Zero-Waste Popcorn

Popcorn!

This recipe is just too simple and too good not to share again! The original idea/recipe comes to you from my friend Brittany, who made this delicious popcorn for one of our girls-night-happy-hour-chillouts. This easy to make, waste-free popcorn recipe is now my go-to afternoon writing snack.

So ditch that terrible/wasteful pre-bagged microwave popcorn and enjoy! Don’t forget to compost your additional kernels!

What you need:

  1. Large cooking pot with lid
  2. Organic coconut oil (about a tbsp.)
  3. Popcorn kernels (I buy mine in bulk at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
  4. Sea salt (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Heat oil and 1-2 test kernels over high heat.
  2. Once kernels pop, pour in enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover and shake kernels around to warm up (about 30 seconds).
  3. Return the pot to the burner and then watch and wait for the magic.
  4. After about 2-3 minutes the kernels should be popped and ready to enjoy.

Easy!

 

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Don’t Toss that Banana!

Today’s idea is a pretty common one for sweet overripe bananas…make bread. When I bought my ugly mangos, I also purchased this overripe banana for a whopping 5 cents, I believe. I can’t remember, but it was basically FREE.

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I used the banana to make my version of Chia Seed Walnut Banana Muffins. Really, I just throw whatever I have left into the batter. This one was especially yummy– tell ya what I did!

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Chia Seed Walnut Banana Muffins

Step 1: Preheat the oven 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin tins with a little butter, or cooking oil. You can also use compostable liners like THESE.

Step 2: Procure an ugly/overripe banana, or two. I squish these up a bit while they are still in the skin to save me from having to do it once its in the bowl.

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Step 3: Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put this aside.

Step 4: Combine squishy banana(s), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/3 cup melted butter in a large bowl.

Step 5: Fold in the flour mixed until the dry ingredients are combined, but don’t over do it. At this time add a handful of walnuts and several tablespoons of chia seeds (3 should do the trick). Scoop batter into each muffin tin.

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Step 6: Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Let cool and then enjoy!

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Once you have enjoyed your delicious muffins, be sure you compost your banana peel and be mindful of the waste other ingredients might produce, especially with packaging! I buy most of my ingredients in bulk and store them in jars like these:

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When you purchase ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, chia seeds, and walnuts in bulk, you are significantly reducing the plastic and paper waste these products typically produce via their packaging.

Best of luck and send your ideas for reducing food and food packaging waste my way! I am always eager to learn.

 

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A Better Tortilla, Attempt #2

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Last week I posted about my first attempt at making homemade oat tortillas, which were incredible awkward and ugly. Because they were so delicious, I decided to give homemade tortillas another try. I finally replenished my whole wheat flour and gave this recipe I found on Grunish a try!

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What I used:

3 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour

1 Tsp Salt

1Tsp Baking Power

1 Cup Hot Water

What I did:

  1. Mixed Dry Ingredients in a Large Bowl
  2. Added Hot Water and with a Spatula, Mixed into a Dough (About 3 Minutes)
  3. Half Dough until 16 Equal Portions are Made
  4. Roll Each into a Small Dough Ball and then Flatten Between Palm20150607_183150
  5. Set Dough out in Single Layer on a Floured Surface and Cover with a Clean Dish Towel (15 Minutes)
  6. After Dough has Rested, Roll into Thin Round (if you can) Sheets
  7. Heat Lightly Oiled Skillet and then Cook Each Tortilla for 1 Minute on the First Side and then 30 Seconds on the Second Side. Adjust cooking accordingly if your pan is too hot or too cool.
  8. Let them cool on a wire rack or enjoy them right out of the skillet.

 

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That’s it! Like my last attempt, we had them with tempeh, but this time I sautéed it with onions, corn, celery, beans, and tomatoes. Yumm!!

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If at first you don’t succeed…

 

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Admittedly, they are still pretty ugly and very misshaped! Alas, I’m sure practice will make perfect!

WTF Tortillas

So, I’ve been saying that I am going to try homemade tortillas for a while now. I love the idea of fresh from the skillet tortillas that are easy to make and cheaper than ready-made store bought ones. That being said, of course I go to make tortillas a few days after I ran out of whole wheat flour. But I was determined! I turned to google and found that I could make flour with quinoa, oats, wheat bran, and even couscous! I went with oat flour because it only required TWO ingredients. Oats and water! I called them “WTF (you know what this means)Tortillas” because they looked like this:

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Yeah, I know. Embarrassing! The only reason I am even making a blog post about them is because they were actually REALLY GOOD! Despite their ugliness I will definitely be making them again.

20150530_190612_resizedHere is what you need:

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of taco seasoning (you can use a pinch of salt instead)

 

Here is What I did:

Put oats 1/3 cup at a time in a coffee grinder or the entire two cups in a food processor and process until a fine powder. Do a little extra for kneading and rolling.

