made from scratch [scraps]

I have a knack for finding ways to use up the little bits and bobs around the kitchen, whether it’s turning vegetable scraps into a frittata or turning the last scrapings from the bottom of a can of spaghetti sauce into some BBQ-esque slow cooker concoction. (Answer to the last question: add beer, molasses, vinegar, and some magic, and it comes together nicely. Recipe to come!) I think it comes from all of my many years of reading the Little House on the Prairie books — Ma’s “waste not, want not” is imprinted into my brain. Not only do I hate to waste good food that I paid for with my hard-earned cash, but I also see leftovers as a creative challenge. How can I stretch this into a meal? How can I dress it up into something entirely new and exciting? How can I combine multiple tins of scraps into one marvelous, chance-occurrance meal?

This weekend I was cleaning out the fridge and found three overripe bananas, turned black from the cold. Those, smashed into a paste, plus the very last half cup of sugar in my pantry, went into an old recipe of my mother’s. She has used this muffin recipe since I can remember, usually with blueberries and a dusting of crunchy raw sugar for a Sunday morning treat, and says she has held onto it since her 7th grade home economics class. The proportions are easy and the ingredients list is simple, making for a reliable recipe that is easy to customize based on whatever is in the pantry or fridge.

Sweet Muffins

1/4 c. melted butter

1 egg

1/2 c. sugar (I used Rapadura)

1/2 c. milk

1.5 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt


I added:

1 tsp. cinnamon

a dash of nutmeg and ginger

3 bananas, mashed

1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs and melted butter together, then add sugar and milk until mixed. Sift in dry ingredients and stir to moisten. Fold in mashed bananas. Grease muffin tins and fill with 2.5 Tbsp. batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

These emerge barely golden and still moist inside, with plenty of vertical rise — no spill-overs with these muffins! Perfect with a dab of butter.

Some interesting combinations:

blueberries + flaked unsweetened coconut + cardamom

pureed pumpkin + sweet curry powder

oatmeal + chunky homemade applesauce

shredded zucchini + pecans + cinnamon

chocolate chips + espresso

browned butter + lemon zest

shredded carrots + currants + nutmeg

plenty of chopped fresh basil + pinch of extra sweetener

shredded apples + dash of angostura bitters

oatmeal + dollop of preserves tucked inside

ground flax seeds + chia seeds + oatmeal


3 thoughts on “made from scratch [scraps]

  1. You really are the most useful food person I know. I’m trying to get better about using/reinventing things we have in the fridge to be less wasteful. So keep being wonderful at it, so I can learn =)

  2. Great post, love! I’ve been loving the posts and recipes you’ve been producing lately. I have a couple requests (if I may be so bold?): I’d love to see a list of the food blogs you follow regularly, and I’d also love a list of book recommendations. You mentioned a book a few days ago that Nina Planck frequently cites in Real Food (which I loved), and I’d love to do a little more food/nutrition reading. Thanks again- you’re inspiring, as always! 🙂

    • Great idea, Sarah! I’ll round up a book post soon, and I think I’ll probably do a “food philosophy” post around the same time to explain some of our lifestyle and food/nutrition choices. xo

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