Rescuing Leftovers: The Portable Feast

Who says you have to eat in the kitchen? Sometimes leftovers can be rescued, just by taking the food to a new location.


This inspiration actually came to me not when I had leftovers, but when the kids were little and my husband was out of town for ten days. He didn’t travel often, so the thought of not having him come home for dinner for ten days in a row sounded hard. Worse than leftovers.

What was I going to look forward to at the end of the day? I always counted on him rescuing me at dinner time, playing with the kids and giving me time to throw together a meal. How was I going to make it through the kamikaze hour–from dinner to bedtime?

That’s when the light bulb moment came. What we ate would be easy. I could whip up their favorites in short order. Where we ate would be the game. That would give us something to think about instead of the fact that dad wouldn’t be home that night. Again.

So I pitched it to them, “While Dad’s gone, we’re going to try to have dinner in a different place in the house every single night.” I left the creativity up to them. While I made the meal, they scouted and came up with the night’s picnic spot. We ended up dining:

  • in front of the fireplace (sunglasses were required)
  • under the dining room table
  • in the bathtub
  • on our bed
  • outside on the trampoline
  • under the piano
  • and next to the dog’s crate (we couldn’t fit inside)

Those are the ones I remember best. In fact it was a memorable week. Not the food itself. Just that it was a portable feast.

And here’s some food for the feast. A fall favorite of ours.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

(Makes 18 jumbo  or 36 regular muffins)

2/3 c. shortening
1 & 2/3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 can (1 lb.) pumpkin
2/3 c. water
3  & 1/3 c. flour
2 t. soda
1  & ½ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
2 c. chocolate chips
sugar sprinkles

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin, and water. Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves.

Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into muffin tins and sprinkle tops with sugar sprinkles (or cinnamon sugar). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.


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