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Add the taco seasoning or salt.

Add the water, and using a spatula, mix ingredients into a dough.

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Once the dough is formed, separate into 4-6 smaller dough balls.

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Knead each one a few times and then reshape into a ball before rolling out into a shape of your choice or your circumstances. I had little choice. Because the consistency of oat dough is tricky and I am NOT a baker, the best I was able to manage was a thin sheet-like thing. WTF.

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Heat a skillet without oil and then cook WTF tortillas for a minute or two on each side.

Let cool on wire rack before using or eat them fresh!
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I used my WTF tortillas for kale + tempe tacos, which were DELICIOUS! Again, super super ugly tortillas and even uglier tacos, but TRUST that these are worth the internet shame!

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When you’re in a pinch– or just broke like we are– try making your own tortillas at home! Even the most complex and ingredient rich recipes are incredibly easy to make! Give it a try.

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YUMMMMMM!

Bamboo Love, or Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Here is another EASY way to reduce your waste AND reduce harmful toxins entering your body.

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I’m absolutely horrible when it comes to replacing things like cooking utensils and pots & pans. I know its BAD to continue using utensils once pieces of your plastic cookware starts melting and flaking off into your food. I also know its BAD to continue cooking when your teflon pans start getting scrapes and burn/rust marks! Still, for months (and perhaps years) I keep using them (for shame!). So this is my very public confession, public shaming, and now my public shift away from these dangerous and negligent practices in hopes of inspiring you to make similar shifts!

Here is what I did: Bamboo Cooking Utensils and Cast-Iron Pots & Pans (post coming soon!)

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Nothing too exciting right!? WRONG! Bamboo cooking utensils are great because they are made of natural material (bamboo) and they can be composted once they have had a good life (these things actually last a long time!) I have also read places that the bamboo resists bacteria somehow.

So this post is short and sweet, but I wanted to urge you to consider the waste-conscious alternative of using bamboo utensils to cook your food instead of synthetic products that do not breakdown in landfills, OR that actual breakdown in harmful ways in your food!

Homemade Gnocchi using Waste-free Ricotta

I’ve been having a hard time finding bulk bin pastas, which has been a bummer because we eat pasta 1-2 times per week. At first, I just stopped buying pasta and our small stash of store bought noodles slowly dwindled away until it was gone. In my desperation one week I brought myself to try homemade gnocchi (I don’t have a pasta maker). Admittedly, it wasn’t hard to make, but it was pretty time consuming for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. For a beginner, I would allow one full hour and a half, if also making your own ricotta. Without homemade ricotta, you can probably whip this dish up in 30 minutes.

My gnocchi turned out pretty good for my first time (I think), and I used my homemade pasta sauce and fresh parmesan to top things off with a side of swiss chard.

Here is what you need:

  • 1.5 cups of ricotta cheese (I made mine fresh!)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Here is what I did:

  1. Combine ricotta, egg, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl
  2. Using a fork, slowly beat in 1.5 cups of the flour until you can form a ball of dough
  3. On a lightly floured surface kneed in the last 0.5 cups of flourIMG_0681
  4.  Divide the dough into eight smaller balls
  5. Gently roll out each ball with your hands to form one long noodle that is about the width of a finger (your little finger if you have big hands lol)IMG_0683
  6. Cut each noodle into 3/4th inch pieces and then poke the middle and pinch the sides of each piece. I also tried pressing the middle with a fork, but didn’t like the way they looked.
  7. Add your gnocchi pieces to boiling water and then remove them with a slotted spoon once they rise to the surface (3-5 minutes). Allow gnocchi to drain in a colander  before tossing them into a sauce of your choice.
  8. Enjoy!!!

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Idea: Cooking/Baking without Foil

Happy Tuesday Internet,

Just wanted to post a quickie! I have been pretty depressed at the prospect of not having foil to cook/bake with, especially with clean up and “steam cooking”/covered bake (?) methods. Tonight I tried baking some ribs and they    turned out PERFECT with very easy clean up. Here’s what I did:

 

First, I sprayed the glass dish with cooking oil (olive or canola is what I usually prefer).

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Second, I drizzled some BBQ sauce over the oil on the bottom of the dish. I imagine this will stop  once I run out of bottled BBQ sauce (another sad day).

Third, I rinsed the ribs, laid them over the BBQ sauce, and then rubbed them with the bulk BBQ spice I purchased from sprouts.

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Finally, I covered them with a cookie sheet and baked at 325F for 2.5 hours.

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I wish I thought to take a picture of the results before we devoured them, BUT they cooked perfectly and the cleanup was relatively quick with the cooking oil spray.

woop! woop!