Zero Food Waste, Week 30: Sub In What You Like

zero food waste challenge 2015

This week’s post began with a decision I made a couple of months ago: to buy the cheapest dates at the grocery store for the kale-date salad I love. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, that ended up being a LOT of dates. Well over 100 dates. I didn’t realize quite how many there’d be until I opened the package up 🙂 They also have pits in them, so they’re a bit more work than the ones I’d bought before, though not so bad.

Anyway, because of this excessive (or just right!) quantity of dates, I’ve been on the lookout for other ways to use them. I made a lovely watermelon-date salad for my book club meeting over the weekend, I’ve made the kale-date salad several times, and in a cookbook I love, I also found this terrific yogurt snack that I share below. The only problem with it: it called for a topping of crisp brown rice cereal (aka healthier Rice Krispies) which was meant to give it crunch. I didn’t have any of that, and on top of that, I don’t like Rice Krispies. They feel insubstantial, and get soggy very very quickly. Since I wanted to make several servings of this to take to work over the course of a few days, I didn’t want anything that wouldn’t hold up to sitting around. So, I decided to substitute chopped and toasted hazelnuts. Voila: crunch, nuttiness, and they make the whole thing much more filling than the cereal would have. PLUS I didn’t have to spend money on any extra ingredients, since I already had hazelnuts, yogurt, sesame seeds and, of course, the dates. Winner!



This week’s shopping. The bags have spelt and rye flour from the bulk bins at the co-op.

Local blueberries were on deep discount at the grocery store, so I bought 3 pints for $4, saving $11 total off their original price! Also, I’d intended to buy more stuff at Whole Foods — I wouldn’t have made a stop just for two items — but they didn’t have some of what I needed and I ended up making yet another stop at the natural foods co-op.

Sharpie, $1.00
Floss, $3.49
Toothpaste, $3.50
Bottled lemon juice, $.88
2 lbs lemons, $3.49
Butter, $3.79
Blueberries, $4.00
2 avocados, $2.50
Used two coupons — saved $1.55
Total with tax: $21.66

Whole Foods
Yogurt, $3.69
Buttermilk, $5.39
Total with tax: $9.08

Spelt flour, rye flour, and coffee (all bulk bins): $8.69

Farmer’s Market
Nectarines, $4.00
Peaches, $2.50
Apricots, $6.00
Ricotta, $3.85
Kale, $2.50
Cherry tomatoes, $2.50
Eggs, $2.50
Watermelon, $3.50 [not pictured]
Total: $27.35

Grand total: $66.78

Yogurt with Dates and Sesame
adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte

I didn’t think there were nearly enough dates in the first round I made of this, so I increased the quantity. Like I said above, I swapped out Forte’s suggestion of brown rice cereal for hazelnuts, although I think other nuts would also work well. A mix of pistachios and walnuts would be divine, and reminiscent of baklava.

16 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 cups plain yogurt
chopped and toasted hazelnuts

Put the dates, sesame seeds, and a small pinch of sea salt in a bowl and mash with a fork into a chunky paste. Divide the mixture into four half-pint jars or other small containers. Add half a cup of yogurt to each jar and top with the nuts; I sprinkled in a bit of cinnamon on top, too, although I didn’t like the original recipe’s suggestion to mix 1/2 tsp of cinnamon with the 2 cups of yogurt before dividing it. Cardamom could also be interesting, though I haven’t tried that yet.

10 thoughts on “Zero Food Waste, Week 30: Sub In What You Like

  1. Great job on having zero food waste! Now that our garden is in full swing, we’ve been doing pretty darn good too. I am getting slightly sick of eating zucchini, though! =)

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Time to shred it and freeze it I guess 🙂 I don’t have a garden, which has downsides, but the upside is I never have too many squash (instead I take them from friends who are overwhelmed.)

  2. Hannah says:

    I’m not much of a yogurt fan, but that date mixture with sesame seeds sounds really nice. It seems like something I could adapt for a granola bar. Dates fell off my radar recently. We were eating tons after a friends wedding (Morrocan, so dates), and then just got sick of them and I haven’t bought any more. Aldi doesn’t normally carry dates, but I think Food Lion does. Maybe if I ever manage to reduce my slothful ways, I’ll have the opportunity to buy some again.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      You could *totally* use that combo in a granola bar. I think there are some brands of energy bar that are date-based (they’re sticky and full of, well, energy, so they’d be good for it.)

  3. Kirsten says:

    I use dates in green smoothies. My favorite is parsley, a little lemon, two dates, a banana, and an apple.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Wow, that sounds delicious. I pretty much never make smoothies, but I’m tempted there.

  4. One problem I always seem to have when it comes to groceries is having too much of one thing and not enough of the other. I love your creativity with situations like that!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Sometimes I get very rigid and make multiple trips to multiple grocers to find exactly the right ingredient, but I am getting better at identifying substitutions, I think. Mostly practice!

  5. DebtFreeJD says:

    Sorry. We’re going to have to part ways on not liking Rice Crispies. Also, I haven’t cared for dates since getting horrendous food poisoning from some several years ago, and having a Food-Poisoning-Related-Incident-In-Public-Which-I-Wish-Could-Erase-From-My-Memory.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh dear, I probably would never eat dates again if that happened to me! So I hope it doesn’t. And I’ll allow the Rice Crispies, as long as I don’ thave to eat them myself. I’m very live and let live on this topic.

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