7 ways to turn last night’s leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch

A cold slice of pizza might be inviting to some the next day, but there are better ways to use up leftovers, particularly when there’s a family to feed. Here are seven ideas to take last night’s leftovers and make delicious meals the next day.

1. Roast chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a wonderfully economical way to get a few meals from one. Leftover chicken is great added to salads and soups for next day’s lunch or use as the basis for a delicious Mediterranean chicken wrap that the kids will love. Toss the chicken in a garlic and olive oil mixture, add any leftover grilled vegetables, wrap in a wholewheat tortilla and finish with a topping of houmous.

Roast chicken is also great for bulking out stir fries, curries and pies – throw in the kids’ favourite veg and you have a delicious dinner for the family.

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2. Spaghetti and meatballs

Leftover spaghetti and meatballs can of course be eaten for lunch (in fact, some people say it’s more delicious the next day), but if you want to try something different, take leftover meatballs and make delicious (and messy) sloppy Joes. Simply serve hot meatballs mixed with leftover tomato sauce in white finger buns, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy. Be sure to keep extra napkins on hand for this one as it’s bound to get messy.

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3. Mashed potato

Sometimes it can be tricky to get the portioning of mashed potatoes right. If you’re stuck with a few extra spoonfuls the day after the night before, there’s lots of things you can do with it. Bubble and squeak is a classic crowd pleaser and a great way to use up any other leftover veg you have too. Make it breakfast-worthy by serving with a poached egg.

Don’t forget too that mash is the perfect topping for a plethora of pies – whether that’s shepherd’s pie, cottage pie or fish pie. Loosen with a little milk if it needs it.

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4. Cheese

Odds and ends of cheese need never end up in the bin. Combine in a pan with milk and flour to make a cheese sauce that can be used in lots of dishes likelasagne, macaroni cheese and baked potatoes. Alternatively, stick it in the freezer for future meals.

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5. Bananas on the turn

Bananas that are turning black don’t make the most appetising snack, but whatever you do, don’t chuck them away! Moist, over-ripe bananas are perfect fodder for banana bread and it’s super simple to make. Serve up to the kids for a quick brekkie, or pack a few slices for emergency snacks on a day out. Alternatively, freeze your bananas-on-the-turn and use them to make delicious summer fruit smoothies.

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6. Sausages

Cooked up a few too many sausages? Use them up the next day as part of a picnic or snack on a day out, or chop in half for use in super quick sandwiches for the kids. Alternatively, cooked sausages are great chopped and thrown in with tinned tomatoes and herbs for a quick and delicious pasta sauce – add chilli flakes for more adventurous tastebuds. For a quick stir fry style dish, chop up the sausages and fry with onions, peppers, green beans and any other suitable veg you have in the fridge.

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7. Bread

Bread can always be frozen and stocking up on a few loaves is a great way to save a little time over the summer holidays. But if you’ve got a few slices or half a baguette going spare and the kids are already up to their ears in sarnies, bread-on-the-turn is perfect for making homemade croutons for a lunchtime salad.

Making croutons is super simple: just tear the bread into bite-size pieces and toss in a bowl with some olive oil. Spread out on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for about five minutes or until crisp and golden.

Or, you could whip up a special breakfast of French toast for the family instead. Try our delicious recipe for Fruity French toast.

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Source: Sainsbury’s http://inspiration.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/

Vertical Gardening Tips

Grow more, save space, and harvest with ease by using these basic techniques for vertical gardening.

118-084-01-im1A few years back I was leading an old friend through my garden, all the while bemoaning my lack of growing space, when he suddenly interrupted me and asked, "Why do people build skyscrapers?" What this had to do with my overcrowded garden, I hadn't a clue. "So they can cram a lot of people into a place without using up much ground room?" I ventured.

"Exactly. Sort of like your garden, wouldn't you say? You've got acres of unused space—in the air."

My friend was right. The extra room I needed was literally right in front of my eyes. I started "growing up" and soon found that vertical gardening has many benefits. It increases yields: Most climbing vegetable varieties bear heavier and longer than bush types. By providing better aeration, it can reduce disease. In one study, North Carolina State University researchers found that trellised cucumbers (which also had the bottom foot of foliage pruned) produced much healthier plants, and twice as many fruits, as untrellised vines. Vertical growing also creates cooler microclimates for understory crops. And it adds visual appeal to the overall garden.

