All it Takes is a Little Elbow Grease

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Why do most people use aluminum foil? Because it makes clean-up so quick and easy for so many greasy, yucky cooking jobs. It seals things tightly so they cook. It wraps itself around foods so easily. Right? And it’s absolutely unnecessary.

What a waste – of money and resources, and then what do you do with the used aluminum foil stuff – trash it. Townships don’t recycle it for the most part. So it’s landfill.

Who knows if aluminum contributes to Alzheimers. That was a going theory a little while ago. I think that has been debunked. I don’t know. Whether it does contribute to the illness or not, the point is that it’s not needed.

I do have some aluminum foil in my kitchen. It’s made from recycled aluminum. (You have come to know me by now, haven’t you? Of course, if I have aluminum foil at all it’s going to be made from recycled sources. Duh!) I’ve used it once in the past year. To wrap beets to roast with the skin on. What a waste! Hated peeling those beets. Don’t believe recipes that tell you it’s easy to peel beets after they’ve been roasted whole in foil. It’s a pain. But that’s another blog post.

Here are some things I’ve learned to do to replace aluminum foil and pans:

Line sheet pans: I use unbleached parchment paper. It’s compostable.
I use parchment paper from If You Care. They also have unbleached baking cups in several sizes.
I have to say I wasn’t pleased with their compostable trash bags though.

Cover things baking in the oven: If you’re oven is big enough and you’re cooking for an army, get some stainless steel hotel pans with lids. They will last you a lifetime.
If you’re not cooking for an army invert one sheet pan on top of the other.  It’s a bit jiggly when you’re taking it in and out of the oven, but it works. Take the top pan off first before you try to bring the bottom pan out of the oven is quite helpful (and as I like to say, there’s a reason I  know this!)

Line your toaster oven to catch the crumbs: Really? You can’t just pull the little catch tray on the bottom out and clean it. Or put the metal tray thingy that comes with the toaster oven on the rack so things don’t drip down and make a mess? And then, ummm, clean that maybe? If you must line it use compostable parchment paper. (I don’t have a toaster oven but my kids swear they’re getting me one so when they come to visit they can toast their bread.)

Those damn aluminum baking pans your going to cook something in to take to a party. You know – these:
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You can replace most of them with heavy paper cake, pie and loaf pans, again from the folks at If You Care.




And let’s not forget the grill, things that go in the oven and a bunch of other stuff where it’s just not needed.

Replace This                                         With This

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Your potatoes really don’t need any foil at all.
Just poke the skins with a fork a few times and pop them in the oven on a cookie sheet.

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And there are all sorts of neat pans to go on your grill for veggies and even fish.
Check them out.

Anybody have a solution for wrapping corn on the cob to cook on the grill? That one stumps me!



Replace This                              With This

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For all this other stuff all you really need is a little bit of elbow grease when you clean up. I really don’t like being preachy – but — get over it. Just do it!

And I have to admit – when I’m having a lot of people over for the holidays or a party I use compostable plates and cups to save on the clean-up. Are these compostable in your home composter? Probably not. But I have a commercial composting company pick up my compostables and just about everything breaks down in that. And that’s another blog post. 😉

(Oh, and my daughter Jennifer loves doing dishes, as does her husband. Seriously! I’ve got it made when they come over!)

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