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Tips on saving money in the kitchen

I had planned to write this as tips on saving money in the kitchen. After looking it over, I realized that all of these tips are also Eco-friendly ideas. Soooo, we will just leave it at that.

tip #1 Make your own homemade stock. It is much easier than you think. Throw your leftover chicken, turkey, pork or beef bones in a pot, add cold water, carrot, celery, onion, maybe a bay leaf or two, add salt only if you are not planning on making a reduction with the stock or it will be too salty. Let simmer for a couple of hours, occasionally skimming off the ( for lack of a better word) scum that floats on top. Strain. You could also use leftover shrimp shells, just reduce cooking time to 30 minutes.

tip #2 Place a sheet of paper towel in packages of lettuce, fresh spinach and fresh herbs and you will be amazed at how much longer they will last . The paper towel absorbs excess moisture. Change paper towel as needed.

tip # 3 Consider investing in a food dehydrator. I make my own vegetable seasoning blends (carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bell pepper) dehydrated and then pulsed into a powder. Adds tons of flavor without adding any chemicals . Make your own dried ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, dried herbs, dried fruits etc. Much healthier and less expensive than store bought.

tip # 4 Canning is also a great idea. Buy cases of in- season fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market and make your own salsas, relishes, chutneys, tomato sauces, jams, jellies, pickles, mustard. Very Eco-friendly and they also make great homemade gifts.

tip #5 Make Double. If you are going to the trouble of making a lasagna, cabbage rolls, chili etc make two batches and freeze one. On days that you really don't feel like cooking you will be happy that you did.

tip # 6 Be creative. Use things you might normally throw away. Save the oil from roasted peppers for homemade vinaigrette or use for sauteing vegetables. Add pickle juice to potato salads. Try candied citrus rind or pickling watermelon rind. Save the rind from Parmesan cheese and add to a pot of home-made soup or to a pasta sauce. Add a splash of olive juice, or pickle juice, or pickled pepper juice to a Bloody Mary or Caesar.

tip #7 Don't throw away stale bread. Make croutons, bread crumbs, strata or bread pudding.

tip #8 Buy in bulk and re-package in smaller portions.

tip #9 Make it yourself. Make your own pirogi, pot stickers, egg rolls, muffins, cookies and keep in freezer to control the amount of packaging used.

tip # 10 Try making flavoured oils, vinegars and salad dressings. They are super easy to make and you can re-use your jars.

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