I am not really quite sure how we are at the beginning of April already, and that March has vanished. This year really seems to be flying by, and I’m almost scared to blink! I think with the weather being so cold, it doesn’t really feel like spring yet and maybe that’s why I can’t believe we are in April already when the weather feels more like January! My post this week mostly revolves around one of my favourite things, food…
Our Progress In March
Barmy Baking & Crazy Cooking
I completed a waste audit recently, and a lot comes from convenience food – mainly snacks because we cook most of our dinners from scratch. So I thought I would try and reduce our packaging waste by cooking and baking in batches and shopping in a more mindful and sustainable way.
I have to admit that I really do love cooking and baking. Out of the two, I think I prefer cooking. Purely because it’s acceptable to sit and eat all that you cook, whereas not so acceptable to sit and eat an entire batch of cookies – although that has happened! Lots.
Cooking and Baking To Reduce Packaging
We have been busy this month with baking to reduce packaging. We have made our own bread, bagels & pizza dough.
We wanted to find some alternatives to shop-bought biscuits (and their wrappers) and we decided to make some of our very favourite cookies. They are delicious; slightly crisp and chewy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They are delicious when warm but if they last long enough to cool down they store really well and still taste delicious.
I travelled to London recently for my cousins baby shower and experienced my first Wagamamas meal. I was impressed by the flavour and presentation, but I was more impressed at the companies commitment to sustainability. From turning oil into bio-fuel, to happy hens and recycling food waste, they really are breath of fresh air in a world full of excess and single-use plastic.
I completely fell in love with their Chicken Raisukaree. Raisukaree is an Asian style curry, made with coconut, lime and coriander. I loved it so much I’ve been trying to recreate it back at home with prawns instead of chicken. I’ve had a few attempts tried a few different versions and while both have been nice, none have been quite the same but I am slowly getting closer.
My challenge is to find more tasty recipes all our family can enjoy. They also need to be healthy, quick to prepare, easy to make and the more fresh/unpackaged ingredients the better! This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make so its perfect for busy weeknights, and its made mostly from fresh foods with minimal packaging, which ticks lots of boxes!
We have been saving all stretchy plastic from bread bags, fruit bags, toilet roll wrappers, cucumber film ect, and we took these to our local carrier bag recycling scheme. All stretch plastic can be recycled, and it turns out a lot of plastic I have been sending to landfill can be recycled. If you have a shopping delivery, they can also be sent back with your delivery driver (except Asda, I don’t think Asda offer plastic recycling) You can find out more about stretchy plastic recycling here.
We have also collected all our Tetrapak containers (from apple juice, coconut milk etc) and are saving them to take to our Tetrapak recycling point.
We have yet to collect any TerraCycle recycling, and I think that’s because we already live quite simply, but we definitely have possessions like pens that will be able to be recycled through the TerraCycle scheme.
Avoiding Kitchen Foil & Baking Parchment.
We have finally used up the rest of our baking parchment and kitchen foil and I am finding living without them a bit of a learning curve. The bagels you see above stuck to the tray despite trying both flour and oil to prevent them sticking. Some other things have been a huge success. This cake, for example, was baked without any parchment. I’ve never done this before as most recipes asked for a lined tin and It just never crossed my mind to bake without the parchment. I just run a palette knife around the edges before removing from the tin.
We usually cook things like salmon and chicken in the oven wrapped in foil. We have been looking for alternative ways of cooking our favourite dishes. Last week we steamed fish in our steamer instead and it was delicious… but our oven cooked chicken in a glass dish came out quite dry. I already have some ideas of how we can improve, such as switching to steaming or wrapping in bacon, I am sure we will find a tasty alternative. But I am not sure how we will manage jacket potatoes without foil yet!
I am really tempted to try a reusable baking sheet like this one*, as an alternative to baking parchment for things like cookies and bagels, especially as we have been doing more baking recently.
Our Plans for April
Zero Waste Lunch and Snack Ideas
Up until recently, our school didn’t give us the option to take a packed lunch. I prefer them to have a hot school meal too but it’s quite expensive. Taking a packed lunch is only open to the older children in our school, and James has decided he would like to, We are on the lookout for tasty, cost-effective and sustainable options for him to enjoy.
Around five years ago I was a regular meal planner, but now I am lucky if I manage a few scribbled meals on a sheet of paper. I blame the two extra children, and the addition of after-school clubs and hobbies. Now, most weeknight meals have to be weaved around clubs and it’s really hard to plan ahead of time. But it does mean we tend to eat the same things, we spend more money & time nipping to the shops, and have wasted food. With a meal plan ( even a very loose one) I would know that there would be no chance to eat that remaining food and I could freeze it, instead of leaving it in the drawer hoping an opportunity to eat arises. Meal planning will hopefully encourage us to try new recipes while saving money and being more mindful of the environment.
Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials
It had to happen one day, its taken us over 6 months to use up all our bathroom disposables. I have run out of disposable razors and with summer on the way I need to find an eco-friendly alternative. The other thing we are missing is a zero waste bubble bath solution for our family. Ideas welcomed!
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What are your March eco-friendly wins? I would love to hear! You can join in on social media using the hashtags #100smallactsofdefiance or #smallstepstosustainability or leave a comment below.
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