December Groceries

I’m trying harder to be mindful of seasonal eating. Bananas are a delicious treat, but I live in Idaho. Bananas are never in season here.

There was a sale on chocolate, so I stocked up on my favorite kinds + a baking chocolate from Dagoba. It’s in a package, but from what I’ve read is recyclable.

The cloth bags contain: fair-trade coffee, local yellow lentils (a switch from my usual green lentil variety), and rye flour to make bread.

The glass jar has chocolate peanut butter because winter is headed this way. 🙂

I bought 2 savory scones and ate the other one. This one is for my husband. It’s also in the store’s bag because I thought I had run out of bags. Turns out, I hadn’t. #zerowastefail

Then the produce is a few pears, tiny and large, oranges, zucchini, cilantro, cabbage, and a couple watermelon radishes from a local organic farm.

What I’m planning on making: lentil curry, roasted garlic cabbage, rye caraway bread, and tomato-free sauce for pasta because I refuse to buy tomatoes when they aren’t in season and I sadly did not make tomato sauce this year.

Not pictured for no reason other than a forgetful mind: honey from the bulk dispensary. I ran out after starting fermented cranberries! More on that when they are finished.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Sweet Potato with Lentil Topping

This dinner was divine! It could be made vegan so easily, just leave off the mayonnaise, or substitute vegenaise. I personally love vegenaise, but I prefer to make my own mayonnaise, and it’s package-free.

  • Bake sweet potatoes at 375 F for as long as they need to be fork tender. Perhaps an hour for large, thick potatoes.
  • Cook about 2 cups of lentils in water and drain when done.
  • Sauté a couple shallots or half an onion in oil, then add a few cloves of garlic, and a bell pepper.
  • Add spices of your choosing here: chili powder, paprika, cumin.
  • Add some tomatoes – I used up my last can of diced, fire roasted tomatoes. I think anything tomato would work here as long as it has some liquid.
  • Toss in cooked lentils and simmer for a few minutes.

Mash up the cooked sweet potato and top with the cooked lentil mix. Add avocado and mayonnaise if you please!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Pumpkin Pie Sans Packaging

I’m not huge into making pies, but I really wanted to try to make a real pumpkin pie and avoid all packaging – a Thanksgiving challenge for myself!

I got my hands on some pie pumpkins, which is easy to do, and I really only needed one. Chopped in half, and gutted, they went cut side down into the oven to roast until super tender.

It’s very easy to peel afterwards.

First, I mashed it with a potato masher and this is what it looked like.

Then I gave it the immersion blender treatment.

Much more of a purée now!

It was super thick so I decided I didn’t need to strain it at all.

Obviously I needed to make pie crust. I’ve never figured out what the big deal is with pie crust. I just follow directions and it turns out every time.

This one couldn’t be simpler:

  • 6 ounces butter, cold, diced
  • 2 cups flour, I used white whole wheat
  • 1/3 cup + maybe more of ice water (mine needed more)

Mix flour and butter first, then add ice water and if needed add more 1 tablespoon at a time.

I wrapped mine in homemade beeswax wrap and stuck it in the freezer, then realized I should have put it in the fridge. I had to wait a while to roll it out.

For the pie filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Salt

Whisk together.

I wanted my shell a bit pre-baked so it was in the oven, then I poured the filling into the shell.

Cook at 350 F for about 55 – 60 minutes.

The pie smells amazing, but a little warning here; I was using the oven for sweet potatoes and slid this pie onto a rack that was only 1 away from the one I was using. The pie pan fit perfectly, but then the filling rose a bit and off came some of the top! So, it’s not pretty now and I never make nice pie shell crusts. I’m sharing it anyway to be as real as possible and show the not-so-pretty side of not wasting perfectly good food.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Plastic-free & Zero Waste Thanksgiving Groceries

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the abundance around us. We have many holidays here in the States that have become buried deep under consumerism and we have very little connection to the original day of celebration. Thanksgiving was created here, and it holds up pretty well with its original intent.

Groceries from small, local stores: Pie pumpkins, heavy cream, kombucha, cranberries, oats, wild rice, winter squash, eggs, pumpkin cookies, persimmons, olive oil, canola oil, romanesco cauliflower, pecans.

I am grateful to be able to buy locally sourced, plastic and package-free produce and dairy, and am more than willing to drive a further distance to vote with my dollars. I don’t see the connection between supporting a corporation and feeding your family whipped topping out of a can with ingredients that do more harm than good, and then giving thanks for the food that has been provided by poor wages and wasteful business practices.

On the menu: pumpkin pie + apple pie, wild rice + squash casserole, eggnog (my family requests the eggnog every year). I haven’t figured out exactly what to do with the cranberries yet, but I’m sure I’ll find something delicious.

What I wish for this Thanksgiving is nourishing food provided from the garden, or as local as possible. I wish for health and happiness for my family as well as yours. I wish to seek common ground with others; especially families who don’t see eye to eye because who else can understand you better than your own flesh and blood?

Peace and love,

Kristan

Vegan Zero Waste Breakfast

Overnight oats is a life changing breakfast option. Is that too dramatic? I don’t think so, because whenever I make them, I am grateful to have a simple, healthy breakfast option waiting for me in the refrigerator.

The thing that makes me even more grateful for this option is that it’s so easily made zero waste. Perhaps that wording isn’t quite right. This dish doesn’t need to be “made” zero waste – it just is.

Here’s what I used today:

  • Rolled oats – bulk
  • Cashew / almond milk – ingredients bought in bulk, then homemade
  • Sesame seeds – bulk
  • Blueberries – frozen from a flat of berries bought fresh and plastic free (thank you summertime Kristan)
  • Raspberries – ditto blueberries
  • Maple syrup – bulk dispensary

When I make these the night before, I only put oats and milk together, then in the morning I add what I want. Frozen berries just need a small amount of time to unthaw while in the oats.