One more thing: Most bush varieties were bred from climbing ones, and many growers think the original climbing cultivars have better, old-fashioned flavor. As a seed-saver friend of mine once put it, "Why stoop to pick inferior-tasting peas?"

Of course, short varieties do offer some conveniences. Since those bush beans, dwarf tomatoes and other determinate varieties cease growing at a set height, they're often able to stand on their own. And they bear all at once rather than over an extended period. But to my mind, the benefits of trellising crops are well worth the efforts.

Best Trellis Supports

For plants to grow up a trellis or other support, you first have to build it. Most have two parts—the main structural framing and some form of internal netting.

Some common supports are wood posts, metal stakes and thick-walled rigid PVC pipe. Rot-resistant black locust, cedar and redwood all make long-lasting wooden posts, but almost any sapling tree trunks (three to five inches in diameter) will give several years of service—more if brought inside for the winter. Treated posts are also available commercially. For each post, dig a two-foot-deep hole (a posthole digger is the best tool for this job), set the support in place, and tamp the dirt around it with a stout pole or rod. Horizontal slats nailed to the underground portion of these posts will add extra stability in sandy soil.

Don't forget bamboo. This grass is unbelievably strong, yet its hollow chambers give it great rot resistance and light weight. If you have a place where it can spread (and it will), consider planting your own patch of this versatile, free building material.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vertical-gardening-zmaz89jazsto.aspx#axzz38JcKiYUh

Natural-terrain schoolyards reduce children’s stress, says CU-Boulder study

green schoolyardsPlaying in schoolyards that feature natural habitats and trees and not just asphalt and recreation equipment reduces children’s stress and inattention, according to a University of Colorado Boulder study.

Working on class assignments or gardening in such settings also provide stress-reducing benefits for youth, according to a paper published in the journal Health & Place. The study is one of the first of its kind to focus on the relationship between student access to green settings and stress.

“Many schools already offer stress management programs, but they’re about teaching individuals how to deal with stress instead of creating stress-reducing environments,” said Louise Chawla, CU-Boulder professor of environmental design and lead author of the study. “Schools are where children spend a major part of their life hours, so it’s an important place to look at for integrating daily contact with the natural world because of the many benefits it brings.”

Natural-terrain schoolyards -- with dirt, scrub oak and water features, for example -- foster supportive relationships and feelings of competence, the researchers found.

Combination schoolyards that have at least some natural-habitat landscaping, even if they include built structures as well, can have positive impacts on children, said Chawla, who also is the director of CU-Boulder’s Children, Youth and Environments Center.

Co-authors of the paper included three former doctoral students: Kelly Keena and Illène Pevec, both who were at the University of Colorado Denver; and Emily Stanley, who was at Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H.

For the study, a variety of settings were observed including elementary-school students’ recess in wooded and built areas; fourth- through sixth-grade students’ use of a natural habitat for science and writing lessons; and high school students’ gardening for volunteerism, required school service or coursework.

The sites were located at a private elementary school in Baltimore that serves children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities; a public elementary school in suburban Denver with students from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds; and four public and private entities for teenagers -- a college preparatory school, a public high school, an alternative school and an afterschool program -- throughout Colorado.

Together the researchers logged more than 1,200 hours of observation. They interviewed students, teachers, parents and alumni and coded keywords from the interviews for their findings, among other methods.

Over three school years at the Baltimore elementary school recess site, 96 percent of students in the first through fourth grades chose to play in the woods when they had the option of heading either there, to a playground or to an athletic field. In the woods, the younger children freely engaged in exploratory and sensory-based activities. The older children cooperatively organized activities like building forts and trading found objects.

Teachers at the Baltimore elementary school reported that the students returned from recess with longer attention spans. Some parents said the experience was empowering and critical to their child’s well-being and social and emotional balance.

