.

CH = Chain
DC= Double Crochet

Chain 4 and join.
CH 3, 2 DC in ring, (CH 2, 3 DC in ring CH 2) repeat 3 times for a total of 12 DC and  4 CH 2 spaces. Join with the first stitch.

Chain 3, DC in next two stitches. 2 DC, CH 2, 2 DC in the chain 2 space. (DC in next 3 stitches. 2 DC, CH 2, 2 DC in next CH 2 space.) Do this 3 times. Join with the first stitch.

Here is what the beginning looks like, plus about 7 more rows.

Here is what the beginning looks like, plus about 7 more rows.

Repeat for each row.: CH 3, DC in every DC from the previous row. 2 DC, CH 2, 2 DC in every CH 2 space from the previous row. Your blanket will slowly grow out from the middle. It will be square.

Tip: Every time I changed colors I added the new yarn in a different spot than where I ended. That way my CH3s were not all in the same spot.

 

The chain 2 spaces make a pretty eyelet pattern.

The chain 2 spaces make a pretty eyelet pattern.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the pattern. I would also love to hear what everyone is working on now that autumn is finally just around the corner.

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day Weekend.

-Christy