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Archive for September, 2011

Enjoy my first Vlog, I look, sound and act super silly. I was nervous.

Here is the trash can that Glad sent:

Some final thoughts:

  • Reducing waste is so easy to do. I challenge everyone for a week to really watch what you are throwing out and before you throw an item out, look at it and see if there’s another use for it.
  • When planning an event, really think about all the ways you can save on paper and food products.
  • Try out composting, if works for everyone, even though it does sound super overwhelming at first.
  • Make sure you are recycling.
  • Use plastic containers to take your lunch to work, not only do you save on paper waste, but you save on calories, think about it, if you know what you are taking everyday, when you prepare at home you have a much better gauge on your calories then ordering out. Not to mention if you don’t eat all your take out, that adds up to a lot of waste in a years time. By planning your lunches and using plastic containers you can always save if you don’t want to eat it all at once.
Hope you enjoyed this series of post! I’m glad I was able to particpate with the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program and Glad One Bag Event!

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Do you compost? I didn’t until now. To be honest, it was something I was afraid of.  It seemed very overwhelming and like a huge extra job.  I also had fears that my kitchen would get stinky very fast and I’d be inviting fruit flies into my house with open arms. Not to mention we currently live in a townhouse, so where would I put a composting bin outside.

After speaking with Keiko, from Waste Management, she eased my fears the second I started to question her about it. It truly is SUPER simple. Even in a townhouse!

Part of the Glad One Bag Event and Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, was to reduce waste by composting. Glad sent us this cute little green compost bin and compostable bags.

My first question to Keiko was, would this make my kitchen stinky? She told me no way! For one it’s not like you keep the compost in your house, just the bin, after its full take it outside and put into a larger compost bin or if you are like me with limited yard space, just by a gallon Rubbermaid container. 

Also if your compost bin inside your home starts to get stinky, add some baking powder to it. Also it’s recommend that you do not keep your bin inside for longer than a week. The bin that Glad sent, has a filter on the top that you do need to change every 3 months.  Once you are ready to take it outside, make sure you have the exact amount of wet to dry products, meaning for as much food waste you put into compost bin, make sure you have the same about of dry material, such as leaves. If you don’t have any leaves you can use newspaper.  Before you begin composting make sure to make 8-10 holes in the top of your bin and place leaves or newspaper, halfway up into the container as a base. Then place food on top and place dry material on top.

Here you can see a picture of the start of my composting:

So what can you compost, just about anything, vegetable rinds, fruit peels, egg shells that are finely broken up, just about anything but do  avoid meat or dairy products as they can attract unwanted guest to your yard. It will take about 3-4 months for your compost to turn into mulch. Once it does use it around your gardens as mulch.

See it’s not really that bad and it’s super easy to start! So reduce waste today and start composting!

Again, as a member of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program and Glad, I received the composting bin and bags complimentary.

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I’ll admit it, I’m not a fan of mussels, but my husband is.  I originally bought the  Mussels for my husband as an appetizer. As I started to prepare them I thought he might like them over some pasta as a meal instead. So this ended up being his meal for dinner.  After all, I haven’t been feeling like eating lately, and that’s because(just in case you missed it), Kiley is going to be a big sister!

Back to the recipes, I just threw this together as I went a long and it came out really well.

When purchasing mussels, make sure you purchase them from a store you trust to make sure the ones you get are alive and well. Don’t eat any that refuse to open after cooking. When you get come from the store, scrub the mussel and then place the mussels into a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes until you are ready to cook them.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Mussels, I used

2 tablespoons of butter

1 good size tomato, diced into small pieces

3 tablespoons of minced garlic

Parsley to taste

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup whole milk, you could use cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pasta of your choice, cooked

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet, add garlic till browned. Add half of the mussels, parsley, tomatoes, wine and milk to the skillet. Cover with a lid, I have a glass lid which is nice, because you see when the mussels are opening up. They take about 4-6 minutes to open up, remove open ones with tongs and place a bowl covered with foil. Repeat until all mussels are opened. Remember if some don’t open just throw them out.
  2. At some point, start your pasta and cook to al dente. Meanwhile, after all mussels are opened, simmer leftover sauce for about 10 minutes. Grab a plate and place some pasta and then some mussles on top, drizzle some leftover sauce on top of all of that!
Enjoy!

A Jessica Original

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I’m SUPER, SUPER excited to be invited by Shop Rite, for the second year in a row to attend the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

 

For the fourth year in a row, Shop Rite will be hosting the Grand Tasting Event at the historic Pier 57. Last year’s event was amazing, Chris and I left the festival absolutely stuffed and this year it is supposed to be 10 times bigger, so I can’t even imagine all the greatness of yumminess we will get to experience this year!!

Shop Rite will also have a booth set up for the Potluck Blog! So don’t be shy and stop by, come meet my self and some of the other amazing bloggers!