Students at the Denver elementary school, who completed assignments in a natural habitat, found the process to be an escape from stress in the classroom and at home, according to the study. Twenty-five percent of the students spontaneously described the green area as “peaceful” or “calm.”

There also were anecdotal observations at the Denver school. In one case for example, a group of menacing schoolmates were unable to provoke a student in the green space whose temper normally was quick to escalate, according to the author.

“In more than 700 hours of observations at the Denver school’s green outdoor space, zero uncivil behaviors were observed,” said Chawla. “But there were many incidences of arguments and rudeness indoors, as there are at many schools.”

Among the teenage participants throughout Colorado who gardened, 46 percent referred to calm, peace and relaxation in addition to other positive descriptors when reflecting on their experiences. They also gave four main reasons for their favorable reactions: being outdoors in fresh air; feeling connected to a natural living system; successfully caring for living things; and having time for quiet self-reflection.

For schools that are interested in providing natural habitats for students but only have built outdoor spaces, Chawla suggests tearing out some areas of asphalt or creating joint-use agreements with city parks and open space.

“Schools are really prime sites for an ecological model of health and for building access to nature into part of the school routine as a health measure,” said Chawla.

Source: CU-Boulder media relations

9 reasons to try canning this summer

From reducing waste and saving money to preserving seasonal produce, there are many reasons why traditional canning is making a comeback.

homemade_dill_pickles.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scaleCanning, whether it’s making fruit jam or pickling vegetables, gives me a lot of satisfaction. The more I do, the easier and more efficient it gets. Recently, my grandmother lamented that canning is a dying art, but I disagreed and told her that I think more people are starting to see the value in processing seasonal produce to enjoy all year round. Here are some of the reasons why I think a growing number of people are incorporating canning into their summer routines.

1. Canning is almost zero-waste

You can reuse the same glass jars and screw lids year after year. The only new item needed is snap-lids, since you must have a fresh, new seal in order to keep the food properly preserved.

2. Canning is a way to preserve the freshest local produce

Fruits and vegetables are always best when eaten in their proper season, and canning enables you to keep that wonderful taste of early summer strawberries and late summer peaches to enjoy in the middle of winter. Nothing at the supermarket can compare.

3. Canning at home allows you to keep additives out of your food

When you can at home, you know exactly what’s going into those jars. Most recipes require minimal ingredients – just fruit, sugar, and lemon for jams, and vinegar, salt, and spices for pickles. You won’t need to worry about extra sodium or unrecognizable ingredients or BPA in store-bought cans.

4. Canning teaches kids about where their food comes from

Many kids think that food just comes from the supermarket. Explain to them how the seasons work, and how certain foods grow and ripen naturally at particular times of the year. Take them to pick fruit, which is a fun family activity.

Read more: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-reasons-try-canning-summer.html

Stop the Violence Within

Never speak badly about yourself.

It’s a simple statement, one many of us would agree with in concept. But do you follow it’s advice? Probably not. Because our inner critic speaks to us in a voice so familiar we rarely notice it’s presence.

Recently, I had a friend say out loud with absolute conviction: “God, I’m such a (expletive) idiot.” She said this more than once, and I was taken back to my childhood where this type of mental patterning was more commonly accepted. I used to say this out loud to myself all the time. Now, I just say it internally.

If we want to be free and happy, we cannot afford the luxury of negative thinking. It’s been years since I’ve allowed myself such overt and out loud negative mental patterning, but hearing my friend say it reminded me of just how insidious verbal self abuse can be. It’s the proverbial pink elephant in the room, but it’s an internal room that only we can see, so detecting the problem can be a challenge unto itself.

Many of us desire to create excellent, adventurous lives. But without our even knowing it, we could be sabotaging our plans. This got my direct attention recently when I had one of those “cranky” days (that’s code for bitchy and depressed.) I was out of sorts and nothing seemed to be going right.

I wondered: When I am in this foul humor, what is really playing out? In this cranky state, I find my old negative mental pattern comes charging through, but now it’s more subtle than my childhood. I find I give myself a hard time. I find that I become a really judgmental guy, and that this judgment is particularly harsh. In fact, as I sit with it and try to understand it more, it all boils down to this: I am simply being mentally violent, and violence is never, ever good.

