10 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste

You guys. If you are late to the game, 2019 is here. If you are like most people, you make a resolution, and give up right around this time. If one of your resolutions is to reduce waste in 2019, or if you just want to start reducing your environmental foot print; I want to help! So, I have compiled 10 of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental foot print-no need to give up! They are just that easy.

  1. Meatless Mondays.  There are so many benefits to cutting out meat for one day per week. You lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Plus, a side benefit, studies are showing that people who participated in meatless Mondays lost weight, and stabilized their weight. There are numerous environmental benefits to meatless Mondays as well. By eliminating one burger per week out of your diet, it is the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles. The list continues; there are countless benefits to meatless Monday.
  2. Reusable Napkins. You can make them at home! The average American spends almost $120 on napkins, paper towel, and toilet paper per year. Now, I am not to the point of using reusable toilet paper, but you can save money by making napkins. I went to my local fabric store, and bought fat quarters for just under .50 cents each. Then, I cut them in half, and sewed edges. They were so easy to make, my husband even jumped in on the action and sewed a few.
  3.  Reusable paper towels. Just get towels to use around your home, or you can cut up old towels. In the U.S. there is more than 13 billion pounds created of paper towel every year, and that number just keeps growing.  If families in the U.S used one less roll of 70 sheet paper towel, it could help eliminate up to 120,000 tons of waste.
  4. Get reusable glass products. This is one of the best way to reduce plastic in your life. Thus, reducing your toxic load. I love glass food storage containers. Most are microwaveable safe, and I have been finding so many in local stores it is awesome. When you microwave in glass, you do not have to risk BPA or other harsh chemicals hidden in plastic. I travel everywhere with my glass water bottle. They are safe to use when you add essential oils to your water. Glass is best.
  5. Make the coffee at home. I am not talking in single serve pods. In 2015, the U.S. consumed enough single serve pods to wrap around the globe 10.5 times. THAT IS INSANE. Get a reusable filter for your single serve coffee maker. Make your coffee at home, and use your own mugs. It takes up to 20 years for the standard to go up to break down in the environment. Let’s all save time and money, and make the coffee at home.
  6. Thrift/shop at second hand stores. Guys. One of my favorite things to do ever is to go thrifting. There are so many more options for uniqueness and creativity. If the clothing is the wrong size, there are several quick fixes to make that perfect fit. This is one of those options that can help save you a ton of money in the long run. Plus, you save the clothing from the land fill.
  7. Get a smart power strip/Unplug things. This is another one of those easy things that does not take much effort on your part, but can help save you money. Most smart power strips turn off energy to things that go into standby mode. It will turn the light off in the corner of the TV, and overall just helps conserve energy around the house. You can get smart power strips on Amazon. They are well worth the purchase.
  8. Reusable bags.  This is probable the easiest way to cut down on your waste. Approximately 10% of the garbage that washes up on the U.S. coastline.  Most reusable bags have a longer life span than 700 plastic bags. It just makes sense. Get the reusable bags. There are even bags small enough to keep in your car or purse for unexpected trips to the store.
  9. Line dry. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh line dried laundry. This is one small thing that will save you money in the long run. Plus, your clothes will smell amazing without using dryer sheets.
  10. Eat Local. This should be a no brainer. I love shopping at local farmer’s markets because you can ask questions to the person who comes in direct contact with your food. What sort of fertilizers do they use? When were these vegetables picked? What is the growing season? It can all be answered by the person in front of you! I get excited just thinking about farmer’s markets. As an added bonus, sometimes the farmer’s will even give you a tour of their facilitates. So, you can see your food before it is picked. How exciting is that?! Go experience your local food growing culture.

I hope these tips help you!

Love, Liv

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

It is that cold time of year again where all I want to eat is soup. I love the warmth and comfort every bowl of soup has. It is like drinking a hug. With the long cold nights, this roasted pumpkin soup is sure to warm your tummy. Plus, it is dairy, egg, and gluten free. So, your warm tummy will also be a happy tummy.

Roasted pumpkins

Let’s get started by talking about pumpkins. I choose two smaller pumpkins. I used a Wee-Be-Little, and a Sweet Sugar Pie. I wanted the sweetness of the pumpkin to be accented in the soup without adding sugar. The benefit of using a Wee-Be-Little is because they are small, and perfect for roasting. They are meaty for their size, and really help drive the pumpkin flavor home in the soup.

