In praise of leftovers

I try to make use of leftovers wherever I can, as I abhor waste.

At my daughter’s Baptism party I over-catered (better than not having enough) so we lived off leftovers for a few days afterwards. Some bits got put straight into the freezer though, for later use. One example is the roast beef we have enjoyed this evening. We don’t often have roast beef, as it seems a bit of a waste cooking a joint just for the two of us. Having a tub of cooked sliced beef ready in the freezer is therefore quite handy.

It is a similar story with the Yorkshire puddings. We fancied them a while ago, but a one egg mix makes too much for the two of us. The leftovers went into bags in the freezer, ready to reheat at a moments notice.

The mashed potato was planned leftovers, as I cooked extra last night.

When I checked the freezer the other day I also found a small box of chilli that had been leftover. It isn’t enough for an evening meal, but it will be perfect for Mr J to have on a baked potato one lunch time. It would have gone to waste, but this way we are making use of it.

Environmentally I don’t think we can afford to waste lots of food, and financially I certainly can’t. Our grocery budget would have to be increased rather a lot if we didn’t make use of leftovers.

#lovefoodhatewaste #loveyourleftovers

I’m back

Sorry I’ve been missing in action. Life seems to have been extra busy just recently and I don’t know where the time went. I’ll try to get back to semi-regular posts now.

Rationing is back, for us at least.

We are doing our first Rationing Challenge of the year, a week on the food rations from 1945.

This time round we haven’t set everything out on the table. My post from 4th Nov shows the rations for two adults, but this time round we actually have a bit more to play with as we have my daughters allowance too. For some reason we didn’t take it last time, which definitely wouldn’t be the case in actual wartime.

Day one.

Breakfast: toast with a scraping of margarine.

Lunch: toast with hot fresh lentil spread.

Dinner: pie of mixed veg in a bovril milk sauce, topped with shredded potato.

Evening snack: shortbread.

I baked a batch of bread to get us through the first few days, and steamed off some extra veg for baby food.

Day two.

Breakfast: bread with lentil spread.

Lunch: soup and leftover pie.

Dinner: corned beef stew with bread.

Evening snack: shortbread.

Baptism Buffet Busyness.

On Sunday little Miss J is being baptised. We have all her family coming, and the ceremony is taking place as part of our regular Sunday service at Church so all our friends there will be with us. She will be welcomed into the church family in the presence of her physical family.

After the service we are having coffee and cake at church. I’ve baked three tray bake cakes (2 chocolate, 1 cherry) and my mum has baked some too (coffee, plus lemon drizzle). We’ll need enough for around 90 people to have a small piece.

I’m hosting lunch for family at home, so there will be around 17 of us. Today I’ve been cooking to try and get ready for it, and there’s more to do tomorrow.

I’ve also made a start on tomorrow nights dinner, as Mr Js side of the family will be with us for it. I’m going to make Lasagne in the morning, once my grocery delivery comes.

This is dessert, a baked cheesecake. The recipe for this came from a hotel my mum and I used to work at. I’ve made a strawberry sauce to go with it. I have also made an extra batch of yoghurt up, in case anyone prefers that.

This is a cola ham with maple and mustard glaze. I’m going to slice it tomorrow, for the buffet. I haven’t tried this particular recipe before but I’m really pleased with how it has come out.

Roast beef is cooked and cooling, and there is a chicken roasting as I type. These are both going to be cooled and then sliced.

Tomorrow I need to bake sausage rolls and cocktail sausages that I bought. I will also dish up the coleslaw and potato salad that I’ve bought. There are a few other little bits and pieces to do too, but the main thing will be to decorate the main cake. I’m going very simple with it.

Sunday, when we get back from church I just need to bake some part baked rolls off, cook some new potatoes, and bake some Indian snacks.

Dinner on Sunday night is going to be chicken casserole. I needed something easy and quick to prepare, as of course I’m not going to have any cooking time because of the buffet.

Hoping I have made enough for everyone, I would hate to under-cater.

I love lamp

For quite a while I’ve had my eye on a Himalayan Salt Lamp. A shop opened up recently in town with them in its window, and the idea has been bubbling around in my mind ever since.

