I know I am supposed to say something about the inauguration, about how the US made history today, about what a momentous occasion it was, about how this presidency has brought so much hope to so many. The thing is, I am exhausted by the whole thing. I started off so very excited about the inauguration, watching the coverage on BBC America’s morning news segments and switching to CNN later in the morning. I saw President Bush and Joe Biden and Barack Obama make their entrances. I watched Biden take his oath, I listened to the beautiful music played by Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, I saw the first black President take his oath, I heard his inaugural speech. A few tears wended their way down my cheeks.
And then I went to my friend’s house, and my mood went to shit.
Look. I voted for Obama. But I do not believe that he is the second coming of Christ. I do not think he will wave his magic wand and miraculously fix our broken health-care system and our economy and send all the inner-city kids to college. In fact, I don’t know anyone who believes these things — but I know plenty of people who are accusing those who voted for him of these things. He may be our President, but he is only one man. I get that. But he brings our country hope that we as a nation can pull together and fix these problems together. That’s what Obama is giving us — hope. Is that really such a bad thing?
I am tired of hearing that our country is going to hell in a handbasket because Obama is our president. I’m tired of hearing about conservative schools that did nothing but pray for the state of our nation today as Obama was sworn in. I’m tired of making conciliatory remarks only to be shot down because Obama’s election is apparently the worst thing that has ever happened to our nation. Obama is only a man, and if it turns out that all of you folks who voted for McCain are right, then we’ll have the option to make a change in just four short years.
We all lived through eight years of George W. Bush; I am sure we can make it through four years of Barack H. Obama.
Speaking of race, why is it that just four short years after the end of apartheid, South Africa was able to elect its first black president, but it takes the US over forty years to do the same? Of course, South Africa is 80% black while the US is 80% white (according to Wikipedia), but wasn’t that the whole point of the Civil Rights movement, that all men are created equal, as it says in the Declaration of Independence?
Ugh. I said I wouldn’t talk about it, and there I did.
Back to Frugal Tips and Tricks. It was such a hit last week that I am going to make it a weekly feature. There are over 500 pages in my Hints from Heloise book, so I am sure I have plnety of material to share with you.
Today we shall tackle leftovers. Food costs more now; have you noticed? Prices went up this summer when gas prices spiked, but I’m not sure the cost of food has fallen the way gas did. So here are some ways to make your food budget stretch a bit.
First up, recycling food. This is not as gross as it sounds:
Sandwich fillings: They’re a great way to get rid of leftover fish, meat or vegetables. Use mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup to bind them together.
Salads: A medley of this, that and the other makes a super salad. Toss together leftover vegetables, meat, fish, odd bits of cheese, cubed stale bread.
Omelets: There’s just no end to the things you can toss into an omelet — leftover meat and vegetables of all kinds. Be creative! Use those odds and ends.
See? That all sounds delicious, not gross. Like for the suggestion for sandwich filling? Let’s say you have chicken and rice for dinner one night. A sandwich of shredded chicken and rice on toast would be delicious for lunch the next day! Add a slice of cheese and throw into the toaster oven to melt the cheese, and that’s downright decadent.
One thing that we fought over as kids was the lunch my mom would make the day after we had some Italian something-or-other, usually lasagna or spaghetti. We didn’t want the leftover pasta; we wanted the garlic bread! She would take slices of leftover garlic bread, top it with mozzarella cheese, and broiled it in the toaster oven. It was positively delicious.
Another thing I absolutely adored as a kid was what my mom would call “hash” for dinner. The day after we had a pot roast, Mom would shred the meat and fry it up with potatoes, green peppers, and onions. It was so delicious that I asked for it once for my birthday dinner, which is the one day of the year that we could have whatever we wanted for dinner!
Now on to what to do with leftovers:
Even if there’s only one left, leftover biscuits, rolls, muffins, etc., can be put in a large plastic bag and frozen. Not too many days later, treat your family to a meal accompanied by a crazy variety of breads. They will love it, and it’s great for the cook — quick, easy, and no extra work.
From New Jersey: “When you take biscuits from the oven, put them in a glass oven-proof dish with an oven-proof lid and they’ll stay hot. If they are any left over, keep them in the same dish and reheat them for the next meal. They’ll be good and fresh!”
What to do with odd bits and pieces of cheese? Grate them all, then mix together with some spices added and make a cheese ball [hey, this was 1980] or use to top off spaghetti or lasagna.
From Washington, DC: “Grate leftover cheese on top of a tossed salad. Delicious!”
How many times have you thrown out leftover icing because they never seemed to be anything to put just a dab on? I save it in little jars in the freezer. When I have a selection of colors, I whip up a dozen or so cupcakes, adding a few drops of warm water to the icing after it has thawed.
From Minnesota: “I save odds and ends of colored icing until I have enough to cover a cake with a rainbow of colors or a pathcwork, depending on the design I choose when applying the icing.”
Mothers always keep crackers on hand, don’t they? How about using leftover cake frosting as a filler beween crackers? This makes a delicious and quick snack for children.
That was just Part I, ways to use up leftovers. Another time we’ll talk about clever ways to store leftovers. Don’t forget to leave your tips in the comments!