After Zero Waste Week

Last week I posted every day in honour of Zero Waste Week, and I thought that today I’d write a little update of how the experience was for me.

I’ve come out of the other end of it all feeling rather more positive about a few things.


I’ve been pretty disappointed that I’ve not done much blogging this year, despite the goals that I set myself early in 2016. I have to admit that I set the bar too high and, as a result, I’ve done far less writing that I’d have liked to. Zero Waste Week gave me a much needed kick up the arse – I might have let myself down, but I wasn’t going to go back on my commitment to be a blogging ambassador! It’s got me up and running again🙂

Food waste

Well, obviously after writing five posts and setting myself daily goals last week, I had to face my food waste head on and…it wasn’t pretty! It’s true that I’m busy, and that I prioritise keeping my family healthy and happy – but really, I was failing to notice how much food we are wasting and actually, how much of the family income that must add up to. Last week was a wake-up call.


I aim to feed my family with healthy and nutritious food (another partially met goal from the start of 2016), but blogging last week made me aware of how often I cheat with convenience food – a few veggie sausages here, the odd Linda McCartney pie there. I don’t mind making conscious decisions to feed those things to the family every now and again, but I slip up more than I’d like.


I mentioned this in my last post, but I no longer have a block about cooking. Yay! Sometimes I felt that it took too long or that I had no good recipes. I started full on cooking last week, and now I’ve got in to the habit of it, I’m rustling up dishes all the time, as well as chopping fruit for fruit salads, and chucking ingredients into the bread maker. It’s just not so hard after all.

Other waste

I wouldn’t say I’ve fallen off the wagon in terms of rubbish but sometimes we throw a lot of packaging in the bin, and Zero Waste Week made me think about how that feels….

…not great. Something to take action on.

How was Zero Waste Week for you?

Day 5: Zero Waste Week

Today is the final day of Zero Waste Week 2016, which has run from the 5-9 September. The theme is food waste.

My goal for the week was to reduce my food waste, carrying out small manageable tasks on a daily basis. This approach worked well for me, and I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve achieved. Although my food waste bin has more in it that an average week, that’s because I’ve spent energy sorting out my food storage, and have banished everything that was so out of date I could no longer use it.


Here’s a peek in my food waste bin – yum!

I’ve managed to fill my freezer with lots of food – some of it cooked up with vegetables that were past their best and would, I fear, otherwise have found themselves destined for the compost.Having several portions of dinners ready to defrost is going to make it easier to meal plan, which in turn will assist me in reducing food waste.

A surprising side benefit of Zero Waste Week has been that it’s kick-started me with cooking – once I’ve whipped up a few batches of meals, I realise it’s no big deal and have been cooking more, even when there’s no almost-off food needing used up.

My biggest obstacle is disorganisation. I don’t prioritise food waste and planning normally and this has resulted in me buying more than we can eat and leaving food to go off.   I did however sort the fridge out and as you can see from the picture below, my cupboard has been organised.


There’s even a shelf for the iron again

See yesterday’s post for the before picture.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading this week,and well done if you’ve saved anything from being wasted. Good luck to us all as we continue to try and defeat food waste!

Day 4: Zero Waste Week 2016

Every day this week so far I’ve been setting myself small tasks, as I take part in Zero Waste Week. The topic this year is food waste, and I’m determined to both reduce my food waste and establish some good habits that will ensure I chuck less rotten food out in future.

Yesterday’s tasks were to:

  1. Make a vegetarian goulash – serving the dual purpose of following my meal plan, as well as using up some elderly peppers, tomatoes and courgettes that I found in the fridge a few days ago; and
  2. Sort out half of the shelves in my big food cupboard.

I started with the goulash.


It was totally satisfying to chop up the rescued veg and, before long, I had a vat of delicious loveliness bubbling on the cooker. That was yesterday’s dinner sorted – and with several extra portions ready for the freezer. Perfect.

Very much in the mood for my next task, I threw open the cupboard door and started hauling things out. Here’s the before picture.


