As long as you’re leaving I’m happy.

There are many ways to proceed towards minimalism. Over at The Minimalists for example,  Joshua had a gradual process followed by a leap. For Ryan however, it was one giant leap, starting with a packing party.

http://www.theminimalists.com/21days/day3/

I find the packing party a really attractive proposition, but given my circumstances,  it’s  not realistically achievable . The family are not exactly on the same page as me, so I’m dealing purely with my stuff.  I also have health issues that mean taking on big projects isn’t possible. Every large project has to broken up into do-able chunks.

So here I am, moving towards minimalism by  degrees. But it’s very easy to drift  and lose sight of the goal this way.  So I have a pact with myself that every day, as long as  something leaves the house, or is prepared for leaving the house such as being put on sale, I’m happy.  Every day when I go through my stuff my mantra is, as long as you’re leaving I’m happy.

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What you can hide in curry and other dirty secrets.

As you may know I’ve been taking part in Mrs Green’s ”Use it up!” challenge .

http://myzerowaste.com/2012/06/mrs-greens-use-it-up-challenge

So on Thursday I made a huge batch of vegetable and chickpea curry, which should do for 3 meals, to which I added a lot of ingredients that needed using up. Here’s the list of those things, plus a few other ideas I’ve used before.

2 tins chickpeas

dried coconut strips (add early on so they can soften)

half a small pack of redskin peanuts

2 tablespoons of peanut butter.  It adds a smoother, more cohesive, dimension to vegetable curries. I have big bucket of peanut butter in the fridge and it’s gone dry and past its best. It’s still fine, just not so good in sandwiches anymore.

1 wizened pear, still good, just old. I frequently add apples or pears that are still ok, but not so nice to eat raw, to curries. Chopped up small you would never know they were in there as they tend to dissolve into the curry. I have occasionally added banana, but you have to be careful as banana has a strong taste.

A couple of spoons of peach salsa. You can add salsa to curry or pasta sauce. It works well providing it’s not too strongly flavoured. Even a bit of a hot salsa adds a nice spicy dimension to pasta sauce.  A bit of tomato ketchup works well in chilli or pasta sauce, as well as in curry.

A tablespoon of aubergine pickle that I bought, but wasn’t keen on the brand’s flavour. I keep adding a bit to every curry. In the past I’ve added bits of chutney or pickles . Provided you don’t add too much, as it can make it too vinegary, and that it doesn’t have a conflicting flavour, dill pickle for instance would rarely work, pickles and chutneys add a piquancy that can really make the dish.

I find a tiny piece of Kaffir lime peel is great in a lentil curry.

All these things may sound disgusting, but they really do work and blend in well, adding extra flavour and texture to what could otherwise be a boring curry.