Plastic free red lentil butternut squash curry in a slow cooker

Curry is my favorite. It comes in many forms and is a great way to use up any bits and pieces left from the produce bins.

I was lucky enough to find this last jar of some sort of tomato mixture in my freezer! Curry can, of course, be made without tomatoes, but I wanted to add them here.

  • Peel and dice a butternut squash or two.
  • Slice up an onion and a few cloves of garlic.
  • Place tomatoes, onions, garlic, bouillon,

April Groceries, etcetera

Generally I make two loaves of sourdough every other weekend, but knew I wasn’t in the mood this weekend. I also wanted to hit up the Boise farmer’s market that was just opening up for the season. The only thing I was able to get was this loaf of sourdough bread, which looks ten times better than mine somehow. I was disappointed in how much fresh produce was already packaged in plastic bags or clamshells. Better luck later in the season I’m hoping.

After the market, I stopped in at the Boise Co-op which is a package free haven. Everything else was purchased there.

I’ve not been present here as much lately mostly because I am a teacher and have been working and also trying to figure out how to balance all the things in life I love while working full time.

I’m also volunteering to teach a “how to live a low waste life” class this month and next, and to be perfectly honest I’m nervous about it because I’m an introvert, and because I’ve never done such a thing and definitely don’t consider myself an expert. I have, however, read basically every blog post from my favorite bloggers, watched innumerable YouTube videos on the topic, devoured Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (twice), listen to low waste podcasts, and have carefully considered how to reduce my waste in every aspect of my life for the past 18 months.

At times I feel I am a woman possessed. I think, breathe, eat, and create with zero waste as a priority.

I think it’s time to let all my knowledge overtake my actions and trust myself and my intuition enough to know that I am enough, I have learned enough, and even if I stumble, I can get right back up and continue this journey. My whole life I have been afraid of failure. I have never felt like I was enough as a person, but I feel that now, at 32, I am ready to take on everything life has to offer. I am quite the late bloomer :).

Peace and love,

Kristan

Massaman Curry Paste

Massaman curry is one of my favorite dishes to order from Thai restaurants, and it generally doesn’t contain fish sauce. When I came upon this recipe, I knew I wanted to make this as a change from my previous curry paste.

This recipe was followed almost exactly. I did not use cilantro root, but rather used stems and leaves. Also, I used whatever dried chilies I had that were from a Mexican market which were quite spicy. I happened to find galangal and lemongrass at my co-op, but wasn’t really looking too hard for it. All other ingredients I had on hand, so this was a nice recipe to make this weekend.

When it came time to process in a food processor, I found the concoction was way too thick to properly get to a paste consistency. All I have is a ninja chopper, and I ended up adding probably 1/4 cup of water to thin it out.

This still tastes amazing! I can’t wait to update with a curry I have made with this paste.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Roasted Veggies Chickpeas + Kale

Some call this type of dish a Buddha bowl, which sounds exciting. I didn’t intentionally make this with that end idea. I was ill all week and had no energy to make it to a store. I had a jar of frozen chickpeas and some root vegetables on hand and that was basically the extent of the fresh food I had.

Whenever I have root vegetables, my top choice is to roast them.

Paired with homemade ginger beer, this meal was hearty, and felt like just the thing to knock out an illness.

Wash and dice a butternut squash and your choice of potatoes into similar sizes. I used 2 purple sweet potatoes.

Drizzle with oil, then roast at 450F until fork tender.

Meanwhile pat dry 1-2 cups of chickpeas, and toss them with oil and any spices you’d like such as cumin, harissa, paprika, or ras el hanout.

Roast chickpeas, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy.

While everything roasts, make a sauce with tahini, liquid aminos, a touch of maple syrup, and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Once chickpeas and vegetables are roasted, add to a bowl, then add a few torn kale leaves without ribs, and drizzle with the sauce.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

March Groceries

There’s a small country market approximately 20 minutes from my house, and it’s the closest place I can buy yogurt and half & half in returnable glass. It also happens to have an impressive produce selection. I stocked up on fruit & veg, and also purchased a beautiful jar.

They also have many choices of dried chiles, beans, lentils, grains, and flours. Unfortunately, those are not available in bulk, but I try to talk to them about the possibility of it in the future without coming across as negative.

This was the first time in a year and a half of no waste grocery shopping that someone has said anything to me. A woman in the parking lot asked if I was doing no waste and I was so shocked and excited I didn’t hold the conversation very well. Maybe next time!

