Clear the Clutter

How To Save Water in Your Kitchen

11 Easy Tips to Save Water in Your KitchenDespite the crazy weather in some parts of the country  – flash flooding and lots of rain – some areas are struggling with a drought where their water use is restricted.  If you have never been without water, this probably seems foreign to you, right?  What is the big deal, you can’t water your lawn or wash your car?But have you ever thought about what life would be like without water? You go to brush your teeth and suddenly the tap runs dry. Annoying, right?

Many people are making a conscious effort to conserve water.  Many are doing their bit. Let us do ours too.  The kitchen and the bathroom are the two rooms where water is a necessity, be it cooking or cleaning.

Here are some ways to save water in the kitchen:

 1.  A sink full of dirty dishes to wash.

When you are washing dishes, don’t keep the water running. Make sure that you scrape the dishes clean before putting in the sink. Try and use the same pot or pan for cooking multiple dishes, one at a time.

2. Choose utensils wisely

When picking a pan for cooking, pick one that is the right size not TOO big.  If it is too big for a smaller quantity or food, it will need more water to cook.  I usually make this mistake when cooking pasta.  What if you ditched the pans, and eat more of raw veggies and fruits. Feel healthy and save water!

3. Oops!! I forgot to thaw chicken for dinner.

Don’t throw frozen meat in running water to defrost it for dinner. Take it out of the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator for use, well in advance.  Or use a crock pot and place all of your ingredients including the frozen meat in it to cook.  Save time and energy with dinner preparation.

4. Steam away

Did you know that steaming food (especially veggies) instead of boiling is healthier. When steaming multiple foods, try to steam in one go, using separate sections in the steamer.

5. Washing the produce

Use a pan full of water to wash fruits and vegetables rather than using running water. This will reduce water use and the dirty water can be reused for watering house plants.

6. Choose your menu wisely

Try sautéed dry dishes, which will be more flavorful. Do you know sautéing in oil originated in arid regions of the world because of scarcity of water?  Coconut oil is one of my favorite to cook with.

7. Measure me!

Put only required quantity of water while cooking food. Adding more water will consume more fuel and time as well as waste water too. It will also lead to more loss of nutrients.  I am so guilty of this!

8. Gosh!! It leaks!!

This may seem like a no-brainer BUT get your leaky faucets repaired. Constant dripping wastes a big amount of water.

Remember, small adjustments can make a BIG impact. There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.  What do you do to save water in your house?  Share your best tips with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday – Slow-Cooker Veggie Soup

I LOVE this healthy recipe from Hungry Girl.  It is worth the 10 minutes event the night before to get everything ready in the crock pot BEFORE you leave for a busy day.  When you come home, you have dinner just add some rolls or garlic bread…I know that kills the “low cal” and “no points” but it is yummy!

Prep: 10 minutes           Cook: 3 – 4 hours on high or 7 – 8 hours on low

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
2 bay leaves
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
14 oz. (about 2 medium) zucchini
4 cups roughly chopped spinach leaves
Optional seasonings: additional salt and black pepper

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker except zucchini and spinach. Mix well.

Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours, until veggies have softened.

Once soup is almost done cooking, use a spiral vegetable slicer to cut zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles.  If you don’t have a spiral veggie slicer, peel zucchini into super-thin strips, rotating the zucchini after each strip. (This can be done when you are prepping and placed in the refrigerator)  Roughly chop for shorter noodles.

If cooking at high heat, decrease heat to low. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in zucchini noodles and spinach. Re-cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until zucchini noodles have slightly softened and spinach has wilted.  Just enough time to cook some of that garlic bread maybe even melt some cheese on it!  🙂

MAKES 6 SERVINGS: 1/6th of recipe (about 1 1/3 cups): 56 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 701mg sodium, 10g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 3g protein — SmartPoints™ value 0*

 

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday – Carrot Cake Bake 

Another AWESOME recipe courtesy of Hungry Girl

Oats, fruit, veggies… Can you believe this cake-inspired recipe is so packed with good-for-you stuff? I’m in love with this one!

Prep: 15 minutes         Cook: 35 minutes         Makes 6 servings.

1/6th of pan (about 4″ X 2 1/2”): 249 calories, 4.5g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 357mg sodium, 42g carbs, 7g fiber, 10g sugars, 10.5g protein — SmartPoints™ value 6*

Ingredients:
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3 tbsp. plain protein powder with about 100 calories per serving
5 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Truvia)
1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup (about 4 large) egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple packed in juice, lightly drained
3 tbsp. raisins, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, protein powder, sweetener, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.

In a medium-large bowl, combine almond milk, applesauce, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Mix until uniform.

Add mixture in the medium-large bowl to the large bowl. Stir until uniform.

Fold in chopped carrots, lightly drained pineapple, and chopped raisins.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan, and smooth out the surface.

Bake until top is light golden brown and entire dish is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!