Relieving Stress: 8 Reasons Leftovers Are Wonderful

Day to day life gives more stress than many feel possible to bear. Why do we add even more stress by adhering to some mysterious obligation to cook every night? It is possible to not eat out, and also not cook every night … and that is where leftovers come into play. You still get the delicious healthiness of a homemade meal (because it is homemade!) without the pressure of needing a plan for dinner every night of the week.

There is so much to love about leftovers, and yet many people despise them. Here's 8 reasons they are wonderful!

Two Sides:

When it comes to leftover food from meals, there seems to be two main sides: the lovers, and the …eh hem … people who are most definitely not fond of them. It is always shocking to me when people who hate leftovers and can’t afford to go out to eat often also hate cooking (but are good cooks). If the person who created the meal is a good cook, then why would the leftovers not be enjoyable? There are often times when dishes are good the first night, but even better as leftovers (because the flavors have had more time to meld).

Reasons Leftovers Are Great Options:
  • They provide a homemade meal that takes little effort to reheat (hello, microwave!) – great for busy adults
  • Homemade leftover meals are typically much healthier than fast food or frozen meals (and you can control how healthy/unhealthy they are when the meal is initially prepared)
  • If you loved the meal the first time, you can enjoy the same dish again without having to make it again.
  • Making a big batch of a meal and eating it as leftovers throughout the week is usually cheaper than preparing just enough food for the first meal.
  • When you make big batches, you can easily use up larger quantities of ingredients and not have to worry about how to use them, or about leftover ingredients going bad in the refrigerator.
  • Some leftovers (like soup) can even be frozen and reheated months later when you want it again (a great option if it’s a meal you don’t want often).
  • You can save money on your utility bills by reheating leftovers instead of turning on the oven to cook a fresh meal – using inside ovens heats up your home and makes your air conditioning work harder (raising your electric bill).
  • Preparing food to eat as leftovers throughout the week can help you stick to a diet or healthy eating plan more easily – if you can quickly reheat a healthy meal and assuage your hunger, you are less likely to eat quick (often unhealthy) snacks that happen to be nearby OR get so hungry that you binge eat.

Are you sold yet? I’ll give you some time to think it over …

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding

Strangely enough, this book was not one I picked for myself. A book I ordered online did not come; this book by Fielding came in its place. With a little bit of back and forth with the seller, we were given a refund and told we could decide what happened to this book – no need to ship it back. If we didn’t want the book, it could be donated.

Fielding's book The Edge of Reason definitely got a reaction from me as a reader - and not necessarily a positive one. This book makes an impression.

You know me, I couldn’t resist reading an (unexpected) free book! (Even if it was the second in an unfamiliar series.) The book definitely garnered a reaction from me (oftentimes an angry reaction), so I decided to share my opinions on it.

Entering the World of Bridget Jones:

For the first half of this book I only had complaints – the book reads as thoughts from Bridget’s head, which means unless it is a direct conversation, the “sentences” are almost always incomplete. That drove me absolutely bonkers throughout this novel and I almost stopped reading due to it.

Time is marked by dates, and under each date is a short note from Bridget about her weight and caloric intake along with other information about the day. Although I couldn’t find a mention of Bridget’s actual height, it was distressing to read her constantly fretting about weighing 130 lb (give or take). Seeing as The Edge of Reason reads as if primarily geared towards young adult readers, it seems that it would be detrimental to those same readers to have yet another character thrusting numbers at them about how much is okay to weigh and how many calories are *too* many. Not to mention, Bridget and her friends are heavy drinkers, and at one point experiment with *natural* (still illegal) drugs.

The obsession Bridget, Jude, and Shaz have with dating/self-help genre novels is frankly rather distressing, but I’m happy to report that was one of the things that improved towards the second half of the novel.

(Offensive) Shock Value Techniques:

In the first half, Fielding randomly incorporated a boy with supposed schizophrenia for no visible purpose other than shock value, which I was angry about. The addition of the boy was unnecessary – he only appeared in the story for a short time and quickly disappeared again – and was also very unhelpful for the general fear about mental illnesses. Another anger-inducing slight to people with mental illnesses in their loved ones was found on pg. 152, when a homosexual character claimed he didn’t want to talk (due to sad feelings about an ex-boyfriend) “Because I have lost my former personality and become a manic-depressive.” Fielding does realize that mental illness does not work that way, right?

There were other, slightly less offensive things included for shock value, but the book did get better sometime after the halfway mark. There were a few things funny enough that I laughed out loud, and at the end it seemed that Bridget had grown since the beginning of the novel.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, I would not want to read this book again – or anything else by this author – but I am glad to have stuck with it until the end. The story ends well, but it is still not recommended reading material for those who have less self-confidence or sense of self.

Not Quite Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole has never been a favorite of mine. I recently stumbled upon an interesting concept, though – green beans topped with similar ingredients to what you would find in the casserole, instead of being in casserole form. In this format, each person could control how much green beans they got versus how much topping – count me in!

Traditional green bean casserole has everyone eating the same ratios of saucey green beans, but this revamp lets the person decide their own ratios!

The recipe is fairly easy, and yummy as well.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg bacon
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 3 tbsp butter, oil, or bacon fat (what I used)
  • 6 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cheap off-dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 c beef broth
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • parmesan cheese for topping, optional (to taste)
  • french fried onions, optional (to taste)
Green Bean “Casserole” How To:

Cook the bacon until crispy but not burned. Let it cool, and then crumble it up or finely chop it. If you want, you can save the fat for using some of later in the recipe. If you prefer not to cook bacon, you can buy bacon already cooked and crumbed (or leave it out altogether).

Remove both ends from all of the green beans, and without cutting them smaller heat them in a pan of water over med. heat until cooked to your preferred tenderness (I cooked mine roughly 5-10 min. I’m not sure of the exact time because I was prepping other ingredients. They were tender but not at all mushy). If you prefer, steaming would be a great way to cook them.

While the green beans are cooking, heat your cooking fat (butter, oil, or bacon fat) in a medium saucepan until warm enough to saute. Add the green onion. Cook until soft, then add the sliced mushrooms. Stir frequently. When the mushrooms have shrunk, add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Mix well.

There should be a bit of juice in your pan at this point. Add the flour, and stir until there are no flour lumps. Add the wine and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the broth and sour cream. Stir. Once small bubbles start rising in the mixture, add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Add bacon and combine.

To Serve:

Plate your desired amount of green beans, and drizzle sauce over them. You can use as much or as little sauce as you want. Top with parmesan cheese and french fried onions. Enjoy!

Not Quite Green Bean Casserole