Stop wasting food – how to use leftovers

Apparently food waste is costing households £470 a year on average. That’s crazy!

I really feel proud of myself if I manage to make a meal from leftover ingredients or food in the cupboard and freezer – almost like it’s cost me nothing. It’s silly, because of course I did buy the food in the first place, but I suppose I’m pleased that I’ve managed to make a meal from stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. And it’s saved me from buying new food in its place – which would cost me additional money.

So I thought I’d share my top tips on avoiding food waste and using up leftovers.

Only buy the food you need

I think my first point is stop buying excess food in the first place! Go to the supermarket armed with a list of ingredients you need for specific meals so you don’t buy things you aren’t going to use.

Part of this is ensuring you never go food shopping when you’re hungry. Trust me, it’s a disaster and you’ll fill your trolley with crisps and doughnuts. It’s bad for your body and it’s bad for your bank balance.

I spend a bit of time every week planning lunches and dinners I want to eat and then I buy ingredients for those specific meals. I’ll also buy a few other bits to ensure I have some back up foods for the days when I run out of fresh things. For example, Rob and I tend to do a weekly shop and I know that means any fresh fruit, veg, fish or meat I buy won’t last a full week till the following shop. So I plan it so that I eat meals requiring those ingredients first and then will look to using tinned or frozen ingredients (and any leftovers) towards the end of the week.

Ensure you always have these basics at home so you can always base a meal around them or bulk up a meal. The basics I’m talking about include dried pasta, rice, tinned beans, quinoa, bread (stick in the freezer), frozen veg and so on.

Do a regular monthly or quarterly check of the dried and canned food in your cupboards and use up anything that is near its use by/best before date or find a way of using it in your next meals when writing your weekly shopping list.

Use leftovers creatively

There are loads of ways that you can incorporate your leftovers into a meal to avoid food waste.

  • Tomatoes: make a salsa (like the one I made in this fillet of bream with salsa recipe)
  • Mediterranean vegetables like courgette, peppers, aubergine: use in a pasta dish or curry
  • Winter vegetables like leeks, potatoes, carrots: use in a stew – chuck some tinned beans in there too
  • Eggs: make an omelette
  • Ripe bananas: use ripe bananas instead of flour in biscuits (see recipe below!)
  • Berries: put them in the freezer and use them in porridge
  • Spinach: use in a green smoothie

If anything is near its use by date, make up a big batch of food using those ingredients and freeze it. For example, if your vegetables won’t last long, cook up a big batch of veggie bolognese/lasagne/curry and put whatever you don’t eat in the freezer. Get it out on days where you don’t have much time to cook!

Don’t forget that milk, bread, meat and fish can be frozen.

The following recipe is a great new one I’ve learned courtesy of Deliciously Ella and I love that it uses up ripe bananas. To be honest, I think brown squishy bananas are probably what we end up throwing away the most in our house so it’s great that I’ve found a way of using them up – and they make something healthy and delicious!

This is based on Deliciously Ella’s Simple Oat Cookies recipe. It’s gluten-free and low FODMAP!

Simple banana oat cookies

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas

180g oats

4 tbs peanut butter

4 tbs maple syrup

1 tbs coconut oil, plus extra for greasing

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

2. Peel the bananas and put them in a big mixing bowl. Mash them all up!

3. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil and mix well

4. Add the oats to the mixture

5. Grease a baking tray with coconut oil and dollop 10 equal sized blobs of the mixture onto the tray. Flatten them as much as possible

6. Bake for 18 minutes until brown

7. Place on a cooling tray and allow to cool

Do you have any top tips for avoiding food waste? I’d love to hear your favourite leftovers recipes.