I live in Idaho, and not even in the capitol, so it is surprising in a smaller conservative town when one meets like-minded individuals.

Isn’t the jar stunning? It will fit in perfectly with all my other vintage jars. (Almost a candidate for the show Hoarders.)

Peace and love,

Kristan

Quick Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

This dinner came together with minimal effort and minimal time.

Mini bell peppers were left from the student snack (go figure, Kindergarteners don’t devour sweet peppers) so I took the remainder home and promptly forgot about them.

Fortunately, they mostly kept their freshness, and I decided to turn them into a pasta sauce.

I roasted as many as were still good, probably about 3 cups before roasting, at 400F until soft and browned; perhaps 45 minutes.

Then I whirred them in a chopper until creamy. Next, I added some nut milk, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, salt, and onion powder until the consistency seemed good and the flavor had some depth to it.

Then I cooked the pasta, drained it, and while it was still warm, added the sauce and mixed it all in.

See? Super lazy and fast.

I did add a couple of fried eggs and harissa on top once served. This is easily vegan if you leave off eggs.

Low waste meal preparation needn’t be complicated. 🙂

Peace and love,

Kristan

Linen Bowl Cover DIY

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This was an attempt at doing away with plastic cling wrap. I actually saw a version of these from Quitokeeto, the shop run by Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com.

I didn’t want to pay for them, as my sewing skills are passable, and linen is easy to come by. In fact, I already had linen in my closet waiting to be used.

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I used my largest Pyrex bowl as a guide to draw a circle on the linen, making sure I measured 2 inches wider around the entire circumference. Cut 2.

Sew pieces together near the edge with wrong sides facing, leaving ample space for elastic, as well as turning out. I don’t think linen has a wrong side.

Turn outside out. Sew the elastic encasing about 1/2 inch from edge. Use a safety pin to weave 1/4 inch elastic into the encasing through the gap. Cut and sew elastic ends together.

Turn in raw edges at opening, then sew shut.

The green bowl pictured is a medium-sized bowl, and this linen can be used on a range of sizes.

I wanted it to not be thin, so that is why I doubled up on the cloth. I use this for proofing bread, covering up a salad in the refrigerator, traveling food items, and as a shower cap. Just kidding, but it looks just like one.

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Peace and love,

Kristan

Curry Lentil Cabbage & Potato Stew

A soup born out of the desire to never leave my house to face the horrors of a grocery store. What could I make with the contents in my kitchen?

A delightful stew that fits perfectly with a St. Patrick’s Day themed meal!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs olive oil or butter
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils or split peas, rinsed
  • 3 cups potatoes, cubed
  • A few cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs curry powder
  • 4 cups or more vegetable stock, or water and bouillon
  • A head of green cabbage, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper

Heat fat in a soup pot and stir in onion slices. Sprinkle with some salt, and let them brown and get soft. Add in garlic. Sprinkle in curry powder. Add potatoes and coat, then add lentils. Cook for a minute, then pour in stock.

Simmer until potatoes are quite soft and lentils are falling apart, approximately 40-50 minutes. Then turn off heat and add cabbage to the pot and stir. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy with some soda bread or my favorite, sourdough bread.

I’m beginning to fall in love with cabbage, of all things. It’s been under appreciated and under utilized in my kitchen for sure.

Perhaps I’m finally accepting my Irish heritage and nourishing my body the way it desires to be nourished: with potatoes and cabbage! 😉

Peace and love,

Kristan

Rosemary Lemon Parmesan Sourdough Crackers

These crackers started with the basic recipe for my regular sourdough crackers, but I was digging deep into the refrigerator trying to find items that needed to be eaten.

What I found was some rosemary butter I had made quite a while ago and decided that would be a good cracker flavor.

Rosemary and lemon would make a good combination, so I added a bit of lemon infused olive oil and zested a lemon to add a bit of that to the dough as I rolled each section out.

Parmesan would be a good addition as well, so I sprinkled a bit on top. It is the shelf stable kind bought in bulk.

A pinch of pink salt was sprinkled on top as well before using my rolling pin to really make the toppings stick.

The original recipe has the dough sit for at least 6 hours, but I didn’t really want any sourdough flavor in these crackers, so I baked them right away and it’s exactly what I wanted for a cracker flavor: savory, buttery, a tiny bit cheesy, and crispy.

So tasty! I enjoyed them today topped with my fermented honey cranberries.

Peace and love,

Kristan