Really awesome things to do with leftover bread – Part 1

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*If you are not into grains or carbs, this post is not for you I’m afraid…

Mind you, we don’t eat a lot of bread here. Well, C does actually. He drives a truck for work and he needs food that can be managed easily so sandwiches or wraps tend to be a daily staple for him. J5 loves a toasted sanga, but while R2 will munch on some toast, he won’t eat sandwiches at all. I love bread, I just don’t think the love is mutual…
Anyway, we often end up with half a loaf of uneaten bread. I’m not one for wasting food, to me it’s just like throwing money in the bin, so I thought I’d share a series of posts about what we do with our left over or day old bread. This is part one…

TASTY TRIANGLES

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These are essentially little tarts made from bread and leftovers. You can fill them with anything – bolognaise, savoury mince, tuna mornay, casseroles, baked beans, bacon and eggs etc… This time, I used the rest of last night’s bacon, zucchini and tomato risotto. (made with brown rice though, not aborio)

Step 1
Cut a diagonal slit from the centre to one corner of a piece of bread.
Cut one crust off and fold the bread in to form a triangle cup.
Squish the bread together to seal and line a muffin tin with 12 pieces.

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Step 2
Fill triangle cups with leftovers.
*I drizzled a little olive oil over the empty bread baskets too but it’s not really necessary.

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Step 3
Top with grated cheese and bake @ 180 C for approx 30 minutes.

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Step 4
Such a perfect weekend lunch or quick midweek meal Enjoy 🙂

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Bread Posts Still To Come…

Part 2 – “Savouries”
Part 3 – “French toast, family style”

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Making Over Mornings – one jar at a time.

I’ve written before how terrible I am at functioning in the mornings. My little ones however, suffer no such struggles and demand instant full bellies upon waking.
So as well as a recent commitment to earlier nights, I’ve been revolutionising our breakfast, one jar at a time, with smoothies and breakfast parfaits, but why stop there?

I give you, scrambled eggs… In a jar.

Now, I realise this is not rocket science. There is nothing complicated about scrambling eggs, but as a “non morning” person, when I’m half asleep, eggs just feel like mess and mucking around. So I took those two very things out…
Now honestly, you could do this with your eyes shut!

SCRAMBLED EGGS IN A JAR

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Here’s How

Before you go to bed at night, crack some beautiful, organic, pastured eggs into a jar.
Add a splash of milk. (or not, if milk is not your thing)
Add a couple of cracks of Pink Himalayan or celtic sea salt and black pepper.
Put the lid on the jar and place in the fridge.
Put a fry pan on the stove and your butter dish (or coconut/olive oil) beside it.
Place 3 bowls and 3 forks on the table.
Go to bed and sleep soundly in the knowledge that your morning will be easy 🙂

In the morning:

Heat pan, melt butter or oil, shake eggs in jar until well combined.
Pour eggs into hot pan. Push them around only a little.
When they begin to scramble, reduce heat to low.
When set, scoop into bowls and feed your hungry monkeys!

Note: You could always dice up some capsicum, spring onions, mushrooms, bacon etc… as well to add to the scramble, but I’d put this in a separate jar and fry it off a little on its own before adding the egg.

Enjoy 🙂

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Make This, Not That…

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FRESH & CREAMY TUNA PASTA

I’m not into cooking separate meals. In this house we are extremely fortunate to have dad home in time for an early dinner, so we eat as a family every night. I love this ritual. C and the kids are all in bed early which means the only time we all get to connect with each other, discuss our days and practise the dying art of conversation, is at the dinner table. Little R has just graduated from the high chair and is absolutely delighted to sit beside his big brother. Mind you, that’s an invitation for all sorts of Tom foolery…
Anyway, the challenge with eating an early dinner, means that I’m always looking for fast and simple dishes that will please everyone. Something I can throw together in half an hour with whatever I can find in the pantry and at the bottom of the crisper. This versatile dish is perfect for such occasions.

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HERE’S HOW
Dice whatever veggies you have on hand. If you having nothing fresh or fabulous, use the packet of frozen peas/carrots/corn in your freezer. If you don’t have this in your freezer, put it on your shopping list. Now!

I USED:
1 small leek. (I generally use red onion but I just pulled a beautiful fresh bunch of leeks from my garden.)
1 celery stick
1/2 green capsicum
1/2 yellow capsicum
kernels from 1 fresh corn cob
(You could also use: garlic, grated carrot, zucchini, red capsicum, peas, silced green beans, silver beet, tinned corn, etc…)
You can use 2 or 5 vegetables. Either way, it will still be delicious!

