Lifestyle: #ExpressYourShelf Food Challenge

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Recently, I decided to put my nifty head on and take part in the #ExpressYourShelf challenge, ran by the Love Food Hate Waste initiative with Tesco. As whatemmadid.com has become a lifestyle blog discussing many topics daily from fashion, beauty, travel, food and fitness, I do find that I really love sharing all things ‘foody’ quite often on here. I live on my own, therefore if I’m ever doing a food shop or rustling up some meals, it can be quite difficult to make meals for one without wasting any fresh food, or going the opposite way and gorging on frozen junk meals to prevent waste. With this in mind, I decided to happily take on the #ExpressYourShelf challenge. It’s all about focusing on what’s in your cupboards/fridges/freezers, and turning your ingredients into tasty meals.

My slant on this challenge was to create some meals and little food ideas that were suitable for ‘cooking for one’, but would carry on over to then make other meals for the next day. This way, my ingredients wouldn’t be wasted, and i’d have some nifty little meal and snacks all ready for the week. So what did I buy and what did I create? Take a look at my Love Food Hate Waste inspired eats below…

banana flapjack
1. Banana, Nuts and Oat Porridge, turned into Banana, Nut and Oat Flapjack
To try and get the most out of a mixture of both fresh and dried foods, I purchased a bundle of bananas, a bag of mixed nuts and a box of wholegrain oats, for a weeks worth of healthy breakfasts and a healthy daytime snack. Firstly, I used the oats with soya milk to make a porridge, with chopped up bananas and sprinkled with nuts. I then used the leftover bananas to mix with the oats and nuts in a huge bowl (with a little bit of coconut oil thrown in too!). I baked the mixture for 20 minutes and voila – a sweet banana infused nutty oat flapjack for after dinner munchies for the week ahead. Clever usage of those going black bananas…

prawn stir fry
prawn rice
2. Prawns and Vegetables
In a bid to make clever cooking out of healthy foods, I purchased a bag of prawns and chopped vegetables, and tried to figure out ways of incorporating these into my cooking to create a series of healthy meals without wasting anything. The first meal I made was a prawn stir fry, frying off the prawns with a mixture of peppers, onions, beansprouts and leaves to make a prawn veggie mix. I combined with some noodles and a Chinese style sauce, resulting in a yummy dish. As not to waste any of the defrosted prawns, i took the leftover prawns and veggies and then boiled a large pan of brown rice. Once the rice was cooked, I tossed in the prawns and veggies on a low heat, and dripped over the remains of the Chinese sauce, creating a delightful dish of stir fry rice. The brown rice mixed with a filling of prawns, pepper, onions, beansprouts and a touch of Chinese sauce made the ultimate filling rice dish, that I was able to eat hot for dinner, then use the cold leftovers as a cold lunch the next day. If you make a big enough portion of this, it’s a great idea to serve at a dinner party too!

prawn stir fry
noodle stir fry
food waste
3. Chicken, Avocado and Brown Bread
I find that when cooking for one and being challenged to #ExpressYourShelf and diminish food waste, the hard part is making the most out of the simplest ingredients. But you really don’t need anything fancy to create healthy and tasty meals that can keep being used up all week long. I opted for a simple loaf of wholemeal bread, chicken and avocados, and first up created a chicken stir fry by frying off the chicken with the brown rice and some left over veggies from the previous meals. I mixed the avocado up with lime juice and olive oil to make a rich guacamole style avocado dip (lovely and creamy!), and toasted the wholemeal bread before cutting up in strips to serve as a bread and guacamole style dip side.

love food hate waste

With the leftover bread, avocado and chicken, I created simple sandwiches for the next day’s lunch. I also made the leftovers into little mini ‘pizzas’ – I simple grilled the bread with a sprinkling of cheese and tomato, before layering up pieces of chicken and avocado to create some healthier pizzas than the frozen kind or takeaway kind. I served these up to my friends when they called round last week, and they were pretty impressed with my creativity!

After the week was over, I felt like I had completely impressed myself with my creativity to Love Food and Hate Waste. I successfully had a waste-free food week, stayed relativity healthy, and kept everything down to a tight budget too! They say that every year, each UK household throws away up to 7 million tonnes of food and drink – more than half of what could have been eaten.

Don’t fall into the trap! Get yourself food savvy and smart by remembering this initative next time you take to the kitchen…

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