The Poorman's Meal #Sponsored by OXO

A few weeks ago I talked about how to regrow green onions using nothing but leftover onions, a glass, and some water. It's a great way to stretch things a little further in kitchen and hardly requires any work at all. Today I thought it was time for my next tip: how to reduce kitchen waste, especially from produce that isn't being used up quickly enough.

Let's face it, we've all been there. Sometimes you have an over abundance of food from the garden or a recent shopping trip and sometimes you just plain forgot you had something and it's starting to look a little sorry. I frequently find myself in this situation, so every other week I make a dish I've always known as The Poorman's Meal. I'm sure it has a billion and one other names, but that's what I've always known it as, so we'll just keep the name for now (even though it's probably not politically correct.)

This dish consists of whatever odds and ends I have on hand that are starting to get old. In our case it's usually some really wrinkly bell peppers, onions and potatoes that have started sprouting, and the last sausage in the package that I've forgotten to use up. The nice thing about this meal is that there is no recipe. I've seen it made with green beans and bacon instead of sausage and peppers, you just toss whatever leftovers you have in a skillet, cook them up, and season it with a little salt, pepper, and garlic. This meal couldn't possibly be easier and it's a great way to reduce your kitchen waste while spending only a trivial amount of time actually cooking. 

Don't forget to keep reading after the recipe for a quick review of a great tool from OXO that will help you on your quest to reduce waste in your kitchen. 

Want more tips for using up your leftovers? Make sure to check out our posts for Southern-Style Sawmill Sausage Gravy (to use up expired milk) and Banana Split Bread (for brown bananas.)

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

The Poorman's Meal
makes approximately 3 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large potato, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
6 - 8 ounces sausage (I use Andouille)
sea salt, black pepper, and garlic, to taste

Directions

  • In a saucepan melt butter. Add sliced potato, bell pepper, onion, and sausage. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, flip the potatoes so they brown on both sides, then cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Season with sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder before serving.

Notes

If you find you're out of one of the ingredients listed, try substituting the missing ingredient for something you do have. I've seen this made in a number of different ways and it's always been tasty. If you want a real treat, trying making it with maple sausage links instead of the andouille, fry or scramble some eggs, then serve it as breakfast for dinner. This is one of those meals that's tasty any time of the day.

OXO Chef's Mandoline 2.0 | Not Starving Yet

Review

 

OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0:

When I talk about reducing waste in the kitchen the first thing that springs to mind for most people is food waste. The simple truth is this: most people toss a good portion of the groceries they purchase each week. Often times it's leftovers that have gone uneaten or produce that has spoiled before it could be used. This translates into a lot of money that goes straight into the landfill. This wasted food and money is one of the reasons I make sure to incorporate dishes like the poor mans's meal into our menu rotation frequently—it cuts down on one form of the waste I frequently see in our kitchen.

Now I want to give you a little food for thought—food isn't the only thing that people waste when they're cooking. Time is another thing that is frequently wasted, but it's not something most people stop to consider.

If you're anything like me then you've probably wasted plenty of time standing at the fridge wondering what to cook. You've also likely wasted time searching for missing ingredients in your disorganized pantry or making last-minute trips to the store because you've discovered half way through a recipe you're missing a key ingredient. Anyone who has cooked a meal has been there, but what you may not realize is that you've also been wasting time by using tools that aren't quite up to the job at hand. This may sound like common sense, but having the right tool for the job can save a lot of time and that extra 15 minutes you save by using a more efficient tool can make the difference between a home cooked meal and ordering takeout for the third night in a row because you're too tired to cook.

That said, I've actually been a naysayer when it comes to using some of these time-saving tools in my kitchen. I don't have a large kitchen, so every tool I own needs to be a multi-tasker and it needs to perform well. To date I've not had a good experience with using a mandoline as the one I've own for years is a bit of a heath-hazard. The blade is always falling out and at one point took a huge chunk out of my hand that resulted in a trip to urgent care. Early in our marriage my poor husband came home to an unlocked apartment with a trail of blood leading clear across it, then discovered I was no where to be found. I was at urgent care receiving nearly 15 stitches while he wondered how an axe murdered got into the apartment.

