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An Ode to Leftovers

411leftoversLeftovers: They’re basically the greatest. Am I right?

And to think, a couple nights ago, after chowing down on some spicy sweet potato and black bean goodness, I rather cavalierly scooped the remainder into some Tupperware.

“Might be good for dinner later this week,” I thought in passing. But I know, based on my history, I was only almost as likely to enjoy that simple dish another day as I was to totally forget about it and, weeks later, wonder what, exactly, it was when I first tossed it in the fridge.

But not this time! This time, I might have saved the leftovers, but it was the leftovers that truly saved me. After several days of long swims and challenging physical therapy sessions, I woke up early this morning to take my husband to the airport. I got home, had some yogurt and fruit for breakfast, poured myself a vat of coffee, and figured I’d be set.

All morning long, however, I kept getting up from my desk and looking for something else to eat. A banana and nut butter. Some sunflower seeds. More coffee. And nothing satisfied my deep and growling hunger.

And then, a light shined down from the heavens and illuminated the path of righteousness … or at least the path to feeling full for the first time today. I glanced at the clock — 11:02 a.m. Is that too early for lunch? No! No it’s not!

As I placed the container in the microwave and began chopping up half an avocado, I silently thanked myself for thinking to add some chopped chipotle peppers to the mix before refrigerating — surely, by now, the spice will have mingled with the remaining flavors, so I had a real and true “heat and eat” meal.

Upon scooping up the steamy, spicy goodness, I came to a realization — I hadn’t just left myself leftovers for lunch. I had enough for yet another meal. You guys? When I tell you a tear of joy came to my eye, I am not exaggerating one bit. With all these morning swim workouts (which, apparently, really really rev my metabolism because they always leave me hungry), I have little doubt I’ll face several more days of temptation at the hands of the fridge, and knowing I have more filling, nutritious, and ready-to-eat-in-about-a-minute leftovers at hand? It’s kind of the best feeling in the world.

I’ve been working hard at making large, healthy, easy-to-repackage meals so that grabbing leftovers becomes more of the norm, but even so, having amazing leftovers readily available never seems to lose its sparkle.

Do you have feelings — like, you know, feelings — about leftovers? What’s your favorite leftover dish? —Kristen

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