Making your food go further with Love Food, Hate Waste

Every year in the UK we throw away 4.2 million tonnes of good food. When you think of the effort it takes to grow and farm food this is a terrible waste.Every day UK homes throw away roughly:

  • 5.8 million tonnes of potatoes
  • 1.4 million whole bananas
  • 1.5 million whole tomatoes
  • 24 million whole slices of bread
  • 1.5 million sausages
  • 1.9 million slices of ham

By throwing away food we are throwing away our money. The average family could save up to £700 a year by throwing away less food. The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign aims to raise awareness of the amount of food families are wasting and teach us how to make food go further. Leftovers can be used to make great meals instead of being thrown away. I was challenged by Love Food, Hate Waste to buy £30 worth of food and use it to create meals without wasting anything. Read on to find out how I got on.

Meal Planning

How many of us are guilty of going to the supermarket without a meal plan and just throwing food into our trolley randomly? By doing this you end up with lots of food but nothing that could actually be used in a meal. By taking the time to write a meal plan before you go and listing the ingredients you need you can save money. I also check what I have in my cupboards before I go so I don’t end up with duplicate ingredients. There was a time when I found I bought rice every time I went shopping and had about 20 packs in the cupboard. Love Food, Hate Waste have a handy two week menu planner to help you get started.The idea is simple, write down what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next week or two weeks. Look though the recipe and write down the ingredients you need. Check what you already have in and then write a shopping list. This ensures you food that you can use for meals.

What I bought

Before I went shopping I planned what I was going to buy with my £30 and wrote a list. I then checked what was in the cupboard and crossed off anything I didn’t need.

This is what I bought:ShoppingList

From these ingredients I made the following meals.

Marmalade Glazed Ham with broccoli, red cabbage, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and gravy. This was perfect for Sunday lunch. I cooked the whole cabbage and divided the leftovers into freezer bags and froze them. I now have three servings of red cabbage that I can reheat in the microwave when I need vegetables to go with another meal.

Marmalade glazed hamI boiled the ham before roasting it and used half of it with a load of vegetables to make a big pot of ham and vegetable soup. This was served with bread for dinner the next day.SoupThere was a big pot full so we had enough for lunch the next day. The leftover soup can also be frozen and kept for another time.

I had also bought chicken, curry sauce and rice. I used this to make a meal, adding some extra onions. I had extra chicken breasts so again froze these ready to use another day. Not only had I got plenty of meals, I also had leftovers which could be used another day.

Portion Sizes

One of the things I consistently struggle with when making meals is getting the portion sizes correct. It is really easy to cook far too much rice, pasta and potatoes and end up having to throw them away. Left over potatoes can be used in bubble and squeak or pasta in pasta salads but it is easier to get the portions right to start with. Use your kitchen equipment to help you get portions right. One adult portion of rice is about quarter of a mug full. 100g measured on your kitchen scales is an adult portion of pasta. If you need more help the Love Food, Hate Waste website has a portion calculator to help you.

Food Storage

 When you meal plan you often find that you have a lot of food in the house after you have been shopping. You need to be aware of how long that food will last, otherwise you may find that some of it has gone off and you need to throw it out. When you unpack your shopping check the use by dates. Use the food with the shortest use by dates first. If you are not going to be able to use some if it check if you can freeze it. Food can be frozen up to the use by date and used after, but if the use by date has passed it should not be eaten. Best before is different, food can be eaten after this date but may not be at the best.

To keep vegetables fresh store them in the fridge in the pack they came in. Potatoes and onions are the only vegetables that should not be kept in the fridge. Any vegetables that look as if they might not last can be made into soups and frozen.

Conclusion

With a bit of planning and preparation we can reduce the amount of food we waste and save money. Meal planning is a great way to do this and I find that by having a list I tend to buy less junk food when I am shopping. I can also prepare meals in advance and freeze them for later. This saves me time when I have had a busy week at work. Do you meal plan? Do you find it works for you?

