Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Uses and Clever Tricks

Bread and Bags

I figured for the very first one I'd stick to something almost everyone has at home, bread ends and plastic grocery bags.

My favorite thing to make with bread ends (and any bread that's getting a little stale) is to make croutons with them, and it is oh so simple.
  1. Tear or cut bread into cubes and place on baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl make a mixture of olive oil (I use extra virgin, but it would work with others) and whatever blend of spices you wish. My favorite blend is seasoned salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. The amount you will need depends on how much bread you have.
  3. Pour mixture evenly on top of bread crumbs. (I like to toss them around a little with my fingertips just to make sure all the flavor has been spread around)
  4. Bake them at 275 for about 15 minutes or until brown and crispy. Taste them to be certain they are crispy through out. 
  5. Voila fresh croutons and they are oh so yummy. (And usually healthier than the store brand, especially if you have whole grain bread ends!)
I find that they last a pretty long time if you store them in an air-tight container. You can also stick the croutons into a food processor to make yummy bread crumbs.

Now for the plastic bags. Let's first talk about ways to store them.
I personally use old baby wipe containers. You just shove a bunch in there and then you can just pull one out at a time, and you can store them under the sink, in the laundry room, wherever. If you don't have a baby wipe container, you could alternately use an empty tissue box.
If space is tight  (like in your car) you can use an old paper towel tube and shove a bunch in there. Stick it in your glove box, under your seat, or in a door or seat pocket. Ta-da, now you have bags if you need them in the car.

Now for uses for these wonderful bags. I'm sure everyone has some, so please feel free to comment and share them too!
  • Cat box cleaning
  • Dog walking waste (can you tell I have pets?)
  • In the same token, donate them to a dog park or animal shelter
  • Wet/ soiled clothing (diaper blow-outs anyone?)
  • Car trash bag
  • Small trash can liner
  • Packing material for shipping, or wrapping fragile objects.
  • Dirty shoes (or clothes) while traveling.
  • Lining paint trays
  • Lunch Box
  • Under the potato (or other fruits and veggies) while peeling
  • Around your toiletry bag in your luggage
  • Covering up a cast or stitches on an arm or leg
  • Shoe protectors when you need to walk someplace muddy (like the garden or when the dog needs to go when it is pouring rain)
  • Crumple them up to put in purses or shoes to keep them in shape
Phew. That's a lot already. I guess I should make sure everyone knows this, but if the bag was used to carry meat in or was really wet on the inside you should just throw them away. These bags can harbor germs, disease, and mold if stored. If you find yourself with a plethora of bags, don't just throw them away many stores now have recycling for plastic bags (for example, Publix), so take them with you and just drop them off on the way in. Or you can go to this website to see where you can recycle them.


  1. My croutons always ended up too dry (hard to believe that's possible, but it's true), so I just made bread crumbs. Apparently I was baking them on too high of heat. Definately going to try your recipe!

    I LOVE using plastic bags (especially the ones from the produce department) for peelings and general garbage, like egg shells, when I'm cooking! One thing to note, the plastic bags you put in the recycling box at grocery stores don't actually get recycled according to the head of our local recycling plant. They're melted down into a smaller form, so they take up less space in the dump, which is good, but as far as recycling goes, it's better to use them for the purposes you mentioned. Also, they make great lunch bags!

  2. Hmm, interesting I've never heard that about the recycling of bags. I'll have to look into it. I generally use the reusable bags now, so I don't think about it so much now... But now I'm curious and I'll do a little research on it.