Let me tell you something about Little Dude…he eats a lot of bananas. I almost always buy bananas and apples. Gracia happily munches away on apples, while Little Dude chooses bananas. So, since he’s been here, we have a lot fewer bananas that make it to the browning stage. But still sometimes we get those bananas that are getting soft and darker in color. But in theory (of course theory is always easier than real life) a banana should never be wasted cuz there’s just too many awesome ways to use them up!

When your bananas are getting brown, you can easily freeze them. I freeze my bananas in 2 ways:

  1. Just put the whole banana, peel and all into the freezer. This is the lazy-woman’s way, but it’s also a good way if you want to use the banana for bread or muffins, just take it out and let it defrost, it should mash up very easily.
  2. The second way is to peel and cut up the bananas, then put them in an airtight bag in the freezer. These bananas are perfect for using while still frozen in smoothies, or you can defrost them and use them in baking too.

15 ways to use bananas!

  • Fruit salad

  • Layer yogurt, granola and bananas for a delicious parfait.
  • Banana splits!
  • Banana pancakes - These are so yummy, I actually prefer them to regular pancakes, and since they have bananas in them they’re even sweet enough to eat without syrup or honey if you want.
  • Banana cookies - These are totally AWESOME!! The recipe only calls for 2 ingredients, oats and bananas, plus any other goodies you might want to mix in. I’ve mixed in chocolate chips and cocoa powder. They’re healthy, quick and the kids LOVE them!
  • Make healthy jello (without any added sugar) and put bananas in it.

  • Frozen peanut butter bananas – When I eat these I feel so elegant and luxurious! Who knew using up bananas could make me feel so fancy? There’s lots of varying recipes out there, but I like to just cut the bananas into bit sized pieces, then put a smear of peanut butter on them, then dip them in melted chocolate. Freeze and eat! Or you can melt the peanut butter in with the chocolate, then dip the bananas in it.
  • Frozen Banana Split Bites – I’ve never tried these, but they look yummy!
  • Popsicles, this recipe looks yummy. When I have leftover smoothie (which almost always have bananas in them) I like to pour the smoothie into popsicle molds for later.
  • Baby food...although this idea is best for those who  have babies.

BONUS TIP: If you have a pastry blender, they work great for mashing up soft bananas.

Do you have any other ideas for using up bananas?

 

Amy
Linked at Frugally Sustainable.

 

I almost always have sour cream in the fridge that we didn’t quite finish before it went past its expiration date. I don’t like to toss things out just because they’re a little past the date stamped on the container, but on the other hand I don’t want to be eating something that’s really bad either. I find a nice compromise with sour cream (and yogurt) is to bake it into something. That way it’s not getting wasted, but it’s also getting cooked at a high temperature and hopefully killing off anything that needs to be killed off.

I often make banana bread or muffins to use up sour cream and yogurt, but now I have another muffin recipe! Pumpkin muffins! I used the banana recipe and just tweaked it some making it pumpkin muffins and it actually turned out!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix the sour cream, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients and then combine them with the wet. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

You can either make 2 loaves of pumpkin bread or make 1 loaf and 12 muffins, or do all muffins.

Bake at 350 in greased muffin tins or loaf pans. The muffins will need to bake about 20 minutes  or until done, and the bread about 1 hour or until done. Cool slightly, then remove from pans and let cool the rest of the way. Enjoy! :)

And don’t forget about The Tightwad Gazette Giveaway! Only 2 days left to enter!


 

Amy

I put water, the steam basket and chopped vegetables in the pot. The veggies steam until tender, then I remove them for supper and dump the water out….down the drain it goes, never to be seen by me again. It’s green water if I cooked broccoli, asparagus or green beans and orange if it was carrots. But what if there’s another way? What if that water could still be used, I’m sure there’s some nutrients that seeped out of the veggies into it.

 

 

 

During our practical skills classes we had a lady show us how to make homemade bread, and she said that potato water and other veggie water can be used in bread baking in place of the water! I was enthralled with that idea! She said that it adds even more for the yeast to eat. So since that class Cameron has used water leftover from cooking dry beans (either pinto or red beans, can’t remember) in some bread, and I’ve tried broccoli water and carrot water. I can’t wait to try potato water (read here for instructions on using potato water), and I’m trying to decide if I’m brave enough to use some leftover beet water sitting in the fridge.

 

 

Loaves made using leftover bean water.

Have you ever used vegetable water in baking bread?

Linked at Frugally Sustainable A Blossoming Life, and Living Well Spending Less.

 

 

I’m back!! Oddly enough, I’ve been dreading writing a post after finishing our Simple Living classes, because I have no idea where to start! So much has gone on in the last couple of weeks! How about I start with the scratch cooking part? That was one of my very favorite aspects of our class. The point of being limited to cook only from scratch was to help prepare us for living in rural places where we can’t just run down to Wal-Mart and pick up some frozen pizza rolls for supper.

Cameron and I decided to make the scratch cooking a little more applicable to our future and I asked a lady living in West Africa about some of the foods that are and aren’t available there. After picking her brain Cameron and I decided to do only powdered milk during the scratch week, and no cheese. Cheese is available there, but it’s a lot more limited than all the kinds we have here. We did stick to the powdered milk thing, but I did cave in and use some parmesan cheese (but that’s more of a garnish or spice right???). And when we ate with others and they served cheese we most gladly accepted! :)

Sooo….all that to say, here’s a few things I cooked:

  • Yogurt…..from powdered milk! I didn’t use a drop of regular milk, just powdered milk and some yogurt for the starter. I was worried it wouldn’t thicken, but it sure did! With some honey, fruit and granola it makes a fine breakfast.

