Making the Most of Leftovers

Tonight I had planned to make turkey tacos for dinner, but as it turns out we have so many leftovers.

I have a couple of hamburgers, a little of this, part of a calzone, and some lettuce. There is not enough of one thing for all of us to have the same thing, but there is plenty of good food and I do not want it to go to waste! The bonus is I don't have to cook. Also, I'm saving money by using what we got and moving turkey tacos to a night later this week.

leftovers some time in August 2014

Here are a few discoveries I've made when it comes to enjoying leftovers:

Heat them up properly. Often, microwaves do not do food any favors. Take the extra time and heat the food up in the toaster oven or on top of the stove in a skillet.

Boil a pot of pasta and throw leftover meat and vegetables on top. Pasta will give any dish a second life and will help you stretch a meal. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese to make it feel really special. The same thing could be said for lettuce. Put your leftovers on a salad.

Make a wrap or quesadilla. Roll up leftover meat, vegetables, salad, rice etc. in a tortilla. Drizzle on a little salad dressing. For a quesadilla, heat cheese, leftovers, and vegetables in a tortilla on a skillet.

Open a bottle of wine. Suddenly leftover chicken spaghetti doesn't sound so bad when you consider opening a yummy bottle of wine and making a fresh side salad to go with it.

Stephen and I started a ritual on Sunday nights. When we get home from church, we march the kids straight to bed and then we enjoy a candle lit meal of properly cared for leftovers and a glass of wine. It's a date.

It's really fun to have something like this to look forward to at the end of the weekend. Sunday nights used to be kind of a bummer for us until we started this Sunday supper thing.

Here are some of the leftover meals we've shared together...

pork chops re-heated in the skillet with a little butter, side of pasta and broccoli.
leftover spaghetti and meatballs my mom sent home with us from the beach.
hamburgers with toasted buttered buns

If we don't have leftovers, a fried egg on toast is pretty good.

What about your family? Do you eat up all your leftovers or do you find yourself throwing food out? 


Costco Faves + Grocery Shopping with Kids

72 oz. bag chocolate chips when on sale $7.49, normally $9.99
I divided these up in 6 Ziploc bags, that's 6 batches of chocolate chip cookies!

Rotisserie chicken $4.99
I cut some chicken off and set aside to freeze. Will make chicken quesadillas next week. What's left we will eat as is on Thursday night along a side of cooked spinach.  

Organic whole bean coffee $12.99. I love this coffee!

Apples $6.99. Great price in season. We go through a carton of apples a week.

Huge box of organic spinach $3.99. Five year old Stephen loves cooked spinach! French Kids Eat Everything. Last night we had brussel sprouts and he was whining about wanting spinach instead. Good problem ;)

He has the biggest sweet tooth, so I'm glad he is balancing out and enjoying some greens.

Not pictured:
milk $2.89

bag of 6 avocados $4.99
I will make guacamole for the quesadillas next week. I also love to eat avocado on toast in the morning.

It has taken me a while to learn what we like at Costco and what will not go to waste. I also have an understanding that going is a big event. If the children are with me I prep them about their behavior and what is expected. Stay near the cart, do not ask me to buy anything besides what's on the list, etc. I learned this tip from an older-than-me mom at my church. Talk about expected behavior on the way to the store.

I also try to offer some incentive if they behave well. If y'all obey we will eat lunch here or buy a box of Oreos, etc.

I also know that loading the car is an ordeal and unloading at home and then putting all the food away is a massive undertaking. I try to make day of it, consider it my exercise, and prep everything at home like making space in the refrigerator and cleaning up the kitchen. Typically on the days I go to Costco I aim to have a simple dinner (like Rotisserie chicken) because I'm weary of dealing with food. 

In a perfect world I would never take my kids to the grocery store, but sometimes it is just unavoidable. I tell myself "people have done harder things, like go war". Usually that puts things into perspective.


Non-rountine + Say No, Anticipate

We have had two non-routine weeks of out of town company and time at the beach.

My best friend from growing up came to visit for two days with her 3 kids during fall break. Shortly after, we joined my family at the beach.

All fun! And now it's back to reality. The house needs attention, the pantry is bare, and I already have Christmas on the brain.

Two major themes I'm holding dear this week/this season.

1. Say no

Recently, we have received several invitations to birthday parties, baby showers, and opportunities to serve at school and church. It's just where we are in life, and we are so grateful to be asked to be a part of so much. Realistically, there is not enough physical time, space, energy, and money to accept all these invitations/obligations/opportunities. We have to say no to some things, a lot of things. It's hard because the no is to people we love and care about. Sometimes the no is because we can't be in two places at once and sometimes it's because we are saying yes to rest, regular meals together, and time as a family.

Step one is saying no. Step two is telling myself not to feel guilty for saying no. Because I - you - we - simply cannot do it all.

2. Anticipate

Christmas is coming. My family needs dinner tonight. We go through 2.5 gallons milk a week. These are all things I can anticipate and prepare for because these things are not a surprise. I'm learning to think ahead, way ahead. Months and seasons ahead. This concept is Biblical...

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.
Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

It is work to prepare, but it is more work to not prepare.

They beach in October is fabulous! So grateful to my parents for having us.


I listened to Laura Vanderkam's What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings - and Life on the drive home from Gulf Shores. It was so inspiring and really made me think about how I manage my time, specifically my mornings.

Self help books are my guilty pleasure.


Mending + Reheating Pizza + eBay

Several months ago I gave up sewing. I did not have the time and it was not enough of a priority to make the time for it. What was once fun became frustrating because of interruptions and the fact that if I wanted do it, I had to neglect something vital to my schedule....like making dinner or sleep.

So I quit, hung it up, gave away my fabric. I almost sold my sewing machine, but my family recommended that I hang on to it....just in case. And I'm so glad I did because although I gave up sewing, turns out I did not give up mending!

Recently, I have hemmed, mended, and stitched so many children's clothes. One booth at a re-sale shop I like had a going out of business sale. I was able to buy George some things a size up and hem them.

It was freeing to give up the "big hobby" - sewing. But it is nice enjoy using the skill to repair and tailor some (not all) of my children's clothes. I'm saving money by doing it myself and it is not very time consuming at all.

I bought this plaid longall on eBay for $9, had a red G monogrammed on it, switched out the Scottie dog buttons and I'm calling it George's Christmas outfit.


Have you seen on Pinterest this best way ever to reheat leftover pizza? A skillet. This is genius. It is so delicious because it makes the crust nice and crispy.

This is Friday night's pizza served for Saturday lunch.

Confession: we dipped it in homemade ranch dressing.

 How to Reheat Your Pizza at Home


Another eBay find, this $11 Auburn cheerleader outfit.

I'm loving eBay these days!


Taco Soup + Decorating Wins + Photo Bomber

Made taco soup this week. It's an old-y but a gold-y, don't you think? I used a similar recipe to this one.


I'm on a decorating kick after reading Myquillyn Smith's book, The Nesting Place. But of course, I'm trying to use as much of what I have as possible.

Truly, the message of her book freed me to be myself in the decorating sense. I'm feeling more confident and not so afraid of making mistakes. It's all trial and error, and messing up can just be part of the process to creating a room/home you love.

I considered the wall gallery over the sofa a huge win this week! I've been trying to decide what to put up there. I wanted something colorful and after some experimentation I settled on a vivid collection of prints I have. The common theme - all Mississippi artists. Nod to my home state ;)

My cousin did the water color of the house in Seaside and gave it to us as a wedding gift. It needed to be re-framed, so bought the frame for $25 at Hobby Lobby. I wish could have gotten it on sale, but given that HL is not close to my house, I figured it best to just get it.

I'm giving myself a small allowance each month for home improvements.

If you can't tell, let me state the obvious.... I love color! Especially unexpected color combinations. 

Here's another area I'm tweaking and loving.

For laughs, check out this photo bomber...
I stuck a sweatshirt in his backpack expecting cooler weather to come in, but it was totally unnecessary. It's still hot. Come on, fall!

The end.


Use What Ya Got


One rule I made for myself when we moved in our new house was to not buy any anything like furniture, artwork, picture frames, etc until we got good and settled and we had exhausted the items we already owned.

I had a hunch as time went on and we got more situated that so many of the things we already had would find their place. It takes time to get to know your house.

I'm still amazed at how this is working out. I just knew that one of the first things I would buy would be a big basket for our shoes and bike helmets. But I waited. Lo and behold, I have a basket like this. Except it is a trunk with a lid and it held blankets and comforters in our old house. And it is bigger than any basket I would have bought for this space.

Turns out, I love how large it is. It holds all my kids' shoes. I love having the shoes in a central location because it makes them so much easier to keep up with and grab when we are on our way out the door.

Moral of the story is: wait, use what you got, move things around.

Baskets like these are expensive, so I'm thrilled that I saved at least $30 to $60 to maybe even a $100 buying a new one.


For fun, my preschoolers, ready for the day on October 1, sporting their corduroy. (Basket in the background).

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