gratitude - Related Content

8 Ways To Reduce Food Waste At Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Monday, November 13th 2023 6:00 am

Ways To Reduce Food Waste At Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is often celebrated with a feast that is expansive in gratitude and in the food served as seen in the photo above from TIME magazine. Turkey leftovers are often as valuable as the meal itself! 

In November,  2022, TIME magazine's Emily Barone described the humanitarian and environmental value of reducing food waste all year long.

There’s no better way to give thanks for our food by making sure none of it goes to waste irresponsibly. By wasting less as you plan, prepare, and enjoy the holiday, you’ll reduce the 40% of food that gets wasted in our country. It’s also a great way to build new habits and get your family and friends involved in the issue.

Some advance planning tips from the authors of "Purple Kale Kitchenworks", "Food Waste Feast" and "Perfectly Good Food"” can keep food from being put in the garbage, create great left-overs and help ease the food waste toll on the environment!

1. Get help in estimating how much food you will need to keep your guests full and happy, using the Guestimator from Save the  They provide recipes, too!

2. Choose recipes that “fit” together.  Carefully examine ingredient lists so you can choose recipes that will use up whole vegetables, containers of broth, etc. So, if stuffing calls for one and a half onions, look for a gravy recipe that will use up that other half an onion. Suggested by Ronna Welsh, of Purple Kale Kitchenworks.

3. Plan ahead for “special” ingredients.  If a holiday recipe calls for unique or expensive, ingredients, (like buttermilk, cream, or fresh herbs), the items might not be used up in one dish or fit with any other dish in the meal.  Plan ahead for these ingredients by finding out how to store them for the longest period of time (freezing, canning, drying) or coming up with recipes in which they can be used.

4. Transform extras into (almost-)ready meals.  Take a moment while you’re cooking or packing up leftovers to prep and stash unused items for use later on.  For example: Sauté an onion to use later.  Create an almost-finished soup to freeze.  Have extra broth on hand, since many foods freeze better in liquid.  Put some veggies, shredded cooked turkey and extra fresh herbs in with some stock and freeze in a container or resealable plastic bag. Later, reheat, adjust seasonings and simmer until the flavors are blended; top with cheese, croutons or other leftovers for a quick and easy meal.

5. Don’t trash scraps.  Consider mashing potatoes with the skins on, or toss the peelings with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes until crisp.  Use the “chips” as a snack or to garnish other dishes. Peelings and trimmings can be reserved for other uses. Homemade stock is an easy way to use vegetable peels and poultry or meat bones.  Stock can be frozen for months to enjoy later.

6. Promote smaller portions.  Guests may be inclined to load up their plates with far more than they’ll actually eat in one sitting. Some hosts set out smaller serving spoons, if the meal will be family-style.

7. Get clever with leftovers.  There are ways other than simply reheating leftovers to transform holiday dishes into new ones. Bake stuffing on a rimmed baking sheet at 375ºF until it’s dry and crisp, then use the new croutons within a week (or freeze for another day). Use stuffing as a base for an egg strata.  Add other leftovers to a good egg frittata. Blend extra mashed potatoes with broth to make creamy potato soup and add garlic or other herbs. Mix or mash together any complementary foods (turkey and mashed potatoes; green beans and stuffing) and use to fill savory hand pies with store-bought pie-crust dough. Wrap “pies” well and freeze.  Later, bake in a 350ºF oven until golden brown.

8. Be generous!  Offer to transfer leftovers from a guest’s plate and/or extras of other dishes that are left for guests who’d like them to be packaged up and taken home.

9. Still have leftover food?  If you fry your turkey, check into cooking oil recycling in your area. The City of La Crosse, for instance, collects cooking oil at Isle La Plume waste collection site.  In the winter months, call the Recycling Department (608-789-7508) to schedule a drop off. Uncooked veggies and vegetable scraps can be composted. Search your city cite for compost options near you or try

If you’re interested in doing more to reduce food waste at home, take a free, 4-week "I Value Food" Challenge"  provided bt "Sustainable America".  You will learn easy ways to waste less food, save money and challenge your friends, if you choose!  They also offer a Toolkit to help with meal planning, shopping, recipes, use of leftovers, food storage, expiration dates and more!

To learn more about food waste and its impact on the planet, visit the USDA Food Waste Facts page. 


Appreciating food and its origins is an aspect of gratitude that can deepen our spirituality at dinner and in every aspect in which food touches our lives.  It is common to offer thanks for the plants, creatures and hands that bring food from farm and forest to table.  Beyond a meaningful mealtime grace, we can make a conscious effort to acknowledge with warmth and courtesy all who serve in food supply jobs from check-out clerks to those who legislate state and federal food policy.  It is a sacred activity to feed the hungry, especially where good food is scarce.

