Recycled Protein Powder Planters

20160411_145356I…drink a lot of protein shakes. Hey, I work out a lot, people. Don’t be judgy. But the bad part of drinking lots of protein is having giant plastic containers left when you’re done. But, there’s good news, there, too, if you are frugal and you like to grown some of your own food. They’re the perfect size for planters!

You, too, can turn your used protein tubs into planters. And it’s actually pretty darn easy. Here’s what you need:

20160411_152512Not pictured: paper towels, soap and water.

The first step was getting that darned label off! I tried to peel it off, but that didn’t work very well, OF COURSE. But the adhesive remover did the trick. I saturated the remainder of the label, let it sit for a minute, then scraped it off.

20160411_135323This still left a residue, so I used some more adhesive remover and a paper towel to get it all off, then gave it a good scrubbing with some dish soap. I rinsed it and dried it.

20160411_140411Next, using a utility knife VERY CAREFULLY, I cut off the top of the tub. Isopure has a convenient seam I could follow. Tasty and helpful!

20160411_141408Now, you have two options. You can recycle the top of the tub if you want, or, if you want to help keep some moisture in your soil in the warmer months, you can flip it over and tuck it back inside like I did. I didn’t attach mine because I’m going to be using mine for herbs outside, but if you glued it in you could easily use this as a vase!

20160411_145407Look how pretty!

I plan on leaving mine plain because a) no one’s going to see them but me and the Hubs, and b) I’m going to be growing food in them and not pretty flowers, but you could totally decorate these any way you liked! I can imagine them painted or tied with ribbons. I may even make little chalkboard plaques to write the name of what’s in them.

Have you recycled and old plastic container like this before? Let me know in the comments!

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Gardening on a Balcony: Recycling and Seeding

I live in an apartment on the second floor, but I’m super lucky to have a pretty large balcony (6′ x 12′) and a nice view of a golf course.  We get a lot of great light so every year I at the very least grow some tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes, on a balcony! There’s nothing better than fresh off the vine, still warm from the sun homegrown tomatoes. Some years I start from seed, and some years I start from plants, it depends on if I get started early enough. I’m started a bit late this year because IT SNOWED IN APRIL but today I got my seeds started.

20160411_150050I’d been hanging on to this awesome plastic egg carton since mid-winter, and I was itching to use it to start my seeds. You don’t need any fancy equipment, and if you use the recycled cardboard egg cartons, you can plant the seedlings right in their tiny cup! I, however, had plastic, so that’s what I used.

I dampened some potting soil and layered it in the egg trays.

Then I set the seeds, labeling them with wooden clothespins (CHEAAAAP and you can reuse them as long as you don’t mind hanging your clothes with “scallions” clothespins).

20160411_145428Bingley, of course, stood guard while I worked.

20160411_152411Then, since it’s unseasonably chilly in April here in The Jerz, I brought them just inside so they could be in a warm, safe place. Now it looks dark here now, but we get morning sun, so I’ll prop them up on a box so it gets a nice amount of light.

Most of those seeds were from the dollar store, except for the tomatoes, and they weren’t expensive either. The most expensive part here was probably the potting soil, and since it was leftover from last year or the year before (last summer was not good for me) I can’t even remember how much it cost. I’ll need to get some more this year when I transfer these babies to pots!

Do any of you grow your own food in a small space? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned because I have another recycling planter project in the works!

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Crispy-Edged Polenta Wedges

I adore polenta! I like it soft and silky, topped with a succulent pork ragu. I like it wedged and crispy, for dipping in a flavorful soup or chili. Here’s a tutorial of how you make this delicious corn meal mush into crispy wedges.

20160126_185351 (1)Crispy-Edged Polenta Wedges

20160126_062922 (1)

  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, salted
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

In a medium sized saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick, about 3 minutes. It will bubble like the Dickens, so stir like mad and be careful none of it lands on exposed skin!

In the last 30 seconds, stir in butter and parmesan.

Pour into a dish coated with cooking spray, allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to eat, slice into 12 triangles.

In a large non-stick skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

20160126_183856 (1)Add slices of polenta and fry until golden brown on each side, flipping once. Serve hot.

20160126_185406 (1)I had mine with homemade tomato soup and it was SO GOOD. Do you love polenta? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Let me know in the comments!
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