27 Feb 2015

Leftover cranberries

Things didn't go quite as planned this past Thanksgiving, so we just recently had our turkey dinner.  As usual, there were leftover cranberries which I put in the freezer to use up later.  I decided to search online for a recipe that would use them up.  I found muffin recipes, loaf recipes and the recipe I decided to try which was for Cranberry Sauce Oat Bars, which I call cranberry squares.  They are the same idea as date squares only with cranberry sauce instead of a date mixture.
cranberries, squares, reduce food waste, tj's green adventure
 Cranberry Squares

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oats
1 1/2 - 2 cups cranberry sauce

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Work in butter.  Add brown sugar and oats and mix well.  Spread 1/2 of crumb mixture in greased 9 x 13 glass pan.  Pat to smooth.  Cover with cranberry sauce.  Cover with remaining crumbs.
Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan before slicing.
This is my simplified version.  You can get the original printed version here.

I was pleased with this recipe and will definitely make them the next time I have leftover cranberry sauce.  I found the flour taste was a bit strong so the next time I will use 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1 3/4 cups oats.  I also used about 2/3 of the crumbs for the bottom layer and the remaining crumbs for the top and I used a glass pan.  I found this recipe on a website called Hidden Ponies where there are lots of interesting recipes that would be worth checking out.

Green Highlights:
  • reduce food waste
Do you have a favourite recipe that uses cranberries?


24 Feb 2015

Down the drain

How to unclog the bathroom sink without using chemicals

Every now and then, the drain in the bathroom sink starts to run slow.  That means it's time to get out my handy dandy drain unclogging tools.
pop-up drain, clogged drain, tj's green adventure
 The hook is something my son made when he was around 8 or 9 years old and I've been using it ever since.  He cut a piece of coat hanger and bent the ends to form the handle and hook.  The toothbrush is an old one that had been retired from cleaning teeth.  I like this one because the pointed tip acts as a grip so it doesn't slide on down the drain causing a whole other problem.  If the toothbrush has a hole in the end of the handle, you could tie a string through it so you have something to hold onto just in case it tries to get away on you.

 Our bathroom sink has a pop-up with a lever mechanism down in the drain that allows the pop-up to go up and down.  This lever collects hair, soap and other guck that slows down drainage.  The hook gets down in around the lever and catches the hair and guck allowing you to pull it up and out of the drain.

The next thing I do is use the toothbrush to clean the sides of the drain as far down as it will reach and I use it to clean the pop-up which also gets coated with guck.  I have the water running  while I am cleaning the sides of the drain so everything washes away.  This doesn't take long so not a lot of water gets used and water is more environmentally friendly than using chemicals.
pop-up, clogged drains, tj's green adventure
(pop-up Home Depot)

 These steps take very little time to do and you have a properly running drain once again without using any chemicals.  Do you unclog your drains without chemicals?

Green Highlights:
  • reuse an old toothbrush
  • do not need chemicals
  • costs next to nothing

15 Feb 2015

Valentine chocolate boxes

Chocolate comes in some pretty boxes for Valentine's day.  Some are just too pretty to throw away so here are some ideas of what to do with them.

One year I happened to be in the grocery store after Valentines Day and saw Ferrero Rocher Valentine chocolates marked down.  Since I enjoy having one chocolate a day, it's nice to get them for a good price and I wasn't going to turn this down.  I bought a few for only $1.94.  That was a great deal and the bonus was that I could reuse the box to keep my jewelry in.  The divided sections work well for necklaces, rings and earrings keeping them neat and organized and the packaging doesn't end up in a land fill.

Ferrero Rocher, jewelry storage, reuse packaging, tj's green adventure
 Since my favourite colour is red, I had to come up with a use for this red velvet chocolate box.  I keep this one in a buffet drawer in the dining room to store a set of china napkin holders.
heart shaped chocolate box, Valentines, tj's green adventure
This box is also kept in the buffet drawer with some other napkin holders I have.  Again, I wanted to keep this gold box with the pretty red flower decorations.  This one could also be used as a gift box and the red would be nice for a Christmas gift.
pretty chocolate box, reuse, tj's green adventure
 If you don't have a use for your fancy chocolate boxes, you could always donate them to your favourite charity store that sells used items.
What to you do with your empty Valentine chocolate boxes?


7 Feb 2015

Leftover fried food

Eating out often results in too much food and of course, leftovers.  My daughter went out for dinner to Red Lobster and the portion was so big, she couldn't eat it all, so she brought it home for me.  Not everyone enjoys eating leftovers, but I do.  And why throw out perfectly good food?  Now, how do you reheat fried leftovers?  Using a microwave doesn't work well because the food loses its crispness and tends to be a bit soggy.  Here is my solution and you can even use a toaster oven which uses less electricity!

reuse, leftovers, food waste, Red Lobster, tj's green adventure
 Reheating Fried Food
Set oven at 325 F - use a toaster oven for small quantities
Spread leftover french fries, battered seafood, Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc on a cookie sheet
Cook for 10 minutes
Remove from oven and turn/stir fries and smaller pieces of food
Cook for another 10 minutes
Remove from oven and enjoy
Do you save your leftovers to eat up later?