Lovely Leftovers (it’s not just food you know!)
Whether you’re at home for Christmas or spending time with family and friends you’ll see that lots of things are coming into the house and lots of stuff is heading out the door to the bins as well. With almost £500 spent on both food and presents at Christmas we all want to get the most from this money.
Last year in west London an additional 1,300 tonnes of rubbish was thrown away over the Christmas period and there was also a massive increase in recycling. Figures also show that Britons throw out the equivalent of 2m turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74million mince pies at Christmas.
As you’ve already paid for the food and someone has spent money on all the presents that are given and received, throwing away so much is a very expensive waste for everybody, especially if like so many others you’re feeling the pinch this year.
We all know eating the same thing for days is boring but there are some great things you can do to turn leftover items into new tasty dishes and whilst it may seem that all the packaging from the presents has no value, some of it can actually save you money over the next year.
Of course you are! There are so many delicious dinners and lunches you can make with your leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste and West London Waste Authority have some great festive recipes to try. You could have a turkey bake, spiced potato cakes for your leftover roasties or Christmas pudding ice cream, and there’s lots of other meal ideas on-line for you.
But here are a few more ideas for you too
- Turkey, stuffing and cranberry Chelsea buns
- Turkey pot pie
- Turkey and sweet corn burgers
- Turkey and vegetable soup
- Turkey curry including tikka masala or chickpea and coconut
- Turkey and veg stir fry with noodles
- Omelette – just add pieces of turkey
- Add to curry (whole or in pieces)
- Dill and potato rostis – substitute roast potatoes into this recipe
- Hash browns
- Spanish potato tortilla – slice the roast potatoes into this recipe
- Creamed brussels sprouts, eat with turkey or any other meat you have left
- Brussels sprouts with pine nuts and pasta
- Gammon, sprout and cheeseboard risotto
- Bubble and squeak
- Sprout and cheese frittata
- Roast dinner soup
- Leftovers bake
- Vegetable rosti cake
- Vegetable pie
- Various veg crumble
- Cheesy vegetable ramekins
- Roasted vegetable couscous – substitute the peppers for your leftover veg
And for dessert…
- Cranberry brownies – if you don’t have cranberries you can melt any of your Christmas chocolates and use that instead
- Christmas panettone and mincemeat pudding
- Crunchy fruit and oat crumble
- Fruit bowl buns
If you’ve been inspired by these recipes and made one send us a picture or post in on our Facebook page. If you have your own leftovers recipe we’d love to put it on our local recipes page so please send it in.
It’s not just food that’s leftover from the celebrations, there is also a lot of packaging from around presents and food in your home. Keep the festive spirit going a little longer by using these items for Christmas crafts <add link>.
There are lots of creative ways to re-use it including covering books or notebooks (including ones you’ve made yourself), making Christmas decorations or if it’s a really large bit you could cut it down and wrap up other presents with it next year.
Check out our Christmas crafting ideas that are easy and fun to do at home, you can even get the children involved.
Simple you might think, its paper so I can recycle it. It’s not that easy, a lot of wrapping paper especially the shiny ones are made from foil and paper glued together which means it can’t be easily recycled. It is easy to work out if it can be recycle though – just try to rip it. If it rips easily it’s just paper and you can recycle it with your other paper but if it takes a lot of effort or won’t rip then you should either re-use it or put it in the bin.
Boxes are great to re-use as playthings as well, large boxes can be turned in to cars, boats and robot costumes. Boxes can also be used to make pet beds, store presents until you clear out some cupboard space for them and can be used to package items you’ll be posting for birthdays later in the year.
They come in all shapes and sizes – around toys, shoe boxes, with food in – and can be recycled, though you might want to flatten them and tie together to make them easier to store at home and take up less space in your recycling container.
Bubble wrap and polystyrene
You can’t recycle these items so re-use them instead. Store in one of your empty cardboard boxes and use them in the future to wrap items before you post them, to protect extra glasses and plates until you use them again next Christmas or use it to wrap your valuables if you’re moving home, alternatively give them to someone else who is moving.
There are lots of varieties of plastic wrappings, you’ll have the stuff that feels and acts like cling film, the sheets of clear or coloured plastic, the bags around parts of games, the rigid plastic holding toiletry gift packs together and many more.
Our favourites for re-use are the cleared and coloured plastic around bunches of flowers or pot plants and the bright sweet wrappers from Roses or Quality Street. With these you can wrap other presents, create colourful decorations or use for other craft projects.
Most of these cannot be recycled (there are some exceptions so check what your local council says),
These are brilliant for storing everything! Great for all sorts of cakes and food stuff, use them over the next couple of weeks to take food to other people’s homes and store the party food you make or buy. Use them to keep all the new Lego bricks together, hold your sewing threads and buttons, protect light bulbs in the cupboard, keep wires and USB sticks in one place, hide all the loose nails and screws away or use as drums. If you don’t need any more at home see if anyone else needs them for storage?
If its metal you can also recycle them if you want to as they’re just a big tin. If it’s made from plastic check what your local council says.
Can’t be recycled but there are lots of craft things you can do. Something quick and easy is to use them to decorate gift tags, use it as the string for gift tags, tie decorations together to form a banner or use as cat toys.