The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Waste not, want…less?

I dropped the ball on my “Weekly Green” posting. Not that I don’t have a TON of them in mind. But I felt overwhelmed about where to start. That and I didn’t want to come across as smug about being eco-conscious. Or maybe I just got lazy? It’s hard to compete with food porn.

Anyway, I’m bringing it back! Hopefully it’ll be in the spirit of collaboration not a know-it-all posting. I just want to share my ideas and hear other peoples’ as well.

So, here’s a teeny tiny one:

Our toaster oven bell no longer functions. I just noticed that this morning when I found this dried out old bagel in there.

Petrified bagel.

You know what happens when you leave a bagel in the toaster oven for an hour? It becomes hard as a rock.

A few years ago I would’ve just tossed it. It’d be a lot easier to toss it. But it’s a waste of food. The more I read about the Horn of Africa’s famine

Warning: this is a BIG image – it was impossible to read the smaller version.

Graphic from

and even here in the “Land of Plenty” I try to use everything. There are a few things that help with this endeavor:

1. Plan meals ahead of time BEFORE grocery shopping. I am a pretty disorganized person and usually fly by the seat of my pants. If I happen upon a farmer’s market, I’ll buy things just because they’re beautiful when I have no clear idea how or what I’ll do with it. This is great if you are Alice Waters or a Top Chef contestant. Also, works really well if you’re a natural cook who knows what to do with things. (Rebecca Trotsky) I am neither. I have really only been cooking for a year and have 2 toddlers. This limits my research & cooking time significantly. To waste less, I plan 2 or 3 meals per week and then add only those items I need to my shopping list. This has helped me a TON. Buying fewer items means I have less clogging up my fridge. I also have a lot less stress about having to use things up out of guilt.

I don’t care how pink that rhubarb is, keep on walking, girl.

2. Find recipes that use leftover veg or day old bread. A great example is the quinoa cakes recipe. You can literally chop up any leftover veg you have into the mixture. Another example is the Spring Vegetable Risotto with Goat Cheese which I’ll post this week. Bread can become croutons.

3. ROAST any leftover veg you don’t end up using. Just have a night of leftovers/odds & ends. G is usually at work late & my kids usually don’t care that much about dinner anyway so I just do it for myself!

But what about this old bagel I’ve just shown you?

Here’s my GREEN idea(r): freeze it in a Zip-Loc bag & use for croutons. I am really into croutons right now! I make plain, garlic & dijon mustard. That’s it so far but they are gooooooooood. I actually add any bread that is over a day old that I know is in danger of being tossed. Next time I need croutons (which is every 2 days right now!) I use whatever bread is in that bag.



Stay tuned for link for DIJON CROUTONS! (coming VERY soon…)

If anyone’s reading this (besides my sister) I’d love to hear what steps you’re taking in this vein? It’s always helpful to get ideas from other folks…

You too, Lib!

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7 comments on Waste not, want…less?

  1. Evan
    May 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm (3207 days ago)

    It’s embarrassing how often I buy baguettes because they smell good as I’m walking by them, but then never use it until it’s gone stale. That’s when they go in the food processor with some salt and seasonings and bam: I have a small jar of breadcrumbs ready to rock and roll for meatloaf or breading veggies, chicken, and fish.

  2. Lib
    May 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm (3207 days ago)

    Ha ha ha!!! I am reading for sure…. I do try now and plan my meals before I go to the store. It definitely helps a lot in cutting down wasted food. I also cook less quantity-wise so that leftovers don’t get wasted. Evan’s breadcrumb plan is a great one… I may have to use it!

  3. Christina
    May 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm (3207 days ago)

    This is great!! Thanks, Evan!! I am probably getting a food processor soon since I blew out my blender on the Lara Bars so I will do this. Thanks!

  4. George
    May 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm (3204 days ago)

    I need to clean our toaster!

  5. Christina
    May 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm (3204 days ago)

    Do it, G!!!!!

  6. charlotte
    May 20, 2012 at 6:32 am (3203 days ago)

    Hi Christina,

    Chris said something interesting about cooking. He does 90 % of the cooking (thank goodness) and he is really, really good at reusing leftovers and making them into something special. I asked him if is he thought cooking was a creative endeavor. He answer was: when he created meals, he felt was making something into a work of art from a palette of ingredence.

    Anyway- “food for thought”!!! Love you!

  7. Rebecca
    May 28, 2012 at 11:48 am (3194 days ago)

    Hey, I made your blog! Although I have no idea why you think I’m such a natural, but thanks for the compliment! I do like to use up random ingredients I find lurking in the fridge, although sometimes I fail in that. Since I can’t buy normal veggie or chicken broth here, lately I’m obsessed with saving the roasted chicken bones from the rotisserie ones we get here at the local butcher. I make stock out of them and freeze it. Also, veggies on the verge of going bad in the veggie drawer can be turned into veggie stock, or added to the chicken stock. I use the tops of celery for my stock too, instead of throwing the leaves away.

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