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Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle can be as easy as collecting recipe ideas for the ingredients you have. Whether it’s a bunch of leftover fresh herbs or the last spoonful of mustard, there are many delicious ways to breathe new life into these scraps that doesn’t involve cooking and eating them right away. Here are 7 inspirations for you. 

1. Got Bananas? Make Smoothies

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If you’ve got browning bananas and aren’t in the mood for banana bread, simply cut them up unto good-size chunks and toss them into the freezer. You can pull them out anything to whizz up a smoothie or defrost a handful to make banana pancakes and other baked goods. 

2. Got Bread? Make Breadcrumbs

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Run your stale bread through the food processor with your choice of herbs and spices to make flavourful breadcrumbs that you can keep in the freezer. Use them from frozen as a coating or topping for fried and baked dishes or mix in some shredded cheese to make a filling for baked mushrooms.

3. Got Herbs? Make Flavoured Oils

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Preserve leftover herbs and spices, like thyme, rosemary, chilli, and garlic, by infusing them in mild olive oil. You’d get an aromatic oil that is perfect to drizzle atop salads, serve as a dip for bread, or use it in cooking to give it a flavour boost. 

4. Got Mustard? Make Dressings

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Down to the last few spoonfuls of mustard in the jar? Waste not want not by making salad dressings in the jar. Simply add vinegar, honey, olive oil, and any other flavourings straight into the mustard jar, replace the lid, and give it a good shake to mix it all up. Not only is it the perfect sauce for your greens, it also comes in its own container.

5. Got Cheese? Make Sauce

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For the bits and pieces of leftover curds on your cheeseboard, gather them up to make a cheesy white sauce that you use as to ladle over pasta, meats, and cooked veggies, or use as a base for a hearty pasta bake. If you have leftover Parmesan rind, make sure to save them in the freezer and use it as a flavour enhancer when you make soup, stew, or risotto.

6. Got Jam? Make Drinks

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Can’t scrape up that last bit spoonful of jam? Use it to make cocktails and mocktails alike by pouring in some liquor or fruit juice and shake it a good shake. If the jam or marmalade is a little too thick, add a bit of warm water to help break it up before adding other ingredients. Citruses are a safe bet for most concoctions, but feel free to experiment.

7. Got Coffee Grounds? Make Tenderised Meats

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If you’re a javaphile with your own espresso machine, save your coffee grounds to use as a natural meat tenderiser and flavour enhancer. The acids and enzymes in the grounds will help to break down the protein while giving it a smoky, earthy taste profile. Either rebrew the grounds and marinate the meat in the weak coffee liquid overnight or add the grounds to your dry rub – this will also add an extra crispy crust to your roast. 

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Ingredients (serves 4):