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

The Power of Mending

Having a few skills can help one have a feeling of control over one’s own life. I enjoy learning new skills and using skills I have had for most of my life. My mother taught my sisters and me to sew early in our lives. We would choose projects to complete and were challenged to do our best. I still love sewing projects; even the most mundane.

My favorite pair of thrifted jeans burst some pocket seams. I kept putting my phone in there and was surprised when it would end up on the floor. Now that I’m on a week break, I feel I have time to catch up on those little things that make a big difference.

The thread is some my husband had already (he’s a better sewer than me) so it’s not a perfect match, and it’s definitely not a perfect mending job, but now I can put my phone in my pocket and not walk around with raw edges poking out on my backside.

Hopefully this photo doesn’t scare anyone away! I look so moody, but I cannot smile for a camera. I took this wearing said jeans with a Polaroid Land Camera 360 using FUJIFILM FP-3000b film. This was taken when the olive tree was full and before my seams had unraveled.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Herbal Tea Blends How-To

Buying tea is fun: exploring new flavors and brands that may help ease symptoms or simply taste good. What’s more fun is making one’s own tea blends!

My garden has mint, lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, parsley, rosemary, calendula, and many other cooking herbs. These are the ones usually being made into tea.

Most of my arsenal is pictured here. I have a serious love of vintage tiny crocks and they are perfect for storing dried herbs.

Choosing which vessel to drink from and deciding where to place the herbs is the hardest part of the process! I have a lovely tea strainer that sits atop a mug, and I also have a muslin cloth bag that is nice for a whole pot of tea. Obviously, I chose the stainless steel tea strainer + my favorite poppy mug.

My favorite blend is mint, lemon balm, and a bit of lavender.

Sometimes I enjoy just mint, I think that’s my second favorite.

Chamomile by itself is amazing, but I like it with mint. Also with lemon balm.

Calendula + mint; lavender + calendula; parsley + mint; basically anything mixed with mint is delicious and soothing.

I have “modeled” some blends based on purchased teas I enjoyed but didn’t care for the price tag. Those usually include licorice root because of its natural sweetness. They require more effort, so I’ll usually mix a larger batch to enjoy over a longer period.

Rosemary is best when fresh and is super strong. I enjoy it mixed with honey and chamomile!

In fact, I like most herbal teas with a bit of honey. I think their flavors come out more fully with some added sweetness.

All herbs either came from my garden, or were bought in bulk at my local herb supplier.

The honey in the coconut jar was purchased in bulk also!

As far as how much to add to each cup, it’s a personal preference, and can also be based on how fresh the herbs are + how finely cut they are. I generally use about one tablespoon because I like a good flavor. Definitely use less if you are using a true tea like earl grey or black.

What are some of your favorite tea blends?

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

Pouring Bowl

My intention for this bowl was for it to be taller, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a shallow, wide bowl great for rinsing fruit, then holding said fruit.

Here it is, sitting pretty in pink, holding freshly rinsed figs.

Peace and love,

Kristan

What Zero Waste Means to Me

I’m noticing a disturbing trend with zero waste. For some inexplicable reason, I searched #zerowaste on Instagram and was met with images that had nothing to do with zero waste. Many of them were about buying something. Many of them were about models. Zero waste is trending, but I wish that it were more than trending; I wish its appeal was far reaching and everlasting. I haven’t found anything that has resonated so deeply within myself in a great many years.

I don’t think zero waste is inherently glamorous. The blogs I follow (or should I say the people whose blogs I read) seem somewhat glamorous to me. Heck, they have enough appeal that I’m reading about their everyday lives, which could be considered mundane. I love it because I’m a naturally curious person. I want to know how they grocery shop, what their health and beauty routines are like, what they do in social situations, or how they go camping. All while being an environmentally conscientious person. This zero waste world can be a tricky path to tread so I like to take notes on how others might navigate a particular situation.

That is why I searched zerowaste; but what I found was consumerism, sales, self-promotion, glamour shots of nothingness, and a few legitimate zero waste posts. 

I’m by no means saying anyone is perfectly zero waste or that using the hashtag is against some arbitrary rule, but throwing a trending hashtag into a post is not helpful for anyone. 

A local herb and tea stockist

I fear that as millenials, we have been conditioned to not have a way to think for ourselves. Corporations and brands tell us how to live our best lives and we have fallen for it and even wholeheartedly embraced it. We are coping with new ideas and situations by buying more accoutrements. I admit that there are some “things” that I bought or made in order to stop buying disposable items. I made and bought a few linen and muslin cloth bags for grocery shopping, bought un-paper towels, reusable pads, a diva cup, and a crystal nail file I thought I needed. I’m sure there are more items, but I know the point is to consume less, and save some money while saving the planet. 

Fruit from a local orchard enthusiast
Perhaps it sounds too self-congratulatory to consider oneself as saving the planet by simply grocery shopping, but it can feel empowering; it can feel like having a voice, a choice, and actually doing something to stand up against mindless consumerism and direct-to-trash packaging.

Local, unpackaged / returnable or reusable goodies from a seasonal market
I’m by no means a poster child for zero waste. I swipe an occasional can of beer from my husband, I eat food brought home in plastic from my guy, I waste food on accident, and I still shop online too much. 

I’ve said it before, but this type of lifestyle hasn’t been a huge shift for me because of my previous habits, and therefore I feel like I’m not struggling with many of the concepts that others may.

My best advice is to do plenty of your own research. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t feel obligated to strive for perfection, and each step taken towards a greener life on this planet is a good one.

Oh, and don’t forget to vote and use your voice for the change you wish to see.

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

Made in November

A couple pieces of art or craft that have been made in the past couple days.

My favorite washcloth pattern from Purl Bee was gifted to my best friend.

A pottery piece with lots of (ahem) character. I also made a similar shaped one that was gifted to my friend. That one is pink!

More pottery pieces are at home with me, but this one is calling my name today and so I happened to get a photo of it.

Peace and love,

Kristan