Eat Your Way to Happiness Meal Plan from Tilda

In an ideal world we would all be bursting with energy and getting on with life happily, but in the real world it does not work like this. Life has a way of throwing obstacles into our path which can knock us down leaving us feeling low. The weather can also leave us feeling miserable and often work can leave you feeling tired and stressed. The food you eat may also play a part in your mood and your overall health. Tilda have created an “Eat Your Way to Happiness” meal plan which aims to help you to eat yourself happy in 7 days. They recently got in touch and challenged me to try it out and see if it made me feel happier. I was given the meal plan and asked to write a diary to track what I ate, when I ate and how it made me feel. I had to keep the diary for seven days eating as I would normally and seven days following the eat your way to happiness meal plan.

Tilda Eat Your Way to Happiness Guide

Eat your way to happiness

The mood food manual contains healthy living advice and recipes from Dr. Sarah Schenker and Dr. Christy Fergusson. Dr Sarah Schenker is a clicical dietician who has devised a seven day meal planner which has been designed to be low GI and gluten free. It will help to keep your energy stable, improve your vitality, mood and sleep and get you eating food that is good for you. The meal planner can be downloaded from: http://www.tilda.com/wholegrain. Dr Christy Fergusson is a doctor of psychology and nutritional therapist and helps explain how food can affect your mood. I do think I eat quite healthily and was really interested to find out what foods I could be eating and if it would make any difference to my mood overall. Generally I am quite happy but often get tired and stressed. If changing my diet could help with this then it would be worth the effort.

Top Mood Foods

The guide contains a list of the top mood foods, foods that are good for your physical health as well as having an impact on your emotional well being. The reasons they work are explained in the guide so I am not going to go into details here. On this list there are quite a few foods that I do not eat on a regular basis and have never thought of adding to my diet. The top mood foods are:

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Salmon
  • Wholegrain Basmati
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Coconut
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Chicken/Turkey
  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Pomegranates
  • Ginger
  • Beetroot
  • Chilli
  • Yoghurt
  • Broccoli
  • Dark Chocolate

 I eat lots of chicken, yoghurt, broccoli and bananas but the other foods are hit and miss. I was looking forward to finding out how I could include more of these foods in my diet.

The Meal Planner

I was concerned that the meal planner would be difficult to follow and would not fit into my lifestyle. As I work I usually take a packed lunch with me to the office. When making dinner I need to make something the whole family will enjoy. It turned out I need not have worried. Most of the lunches were things that I could pack and take with me. The dinners were enjoyed by the whole family with a mix of dishes from cottage pie with butter bean and celeriac mash to spinach and chickpea gratin and turkey tagine. The mood foods were added into the recipes in a creative way and it felt very much like eating normally.

An example lunch – Mexican Rice and Bean Salad which incorporates Tilda Mexican Chili & Bean Steamed Basmati rice pouch, spring onions, avocado, a boiled egg, walnuts and lime juice. Not a combination I would have thought of but it is surprisingly tasty.

Mexican rice saladAn example dinner – turkey tagine, which included chick peas. This was lovely.

Moroccan-chickenI have included the recipe so you can give this a try, it is a lovely fruity spicy dish that was easy to cook.

Turkey Tagine

Turkey Tagine
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Ingredients
  1. 250g Tilda Basmati Rice Pouch
  2. 1 tbsp oil
  3. 1 large onion
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 1 tsp tumeric
  6. Bunch of coriander
  7. 1 tbsp ras el hanout spice mix
  8. 400g turkey breast
  9. 200g butternut squash
  10. 400g tin chickpeas
  11. 150g dried apricots
  12. 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  13. 500ml chicken stock
  14. 120g almonds
  15. 100g pomegranate seeds
  16. zest of 1 lemon
  17. salt and pepper
  18. yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C Gas Mark 6
  2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic
  3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish.
  4. Add the onion and cook for five minutes until soft
  5. Add the garlic, turmeric, ras el hanout and chopped coriander and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
  6. Dice the turkey, peel and chop the butternut squash and add to the dish with the chickpeas and halved apricots.
  7. Pour over the tomatoes and stock.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
  9. Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven
  10. After 30 minutes reduce the oven to 150C Gas Mark 4 stir the tagine and cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
  11. Place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden. Slice them finely
  12. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the almonds and pomegranate seeds. Srpinkle with lemon zest and coriander.
  13. Serve with the Tilda Basmati brown rice and yoghurt.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

Turkey TagineWas I any happier when I followed the eating plan?