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Sauté vegetables in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil for a few minutes until soft.
Add 1.5 cups of good quality stock, preferably homemade. (If you’re a bit light on with the veggies just use 1 cup.)
Let this simmer on high for about 10 minutes until stock reduces slightly.
Meanwhile, get your pasta happening. I use gluten free spaghetti as I find wheat difficult to digest. You can use whatever pasta you like. Zucchini noodles are a delicious option if you’re not into grains.

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Pasta Tips:
1. If you’re cooking for kids, break the pasta up into smaller pieces while raw by bending the packet over the edge of the bench. This makes it easier to stir through the sauce and means you don’t have to cut up their dinner for them later.
2. Gluten free pasta in particular, does not like to be crowded in a pot. Make sure you use a large pot with a generous amount of water to prevent clumping and give it a shuffle with a pair of tongs every now and then.

Meanwhile, add a drained 425g tin (or 2x185g) of responsibly fished tuna to the veggies and stock. (“Pole and line caught” is the most ethical commercial practice for tuna fishing as far as I know or white albacore is always a good option.)
When the pasta is ready, drain and stir it through the veggies, tuna and stock.

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FINISHING OFF
Turn the heat off and stir through 4-5 heaped spoonfuls of Greek or natural yoghurt. I’ve recently discovered the “five am” brand of natural organic yoghurt. If you’re in Australia give it a try, very yummy! I bought it at Woolworths.
Serve on a bed of baby spinach and top with fresh herbs and grated cheese. (I used chives)

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Quite often, this jar of pasta bake sauce used to be my “go to” quick and easy family meal. It is free of artificial flavours, colours and preservatives which is great, however it is still highly processed. Frankly, why would you eat that from a jar, when this meal is just as easy, a million times more delicious and so much better for you?
Enjoy 🙂

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Fried Rice in 15 minutes

Now, I’m no Jamie Oliver, but I can still get a nutritious meal on the table that the whole family will love in fifteen minutes flat. “How???” You ask. Why, I cheat of course…

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I always like to keep a couple of these microwave bags of rice in the pantry for those emergency fast, mindless dinners that you know the kids will eat. It’s perfect for those nights when you’ve done the kinder pickup etc… walked in the door, looked at the clock, all you really want to do is sit on the couch with a cuppa and the fresh pile of junk mail, but the kids are tired and hungry, hubby’s rubbing his belly and everyone’s looking at you for answers…
It’s interesting that I use these instant rice bags as I don’t actually own a microwave anymore. I cleaned mine about six months ago and the next time I went to use it, lightening bolts shot out of it at me. I took this as a sign and have been stove toppin’ it since with no regrets whatsoever. (Ideal extra bench space and spare power point too for my blender/food processor!)
Beware of different brands when it comes to these rice bags, always check for no artificial colours, flavours and additives – seriously your body and your kids just don’t need that junk.
I always buy the brown rice because we prefer it, even the kids. I highly recommend basmati rice if you don’t like brown as it has a low glycemic index, meaning it releases its energy slowly.
Of course, if you have the time and the inclination – certainly, cook your rice from scratch. And when you do, cook extra and freeze for nights such as these.

YOU WILL NEED
1 family bag (450g) of instant rice or 2 small bags (250g each) Approximately 3 cups cooked.
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
Half a capsicum, any colour, but Ren likes red
6 slices short bacon (or omit for a meat free version.) Please don’t support factory farming! We choose Istra small goods as they are locally and ethically produced and free of preservatives.
1 heaped cup of frozen peas, carrots, corn (look for Australan/locally grown)
4 good quality free range eggs, from a reliable source, local if you can. Please don’t buy cage eggs!
1-2 tablespoons of soy or tamari or if you’re very lucky, my special secret ingredient:

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C’s aunty bought me this divine, soy chilli balsamic vinegar for Christmas and along with the plain balsamic glaze version, they are an absolute essential in my kitchen. Check out their website http://www.thereallystuffedoliveco.com.au and see if there is a stockist near you. So yummy!
note: We eat very little in the way of soy and if you prefer to avoid it due to its interruption of hormones, try coconut aminos as a substitute.

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METHOD
5 minutes to dice your bacon and veggies
5 minutes to fry – including the eggs. I move the veggies aside in the pan, crack the eggs straight in, break the yolks and let it form a kind on omelette then when it’s cooked, break it up and stir it through the other pan ingredients.
Add rice, frozen veggies, sauce and 1/4 cup water. Stir and cover for 4 minutes.
Send someone out to pick some fresh herbs for you, (J and C cut me some chives) leaving 1 minute to chop, scatter and serve!
See, nutritious food doesn’t have to take hours of preparation! Fast, easy, yum!

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