After that I tucked the mandoline away and went back to using a knife, which works well for most tasks, but it's not always the most efficient way to cut up a huge pile of potatoes or vegetables (especially if you want them thinly and evenly sliced.) 

When OXO offered to send me the new version of their chef's mandoline I was curious to see how it differed from the model I had from their competition. The first change I noticed is that the blades are permanently stored in the mandoline, you'll still need to slide them out to adjust the type of cut you want, straight or crinkle, but they're locked in to place firmly and won't fall out. Even fine-tuning the thickness of your slices is simple—there's a red slider bar that adjusts in 0.5-mm intervals allowing a paper thin cut or something thicker like I used for today's recipe. You can even make julienne, waffle, and French fry cuts with the turn of a knob. The easy adjustment knob and the blades that stay put solved the two biggest pet peeves I had when using a mandoline. It was incredibly easy to set the thickness I want and produce a pile of potatoes that were uniform in size and therefore cooked evenly.

A mandoline may not be for everyone, but there are certain times when using one is much faster—especially if you have a huge pile of potatoes, zucchini, squash, or onions that you need to cut into uniform slices. If you find yourself performing this task on a regular basis, then it's definitely a time saving tool you may want to consider for your kitchen. 

Where to Purchase


OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Summer Travel Survival Kit #Sponsored by Anker

The last day of school is officially here and if it isn't yet for the rest of you, it soon will be! Most of my summer will be spent chilling out by our little blue wading pool and enjoying the warm summer sun with my little man, but as always we have a fair amount of travel planned. We'll be starting with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland! I'll be sharing more details about the trip (as well as a few fabulous Irish recipes) over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Before I kick off our summer plans I thought I'd take a minute to share the handful of items that come along with me when I travel to help keep me sane. I tend to pack light when I travel, so only the barest of necessities make it on the plane with me. I have a small bag that holds my camera, a sweater and change of clothing, as well as my toiletries, then a handful of items that I consider necessary to survival in the event my flight is delayed. So without further ado, here is what you'll find in my travel survival kit:

DISCLOSURE:  Anker has provided me with a set of 6 foot USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Anker has provided me with a set of 6 foot USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Kindle Paperwhite: I've always been an avid reader, so my kindle goes everywhere I do. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't make the time to read at least a few chapters. If you're curious, I'm currently working through two different time travel series: Jodi Taylor's the Chronicles of St. Mary's and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I'm on a huge time travel kick right now!

Larabars: The key to keeping me happy and quiet during a long day at the airport is to stuff my mouth full and leave me alone to read my book in peace. This is why I keep a stash of treats in my bag. If you're a fan of pie (lets be honest, who isn't) then I'll suggest my favorites: Cherry PIe, Coconut Cream Pie, or Pecan Pie. You really can't go wrong with any flavor that ends in pie.

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Charger: I've started carrying a portable charger for longer trips because there have been numerous occasions, especially during peak travel season, where I've been unable to find a charging station that's open. This one holds enough juice to charge my iPhone several times and still top off my kindle.

Anker Powerline+ 6 Foot Cables: I'm a huge fan of Anker products in general which is why I mention them so frequently on the blog, but these cables are fabulous and have held up to a lot of abuse. I normally keep a set of the 1 foot USB cables in my everyday carry bag (both Lightning and USB C) but I've discovered that the shorter cables aren't convenient for airport travel as they're not long enough to reach most of the charging stations—unless you want to remain standing the whole time. That's ok if you're only at the gate for 30 minutes and need a quick charge, but delays are commonplace these days and I frequently find myself stranded for hours. Another nice feature of the 6 foot cables is the magnetic pouch, it helps keep everything contained and makes it easy to adjust the length of the cables as necessary. 

Moleskine Journal and Pilot G-2 Ink Pen: I like to go technology free as much as possible on vacation, so I always carry a good notebook and my favorite ink pen for taking quick notes about potential recipe ideas or amazing food I've come across on my travels that I'd like to share with you. 

Do you have any must-have items when you travel? Make sure to comment below and let me know your favorites.
 


Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Anker has provided me with a set of USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Behind the Scenes at Not Starving Yet with the Anker SoundCore Mini #Sponsored

I think I've mentioned this before, but I do about 75% of my writing away from home. The rest is accomplished at my kitchen table, or it was until I decided that I really needed a more comfortable place to work. The trouble is that our house isn't large by anyone's standards, so carving out even a small space meant I had to really consider what was necessary for me to work efficiently.

I learned a lot during last years downsizing of my mobile office—I don't use half of what I had been carrying with me and the same was true of my home workspace. I really only need a small portion of what I keep on hand, so step one was a massive purge of old props, papers, and other whatnots. That was a painful process, let me tell you, because I hoard bits and bobs like nobody's business. I eventually got through everything, then set about designing my new workspace.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes.   As always, all opinions are my own.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

The most difficult part of the whole process was finding furniture that would fit in the small corner I carved out of out guest room. There isn't enough room for a desk, but EKBY Hemnes Shelf from IKEA is just wide enough for my laptop so it makes an excellent makeshift desk, plus it happens to match the bookcases I bought. Coupled with a super comfortable Slipper Chair from Target, it makes a nice little writing nook (I absolutely love these chairs, we have several and they're the perfect size for a vertically challenged person such as myself. Plus they've got some great fabric choices.)

Once I had the basics decided on it was time to find a way to organize everything—I have an obscene amount of props that are stacked in random places throughout our house. A handful of Wire Storage Bins, a dozen or so 10qt and 25qt Sterilite Storage Bins, and some Hanging File Desk Organizers (for keeping my poster tubes full of backdrops in check) helped keep most of my props out of sight and cut down on the clutter in the kitchen. 

Then it was time for the fun stuff; those little touches that give a workspace personality. The first thing to go on the wall was my Alfred Hitchcock poster from Apple's Think Different campaign. It has been in every office I've had since the late 90s because I find the message from the campaign inspirational.

After that I added a few odds and ends to my bookshelf: some Dip Bowls from Target to hold miscellaneous office supplies, a set of A - Z bookends that I found on etsy, some coffee mugs to store my favorite pens. I called it a day with decorating after that. My office will never be minimalist, but I am attempting to keep the random bits and bobs down to the bare necessities.
 

It really doesn't help that I like pretty, shiny things...

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Last but not least are the electronics: a macbook retina, a Drobo 5C (for photo and document backup), and the latest addition, the Anker SoundCore Mini. My standard workday includes a lot of singing along (very off-key and at the top of my lungs) to whatever music has caught my attention lately. Music is integral to both my writing and my cooking, so I've been looking for a pint-size speaker with good battery life that will act as a replacement for the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks that I've been using since college.

The compact size of the SoundCore Mini makes it perfect for a tiny workspace like mine. It's small enough that I can tuck it away in one of my decorative bowls to keep my desk unclutered or take it from room to room as I need to move throughout the day. I don't even need to track down my phone when I want to switch rooms—it can stay on the charging station in our back bedroom and still stream music in the kitchen without the speaker disconnecting.

The range on this speaker is impressive.

Now, as much as I love this speaker, it does have one huge downside—especially if you're looking to listen to the radio instead of streaming music from your phone. The volume control and FM tuner use the same button, so it's easy to accidentally switch radio stations when what you really meant to do was turn the volume up.

As long as it didn't affect the size of the speaker I'd love to see a separate button for the radio adjustment as well as a digital read-out so it's easier to figure out which station I have the device set to. I'd listen to the local radio stations a lot more if this feature was more intuitive, but considering how rarely I've listened to the radio in the last 10 years neither of these features are high up on my must-have list. If given the choice I'd pick a smaller form factor or longer battery life over more intuitive FM tuner—it just isn't a feature I'd use often at all, even with improvement.

Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that a sample was provided to me free of charge by Anker, for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Our Thoughts on Hello Fresh #NotSponsored

I've had a lot of people ask me about meal services and my Facebook feed has been inundated with people talking about their experiences, so I decided it was time to try them out—starting with Hello Fresh (since they had an awesome Black Friday deal this year.)  