We also will be attending the Blue Moon Burger Bash,  by Pat LaFrieda meats and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg! The funny part is blue moon is the only beer I like, but since we are expecting our second little bundle of joy, Chris will just have to enjoy the greatness of Blue Moon, I on the other hand will be enjoying the milkshake and pie bar hosted by Duff Goldman!

 

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To be honest, when I think of frozen meals. I typically think, yuck. Who would want all that over processed food for a meal? How is that healthy?  So when I had a chance to test out the Birds Eye Viola Skillet Meals as a member of the FoodBuzz Tastemakers Program, I gave it a shot. I tried of the Cheesey Chicken.  It was actually pretty good.  It has all fresh ingredients and for 1 serving it only has 111 calories. Pretty decent, right? There are a TON of different flavors, check out their website here!

Check them out today in the frozen food section at your local grocery store.

As part of theFoodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free Birds Eye Viola Skillet Meal. 

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Pork Wellington

Labor day weekend is the last hurrah at the cottage basically, so we had to go big with the recipes we cooked that weekend. Wait, what am I talking about? We always have something super creative or fancy when eating at the cottage. My husband and brother-in-law where deciding what make and my brother-in-law, Danny, decided he wanted to make a Pork Wellington.  So this is a guest post of sorts, Danny made the meal for us all to enjoy. Just as a note, we doubled the recipe to serve enough people, this served about 8-10 people, so if you are making for less, half the ingredients. I really wish I would have been able to take pictures of the whole process cause it can be a bit overwhelming, but very enjoyable and delicious in the end!

Ingredients:

2 pounds of pork tenderloin

Salt and Pepper

Olive oil

1 pound of mushrooms, your choice

8 slices of parma ham or prosciutto, sliced thin

4 tablespoons of yellow mustard

2 packages of puff pastry, thawed

4 egg yolks, beaten

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat a  few tablespoons of olive oil in  large pan over high heat. Season the tenderloin, don’t be shy,  with salt and pepper. Sear the tenderloin on all sides until browned. Remove from pan and let it cool. Once cool brush all sides of the tenderloin with the mustard.
  3. Chop the mushrooms and put them into a food processor and puree. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Scrap the mushroom puree into the skillet and let it cook down, allowing the mushrooms to release their moisture. When the moisture  is released, set the mushrooms aside and let them cool.
  4. Roll out  a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay out the slice of ham on the plastic wrap so they overlap. Spread the mushroom mixture over top of the ham. Place the tenderloin in the middle , roll the mushroom and ham over the tenderloin, using the plastic wrap so it’s tight. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to secure. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to size that will wrap around the tenderloin. Unwrap the tenderloin from the plastic wrap and place in the middle of the puff pastry. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the beaten eggs. Fold the pastry around the tenderloin cutting off an excess pastry. Any pastry that is more than 2 layers will not cook properly. So try to limit the overlap. Place on a small plate, seam side down and brush beaten eggs yolks over the top. Chill for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Place the puff pastry filled tenderloin on a baking pan. Score the top of the pasty with a knife, not going through the whole pastry. Sprinkle the top with coarse salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork has an internal temperature of  140. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

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So the party was a success! We were able to get all of our waste into one bag!  I never thought a birthday party could ever be put into one bag of waste. I mean there is SO much stuff that goes into a birthday party that ends up as waste and typically there are bags and bags of waste.

So how did we do it? Very easily actually, more easily then expected!

So to start, instead of sending out paper invites, use the website Evite.com. You can create all kinds of neat invites on there and guest can even RSVP back to the website.  You can set up directions and messages to your guest. This saved me on about 3-4 packages of paper invitations. To reduce paper waste of wrapping paper, it was super easy to put on the invitations that guest should use minimal packaging or use newspaper which is recyclable. They can wrap their gift in a scarf that might be able to used later as an accessory.   Tell guest, not to bring birthday cards, as for the most of the time, they do get put into the garbage. Have guest bring a book and write a greeting into it.

Next, make sure you get an accurate count of guest. This will reduce your food waste. Grab some local produce and veggies at local farmer’s markets, because you will have less waste from all the packaging from products if you bought them at store.  Use your own cloth shopping bags also to reduce waste. All of your food scraps try to put into a composting bin(stay tuned for a post on composting!) For drinks, use pitchers to put drinks into to reduce waste of cans and bottles.  So easy to whip some sangria or even soda and place in pitchers and guest can serve.  Use glassware instead of plastic ware to reduce a ton more of paper waste.

For decorations, ask friends and family if they have any leftover. If not, create some of your own with items you have at home. Like maybe that box, break out some markers and use them to create banners.

If you have leftover food, send it home with guest, instead of throwing it out.  Bake your own cake at home to save on waste from cake box packing and if you need to order a cake, it’s ok, use the box to store things in after, of course after you lick all that yummy icing off! Let children use to play with to store toys, or even make something out of!  If not save it for the next time you make some baked goods at home, you will have a storage place for them!

So as you can see it was a challenge at first to reduce the waste from a birthday party, but it was totally doable and also as I was planning more and more ideas would come to mind on how to save on waste.

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