I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting this to be such a big job. In my head, I believed that I’d cleared the cupboard quite recently, but the best before dates on some of my jars and tins suggested otherwise. My last declutter must have been over a year ago.

I quickly abandoned the idea of tidying out half of the shelves in one sitting. The whole cupboard would need cleared out as any signs of order were gone. Chuck today, tidy tomorrow, I decided. There were tins on every shelf, cereal packets all over the place, and bags of crisps nestling in random nooks and crannies…you’ve literally got the picture.

I grabbed the bin, a food waste bag and made a pile for recycling and they all started filling up pretty fast.

Some of my big issues were that:

  • We had several duplicate ingredients – cooking chocolate, oatcakes, coffee (which no one in the house actually drinks!), crisps (flavours that no one likes), cake sprinkles, spices…
  • We are the (not very) proud owners of some items that we rarely use such as cinnamon sticks, tiny marshmallows and a jar of value syrup – purchased by the other half for a ‘science experiment’ done with the kids one Sunday morning.
  • There were large open packets of things like tea bags and salt that regularly need decanted into smaller caddies, as well as things like bin bags that should be kept under the sink.
  • Items such as sugar, a variety of flours were sitting in tupperwears often abandoned and past their best before dates.

Basically the main issue was a lack of organisation. Based on the evidence we clearly purchase duplicates by accident a lot. We fail to empty large packets into their smaller caddies for everyday use, and we keep things in the wrong places. This causes clutter and leaves things to go past their dates. By storing different items in similar looking tubs (although they are all labelled and dated), we end up rummaging chaotically, and missing what we need.

The solutions are pretty obvious – kill the clutter and make sure we can find what we need quickly. If we buy unusual ingredients, we need to have a plan for using them up immediately and not letting them squat in our cupboards until they’ve gone soft and furry.Ban science experiments that lead to food waste.

Today’s task will be to perfect the cupboard – organise the shelves and wash down the woodwork. Hopefully it’ll be good enough to post an ‘after’ photo on the blog tomorrow! I’d better get to it.

Day 3: Zero Waste Week 2016

Click here for Zero Waste week

Phew, is it really already Day 3 of Zero Waste Week? I’m finding that I’m focussing much more than usual on what I’m feeding the family and, of course, what I’m managing to use up from my cupboards and fridge. I’m slowly being reminded that reducing food waste is a lifestyle change, rather than a burst of effort then reverting to old habits. I’m still somewhat resisting the effort involved, but I’m getting the hint already that time spent organising has both time and monetary rewards…

The challenge I set myself yesterday was to come up with a meal plan for the week. As I documented, I’m not keen on meal planning – I find it soooo booooring.

Was I missing something though? I took to the internet to see if I could pick up some tips and here’s some that I especially liked:

Don’t keep the fridge full to bursting, but do have lots of basic ingredients in the cupboards

This one really appeals to me (especially after chucking out lots of wasted mush from the fridge on Monday). My newly cleared out fridge is much easier to navigate, and there’s less chance of me missing the items I actually want to use. I also have food cupboards that are bursting at the seams, and crying out to be organised – perhaps they are full of those magical basic ingredients?

Chose a shopping day and make a list

Dashing to the shops frequently is a major bugbear of mine. During the school holidays we were there a lot which was okay as the kids have Heelys. They were always up for a bit of zooming down the aisles, but now it’s just me on my non-wheeled shoes and, frankly, I have better things to be doing. If I could get away with three trips a week, I’d be happy. If I plan my meals, I can maybe just plan my shopping trips.

Ask the family what they like

Genius! This was something I did at the start of the year with my own family when I was trying to work out how many family meals I had in my repertoire. The only problem is, I added what I like and what my other half likes to that list, and eight months later, I can’t remember who likes what any more.


