Friday, April 29, 2016

Upcycled spray bottle

My husband is in to painting miniatures. A few months ago he wanted to strip a piece, and went out and purchased a spray bottle of Green Clean. We were both fascinated and horrified by how quickly and efficiently it stripped away layers of acrylic paint! Needless to say I didn't really want to use it in our house, especially when certain kitties we own enjoy licking the tub and counters on a daily basis. I purchased some bulk cleaner from my local co-op, and wanted a pretty container to store it in. I had been saving plastic spray bottles and using a vinegar and water mixture for a while. After some digging through the recycling bin, I found several glass bottles that fit with the spray tops!! Here is how to make your own.
You will need:
1 spray top
1 glass bottle (so far the ones that fit most spray tops are: trader joes rice vinegar and trader joes raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar).

Soak the bottle in hot soapy water to remove the label.

Trim the tube on the spray top of necessary. Fill up the bottle, twist on the top and boom- pretty glass spray bottle!
Happy cleaning!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DIY almond milk creamer

Dairy and I don't have the best relationship- I can eat a little bit, but too much and I have an upset stomach and heartburn. So for my coffee, I prefer nut based creamers. However most of these come it tetra packs (read about why these aren't a great option here) and contain ingredients I cannot pronounce. So I set out to make my own. I really enjoy almond milk as almonds are very affordable and the taste is neutral, so it can be used in many different recipes. But putting straight almond milk into my coffee was kind of gross- it just wasn't creamy enough. So I adjusted the water to almond ratio, added some delicious things, and it was perfect!!!

You will need:
- 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 1 bowl
- cheesecloth/thin dishcloth
- container for storing
- optional flavorings: cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup (bought in bulk)

Add the almonds and water to a blender and blend until smooth.

 Place the cheesecloth or thin dishcloth in he bowl, and pour the mixture over it. Gather up the sides and squeeze all of the creamer out of the almond scraps. This takes a bit of muscle- the creamer is thick!

 Add your flavorings (I used 1/4 tsp cinnamon, a few grates of nutmeg, and 1 tsp maple syrup), and voila! Delicious, waste free creamer! Taste your creamer and adjust flavorings as needed. I could honestly drink this stuff straight it is so good. I have also left this plain and used it as a substitute for cream in several recipes, and it worked like a charm. 

 Now go enjoy your delicious coffee! 

And don't forget to save those almond scraps- put them in a jar and pop them in the freezer. Once the jar is full, you can make almond flour (tutorial coming once my own jar is nice and full!!). 

Waste free veggie broth

Over the past few months I have been obsessively trying to cut our grocery bill down. Something I found myself buying sometimes was veggie broth. Sealed in tetra packs, this is not a sustainable option. Often your city will not have a facility that recycles these, so they end up in landfills. And if they can be recycled, this takes a great amount of energy. After a lot of pinterest searches, I finally found the bet options for me- veggie scrap broth! Not only is it using up scraps to their full potential before I chuck them in my compost bin, it also tastes great and takes pretty much zero effort to make.

While I am cooking, I set aside my veggie scraps in a large mason jar in my freezer. If it sounds like it would make a good broth, go for it! Things like carrot peelings/ends, asparagus ends, broccoli stems, onion peels/ends, garlic skins, leek stalks, kale/chard stems all make great broth. I tend to not put bell pepper in mine as it made it bitter once and I was sad :( but people say this about broccoli and asparagus and i have never had an issue, so I think it comes down to personal preference.

Once the jar is full, I toss the scraps into my slow cooker, add a tbsp of salt, cover it in water, and cook on low for 8 hours. I then let it cool and squeeze all of the broth out of the veggie scraps before adding them to my compost. I store it in jars in the fridge, or put it in straight pint mason jars in the freezer. These can easily be pulled out and defrosted when needed. If I run out and need some ASAP I will put everything into a pasta pot and get it boiling on the stove, and then simmer for a few hours.

So there you have it- free and zero waste veggie broth! This has saved us soooo much money and waste, plus it gives me peace of mind knowing exactly what my veggie broth contains.

Hello again!

I'm back! It's been a crazy few months. I've been sticking with the no waste routine and will have some things to share that have made my life easier! But first of all, I did make some waste…

Yup, I'm due in about a week! We are having a boy, and we are very excited. Be prepared for many posts on cloth diapering, homemade baby food, etc.

However along with our happy news came some complications. I had to make a request for reasonable accommodation at my workplace due to my pregnancy, and was fired because of it. Now we are knee deep in a discrimination case- this has taken a lot of time and caused so much stress in our lives. I thankfully was able to get a new job right away due to glowing recommendations from all of my past employers, but money has been incredibly tight and stress builds daily. Due to this I took my no waste lifestyle even further, and will have some great money saving tips for all of you!

Stay tuned for some zero waste posts to make up for my absence!!