Curiosity about food cultures and where foods originate or exploring a favorite food or cuisine can add to our appreciation of food.  Giving back, sharing meals, wasting less express our appreciation for the gift of food. 

One Word. Gratitude.

Monday, August 15th 2022 1:59 pm

This is my humble attempt to tell you about the incredible and joy-filled time of my 50th birthday, but words are inadequate sometimes to express the depth of my feelings, so know that this time was absolutely precious to me and will live deep in my heart for all time.

One word continues to spring up again and again as I reflect on my celebration - gratitude.

My birthday began with a tidal wave of greetings from around the world in my inbox, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and probably some places I forgot about!

At 5:30 a.m. morning prayer, I was greeted with a note on the altar that said the day's prayer intentions were for "Sister Meg and her community." During the Prayers of the Faithful, Madre Martha prayed for me and my community, full of love and well-wishes.

The dining room was decorated for my birthday with fifty birds for fifty years. Birds were everywhere! They were on the wall, in a "tree" that was created from branches and flowers and tucked away in flowers decorating the tables. A special candle was lit for me at my place setting during each meal. The tables were decorated especially beautifully.

As I entered, each sister greeted me with a hug and a "felicidades!" Faces were bright with smiles and quiet blessings were spoken.

At breakfast, songs were sung (including a specific reference to BIRDS in one), and empanadas were served. Homemade empanadas con queso (with cheese)! And I received more prayerful blessings at the meal prayer!

At lunch, there was music and more singing, more prayers, and at the end of the meal, the biggest cake I have ever seen was brought out while the Bolivian version of "Happy Birthday" was sung.

Tucked away at a table were gifts from the community. Some were personal gifts and others from the group as a whole. They waited for me until the end of the day when I opened them in the quiet of my room as I reflected on the day.

The following day, Santa Clara (the nutrition clinic) group got together for lunch of pica machu, a little more cake, great conversation and dancing.

While there, Sister Yanira quietly gave me a few more wrapped gifts. When I opened them later, I was surprised to see amazingly thoughtful gifts including a handmade card with special photos, scripture and a tree filled with birds. A true work of art. She also hand-painted a bed cover -- some of the birds I've seen here in Bolivia -- and a beautiful pillow with birds accented with my favorite color of purple. She is an amazing artist.

So many other expressions of celebration and well-wishes were had on my birthday. I am sure I am forgetting some really important ones! Needless to say, my 50th birthday will remain burning brightly in my heart for all the love and joy. I have had an overwhelming sense of gratitude ever since. Perhaps that is the biggest gift I received for my big 5-0!

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Feliz Dia De la Amistad - Happy Friendship Day!

Saturday, July 23rd 2022 1:20 pm

As I spend my time coloring a special little something for one of my friends here in Bolivia, I have been reflecting on my many friendships, past and present. It has been a joyful opportunity to spend time in many precious memories, dwelling in gratitude for the abundance of blessings my friends are to me and praying for those, old and new. God has blessed me indeed!

New and old,
near and far,
young and old,
some who are no longer here.

My friends have been
gamers and goth,
business and birders,
artists and scientists,
rich and poor,
all holding a special place in my heart.

Blessed with family who are friends,
and friends who are like family,
some were brief encounters,
others long-lasting deep connectedness,
and many that are somewhere in between.

Whoever you are,
wherever you are,
know this,
I share the love I have found in God's embrace
with you today.
May you feel friendship deep in your spirit.

One of my special joys is my gift of seeing "friend" in everyone I meet. Know that even if I haven't met you, you have a friend in me. (Cue music for Randy Newman's "You got a friend in me.") I will be spending today praying for all of my friends, past, present and future. If you would like a special prayer today or whenever you read this, know that I would be blessed to pray for you. Send in a comment and know that your intention will be in my prayers. After all, what are friends for?! (Be sure to mark it private in some way if you don't want it shared with the others who read this.)

God bless you on this special day - and always!

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Sister Karolyne: God's sacred creation in morning and evening prayer

Tuesday, October 3rd 2017 10:00 am
Sister Karolyne Rohlik, FSPA


My greeting with the earth each morning is one of gratitude and love for the gift of a new day, and the prayer of Blessing and Goodness in the evening is with the earth’s presence. 


Gazing and listening in the presence of God’s sacred creation — communion and Eucharist beauty, simple and natural and wonderful — create my deepest prayer. 

Franciscan Way is a series featuring prayerful reflection by Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

Celebrating peace, harmony, history and freedom

Thursday, July 4th 2019 7:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Happy 4th of July!


Image courtesy Pixabay

As we celebrate the history of our country with parades and fireworks today, let us pray for peace in our world and harmony in our hearts. May we also give thanks for the blessing of freedom.

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