Reusing Food Waste: The Perks, Tips, and Tricks

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You’ve been eating healthfully and sustainably as an apartment homesteader, and it’s been kind to your budget. But when most of the waste you produce is in the form of food scraps, you need to be reusing food waste rather than disposing of those food bits.

The first way that comes to mind for most people is to turn food waste into compost for your garden. Small-space composting can be an easy and cost-effective way to use your food waste.

But beyond composting, did you know you can both regrow plants from your scraps (buy once, grow forever) and eat those scraps in crafty recipes?

Check out my favorite tips and recipes below—along with a list of even more clever ways to put your food waste to good use.

Composting in Your Apartment

Everyone can compost, even in the small space of the apartment homestead.

You can use a five-gallon bucket with a lid—easily attained at any hardware store—or a regular plastic garbage bin with a lid.

Don’t let the “lack of space” excuse keep you from composting your food waste to help feed your future garden. There are cheap and easy compost containers that will fit under your kitchen sink or in a closet, or that you can make decorative to help inspire other apartment homesteaders to start their own sustainability journey.

If you’re worried about the usual culprits (bugs, using it quickly enough, and the obvious lack of space) that make composting in your apartment homestead difficult, check out this blog on The Grow Network: 5 Cheap and Easy Solutions For Small-Space Composting.

Regrow From Scraps

If composting isn’t your thing just yet, why not start a whole garden of vegetables and fruit from your organic produce scraps?

From herbs and onions to leafy greens and lemon trees, you can regrow the produce you eat regularly with results that are both amazing for your homesteading prowess and kind to your homestead budget.


One of my favorite herbs to regrow is basil. I love fresh basil. I add it to Italian dishes or infuse water with it and fresh lemon slices.

You can regrow basil by simply stripping the leaves, leaving only a small stem. Place the basil in a jar of water with the stem submerged, and set it in a sunny but cool area in your apartment homestead. Change the water every other day and plant in a four-inch pot when the stems grow to approximately two inches in length.


Another easy plant to regrow is peppers. Simply save the seeds from a pepper you love and replant in a pot. Place the pot in a sunny area, and you’ll enjoy peppers (and hopefully fresh salsa!) again and again.


You can also save your tomato seeds. Rinse them and allow to dry, then plant them in a soil-filled pot. If you have a garden box, transfer your tomato plants there once the sprouts are a few inches tall. Otherwise, keep them potted and enjoy fresh tomatoes from your patio garden.

Here are some other things you can regrow from food scraps in your apartment homestead:

  • Avocado
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot Greens
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic Sprouts
  • Ginger
  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Scallions
  • Lemongrass
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fennel

Reusing Food Waste in the Kitchen: Recipes Using ‘Throwaway’ Scraps

There are so many ways to eat the kitchen scraps you would normally throw away! Just rethink “scraps” into more food! Check out these recipes for a few ideas.


Use your celery tops, onion skins, carrot peels, and other veggies to make vegetable broth. Add all vegetables to a large pot, add enough water to completely cover everything, bring to a boil, and let simmer for six to eight hours. Strain and store broth in the fridge.

Almond Flour

Do you make your own almond milk? Grind up the leftover almonds and toast/dry in your oven to make almond flour. Use almond flour to make grain-free muffins, breads, or other baked goods.

One of my favorite recipes using almond flour is Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls—they’re also gluten free (which means you can kick the nasty pesticide-heavy wheat out of your diet and still enjoy your sweets):

Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups almond flour
4 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. honey (in dough); 1/4 cup honey (in filling)
1 tsp. cinnamon (in dough); 2 Tbsp. cinnamon (in filling)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix together almond flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix in eggs and coconut milk. Then, mix in applesauce, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Form dough into a ball, cover, and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Lay a piece of wax paper down on the counter and grease with olive oil. Place the dough onto the wax paper, and roll out the dough into a thin circle.

Drizzle honey over the dough and shake the rest of the cinnamon over the top.

