Greetings, fellow food recyclers!
I bet you also get great satisfaction in recreating leftovers into something fresh and new. Giving tired-seeming food another hat to wear is a delicious and economic way to earn some good kitchen-karma! Here are some ideas to try out with your family!
After the morning rush we are often left with half eaten bowls of cereal or oatmeal. (you too?) well, those bowls of not-so-appealing-cereal-mush can miraculously become….
Sometimes I feel particularly proud of a leftover discovery; this is one of those times. All you do is collect mushy leftover cereal and/or porridge over a couple of days and keep it in the fridge covered until you are ready to get baking. (Baking will kill bacteria that may have been left behind but since those spoons have been in your mouths, perhaps you won’t be serving these cookies to your guests. :))
These are approximate measurements as ingredients vary*!
2 cups leftover soaked cereal, oatmeal or porridge
~1 cup flour of your choice (I use ½ cup coconut flour, ½ cup nut flour)
1/3 cup melted butter
~ 3-4 tbsp maple syrup (adjust based on sweetness of cereal and milk)
2 pinches sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 beaten egg (or sub with 2 tbsp ground flax meal mixed with 1 tbsp h2o)
You can keep playing and add in:
1-2 handfuls of dried fruit (raisins, currents, cranberries), chocolate chips, unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tbsp nut butter (will transform them into “cereal power cookies”). Really going for it? Add in some hemp seeds, chia seeds and/or flax seeds and adjust flour as needed.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix to desired taste and consistency.
Spoon out onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 min or until golden brown.
*NOTE: Since cereal and milk will vary, this recipe requires some fine-tuning with the ingredients until you get to a basic cookie dough taste and consistency. Flour is the easiest thing to adjust, so start with less and add in more until it is sticky between your fingers and holds together a bit. I will often bake one cookie in my toaster oven to see how it turns out and then I can always add more flour if it’s too wet, milk if its too dry, or maple syrup to turn up the sweetness.
When we make rice or quinoa (our most common grain dishes) I will often make extra so we have leftovers through the week. A great way to recreate extra grain is……
The Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Porridge
A simple, healthy breakfast is the goal of so many of us. Despite our best intentions we often turn to our quick standbys like cereal and milk, or toast and jam, to fuel us ’till lunch. This balanced, delicious breakfast literally takes 5 minutes and will give everyone sustained energy and a nutritional gold star for the day. You can’t go wrong here – any combination of grains will work and use what you have in the house (and if you don’t have any of these ingredients- go get some!).
Leftover plain grain (rice, quinoa, couscous, millet, oats, amaranth)
Something milky– I suggest canned coconut milk or hemp milk here for ultimate nutritional punch, but you can use whatever you fancy.
Choose any combination of these suggested toppings. (No rules here):
Something fruity – fresh or dried fruit. Dried fruit ideas: raisins, cranberries, currants, apricots, figs, dates, shredded coconut. (Ideally unsweetened and unsulphured for all.)
Something sweet – maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, date sugar, jerusalem artichoke syrup.
Something nutty – nut butter (ie. almond butter), or whole nuts chopped into desired consistency: brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans. (We grind brazil nuts in a coffee grinder and keep in a jar for easy sprinkling.)
Something seedy – sesame, sunflower, hemp, flax seeds.
Really goin’ for it? Sprinkle on some soaked hijiki seaweed, Nourish Me powder, chia seeds or goji berries.
Put desired amount of cooked grain in saucepan (about ½-1 cup per person) and top with liquid till grain is covered by ~ ½ inch of liquid. For liquid you can use your desired milk or a combo of milk and water. When I use canned coconut milk I will cut it with about ¼ part water.
Stir so the liquid gets to the bottom. Cook covered on low-medium heat until hot. Stir a few times so it doesn’t stick. Add more liquid if its drying out.
Take out and have fun topping it with anything and everything you desire!
Note: I will often set this up the night before since I can think more clearly when the house is quiet. You can pre-soak the grain in the saucepan (keep in fridge) and have your toppings ready to go. Our kids love this breakfast! (probably because they get to scoop their own toppings). We keep the toppings in jars in the fridge so its really simple to pull them all out and throw them back in the fridge when we are done. I usually add maple syrup slowly, then taste it to check the sweetness level. Add more milk at the end for people that like a soupy porridge or to quickly cool the porridge for hungry mouths
You will hear from the leftover lady (yes, it’s just me) every so often. I would love know your favorite ways to recreate, recycle and rename a leftover! Write to me with “dear leftover lady” in the subject line and I will happily post the greatest hits!