 

Proof that yogurt can thicken, even with powdered nonfat milk.

 

 

  • Bread. Cameron made a double batch of bread, and I made a quick batter bread that I love. Unfortunately I had forgotten that my batter bread recipe says to mix the dough with your hand mixer for 3 minutes, and during this time we weren’t supposed to use electrical appliances. So I mixed it by hand, got an arm work out, and hoped for the best…and what do you know, but it actually turned out! And I can’t wait to share a really cool Save the Scraps tip that has to do with bread!

 

The bread Cameron made

 

 

  • Flour tortillas. As you know, I’ve made my own corn tortillas, but had yet to try the flour kind. Store bought flour tortillas are our stand by for a quick meal of bean burritos, so  I knew it was about time I made some of my own. I found a recipe that uses oil instead of shortening or lard, and hope to share it with you soon!

Making flour tortillas

 

My scratch cooking take-aways:

  • I want to start trying to make more from scratch namely, flour tortillas, bread and yogurt.
  • Learn ways to cook from scratch even during a busy schedule (planning a post on this).
  • Don’t be scared of new recipes, just try them!
  • Get practice cooking over a fire outdoors.
  • Re-evaluate all kitchen gadgets and appliances I own. This sounds like it should become a post too.
  • Try more in the pressure cooker. I actually cooked a whole chicken in my pressure cooker yesterday, that was a first for me.
  • Learn to can.
  • My cookbooks have lots of great recipes, why do I always turn to the internet for recipes? When I do turn to the internet for a recipe, I usually end up doing other things online too and waste time. I want to use my cookbooks first, and if I don’t find what I want, then go to the internet.

There’s a million simple-living related posts zooming around in my head, so stay tuned!

Linked at A Blossoming Life.

 

We all know that a giant canister of oatmeal can provide many healthy and filling breakfasts, but what if you make too much? What can you do with that oatmeal other than re-heating it or dumping it in the trash? I’ve faced this dilemma myself and have had fun experimenting with recipes. Today’s recipe is a sweet bread, with wiggle room for variety.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (When I made this with chocolate chips, I only used 1/2 cup of sugar and thought it still tasted great).
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (I used unsalted)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (rinsed)

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separate, then combine. Fold in blueberries or chocolate chips. Put in greased loaf pan and bake at 350 until done (45 minutes?).

Varieties:

Chocolate Chip - I’m sure you could do this many ways, but I’ve done ti with a cup of chocolate chips instead of blueberries.

Muffins - I’ve also made it into muffins, just decrease the baking time.

TIP: Since this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, that’s exactly one stick. Let the butter sit out a little before taking it out of the wrapper, then use the wrapper to grease your loaf pan!

Yummy bread, thanks to that leftover oatmeal!

Linked at A Blossoming Life and Tammy’s Recipes.

Grains are important in any frugal diet! They help stretch those other more expensive grocery items and add plenty of nutrients and fiber!

Go Whole Wheat

We all know that whole wheat is healthier than white, so most of the time opt for whole wheat breads, pastas and rice. Often the whole wheat varieties are the same price as the white, but even when they’re a little more expensive, I think it’s still worth the few extra cents.

Cook from Scratch

I do occasionally make whole wheat bread, but am by no means an expert! However, I do recommend an excellent post by The Frugal Girl called, “Does Homemade Bread Save Money?” She does an excellent price-break down and even compares the nutritional value of the ingredients.

Even if you don’t want to make your own sandwich bread, there’s plenty of other nutritious”breads” out there you can whip up, like corn tortillas which only consist of masa harina, salt and water. Or how about muffins from scratch? You can healthify them, but substituting some of the white flour for whole wheat, including fruits, cutting back on the sugar and using applesauce in place of the oil. Instead of buying cereal you can make your own granola. You could try this recipe that only uses honey to sweeten it or this clumpy recipe.

Gracia a couple years ago helping me bake bread.

Buy “Day Old” Bread

I’ve heard of “Day Old” Bread stores, but even if you don’t have that in your area, chances are your local grocery store will have a spot in the store where they sell reduced for quick sale bread. Keep your eyes out, as it often isn’t in the bread section where you’d expect it. Look over by the deli, meat department or freezer section, and if all else fails, ask someone!

Don’t Waste Stale Bread

Croutons, bread pudding, stuffing or bread crumbs are perfect ways to use up old bread. Some might consider this too gross, but I’ve even cut off small moldy parts of bread and eaten the rest of the bread that’s still good.

Brown rice is affordable and very nutritious!

Buy in Bulk

Grains are something you can usually get in bulk. Some people even buy their own wheat and grind it themselves. Buy the bigger bags of rice instead of the Minute variety. Buy oatmeal in a canister instead of the individual oatmeal packets, and  you can even make your own instant oatmeal packets.

Stock Up on Great Sales

Honestly I’ve yet to do this, but when you see things like flour go on sale, stock up! If you buy extra bread you can freeze it for later.

Grains are Great Fillers

Because so many grains (rice, oatmeal, etc…) are so cheap compared to things like meats, they’re a great way to fill up your family and stretch a meal. Serve them as a side dish or add a little extra to soups and casseroles.

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

 

Recipes
Breakfast rice
The Gracious Pantry’s big list of oatmeal ideas
Homemade instant oatmeal packets
Honey Granola
Clumpy Almond Granola
Popcorn without a popcorn popper.
Homemade Corn Tortillas - Corn tortillas are healthier than white and so yummy when freshly made!
Amy Dacyzyn’s Universal Muffins – This is a great “recipe” for making muffins out of whatever you have on hand!
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Honey Carrot Cake
DIY Bread Crumbs plus 8 ways to use up bread crumbs
Croutons

This post is linked at Tammy’s Recipes.

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