Sadly, more than 15 million tones of food per home, is wasted every year in the UK. Why is that? Do we spend too much time worry about Best Before dates, do we refuse to eat something that has been sat in the fridge for a day or 2? Less people cook from scratch these days, and people often find themselves ordering takeout several times a week and many people often seem to panic when the cupboards run low because they are thrown into the fear of starvation when there are only raw ingredients left over *and breathe*. It really is a scary, hungry world.
Think of how careful those really hungry people must be who don’t have the option of throwing away food, just because it seems convenient. As my old nan used to say; Waste not, want not.
I worry for the next generation of children, and their health. When you throw away food, is it because it’s inedible or is it because you just
don’t really fancy it you just prefer a Chinese rather than rummaging the back of the fridge? The food that you were about to throw away is most likely still good to eat. You really will just be throwing away money. And money doesn’t grow on trees, unlike apples.
We try to waste as little amount of food as possible. And since turning vegan we have noticed that we throw out even less food. Most food is eaten before it ever goes off, and can easily be mixed together to make a new tasty dish for dinner (and the husbands lunch the next day).
I eat a lot of beans and pulses that can be cooked in batch to save electricity and extra cooking times and can easily be dipped into to add into other dishes. My favourite thing EVER to make out of my vegan left overs is ‘Vegan Mush Mush’ – named because it is just a massive pile of mush! It’s filling, hearty and warms the soul after a rough day. It’s feel good food, but also a comfort dinner. It also requires no thinking.
Throughout the week, I open many tins of different beans, I roll a lot of falafel and chop a lot of veg. A LOT. My fridge has become my best friend (for the better this time!) and the fridge is now always fully stocked with such a huge variety of colours and flavours from around the world. This last month being vegan has taught me how to live healthily, more frugally and a lot cheaper, despite people thinking that a vegan diet is more expensive. And since the thermostat in my fridge seems to be not working as it should, I feel like I have to work harder at ensuring food is eaten before it is wasted.
The Waste-less Journey has been created by AO.com
My Vegan Mush Mush
I have recently discovered Quinoa. Something I had never even heard of before I started my vegan challenge. This easy to cook seed can easily bulk up any dinner, adding some much needed protein and calcium. It cooks in 15 minutes, keeps well in the fridge and is useful for chucking into any dinner. It’s also low gluten, perfect for those who may have gluten intolerances. Quinoa is something that seems to always be hanging around in my fridge since turning vegan. It’s a must. A pack of dry Quinoa is pennies and lasts for a long time in the cupboard
Lentils and split peas mix well together and are always surprising me with how filling they are, meaning that you often have quite a good sized portion left over after a meal especially when I over estimate how much I will actually cook. This is a big problem for me and I need to remember that a good healthy diet is much more satisfying than my pervious food choices. Add the lentils and split pea’s to your left over Quinoa for a real hearty and heavy filler to any ‘left over’s’ meal.
Falafel mix can be easily made (and is much cheaper than shop purchased ready-to-eat stuff). You simply add water, give it a good mix, mould it into shape and chuck in the oven for a few minutes. This super yummy Sharaf Falafel is egg free (because dairy free doesn’t always mean egg free), GMO free, nut free and yeast free. I found cooking up half of the bag made lots of falafel patties that could be easily kept in the fridge for several meals to come. Falafel is basically chickpeas, onions and peppers with seasonings and spices all blended together. It’s not bad for you, it feels hearty and filling and it not only makes a great side to your dinner, but is also yummy when made into little bite size nibbles and used as a late night, TV snack! Sharaf Falafel can be purchased from Holland And Barrett for £2.79 for 200g bag, which makes loads of yummy patties and is available in original flavour, sundried tomato and basil flavour (my kids love this one and is definitely my husbands favourite too) and a chilli bites flavour… spicy and moreish!
When cooking vegetables, I quite often cook an extra amount to cover lunch for next day. New potatoes, spinach, carrots and courgettes keep really well for a few days in a sealed tub. Even once cooked, as long as they are in a sealed tub they will keep for a few days. Vegetables can also be eaten raw, which is actually really good for you! Keep some chopped carrot sticks or peppers ready to hand to throw into your quick supper, or even into smoothies. My fridge is always stocked with chopped (raw and cooked) fruit and veg. This has always been the case, even since before going vegan. I find it easier and quicker to spend some time chopping up my peppers, onions and salads ready to grab at a later date, rather than just chopping them when needed. They last just as long, and save lots of time when it comes to meal preparation. Plus, when you are making this yummy Vegan Mush Mush, any thing goes so just feel free to chuck whatever you fancy in the pan and see what you come up with.
I had some left over vegan cooking sauce from a stir fry that I had made over the weekend. I watered it down a touch and poured it into a pan with my leftover veg to heat everything through thoroughly, I blitzed the quinoa and lentils in the microwave and quickly heated up a little left over wholemeal pasta from the previous days lunch. Throw onto a plate and enjoy! I managed to feed the 4 of us entirely with left over food that was just sitting in the fridge, for pennies! We cook like this at least once a week, and rarely anything goes to waste.
So, as you can see, this is not an actual recipe, nor does it actually exist as a thing. I’m simply just highlighting the fact that as a vegan, nothing goes to waste. It can be all thrown in together. Flavours mix and work! Food is still fresh and very healthy and nothing is wasted. And anything that really can’t be eaten, goes straight into to compost bin, to feed my vegetable plants.
STOP!!!!!! That’s isn’t the end. How many potato peelings go into compost bins (or even worse, black bins)? I don’t actually have a figure, that would be a little nerdy for me, but I can guess its quite a lot. But potato peelings can also be eaten. Just roast them! You’re best to cook them ASAP after peeling because they can go a funny colour and not crisp-up so well. Toss the peelings in oil, sea salt and pepper (you can also throw in any other seasoning you may fancy) and throw into the oven on gas mark 6. Bake until crispy, tossing them half way through cooking. When cooked, chuck in a bowl and garnish with some parsley or rosemary. FREE CRISPS! YEAH!!
For more information about being more frugal and saving food (and money) check out A Wasteless Journey, a fun new interactive site where you can download meal planners, tips on understanding those tricky food labels, recipes and even a ‘what can you freeze’ guide. The website, created by electrical appliances giant AO.com have covered everything to get you living more frugal and healthy!
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