Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Take-Out & Reuse

I have fallen prey to the guilty pleasure that is take out now and again. I'll admit it. There are times when there's nothing in the house to make, and I am NOT in the mood to leave the house, and take out always wins at these moments.

Generally the biggest problem with this guilty pleasure for me is all the extra containers, utensils, packets, etc that I'm left with. Today I found a new, simple use for a couple of take out containers. In particular, those plastic containers that soups come in, and used chopsticks were utilized to replant some sunflowers that I've had growing on my back deck in small paper planters.

The sunflowers quickly outgrew their original homes (pictured), but they are still much too tiny to replant in the yard. I know: I replanted a few only to find them completely devoured the next morning by a stealthy resident rabbit.

I am hoping my sunflowers can do a bit more growing in the take-out containers before I give replanting them in the yard another go. Notice that the sunflowers are propped up by used chop sticks as well. I have some used plastic forks, spoons etc on hand that I'll use for the remaining sunflowers when they are large enough to need some support as well.

A few other things I've used these plastic take out containers for:
- Storing old/dead batteries until I can take them to the proper place in my municipality for safe disposal.
- Cut a hole in the lid and you have a change holder (some contact paper could turn it into a pretty spiffy change holder, at that).
- An airtight container to store kitchen waste before I can take it out to our composter.
- A mixing "cup" for when I need to make a mixture of baking soda and Dr. Bronner's, water or vinegar to help clean up the bathtub, sink & shower dirties.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to get some more use out of old take-out containers?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Toddler Treats: Delicious Scones

Here's a recipe my Mom emailed to me that I really enjoyed, for a healthy whole wheat/grain treat...

Oatmeal Cinnamon Scones

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar (use 1/2 cup for sweeter scone)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan margarine or shortening
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup nuts, chopped, optional
1/3 cup vanilla or plain nondairy milk (I use soy)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Cut in margarine until mixture becomes uniformly crumbly.

2. Stir in oats, raisins, and nuts (if using). Add milk and mix gently until a soft dough begins to cling together. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a 7" circle.

3. Cut into 8 wedges and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Just before baking, sprinkle scone wedges with granulated sugar for a sweeter taste. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown and firm when pressed lightly in the center.

Substitute any other dried fruit you wish: cranberries, chopped dates or apricots, blueberries, cherries, dried apples or pears.

These tender, crumbly scones are satisfying and not too sweet. A good choice for children’s snacks or a Sunday brunch. They are a wonderful way to get your children to eat more wholesome whole wheat if they are used to white flour.

Serves: 8 scones, Preparation time: 30 min.

<-- end recipe-->

A few notes on the recipe and scones themselves...

I didn't have margarine or crisco in the house, but butter worked just fine for me!

Scones are pretty dry, so it's always good to smear on some marmalade or any other jelly/jam that you enjoy, and perhaps even some clotted cream, and you will be in pure heaven!

I excluded the dried fruit from the scones I made because I was making these as a healthy snack for my 18 month old, who is still too young to handle anything as chewy as dried fruit.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!