I know many people purchase toaster ovens because they want to be more "green." They love the energy efficiency a toaster oven can provide. With that in mind, I will be sharing some tips with you on how to "go green" without spending a ton of money. These tips may not be directly related to a toaster oven, but rather to the lifestyle many toaster oven owners are looking for. Enjoy!
There are so many great reasons to eat organic food. It is the definitely the best choice for your individual health as well the health of the environment. So why on Earth doesn't everyone go organic? The answer to that is simple; organic food is expensive. It costs more to produce food naturally and that cost is passed on to the consumer. There are some things that you can do to make the switch to organic less of a burden on your wallet.
There are four basic things you can do when trying to be more green with your food choices: grow what you can, spend your food dollars wisely, make most of your food from scratch and don't waste anything. Each article in this series will address one specific change you can make in the four areas.
Grow What You Can
If you have a fence (or some other type of trellis) in a sunny location, one of the easiest things you can grow with the highest return is Butternut Squash. A packet of organic squash seeds costs about $2 and can grow lots of squash. Each squash plant is capable of producing over 20 pounds of the tasty vegetable. So if you have room for four healthy butternut squash vines, you can get 100 pounds of organic vegetables for just $2. Organic Butternut Squash normally costs $2 or more per pound, so you can save $198 dollars with only 4 vines (plus you'll still have more seeds left.)
If you live in an area that freezes over winter, plant the butternut squash seeds two weeks after the last frost. If you live in a region that never freezes, you can plant at any time. Put each seed 1/2 inch into the dirt. Keep the ground moist until the squash seedlings emerge, then you can just forget about them They thrive in many natural conditions and need no special care. The butternut squash will be ready to harvest at the end of summer, when the skin turns beige and hard.
Spend Your Food Dollars Wisely
Skip the candy bars, even if they are organic. Processed sugar will never be good for you, even if it is organically grown. Sad, but true. Opt instead for healthy, antioxidant-rich fresh fruit. The cost for an organic serving of fruit is about the same as candy bar. There are, however, humongous differences in the nutrition provided by each choice.
Make Your Food From Scratch
A good loaf of organic whole grain bread will cost you approximately $4 or $5. Organic whole grain bread made at home costs about 50 cents a loaf. That's a huge difference in cost, plus you have the added benefit of choosing the wholesome ingredients you will use in your bread. Most mass-produced breads (organic included) contain preservatives to extend shelf life.
Making bread from scratch can be difficult, unless you have the right tools. A good food processor is a very necessary tool if you intend to easily make food from scratch, especially bread. The food processor will combine the ingredients for you and then take on the traditionally hard task of kneading the bread, making your active involvement time minimal. The process does take planning; you will need to allow time for the bread to rise.
A toaster oven is a great, energy-efficient way to bake your homemade bread. And the smell in your kitchen while the bread is baking is nothing short of divine.
Don't Waste Anything
I use high quality organic ingredients when I prepare food, but I use every part possible. A great example is the butternut squash I mentioned earlier. I never discard the seeds; they make a great snack. I rinse the squash seeds, toss them with a small amount of sea salt and slowly roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 250 degrees F.
Boiling the Butternut Squash skins in clean water for 2 hours produces a squash flavored vegetable stock that is a great base for soups. Just strain before using.
I hope I have shown you that going organic doesn't always have to break your food budget. See you in Part 3!