I joined a new challenge for the next fourteen days. Adding something green to my breakfast. No Fruit Loops do not count. I see the idea is to juice and drink smoothies adding greens into them, however I do not have a juicer anymore. I really wish I had a small one. One that was portable, maybe I will look into ordering one, but for now I fall back to my old standby.
In the United States we toss out about 40% of our food, which is troubling in itself. I do not waste as much as most, simply because I shop mostly by bicycle. Wasted food means extra trips to the store. As much as I love my bike, multiple rides to shop are not on my agenda. For me wasted food is also wasted money. I have often taken food from the day before and created a new dish with the leftovers. My children hated left overs. For example a pot of chili that has a quarter left will become a pot of tortilla soup changing it up so the kids will not be bored. My other favorite thing to do, which I started this challenge off with, is to take the meal from the previous night reheat some of it and top it with a poached egg, voila! Breakfast! For the record I try not to ever use the microwave, except to heat water if I can help it.
What I have found is that reusing leftovers can spark some serious creativity. My favorite is always to make a quick soup, but there have been awesome pasta dishes, rice creations and even sandwich fillings. Like the left over eggplant roasted and put onto a sandwich with that tiny bit of goat cheese left over, so amazing, the flavors are like a party in your mouth.
I am not saying that I do not waste food, but I try to waste as little as possible. Those celery stalks that get limp, chop them and put them into a stir fry or a soup. That tiny left over bit of beans, put them in a tortilla with some quick sautéed veggies for a nice lunch. The tortillas that you just cannot use up, make a tortilla soup and crisp up the tortilla by baking them to top the soup and a salad later. The only thing I have a hard time with is salad. I love the baby greens mix, so this goes bad so much faster than anything you slice yourself. I have used it in soups before, but you have to cook the hell out of it to lose that slimy factor.
Two weeks ago I had pomegranate seeds that needed to be consumed. I ended up making a nice spinach salad with those seeds, some pistachios and goat cheese. I used the left over half of lemon and some olive oil for a quick dressing. It was very tasty.
This year I have added a small paring knife and a small sheet cutting board to my bike bag. This way I can slice an apple and dip it into peanut butter anytime I want. (Disclaimer, since I have lip rings eating an apple whole is a challenge, and since my four front teeth were chipped and replaced in the collision, I fear breaking them off. This is why a knife is a valuable tool for me.) As I get ready for my departure, this will happen, either I get an assignment from the Peace Corps, or I join a commune in England, either way I am venturing into a new chapter; I need to focus on being present and aware of my lifestyle.
So now I am off to inventory my food and plan my next few days of meals, I do not work again until the 11th. Lucky me. Before I would have stressed out about that fact, but seriously, my life is so simplified, that stress is not allowed. You should really try living this way, it is so liberating. So now I must think about getting in the shower and then biking to the market to make a big pot of soup, it seems appropriate, as the midwest is nearly shut down, soup can be held warm over a fire for a very long time, just add a bit of water to keep it from going dry and re-season as needed.