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Weekly round up #21

Happy Sunday everyone! Just a short update from me this time – here are some of the highlights of my week:

Buying a Goonies tshirt: You may think this is either really sad or really cool but this tee has been sitting in my basket on eBay for about two years, I’d just never actually bought it. And now I finally have! The postage was a bit of a palava, the first one went missing in the post so I had to order a replacement one which took about two weeks to sort. But I finally have it and it fits really well. I’m a proper Goonie now…

Goonies tshirt

Researching activity trackers: I’ve recently been thinking about getting an activity tracker, but I don’t really know where to start. I’ve been reading a few articles about the different Fitbit models and comparing them all against the features I think I want. Essentially I think I want something I can use as a motivational tool, so that I can set step goals I want to reach each day, but I’ve also been reading about the sleep tracking functionality that some have and now I’m tempted by those too! I don’t sleep very well which is why I’m interested but I worry that if I had a tracker and knew how little sleep I actually got, it might actually make me feel worse about it because I’m so aware of it, if that makes sense? Continue reading

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Is a Brighton beach smoking ban pointless?

It was announced earlier this week that Brighton Council is proposing a ban in public places such as the beach and parks. Not only should it reduce the effects on second hand smoke on children (and adults, surely?) but also help the environment as cigarette butts impact the wildlife.

Brighton beach bird's eye view

It’s kicked up a bit of a stink with some people thinking this move only amplifies the ‘nanny state’.

But is this something that is actually enforceable? There must be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of tourists that flock to Brighton in the summer – you’re lucky to find a single pebble to perch a centimetre of your bumcheek on. And no-one follows the ‘no BBQs’ rule (which surely also is rather bad to inhale and/or for the environment?) so why would people follow this one?

Are the police likely to patrol the beach and stop people from lighting up?

And how will this affect local businesses if customers of their bar, restaurant or nightclub can’t nip outside for a fag?

What’s the point?

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Weekly round up #20

I feel like I’ve been quite busy recently, hence my lack of blog post within the week. Sorry!

Here are just a few of the things I’ve been up to:

Enjoying the sun at Eastbourne Extreme: At the weekend I went to an extreme sports festival in Eastbourne, which is a little further east along the south coast (for my international followers). It was free to get in and comprised loads of sports and activities – I went mainly because there were loads of roller derby games, but there was also in-line skating, BMXing, surfing, paddleboarding and more. There was also a little adjoining park with a beer tent and a music stage, so we spent a lot of time in there! Brighton Rockers were there and it was great to watch them play a game – some of the girls from Fresh Meat training played which was brilliant! Annoyingly I forgot to take any photos apart from this one, of me relaxing on the grass.

Eastbourne Extreme sports festival

Reviewing my experience of the low FODMAP diet: I had a follow-up appointment with a dietician to review how I’ve been getting on in the reintroduction stage of the low FODMAP diet. So far, so good and the dietician was really pleased with how strict I’ve been when doing the tests. She didn’t offer a miracle cure or revolutionary advice exactly, but she gave me the perk up I needed. It can be quite disheartening when following such a strict diet, there are constantly foods I can’t eat and I end up with the same meals when I go out (if I see one more chicken salad…) but actually it showed that although I have a way to go I’m on the right track. There will be a lot more trial and error testing to do but I now have an idea of where my worse intolerances lie and which foods I can get away with eating in smaller portions (or when they’re eaten as a standalone food). Continue reading

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Weekly round up #19

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last week or so:

Creating a Facebook page: That’s right, I’ve created a Facebook page for my blog, woo! It will hopefully allow readers, new and regular, without access to Bloglovin or Twitter to keep up with my latest posts. Please do feel free to check it out and give it a like! It’s over at www.facebook.com/amyrutterblog

Feeling poorly: I’ve been feeling quite ill over the last week-and-a-half, which is the reason this post is a bit later than I would have liked. Since last week my tummy has been hurting quite a lot, and over the last few days I’ve been getting more and more headaches, with a migraine last night. I do have chronic headaches and migraines – and IBS which gives me a lot of stomach pain – but both had been quite under control for a while. I think I’ve been feeling a bit stressed and obviously stress can really affect your body! I’m taking it easy when I can so hopefully will be back to normal very soon. Continue reading

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