My ‘back of a fag packet’ list from the start of 2016


To confuse matters further, I’m noticing the kids’ tastes are changing. Back to the drawing board…

Keep a meal journal and remind yourself of past dishes

This is another great idea that I have also tried. I religiously filled in a little diary for ages at the start of the year which helped me make sure I was giving the family a good variety of dishes. I also found it really useful for jogging my memory when I was uninspired. I’ll dig it out.

Use an app

Ooohhh! Modern! I am a dinosaur when it comes to technology. Shamefully, I let my IT whizz of a partner deal with all the gadgety things in our home, I enjoy the tools he provides me with, then cry pathetically for help when my internet connection fails. I won’t be sorting that out any time soon I fear, but perhaps he might download me an app?


With all of these pearls of wisdom to hand, I set to work on a meal plan for dinners for yesterday and the following seven days:

Day 1 : vegetarian haggis, neeps and tatties

This was a request from my eldest who complained that we haven’t had it for ages because dad’s gone off it. Fair point – I make them shovel down dishes they don’t like, so dad got to grin and bear it for last night’s dinner. Plus it was quick and easy to prepare (I should’ve asked for that meal planning app before I serve up though!)

Day 2: Goulash with rice and fresh wholemeal bread

This uses up the peppers, cherry tomatoes and courgettes I discovered in the fridge. I’ve also now replaced the out of date wholemeal bread flour I found on Monday so we’re good to go. I’ll make extra portions so that there’s some to slam in the freezer.

Day 3: Lentil bolognaise with pasta

This is quick, easy and nutritious. I used to feed this to the family so often that we all went from loving it to hating it, but we’ve not had it in over two years so this dish is making a comeback!

Day 4: Baked potatoes

Everyone loves these in my family. The kids both have classes just before dinner so I’ll half bake the potatoes and leave them in the (switched off but warm) oven to finish off while we’re out. There’ll be very few dishes to wash up which is perfect because I’m off out in the evening🙂

Day 5: Macaroni cheese

This is another dish that we avoid because my other half doesn’t like it, but he’s out on Friday so it’s back on the menu for us. Quick, easy and can be whipped up from those basic ingredients I always have in the house.

Day 6: Homemade pizza

Somehow pizza’s become a tradition at the weekend. I’ll make some dough in the breadmaker and take a frozen tomato sauce out of the freezer – I have lots of this for emergency meals. The toping can be whatever needs used up from the fridge.


Here’s one I made before


Day 7: Chickpea Stew

I found some chickpeas in the cupboard and this is another quick, nutritious meal that can be frozen. (Just don’t tell the kids there are chilli’s in it…)

I actually found planning the week’s meals surprisingly easy and was taken aback at how little the ingredients will cost me. Our shopping bills are definitely on the high side so this raises the question…what are we actually buying at the supermarket??

Today’s tasks will be to sort out half of the shelves in my big food cupboard, and of course to make tonight’s goulash. I’m off to read some of the other Zero Waste Week blogs now !

Day 2: Zero Waste Week 2016

How is Zero Waste Week going for you?

Click here for Zero Waste week
Yesterday, I set myself two small challenges to put me on the path towards becoming a Zero Hero. I was going to:

  1. cook the family dinner (from scratch) and freeze the leftovers, and
  2. clear and clean my fridge.

Those small challenges ended up taking me a while, but it was worth it as I now have three meals for four in the freezer (twelve portions!!), and a sparkling fridge.

When I decided to cook, I was just going to make double portions of the vegetable curry I’d decided on but, when inspecting the veg I’d bought for the recipe, I realised I had more than I needed – and it had already passed its best before date by a few days! I’m not a natural cook, but I took a deep breath and adapted the recipe. Basically I just chopped and chucked in all the vegetables I wanted to use up and added a bit more of the other ingredients to keep the proportions of the dish correct. An hour later, I had a huge pot of curry. I was delighted.


