Happy Earth Day! Don’t forget to celebrate our wonderful planet today. I hope to spend the day outside enjoying some glorious sunshine and plan to stop and smell all the spring flowers I see today. It is such a beautiful time in Michigan right now.
This month’s Recipe Redux is all about reducing food waste. This is a topic that is very important to me. I have tried to reduce our food waste but I admit that it can be a struggle.
Here are a few tips that I find helpful for reducing food waste:
- Compost! The ultimate goal should be not to compost any food that could have been eaten, but it is a great way to get rid of fruit and veggies scraps. We keep a small bucket under our sink and our compost bin is right outside our back door. I also experimented with vermicomposting this year however it didn’t end well…the worms didn’t appreciate our two week vacation and I thought asking our house sitter to also feed the worms was taking it a little too far.
- Make stock! Homemade stock is so easy. Here is a post I wrote about homemade chicken stock. But really you can make stock with just veggies, beef bones, shrimp casings…you name it and you can probably make a stock out of it. We keep two bags in our freezer…one for veggie scraps and one for chicken bones.
- Only buy what you need! This can be hard when you are faced with beautiful fresh produce but try to be realistic about what you can consume before it’s too late.
- Meal plan! After making a grocery trip, make sure to have a game plan for those items that are more perishable (berries, greens, avocados, etc.) at the beginning of the week.
- Take notice of what you are throwing out. Try to think about ways to prevent that food being wasted again.
Be sure to check out the link below for lots of other recipes and tips all promoting less food waste.
For you other RDs out there, this is a topic that we shouldn’t forget to discuss in our daily practices. If you are looking for more resources, there is a great toolkit about food waste available through the AND Foundation. Tossed Treasures. How We All Can Waste Less Food
So now lets get to today’s recipe. I wanted to blog about these cookies for awhile now. I’ve made them a couple of times and they are becoming a fan favorite around here. (I was inspired by this Beaming Baker recipe!) What I love about them is the flexibility to add what whatever nut butter, raw nuts and seeds, and dried fruit I have on hand. There is no wrong combination. I wanted to talk about them when talking about food waste because they feature an ingredient that I had previously been composting but now have found a use for. The special ingredient is almond pulp from making homemade almond milk.
After making almond milk, I would always save the pulp with grand plans to use it but the majority of the time it would end up in an unlabeled mason jar at the back of the fridge until it had to be tossed. Well I finally got in the habit of spreading the pulp out on a cookie sheet and dehydrating it in the oven as a final step of making almond milk (usually takes about 2-3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit). Once it is dry and crumbly I give it a buzz in the food processor and then it is almond meal. This almond meal must be refrigerated (or even better put it in the freezer to make it last even longer), otherwise you risk having mold before you have a chance to use it. This is different than almond flour but can be used in any recipe that calls for almond meal.
This cookie recipe is my favorite way to use almond meal. They are chewy, hearty, and super versatile because you can use whatever you have on hand for the nut butter, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. If you are avoiding eggs, feel free to use flax eggs and if you are looking for gluten-free just use gluten-free oats.
The mixture is a little crumbly so I find using a mason jar lid to help shape each cookie works well but any cookie cutter would also work.
Be Happy, Be Healthy!