You could use canned pumpkin, but you will loose out on most of that fresh flavor. I love roasting pumpkin, and keeping it in the freezer for the next time I need to add a burst of flavor to a soup, pasta sauce, or just wanting some good old fashioned pumpkin pie.

I am not going to lie, this soup is so easy. You can basically dump anything in your fridge, and it will add amazing flavor. If you are missing any of the ingredients, you can leave them out, and try them next time. I used carrots and apples in this recipe because I needed to use them up before they went bad. If you don’t have them, no worries. you will still have an amazing flavorful soup. You will need an immersion blender or just a regular stand blender for this recipe. Nothing beats the silky texture of a beautifully blended hearty soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 small 2-3 pound pumpkins (this will give about 5 cups)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 inches of grated ginger (or 1 1/4 tsp dried ground ginger)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 hearty apples (I used granny smith)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  1. 1/2 the pumpkins, and remove seeds (Save the seeds for later as a garnish, or amazing snack). With the varieties I used, the skin was so thick, I scooped the pumpkin out with no issues. Other varieties, you might have to peel before putting them in the oven. Place in a 450 degree oven until fork tender (it took about 45 minutes for my pumpkins to get there).
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds if you want a milder soup). Place in a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add chopped carrots and apples. Allow the onions to finish cooking all the way through.
  4. Add veggie stock, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. By this time, your pumpkins should be almost done roasting. Scoop out the flesh, and add to your simmering soup.
  6. Add clove, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  7. Blend soup until it is smooth and silky.
  8. Return to heat for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Garnish with pumpkin seeds (chopped fresh apple or pomegranate seeds would make an amazing garnish as well).

Serves 6-8

I love making large batches of soup. You can freeze leftovers. Or my favorite way is to make it into a pasta sauce for later in the week. Because this soup is thicker, you can add it to your favorite noodle, or ravioli. If you want a thicker sauce you can add some arrowroot powder. Start with a teaspoon, and go from there.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

Love, Liv

Vegan French Toast Bake

Fall is in full swing here in Wisconsin. With a chill in the air and the leaves changing color, it reminds me of cozy Saturday mornings inside by the fire place in my parent’s house. My parents are both amazing cooks. Since going vegan, I have been trying to convert their delicious meals into their vegan sister dishes. Today I have for you a family  favorite Vegan. French. Toast. Bake. Talk about all the fall feels. BESIDES, WHO DOESN’T LOVE FRENCH TOAST?! Enjoy this easy recipe for you and your family. This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free bread.

Vegan French Toast Bake

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. almond milk
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar packed (organic to ensure it’s vegan)
  • 1/2 c. vegan “buttermilk”
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds ground
  • 1 loaf vegan day-old vegan bread (I used a vegan sourdough)
  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter

I have talked about the vegan “buttermilk” in my lemon blueberry muffin-top recipe found here. But-for a refresher, whisk 1/2 cup of almond milk with 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The vinegar will cause the almond milk to slightly curdle, and make the buttermilk.

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut the loaf of bread into 3/4 or 1 inch pieces. Place in large bowl for later.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together 1/2 cup almond milk with 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Put aside.
  4. Take 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and grind them. I used a coffee grinder
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine: almond milk, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, brown sugar, ground chia seeds, and vegan buttermilk.

    Chopped Chia Seeds
    Chopped Chia Seeds
  6. Pour 1/3 of the liquid mixture over the bread, and carefully mix. Repeat until the liquid mixture is combined into the bread.
  7. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add the bread and liquid mixture into the baking dish.
  8. Chop the 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and place sporadically over the top.

    Chopped Butter on top French Toast Bake
    Place chopped butter on top the French Toast Bake
  9. Bake covered for 35-40 minutes
  10. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  11. Top with candied pecans and pure maple syrup.

Serves 6-8

BUT WAIT! 

If you need a recipe for candied pecans, look no further!

Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (organic to ensure it is vegan)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat
  2. Add vegan butter to the skillet, and wait until you see bubbles start to form
  3. Toast pecans for 2-3 minutes in the skillet
  4. Add brown sugar
  5. Stir continuously until the sugar melts
  6. Remove from heat, and cool on a baking sheet

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Love, Liv

Tex-Mex Caviar

Summer is almost here. I love light snacks for the summer. More importantly, I love recipes that you can make ahead in big batches. This is a simple, light recipe that packs a punch of flavor.

Chopped Ingredients.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes-quartered
  • 2 diced avocados
  • 1/2 minced white onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 10 oz. corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • Salt

 

With the summer coming, I love the fresh ingredients readily available. The vibrant colors help to make people fall in love with this dip when they first lay eyes on it!

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Zest Limes
  3. Add Lime juice
  4. Add Salt
  5. Enjoy!

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You can eat this as a dip, eat it on some tacos, anyway you like it!

Love, Liv

 

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I like to eat off clean plates, I mean who doesn’t? Unfortunately, many of the cleaners we put in our dishwasher are more toxic than the stuck on food we are trying to remove. So, if you want a non-toxic alternative to your dishwasher detergent, give these a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Baking SodaIngredientsjpg
  • 1/2 c. Washing Soda
  • 1/4 c. Citric Acid
  • 3 tbsp. Vinegar
  • 10 drops On Guard Essential Oil.

Combine all ingredients, and press into an ice cube tray. Leave dry for 24 hours. I add a cup of vinegar into every load to help boost the cleaning power.

I really wanted to see how strong these pods are, and to see if they really work. So, one night I decided not to rinse my plates (do not do this at home), and let the food dry on them overnight. Gross, I know, but I do gross things so you don’t have to. I was shocked on how well these worked! After running the dishwasher.

All. Of. The. Plates. Were. CLEAN.

After the first wash! WHAT?! Not only do these work better than any dishwashing detergent I have ever used, they are cheaper, easy to make, and best of all, non toxic.

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Let me know how yours turn out!

Love, Liv

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

What is if your all-purpose cleaning spray? Most cleaning product containers have to be thoroughly cleaned before being recycled because they are so toxic. If you want to kick those toxins out of your home, this is the cleaner for you.

About a year ago, I cleaned my bathtub. I grabbed what everyone does to clean my tub. Bleach based products, straight bleach, and of course a “natural” cleaner. Not long after I was done with cleaning, one of my cats jumped into the tub. I started thinking about what his little paws were absorbing. So, I started really looking into the ingredients in those cleaners under my kitchen sink. It. Was. Disgusting. I was at a loss for words.

Most environmental experts estimate the average house hold has 62 toxic chemicals in their home. 62. We think we are “cleaning” out homes, but end up spreading toxins that are even worse for our bodies. Household cleaning products can include any amount of toxins because big corporations can re-name them as “antibacterial” or “fragrance” without having to disclose the actual ingredients in the product. There are potential neurotoxins in your home; potential endocrine disruptors, and a laundry list of other potential carcinogens. We think of our homes as a safe place where we can relax after a long day, but the things we are using to clean our homes with should have us running for the hills.

I was fed up. I didn’t want to introduce anymore toxins to myself, my husband, or my adorable fur babies. Enough was enough.

This cleaner has replaced EVERYTHING that I previously used for cleaning my home. It cleans everything from: floors, to counter tops, and leaves a streak free shine on windows or mirrors. It cost $2.78 to make (including the spray bottle). Best part, I know and can pronounce every ingredient in the cleaner. Talk about a win-win.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 10 drops On Guard Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil

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Make sure to use a stainless steel or glass container for your all-purpose cleaning spray. If you want to get your own on-guard, you can find it here.

That is it. So simple. It smells amazing. Plus, if you husband is like mine, he loves the smell, and started cleaning the house more because he loves to smell the cleaner. (No complains coming from me).

Here is how well this works:

In Wisconsin, sometimes we get 30 inches of snow in the the middle of April. So, after brushing off cars, shoveling, and crying about the weather, there can be a wet mess left on the floor from boots and outdoor apparel. That is what you see below.

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This is after using the all-purpose cleaner I made.

Seriously, this stuff is the real deal. It is amazing on any surface. Let me know how it works for you!

Love, Liv