Normally I would serve curry with naan bread, but I didn’t have any so decided to make a loaf in the breadmaker instead. To my dismay my wholemeal bread flour was past its date (definitely time for a cupboard clear out, I noted!) so I set the breadmaker for a plain white loaf instead. By the time dinner came around, the smell of the fresh bread permeated the whole house and the kids were desperate to get stuck in, forgetting that they are not curry fans…

I left cleaning the fridge until the evening. I’ll admit that I didn’t think this would be too big a job as I had a clear out recently. I must have cut a few corners the last time though because there were some horrible things in there. I am way too embarrassed to have taken any photos (who wants to see mouldy food anyway??) but there was a cucumber that had self-liquidised and leaked, a garlic that was going the same way – staining a shelf in the process, and some jam that had got stuck to the back wall with ice and had some floaty things in it. Urgh!

I also discovered a glut of peppers and cherry tomatoes. Some were still nice and fresh so I chopped these up and popped them into the kids’ packed lunches this morning, while others are good enough to hide in a tomato sauce or a goulash. I’ll also throw in the three courgettes I found. They look like they were bought for a reason – I just can’t remember what it was…

I feel great about yesterday’s achievements. It’s lovely being able to look into the fridge and see what I have at a glance. What can I do though to break my usual cycle of over-buying, throwing out horrible food and feeling guilty?

The answer came from KathrynH of secondhandtales who yesterday posted a comment under my post asking:

Have you got a meal plan for the week?

My heart sank a little, as of course she was right but….I hate meal planning!! It involves tying myself down, thinking really hard about cooking and food shopping (not my favourite daydreaming topics),then following the plan through all week. All week!

I’ve decided thought that it’s eminently sensible. I’m no domestic goddess and the safest way for me to break my bad habits is to write a fail-safe action plan. I even have some home cooked meals in the freezer so this week doesn’t need to be too hard.

My task for today is therefore to come up with a week’s realistic meal plan. I’m already sitting down thinking and writing about food so perhaps in another fifteen minutes, I can take my next small step towards breaking my bad food waste habits. I’ll report back tomorrow!

Day 1: Zero Waste Week 2016

Click here for Zero Waste week

Welcome to my first blog post for Zero Waste Week 2016 on the topic of food waste.

Food waste – what does that phrase mean to you?

Food waste: the jigsaw piece that can help us tackle the world’s environmental problems?

Food waste: the responsibility of supermarkets, much publicised for being guilty of contributing to the waste of mountains worth of ‘imperfect’ fruit and veg?

Food waste: a real issue for households in the UK which, if tackled, will cut down food bills and allow individuals to own their part in looking after our world?

Let me tell you a little about me and what food waste means in the context of my life…

I am WestyWrites, a female blogger who is always trying. Trying to get greener, trying to do better and quite often trying to get blog posts written! This is my fourth year of writing my way through Zero Waste Week and it’s a great way to focus the mind and connect with others who are interested in the same issues. If you’re new to the blog – welcome!

What does food waste mean to me? Well, put it this way, if food waste was a person I’m not sure we’d be great friends… She kind of intimates me with what she stands for, makes me feel guilty about the things I should do, and is well dressed – she probably spends the money she saves on wasted food shopping for clothes and beauty products.

My own food waste reminds me that I live a busy life. I run a pretty tight ship at home – the things that matter most to me are prioritised. I live with my other half and our two children, and it’s fair that most of what I do is centred around them (when I’m not out with friends, at sewing classes or looking at Pinterest!). Meals are often thrown together in haste as one child or the other has an extra curricular class on. Where lovingly prepared meals are taken out of the freezer, we still often boil too much pasta or spill frozen peas all over the floor. Despite cleaning out the fridge two weeks ago, I found a punnet of old strawberries unpacked in a cloth bag yesterday which had turned to mush and leaked all over the floor. Oh dear…

This week however is a chance for change! It’s an opportunity to look at what we do well and what we can do better. It’s time to reflect on what we’ve done right in the past, praise ourselves for what’s working and make small changes to make big differences – even if we’re talking long term.

I am writing this post after having just attended a classroom session with my eldest child who has a very motivated teacher. The teacher was running through this year’s learning, and I was left impressed by her goals. From some of the wrong answers she was getting from the children in maths, I saw that she has her work cut out but she has confidence and, most importantly, a past record that suggests she’s up to the challenge.

