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Leftover LaLapalooza – Or Do you Repurpose Food?

Happy Sunday Morning All,
Happy Second Sunday in Lent!

I’m hopping on really quickly with some frugal pantry advice.

Do you Repurpose Food? Some people call it leftovers, but my people don’t like “leftovers”… so I call it repurposing food. HA! They even help invent meals. Aint’ NOBODY got time (or money) to be snobby around here!!

Last evening, as I was purposing to use what I have for dinner I thought – “I have GOT to blog about this.”

In our home, we have three people, so there are often leftovers. And when my husband travels, that number goes down to two. Y’all it would be so dang easy to blow the budget and order pizza or Chinese Food, but a) it’s Lent and we are supposed to sacrifice, and b) we are holding ourselves more accountable for what we spend. SOOOO the long and short of it is, I had to find something to cook.

Additionally I am on my 3rd day of Antibiotics, recovering from Strep and Sinus Infection – you know, because one thing is not enough. I always have to overachieve… Anywhooooo…

Last night, I made a goulash of sorts. A perfect food for cold, rainy winter evenings. Filling, but not too fattening. Semi-Healthy (if you laden with veggies).

Do you know what Goulash is?

When I say, goulash of sorts, let me be clear… my definition is loosely based on the above, however, I am not a Hungarian, nor do I play one on TV.  (hahaha) AND there is no Paprika in this stew-ish meal.  But, it is teenager approved. So it works in our house.

Here is what’s I did:

In the fridge, I found two oversized chicken breasts that my husband cooked. I cubed the chicken, then cut about 3/4 of one of the breasts into smaller cubes and set it aside (see repurpose #2 below).

For the Goulash I put about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a pan, chopped roughly half an onion up and used about a tablespoon of minced garlic and put those in the pan, let the onions cook a while and added the chicken, diced tomatoes, and cubed one yellow squash ad added it. Then I thought, Huh… what else can I add? I quite literally walked to the pantry, put some baked bbq beans in the mix, added cumin, garlic powder, and half a cup of water. I let it all simmer together, had the boy taste it, and he gave it the thumbs up (which frankly y’all is ALL that matters). He asked for it over bowtie pasta… And I served it layered, in bowls. Pasta, goulash and sprinkled some shredded cheese on it. You could add cilantro or whatever you want.

Here’s a picture of it.

Emily Davis’ Use What You Have Goulash

For the 2nd Repurpose of the chicken breasts, I made chicken salad for sandwiches (or crackers, or by it’s-self). Here’s what I did.

I took the smaller cubed chicken, added two grated boiled eggs, three small Vlasic dill pickles, and some garlic salt, Italian spices, basil and grated black pepper (all to taste), and lastly about three tablespoons of mayonnaise. Mixed it together and it’s ready to go for a day or so of lunches.

Here are a couple of pictures of it:

Those of you who have children of cooking age, you can really engage their imaginations by challenging them to come up with a meal.  It can’t be too funky, or no one will eat it. I was nervous about the bbq beans (which I had picked up a year ago, by mistake, thinking they were baked beans).

Lent is a good time to use what you have. With the extra we have, we are searching weekly adds, and purposing to fill a box with a certain $$ amount of groceries weekly. And… the money has to come from somewhere. Ya know?

A few years ago, I wrote this post: Frugal Pantry Tip – Repurposing Food. It’s a pretty decent post. We have always been the kind of people who, even if we had the money, we hated to toss out food. It’s just so wasteful. We both grew up in practical and poor-at-times households. And we make a practice to use what we have.

Plus there’s this. I mean – how true is this quote from Pope Francis.

I also found this. Y’all it is STUNNING to me how much food is wasted. We really need to do a better job of using what we have, not buying what we don’t need, AND thinking of others and what we could do for them if we don’t waste.

We need to teach our children about not wasting and about how blessed they are to have enough food to eat. Christopher started volunteering and being involved in our local Foodbank at the age of three. YES three. He has packed back-packs for children who don’t have. And though, he has never been hungry, he’s heard the stories.

