Every problem has a solution

Every problem has a solution.  At least that’s what my math teacher told me.  I like to think that it holds true outside of the realm of trigonometric functions and multivariate statistics.

Below is a list of my top problem foods when it comes to food waste.  Will you help me brainstorm some solutions?  Pretty please with melty roasted maple vanilla almond butter on top?  And a cherry, pitted and stemmed, for good measure?

1) Failed baked goods.  Last spring I discovered that I am gluten intolerant.  Store bought gluten-free breads, muffins, etc, while tasty, are quite pricy and not particularly nutritious.  Thus, I have transformed by kitchen into a gluten free food chemistry laboratory.  As it turns out, I bring the same haphazard style of measuring to the kitchen as I did to orgo class and my baking success rate is just as dismal as my percent yield of chlorofluorowhatever.  Most of these failures I eat anyway: a dry crumbly muffin counts as cereal, right?

Do you have any advice for salvaging subpar baked goods?  Or, do you have any good gluten-free recipes that don’t rely on a myriad of weird ingredients or expensive gluten-free flour blends?

2) Ricotta cheese.  I love the stuff.  Especially in and on top of pancakes.  But, the containers are so darn big!  I’ve thrown away more partially used containers than I’d like to admit over the past few years.  I used to make a batch of lasagna for the freezer with the remainder of the container but, being gluten intolerance, this is no longer an option.

What are some of your favorite ricotta recipes?  Has anyone tried to freeze ricotta before?

3) Celery.  This, according to my mom, is one of their most thrown away items.  Since a few remaining stalks from the package I bought last week currently sits on my curb awaiting the dump truck, I figured it belongs on my list too.  Celery is not the most versatile vegetable and does not seem to keep its crunch very long.  There are few things sadder than a celery stalk that bends to form an upside down smile.

Mom, here is my two sense.  Celery hearts seem to last longer.  To maximize the the quantity of the package you eat before it loses its crunch, stuff the stalks with chive cream cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  It makes for an awesome snack.  Once the celery does lose it’s crunch, the best uses I’ve found for it are soup and stir-fry.  Anyone else have a suggestion?

Please.  Help me brainstorm solutions to my aforementioned problems AND do share your own problem foods so that we all in turn can help YOU!

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