This week is time for a ‘can do’ attitude from me. I need small goals which will add up to significant results, and lay the foundations for permanent change. Today I am going to set myself two tasks. The first will be to clear my fridge again, this time rescuing any food that’s almost past it’s best and the second will be to cook the family dinner from scratch and to freeze the leftovers.

Can I do it? Why, yes of course I can!  Good luck to everyone reading who’s tackling their food waste this week.

To catch up on my previous Zero Waste Week posts click here.

Dusting off the laptop

Welcome back!

I have just deleted two tedious and rambling paragraphs explaining my absence from the blog for the past few months. Basically I got the cold, then I got the flu, then I got the cold again. My immune system must have got a good battering because I visited the GP after 5 weeks to be told I was ‘probably in the early stages of pneumonia’, and an antibiotic was administered. I now feel amazing (health, I think is one of these things it’s hard to appreciate until it’s compromised), but I emerged to a house that needed a good clean and tidy, ironing and a freezer that needed replenishing.

It has taken over a month since being unwell to be able to motivate myself to post on the blog again. While it’s lovely to be back in full health, and I’ve finally got the house whipped into its usual state of ‘could-be-clean-in-half-a-day-for-visitors’, I’ll admit I’m overwhelmed by trying to meet the goal I set myself for writing two posts per week on the blog. Plus my other New Year’s Resolutions have slipped a bit, although I’m still working towards them all.

However, I am reminding myself that it is still only April and that any steps taken towards success are better than none at all. Much better.

Once again, therefore, I’m picking myself up and carrying on. In the time since I’ve been better I have defrosted my rundown freezer and started filling it up again with healthy and delicious food. I have devised a new ‘system’ (I use the term loosely) to keep track of what’s in the freezer and make meal planning a little easier. A list on the wall of what’s in the freezer saves me opening it and rummaging around.


I have resumed my knitting class, and despite missing two sewing classes (out of an eight week course), I managed to catch up at home and finished my latest dress with my classmates.

Perhaps most importantly, I have printed off my list of goals for 2016 and pinned them in my kitchen where I can see them several times daily. I want to stay on track. I really believe that the goals I have set are important and part of what I want to accomplish this year.


I’ve had a set back, but I’m going to go easy on myself and post when I feel like it. I’m still very much working towards my goals for 2016!

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Ziglar

The reusable topic of my reusable cup


Today’s blog post is about my reusable cup


If it looks familiar, that may be because I’ve written about it before. What??? I hear you ask. Are you actually going to try and squeeze out another post about a boring old cup?

Well, yes I am!

When I wrote my first post back in January 2014, I was a newbie to the reusable cup gang (membership= 1 in the circles I move in!!), I had limited experience of using one and, given that my children were very small, I tended to avoid buying hot drinks because, well, they were never bloom’ hot by the time I got to drink them…

These days have passed – I now have a minor caffeine addiction and I am more likely to be found with my reusable cup in my bag than spare pants*. Oh how times have changed🙂

So, first things first, I’ll start with the introductions…

The white model above is the reusable cup which came into my possession around the end of 2013. I purchased it from the Onya website and while I was very happy with the look of it (similar to its disposable cousins), the feel of it (can be held without risk of burning), I really hated the smell of strong silicone which also affected the taste of the drink. The kids dubbed it Mummy’s Stinky Cup. Enough said.

As a result, I wasn’t sure I’d last the pace with this particular cup. However, while I wouldn’t recommend the model to anyone, I found that over time the smell and taste of the cup improved dramatically with time and plentiful washing, and as a result, the kids have moved on to bullying other inanimate objects.

In my first post, I estimated that I’d use my cup around 20 times in a year. While this was accurate based on my lifestyle at the time, I now probably use it now, on average, once a week. I seem to spend a lot of my time either in soft play cafes or waiting for my children to come out of their various sporting activities.

I think it is therefore realistic to estimate that I’ve saved over 100 disposable cups from landfill. Given that the onya website estimates the environmental impact of producing the reusable cup is equivalent to 10 uses of my cup, I can truly claim to have reduced my damage to the planet.**

What about everyone else? (Oh yes! I am adding a truly evangelical angle to this post!)

I certainly am alone every single time I use my cup. None of my friends carry one to cafes, and I’ve never seen anyone else with one unless they are bringing a coffee out with them from home. Every few months I ask staff in the two soft play cafés I regularly visit (that only serve disposable cups) if anyone else is using reusable cups yet and the answer, tragically, is no. Only me.


This isn’t to say that people are against using their own cup. Friends often show an interest when I put my cup on the table and they commend me for using it, it’s just that no one has joined me in bringing out their own cup. Yet…?

It’s also worth saying that the staff in cafes always serve me quite happily – I had initially wondered if anyone would refuse to use it, on the basis of some Health & Safety rule that I was unaware of. One member of staff told me that where he comes from in Spain, everyone brings their own cup and the cafes are left with shelves of unwanted disposable cups.

I had a little rummage around the internet to see if I could present you with some stats about disposable coffee cups. I thought I’d give you a few bullets of facts.

I searched for ages in the end, and while I came across lots of shocking facts about cups and the damage they cause to the environment as I expected, I found it confusing to get a clear picture of the issue today. There was little that was bang up to date (my guess is that the numbers of disposable cups being used varies widely each year as some people find reasons not to use them, and others possibly increase their usage). Also there was copious information about disposable cups that are used not just for hot drinks, but for water in workplaces, hospitals, schools etc., which I’ve chosen not to focus on in today’s post. I will however refer you to this article, written in the Guardian by Rebecca Smithers in July 2014 which gives us the following facts:

  • Over 2.5 billion disposable cups are being chucked each year in the UK
  • That is enough to go round the world five and a half times
  • Nearly all of these end up in landfill, creating 25,000 tonnes of waste.

The more I think in my mind of these cups going round the world (or those that end up in landfill filling London’s Albert Hall, which is the other visual image she offers), the more I wonder why on earth more action is not being taken by governments, by businesses, by the person on the street…by me failing to turn back to get my own cup if I shut the door without popping it in my bag.

I’m certainly going to resolve to refuse disposable cups every (single teeny tiny) time I’m out, and if you feel the same way, then here are some issues to think about to find a cup that suits you before you make that all important purchase:

  • Does it need to be safe or light enough to carry in your bag?
  • Will it fit under a coffee machine?
  • Is it the right size to fit in your drink of choice?
  • Does it matter if the lid leaks?
  • Do you care about the smell and taste of the material it’s made of?

Typing “buy reusable cups” or something similar into your search engine will lead you to a fine selection, but here’s an article by Erica Buist in the Guardian where she’s reviewed some cups for you.

Now you can see the benefits of refusing your disposable cup – and I’ve shown you how to go about getting your own – so…come on! Join my club!

How have you got on with your reusable cup? Would you recommend it?


*for the kids. FOR THE KIDS.

**note, as I’m still drinking tea shipped from abroad, using hot water and washing the cup, I am still causing an environmental impact…

Cushion making

In 2015 I was on a mission to acquire sewing skills that would enable me to produce clothes more ethically. I completed a number of evening classes which took me to the heady heights of producing my own (lined and pretty fancy) party dress, which I wore with pride on Christmas Day. I didn’t even care that I was the most overdressed person in the family(when did everyone start dressing down for December’s main event?!)

However, while I do well at sewing under the instruction of an experienced teacher, I drop back a few leagues when I’m sitting by myself at home with my own sewing machine…

A few months ago, I decided to replace the cushions on a sofa – to clarify, I mean the scatter cushions, not the actual big cushions that make up the sofa! I decided that this should be a task within my capabilities but, alas, when I got out my beginners sewing book, even altering the measurements of the cushion in the book to the size I wanted to make, sent me into a bit of a panic so…I signed up for another short course.

