A Tool to Stretch Your Produce Dollar

8 10 2009

The “dreary” is upon us in Colorado today!  I am so grateful that we had a beautiful day yesterday because I really did get outside to enjoy it and store up some extra Vitamin D. 😉 It may be a number of days before I see sunshine again!  33 degrees and rainy out now, no blue to be seen anywhere – only gray!

But the good news is:  It’s FRIDAY-EVE!!  And it will be great weather for ‘must see TV’ night on NBC.  It’s the big wedding on The Office tonight – Jim and Pam!  Think it will actually happen, or will something stand in their way yet again?  🙂

***

Today I wanted to share with you another of my favorite kitchen ‘tools’:  my FridgeSmart Tupperware containers.  (And no I’m not a Tupperware lady – so I’m not trying to sell you anything!)  😉  

These containers have paid for themselves many times over (I’ve had them for about 7 years.)  Since I am essentially the only one in my household that eats a large amount of veggies regularly, I need a way to make my produce last long enough for me to eat it – especially when buying things in bulk saves money.

The containers have ridges on the bottom to keep allow the moisture to collect and keep the produce lifted away from that moisture. 

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They also have little air buttons on the front that you can adjust for high/medium/low moisture.

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This chart that comes with it shows which produce needs which buttons opened for maximum freshness. 

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I don’t think you want to know how long I’ve been able to keep spinach, celery and broccoli ‘alive’ in these containers before.  It might gross you out.  🙂 (Sometimes 3+ weeks!) I realize that the longer I keep my produce, the less nutritional value they have.  But when we are all shopping on tight budgets, I have to make the money I do spend on produce stretch as much as possible.  Having to throw out bad produce on trash day just kills me. 

Do you have any special tricks or tools that you use to prolong your produce?  Please share in the comments section so we can learn from each others’ experiences.

 ***

On to Wednesday feats and eats…

My Wednesday smoothie was extra-green tasting!  I guess I didn’t get as much fruit in there as usual.  Plus I added a new-to-me sprout.  This mix had:  mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, celery, spinach, 10 pineapple chunks and half a banana.  It smelled like fresh-cut grass, which was fitting since Wednesday is my YARDIO day!

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I’ll be out of my wrap-rut for a bit because I am out of tortillas… so instead I used whole wheat “sandwich thins” (which are kind of like a ‘thin crust hamburger bun’) with Tofutti spread, pepitas, mung bean sprouts, spicy mustard, tomato, cucumber with a sprinkle of pepper:

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On the side, I ate leftovers from Tuesday night’s Pesto Gnocchi w/ Veggies.  I ate it cold like a pasta salad and it was even better than it was WARM!  I think I’ve found a new dish!

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Shortly after lunch, I decided to go get in a mini-hike.  Just a quick 30 minutes in the area they consider “the backcountry” by my house.  Just look at the sky!  So blue.  It was breezy and around 70.  Perfect! 

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And to make it an even MORE perfect afternoon, I added a tall soy chai latte to the mix…

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 With a side of Larabar…. the one that tastes like a brownie to me.  Can healthy eating get any yummier?  I think not!  🙂

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Dinner was random.  In my continued quest to eat ‘new-to-me’ veggies, I purchased some golden beets.  But I just could not make up my mind what to eat them with.  So I just roasted them and ate them with a side of green beans.  Having only ever had pickled beets before, I must say I do like beets this way too! 

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Beets-n-beans alone weren’t enough to fill me for the night, so later I had “dessert” which was a decaf coffee and 1/2 of a Jocalat Larabar (Chocolate Orange flavor).  This bar has some INTENSE orange flavor, like an orange peel or maybe an orange liqueur.  A little of this bar goes a long way.  I cut the half-bar into pieces & put it on a wasabi dish… we eat with our eyes!!  If it looks fancy, it will taste fancy, right?  

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Movement for the day was the aforementioned yardio and hiking, along with a Lower Body weight training session full of lunges and squats.  🙂  I think a rest day may be on tap for this cold Thursday – we’ll see!

Have a TERRIFIC Thursday!  See you again soon!

–Shari B. =)

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13 responses

8 10 2009
wolfshowl

Thanks for the tupperware container hint! I shop for one and as you know it’s hard to be able to buy a variety of produce for one person and not have it go bad before you eat it all.

8 10 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Wolfshowl … thank you so much for commenting! Glad you liked the Tupperware tip and hope to ‘see’ you again soon! 🙂

8 10 2009
Cindy

I used to be the queen of tupperware and never saw those…I guess I lost my crown! boo

Hmmmmm for the how to keep your produce longer….When we remodeled our kitchen last year and upgraded our appliances…and our new fridge keeps stuff FRESH…so the temp controls is a big help…but that is my only suggestion, and not a good one cuz you can’t always just go and get new appliances right?

but I HATE seeing them go to waste and I have been on a “no spinach left behind” campaign.,..

and it goes something like this….of course incorporate as many veg’s in dishes (dinner time) as possible…without family calling “mutiny”
green smoothies any morning I am HOME…aka weekends or “hooky” days…
and my day of shopping JUICING.