Given that I am much more comfortable in my role as a lover of peace, these moments of being in a foul humor really shake me up. I am reminded of Gandhi who lived with two great goals: living truthfully (Satya Graha), and living in non violence (Ahimsa).

Read more: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/will-donnelly/stop-violence-within

Study Finds Elementary Students Like New Healthier Lunches

Students Complained When Regulations Implemented, But Ultimately Found Them Agreeable

When the federal government implemented new school-meal regulations in 2012, a majority of elementary-school students complained about the healthier lunches, but by the end of the school year most found the food agreeable, according to survey results released Monday.

The peer-reviewed study comes amid concerns that the regulations led schools to throw away more uneaten food and prompted some students to drop out of meal programs.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators at more than 500 primary schools about student reaction to the new meals in the 2012-2013 school year. They found that 70% agreed or strongly agreed that students, by the end of the school year, generally liked the new lunches, which feature more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and lower fat levels.

"We feel like these data support the new meals and show that although change can be slow, there have not been as many student complaints as thought to be," said Lindsey Turner, the lead author of the study, which will be published in the journal Childhood Obesity. The research was supported by a national group called Bridging the Gap that studies policies that improve health and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which backs public-health initiatives.

In another study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this past spring, researchers found that students were eating more fruits and vegetables under the new guidelines.

The school-meal standards have been contentious. Some Republicans criticized their calorie limits—the first time the government had imposed such a mandate on school meals—and in 2012 introduced legislation in the House to repeal the requirements. The standards also spurred student-led lunch boycotts in some districts.

Participation in the school-meal program has declined in recent years, fueling questions about the regulations' impact.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/articles/study-finds-elementary-students-like-new-healthier-lunches-1405962033

Breaking the Grip of the Fossil Fuel Economy: If It Can Happen in Appalachia, It Can Happen Anywhere

Coal production is gradually leaving Appalachia—having already extracted much of the region's natural wealth. Local people are figuring out how to build a new economy based on shared vision and community knowledge. If transition can happen here, it can change the debate everywhere.

Benham, Kentucky photo courtesy of Appalachian Transition FellowsBenham, Ky., in the heart of Harlan County, is a quiet place with a proud sign that has been amended over time to read, "Benham, the little town that International Harvester, coal miners and their families built."

International Harvester, a farm-equipment conglomerate created by industrial speculator J.P. Morgan, bought up Benham’s land and mineral rights soon after the turn of the century in order to supply Wisconsin steelworks with Appalachia's high-quality coal.

All at once, a trappers' and hunters' hamlet became a churning coal-camp town. International Harvester designed the streets, built the houses, attracted the workers, and ran the coal north by rail. Miners were paid good wages when there was work (especially later, when workers were unionized), but most of the workers' cash went straight back to International Harvester—which owned the two-story department store, the cinema, the hospital, the power company, and every significant business in town.

"The people who agreed to spend their days digging coal from the underside of mountains produced enough power to industrialize the nation: They're owed something back."

Half a century later, new machines took miners' jobs and new technology enabled customers to burn cheaper coal. IH started laying off miners and selling its properties, taking its profits with it—as it had the coal.

Between 1960 and 2012, Harlan County shrank from more than 51,000 residents to fewer than 30,000. Benham's population (now under 500) set about building a new economy.

Read more: http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/appalachia-s-post-coal-economy

Waking Up Gently to Save the World

It’s exciting to see sleep getting some well-deserved publicity lately for the important role it plays in overall life balance, physical, emotional and spiritual. From Fortune 500 CEOs to neuroscientists, major media outlets to bloggers, sources of all kinds are urging us to prioritize sleep as a pathway to success and wellness.

In his absolutely game-changing new book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown speaks about cultivating the “wisdom to sleep”. Yes, the wisdom. I appreciate that concept, especially in the face of so much foolish pressure I’ve seen in activist circles to sacrifice sleep in order to push on and ‘get the job done’. (Incidentally, the wisdom to sleep, along with space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play and discipline to apply highly selective criteria in making choices, are McKeown’s pillars for becoming an essentialist.  He says:  “By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.”