Cut dough into 2-inch strips. Using your knife (the dough will be sticky), roll each strip up and place in a baking pan.

Bake for around 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Potato Skins

You can turn potato skins you’d normally throw away into a salty snack you’ll crave.

Potato Skin Chips

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss leftover potato peels with olive oil and the seasonings you like.

Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15–20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Sprinkle with cheese and scallions or green onions.

Apple Peels

If you make your own apple sauce, you probably have apple peels for days. The following recipe offers a perfect way to use them up:

Apple Honey Tea

The peels from 6 apples
3–4 cups water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place apple peels in a sauce pan, cover with water, and add lemon juice and cinnamon. Boil for 10–15 minutes. When the liquid has become apple-colored, strain out the apple peels, add honey, and serve.

Kale Stems

Kale stems can be too tough to eat raw.

Dry the stems and grind them into Super Green Kale Powder to add to shakes or salads.

Get Clever With Your Food Scraps

Not into the food scrap recipes? Here are a bunch of other ways to use your food scraps. Get creative!

  • Infuse liquor with citrus peels for a yummy adult beverage.
  • Sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal by running eggshells through it.
  • Add crushed eggshells to your garden soil to give it a calcium boost.
  • Run citrus peels through the garbage disposal to get rid of nasty odors.
  • Use carrot peels to make carrot oil—an awesome addition to your natural, chemical-free beauty routine.
  • Add citrus peels to white vinegar to use in cleaning. Infuse the vinegar with the citrus peels by letting them sit together for two weeks before straining the peels and transferring the citrusy vinegar to a spray bottle.
  • Make citrus air fresheners.
  • Use banana peels to shine your shoes.
  • Use spent coffee grounds in your garden as pest repellent, fertilizer, or an ingredient in compost.
  • You can also use your coffee grounds to help absorb food odors in the fridge. Put old grounds in a container and place it in the fridge to get rid of musty food smells.
  • Coffee grounds can even be used to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin!

Whichever ways you choose to use rather than toss your food “waste,” remember that the choice to go that extra step is a leaping bound on your journey toward personal sustainability in your apartment homestead.

(And when you’re ready to take another step and really say “goodbye” to unsustainable living, you’ll want to check out the next post in the Apartment Homesteader series, on growing your own medicine—or being your own Apartment Apothecary! Stay tuned!)



The post Reusing Food Waste: The Perks, Tips, and Tricks appeared first on The Grow Network.

Grow a Bumper Crop of Basil in Containers

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Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow for culinary creations and you can easily grow basil in containers. Find out how to get a bumper crop for pesto and cooking | PreparednessMama

Basil and containers go together Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow for culinary creations and you can easily grow basil in containers. After all, who can resist a batch of fresh pesto made from basil growing in your own yard! As soon as the weather turns I begin growing basil in […]

The post Grow a Bumper Crop of Basil in Containers appeared first on PreparednessMama.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

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5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Basil. Image source:


Summer is here, and that brings one unfortunate type of creature: bugs.

Mosquitoes and fleas, and other bugs and insects, can become a real annoyance and ruin anyone’s outdoor fun. But there is an all-natural way to fight back against these pests: with herbs!

The five herbs below, and their essential oils, can help repel those annoying bugs throughout summer.

1. Basil. Basil is not only a delicious herb but is also great for repelling bugs. Flies and mosquitoes hate basil. Use it to repel bugs by planting it, making a spray with it, or rubbing the leaves directly on yourself.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

When plating the basil, put it near areas where you most want to keep those pesky insects away from you. A simple spray could be made by steeping the leaves in water for a couple of hours. Then, take just the basil-water and mix it with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and spray it on yourself.

2. Mint. Its intoxicating and overwhelming smell is what keeps mosquitoes away. Mint can be made into a spray by mixing its essential oil (a few drops of peppermint oil) with vinegar or water. The plant itself also can be utilized as a repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin directly, or by placing the plant wherever you hang out most often.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Lavender. Image source:

3. Lavender. One of the best-smelling and beautiful plants is lavender, and it has one of the most beneficial attributes to be used in the summer months. Lavender is perfect at repelling moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes! This is the one herb that can do it all. Yet it is beneficial to not only you but also your garden. Hang it in your house and even by the doorways to keep the flies away. It can also be made into a spray like the other herbs.

