What’s old is new again

I’m not sure whether it was when I served carrot soup for the second time in three leftoverdays, or when I pulled my homemade blue cheese dressing out of the fridge and placed it on the dinner table for the fourth day in row, that it occurred to me I’m getting really good at re-purposing leftover food. Before I had children, I would turn my nose up at eating leftovers. It was something “beneath me” and something that would be done only in an extremely rare situation (i.e. if it was pizza). These days, I am the polar opposite. I hate wasting food and I’m always looking for ways to use up every last scrap. However, I am still not interested in eating the same thing day after day, and so I have developed some tricks and tactics to help.

Mark Bittman’s chickpea and carrot soup  is one of my favorite pureed soup recipes. It is relatively quick, easy, healthy, and my whole family loves it. On day one, I topped the soup with parsley and yogurt and served it with this (surprisingly delicious) recipe from Food Network Magazine: Strombroli-poly, as it will now be called, has achieved a coveted spot in our dinner rotation. The second time we had the soup, I topped it with yogurt, cilantro and homemade croutons and it tasted entirely different from day one. I served it alongside a green salad, topped with chicken tossed in buffalo sauce with blue cheese dressing. It is amazing how small changes, such as a different herb, different toppings, and a brand new side, can transform a meal.

No food wasteHomemade blue cheese dressing is a staple in our house. I simply mix together good blue cheese, yogurt, lemon, milk, and salt and pepper and let it sit. To begin with, I was skeptical that the strong blue cheese flavor would complement many meals, but I soon learned that I was wrong. Day one: buffalo chicken salad with bc dressing, and a side of soup (see above). Day two: tofu spinach burgers, topped with bc dressing.  I dialed back the Asian flavors in the burger recipe a little so as not to clash with the strong blue cheese. Day three: potato and sweet potato wedges, with a side of dressing to dip into. Day four: blue cheese dressing, placed in a bowl in the middle of our dinner table to accompany whatever meal we were having that night.  Because apparently now we can’t eat a meal without it!

With a little bit of imagination and creativity, leftovers can be new again.  Simply by adding a new herb, or a different accompaniment, I can still look forward to dinner even when we’ve had it before.  And if all else fails, just throw the leftovers in a tortilla and call it good.

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I have David Lebovitz to thank for this. And DQ.

Well, apparently all it takes is a summer full of kids and fun to scupper my attempts at writing a consistent blog, Summer funnot to mention the period of catch-up that comes when the aforementioned children return to their educational and after-school activities. It is all thanks to David Lebovitz’s wonderfully simple recipe for Ballymaloe Irish Brown Bread that I felt compelled to relight my blogging flame in order to recommend this fantastic bread. Easy to make, yet way tastier than the sum of its parts, I served this hearty loaf alongside a simple split pea soup and my family devoured it all. I did not even make use of the authentic Irish ingredients that David recommends; I can only imagine how much tastier this will be when I do.

So what else has been happening? Nothing too out of the ordinary: cooking, ruBob's red millnning, working, rinse, repeat. I switched up my daily bowl of oatmeal for a daily bowl of 5 grain rolled cereal.  I am enjoying the variation in grains and am happy to be out of my oatmeal rut. Different, but not THAT different, carefully does it! I plan on blogging consistently, now that I have my ducks back in a row (it only took 6 months). In order to make my life a little more exciting and to give myself a reason to keep returning to this blog, I have set myself a challenge for 2016.  I call this, the DQ flavor challenge.  Let me explain.

For the most part I lead a healthy lifestyle, I eat well and I exercise. I eat chocolate and candy when the mood takes me and I don’t deny myself anything.  However, over the years, my one true love and indulgence has somehow managed to slip Blizzardthrough the cracks, and that is Dairy Queen.  Strangely, since I am not generally the biggest ice cream fan, DQ is my joy. My husband and I had our first (hungover) date there and it has been a happy part of our lives ever since.  As the years have gone by and kids have got in the way, I have forgotten about DQ and time between blizzards keeps lengthening.  Not this year though, this year I vow to do better, and while I will miss my standard mint blizzard with cookie dough and m&m, 2016 is the year where I try every flavor of blizzard of the month, no matter what.  So stay tuned for the first edition of the DQ flavor challenge: January’s Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard. I bet you can’t wait!