I’ve realized lately that it’s not just about getting enough sleep, but also about how we move out of sleep and into our day. So I hope you’ll join me in building hype and momentum for an essential and burgeoning movement in favor of waking up gently . I know that by waking up gently we can cultivate more joy, more peace, reduce anxiety, and have more energy to make that essential contribution towards what really matters.

Imagine waking to the sound of birds or laughter slowly increasing in volume. Yes, there’s an app for that. Or waking up after a dream cycle has completed, rather than being jarred awake while in the middle of one. Yep, there’s an app for that too. Or how about waking to the sound of someone softly and playfully singing your name? I experienced this gift from the wake up team at a Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) retreat a number of years back. Rather than walking amongst our cabins banging on pots and pans, they serenaded us with a soothing tune, calling us awake lovingly and by name. Activists at the retreat mentioned the wake up as a highlight of the event, and many said they awoke crying tears of joy!

Read more: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/celia-alario/waking-gently-save-world

6 Bad Postures That Are Ruining Your Health & How To Correct Them

posturesStraighten up that back soldier! No seriously, if you are like the majority of the population, chances are you are suffering from symptoms correlated with bad posture. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, it’s easy to see that I have forward neck/head posture. This is normally caused by a variation of weak neck muscles, seated job positions, incorrect sleeping positions, and prolonged computer or TV use. But other than the un-esthetic aspect of bad posture, there’s really not much to worry about right? Wrong.

Over time, poor posture takes a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat or build strength. Worst of all, bad posture can cause nerve constriction. As the spine changes in shape, the resulting movements or subluxations can put pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves. Because the nerves that connect to the spine come from all over the body, these pinched nerves can not only cause neck and back pain but may also cause pain in other unrelated areas of the body. The following article will explore 6 common bad posture positions that many of us are making and will provide solutions to help correct these postures.

Read more: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/07/6-bad-postures-that-are-ruining-your-health-how-to-correct-them.html

9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dreaming

o-DREAMING-facebookThere’s a lot we still don’t understand when it comes to sleep. We know certain changes occur in the brain, and we have a few guesses as to why, but even the experts only have theories about many aspects of sleep in general and dreaming in particular.

Sleep has long been thought of as a way to process, sort and store the day’s events, and more and more research is supporting that notion. Imagine the brain as a second gut, says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in integrative sleep and dream medicine at the University of Arizona. “At night, the brain metaphorically swallows, digests and sifts through information, and, just like the gut, eliminates,” he says. “What the brain keeps becomes a part of who we are.” Dreaming, he says, is like the brain’s digestive system.

But there’s plenty about dreaming we only think we know. Below, a few of the little-known facts and bogus myths about dreams.

We dream all night long.

You’ve probably heard that dreams only occur during rapid eye movement or REM sleep. But we’re actually constantly dreaming, says Naiman. We’re more tuned in to dreams during REM sleep, he says, but just because you don’t “see” the dream, doesn’t mean it’s not there. As the night progresses, periods of REM sleep lengthen, so the majority of our dreams occur within the latter third of the night, he says.

Insects and fish don’t have REM sleep.

Although some dreams happen outside of REM sleep, identifying rapid eye movement in other species is about as close as we can get to predicting whether those creatures dream, according to University of California researchers. But all mammals and reptiles and some birds do experience REM sleep, and therefore likely dream, according to Popular Science.

You’re less likely to remember a dream if your alarm jolts you awake.

The trauma of an alarm dragging you into the waking world can cause you to forget where you were floating just moments before. The best way to remember your dreams, says Naiman, is to allow yourself to wake up slowly, over a matter of minutes, lolling about in your grogginess. Just don’t try too hard to hold onto those fleeting images. “If you chase a dream, it’s going to run away,” he says.

People who remember their dreams show different brain activity.

A 2014 study found more spontaneous activity in a part of the brain called the temporo-parietal junction among people who regularly recall their dreams, compared with people who rarely do. The differences weren’t just during sleep, but also while study participants were awake. Previous research found that people who remember more dreams also react more to sounds during sleep (and while awake) than people who don’t remember many dreams.

Read more: http://earthweareone.com/9-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-dreaming/