4. Lemon thyme. When using this herb it is important to bruise the leaves before rubbing it on the skin. The only way the aroma is released is by smashing it or bruising it to release the oils. Then it can be applied to the skin. Among bugs and insects, lemon thyme is best used to repel mosquitoes.

5. Lemon balm. Lemon balm is an amazing plant that not only repels “bad” bugs but also attracts good ones. It repels annoying insects like mosquitoes, gnats or flies and attracts insects like butterflies and bees. This allows for your garden to be cared for by the beneficial bugs and protected from the pesky bugs. This herb can be crushed and applied to the skin or put on a patio or deck, or even planted in the garden, so as to protect you when you work.

In nature, there is a balance of good and bad. Nature gives us those annoying bugs, but nature also provides us plants to repel them when needed. Now that you have discovered what herbs to use, you can keep those exasperating insects away and actually enjoy your evenings outside, bug-free.

What herbs would you add to this list? Share them in the section below:  

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5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

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5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Tarragon. Image source:


Spring is a perfect time to start some herb seeds indoors. Planting culinary herb seeds not only saves you money, but it also provides you with the ability to make delicious meals. Most culinary herbs also have potent medicinal qualities as an additional reward.

How to Grow Herbs from Seed

By planting seeds you may be able to grow plants that aren’t readily available in your local garden center. If you do not have room for a garden, herbs make wonderful potted plants. Most herbs thrive in average soil. If you are planting them indoors, use special soil mixes which are designed for starting seeds. You may sow your seeds in individual pots or you may choose to cluster sow them.

Herb seeds are extremely tiny. Take care when sowing them; mix the seeds with a bit of dry sand or use seed-starting tools which are designed for planting tiny seeds. Some seeds are available with special coatings that make them easier to handle.

If you are planting outdoors, check the seed packets or with your county extension agent regarding proper planting times. Prepare your garden beds carefully by removing weeds, loosening the soil and tilling it ahead of time so that it isn’t overly wet.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

If you plant your seeds in trays or in individual pots, water them from the bottom. Keep seedlings, indoors or out, moist but not overly wet.

Tender herbs may be started indoors and moved outside when the weather warms up. Introduce them to their outdoor environment gradually. Protect them from hot sun and wind when you first expose them to the outdoors.

Not sure which herbs to grow? Here’s some terrific culinary herbs with medicinal properties which are ideally grown from seeds:

5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Basil. Image source:

1. Basil. This is a great herb to grow from seed. If you are like me, you will want lots of it. There are a wide array of basil types to grow. Small leafed, large leafed, lemon, purple, holy and cinnamon are just a few of the fantastic varieties of basil. If you live in a cool or cold climate, start your basil in pots. Basil is a tender plant which cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Only move it outdoors when there is no chance of frost. Basil grows in average soil and should be planted in full sun. In addition to livening up mealtime, basil is said to relieve respiratory, digestive and emotional imbalances.

2. Sage. I grow sage from seed because there are several varieties and some of them are very attractive. Nibbling on one sage leaf daily can relieve hot flashes. Sage soothes sore throats and is a wonderful seasoning for poultry and savory dishes. You can make an antibacterial wash from sage which may be used for first aid. Like basil, sage thrives in average soil. It can tolerate poor soil as well. Grow sage in a sunny location.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

5 Easy-To-Grow ‘Medicine Chest’ Herbs You Can Plant Right Now

Dill. Image source:

3. Dill. It isn’t just for making pickles; dill is a beautiful garden plant. If you have children, be sure to provide them with some dill seeds to plant. Dill is extremely easy to grow. It makes a lovely tea for relieving belly aches. The plants produce attractive foliage and flowers. If you plan to do some pickling, grow the taller varieties, as they produce the most numerous and largest seed heads. Otherwise, plant the shorter varieties as they are more attractive and provide you with plenty of dill weed foliage. Dill thrives in poor or average soil in the sunshine. For a non-stop supply of dill, don’t plant all of your seeds at once. Sow seeds every few weeks all spring and summer long.

4. Tarragon. This one can be difficult to grow, particularly in hot climates. Try Mexican mint tarragon instead. You may know this plant as Texas tarragon. It has lovely yellow-orange flowers. Mexican mint tarragon grows in sunny locations in average soil. The anise flavored leaves are soothing to upset stomachs.

5. Mustard. Mustard is very easy to grow. White mustard is what most commercial mustard products are made from, but if you prefer a spicier, more pungent variety, grow brown mustard. In addition to flavoring pickles and savory dishes, making your own mustard is very simple. Mustard isn’t fussy about soil. It may be used medicinally as a warming herb to relieve respiratory congestion or blended into topical remedies.

Final thoughts

There are hundreds of herbs which you can grow easily and economically from seeds. If you don’t need a whole packet of seeds, get together with friends and have a seed exchange. You will all have a vast array of herbs at your fingertips, which you can use for cooking and healing.

Which herbs would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

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ABC’s of Essential Oils ~ B

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ABC's of Essential Oils with @Mamakautz B

To continue with the ABC’s of Essential Oils. This week is letter B. Basil, Bergamot, and Black Pepper


Valued for its restorative effects, Basil is also commonly used for its calming properties.
Promotes alertness
Refreshing flavor
Acts as a cooling agent for the skin

ABC's of Essential Oils B with @MamaKautz

Cold pressed from the rind of the bergamot fruit, Bergamot is unique among citrus oils.
Calming and soothing aroma
Promotes clear skin
Frequently used in massage therapy for its calming benefits

Black Pepper

Stimulating and flavorful, Black Pepper enhances any dish—and your health.*
Provides powerful antioxidants*
Supports healthy circulation*
Enhances food flavor

Thank you for using affiliate links and such.
It doesn’t cost you extra to use them, so thank you.
Sometimes I get free stuff to review.
I promise you I will always be honest with my opinion
of any product regardless of if I were paid in addition
to receiving the free product. You can trust me.
Do you need Essential Oils of your own?
You can send me an e-mail and I will personally assist
you in choosing the best oils to fit your needs.
Please use discretion if using oils.
I am not a doctor and can not diagnose or treat what ails ya.
I can just give my advice. Essential Oils have yet to be
approved by the FDA.
Occasional Useletter
Essential Oil Newsletter

Basil photo cred

The post ABC’s of Essential Oils ~ B appeared first on Mama Kautz.

How To Make Garlic Pan Bread On A Campfire

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Pan breads are quick and easy to make, adding a great element to your camping menus. The are delicious, punching above their weight in terms of flavour. They are also both filling and calorific, providing not just…

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Basil Pesto Sauce + 5 More Things to Do with Basil

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Basil Pesto Sauce + 5 More Things to Do with BasilTo say I’m being over run with basil is an understatement.

This year, I have two basil plants growing at home and two growing at the community garden plots. All the plants are doing extremely well which means I have a monster load of the fresh, green stuff. 

I could keep dehydrating it and even freeze it, although, nothing beats enjoying it fresh from the garden. 

Last night, I used my food processor to turn the basil harvest into pesto sauce. I served it over spaghetti because that’s one way to guarantee my picky kids will eat it. But you can also use pesto sauce to dress up grilled fish and chicken. Or, make a pesto sauce pizza!

How to Make Basil Pesto Sauce

Basil Pesto Sauce
2015-07-10 18:15:36
Yields 1

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  1. 3 cups basil leaves (lightly packed in the measuring cup)
  2. ¼ cup pine nuts (or any other nut~like walnuts or almonds.)
  3. ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or grated pecorino cheese
  4. 1-2 garlic cloves
  5. ⅛ teaspoon salt
  6. ¼-½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Start with half of the basil in a food processor. Add the nuts, cheese, garlic, and salt.
  2. Blend until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
  3. Add the rest of the basil. Blend until mixture turns to a paste.
  4. While the processor is running, pour in the olive oil until desired thickness.
  5. Taste the pesto sauce. If needed, add more salt, garlic, nuts or cheese to your preference.
  1. If you plan on freezing the pesto, do not add the cheese when making. Put pesto into an air-tight container. Then, drizzle a little oil on the the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Before use, thaw the pesto and stir in cheese.
Earth and Honey

If you still have basil leftover (I do!), no worries.

Here are 5 more delicious things you can do with basil:

1. Basil Sea Salt is a fun way to dress up a fresh tomatoes and mozzerella appetizer. Gourmet finishing salts also make a great holiday gift so be sure to package some up for your friends! 

2.Herbed Basil Butter is wonderful on sweet corn or a baked potato.

3. Spread this Garlic Basil Butter onto baguette slices or the tops of warm rolls for homemade garlic bread. 

4. Drizzle Basil Infused Olive Oil on a arugula and avocado salad. Yum!

5. Add it to marinade or use this Basil Herb Vinegar with olive oil for a salad dressing. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

What is your favorite thing to make with your basil harvest?


This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, read the Disclaimers & Disclosures here. Thank you for your support!

The post Basil Pesto Sauce + 5 More Things to Do with Basil appeared first on Earth and Honey.

Anatomy Socks and Why I Need To Knit More Socks

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Many of you know I like to knit, and some of my friends look at me knitting and scratch their heads. Apparently, I’m not ‘what folks think of when they think of knitting’.
Or so I’ve been told.
Good! Just goes to prove you shouldn’t judge by first impressions.

Anyway, since I know a few of my readers are also knitters, I thought I’d share a bit of my knitting passion.
I finally finished my Anatomy Socks. (See left, above) Plain tube socks that I knit while watching television or surfing the web, Mindless, easy knitting.

  I’m also pleased  to have finished the Dark Cable Socks
It was a new pattern for me, and really very easy. The socks even turned out to be the size ordered! Yay! Mens size 11.

I’m getting ready to cast on another pair of socks, this time in special sock yarn we picked up years ago, tucked away and promptly forgot about.
(More on that later)
I’ve been asked why I make so many socks, and my first answer is, why not? But once we get past the knee-jerk response, here’s the best answer in the words of the Yarn Harlot herself;

“Hand knit socks are 100% better than store bought.They feel so fabulous on your feet that there’s almost nobody who doesn’t want to only wear hand-knit socks from the first time he or she slips them on.”

Time to go smoosh some yarn. Next post, another very good reason to knit socks, the life and times of Buttercrunch lettuce and the secret life of basil.

Moose, Lettuce and Spinach, Oh My!

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I’ve written before on how relieved I am that spring is finally here, as evidenced by the warmer temperatures, more birds and the moose coming out of the bush.
Speaking of moose, a friend of mine (Sara Mealey) got some great photos of that same moose I shared with you the other day.
Apparently the moose likes paparazzi. Or should that be people-razzi?

I tell you, spring couldn’t get here fast enough for me. 
Okay, I should amend that…
I want spring, but I really don’t want it to arrive with a body slam that will flood my little town. I mean, let’s be reasonable, very few of us are ready to be cut off from our main city an hour away.
I know we aren’t.

We’ve started our plants with lettuce and spinach first. I’m very pleased with how they’re thriving in their little south-facing window.

On the left is Buttercrunch lettuce and on the right, though looking less vigorous, is spinach.

It’s not a huge start, but it is a start. This morning I started some more lettuce and spinach, because, hey, we’ll want more. I also started some basil.

So why do all this when I can get it in town? 

  • Because veggies aren’t cheap, and neither is the gas required to get them
  • Because nothing beats the taste of homegrown veggies and spices
  • Because it satisfies my green thumb and there is an undercurrent of hope in growing things yourself
What about you? Are you growing anything at home, whatever form that takes?