I can't throw anything away.
Yes, I freely admit to getting rid of things, but never by way of the trash. Clothes and small household items go to charity, and family members who might want or need them. Old tools and scrap are either sold at yard sales or put out on the street with a "FREE" sign on them. (Usually these things disappear while I'm returning to the house). Old textiles (curtains, shirts, pillows, etc) are deconstructed and turned into quilts. Dingy old towels are cut up and made into kitchen rags. Paper, plastic, glass and metal are sent to the recycling center.
Surely you see the pattern here.
When it comes to excess food, I've actually reached the level of Nirvana. In the depths of my imagination, there is a certificate proclaiming me the Supreme and Exalted Queen of Food Rescue and Use.
Nice title, eh? But hey, I've earned it.
Most of the time, I'll turn Leftover X into a family meal by dismantling it, saucing it, and adding cheese. (You'd be surprised how adding shredded cheese to something previously unidentifiable can bring dinner smiles to the faces of your loved ones.) Sometimes, the chickens will get what's left over- usually stale sandwich bread, or the ubiquitous single hamburger bun languishing in the breadbox. (How does that happen?) Very rarely, I'll have to relegate some long-forgotten bag of kale or container of moldy beans to the compost bin for later use in the gardens.
The point here is that I'm physically unable to toss food (or anything else) into the trash.
My husband and I have 4 children, 3 of them adults and living (mostly) on their own, and one who'll be starting his senior year in high school in September. That makes us a family of 3 here at the farm, but occasionally a mob of 6. Although there are markedly fewer people in the house now, I was a full-time homemaker for years, raising those 4 to be best of my ability.
Like many American wives and mothers, I constantly search for ways to put healthy food in front of all my loved ones, and money can sometimes be tight. So I like to find recipes and methods that help me use leftovers and scraps that are already on hand. Mining my pantry and fridge usually results in a motley crew of seemingly unrelated items I must cobble together into some kind of recognizable meal or sweet treat. Still, it's usually worth the effort.
Today is just such a day. I'm finishing some freezing, drying and storing of what we've gathered so far out of the garden. I need space! I cleared out some store-bought cereal boxes and dumped the remains into a bowl. There was also a half-empty carton of rolled oats and a bag of wheat germ. It only took me minutes to come up with this recipe.
Part of the fun of using what's on hand is that you always get something new and different. Nobody ever gets tired of the same old sugar cookie or pound cake. The only problem is keeping these granola bars from disappearing!
(But at least they're not going into the trash)
Box Bottom Granola Bars
½ -1/3 box/bag any kind of cereal you like. About 3-4 cups ( I use the leftovers in the bottom of all the cereal boxes, and mix them)
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup nuts of choice
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup honey (heat for 10-20 seconds in the microwave to make it less sticky to mix in)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick, melted butter
1 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients and press them into a sheet pan. Be sure to line the pan with parchment or spray with pan spray. Oil your hands or spray with pan spray to make pressing the mixture in easier.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool and cut into bars.