What To Do With…

What To Do With: Juice Pulp

 
Juice Pulp Recipes

Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it.  It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$.  One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it.  Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live.  And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???

Juice pulp from Juicer Recipes

I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag   of spinach, and one large head of romaine.  I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice.  Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.

Fresh Cucumber Relish

1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!

This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time.  Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle.  Refridgerate overnight. That’s it.  It’s like pickle up-cycling!

Green Vegetable Spread

2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade

Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine.  Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!

DIY Veggie Burger Recipe

3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers

I impressed myself with this one.  Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes.  Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg.  Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours.  Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan.  When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage.  I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan.  I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.

 Quinoa Veggie Burger Edemame Juice Pulp

Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!

What To Do With: Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter

Get your TJ's Cookie Butter Fix!

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard: Trader Joe’s sells this amazing spread called cookie butter. It comes in several different varieties and is essentially pureed cookies in a jar, like peanut butter, but sweeter and with a destinctly dessert-y flavor. It’s addicting.

Yet, when I first tried some, I was at a total loss as to what to put it on. So, I ended up just eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon! I knew there had to be a better way, so I started to brainstorm. While I still eat the occasional spoonful from the jar (I’m sure I’m not alone!), today I’m here to share 4 quick and easy ways to get your TJ’s cookie butter fix!

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter

Trader Joe’s cookie butter comes in several forms. “Speculoos” Crunchy Cookie Butter is the original, and is made from a molasses type of cookie. It tastes a lot like gingerbread. Add some chocolate cookie to the mix and you’ve got the Cookie and Cocoa Swirl. The newest version is the Cookies and Creme Cookie Butter, which tastes very much like an Oreo. You will need one (or all) of these to start.

Cookie Butter Crescent Rolls:

Cookie Butter Crescent Rolls
First up are these sweet and buttery cookie butter crescents. They are a snap to make and require just two ingredients: a package of refrigerated crescent roll dough and some Speculoos cookie butter! Just spread some cookie butter onto each triangle of dough before rolling it up, then pop in the oven according to package directions. These would make a great morning treat if you are inviting some friends over for brunch!

Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Treats:

Cookie Butter Rice Krispy Treats
Add in a little cookie butter to make a “cookies and cream” version of the classic Rice Krispie treat. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over low heat. Add in 4 cups of mini marshmallows. When the marshmallows are nearly melted, add in a few big spoonfuls of Cookies and Creme Cookie Butter, then swirl through. Pour in 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal and stir until coated. Press the cereal mixture into a cake pan and allow to cool. If you want to add a little more cookie flavor, melt some extra cookie butter and drizzle on top! Yummmm!

Cookie Butter Caramel Popcorn:

Cookie Butter Caramel Popcorn
You can also use cookie butter to make a quick caramel coating for popcorn. First pop up a batch of plain popcorn. Then, in a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar on low until melted. Add in 3 tablespoons of Speculoos Cookie Butter and stir until just combined. In a large bowl, drizzle caramel coating over popcorn and quickly stir to coat. Allow to cool and enjoy! Movie night anyone?

Cookie Butter Swirl Muffins

Cookie Butter Swirl Muffins
For these marbled muffins, I simply mixed some melted Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Cookie Butter into the batter. In keeping with our “quick and easy” theme, I just used a boxed chocolate chip muffin mix! You could pretty much swirl this stuff into any baked good made from a batter. I think pound cake or waffles would also be great options!

Cookie Butter is great stuff, and there are countless ways to use it. Share your favorite with us!

What To Do With: Delicata Squash

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Just like my Pumpkin Spiced Latte confession, I commit another Fall flavor faux pas annually that I guess I should own up to. I don’t like squash. Almost at all.  I LOVE pumpkin (a squash, I know), but that’s where I draw the line.  Butternut squash soup, bisque, gnocchi…not for me.  I used to be a huge spaghetti squash fan, but after eating so much of it last season it has to be cooked a certain way for me to like it.  So, when I saw this interesting squash in the grocery store I almost immediately passed it by.  But having never heard of Delicata Squash, (and it being on super sale in the store) I decided to buy a few and see what I could do with it.