I decided this week that I definitely wanted to get one. My study/craft room has been getting some attention and this is the perfect addition. Mr J and I went halves on this lovely egg shaped one as I was contemplating just a small tea light holder but this one is much nicer. So, half of it is my valentines present. I’m not sure which half though 😊.

I love the warm light the lamp gives off. Some people believe these lamps have health benefits, cleansing the air around them, boosting your mood, helping you sleep, and emitting negative ions. I have no idea whether any of that is verified and true, I just like the quality of light they emit. If the claims are true then great. If not, no matter.

By the way, I googled Himalayan Salt Lamp, and one of the questions that other people have asked is: is my salt lamp safe to lick. Seriously.

A few quick makes.

Over the last week I had an idea buzzing round in my head. I wanted a clock for my craft room / study space. I looked at a couple of ideas online, and gathered my materials.

The MDF disk is sold as a clock face, as it has a hole in the middle the perfect size for the clock mechanism.

Not shown, a £1 pack of wooden disks.

I already had the paint and paintbrushes.

It didn’t take long to transform the materials into this:

I’m really pleased with it. I wouldn’t normally go for such a modern graphic design, but the pink and the gold work really well together. It has cost perhaps £6 to purchase the bits I’ve used, as I didn’t use even half the pack of wood disks.

I also made this, with some of the leftover disks. A coaster, matching the colours and design, which cost 50p for its share of the disks.

We called into a couple of charity shops on Saturday and I picked up this little trinket pot. On Sunday I turned it into a lidded candle pot, using soy wax and lavender essential oil.

Tuesday was Chinese New Year, so I made these brooches to wear on my work jacket. They are simply pictures printed off the Internet, laminated, and then a brooch back has been glued on. I rounded off the sharp point on the bottom one, but forgot to take a better picture.

Finally, I’ve just whipped this brooch up. One more of the leftover wooden disks, painted gold, with a Union Jack ruffle and a brooch back hot glued on. It has taken maybe fifteen minutes hands on time to make, plus ten minutes paint drying time in the middle.

It is a little wonky but I don’t mind. It was a very quick make after all. I used to make these with metal buttons in the middle.

It is a while since I had a creative patch, so I have been making the most of it.

In search of Spring.

Spring.

Summer.

Autumn.

Winter.

The wheel of the year rolls along, each season’s boundaries blurring as it gives way to the next, apart from a couple of weeks in the middle that very definitely only fit that season.

The start date of each season can be disputed (can’t everything?) as it depends whether you use the Astrological date (which sees the seasons change at the equinoxes and solstices, around the 21st of the month) or the Meteorological Date (which sets the first of the month as the start of the season) . Usually somewhere in the middle of these two dates you just know. The air feels different, and the light takes on a new quality.

As I write this it is early February. I’m in the Northern Hemisphere so officially we are in the depths of Winter, but it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. It doesn’t currently look as though we will be experiencing Snowmageddon or the Icepocalypse this year, and the days are getting noticeably longer now. The light has a coldness to it, and the sun still hangs low in the sky (on the occasions when it deigns to peek out from behind the clouds) but there is a feeling of the earth coming back to life.

* In the planter outside my front door I’ve noticed inch tall Tulip shoots. They were hiding and then all of a sudden shot up.

* In my spare room tete-a-tete and hyacinth bulbs that haven’t been watered in 9 months suddenly show signs of life with half inch spikes of green erupting from the soil. They’ve been brought out into the living room, watered, and are now being watched eagerly to see how they grow and change.

* Walking to work in the morning I hear birds singing in the trees, staking their claims to territory and wooing prospective mates. Over December and January most of them fell silent and a lot flew to warmer climes. They must be on their way back.

* Pregnant sheep in the fields around the office look as though walking is taking a bit more effort, as the lambs in their bellies grow and develop.

The earth itself feels pregnant, ready to give birth to the glory that is Spring. Trees are budding up ready to burst into leaf and later, blossom. Dormant bulbs stir into life, with crocus and daffodil shoots appearing on the roadside. Spring begins on either the 1st or 21st of March, and the earth is gearing up for it now.

I’m under no illusion that Winter is nearly done (it’s last hurrah can often be a particularly cold and nasty snap) , but the signs of Spring show me that no matter how bad the weather gets, better days are on their way.

Artwork information:

The Four Seasons

commissions by LiigaKlavina on DeviantArt