2012-02-29

Homemade granola bars

Pinterest. What a lovely invention. I found a yummy peanut butter/chocolate chip granola bar recipe:

Here is my finished product. It seemed to be quite a hit with friends and the husband.
If peanut butter/chocolate chip doesn't strike your fancy, she did have a few other granola recipes. I feel better about eating my granola bar when it's not individually wrapped in plastic and/or foil, and when I can be in charge of what goes into making it. Try it out, experiment, enjoy!

2012-02-24

Latest grocery trip

Obviously we don't post every time we make a grocery trip, but it has been awhile since we did a post on it and I wanted to touch base with how we've been doing. As seen below, zero waste at the grocery store is pretty much down to a routine. There are still some things. For example, the day I was making brunch for family and wanted turkey bacon, the meat counter at Whole Foods did not have any, even though I'd seen them have some before, so I had to get it in plastic :/ But, for the most part, we have been doing pretty well. The only waste on a regular basis is the lids from milk glasses, stickers from fruit, plastic wrap around blocks of cheese, and the wire band wrapped around the spinach. We still get the occasional soup in cans. The more my sister Lacey tells me about cans, and the more I read on them, I kinda want to get away from those as well. But honestly, I don't know if we are at that point yet. I mean, would I be able to make decent enough tomato soup on my own? What about my canned tuna?! So, idk. 
Pictured: Various fruits and veggies in reusable mesh bags, breads and grains in reusable hemp bags, snacks, cereal, peanut butter, honey, and flaxseed in our jars, milk and cream in glass that the store takes back.

We are still trying to focus on zero waste as a whole. I know we can improve in other realms of our life, like limiting waste the times we eat out, with cat products, etc. But, now that we've been doing halfway decent on the zero waste shopping aspect (limiting packaging, disposable products, etc.) we are also trying to slowly incorporate other "green" ideas. For example, shopping locally, being more minimal, trying to use thrift shops first if we do need something, buying/making products that are more sustainable, trying to figure out how to make the least environmental impact with our food choices, trying to make a plan for using less gas in the future, using less electricity will be an eventual goal most likely, as well as using water responsibly. 
A David Crowder reusable bag! Got this when we went to their concert in OK :)


















Anyways, just wanted to update. More adventures to come! Ideas and advice welcomed.
P.S. If anyone has any good ideas for an alternative to a lint roller, I'm all ears.

2012-02-22

Minimized the closet

And we got three boxes worth of stuff to donate. My shirts and pants all now fit quite comfortably along one wall in there!

2012-02-21

Zero Waste Valentine's

How to have a zero waste Valentine's day:
Step 1: No one really NEEDS cards. If you are not separated by distance, then why do you need to hand your spouse a card when it would be much more special if you just showed them or told them about your love yourself. The way YOU feel, not how an author they know nothing about who writes for the card companies feels (I apologize now, since this does bring me a little guilt saying this, as almost my entire family has worked/works for Hallmark.). Anyways, there is also the option of phone calls, emails, ecards, etc. This year I sent Rob a music video "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer via email.

Step 2: Flowers and chocolates are nice, but they do tend to come all wrapped in nonsense, i.e. excessive packaging. Why not try to create something for your loved ones instead, or give them practical gifts that are also romantic. For example:
Rob got me some new undies as a gift this year (I know, tmi) but I have to say that this thoughtfulness was probably the best Valentine's gift I've ever received. He knew I needed some, and picked out some very fun colors/designs. He also knew about keeping zero waste in mind. The only "waste" were these cardboard tags that we recycled. He used a reusable bag as well, instead of taking a plastic bag given by the store.
I made chocolate covered strawberries for Rob's gift. The plastic box the strawberries came in was the only waste and was recycled. Oh, well I guess there was also the parchment paper (not wax at least). I may try to change this habit of using the parchment in the future. The chocolate came in the form of chips from the bulk bin, so no waste there.
Step 3: When going out to dinner, keep waste in mind. Try to decline straws for one. We went to a wonderful little Italian restaurant called Ricco's. Local, so that's another plus, and they had cloth napkins, nice! We didn't need them this time, but another habit to try to get into is taking your own Pyrex or containers to restaurants. This way you don't have to settle for their to-go container options. Which, sadly for most restaurants, seem to be in Styrofoam. Yuck. In the past, with the little plastic ones from Olive Garden we've at least washed and reused several times before recycling.

Step 4: Just enjoy each other and appreciate each other for who they are. This day of love is about the two of you, not about society and set consumeristic standards.

Other Valentine's ideas out there?

2012-02-10

My new to me bike!

I don't think I've introduced you to my new to me bike yet. I got a bike recently that I'm hoping will help with exercise, recreation, and to limit driving locally some. I'm also excited that Rob will soon be getting a used bike as well with some of the refund money we got. Yay for not buying new, yay for driving less, yay for health! Do you bike?

2012-02-09

Zero waste toaster pastries

Well, almost. Stupid brown sugar we got in a bag a while ago before my friend pointed out that we could just mix sugar and molasses.

Yes, all told they contain a whole stick of butter.

But whole wheat flour!

And we swear we won't eat it all in one sitting!

I got the recipe here.


I tried to add "frosting" on the second pair, but it appears to have slid off the top.

2012-02-05

Solo grocery shopping

Spoiler alert: In the near future, it is likely that Jess will post something about some granola bars she'll be making soon. I'm really excited about that, and in my opinion it would be a Zero Waste Triumph on the level that making one's own Pop-Tarts would be, if I ever figure that one out. How brilliant would it be to be able to have granola bars, yet not have little foil wrappers around each one? I'm sure she'll share her recipe and where she found it when that time comes.

I'll get back to why that's relevant in a moment.

Tonight I went grocery shopping alone. I don't really remember the why of it, but that just happened.

All in all, solo grocery shopping was a success. I came back without a loaf of bread for spaghetti because they were out of what we normally get, and I was specifically told not to try to pick a concealer stick.

I did hit two snags. The first was that I thought they had wheat germ in a bulk bin but I couldn't find any. They did have it in a plastic bag, which is undesirable if avoidable. I asked the man that was checking stock in the aisle if there was any not in plastic, and after looking around at the bulk bins himself--he too thought they had it--he took me one aisle over where there was a glass jar of it. Not in the same aisle as the plastic bag.

The second trouble spot was coconut oil. I knew generally what it looked like but didn't see it with the other cooking oils, so I was going to give up for the moment. When I got to the register to check out, for once I actually had something to say when they asked if I found everything. I asked about the coconut oil and the bagger ran and grabbed a couple options for me to choose from.

So, I'm very grateful there are folks there to help me when I'm blind.

Anyway, the moral of the story is actually to not go grocery shopping alone when you can avoid it. Jess is an invaluable partner in shopping, especially when it comes to the checkout, where she likes to bag and I can't concentrate on the bagging process and the providing-tare-weights-and-PLUs-as-needed process at the same time.

And if you're wondering about the granola bars, Jess will be needing both the wheat germ and coconut oil.

If it helps, they look like this: