Food Waste

No Waste Carrot Gnudi

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

A great way to reduce your food waste is trying as often as you can to cook meals using as many parts of the ingredients as possible. This Gnudi is a perfect example, making use of the entire carrot. Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, with semolina. Pillow-y and lighter than gnocchi, this fresh Carrot Gnudi, as a delicious way to reduce your food waste. 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots, trimmed, leaves reserved
  • 500g carrots, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash carrot leaves and set aside. Place chopped carrots and baby carrots on 2 baking trays and drizzle each tray with 2 tbsp oil. Season, then roast for 40-50 minutes until tender and lightly caramelized. Set the carrots aside to cool.
  2. Melt 20g butter in a frypan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes until soft. Transfer to a food processor with chopped carrots (don’t use baby carrots) and whiz until almost smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl with ricotta, egg, parmesan and flour, and stir to combine. Season. Using two dessert spoons, shape spoonful’s of mixture into ovals and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray dusted with extra flour. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat.
  4. In 3 batches, cook gnudi for 2-3 minutes until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  5. Melt remaining 40g butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook gnudi, turning gently, for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove and keep warm.
  6. Add baby carrots, leaves and lemon juice and zest to the pan. Season. Cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes until wilted and warmed through.
  7. Serve gnudi with baby carrots, leaves, extra parmesan and lemon wedges.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Waste

No-Waste Stockpile Soup

#WhyWasteWednesday

This version of minestrone is basically a hearty lamb stew. It should use the best of what is around and can be made at any time of the year. It’s a great way to maximize roast leftovers, plus use up those quarter bags of pasta from the pantry. When it’s warmer, keep it fresher and serve with less broth. In the cooler months, add some bacon, serve it with bread and use it to warm your cockles.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 50g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 100g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 1 cup (250ml) tomato passata
  • 250g leftover cooked lamb, shredded
  • 150g uncooked dried pasta ‘ends’ (we used caserecci, risoni and fusilli)
  • 80g sugar snap peas
  • 4 zucchini flowers, stamens removed, stems thinly sliced, petals torn
  • Snow pea tendrils & watercress sprigs, to serve

Lamb Stock

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, carrot, celery stalk & tomato, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
  • 1kg leftover roast lamb bones (from leg or shoulder)

Cooking Instructions

  1. For the stock, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme and saffron. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until darkened slightly. Add wine and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly.
  2. Add lamb bones and 3L (12 cups) water, and bring to the boil. Skim any foam from the surface with a spoon, reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring every 30 minutes, for 2 hours or until infused. Remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes to cool slightly. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Chill for 2 hours or until fat solidifies on surface. Skim off fat and discard.
  3. To make the soup, heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, pancetta, garlic, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add parmesan rind, passata, lamb stock and shredded lamb. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions or until al dente. Drain and stir through soup.
  5. Blanch sugar snap peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes or until just tender. Drain and refresh. Pod half sugar snaps, reserving pods. Thinly slice reserved pods and remaining sugar snaps.
  6. Divide minestrone among serving bowls. Scatter with sugar snap pea, zucchini flower, snow pea tendrils and watercress. Drizzle with extra oil to serve.

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients: 22

Difficulty: Easy

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Nutrition

Vegan Broccoli Soup

#WhyWasteWednesday

You’d never guess that this creamy vegan broccoli soup is totally dairy-free! It’s made of a rich, savory blend of potatoes, veggies, and herbs.

Drumroll, please! This vegan broccoli soup recipe is super creamy, comforting, and brimming with cheesy flavor. This vegan broccoli soup recipe is not to be confused with cream of broccoli soup. It’s made with leeks, coconut milk, broccoli, lemon, and spinach. It’s light, healthy, and tastes perfect for any day.

This recipe – vegan broccoli cheddar soup – is thicker, richer, and more cheese-like. I think you’re going to love it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 lb. broccoli, stems diced, florets chopped
  • 1 small Yukon gold potato, diced (1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cubed bread, for croutons
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, broccoli stems, salt, and pepper and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and stir, then add the broth and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Let cool slightly.
  3. Set aside 1 cup of the broccoli florets to roast as a topping for the soup. Place the remaining florets in a steamer basket, and set over a pot with 1-inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer, cover, and let steam 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, place the reserved broccoli florets and the bread cubes on the baking sheets. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast until the bread is crispy and the broccoli is tender and browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the soup to the blender and add the cashews, apple cider vinegar, and mustard, and blend until creamy. Work in batches, if necessary. Add the steamed broccoli florets, dill, and lemon juice, and pulse until the broccoli is incorporated but still chunky. The soup should be thick; if it’s too thick, add 1/2 cup water to thin to your desired consistency.
  6. Season to taste and serve the soup in bowls with the roasted broccoli and croutons on top.

Notes

Note: many readers have had enjoyed blending a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast into the soup for an extra “cheese-like” flavor. You can find it at Whole Foods or other health food stores. If you can’t find it, no worries, it’s delicious without it too!

Vegan broccoli soup. Love and Lemons. Retrieved August 9, 2022.

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Food Waste

Leftover Chicken, Tostada Cups

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Wondering what to do with leftover chicken?

A dinner classic, chicken is a staple of any house, and often leaves extra for the rest of the week. Finding new ways to liven them up can become a challenge.  Follow this recipe to make tonight’s leftovers better than yesterday’s family favorite. 

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • Optional toppings: Shredded lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sliced jalapeno, lime wedges, sliced ripe olives, sliced green onions, sliced radishes, and pico de gallo or additional salsa

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Press warm tortillas into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray, pleating sides as needed. Spritz tortillas with additional cooking spray.
  2. Bake until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Toss chicken with salsa. Layer each cup with beans, chicken mixture and cheese.
  3. Bake until heated through, 9-11 minutes. Serve with toppings as desired.

Nutrition Facts

2 tostada cups: 338 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 52mg cholesterol, 629mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 6g fiber), 25g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.


If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Taste of Home. (2022, March 31). Chicken tostada cups. Taste of Home.

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Food Waste

Great.Com Talks with Executive Director Diana Lara from Food Finders

Feeding Southern California Millions Of Pounds Of Salvaged Food

click image to listen

Danielle Riberio from Great.com interviewed Food Finders as part of their ‘Great.com Talks With…’ podcast. This series is an antidote to negative news stories that aims to shed light on organizations and experts whose work positively impacts the world.

Many think of California as a mecca for the rich, the glamorous, and the famous. But there’s another side to the Golden State. California experiences some of the most significant levels of wealth inequality in the USA. Diana Lara discussed the importance of redistributing food that would otherwise go to waste so that struggling families don’t have to worry about going hungry.

What Is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity means not knowing where your next meal will come from. By some estimates, up to 15 percent of the people living in Orange County, California, live on or near the poverty line. For many families, paying for food means economizing on other essentials, like basic utilities or school equipment. 

A Food Rescue Organization

Food Finders Executive Director Diana Lara explained that a shocking 30 to 40 percent of manufactured food does not make it to our tables, and an even higher percentage is thrown away directly from our refrigerators. Food Finders’ mission is to provide food to those who need it most. Food Finders works with grocery stores, manufacturers, event centers, hotels, schools, and other organizations to rescue edible food and provide it to a network of 600 food donors (a food bank or food pantry).

Listen to the whole interview to find out about Food Finders’ Food For Kids Program, ensuring families don’t go hungry over the weekend. Food Finders also welcomes donations. 

Great.com is an organization that generates money for climate research. Why climate change? Because they believe that the climate crisis is the biggest threat facing humanity right now. How do they generate money? By moving revenue, they earn directly as an advertiser for the New Jersey online gambling industry. Why online gambling? This is a wealthy industry with endless opportunities for profit. They believe it would be better to take this money and put it towards a great cause — like climate research — instead of going to already wealthy casino owners. Find out more about their unique business model.

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Food Waste

Making Use of Forgotten Vegetables

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

“At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.”

UN Food & Agricultural

Forgotten Vegetable Stew

Note: This is #NationalFarmersMarketWeek. Use this recipe not only to make use of forgotten veggies in the house but also to support local farmers and visit your local farmers’ market. See our Farmer’s Market Resources

This tasteful vegetable stew recipe helps clean out your fridge every few weeks and gives you a sense of satisfaction about not being wasteful. The best part is that there are no rules—it’s totally freestyle since you will use whatever you have available, and every time you will enjoy a different flavor. Serve this versatile meal as lunch or dinner, or take it home. It’s a meal, but it is a great side dish if you don’t have enough vegetables to make ample portions. You can serve this meal and impress your guests with a little effort and creativity. No one will know that you are serving from the bottom of your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 6–8 cups (280–450 g) leftover or forgotten veggies such as eggplant, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, beans, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale (whatever is available; the more bits the merrier) 
  • 1 bell pepper 
  • ½ pepper (chili or jalapeño for heat lovers) 
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, 2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato sauce, or 1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste 
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise about ¼ inch (½ cm) 
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed 
  • 1 tsp (6 g) or salt and black pepper to taste 
  • ¼ cup (12 g) leftover herb stems with or without leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Gather up forgotten, unused or half-used vegetables. If using eggplant or potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2½ cm) cubes and soak in salted water for about 20 to 30 minutes before using. Rinse and pat dry. If using zucchini or carrots, cut them the same size as the eggplant. If using cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, or kale, blanch separately in salted boiling water and cool in cold water. Cut stems to about 1-inch (2 to 3 cm) pieces. If using a bell pepper (any color available), sliced lengthwise about ½-inch (1 cm) thick. If using a jalapeño or chili, add a very small amount or as much heat as you can handle. If using fresh tomato, peel and cut into about 1-inch (2½ cm) pieces. If using tomato paste, dilute 1 tbsp (15 ml) with ½ cup (125 ml) water. 
  2. Heat a big pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and onion slices, and sweat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic clove and sauté for two more minutes. Stir in all vegetables except the tomato. Place the tomato pieces, sauce, or diluted tomato paste on top of the vegetables. Season with about 1 tsp (6 g) or to taste of salt and black pepper. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. 
  3. Check the vegetables for doneness with a fork. They should be soft but still holding their form. Add the herbs and stems.
  4. Remove and cool with the lid on until the stew reaches room temperature. It’s better to serve at room temperature with your favorite rice or slices of crusty bread to sop up the sauce. 

Notes

  • This aromatic, delicious meal tastes even better the next day.
  • Take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving.
  • Gluten-free, vegan-friendly.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger, help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

Ikea scrapsbook – zero-waste recipes & ideas. IKEA ScrapsBook – Zero-Waste Recipes & Ideas – IKEA CA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2022.

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farmer's markets resources and reasonsCommunity

Farmer’s Markets: Reasons & Resources

In support of National Farmer’s Market Week from August 7th to the 14th, Food Finder encourages everyone to get out and support our local farmers, fresh fruit, and vegetable vendors. Many areas of the country are food deserts, and to provide nutritious meals to our families, we must have fruits and vegetables available. Many Food Pantries do not have the ability to store perishable foods, so we must supplement. Wic has a beautiful Farmer’s Market program (details below) because they know that having an array of colorful foods is how we nourish and flourish!

Resources Below

10 Reasons to Support Farmers Markets

From: CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food.

sites/default/files/winter_paredez.jpgFrom savoring produce at the peak of freshness to meeting the people who grow your food, there are countless reasons to support farmers’ markets. Here are just a few!

1. Taste Real Flavors

The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmer’s market are the freshest and tastiest. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, and no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets—fresh from the farm.

2. Enjoy the Season

The food you buy at the farmer’s market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. Shopping and cooking from the farmer’s market helps you reconnect with our region’s cycles of nature. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the year’s turning.

3. Support Family Farmers

Family farmers need your support now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.

4. Protect the Environment

Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products. Food at the farmer’s market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.

5. Nourish Yourself

Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have adverse effects on human health. In contrast, most food at the farmer’s market is minimally processed. Many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties.

6. Discover the Spice of Life: Variety

At the farmers market, you find a fantastic array of produce you don’t see in your average supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, stinging nettles, and green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, and much, much more. It is an excellent opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.

7. Promote Humane Treatment of Animals

At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture.

8. Know Where Your Food Comes From

A regular trip to a farmer’s market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced. CUESA’s seller profiles that hang at the booths give you even more opportunities to learn about the people working hard to bring you the most delicious and nutritious food. Profiles, articles about sellers, and a map of farms are also available on this website.

9. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes, and Meal Ideas

Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy. Still, farmers, ranchers, and artisans at the farmer’s market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling. You can also attend free seasonal cooking demonstrations by leading Bay Area chefs and evening classes on food preservation and other kitchen skills.

10. Connect with Your Community

Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped-in music? Coming to the farmer’s market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children or just get a taste of small-town life amid our wonderful big city.

Farmer’s Market Resources in Southern California

LB Fresh, in addition to Long Beach Famers Markets, gives pantry location details, as well as volunteer opportunities.

http://lbfresh.org/

State of California Certified Famer’s Markets PDF Listing by County:

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/docs/CurrentMrktsCounty.pdf

Orange County:

https://www.orangecounty.net/html/farmersmarkets.html

WIC Nutrition Program:

https://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program

WIC Authorized Farmer’s Markets:

https://myfamily.wic.ca.gov/Home/WICFarmersMarkets#WICFarmersMarkets

USDA Nutrition Program & Farmer’s Markets

https://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program

Seniors Farmers Market

https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/SeniorFarmersMrktNutritionPrgm/

USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program

https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp

NRPA Farmers Market resource

https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/dc39f735cdf84adf8a31472f93113cb5/farmers-market-report.pdf

Good Veg Long Beach Farmer’s Markets:

https://www.goodveg.org/

Farmers Market Coalition

We Like LA Lists LA County Famers Markets with History and Facts About Each Location

Ecology Center Farmer’s Market Finder:

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If you have more resources or information on Farmer’s Markets, please message us in the comments section.

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why waste food wednesday blog postFood Waste

Stop Wasting Food: Plan It Out

According to the FDA, an estimated 30% to 40% of the food supply is wasted in the United States. This is a problem for several reasons. First of all, it costs a lot of money—more than $400 billion in 2019, according to ReFed. In addition, all the water, energy, and labor used to produce this wasted food could have been reallocated for consumption instead of lost. That means that we could not only be saving water and the environment, but helping to feed food insecure people as well.

As a full-time Nutrition and Dietetics student and intern at Food Finders, nutrition and reducing hunger and food waste are essential to my life.  In my junior year at California State, Long Beach, I learned how many people in the United States go to bed hungry every night, so many of them are children, and my heart broke.  I knew then that my passion for nutrition and eating for wellness was not all I would devote my time to.

Planning Reduce Food Waste

I have found out that most people are not aware of how throwing away food is changing our planet. Since working with Food Finders, A food rescue organization in Southern California, I have learned that reducing the amount of food that goes into landfills would help address climate change. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true! Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane—a greenhouse gas nearly 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide. And since 20% of U.S. methane emissions come from landfills, reducing food waste in landfills would help lessen methane emissions and improve our planet.

How can you help? PLAN.

Low-carb chicken enchiladas, black beans, and Spanish rice

Just by planning out meals each week, in most cases, I can prevent food waste in my home.  Having meals, fresh fruits, and vegetables ready for a busy week is a great feeling.  I know how life is. We get busy and forget what is in the refrigerator. Maybe they order pizza at work and your delicious leftovers go bad. It always made me feel bad to throw away a good meal but now that I know I am hurting planet earth too–well, we can all be better.

One of the ways I reduce my overall waste and save on my grocery bill is to plan out meals, cook them, and package them up for lunches and dinner throughout the week.

I just love the feeling of getting in my home, tired, hungry and opening up the fridge to a choice of delicious meals already prepped and ready to eat.

Avoiding Disaster: FREEZE ‘EM

It is super easy to forget fruits and veggies and when they go bad, it is fast! So I use the freezer to help me reduce food waste. I like to freeze most of my fruits for future use in smoothies, spreads, and salad dressings. I place the fruit in vacuum-sealed bags and label and dated them (you can also use zip lock bags but be sure to remove as much air as possible).

On those weeks when I have prepped and planned my meals and realize that I am not going to be able to eat them all I prefer to reach out to my neighbors. Most of them know I am nutrition student and now a #FoodWasteHero (who is mindful not to throw good food away) so they will usually take the meals off my hand.  Before I started working with Food Finders, I usually didn’t have a backup plan in case they couldn’t use them. Now I am a member of a social media group that is all about giving and receiving for free.  It is where I have witnessed the kindest of strangers cooking hot meals for group members in need and giving away perishables and non-perishable foods.  It makes my heart happy to see my community in action. 

Making A Plan

Start by writing out a grocery list with all the recipes you will cook this week. Not only will this save on your grocery bills, but it makes shopping faster. Next, have a prep day and cook everything you need, dividing portions into containers. Sometimes you can freeze meals, depending on what you are preparing for the week. Households throw away 43% of all the food that ends up in landfills in the United States. That is a horrible statistic and one that is very preventable with planning.

Get the whole family involved in the planning, prepping, and packaging. You might be surprised at how fun and easy it can be to #stopfoodwaste and help save the planet.

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Kelly Alarcon is a full-time student and Intern at Food Finders, Inc.

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Leftovers QuicheFood Waste

Managing Extra Leftovers

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

We’ve all bought more than we have had a use for. Maybe we had different intentions of how we would use it, or the vegetables and packages of meat or dairy were just too large. No matter the cause, what can we do to make use of this excess? Avoid wasting food, save money, increase sustainability, and maximize convenience; there are many reasons to plan meals around the food on hand and make use of items you may otherwise have thrown out. There are many ‘go to’ lunches and dinners that are a perfect way to use this surplus. 

A great plan is to cook food today so it lasts longer for future meals. Wilting spinach today can be cooked and saved for meals up to three or four days longer than if left raw. 

Use the food you have on hand in a delicious and super easy Quiche recipe. Extend food life and avoid wasting food by using the vegetables, dairy, and meat you have in your home right now; true home cooking idea. This recipe helps you make a delicious, nutritious, and now sustainable, healthy quiche.


#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into a delicious meal!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Leftovers Quiche

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yokes use whites to brush the pastry for golden brown color
  • 2 cup dairy or dairy substitute: cream, milk, sour cream, ricotta, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, cottage cheese use up what you have; 2 cups / 300 grams
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper and spice to taste
  • 1 cup cubed, cooked meat use up what you have; 1 cup / 150 grams
  • 1 ½ cups vegetables (uncooked or cooked) use what you have, or one package of frozen; 1.5 cups / 200-250 grams
  • ½ cup cheese use what you have; 0.5 cup / 75 grams
  • 1 sheet shop-bought pastry – puff pastry or pie crust or made a quick pastry from your pantry

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Directions

Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
  2. Line tart/pie dish with rolled out pastry (rolled out at 5 mm or thickness of a nickel thick)
  3. Put parchment paper over the dish and fill with ceramic baking beans/rice/lentils
  4. Bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven; remove parchment paper and baking beans/rice/lentils
  5. Brush pastry base, interior sides and top crust with egg white, OXO Good Grips from Amazon has excellent pastry brushes and more
  6. Bake again for 5 minutes until golden – your crust is now “Blind Baked” and ready to be filled

Make Filling

  1. Lightly beat eggs and egg yolks in a bowl
  2. Add dairy (cream; sour cream; ricotta; crème fraiche; plain yogurt; cottage cheese; milk) and salt, pepper, spices (to taste) and continue to beat until mixed together

Assemble the Quiche

  1. Place the cubed, cooked meat and vegetables inside the blind baked pastry crust
  2. Pour in the egg mixture
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and fully set

Serve slices warm or cold. Keeps well refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Notes

Great Combinations Include:

  • ham and cheese
  • spinach, cauliflower or broccoli and cheese (cauliflower & broccoli and other tougher vegetables are best cooked first)
  • roasted vegetables
  • asparagus and salmon
  • roasted potatoes, cubed or sliced thinly
  • fresh tomato and cheese
  • mushroom and onion, with cubed steak/pork if you like

Be inspired to bake your own creative combinations from your favorite foods.  Perhaps taco meat and cheese.  Whatever you enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 slice

Sodium: 310 mg

Calcium: 16 mg

Vitamin A: 51 IU

Sugar: 1 g

Potassium: 9 mg 

Cholesterol: 25 mg

Calories: 16 kcal

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Fat: 1 g 

Protein: 1 g

Carbohydrates: 1 g

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger, help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

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Meatless Monday Recipe-Cauliflower Food findersNutrition

Cauliflower is good for you and the planet!

Meatless Monday

Every other Monday, we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. Quick and nutritious, these recipes and guides are perfect for on-the-go meals; they are good for you and the planet. 

Tons of food is wasted every year. Good, nutritious food is thrown into the trash because it might not look right, wilted, or even if we just don’t know how to cook it! It’s estimated that approximately 20% of produce gets thrown out for cosmetic reasons–like weird shapes, odd colors, or blemishes on a peel you don’t even eat. That’s 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables getting tossed into landfill even though they’re just as nutritious and delicious to eat. Check out how to store Cauliflower so you don’t waste it (below)

https://savethefood.com/storage

Buffalo Cauliflower Kebabs

For this #meatlessmonday, we’re sharing a tangy, savory recipe for buffalo cauliflower kabobs. Kebobs are the best recipe to clean out the veggie drawer and prepare all your misc items in a delicious, family-pleasing way. Glaze the kebabs in zesty buffalo sauce, grill until the cauliflower is tender, then top with a drizzle of blue cheese and serve!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted 
  • 1/2 c. vinegary hot sauce
  • One head cauliflower, florets only
  • Four stalks celery, cut into 1 ½” pieces
  • One large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 ½” pieces
  • One large orange bell pepper, cut into 1 ½” pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Blue cheese dressing for serving

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and hot sauce until combined. Add cauliflower, celery, and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high for 3 minutes, and soak skewers in a shallow pan filled with water for 10 minutes to prevent scorching. Thread the cauliflower, celery, and bell peppers onto the soaked skewers. Reserve the hot sauce left in the bowl.
  3. Transfer the kebabs to the grill and cook for 3 minutes, turning halfway. After the first 3 minutes, brush the skewers with the buffalo mixture. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and slightly charred.
  4. Transfer kebabs to a platter, drizzle with blue cheese dressing, and serve.

Yield: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes 

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #meatlessmondays, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Recipe Source:

Justin Sullivan , Assistant Food Editor. Justin Sullivan is the Assistant Food Editor for Delish. (2022, June 1). Grilled buffalo cauliflower kebabs will make your meatless Monday. Delish. Retrieved July 11, 2022.

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Whay Wate Food Wednesday InternFood Waste

An Interns Journey to Fight Food Waste and Reduce Hunger

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

By Kelly Alarcon

As a full-time Nutrition and Dietetics student and intern at Food Finders, nutrition and reducing hunger and food waste are an important part of my life.  I learned in my junior year of school at California State, Long Beach how many people in the United States go to bed hungry every night, so many of them children, and my heart broke.  I knew then that my passion for nutrition and eating for wellness was not all I was passionate about.

 I quickly became vested in learning how I could not only educate people on the benefits of healthy eating but also help reduce food waste while getting that food to those in need. 

Student, Kelly Alarcon

I realized that in addition to my love of nutrition, my knack for meal planning and shopping on a limited budget was something that could play a big part in helping people to reduce food waste. The question for me was how could I combine these two skills and make a bigger impact? 

Food Waste is a Problem

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States with the vast majority of waste occurring in the home.  Poor planning and expiration dates on the food we purchase are large contributors.  Many would rather toss food they aren’t sure about, which affects the environment and wastes billions of gallons of water each and every month.

43% of food waste stat

Food Finders is an amazing solution to the food waste problem. They have a mission to “eliminate hunger and food waste” through the rescue of food in Southern California, and then they repurpose that food through a network of local community partners. I especially like the final part of their mission: “…while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.”

That is why I am an intern and a Nutrition Talks Educator with them. I have seen some amazing things while working here and for me, the most impressive is that last year, in 2021 they rescued 15,917,982 pounds of food!

Food that became over 13 million meals.

Resources and Education

USDA Food Keepers App

We are working hard to provide education and resources that explain not only how to properly store food but how to interpret the various expiration dates we see on food such as “use by”, ‘sell by” etc.  

The FoodKeepers application supported by the USDA is a great resource to help people sort through the confusing world of labels and dates.  It can help you not only interpret the varying expiration date labels but can also explain the best storage methods for various foods to reduce waste.  

Meal Planning

Meal planning is one of the biggest ways that all of us can stop food waste.  Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store hungry and bought more than they needed?

When you plan your meals, or even just your shopping, it reduces food waste.  And don’t forget that planning ahead is also easy on your wallet–a big plus!  Planning your meals for the week and then creating your shopping list based on your meals can cut food waste by 15% or more.  Imagine if we all did that?!

Tip For Cutting Food Waste

  • Shop the grocery store weekly ads. With the cost of food up by 25% or more, finding proteins that are on sale that week is where I start my meal planning.
  • DO NOT go to the store hungry. Going grocery shopping hungry guarantees I will buy some overpriced and over-processed snacks that I promptly eat on the way home.  This not only takes me out of budget but is unhealthy.  
  • I stick to your list that coordinates with the meals you want to make for the week.
  • Prepare your fruits and veggies for the week–so they don’t go bad.  If I have salads planned I pre-cut and wash my lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I also wash and cut up any melons or fruit for the week as well.  Doing this makes busy weeks easier and allows for a nutritious snack of fruit that is easy to grab.

Nutrition Talks Program

nutrition talks from Food finders1

This is all information I use when in a Nutrition Talk event with one of our partner agencies.  I do a basic overview of nutrition and its importance with interactive tools that keep people engaged in what they are learning. One example is my Nutrition Facts Label workshop which starts with a scavenger hunt looking for a pantry item with a nutrition facts label and ties up with a Q & A on what was learned.  This coming week’s talk will also have Isabel Gallegos, my supervisor and co-creator of the Nutrition Talks Program. We will be looking in the partner agencies’ refrigerators and pantries to create a meal with what they have deemed as surplus foods that they have indicated typically go to waste.  It is an eye-opening event!

This is just one more of what Food Finders does to reduce hunger and food waste.  It isn’t enough that we are getting food into the hands of those who are in need but also to educate them on the many nutrient-dense meals that can be created while reducing waste.   

#StopFoodWasteWednesday #nutritiontalks #tipsforzerowaste #foodfindersinc

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Kelly Alarcon, a Student at California State University, Long Beach with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics has a passion for showing others the path to wellness through nutrition while reducing hunger and food waste.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-alarcon-194313220/

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
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Nutrition Talks ProgramCommunity

More Than Just A Meal: Food Finders Nutrition Talks Program

Have you ever wondered what healthy eating looks like for the 38 million Americans currently facing food insecurity?

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
Low Carb Burrito Bowl for Jamboree Residents

In response to SB1383, food recovery and donation programs are in full swing, in an effort to reduce organic waste. As more and more grocery stores, schools, and other food generators scramble to establish their food donation programs, nonprofits gather to secure more resources to feed their communities. Food Finders is addressing food scarcity through programs that go beyond providing a meal for a moment or a day. Through our Nutrition Talks program, we are working directly with food insecure individuals to provide nutritional education and resources to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent further organic waste.

More Than Reducing Hunger

Recovery Community Cares Fridge

Our Nutrition Talks Program, co-created and led by our Nutrition Education intern, Kelly Alarcon is available to any one of our nonprofit partners, free of cost. Kelly is in her third year at Cal State University Long Beach, studying Nutrition & Dietetics. Kelly has been leading Nutrition Talks since the start of 2022 and agrees that “securing food is crucial but the need does not end there.” Together, Kelly and I have presented our educational program to several nonprofit partners ranging from sober living residentials to affordable housing organizations. It is evident that more can and should be done in the fight to reduce hunger.

Providing individuals who experience food scarcity with tools to better understand their health and eating habits, we have been able to better assess the impact rescued food has on nutrition, lifestyle, and sustainability practices. In addition to education, we offer tips for healthy eating on a budget and have even added a cooking demo component that works to put those healthy habits into practice. 

Community Education

Nutrition Facts Label Workshop

Although our talks aim to highlight the benefits of choosing fruit and vegetables over chips and cookies, many emergency relief boxes and grocery store donations do not offer the kind of fresh and nutritionally dense foods that would be optimal for making better choices. For this reason, our presentations are designed to give our partners and their residents the opportunity to bring their questions and concerns about food donation quality and recovery practices into an open forum for discussion.

Q & As

During one of our Q&As, we received inspiring feedback from a resident of our nonprofit partner, Recovery Community Cares who implored food generators donating to please, “give from your hearts and give a donation of quality and dignity.” We would like to thank our partners who have already donated with this message in mind. Whether it be food, resources, your time, or financial contribution, every bit counts towards reducing hunger and environmental waste. To every partner of ours who has welcomed our Nutrition Talks into their programming, we want to thank you for providing more for your clients. 

Special thanks to our partners Recovery Community Cares, Delancey Street Foundation, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Jamboree Housing CorporationFontana-Sierra Fountains & Ceres Way, and Steph House Recovery

Information

The Nutrition Talks Program is something that we are very proud of at Food Finders. Part of our mission is to improve nutrition in food insecure communities and this program is one way that we can provide more than just a meal.

For more information on how to become a donor, volunteer, or funder, please visit the following links: 

For volunteer opportunities, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin Burciaga (562) 283-1400 Ext. 112

To become a food donor, contact any member of our Food Acquisitions Team, Mark Eden (Ext. 117) and Tray Turner (Ext. 105) (562) 283-1400

To join our Share Table, please contact our Fund Development Director, Lisa Hoffmaster (562) 283-1400 (Ext. 103)

If you are a Non-profit operating in Southern California and would like to host a Nutritional Talk you must be a registered nonprofit and partner with Food Finders, Inc. For more information please contact Isabel Gallegos, at (562) 283-1400 Ext. 111

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Isabel Gallegos, Partner Agency Manager and has worked in the community to help others gain access to rights and tools to reach their highest potential. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Food Waste

Can Wilted Spinach Be Saved?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Is There Any Way to Use Wilted Spinach?

Sometimes the vegetable drawer can turn into a mystery box with groceries and produce forgotten at the bottom. When it comes time to clean it out, coming across a bag of wilted spinach lost at the bottom can be a big source of annoyance; a whole bag of spinach is forgotten and now its only destination seems to be the trash. What a waste!

Wilted spinach doesn’t need to be thrown out and is still safe to eat. The greens can even be used as an appetizing breakfast favorite.

According to The National Capital Poison Center; Lutein and its close relative, zeaxanthin, are pigments called carotenoids that are related to beta-carotene and lycopene. The name lutein comes from the Latin word, lutea, meaning yellow. At normal concentrations in food, it is a yellow pigment but can appear orange or red at high concentrations. Lutein and zeaxanthin are made only by plants, so animals normally get them by eating plants. The highest concentrations are found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and mustard and turnip greens − although these nutrients are also found in a variety of other vegetables. Lutein added to chicken feed intensifies the yellow color of egg yolks. – 1 cup of spinach contains 20 mg of Lutein.

wilted spinach food finders

Scrappy Skillet

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into a delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Let’s Start With This Simple Scraps Recipe

The scrappy skillet recipe can use that wilted spinach very nicely. No spinach wilting on the bottom of the fridge? Turnip greens can be used just like any sturdy greens and they might be sweeter than you’d expect.

Take wither wilted leaf and add it to a breakfast skillet that also makes use of wilting spinach you don’t know what to do with. Turnip greens and sautéed spinach make a delicious nest for baked eggs and feta. Feel free to make it your own too! You can add in any bell peppers or ham you may have, and mix in any other favorite veggies. (Go ahead–clean out that veggie drawer!)

This recipe works just as well for dinner and has such a nice protein boost. Don’t forget the toast! 

Here’s a tip: Baking the single slab of feta results in a texture that’s a little chewy on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. If you can only find crumbled feta, wait to add it until the very end of the baking time or right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 ML)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (2g) fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems
  • 1/2 cup (125g) turnip greens, leaves roughly chopped, stems finely chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • 91/2 cups (283g) wilted baby spinach
  • to taste fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) feta (block, not crumbled, ideally around 1/2-inch (1cm) thick)
  • 4 eggs

Optional Garnishes

  • splash hot sauce
  • 1 small heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (45g) Kalamata olives

The Step-by-Step from Ikea Scraps Book

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 

Step 2

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (ideally one that fits in your oven) over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme leaves, cooking until the garlic is fragrant and starting to soften, about 1 minute. 

Step 3

Add the turnip stems and leaves, stirring occasionally until the stems start to soften and greens begin to grow tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach in 2 to 3 batches, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Lightly season to taste with the sea salt. 

Step 4

Make 5 indentations in the greens to create nests for the feta and eggs. Place the feta in 1, and carefully crack an egg into each of the other 4. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking, 5 to 10 minutes. If your skillet is too large for your oven, or isn’t ovenproof, use a smaller skillet, split the ingredients between 2 skillets, or use another ovenproof dish. 

Step 5

To serve, divide the eggs, greens, and feta between 2 plates. If desired, sprinkle with hot sauce and garnish each plate with half of the tomato, cucumber, and olives.

Share any pictures you have of making this or other #WhyWasteFoodWednesday meals!


Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

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MEATLESS MONDAY RECIPE BURRITOFood Waste

Meatless Monday Recipe

Meatless Monday, A Thoughtful Approach to Preventing Food Waste

Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. The Meatless Monday movement started several years ago to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption for their personal health and the health of our planet. We thought that starting each week by practicing Meatless Monday, the focus at home may also lead people to think more thoughtfully about the food they buy and eat–throwing less away which helps our planet even more!

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with avocado crema. The Modern Proper. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://themodernproper.com/vegetarian-burrito-bowl-with-avocado-crema

For this #meatlessmonday, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for Vegetarian Burrito Bowls. This easy, nutritious meal is packed with flavor. Ideal for meal preppers and vegetarians and anyone who has some veggies in the pantry that may begin to look like they will be thrown away!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans waste nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — of food every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. Having a Meatless Monday menu can help us to treat our vegetables with more focus–since so many are thrown out because they go bad. This Vegetarian Burrito bowl can be made with any combination of vegetables. We hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower (or any other vegetable in the pantry)
  • Bell Peppers, make this burrito bowl as colorful as possible with a combo of red and green peppers
  • Onions
  • Olive oil 
  • Limes for topping and the avocado crema
  • Taco seasoning – homemade or store-bought
  • Beans – Pinto or Black 
  • Jarred Salsa – or homemade 
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro-lime rice

Directions

Making a burrito bowl is mostly an effort of assemblage. Most of the ingredients can be prepped beforehand, and in doing so make the meal much easier to assemble. Here’s one way to approach this burrito bowl recipe:

  1. Make the cilantro-lime rice. Burrito bowls are always a great use for leftover rice—either from takeout or from a homemade meal—so you can also just season some leftover rice with a little cilantro and lime juice.
  1. Roast the veggies! Roast cauliflower florets, peppers, and onions—all seasoned with a little taco seasoning—for about 30 minutes. This can also be done at least 2-3 days ahead of time if you’re meal-prepping.
  1. Buckle up for one of our very best tips, ever! Season your beans by simmering them for a few minutes with some salsa. Voila! Instantly delicious beans! You could do this ahead, we supposed, but it takes only a couple of minutes, and the burrito bowl is best if the beans are freshly warmed, so this is a step we reserve for the day of.
  1. Avocado crema time! (easy to make, find the recipe below) Mix this up while the beans simmer.
  1. Assemble! Have everyone assemble their burrito bowls however they see fit, and ta da! A super-healthy dinner loaded with fiber, vitamins, and whole grains that everyone will love

DIY Avocado Crema

The burrito bowl itself is already flavorful and delicious. However, if you want to go that extra mile and spice it up a little, whip up this easy-at-home avocado crema and add on top. 

  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Sour cream (or, if you want to keep your burrito bowl vegan, just use a vegan sour cream—they’re easy to find at the store, usually close to the traditional dairy sour cream, or near the tofu.)
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #meatlessmondays, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Why Waste Food Wed potatoFood Waste

Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe to Eat?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

What Can We Do With Old Potatoes?

We have all done it. We cannot resist buying that big bag of Idaho potatoes, yams, or delicious sweet potatoes.

It is sometimes cheaper to buy that whole bag of potatoes, so we do it with the best intentions to make delicious and nutritious meals. But then reality kicks in–that bag sits on the counter for weeks sprouting little round ‘eyes’. And sometimes, if it sits long enough, some of them will have a green color. Is this safe to eat?

According to the National Capital Poison Center (poison.org):

Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of many plants and is not toxic. However, the green of chlorophyll is a marker that can let you know that there could be an excess of glycoalkaloids. The entire potato plant contains glycoalkaloids, but the highest concentration is found in the leaves, flowers, “eyes,” green skin, and sprouts. The lowest concentration is found in the white body of the potato.

Sprouted spuds aren’t necessarily destined for the landfill: the potato itself is likely still safe to eat, so long as you cut away the little growths and green spots. And you can cook it up, and mash it with salt and butter, but what if you made something even more fun?

Homemade Chips

Homemade-chips

Making your own potato or vegetable chips, whether you fry or bake them, is easier than you think. We have found that once you do make your own, it is hard to go back to the oversalted store version!

Here are the advantages: You get to pick which vegetables to use. And you choose the spices and seasonings you want to use for your homemade chips. And: Making your own chips is fun and easy.

Some Tips: Root vegetables are best, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. Not only are they colorful, but they each also have a flavor of their own. Just make sure you remove those little “eyes” and cut off any part of the skin that looks green.

Recipe

Ingredients
1 large carrot, trimmed
1 large parsnip, trimmed
1 sweet potato
1 Yukon Gold potato
1 large beet
Canola oil, for frying

Basic Seasoning Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

The Step-By-Step from Spruce Eats

There are plenty of recipes out there to make your homemade chips, but Spruce Eats is one of those sites that is always thinking about food waste. Here is this weeks recipe:

Step 1

Get all of your ingredients together first. This makes the whole at-home cooking process much easier. So start by pulling all of those potatoes and questionable veggies. Get your seasoning choices out. Bowls, oil, pans, and peelers too!

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 2

Peel off the skin, making sure all those little ‘eyes’ are gone as well as any green tone on the Idaho potato.

Step 3

Now slice them thin. It helps if you have a mandoline, a food processor fitted with the 2 mm slicing blade, but if don’t have one then a sharp knife works just as well when cutting the vegetables into very thin slices (1/16-inch thick).

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 4

Fill a large bowl with ice water and transfer the carrot, parsnips, sweet potato, and either Yukon gold or Idaho potato to the ice water. [Note: do not miss this step! soaking any starch produce item in cold water like this makes an absolute difference!]

Now, fill a small bowl with ice water and transfer the beet slices to the smaller bowl of water. Let the vegetables sit in the water for 30 minutes.

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed4

Step 5

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Drain the vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on the towels. Pat the vegetables to remove any excess water.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed5

Step 6

First, Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Second, line 2 plates with paper towels.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed7

Step 7

Heat three (3) inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F using a deep-frying thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed8

Step 8

Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable slices to the oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed9

Step 9

Remove the vegetables to the paper towels to drain.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed10

Step 10

First, remove the paper towels from the baking sheets and spread the fried vegetable chips in a single layer on the baking sheets. then place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, making sure to maintain the oil temperature of 350 F.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed11

Step 11

Put the warm chips in a large bowl, add the seasoning mixture of your choice, and toss lightly.

