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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Recycling on the Inside

Mar 28, 2013 07:50AM ● By Silvia Haskvitz

What was once steamed broccoli, red pepper, cauliflower and onion with salmon and rice can the next day become a scrumptious vegetable soup. Take the unused veggies and put them into a food processor or blender with coconut milk or water to reach the desired consistency and create something totally new.

Last night’s dinner vegetables can be used with eggs for the next morning’s breakfast, or leftover rice noodles can be added to almond milk, cinnamon, raisins and organic butter for another hearty repast. Rice, chia seeds and coconut milk comprise another winning combination.

Always make extra veggies; they are versatile, nourishing and satisfying. A large pan of roasted veggies, for instance, can be used for pizza topping or a satisfying accompaniment to pasta. Add sardines or salmon to a plate of vegetables for a brand-new, gourmet meal. Roasted veggies can easily be transformed into a stir-fry; just add rice.

A gluten-free, yeast-free flat bread recipe can become the crust for a yummy pizza or be put back in the oven to make crackers by drying out the moistness, bringing out its natural crunch.

Look at organic unsweetened cherries from a repurposing perspective. It’s a short season fruit, so freezing them allows for more versatility throughout the year. First, they can be enjoyed without any additions in season in summer. Freeze them to eat at other times of the year. Place frozen organic cherries in a pan with a dollop of organic butter or all by themselves and heat until bubbly. Add cinnamon as a warming spice. Use the cherry juice in place of honey in vinaigrette for salad or over stir-fried vegetables. Mix cherries and goat cheese to enjoy on a cracker or on flatbread. Top oatmeal with heated cherries—add nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Make a nut crust using pecans or walnuts, sea salt, dates and press into crust. Add heated cherries and enjoy cherry pie. Add leftover cherry juice to a bowl of plain organic yogurt for a luscious dessert. The possibilities are endless.

Another way of looking at repurposing food is to make things healthier—it could be a recipe asking for margarine that we may substitute with pastured butter or use cacao nibs for chocolate chips and consume unprocessed goodness that’s high in magnesium and antioxidants.

We can recalibrate our palate by trying kale chips instead of potato chips or making soup stocks from celery tops, carrot and potato peelings. Creativity in repurposing food can be as vast as our imagination and taste buds allow. If all else fails, we can always use it for compost in the garden.

Sylvia Haskvitz, MA, RD, holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and a master’s degree in speech and communication studies. She is a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication and the author of Eat By Choice, Not By Habit (

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