I juice Saturday mornings now and that is when I pull out what’s left and juice away. I get to drink all it’s lovely bennies and the bins are empty.

it’s just a week. it’s been working and so far it’s been a long time since anything got wilty beyond recognition.

ALSO it’s soup season (as opposed to salad season) so I chuck tons of vegg’s in there now. PUREE-VILLE.

I am also buying LESS…GASP and if I need a second run for a few things I go and do it!
(before I hated doing that!)

okay, done rambling now!

HAPPY FRIDAY-EVE!…it’s acutally MY Friday NIGHT today so I am super happy now!

8 10 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hey there Cindy! Wahoooo! It’s your Friday night, celebrate!

Yes, definitely SOUP season…! I need to get some good recipes that are as quick and easy as throwing together a salad but still get my veggie consumption. Or I’ll have make warm salads… 😉 It is SNOWING here now, and a green smoothie / salad today just seemed too chilly! So veggie enchiladas was on deck for dinner… 🙂

Love the “no spinach left behind” campaign 🙂 You crack me up, sister!!!

Have a LOVELY “Friday” night!

8 10 2009
Carrie

Shari, I have a disappointing office green smoothie update. I was able to get four of my coworkers to try it (two men and two women). One other coworker (a man) practically kicked me out of his office for even trying to get him to look at (or sniff!) it. However…one of my female coworkers did like it and asked for the recipe, so I sent her your blog:-)

Last night I got out of my “wrap wrut” and tried one of your pizzas. So, so, so good! I admit that I drank it with a beer, which isn’t so good, but pizza and beer just go so well together! Anyway, I used a whole wheat pita and smeared it with pesto. Then I put a cut up tomato on it and added olives, two cloves of garlic, and some cheese. Delicious! So…thanks again!

8 10 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Carrie! What a bummer that people weren’t as receptive to it as we’d hoped 🙂 I guess green smoothies are better in a “blind” taste test. It’s funny how people are turned off by the green color! Thank you for passing on the blog to your coworker that wanted the recipe – that means a lot to me!

Your pizza dinner sounds great! I had leftover pesto and had to try YOUR pizza today for my lunch, so it’ll be on the blog tomorrow. Was your beer at least organic? haha 😉 Just kidding…! I’m more of a vino & pizza girl (beer did me wrong once many many many years ago, so now I just can’t drink it!)

have a GREAT night!

9 10 2009
Joan

For keeping vegies fresh I’ve been using the green vegie bags “Evert-Fresh Green Bags”. They are reusable for quite a long time, easily found at health food stores and maybe some ‘hip’ grocery stores. They last a long time till you need to replace them, come with 10/pkg. The only thing that they don’t work well for are mushrooms, paper bags are best and i use them up pretty fast.

Soup! I found a really nice vegie/lentil soup recipe in Oct/09 Vegetarian Times ‘Curried Red Lentil Soup with Lemon’. I didn’t have red lentils just the green ones, but it is a wonderful recipe. I love soup and soup season!

9 10 2009
Joan

For keeping vegies fresh I’ve been using the green vegie bags “Evert-Fresh Green Bags”. They are reusable for quite a long time, easily found at health food stores and maybe some ‘hip’ grocery stores. They last a long time till you need to replace them, come with 10/pkg. I’ve had my pkg of 10 for a few years now and still haven’t used them all. The only thing that they don’t work well for are mushrooms, paper bags are best I think for them.

Soup! I found a really nice vegie/lentil soup recipe in Oct/09 Vegetarian Times ‘Curried Red Lentil Soup with Lemon’. I didn’t have red lentils just the green ones, but it is a wonderful recipe. I love soup and soup season!

11 10 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Oh Joan that soup sounds AMAZING! Mmmm I love lentils! Is it a pureed soup or does it get to stay chunky?

I will have to look for the Ever-Fresh bags … I have SO many different produce kinds that I wouldn’t have room for all tupperware containers! I’ve seen something like that at Bed Bath and Beyond, it was an “As Seen On TV” thing… do you think they are the same? Probably not, huh…

Have a GREAT weekend!

9 10 2009
Joan

oops, sorry about the double reply. I fixed my poor typing and didn’t know it would publish both.

12 10 2009
Joan

The name on my vegie bags is Evert-Fresh. I know it looks like a typo but it actually is Evert. There may be other brands. I got mine from Azure Standard, a mail order food supplier out of Oregon. I don’t know if Bed Bath and Beyond’s brand is ok. I’d be more inclined to look at the brands the health food stores carry.

The lentil soup is chunky, no blending called for but may make a nice change if you wanted to have a puree sometime. I chopped up the carrots and celery and garlic just like you would any vegie soup. The curry gave it a wonderful flavor and the aroma filled the house. It’s definately a keeper!

12 10 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Joan! I just checked Amazon for the Evert fresh bags and they have them! So if I don’t have any luck finding them locally I can order them from Amazon (YAY! Love Amazon, they have everything!)

As far as soup goes, I was curious on pureeing only because the hubster doesn’t like ANY chunks of anything. If I puree it he MIGHT eat it 😉 We actually run salsa in the blender so that he has ‘salsa sauce’. I LOVE curry and lentils so it sounds perfect!

12 10 2009
Joan

(chuckle) aren’t hubsters something else?? gotta love it!

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