Eleven days ago, I launched a challenge to my readers to prevent food waste in some way, big or small, and report back after Easter. Now it’s the Tuesday after Easter, and I haven’t heard from anyone yet. Did you accept my challenge? Tell me about it in the comments, or link to your own post on conserving food.
My own plans went differently than expected. I knew that Holy Week and this week would be a very busy time for me because these are my last two weeks of full-time work, so I have a lot to do and thought I might need to work some overtime . . . but I was still involved in coordinating the food for my church’s receptions after the Easter Vigil and Easter morning services, which always includes some repurposing of leftovers. Life threw me a curve ball of digestive mayhem that initially seemed to be just a symptom of the migraine that struck on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, but then as the headache got better my stomach continued to get worse. From Friday through Sunday, I wound up preventing food waste by not eating much! But I couldn’t resist eating small amounts of reception food, including grapes and raw veggies with hummus–and apparently those were just the foods to anger my innards. Instead of making an innovative Easter dinner out of leftovers, I spent Sunday night in misery, and yesterday I ate only rice and yogurt. Blah. I’m finally getting better today.
It wasn’t a superstar week, but I can tell you some things I did do to use food wisely:
- When I baked Raisin Bran Bread on Palm Sunday, I decided to try using some sunflower oil in it to make the bread moister and also make the sorghum syrup easier to remove from the measuring cup such that none of it would be wasted. Making 4 loaves, I used 1/2 cup sunflower oil in place of 1/2 cup of the water. This is a tip for recipes in general: Measure oil first, then sticky ingredients, then other liquids, and finally water–the oil coats the measuring cup, then the sticky stuff slides out easily, then the other liquids help to get any remaining residue of oil or syrup off the cup and into the mixing bowl, and the water rinses the remaining liquid into your batter!
- My family’s dinner on Palm Sunday was fresh Raisin Bran Bread with warmed-up Ginger Black Bean Soup that was left over from the double batch we’d made for the church’s soup buffet the previous Tuesday, when we hosted Episcopalians from other nearby parishes for a Lenten supper and service.
- Until I was overcome by queasiness, I routinely ate whatever my 22-month-old Lydia left in her dish or on her high-chair tray after a meal. If you are dining with a young child, serve yourself slightly less than you think you’ll need to feel full, leaving room for the child’s scraps. My uncle calls these Finnish Cuisine: the food kids give you to finish!
- At work, I’ve been drinking gingerbread-flavored herbal tea that a co-worker received as a Christmas gift but didn’t like. I appreciate that she offered to share it rather than just throwing it away. I wouldn’t buy it myself, but it’s good enough to drink. Ginger can be helpful to an upset stomach.
- When my 11-year-old Nicholas came to work with me on Thursday (it was his spring break from school) and we went out to lunch, we both ate every morsel on our plates, although he couldn’t finish his in one sitting. We put it into a plastic bowl with lid and brought it back to the office, where he ate it several hours later.
- For the Easter Vigil reception, we served cheese, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and wine left over from the church’s Maundy Thursday meal and crackers left over from Palm Sunday coffee hour, in addition to new foods.
- For the Easter morning reception, we served leftovers from the night before, in addition to new foods.
- After the second reception, I sorted the remaining fruit into two categories. The fruit that still looked nice and fresh went into a container (which candied pecans had come in) and is being served to Lydia for breakfast and to Nicholas in his lunchbox. The fruit that was beginning to look tired went into a plastic cake dome and will be converted into fruit sauce when Daniel or I get the chance to do it. The longer we delay, the more fruit will spoil before we can use it, so I’m hoping to get to this tonight. We’ve got mostly grapes this year, about two pounds.
- I brought home what was left of the hummus and spinach dip, along with one small bag of carrots, snap peas, and red pepper strips. These also go into Nick’s lunches for school, and all of us can snack on the dips at home, with our own veggies or chips.
- In a separate bag, I brought home several celery sticks. Celery is my nemesis, but Daniel likes it in tuna salad–which is what he and the kids had for dinner last night while I was working late. He cut up the celery into just the right amount for his tuna. (Nicholas doesn’t like celery, either.)
- Because the Easter revelers didn’t drink as much coffee as we anticipated, I brought home two carafes. Daniel quit drinking coffee two months ago (!!!), so it’s all for me! I’ll be reheating it, a cup at a time, through Wednesday at least.
- I brought home two loaves of bakery bread that hadn’t been used on Maundy Thursday and had been left in their paper bags on the church kitchen counter. By Saturday, they were too dried-out for us to slice and serve with the cheese. I put them in my refrigerator in hopes that they’ll make nice breadcrumbs when Daniel or I get a chance to demolish them.
- Extra cheese, crackers, and dried fruit are stashed at the church for next Sunday’s coffee hour.
I’ll be linking up to this week’s edition of all the linkups where I posted the challenge: Hearth and Soul Hop and Real Food Friday and That Friday Blog Hop and No Rules Weekend and Faith Filled Friday. I’m also linking to Works-for-Me Wednesday, which I missed last week when Wednesday so dramatically didn’t work for me. Click through for some new ideas!