Be Grateful, Not Wasteful.

Hope everyone is winding down from a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!

We had a great time and were able to visit with both families over the weekend.

While making the trek from Adam’s parents to mine, I read that “Some five million tons of food—enough to fill the John Hancock Building more than 14 times—will be wasted between Thanksgiving and the end of 2013.”

The post used “shocking” to describe this fact.

Sure, yes, shocking.

How about disgusting?

And horrible?

And, as crazy as this might sound, I can only believe it.

Reading that I could only help but wonder how could that be changed? What would people have to do?

Here are a few little things Adam and I did, along with the help of our parents, to minimize the waste created by our Holiday celebrations.

1. Go Full Circle

Composting is awesome anytime of year. Adam built our compost bins in September and we plan to mix our compost into the top soil for next season’s garden.

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We have found that well over half of our kitchen waste is compostable. Egg shells, fruit and veggie scraps, baked goods (i.e. Bread, cookies), even coffee grounds and tea bags. I have a large Tupperware container in the fridge where I toss these items throughout the course of the day and we run them out to the bins when we collect eggs. We also compost plants from our garden, leaves, and the chicken’s droppings.

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Some things you wouldn’t want to compost: meat, dairy products, pet waste, and grease.

I love that composting helps to control the amount of waste we produce, but it also comes with an added benefit: it will also help ensure our garden soil is full of nutrients helping to create amazing plants.

Plants that will have scraps that will be composted to start the cycle all over again!

2. Eat The Bones

Okay, not really.

But don’t waste them!

Make great use of the leftover ham, turkey, and chicken bones and make stock at home. Homemade stock has unbelievable flavor and far less sodium than anything you could get in the store.

Adam and I managed to score both my mom’s and his mom’s turkey carcass this year.

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They both have been simmering in crock pots all afternoon in my kitchen, creating smells that have made me reconsider “detoxing until Christmas.”

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Stock is so easy to make and we were able to make if from things that were already in our fridge. (If you don’t have all these specific vegetables on hand, don’t feel like you have to run out to the store. We have left things out before and even added things like tomatoes. Worked out great.)

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Here is what we do when making stock:

Ingredients:

1 Turkey carcass
10-12 cups of water (needs to cover the carcass)
½ onion in large pieces
½ cup sliced carrots
1 rib celery sliced
Two to three cloves garlic
Tablespoon of peppercorns
Handful of herbs (Today we used a few sprigs of thyme, but have used parsley or a bay leaf before)

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot or slow cooker. If need be, breakdown the carcass so it can fit.

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Stockpot: Bring to a boil, and then simmer for two to three hours

Crock pot: Cook on low for eight to ten hours

Strain liquid and skim off any fat.

Portion out stock and either put in refrigerator or freeze. Mason jars are great for this. I have also read that some people put them in ice cube trays for when they need just a little flavor.

Keeps for about six months if frozen, about 3-5 days in the fridge.

I cannot wait to use this stock for fresh made soups and risotto throughout the winter. So good.

3. Eat Up!

Isn’t the best thing about Thanksgiving the left over’s?

You are completely justified to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Soak your sandwich bread in gravy, creating a “Moist Maker” a la Monica Geller from Friends.

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And if you happen to have any wine left over, you can bring it to my house.

Because, well, we didn’t.

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