Having followed the eating plan for seven days I can definitely say that it made a difference to my mood. When I compared my diary for the seven days before and after I found that I was less hungry during the day. Whilst my life was still full of ups and downs during the day my mood was on a much more even keel and I was able to cope better with things. I am definitely going to try and add these mood foods into my diet and the eating plan showed me a number of clever ways to do this. Adding butter beans and chickpeas along with meat is a good way to bulk out a meal as well. It was an interesting experiment and hopefully I will continue eating more healthily from now on.

I was sent some Tilda rice to help me follow the eating plan but the opinions are my own.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Using the JUST EAT Mobile App

Do you ever have one of those days where you know nothing is going to go right? For me it happened the other day. I got to work, turned on my computer and it told me it was installing updates. Nothing unusual about that you might think, but an hour later it was still installing updates. There is only so much sitting twiddling of thumbs and drinking cups of tea that a girl can do. I decided that enough was enough and restarted the machine. This time the computer started but would anything else work? The computer decided it was going to sulk. I was advised to scan the disks so I did, thinking this would be a quick task. I was wrong. I sat for most of the day looking at the computer scanning files. Not the most exciting day ever. Luckily I was still able to access my email and other apps on the my phone. While I was doing this I found out that JUST EAT now have a mobile app. After a frustrating day a takeaway struck me as the perfect way to end the day. With my computer still scanning disks I was not able to order on-line but the mobile app saved the day.

JUST EAT mobile appJUST EAT allow you to order from local takeaways and quickly find the ideal restaurant. Using the app is simple, all you need to do is to put in your postcode and it will show you a list of all the takeaways in your area. The app will even use geo-locate to find where you are, just press the target shape at the end of the section where it says Your Postcode and it fills it in for you. A list of takeaways in your area then pops up.

Just Eat Mobile appIf you know what sort of food you want you can easily refine your search to show a specific cuisine. You can even filter by distance, offers or user rating to find the type of takeaway you require. You also have the option to show those with Delivery or Collection which makes ordering much easier. If you know the name of the restaurant you want to use you can easily find this in the list as well.JUST EAT mobile appIf you are not sure where the restaurant is the app will show you on the map. You can also read user reviews to see what other people think.  Once you have chosen a restaurant then you can see all the dishes on the menu and the prices. Just pick the dishes you want and add them to your basket. If there is a delivery charge this will also be shown.

Check out is easy, just log into your JUST EAT account or create one and then make your order. You can choose to pay by card (there may be a charge for this) or by cash when the takeaway arrives.  You are given a time for the delivery and then you just need to wait expectantly for your food to turn up. Even better the app remembers what you have ordered previously so you can reorder quickly the next time you use it.

I was really pleased to find the JUST EAT mobile app, after a frustrating day at work it was a relief to be able to order a takeaway quickly and easily. The takeaway came at the time specified and was hot, I really enjoyed it. The app would also be really useful if you had been out for the day, you could order a delivery for later whilst you were on your way home. I think I will be making a lot of use of this app.

I was provided with credit so I could make an order using the mobile app in return for an honest review.

 

JUST EAT Tried and Tasted

I usually cook a meal from scratch for my family most nights, but there are some nights when I just can’t be bothered. It doesn’t happen often but usually when it does it is a Friday night after a long week at work. On nights like these it is a pleasure to order a takeaway and have it delivered to your door. I love unpacking the plastic bags and revealing the boxes of food. The only effort involved is putting the food on the plate for the family and finding a good film to enjoy later.

JUST EAT

One particularly busy Friday JUST EAT came to my rescue. I went onto their website to order a takeaway. It was really easy to order, I just put in my postcode and it came up with a list of restaurants near me. I was even able to choose the type of food I wanted to order, I choose Chinese and it just showed that type of restaurant. I could compare the different menus online, see the delivery cost and order in advance for the meal to be delivered later, it was really easy. I even had the choice of paying by card or by cash later when the meal was delivered.

JUST EAT order

I was kept updated by email when my order was being processed and the delivery came five minutes before the time specified. The meal was really hot as well, all I had to do was enjoy it. We had ordered a Chinese meal from a local takeaway. The starters were spring rolls and duck pancakes.

JUST EAT

I always love making up the duck pancakes, it adds an element of fun to a meal building up layers of duck, cucumber and Spring onions and topping off with sauce. We were then ready for our next course which was sweet and sour chicken with fried rice. The dog watched, hopeful we would give him a prawn cracker or a bit of chicken. We did relent and share a little with him, he really loves rice which is strange.

JUST EAT

We really enjoyed our takeaway and it is great to be able to compare a variety of local restaurants before ordering. Usually I have to rely on menus that have been pushed randomly though the door, which are often out of date. Even better when you order you can see reviews of the restaurant from people who have ordered previously. JUST EAT even have awards for restaurants that have consistently good reviews. The JUST EAT Tried and Tasted award is for restaurants that have over 100 reviews with an impressive 4.5 stars and above rating from JUST EAT’s satisfied customers. When you order you can be sure that you will get good service and food. For the first time this year, JUST EAT has introduced the new Consistency Award. This recognizes the Nation’s Top 20 from those establishments that have achieved Tried & Tasted for four years in a row. The winners have yet to be announced but it will be interesting to see which restaurants gain the award. You can find out all about the awards and who wins on the JUST EAT blog

Have you tried JUST EAT before? Will you be ordering a takeaway tonight?

JUST EAT Tried and Tasted

I was sent a voucher to order a meal with JUST EAT in return for an honest review

Sunbites introduces new flavours

If you like crisps you may already be familiar with the Sunbites range from Walkers. The multigrained crispy snacks are great to snack on when you fancy a crisp. The range is baked which means they contain less fat than ordinary crisps and they come in a range of great flavours. Recently Sunbites introduced some new flavours to the range and they sent me some of these to try out. The range now includes Crispy Crackers, Pitta Bakes and Crackers & Dip.

SunbitesCrackers & Dip

I have been saying for some time that crisps should be sold with a pack of dip. I love dipping my crisps into salsa. Well now my wish has been granted with the new Sunbites Crackers & Dip range. Each pack of the snacks comes with a mini pot of dip.

Crackers and dipThere are two flavours in the range, Caramelised Red Onion Chutney with Lightly Salted Crackers or Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa with Lightly Salted Crackers. Each pack is RRP £1.49.

sunbitesI tried the tomato and red pepper variety and I have to say it was very tasty, and there was more than enough dip for all the crisps. These would make a welcome addition to my lunch box and add a bit of variety to a crisp based snack.

Crispy Crackers

SunbitesThe Sunbites Crispy Crackers come in four flavours, Cream Cheese and Chive, Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli, Lightly Salted and Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary. They can be bought in multi-packs of five. RRP £1.89. They have been oven baked until they are golden to give them extra crunch. I tried the cream cheese and chive variety which were lovely. They were nice and crunchy with a delicate flavour that was just right.

Pitta Bakes

The Sunbites Pitta Bakes are available in Vintage Cheddar and Caramelised Onion, Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli and Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary. They are available in multi-packs of five. RRP £1.89.

SunbitesI tried the onion and rosemary flavour, and whilst not my favourite it was still very tasty.

I like the new additions to the Sunbites range, especially the crackers & dip. I am sure they will be making a regular appearance in our household.

I was sent some Sunbites in return for an honest review.