Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bountiful Basket Day: ideas and recipes

OK, this is an incredible Bountiful Basket this week. For Veggies we got:

2 bags carrots
13 large red potatoes
2 huge bunches asparagus
7 large tomatoes (not Roma)
2 med bunches fresh spinach
2 leeks

For fruits:

a pineapple
5 bananas
9 golf ball sized tangerines (Murcotte)
7 small-med. green apples
3 avocados

I also purchased the blackberry add-on. The flat turned out to cost $1.18 each, and seeing that they usually cost $3.00 each I could not resist. I already ate 2 of the packs.

I plan to make:

Blackberry cobbler
Leek and potato soup
Spinach salad
Roasted asparagus, roasted carrots (also will roast the other half cabbage I got in the last basket 2 weeks ago and 4 green peppers from same)

I might try grilling the pineapple on the George Foreman...we'll see.

Here are some frugal tips

1. Turn oven or stove off before food is finished cooking. Not long, but a minute or two. Saving 2 min of electricity 3X a day is 6 minutes, 300 days a year saves 1800 minutes per year. You do the math. No really, you do the math. I can't figure out the kilowatt hours. Anyway, as Depression Cooking Clara Cannucciari said, "Anything to save anything."

2. Use what you have. In the BB today we received potatoes and leeks so I'll make potato leek soup. We received avocados and tangerines, so I'll make avocado tangerine salad. Driving to the store to buy one or two special ingredients to make one certain dish is expensive in terms of money, time, and gas.

3. Save twist ties. Don't throw them out after once.

4. Save the elastic bands wrapped around bunches of scallions, leeks, asparagus.

5. Save (and wash out) plastic bags that produce comes in. I bought shredded carrots in a packaged ziploc bag. Now the spinach is inside it.

6. Cook ahead. If quality food is already cooked it is available when you get peckish and want a snack. This saves on buying junk food. It also saves on buying lunches out. Bring your lunch from home. Invest in good plastic containers and bring your soups and salads to work. I also bring a lot of fruit and have several pieces throughout the day. Thanks to Bountiful Baskets, I have plenty to spare.

Here are the results of my labors. The green peppers were from the last basket. The mushrooms were $1 from the grocery store because they were brown.

Just a very few of the fresh goodies we received today in the basket
Clockwise, potato leek soup, roasted peppers,
sauteed mushrooms, roasted carrots, blackberry cobbler

Anyway, I hope you can find a Bountiful Baskets co-op near you. Or start one! It is not hard.


Anonymous said...

You talk a lot about roasting veggies ahead of time. Do you then reheat them, or have them cold? Do they get mushier over time? Also, do you think they are less nutritious after being cooked and refridgerated (and possibly reheated)?

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Jennifer,

The best way to eat veggies is raw. The second best way is without a lot of water or hear, the two things that reduce nutritional quality. SO that means microwave.

Boiling is the worst because it has the most heat the longest and uses the most water.

Here is a link that talks about nutritional value and cooking vegetables

however this article differs, saying any heat applied to veggies alters their nutritional value. In some cases carrots are improved by cooking because the bio-availability of betacarotene is higher. Thsi article says you can minimize nutrient loss with roasting by avoiding overripe vegetables, roasting them with peels, keeping pieces large and minimizing added water."

I could just as easily saute veggies but the oven is larger and I can cook a quantity ahead. For me it is a lifestyle choice If they are cooked, I'll eat them. If they aren't cooked, I'll make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I'm tired and do that enough nights then the veggies have gone bad. So I do it to minimize waste and increase the likelihood I'll eat them.

For example, the potatoes become home fries or potato salad. The green peppers are thrown into scrambled eggs. The asparagus is used in a spaghetti recipe. Or I just load a helping into a tupperware and eat them as a side dish at lunch- it beats buying chips.

Experiment and see what you and your family likes best.