MJR: Use-it-up Food Update 01.25.21

Food, glorious food. I always love to say that, because it is glorious! I love food and, it can take up much of my time (thinking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, eating it, dreaming of it, cleaning up after it, thinking of what to make for the next meal, daydreaming of when we can all safely to eat in restaurants again…you get the idea: food, glorious food!)

One thing that My January Rest helps with is food. MJR challenges my idea of what I want or need and challenges me to use what I have already, versus what I prefer. My preferences are fickle and can change at any given moment. And my preferences can last for seasons, which for example can leave me with a lot of uncooked pasta. Once upon a time, we ate pasta routinely and seemingly overnight that changed. So in January, I go looking for those items to use. The hunt is on!

Below are some of the foods and situations that challenged me to think through MJR lenses, which often lead me to use up what I already had. That saves time, money, waste, and even brings me joy in learning to be satisfied, instead of always wanting something different.

Using up shriveled apples, chopped cashews, and stale steal cut oats

This year when I looked at the bowl of shriveled apples, I knew what to do. Most years our family inherited a batch of apples after Christmas and with so many yummy sweets, they sat untouched. Over the years, I stopped shunning or pitching aging apples. Instead I learned to peel and cook them down with a little water and cinnamon. They are naturally sweet: like me, they become sweeter as they age! They turn into a delicious applesauce or, in this case, a topping for steal cut oats! Since I am sugar free this month, they were a much appreciated treat! Appreciated, not pitched. I had some chopped cashews in a bag, so I used them too. Because I try to eat less grains in general, I don’t eat oats much anymore. But, these steal cut oats were the awesome, organic, expensive certified gluten free kind. I made some. I ate most of the batch, but they were undeniably a little stale. After I ran out of apple topping, I cut my losses and pitched the rest of the prepared oats. I think I can feed the rest of the bag to squirrels or birds (I googled it).

New, picture perfect Honey Crisp apples

It is amazing how delicious apples are when you deny yourself sugar! Just saying! And, I did have these before I used the older apples, but I didn’t let myself have one until the others were cooked. My bad habit would be to eat the fresh apples and let the older apples get bad enough that I no longer am willing to eat them.

Jackpot of tea!

I knew I would run out of peppermint and spearmint tea. Then I happily realized that I had a tea stash at the studio, and a tea stash in my travel tea tote (a clever-cool gift from a friend), and I have a place in my cabinet that I stash one of a kind teas that I’ve acquired here and there. I save them for special occasions, or so I reason. The problem is out of sight, out of mind. However the threat (and reality) of running out of peppermint tea sent me looking for what else I had. I found a jackpot. I’ve enjoyed trying these teas! And, I realized I am not tea insecure!

With limiting my liquid consumption to tea, water, and one cup of coffee a day, I certainly have enjoyed my tea! If you are curious about what I am resting from, here is the 2021 MRJ List.

Yum, minus the tea grounds in my tea

I even used my Christmas mugs a few more times before they needed to go back in the bin: I was on COVID lock-down for 11 days and missed my cheery Christmas decorations. One fail, my tea-ball! Wow, was it ineffective. Oh well, I always thought my smile was more effective with little chunks of stuff in my teeth.

I’ve used up four of the six squash that I stored in my garage. A few were extra special because they were given to us at the tree farm when we picked out our Christmas tree this year. It was a sentimental outing that landed me a couple of squash that I never heard of before: mashed potato squash and sweet potato squash.

It’s called mashed potato squash!

I’ll share my decision on the squash in another post called, Winning, Whining, Confessions, and Concessions.

Christmas cookies

Our family delivered our Christmas cookies and lots of other treats. I transferred all the goodies out of my mother-in-law’s containers and into ours and put them in our freezer. I plated some for our family to enjoy, and through it all, I didn’t taste a crumb! Even though my mother-in-law made several gluten free treats, just for me, I stayed true to MJR! They are patiently waiting in the freezer until February: I’m trying to be patient!

Green? Purplish-green smoothie

The smoothie was a victory in that I used up older frozen blueberries, instead of dipping into the lovely, freshly frozen store-boughten bag of berries. Come on! Look at the pictures and you can see why I struggled. Even though they are frosty, they are not freezer burnt.

I love blueberries, but have learned they are not my favorite in green smoothies. That is why they sit, uneaten, gathering frost. Sigh. I’m going to use them up and then, only keep a few frozen, or in a mix. They are good for me, so that is why I am going to finish them off. I am. I promise…

Beans and cocktail sausages

We had cocktail sausages for New Years Eve, a lot of them. And since we didn’t have company, guess what? We still had a lot of them left (and I had COVID beginning at 12:01 am New Year’s Day!). So, what is one to do? My husband had his hands full with caring for three people in one home with COVID, so I wasn’t going to add making meals to his list. There was a can of open chili beans in the fridge. Someone made a breakfast burrito with beans and they opened chili beans instead of black beans. We had most of a can of beans and we had all these cocktail weenies. And while many loose their taste with COVID, mine magnified sugar and salt. The sausages were so overly salty to me and I love salt! We had oodles of them still and I couldn’t make a dent. So, I told my husband to cut some up and put them in the beans: that solved the too salty sensation. Eating them made me smile.

You’ve heard of Beanee Weenees right? Franks and Beans? Just saying the name makes me giggle. Our family ate them when I was a child.

And once, I had them at a Monastery. I was forewarned not to expect too much from the food offered: it was said to be “sufficient” and that it was! For lunch we had hotdogs. That evening, the hotdogs made a reappearance, cut into pieces and served in beans. The Beanee Weenees at the Monastery made me smile too.

I enjoyed my concocted beans and cocktail sausages. I don’t think that anyone knows who invented Beanee Weenees, but the practice of canning pork and beans began around the Civil War. Interested in a recipe? Check out this Beanee Weenie recipe.

Mooched tomatoes, but I got coffee, and gifts too!

The girls requested a pasta dish for a queasy belly. They sent me the recipe for Pasta Pomodoro and nicely asked me if I could make it during MJR. Other than not having fresh basil or fresh tomatoes (or even enough canned tomatoes), I had the ingredients on hand. That’s MJR, ad lib and ad lib some more.

Since I needed to drop off something to a friend, I asked her if she had a can of tomatoes I could mooch. With my friend being from Texas, I thought my chances were good. She was happy to share and since I previously had COVID (and supposedly not able to get or give it for 90 precious days), I was invited in. I jumped at the chance! She made me coffee, gave me gifts, and we had a quick chat before we each started supper. The best gift of all, after months of not seeing friends in person, was sitting in her warm home with a hot cup of coffee and sharing about life. Precious.

The Pasta Pomodoro was easy to make, smelled good, and they seemed pleased: they ate it for days! The next day, I dug out my gluten free pasta and tossed it with oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper, and topped it with freshly grated Asiago. To date, we have used up three packages of pasta that had been sitting around for too long. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy pasta, even simple gluten free pasta!

Pasta Pomodoro

Only six more days of MJR. I have had a great month so far, even with, and partially because of COVID. I’m excited to share more in my next post about some infractions and challenges, as well as wins.

Hopefully, you too can use up some less-than-prime food in your home. Or use what you have instead of purchasing something else, just because you prefer it. MJR helps me become content again and I enjoy what I have so much more!

Blessings on your adventure if you are trying to rest from some things: sometimes it isn’t food, glorious food, but it is food, good food. And that is good enough.

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