Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘Green Living’

A Fresh Start: Give New Life to Old Pantry Items

In Features on September 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Well Hello Again!

After a brief summer hiatus Big Parties / Small Spaces is back and better than ever!

As summer comes to a close, kids are back to school, the leaves begin to change and the long summer days slowly give way to cool autumn nights.  September is a time of new beginnings.  So naturally what better way to kick off the unofficial start of fall than some advice on giving seemingly old food a new life.  Here are some great tips to turn garbage disposal bound items into something worth writing about.


Of all the produce out there bananas always seems to go bad before you know it.  Just when you’ve eaten half the bunch the other half is brown mushy.  Don’t let a family of fruit flies set up shop on your counter and give one of these ideas a try.

      • Add some slices or a smashed banana to your favorite pancake recipe for a little extra kick in the morning.
      • For an evening treat, take out the blender and add banana to classic pina coloda or daiquiris recipe.  It might be just what you need to bring back that summer feelin’.
      • If you’re on a health kick, bananas can actually be substituted for eggs in most baking recipe.  Half of a large banana is equal to one large egg.  Give this cholesterol saving tip a try next time you whip up a batch of cookies or a cake.


This is another classic pantry culprit that turns stale in the blink of an eye.  There’s nothing worse than throwing out really good bread that’s just a little past it’s prime.  Make the most of it with one of these quick and easy suggestions.

  • If the bread is just a day or two old and a little hard it can be revived.  Sprinkle the loaf with a little cold water and place in a hot oven (400 degrees) for 5-7 minutes.
  • Looking for a quick lunch or dinner salad?  Take a page out of the Italians cookbook and make Panzanella.
  • For a sweet treat, whip up a super simple Bread Pudding. This is an easy, all purpose recipe you can tweak anyway you like. Gather 3 eggs, 2 cups stale bread cut into 1 inch pieces, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup raisins, 2 tablespoons butter, 4 cups whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon, salt, pinch of nutmeg. Scald the milk in a small sauce pan.  Add butter and bread. Beat eggs light and add with salt and spice to bread mixture.  Bake lightly in moderate oven a 375 degree oven about an hour.  Serve warm.

Coffee Grounds

I know, who saves these? It might seems crazy, but you can get more out of coffee grounds than a good cup of joe.

  • Take the coffee ground out of the kitchen and into the bathroom. Mix 1/4 cup of coffee grounds with an aging avocado for an invigorating face mask.  The avocado will sooth irritated skin while the caffeine from the coffee ground will tighten fine lines and wrinkles.
  • For those with a little pest problem, coffee grounds works as a great all natural bug repellent.  Place a line of ground anywhere there is an ant problem, the ants won’t cross it.  It’s a wonderful way to stay “green” and keep your kitchen clean.
  • Add a little coffee kick to brownies, cake or cookies.  Fold a few tablespoons to batter before baking for a bold, unique flavor.


It’s rare beer last long in my household, but every now and then there are a can or two hidden in the back of the fridge.  Instead of ditching the left overs, or drinking it, try some of these unique ways to give old beer a new lease on life.

  • Use as a marinade for beef, chicken or pork.  Add marmalade or jam for an adventurous flavor or keep it classic and mix with soy or worcestershire sauce.  The longer you all the meat to sit the better!
  • Make Beer Can Chicken.  Simply open a full can of beer and place a chicken on it as a stand. Rub with chicken with olive oil, season with salt and pepper then throw on the barbecue or in the oven. The result? A moist and delicious chicken that is sure to be a hit.
  • After a long day, open a can of beer and use one in a warm bathtub.  Beer is an excellent skin conditioner and makes for a luxurious soak.  Add in a few bath crystals, a little oil and left the healing qualities melt the day away.

Great Finds: Eco-Friendly Disposable Plates

In Great Finds on March 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm
We all understand the importance of recycling, buying organic and turning off lights when you leave a room.  Yet we still use disposable plastic plates, glasses, and flatware when we entertain.  There’s no denying throwing everything away at the end of the evening is convenient, but it’s far from being green.  There’s a solution.  Several companies are now making disposable bamboo dinnerware.  They’re eco-friendly, organic, biodegradable and look great on a table!  While bamboo is slightly more expensive than plastic, it’s worth the splurge to help the planet.
To purchase, World, 8 for $4.99
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