If I need to take this with me to school, I simply put the rubber gasket and metal clips on the lid and go. I dig Weck jars. Fortunately, today is Sunday and I’m slowly enjoying this simple treat.

What’s your favorite breakfast? How can it be made zero waste?

Peace and love,

Kristan

Thanksgiving at School

Today and tomorrow are the days we are celebrating Thanksgiving in my Kindergarten classroom. Historical accuracy is important to me, so I try my best to teach the students the history of the holiday. I also did some research on what foods would have or could have been present at the first or second Thanksgiving. Beans, corn, and squash were on my menu, as well as chestnuts. I cooked up mayacoba beans and roasted and laboriously peeled chestnuts.

To keep this fun day trash free, all ingredients were package free, and I brought plates from home for the students to eat from. I always have a small set of silverware at school. They ate in turns, like rotating stations, and I simply washed the plates and forks in between rotations.


To cook chestnuts: score an X on the flat side, through the shells and slightly into the meat. Bake at 425 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then peel. My fingernails are still suffering from the process, but I had never even tried a chestnut before yesterday, and I have to say it was worth the pain. They are delicious! Nutty and sweet, and softer than expected.

The students made butter from cream by shaking it in a baby food jar; even though that part is not historically accurate, it’s too much fun not to include in the day’s activities. They chopped bell peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and green onions. The night before, I prepared a butternut squash from my garden and took it with me to add to our vegetable medley. I don’t eat meat and so I would never buy it for my students. I wouldn’t know where to purchase venison anyway.

I keep a plug in skillet at school for such occasions. It was given to us by a family member and it’s not something I would use at home.

Thanksgiving feast menu:

Potatoes, zucchini, winter squash, green onion, bell peppers – all package free

Sage – garden

Mayacoba beans – cooked from scratch + bought in bulk

Cream for butter – returnable glass bottle

Candy corn – reusable bulk bag

Chestnuts – reusable bulk bag

I have control over what kind of festivities happen in my classroom, and I expect them to align with my values. I composted scraps and am feeding any leftovers to my hens.

Basically a trash free classroom party! Produce stickers and napkins were tossed. I get a stack of napkins each time the vegetable grant comes to my room, so I feel that I should use those.

How would you implement zero waste into the classroom?

Peace and love,

Kristan

Pasta & Beans Variation 2


Another variation of the marriage of two of my favorite foods. The orzo was what didn’t fit in my glass storage jar and was taking up space in a cloth bulk bag on my counter. 

I cooked up a vat (seriously so many) of mayacoba beans for a Thanksgiving feast I’m having for my students tomorrow and decided this would make an easy dinner.

Leftover tomatoes from the thrice weekly vegetable snack we get were cut in half and tossed in after the pasta was drained.

I added a couple tablespoons of butter, then spinach, garlic powder, and pepper.

I used one bowl to soak the beans, one pot to cook the beans + the pasta later, and one colander to drain the beans + the pasta. I’m a huge fan of one pot / pan dinners. I’m an even bigger fan of using up what’s in the pantry & refrigerator.
When I opened google on my phone, I was informed that Venus and Jupiter are crossing paths in the Scorpio sign tomorrow and the next day. I’m a Scorpio so I’ll be feeling the self-love big time and also looking forward to my week-long Thanksgiving break. It’s my favorite holiday!

Peace and love,

Kristan

November Weeknight Dinner

A dinner of sorts after I braved a local restaurant to ask for chips and salsa in my own containers. Of course, they didn’t bat an eye as I asked bashfully. 

To accompany the chips, a super simple spinach salad was made with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The local co-op always has spinach and greens in bulk. 


Dinner is a loose term here, and generally this would make me feel slightly less than organized or healthy, but this created no trash and that’s something I can feel good about.

It’s interesting to me that I snapped a photo of this dinner and not last night’s / today’s lunch of curried lentils with gorgeous Romanesco cauliflower, and a side of homemade wheat & oat bread. After a dish like that, there is little energy left for taking a photo. I’ll try to be more diligent with all my recipes in the future. 

Peace and love,

Kristan

Ratatouille Lunch

 

Packed in an ECO lunchbox my sister gifted me when I graduated.

Oh, ratatouille! I adore you! You are the perfect end of summer dish to make with the freshest, most pure and local ingredients one can find.

  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Parsley

Everything gets roasted together with some spices, and you are the perfect topping for pasta, along with Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and fresh parsley.

I know the photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s honestly amazing to roast ratatouille versus sautéing all of it.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Pasta + Beans ❤️

This is mostly a documented case of me clearing out my refrigerator and pantry.

When I made the decision to consciously not buy packaged items, it made me see how many packaged items I had in my home. Part of the natural process is to slowly use those items up and incorporate them into as many dishes as one possibly can. The only packaged item was the macaroni, but still, we must have had it for some time, even though it was stored in a glass jar.

My weekly beans were longingly looking to be added to a hearty meal. Homemade vegan pesto was starting to go rancid in the refrigerator. I didn’t make enough this year to freeze into cubes. So sad ☹️. 

  • Macaroni, cooked
  • Add pesto, stir
  • Add beans
  • Pine nuts, too!
  • The last tablespoons of vegan parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes, a couple sprinkles
  • Slowly heat up the pan again and stir frequently, stop once everything is warmed up.
  • Enjoy!

Pasta + beans is one of my favorite combinations, in nearly all forms. I think you’ll like it, too.

Peace and love,

Kristan