Our basic seasoning mixture from above: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to be creative here and try different spices on different batches.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed12

Enjoy!

Benefits of NOT Wasting Potatoes and Vegetables

In addition to saving the planet we all live on, when households save food through consumption, you personally save money. But more important is gaining the knowledge that one small action (throwing out just one potato with ‘eyes’) has a ripple effect in your own neighborhood.

  • Water is conserved
  • CO2E is contained.
  • Landfills grow smaller.
  • Your family learns an important lesson in community action–because not everyone in your neighborhood has enough nourishing food on their plates tonight.

Remember: Think before you buy food. Plan your meals and use every part that is edible to #StopFoodWaste.

For more benefits of stopping food waste go to the EPA.gov site here.

*************************

Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

READ MORE
Why Waste Food Wednesday trashFood Waste

How can we all cut food waste?

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

According to Refed

Our food system is radically inefficient. In 2019, the U.S. let a huge 35% of the 229 million tons of food available go unsold or uneaten. We call this surplus food, and while a very small portion of it is donated to those in need and more is recycled, the vast majority becomes food waste, which goes straight to landfills, incineration, or down the drain, or is simply left in the fields to rot. Overall, ReFED estimates that 24% of all food in the U.S. – 54 million tons – goes to these waste destinations.

That’s almost 90 billion meals’ worth of food that we’re letting go unsold or uneaten each year, roughly 2% of U.S. GDP!

Taking Action To Help Cut Food Waste: 3 Quick Steps

Every household in the United States can do small actions to make a big impact on Food Waste.

  1. SHOP SMARTER. Every household buys too much food. 43% of the food that ends up in landfills comes from individuals. And it is food that doesn’t need to be thrown away. SOLUTION: Buy what you need. Think ahead and make lists of the recipes and meals you will prepare–and prepare them! Get on Instagram and start jotting down some of those amazing meal recipes and then buy only what you need for that week. Sure, it’s a hassle to have to go to the store a couple of times a week, but think about all the food destroying our atmosphere!!
  2. STORE YOUR FOOD CORRECTLY. Be curious about your food–knowing which foods can sit on the counter. For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should never be refrigerated. These items should be kept at room temperature. Other items should NOT be stored together. For example, foods that produce more ethylene gas than those that don’t is another great way to reduce food spoilage. Ethylene promotes ripening in foods and could lead to spoilage. Bananas, Avocados, Tomatoes, Cantaloupes, Peaches, Pears, Green onions –you want to keep potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries, and peppers away from them to avoid premature spoilage.
  3. DON’T BE JUDGEMENTAL WITH YOUR PRODUCE. This is the most ironic of all the tips (and there are many, many more!) Ugly fruits and vegetables get tossed every day–by you, by your family, even by the grocery stores. But “ugly” doesn’t mean not incredibly delicious and nutritious. A carrot with two tails is just a carrot with two tails–it shouldn’t be scary or avoided. Some Italian cooks swear by the “ugly tomatoes” they find in the markets and some grocery chains are even saving space for those delicious odd-shaped produce items. think out of the box and reach for items that are more likely to be unsold and tossed…I am sure that somewhere in heaven you will get extra points for not being judgmental!! Check out some of our fun recipes for ugly food here.

If each one of us can stop food waste at home–the problem begins to shrink. Here is a great resource from the EPA. Stop Food Waste

The Good News?

Food Waste is a solvable problem

We can stop food waste

Every household can do something to stop food waste. Start with the three simple steps above and be mindful that we are wasting food.

Then, Volunteer your time and efforts to help rescue food. Yes, RESCUE food! It is a real thing. Food Finders goes out every day and picks up thousands of pounds of good food that would normally end up in landfills. Through our network of volunteers, we rescue the food and then deliver it to community partners who service families in our neighborhoods. The benefits of Food Rescue Volunteering include, helping our planet and preserving millions of gallons of water from waste, but did you know that in rescuing food you are also helping to feed millions of people?

Hunger is a problem and food Insecurity is a complex issue (and we are not here to solve that.) What we are working toward is a solution to feeding and nourishing people (families, children, and seniors) who need access to food.

Feeding people is important to our community and to our economy. When people are nourished and fed they feel better, and perform better in school and in their jobs. We all benefit. When Food Finders picks up food from a grocery store or bakery, we give it to local non-profits at no cost, so that they can feed their community. We are feeding all of our communities!

Make time to be a Food Waste Hero

It doesn’t take much to be a hero.

All of us have two to three hours a week to offer a helping hand. That’s one less Netflix movie watched, or several hundred mindless moments gained not swiping through our social media feed. And what if you could do something that changed the earth, impacted people’s lives, and also gave you something really cool to post on your Instagram? Being a Food Rescue Hero has perks!!

Volunteer This Month To Help

If you live in or near Long Beach, California, we have got something really important coming up. The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) is closing for the summer on the 15th & 16th of June. They do a really great job of donating excess food several days a week throughout the school year, but at the year-end, it’s time to empty out the cupboards and refrigerators so that nothing goes to waste.

Food Finders has over 80 Schools in Long Beach that are closing for the summer and we need all hands on deck to collect and deliver the food. Here are the details:

Wednesday, June 15th from 1 PM to 3 PM

Thursday, June 16th from 8 AM to 11 AM

Reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin via email or call him at (562) 283-1400 x 112 if you can help Food Finders to rescue all of this food from over 80 schools in Long Beach!

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Food Recovery Tell All RecordingFood Waste

Food Recovery Tell-All Panel (Recording)

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

In case you missed the live presentation of the Food Recovery Tell All Panel from Food Rescue Hero last week, we have the recording to share with you.

This incredible three-person panel included Food Finders with Diana Lara, Executive Director. What is food recovery? How is this impacting our communities? What are the challenges and insights from three industry experts who are leading the food waste recovery industry.

Food Recovery Panel with Diana Lara of Food Finders

The topic of course was Food Recovery–the process and the challenges of rescuing food. so many great questions and insights. In case you missed the live broadcast of the Food Recovery Tell-All Panel we have the recording below!

Click here: https://youtu.be/ixZQvMHs9H4

Enjoy the panel discussion and please share with those you think would find this information helpful!

If you would like more information about Food Recovery or Food Finder’s work in Southern California, please email dlara@foodfinders.org

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Regrow-romaine-lettuce-at-homeFood Waste

Don’t Throw It Out! Regrow It!

Some people don’t have enough food, while others are eating too much. There’s only one way to fix this problem—WE DO SOMETHING.

43% of food waste comes from individuals.  Not restaurants or large businesses—you and me!  The good news about that number is that we can do something about it every single day!

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Today we are going to stop a common food waste problem and give you even more food in the process.  No, we don’t have a magic wand over here at Food Finders, but we do have an incredible tip to get our Wednesday started.

Don’t Throw Away The Bottom of Your Romaine Lettuce

You can grow another one!

Bottom of the lettuce stop food waste
  1. Cut off the bottom of the lettuce.
  2. Place the flat part of the lettuce bottom in a bowl
  3. Put in water
  4. Change the water every day
  5. Wait for it to grow roots
  6. Magic! Another meal is growing.
https://www.gettystewart.com/how-to-regrow-romaine-lettuce-from-the-stem/

Food Waste is Destroying the Earth

Throwing out romaine lettuce is like shooting a hole in our atmosphere (with C02E from the landfills) and emptying out precious gallons of water (that go into growing that lettuce!)

Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person

Do Something To Make A Difference

Why throw good food away when you can do one small thing to make that food into a delicious meal—for your family or for others who need it.

Food Finders is working every day to rescue food in Southern California.  We pick it up with the help of hundreds of committed volunteers and then deliver that food to local non-profit agencies who share it with our neighbors in need.

Food Finders Volunteers picking up donated food and delivery it to a community non-profit

If you are looking to be a part of the solution and would like to volunteer your time to help pick up and deliver rescued food, click here.

Become a Share Table Member and Multiply Your Impact

If you would like to help grow our operations with a monthly donation that will help to create meals, then click here.

Share this tip with ten people you know and ask them to share it with ten people they know. If we can all do just one thing every day to stop food waste imagine what our neighborhoods could be!!

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.

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why-waste-food-wednesday-carrotFood Waste

The Mighty Carrot: Don’t Waste It

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

Carrots are a hearty vegetable with so many nutrients that it is impossible not to use every bit! Here are some tips to keep you storing and preparing the best possible way without waste.

Storing Carrots

Remove the tops of carrots if you buy them with the green leaves attached.  Keep them in a plastic bag in the coolest part of your refrigerator for about two weeks.  And a warning: keep carrots away from apples and potatoes—their gasses will make your carrots bitter.

Another interesting storage tip is that you can store carrots in empty, cleaned milk cartons.  Seal it shut and they should last longer.

Recipes Galore

  • Peel your carrots, slice them into rounded coins and toss them into a mixture of butter and honey.  Make sure they are fully coated and then roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350.  Delicious hot or cold.
carrots roasted with honey
  • Shred your carrots and put them in your salads, sprinkle them on top of sandwiches for an added crunchy bite.
  • Mashed carrots can be eaten alone or blended with mashed potatoes.  If that doesn’t sound good, then sautee some onions in butter and throw in the mashed mixture.  Add ginger for a spicy taste.  The onions add a whole new dimension.
  • Shred your carrots and some beets and apples.  Blend the altogether with a little mayo for an amazing salad experience.
  • Blend up your carrots with apples and you have an incredible smoothie to get your day started!

Don’t Waste Carrots

Soup is nothing without carrots so if you have some lying around then add them to any broth you are making.  Their sweetness adds a nutritional dimension to any type of soup.  Plus pureed carrot soup is wonderful!

And of course, if all else fails, slice up the carrots into sticks and snack on them.  Don’t like raw?  Then steam them.  The flavor of steamed carrots is exceptional!

40% of carrots are thrown into the trash—which means all the water that went into growing them is also thrown out.  Try new ways of preparing these nutritious vegetables.  Your body will be happy and so will the earth!

Adding carrots to soup is delicious

If you have any interesting tips for preparing food to avoid waste, send them to us at marketing@foodfinders.org

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going bananas about food wasteFood Waste

Going Bananas Over Food Waste

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

What is the Impact of Uneaten Food?

When food goes uneaten and is thrown away, all the resources that went into preparing that food go to waste as well. Think about water for a moment…without water, we cannot live, and yet, when there is an ugly, over-ripe banana on the counter we can toss it in the trash without a thought.

About 5-gallons of water per day is required for one banana tree.

One banana tree takes about 9-months to produce bananas

Over the 270 days it takes to produce bananas, that tree will use over 1,300 gallons of water.

Americans throw away 5 billion bananas every year!

That means billions of gallons of water are thrown away too!

Let’s Make Eating Bananas Fun & Easy with Banana “Ice Cream”

Sarah, A flavor-loving nutritionist at Live-Eat-Learn posted a great recipe for all those ripe to over-ripe bananas you are considering tossing into a landfill. With just one ingredient and a great how-to recipe, we can show you how to prevent good food from being tossed away.

1-Ingredient Ice Cream. source: live-eat-learn

The Uglier, The Better!

If you are lucky enough to have bananas at home that look like the “over-ripe” picture above–then you are in for a real treat! The darker the banana peel, the sweeter the flavor of ice cream. Plus, that means you don’t need to add any sweeteners to make a delicious dessert.

Recipe

Step 1: Chop your bananas into chunks and lay them in a single layer on a parchment-lined plate or tray. It’s important that you peel the bananas before freezing! Bananas will take about 2 hours to freeze.

Tip: this is a great way to save bananas for later. source: live-eat-learn

Step 2: Let the bananas thaw a bit (just 5 minutes or so), which will make them slightly easier to blend, then throw them into a heavy-duty blender or food processor. Even an electric hand mixer will work.

source: live-eat-learn

Step 3: To get this delicious treat blending more easily, you can do a few things. Either let the bananas thaw a bit so they do not rock solid, or add a splash of milk (any milk will do!) until things start moving. Scrape the sides and push the ice cream down into the blades of the blender or food processor until you get a smooth, soft-serve consistency.

source: live-eat-learn

Step 5: Storage of all food is critical so to store this banana ice cream, cover it in plastic wrap (or transfer it to an airtight container), and freeze. When ready to eat again, let it soften on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.

Storage is important. source: live-eat-learn

Variety Makes This Even More Delicious

Vanilla: Use the base recipe then add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Tropical: Use 3 frozen bananas, ½ cup of frozen mango, and ½ cup of frozen pineapple. Instead of using milk to blend, add a splash of orange or pineapple juice.

Mocha: Use the base recipe then add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, and a handful of chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter: Use the base recipe and then add 2 large tablespoons of peanut butter.

#StopFoodWasteWednesday

Nourishing ourselves is important for a long healthy life but there are many people around us who cannot afford to buy food that will feed their whole family so don’t be wasteful! Buy what you need and store safely what you cannot eat before it goes bad. And share your favorite 1-Ingredient recipes with us and PLEASE SHARE

Food Finders, Inc

To learn more about Food Finder’s food rescue programs please reach out to us by visiting our contact page: https://foodfinders.org/contact-us/

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