Hi folks…you still there? I hope so, because I've been a bit pensive lately, a bit meditative, and usually, when I surface from these states, I have a thing or two to share. And where else would I share it but here…a space where no one can interrupt me and I can ramble to my heart’s content. So apologies in advance in case I am a bore!
For those of you who are wondering, after this post, my father is a little better, although the general condition has not changed. Right now, all we can do is make sure he is as comfortable as possible. Emotionally I don’t (can’t) really delve too deeply into it all. Not if I want to be able to look after his care efficiently and effectively. I suppose am in a state of “automatic pilot”.
I am lucky. I have a family who is supporting each other through everything. Although of course, it can’t be helped, every once in a while, driving home from the hospital at night, or hearing a familiar song, that you feel alone. But I get home and am greeted by the noisy ruckus from my two wild things, and a warm solid hug from my steadfast and stalwart husband, and I am ok.
I am beside my dad as I type, having fallen into the steady rhythm of being in a hospital. I watch him in his sleep as maybe he once watched me. Where did the time go? I know it sounds corny and trite and overused, but really, cherish each moment you have and enjoy it to the fullest.
Now…I've promised you some practical advice...
I wanted to share with you some things I have put together to make use of leftovers (and those odds and ends that lurk in most of our fridges). All of this is part of an endeavor that is close to my heart and that is to fight food waste. By no means am I an expert in this department…I would be a liar if I said I've never wasted food. That being said, fighting food waste has been a little personal project of mine for a while, and it is one that I would like to share with you as well. We could all benefit from learning tips and tricks on how to effectively use leftovers, avoid fruit and vegetables going bad, and using up the bits that we usually toss.
Healthy Options, a store I turn to for quinoa, steel-cut oats, and different varieties for flour (and Green & Blacks I confess!) has been running an advocacy campaign for food waste awareness for a year now. It’s called Love Food Don’t Waste. Which really, is something that could have easily come from my own mouth! So when they reached out to me to help spread the word I was glad to pitch in. They have put together some great informational videos on food waste and tips to avoid it. To get started, take a peek on Why We Waste Food. And before the food actually gets to us we should Shop Smart.
I've placed other videos below together with my own tips on avoiding food waste.
From the photos here, top left onwards:
This is one of my favorite things to do with leftover tomato-based pasta sauce (or any tomato based sauce…even a bit of leftover stew with the meat shredded). You know that little smidge of sauce left in the fridge...too small an amount to make another bowl of pasta from, taunting you, challenging you. Well, this is how to make short work of that last little bit. Heat the sauce in a skillet. I like to add a few extra drizzles of olive oil just to make it a bit rich. When this is hot and bubbling crack an egg in the center. Cook until the egg is done to your liking. Eat straight out of the pan with a couple of thick slices of rustic-looking bread for an awesome breakfast.
** My favorite thing to do with leftover steak, which we all know is quite pathetic the next day and can never, short of wizardry, be restored to its former glory. For this, I turn it into fried rice. Leftover steak? A bit tragic. But steak fried rice? Awesome. I like this best started with some fried garlic before adding the steak…and ending with some shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Goes without saying that this makes use of leftover rice as well. If I have some leftover vegetables in the fridge I sometimes toss this in as well. Top the whole mess with a fried egg and a squirt of hot sauce (sriracha is my favorite hot sauce for most kinds of fried rice) and you are more than good to go.
Something I do to avoid vegetables, particularly broccoli, from going bad is to cook them as soon as I buy them, so they are cooked fresh…and then set them aside to use at my leisure. If you are going to consume it in the next couple of days just keep it in the fridge. If it’ll be longer then tuck it into the freezer. This keeps me from finding a tragic piece of broccoli in my crisper at the end of the week. Now you have a nice supply of veggies without having to worry about them spoiling. Use throughout the week in stir-fries, salads, mixed into your baby’s rice (heehee), or in my favorite preparation: tossed warm with your best olive oil and coarse salt…better than popcorn folks!
** What I like to do with the older veggies that I need to use up is to roast them. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables, rendering them soft and sweet and intense and a touch smoky. I just chop up the veg (this works best for vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, capsicums, onions, zucchini, and, as pictured here, eggplant). I then have effectively extended their life for a couple more days, during which I can decide what to do with them. These are good in a salad, rolled or tucked into a pita with a dollop of garlic yogurt, in a rice bowl like this, or tossed with some pasta. If you have roasted eggplant you can also turn this into a dip by processing with some yogurt, garlic, olive oil, and seasoning.
For more on fighting food waste you can check the “leftovers” tag on my sidebar. You can also follow me on instagram and check the hashtags #fightfoodwaste and #500daysoffriedrice. For more on Healthy Options Love Food Don’t Waste campaign you can check out their Facebook page or their website.
Thanks for sticking around friends! I'll be back soon with more food and other forms of sustenance!