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Leftovers and Recycling

food-kitchen-cutting-board-cookingOily raggers are not the sort of people to let anything go to waste. It is no surprise that they have lots of ideas to make the most of what others throw out. Here are some suggestions from readers – first on leftovers:

  • Use leftover breakfast cereal in muffins. Delicious when mixed with stewed apple and rhubarb. – D.G.
  • If you have left over cake, biscuits, trifle sponge, etc turn it into a steamed pudding. Just mix all together, bind with a little milk, put a dollop of jam or golden syrup in the bottom of the steamed pudding bowl and drop in your mixture. Steam for about one hour. – D.M.
  • Every one has left overs and they go in the fridge and come out a week later nothing like when they went in, OK put them in but the next day pack them in what ever containers you have and put into the freezer, when you have enough to 1/2 fill a casserole dish in a bowl mix 1 cup cheese, 1/2 cup milk, 4 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup flour, salt & pepper, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, {and any other herb you have in the garden] and if you have silver beet in the garden about 10 leaves sliced up fine with stalks, mix it up and pour over your casserole dish and stir to just mix ,if you have tomatoes to use up slice over the top, bake about 30 to 45 min’s [depends on what your left overs are] until it starts to leave the sides and is a nice brown top, eat hot with a salad or cold as a lunch slice, you can add cooked meat or raw fish or a can of salmon as a treat. – Blueberry, Picton.   
  • When sandwiches are left over use them by placing them in a roasting dish. Scramble some eggs and pour over the sandwiches. Bake until golden brown – turns out life a fluffy omelette. – A.M.
  • We don’t do leftovers in our home. What self respecting “Oily-Ragger” does? We have “the fixings for a Smorgasbord”, which happens every Friday night. Any and all leftovers are nuked, baked or snavelled from the depths of the freezer and fridge and popped on the table. Smorgy Night. No takeaways for my clan. And surprisingly this is the night when my teenager tends to bring home her friends who love our Friday night Smorgys. – Waste Not Want Not Lauren, Whangarei.

And now, some recycling tips:

  • Use inside “plastic” bags from cereal packets to wrap left-over food instead of grease-proof paper. I use it to wrap my lunch and it keeps fresh. Just wipe and dry it each night. – J.J.
  • Don’t throw your old basketballs away. Simply cut the tops of and poke a few holes in the base of the ball. Fill with sphagnum moss and soil, and fill with plants, Poke four holes evenly around the top and hang up with rope or what you have lying around. Makes a good hanging basket. Have fun. – Dianne MacDonald.
  • When dried, orange peel makes an excellent fire starter. – O.R.
  • Paper towel cardboard rolls are a convenient and tidy way of storing plastic bags in your drawer. I just stuff the plastic bags in, and pull them out when needed. – Anon.

If you have a favourite tip, share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at

* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at The book is available from bookstores and online at

Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman