16 August 2020

Gathering Up The Fragments 16 August 2020

How many fragments were you able to gather this week?

When you stop and count them up, there are often more than you think.

This week soap "scraps" were gathered and grated and put into the washing powder tin. 

I used a little water to rinse a tomato sauce bottle into the pasta sauce. No one complained, it used up all the sauce and I think it made the pasta sauce a little richer for this week's lasagne. The bottle went into the dishwasher to be cleaned and used again for more sauce next summer. 

Another thing I do without even thinking about it is to save the tea bags to use as firelighters. In winter we use the fire non-stop, but of course sometimes in the mornings it needs a little help to get going again. Tea bag firelighters work like a charm and they're free. There is a jar next to the heater that I put the no-longer-fit-to-be-used cooking oil in, and when we've finished with a tea bag, it gets dropped into the jar. When we need a firelighter, an oil soaked tea bag works better than a Redheads firelighter, has cost us nothing and doesn't stink up the house while it's burning. 

We get no-longer-fit-to-be-used cooking oil because when I do use oil, after cooking, it is strained and the put into a jar that sits near the stove. If the oil has been used to fry eggs or vegetables, it gets reused. I don't reuse oil that's been used to cook fish, the flavour goes through the oil and we just don't like it. That oil goes straight to the fire lighter jar. Oil is expensive; re-using it makes sense. I buy 4 litres of EVOO a year and 4 litres of vegetable oil. It helps that we don't eat a lot of fried foods, but when we do, the oil is saved and re-used. And then saved and re-used. Keeping it clean is the secret - make sure you strain it to get every little crumb out before storing it. 

The last of the onions needed to be used up. Buying onions in 10 kilo bags is a great money saver, and grating and slicing some for the freezer is a huge time saver. I keep some out to use fresh, but occasionally they start to soften before they're used. This week I made caramalised onions, using up the last of the fresh onions and some MOO brown sugar and the last of the balsamic vinegar. 

There was a about a ladle of mashed potato left after Monday night's dinner. It became fish cakes for Hannah and I for lunch on Tuesday. I added a small tin of tuna (90c from Coles), a sprinkle of herbs, and the half diced onion from Sunday lunch. Nothing was wasted and they were really tasty and it made just enough for us to share with some lettuce on sandwiches.

On Monday I swapped the meal plan around again. I felt like chow mien for dinner, so went to the freezer to look for mince. I found a packet, then realised I needed mince later in the week. No problem. One cup of TVP was set to rehydrate while the meat browned with a couple of diced onions. Once it was nicely browned, I spooned half into a container to use later in the week. There wasn't really enough mince to do one meal, let alone two. By adding TVP and stretching what I had, two dinners are covered, and no waste. As it turned out, there was a single serve of chow mien left, and about 3/4 cup of mashed potato. 

I added a packet of 2 minute noodles to the chow mien and Hannah and I enjoyed it for lunch on Tuesday. 

On Thursday I added some onion flakes, parsley and a little grated cheese to the mash, beat in an egg, and made croquettes for our tea, Wayne and the boys had their MOO pizzas. They were delicious with some salad and nothing was wasted. 

What fragments were you able to gather up and use this week? How much money didn't go into the bin?

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