As a result I replaced the cushions (my kids chose the fabric):


I made another for a different seat:


and I even managed to make some as Christmas presents in this fabric:


I’m fairly delighted with my progress for the following reasons:

  • While party dresses are all well and good, in my life they are of limited use! What I need to be doing is using my sewing skills to avoid relying on chain stores. My issue is that these shops generally fail to inform me who sews their products, or what conditions their employees are working in.
  • To be able to allow my children to pick fabrics adds more meaning to the items in our home, plus I hope it shows the kids one of the benefits of making your own things. (I have a grand plan that in several years’ time when they leave home they will take with them some basic skills – including sewing).
  • I have increased the repertoire of gifts that I am able to make. I’m keen to get away from purely consumer-driven culture of just throwing money at things, in an attempt to show someone how much you care. The more time and thought that you can demonstrate has gone into a gift, surely the more meaningful that offering actually becomes?
  • Sewing cushions is really quite satisfying and (now that I know how) very simple!
Hmmm…what will I sew next?

Cooking, cooking and more cooking

For the past twelve days I’ve been on a mission to get my two foodie* New Year’s Resolutions off to a great start. As a result, my hands are raw from constant dish washing, I’m running out of tupperwear and my house stinks of cooking (I’m writing this with a scented candle burning), but… it’s happening! The freezer is filling up, and my family are showing interest in their meals again.

I’m feeling excited about finally getting on top of healthy eating, plus the reduction of our rubbish that’s happened as a result. I’d be lying, however, if I said it was effortless. Far from it – I have to plan meals a few days ahead, which involves scouring for recipes, making shopping lists, and popping out for ingredients. I realise though that I’m not in a routine yet. In addition, I’ve done a lot of time consuming batch cooking which will save me hours in the weeks ahead.

If you are even vaguely interested (!), then here are the evening meals I’ve provided for my family since the New Year began. I’ve only recorded the side dishes we’ve had where I’ve had to specially to prepare them to a recipe, but mostly we have veg and sometimes potatoes:

1 January: Steak Pie

2 January: Vegetable Crumble

3 January: Chickpea Stew

4 January: Pasta Bolognaise

5 January: Tomato Sauce with pasta

6 January: Vegetarian Haggis

7 January: Homemade Pizza

8 January: Quark Pasta with roasted butternut squash done in cumin & coriander

9 January: Chickpea Stew

10 January: Tortilla with roasted butternut squash with caramelised sugar (thanks Snail of Happiness!)

11 January: Vegetarian goulash with brown rice

12 January: Tomato and Mozzarella tart

On top of that I’ve batch cooked;

Lentil soup, vegetable soup and curried carrot soup (some of the meals above were also part of a batch)

and baked:

Flapjacks, pear pie, marble cake, quark cakes and countless loaves of bread in the breadmaker.

(I’ve linked to recipes where I’ve discovered them on the internet).

All of this food preparation has been both exhilarating and exhausting! My other half is truly delighted with the increased preparation in the kitchen and has been helping with other jobs around the house and child care so that I can get off to a good start. The kids are still doing a fair bit of poking at their food with forks (but what is it Mummy?!) but they are loving the extra baking I’m doing, and there have been some pleasant surprises – such as my youngest loving chickpea stew.

In an attempt to reduce our food waste I’m finding that no sooner have I prepared one dish than I’m looking for a recipe for another, to use up leftover lemons or half a leek, which keeps my momentum up.

Will I keep this going? I certainly hope so. I can slow down now that I have several meals prepared in the freezer, but I’m aware that healthy meal preparation is a habit, and I’ve got to keep working away at it so that it becomes part of my lifestyle. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!**

*1.I will dramatically increase the amount of food that I cook from scratch, using organic ingredients where practically possible, with the aim of reducing the packaging I contribute to landfill. 2.I am going to provide healthier and more varied food for my family.

** and I’ll include photos in the next food post – they won’t upload and my IT support is currently at work😉