It is not my intention to bring you down, but to educate you and remind you of what we can all do better. You aren’t alone if you waste, clearly… But here and now, decide to waste less. That’s all.

I hope you enjoyed this.
And while I have your attention, let me know how you repurpose food. AND let me know if you would be interested in linking up to a regular recipe post about how to repurpose leftovers? It might be fun to share our made up recipes. ❤

I hope to hear from you!

Love, hugs & Blessings,
Em

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Meatless Friday – Whatcha Cooking?

Happy First Friday of Lent… the Friday after Ash Wednesday!

Today’s first reading in my Magnificat, struck me:

Sirach 34:26; 35:3 — A man who fasts for his sins, but then goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, and what has he gained by his mortification? To refrain from evil pleases the Lord, and to avoid injustice is an atonement.

Folks, God knows we are going to sin… and in many cases, we will repeat sins (I may have sworn more than once…. SIGH); however, we are to busy ourselves with what pleases the Lord.  For me, I’m busy with my family and getting my life back in order. You?

As you know, today is a day of Abstinence in the Catholic Church.  We give up meat on Fridays in Lent.  My family gives up meat year round (with the exception of if we are traveling or we forget…. and then, we do a Family Rosary or another penance – as is the rule).

But I didn’t come here to lecture you on how to do your Lent. I came to ask you what you’re serving for dinner. So what’s it going to be?

Tonight on my menu is Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Vegetables. Although, my vegetables will look more like onions, asparagus, yellow squash, portobello mushrooms, tomatoes and I think that’s about it. ❤  You see, we are also using what we have in an effort to clean out our Fridge/Freezer and Pantry.

Have I ever told you about the Pantry Challenge? I found Jessica’s Blog maybe like ten years ago. Back then, it wasn’t as “salesy”…. I have introduced a few friends to the blog this past couple years and they don’t like it as much as I did back when. But I like her style, I have some of her cookbooks, and I dig her logic. I’ve been doing the Pantry Challenge along with her since probably 2008-ish. It’s a great way to use what you have and make room for new…  AND to go through and toss expired or old foods.   If you go to this post – HERE – it is the first post of this year’s challenge. Informative!

Here are a couple links from my blog with great ideas for Meatless Meals:

Listen, mamas with young children or MANY children.  You do what you can to meet the Lenten meal requirements, within budget and time constraints. Maybe you order cheese pizza or veggie pizza OR make them as a family! Serve the children Mac-n-Cheese with apples on the side. It does NOT have to be fancy. Our youngest is 14… I can do the above and it’s not hard. You know? I just want to make sure you know that.
Anywhoooo….
Have a great rest of your Friday!
Love and hugs,
Em
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Let’s Talk Lent – and K.I.S.S.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Ash Wednesday!

Today, Catholics everywhere are lining up to receive ashes and begin our Lenten Season.  Yep, today is the day we receive the sign of the cross on our heads, in ashes. The ashes symbolize our sins and the cross symbolizes our Savior (our Biggest Blessing).

Of course, I woke up with a painful pimple – in just the right spot where Ashes would go. Hello Father, don’t you want to touch that. HA I’m so sarcastic in my mind.

Anywhoooooo… Here’s some Saint Mother Teresa Love.

And here are my thoughts on Lent:

This past Sunday I taught the lesson of Lenten Preparation to the third graders in my Religious Ed Class. We talked about traditions and things. But one of the most striking statements from the lesson was the Proclamation about the lesson that I wrote on the board (per the book). To me, it’s the overarching theme of Lent:

During Lent, we prepare for Easter so that we may receive the new life of The Risen Christ. When we are Baptized, we receive new life. Lent is like Baptism, because during Lent we are born into new life.

We learned:

  • through sacrifice, we can actually learn to change our ways.
  • through prayer and fasting during Lent, we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
  • through Baptism and Lent, we receive new life.
  • by staying close to Jesus, in prayer, sacrifice and fasting, we can imitate Jesus (which is what we are called to do).

