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Pantry Basics

Make Every Day Earth Day
April 22, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Today as the internet, newspapers and television shows are filled with stories on how to celebrate Earth Day, I will go about my everyday life as usual.

I’ll scramble some eggs and save the shells to crumble and sprinkle in the garden. In the short-term they help repel slugs, and over time the shells will breakdown and help balance out the calcium in the dirt. This spring, our coffee grinds will find company in the soil surrounding the rose bushes—they slowly release nitrogen and also act as a natural drainage system.

After I snip the tag off my daughter’s new spring jacket, I’ll instinctively toss it into the paper recycling bin. See, Earth Day has been a special occasion in our house for years. It’s like a non-stop party. Reduce, reuse and recycle is how I normally approach life. Each day, week, and month, I build on that philosophy as I learn new ways to lessen my family’s carbon footprint.

The same can easily be applied to food. Before you scrape leftovers into the trashcan, think about how you can make them into something delicious again. A cup full of rice may not seem like much, but did you know it can be stored in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer for up to one month? After a few meals, you’ll have enough stocked away to give yourself a free pass one night, and turn it into an easy weeknight meal—fried rice.

Those little nibs left when you near the end of a block of Parmesan cheese add a smoky flavor to hearty minestrone soups (I used to have a roommate who even added it to her marinara sauce). Stale bread is a no-brainer too, especially if you use breadcrumbs often. Just break the bread into smaller chunks and give them a whirl in your food processor.

Once you start looking at every day habits in a new light, you’ll begin a lifelong love affair with Mother Earth too.

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