13. Recipes and a Weekly Update – My Waste Free Life with Littles

I think it is easy to shy away from this lifestyle when it comes to food because it feels too time consuming. I have always been a fan of making 5 ingredients or less type dinners. With 4 kids at my side every time I try to do anything and a brain that hasn’t worked at full capacity since 2011, I need simple recipes. I thought I’d share some simple recipes that have saved me serious money and have become staples in our home. Most are dairy free because I am lactose intolerant (a heart breaking part of this cheesecake lovers life). Hummus, no bake granola bars, artisanal bread, banana oat muffins, homemade iced tea, chocolate chip cookies. I often make these in 2–3x the recipe to freeze some or have enough for a week at a time. This saves me from baking everyday.

Everything about these life changes is about sustainable habits. I am not going to be driving to 7 stores a week finding package free items. I have found a farm boy and bulk barn that are right beside each other and 5 minutes from my house. I mostly shop there and honestly my trip between the 2 takes about 30 minutes total. I’ll hit up Costco for flour, butter, veggie straws and sometimes other items. And NU grocery maybe once a month for eggs, yogurt, samosas, cream cheese, and household items. Again – because the store is small it takes me 15 minutes to get through. I have been shocked at the time I’m saving by not walking store aisles. One stop shops like Walmart are super handy – I don’t deny that. But they are also very time consuming.

In the past couple weeks I’ve felt frustrated shopping and not being able to buy certain items because of my new lifestyle choices. Mostly just upset about how rampant disposable items are. On the other side of it I’ve felt ecstatic over changes friends are striving for and for my moms group decorating reusable mugs to discontinue our use of throwaways. I’ve been thankful for meeting with a new friend and sharing our experiences with our new journey to zero waste. This week I have been tired from the kids waking me up all night. That brought me back to old fast food habits. But I’ve been sticking to compostable packaging. Farm Boy compostable container for take away salad bar, a&w compostable burger and fry bags, compostable pizza box. It’s been 7 days since our last garbage day and we as a family of 6 have only produced one medium sized garbage bag of waste. Even our recycling has declined to half a bin every 2 weeks. This is a huge change and true proof that the changes we are making are working. I put a note in my community mailbox requesting no junk mail and it worked! It’s been such a relief. We were grabbing at least 20 ads a week from the mail and throwing it straight into the recycling. Each change you choose to make is a worthy cause. Keep at it!

(Pictured below: left – mugs for moms group, right – letter to the postal worker that they’ve kept in the mailbox to remind them)

Bread: yields 1 loaf

I make an artisanal loaf in a cast iron Dutch oven by kitchenaid. The night before I mix 3 cups of white flour, 1tsp of yeast, and slow mix in 1 3/4 cup of warm water. Mix in water until everything is wet but not soggy. Cover bowl with a wet tea towel.

The next day start the oven at 450degrees F and put the Dutch oven in while it’s heating. Put the batter on a floured surface. Lift and change position until it’s floured and not sticky anymore. Once oven is up to temp put the loaf in for 20 min with lid on. 6 min with lid off. Let cool on a wire rack.

Instant pot dried chickpeas into hummus: yields approx 3 cups hummus

500g of dried chickpeas (about 2cups)

6 cups of water

Put in pressure cooker for about 40 min (I use lentils/beans button on well done). Let it natural release. Reserve extra liquids. Put in blender or mix in pressure cooker with hand blender. Add 1/2 cup reserved liquid, 1/4 cup tahina, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1tsp minced garlic, and 1/2 tsp paprika. Most of this I do to taste and texture.

No bake granola bar:

2.5 cups quick rolled oats

1/2 cup of agave syrup or brown rice syrup

1/2 cup of peanut butter or any substitute like wow butter

Then add whatever you want. Sunflower seeds, crushed nuts, hulled pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips. About 1/2 cup of each.

Mix well. Flatten into a dish approx 8x10, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Homemade iced tea: my kettle is 1.5L

Boil kettle (1.5 L)

Pour into a heat resistant jug or container

Let 2 tsp of loose leaf (bagged or in steeper) or 2 tea bags steep for about 30 min

Add 2tsp of honey or natural sweetener while water is hot

Once room temperature stir and store. We use mason jars or flip top bottles. We got ours flip tops from drinks at Farm Boy that we reuse.

Chocolate chip cookies: yield approx 24 cookies

3 cups flour

1 cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp hot water

2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F

Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar until smooth. Best in eggs, add vanilla. Dissolve baking soda into hot water. Add to mix. Add salt. Stir in flour one cup at a time. Add chocolate chips. Scoop out and roll into approx 1 inch diameter ball. Place 2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for about 10 min or until edges are nicely browned

Banana oat muffins: yields approx 12

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana (like 2 bananas)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream (I substitute apple sauce)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line 12 muffin cup tray

In mixer cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add banana and vanilla. Add sour cream (apple sauce). Add oats and flour. Spoon batter into muffin tray about one heaping tbsp per cup.

I’m a Canadian stay at home mom to 4 kids under 5. Here’s my story of starting a life without plastic or waste with young kids.

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Emma Chapman

I’m a Canadian stay at home mom to 4 kids under 5. Here’s my story of starting a life without plastic or waste with young kids.