There was a time, when I was trying to live up to other’s standards of what Lent or any Catholic Season/Holiday/Holy Day should look like. No more. I had fun doing all the crafty and great things with friends and family, but currently, I am all about the simple and precious.  I set myself up to fail and it was no one’s fault but mine.

Pretend like this is an actual conversation:

Me: I’m going to do 475 different devotions, crafts and fun things this year.
Also Me: I can’t get it all done.
My Husband: Don’t get upset, cut something out.
Me: But all these people are doing hundreds of super human things for Lent and I’m only doing 20. HA

Do you recognize any part of that conversation?  Do you over-volunteer? Do you give too much or do too much, to the point you drive yourself and family crazy, then go stand in the corner and give yourself a time-out because you may or may not want to punch someone (namely yourself)?  — if so PLEASE, I implore you – FIND PEACE! You are enough. You don’t need to buy a fancy Lent journal or stress over which Catholic group you want to follow along in for Lent! You don’t have to do all 75000 fun craft projects your friends are doing or read every book, etc.

Hear me: GOD ONLY WANTS YOU!!!! He doesn’t care about fancy schmancy! He wants your heart and soul. Whatever you do will be GOOD ENOUGH! Sigh.

Ok  – end of lesson. HA

My New Motto: K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly! If it doesn’t bring peace and isn’t simple – it’s out for this year’s Lent!  Here is how I plan to (honestly and simply) live the three pillars of Lent this year.

1) Prayer – Prayer is simply a conversation with God. I talk to Him so much. I’m so thankful. But during Lent, we must purpose to pray clearer and seek the cleaning out of our hearts and souls. My prayer of choice this Lent, purposing to say the Rosary, daily.  I am not proud of the suffering and bad attitude I have suffered this past year or so. What I can do, is change ME. Praying the Rosary is medicine to my soul and I miss it. But when I got down, I decided I was forsaken and in exchange, I forsook. Sigh. The below picture, it used to be what I felt. And I am purposing to get back there. My Mother is calling me.

You can choose your own prayer. Call on the Saints. So many great Catholic Prayers. Also – get to Mass more. ❤ Get in front of Jesus y'all.

2) Almsgiving – during Lent, we purpose to help others. I don’t have a lot of extra cash this year, but we will focus on giving to our local food banks. We volunteer a lot at our Parish and are a giving family. When we can do more, we will.

3) Fasting/Abstinence – In the Catholic Church, Fasting on certain days of our Liturgical Calendar involves eating two small meals and one regular meal on any given day of Fasting. There are different rules for the sick, pregnant women and children, of course. There are only two days during Lent where Fasting is required – Ash Wednesday AND Good Friday.

All year, we must either Abstain from (give up/don’t eat) meat on Fridays or we have to perform another penance. However, during Lent, we must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent. If, for any reason you can not abstain, you must perform another penitential act. In my house, we like fish, so this is not hard for us. We will likely add one other day/week as meatless to further add to our sacrifice.

For me, personally, I am limiting my time on Social Media, and we have given up Starbucks as a family. This last one may sound silly to you. BUT if you knew how much we spent on Starbucks, and how budget conscious we are purposing to be, you’d know that we need to do this, along with a litany of other things.

There are other things we are sacrificing, but those are private.

Additionally, I wanted to make sure you all understand that Sundays ARE in fact included in Lent. Sigh. Here’s a helpful link to explain Sundays in Lent.

Some Helpful Links:

Message From Our Holy Father – Please read this if nothing else. Here is just a small portion. I love him. I truly love our Pope. Mostly because he is our leader AND he explains it so well.

Lent with Lucia – her instructions are simple. And I like simple these days.

Whatever you are doing this Lent, let it be something that draw you closer to Our Lord, Our Faith and  keeps you on your path toward Heaven! I’m so happy to have met you and crossed paths with you on our walk. ❤

God bless you and keep you this Lenten Season dear readers.

Hugs & blessings,
Emily