To cook the squash, cut down the center and scoop the guts out with a spoon.  You can roast the seeds, or discard.  Place the squash on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes if in halves, or 25-30 minutes if in smaller slices or dices.  Delicata Squash is much more mild in flavor than a butternut squash, and tastes more like a sweet potato.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Also, there’s no need to peel this squash – you can eat the skin!

1) Pureed Sweet Delicata Squash

I started off the squash experiment with something I thought would be safe – everything tastes better sweeter.  I roasted the squash with some molasses for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, about 1T per medium squash.  After the squash cooled, I used a spoon to scoop the flesh away from the skin, added about another tablespoon of molasses, half a tablespoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of each nutmeg, ginger, and clove, and pureed in a food processor.  I was left with this wonderful fall spiced spread that I’ve added to yogurt, spread on toast, and used as a dip for some ripe pears.  This was so delicious, and very reminiscent of a pumpkin pie filling – maybe I’ll use the leftovers in a crispy pastry!

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2) Garlic Roasted Smashed Delicata Squash

This side dish was AWESOME.  Roast the squash the same as you would the sweet puree, but brush with olive oil and some garlic powder instead of molasses.  Cool, scoop, and mash with salt and pepper.  I really liked keeping some of the dish on the chunky side to add texture.  It’s even really great for those of us who eat with their eyes.  You get great color from the natural caramelization of the squash. This would make a great alternative to a traditional mashed potato or sweet potato bake for any fall holiday – it’s sweet AND salty, and so good!

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3) Roasted Delicata Squash “Fries”

After having success with two tasty dishes, I thought I should try to keep things simple and stick to the flavors of the squash itself.  I cut this raw squash in slices (less than half inch), brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper, and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, turning every 10.  These little “fries” were a perfect substitute to hash browns with my morning eggs.  They were semi-crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside.  I finished them off with a little grated parmesan and devoured immediately.  I couldn’t believe it – I actually found a roasted squash I liked!  I will definitely be making these again for a fall appetizer.IMG_9688

What To Do With: Chalkboard Paint – in the Kitchen!

      What to do with Chalkboard Paint

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to better organize my kitchen.  My favorite way to stay organized is by writing things down, and as a DIY and crafting enthusiast, I make a pretty mean list.  I use different colors, pictures, and fonts to categorize and plan out how and when I’m going to execute all of my to-dos.  I’ll even include quotes for the day!  That being said, my lists can be pretty extensive and not very change-friendly.  What better way to write and draw things in a more dynamic and sustainable way than on a good ol’ chalkboard?  I had some chalkboard paint lying around and plenty of space in my kitchen, so I got to work.   Though I might not have stuck perfectly to my “kitchen organization” plan in all of my ideas, I’m so happy with my new, easy, and fun chalkboard additions!

When using chalkboard paint, it’s important to read and follow the instructions on the paint label.  Different brands and styles of paint may specify unique drying times and painting strategies – chalkboard paint is not a “dry to the touch, ok to use” type of medium.   With this type of project, if you don’t wait long enough between steps or you skip one, you might not be able to wipe the chalk off the board – nobody wants that.

For all of my projects, I applied one layer of chalkboard paint using a vertical stroke pattern, let it dry for one hour, then applied one layer of paint using a horizontal stroke pattern.  For the door and glasses, I repeated this process twice.  After painting each item, I waited 24 hours for the paint layers to be fully dry.  Next, I “cured” the chalkboard paint by lightly scribbling some chalk lines on the painted surfaces and blending the chalk with my fingers.  I waited another hour, then used a dry paper towel to gently erase the chalky blur – after that, all the chalkboards were finished, and I put them to use!

1) Kitchen Door Chalkboard

I love my kitchen door chalkboard.  When I painted the door, I thought I would use it for grocery lists, chore reminders, or other miscellaneous household needs.  Turns out, this door became the perfect vehicle to have the kitchen ready for every season, and mood.  This door often has congratulatory quotes, holiday pictures and greetings, and in this case, a Happy Birthday message for my roommate.  I particularly like it when we leave the chalk out when we are entertaining, and our “4th of July” themed board gets taken over by the creative minds of our guests – it’s always a funny surprise during morning clean-up.

The easiest part of this craft? Most doors have indented rectangles or raised edges along the outer part of the door, so you won’t need to measure any of your shapes to ensure they’re sides are straight and centered!

Kitchen Door Chalkboard Paint

2) Chalkboard Martini (or Wine) Glass Labels

I bought these martini glasses because they were HUGE and I love a good martini – plus, they were only $1 on clearance!  There are only a few people that frequent my apartment that like martinis.  Ok, there is only one person (aside from me) that is always in the martini-mood, and that’s my dad.  Fortunately for him, I got two glasses so we could both enjoy our drunks!  Unfortunately for me, they match, and because my dad and I drink identical cocktails it would be impossible to distinguish who’s is who’s when we are together.  Chalkboard paint to the rescue!  I painted the bottom and top of the base of the glasses, and left the stems unpainted.  Now, we can write our names (or the type of drink) on each glass to avoid any martini-mishaps.

Martini Glass Chalkboard Paint

3) Freezer Contents Chalkboard

When you cook for one, your freezer can be your biggest asset – so many bulk purchases and leftovers!  Every time I try and keep a tally of what’s in there, I end up with five or six different slips of paper with notes and no idea as to how they connect.  What’s even worse?  I end up just buying more of what I already had!  This project fixes everything.  I painted a scrap piece of wood and used velcro strips to mount it on the wall.  I can take the board down, update it, and stick it back on the wall – no more confusion!  I had to get at least one true “list” chalkboard in my kitchen, and this was a great way to do it.

Wooden Chalkboard Sign for Kitchen

 

What to do with Driftwood

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I’m a beach scavenger. Any time I spend a day at the beach I find myself coming home with at least one or two prized pieces of ocean debris. One of my favorite finds are pieces of perfectly sand-smoothed driftwood. The project possibilities for driftwood are endless, but today I thought I would share a few of my favorite driftwood crafting ideas in case you too have a few pieces tucked away after combing the sands this summer.

1.) Driftwood Bead Necklace

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For this project, take a smooth driftwood branch, and using a small hack saw, cut it into 1-2 inch cylindrical sections. Drill a small hole through the center of each cut piece. Paint the flat ends of each of your newly crafted beads in a bright color. Once dry, string the beads onto a length of cord, (I used waxed cotton) alone or with any combination of glass or wooden beads. Tie on a clasp and get ready for compliments!

2.) Painted Driftwood Photo Holders

painted_driftwood_photo_stands

This project is really fun and easy! It makes for a super cute way to display photos or cards that’s different from the average frame and easy to interchange. To make one, take a small piece of driftwood and flatten a lengthwise section with a piece of sandpaper. This will give your photo holder a steady base to keep it from rolling off the table. Next, using a small hack saw, make a straight cut about one quarter of the way into the piece, lengthwise from the top. Then have some fun painting designs to give the piece a nice pop of color. Stick a photo or postcard into the groove, and place on a flat surface to display.

3.) Driftwood and Leather Jewelry Hanger

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For this project, find a piece of driftwood that is about a foot long. Wrap both ends of a long piece of leather cord around the stick, about two inches from each end, and tie off. Screw a few mug hooks into the bottom (you should be able to do this with your fingers, but a pair of pliers can be helpful). Hang against the wall from a small nail or tack and use the hooks to keep your jewelry organized and neatly displayed!

We would love to see your project ideas too! Send us an email, comment below, or hashtag a photo of your project with #WTDWLemons!