Friday, April 20, 2012

Waste Not: Celery Leaf Salad

Many years ago, I visited Germany and was amazed that grocery bags cost a small fee.  Our little community is about to initiate a ban on plastic bags and a fee on paper ones.  As of May 1st, you either bring your own bag, or you pay 20 cents per paper bag.  Americans use an average of 326 plastic grocery bags per year.  While some of these are reused as trash can liners and lunch bags, most of them end in the landfill practically new.  Here are 25 good reasons to use your own bags.

I strive to be sustainable in how I live my life.  While seeming to take initial effort, it reduces cost and waste in the future.  Small measures can lead to big changes.  Take your bags to the store, and when you forget, use your purse and pockets.  I use re-usable containers instead of ziploc bags.  Try covering food in the oven with a baking sheet instead of foil.  I try to use rags instead of paper towels (this is one I struggle with). And finally, minimize food waste.  Making a goal to prevent food waste can save money and initiate creativity.

Some commonly tossed edibles with solutions:

1. Broccoli stems and leaves
Peel the stems and slice into sticks. Use as a snack or to dip in a veggie tray.  Bake the leaves like you would kale chips.
2. Celery leaves
See below.
3. Chicken bones
Make stock: bones of 1 chicken, any veggies in your fridge, bay leaf, 8 quarts water.  Simmer 1-2 hours, strain and store 1 week in fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
4. Wilted vegetables
Wilted veggies cook very well, and make flavorful parts in sauces or stir fries.  Simply cut away any parts that have gone bad.
5. Expired baking soda.
Baking soda is an excellent cleaning tool, and may stay active enough well past the expiration date.  To test: add a scoop into hot water with a little vinegar.  If it bubbles, the soda is still active for cleaning.  Even use the stuff you had deodorizing your fridge.

Celery leaves are not only often tossed, they tastily spice up many salads.

Celery Leaf Salad
serves 2 as a side salad
Full meal: boiled artichoke with honey-mustard dip, roasted
acorn squash, quinoa with escarole and celery leaf salad

  • leaves from one bunch of celery (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine celery leaves, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro and avocado in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. 

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