Do you ever reach into your refrigerator and pull out a food item that you planned to use, only to find  that it has spoiled and now has to be thrown away?  It is like taking handfuls of coins and just tossing them in the trash. according to U.N.E.P. we waste  30-40% of the food supply in the USA.   This is more than 20 pounds of food per person per month!!
 
If you are shopping “list-less” you will end up spending and wasting more. We must be more mindful when we shop, cook and eat.  By making a list of meals and or recipes first, you can make a more detailed and accurate grocery list. By shopping from the list you will shop for  and purchase what you and your family need to eat that week.  
 
Planning and preparation are key to a healthy lifestyle. Grocery shopping is just the beginning of the weekly food plan for us.  After shopping we do a little “chopping” and organize our food.  We prepare our food to be eaten instead wasted.  For more information on how to Grocery “shop and chop” click here.  http://www.thekeyesingredients.com/2014210grocery-shop-and-chop/
 
The kitchen is a place for people of all ages.  It is a place to prepare food, cook together, and bond.  Some of my best conversations have been over rolling meatballs.  Kids in the kitchen are always a great idea.  It teaches them how to prepare foods, how to cook, and how to clean up.  These things, of course,  do not happen overnight. Teaching children how to cook and be a part of this process is a bit of a time investment at the beginning.  They start slowly using either hands to break lettuce for salads, or use butter knives to cut things like cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes.  Before you know it, they are efficient pros and your kitchen prep time is cut down significantly.  We all eat in our family so…we all cook …together.  We play loud music usually Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, dance in our kitchen, and we divide and conquer.
 
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Even after shopping by the list, we may have a few things left over.  For example, I often have fresh organic herbs leftover.  I preserve them by snipping them and putting them in ice cube trays.  I then cover them with olive oil and freeze.  I will use them to flavor a future dish or use them in a marinade.  (see above video)
 
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Leftover berries that are almost expired can also be popped into a ziplock and added into the freezer to be a future smoothie. One other option is to simmer them down with some organic maple syrup and strain to make a delicious coulis to top your favorite dessert, pancakes and or waffles.  For those recipes click here: 
 
Produce like tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus etc. can also be frozen if it looks like it may not last a day or two more.  They can be frozen whole or oven roasted and then frozen.  It just depends on how much time you have at the moment you check their vitals. They make wonderful soups and sauces when thawed and cooked up.
 
Here are just a few ideas:  
Frozen tomatoes? Tomato Reduction:  See recipe card below.  
Frozen cauliflower? Cauliflower Mash:  http://www.thekeyesingredients.com/project/cauliflower-mash/
 
So,  If Justin Timberlake can bring “sexy” back, I believe I will bring “cooking “ back.  One step at a time.
 
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This week, challenge your self to step outside the box and prepare meals at home.  Start with two or three meals that you can double batch and alternate evenings.  Change happens one step at a time.  Wellness is not a destination, it is a journey, so enjoy it.
 
Until next time cook well,
Michelle.
 
I use Mariella brand olive oil imported from Italy.  http://www.wholesaleitalianfood.com/mariella-extra-virgin-olive-oil-3-liter.html
The Tomato Reduction
Quick, Fresh & Delicious.
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Ingredients
  1. Organic Ingredients
  2. 2 lb. of fresh tomatoes quartered
  3. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 1 tbsp of Italian spices
  6. 1/2 bunch of fresh basil
  7. Juice of half a lemon
  8. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put olive oil in fry pan on low to medium heat. Add the dry spices and the salt and
  2. pepper. Add the garlic and as soon a you get the aroma, add the tomatoes and simmer
  3. to reduce to desired thickness.
  4. Add in the fresh basil followed by the lemon juice. Usually 30 to 40 minutes.
Serving Suggestions
  1. This can be added to soups, used as a sauce for pasta and or pizza.
The Keyes Ingredients http://www.thekeyesingredients.com/
Michelle
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Michelle

I'm a stay at home mom raising two wonderful kids, and it's my goal to educate people that there is more to food than meets the eye.
Michelle
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