Though we frequently post sponsored content, today's post has not been sponsored by Hello Fresh (just in case you were wondering)

Though we frequently post sponsored content, today's post has not been sponsored by Hello Fresh (just in case you were wondering)

Ordering
 


The process was straight forward, you have three plans to choose from: Classic, Veggie, or Family. Then you'll need to select how many people you're cooking for (options were 2 or 4), how many meals you'd like delivered, and your delivery date

I opted to go with the veggie plan. My little guy is a self imposed vegetarian, so I knew anything with meat wasn't going to pass muster with him, but I could always add a protein source if anyone else wanted one. I actually opted for that route with one of the meals to stretch the meal a little further so I had lunch for the next day.

Hello Fresh Menu 12/2 - 12/8

What's in the box?

 

Two blocks of ice, a frozen food bubble bag (to help keep things cool), a reusable recipe book, and three meal kits from the veggie plan: Protein-Packed Rice Bowl, Pesto Flatbread (aka Posh Pizza), and Jamie's Easy-peasy Tomato Tagliatelle with Asparagus, Fresh Basil & Parmesan.

Each meal comes in its own separate box so there is no confusion about which ingredients are used in a particular recipe. If you happen to be allergic to (or don't particularly enjoy) one of the ingredients in a recipe it's easy to remove it and substitute something else.

Protein-Packed Rice Bowl
 


Time it took to prepare and cook: 30 minutes (as listed on meal card) 
Quality of ingredients: Excellent
Any trouble with this recipe? Yes. The recipe called for sesame seeds, but they were missing from my box.
Picky kid approved? Yes. He ate my entire serving plus part of the leftovers. 
Would I make this again? No. This is a bland, but serviceable meal. It's real downfall is that it's exactly how I made fried rice when I was in college and couldn't afford to order takeout.

Pesto Flatbread

 

Time it took to prepare: 30 minutes (as listed on meal card)
Quality of ingredients: Excellent
Any trouble with this recipe? No
Picky kid approved? Yes, in fact he ate most of my share too.
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this was my favorite meal in the box.

Tomato Tagliatelle

 

Time it took to prepare: 25 minutes (as listed on meal card)
Quality of ingredients: Good. The basil arrived slightly discolored, which is likely because it was shipped on ice and got too cold (basil is very temperature sensitive.) It didn't affect the final dish at all.
Any trouble with this recipe? No, but I felt like it needed more salt.
Picky kid approved? Mostly. He picked out the larger asparagus pieces and ate the smaller ones. To be fair, that may have been because his two front teeth were loose. 
Would I make this again? Yes, this is a quick and easy meal I can make from items I generally have on hand.

Added bonus

 

I had a little bit of produce leftover from two of the meals (half a zucchini and half a can of corn) which I used as side dishes later in the week.

 

How to Cancel


Hello Fresh makes cancellation easy, although it is a multi-step process with a survey at the end. The nice thing is that you also have the option to have a box delivered bi-weekly, monthly, or even pause your subscription (in case you're heading out on vacation.) Otherwise you click on No Thanks and either cancel right away or schedule one last delivery. 

After I cancelled my subscription I did not receive another delivery, although I do still get emails from Hello Fresh. You'll need to unsubscribe from those separately if you no longer want to hear about the service.

My Thoughts

 

Meal services such as this really have a lot going for them and I see why they appeal to such a large number of people. You really can't beat the convenience of having everything you need delivered to your door, requiring minimal work on your part to ensure you have a tasty and healthy meal on the table in under 45 minutes. 

If you're always pressed for time and struggle to get a healthy meal on the table every night, then a service like this can be a blessing. It's also great if you find yourself stuck in a rut, always fixing the same handful of things. You'll have three new meals to try out and if you like them you still have the recipe cards so you can make them again.

The problem is, you really pay a premium for the convenience. Three meals at full price would have set me back $59 (and considerably more for the other plans.) To put that in perspective, I spend slightly more than that a week to feed our family 3 meals a day plus snacks (my budget for the entire month is around $400.) The price isn't something I could afford on a regular basis, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't use the service again.

There are a number of instances where I could see myself ordering again, not just for myself, but for someone else. This would make a great gift for a recent graduate, young professional, or busy mom (especially one who's recently had a baby.) I'd even consider subscribing again if I went on vacation and had a kitchen to cook in so I wouldn't have to spend part of my vacation obsessing over what to feed everyone.  

Have you tried Hello Fresh or another meal service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.