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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 soeasy. 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.
2 small 2-3 pound pumpkins (this will give about 5 cups)
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).
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
Add chopped carrots and apples. Allow the onions to finish cooking all the way through.
Add veggie stock, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
By this time, your pumpkins should be almost done roasting. Scoop out the flesh, and add to your simmering soup.
Add clove, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
Blend soup until it is smooth and silky.
Return to heat for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds (chopped fresh apple or pomegranate seeds would make an amazing garnish as well).
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.
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.
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.
Pre-Heat oven to 350°.
Cut the loaf of bread into 3/4 or 1 inch pieces. Place in large bowl for later.
In a smaller bowl mix together 1/2 cup almond milk with 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Put aside.
Take 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and grind them. I used a coffee grinder
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.
Pour 1/3 of the liquid mixture over the bread, and carefully mix. Repeat until the liquid mixture is combined into the bread.
Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add the bread and liquid mixture into the baking dish.
Chop the 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and place sporadically over the top.
Bake covered for 35-40 minutes
Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
Top with candied pecans and pure maple syrup.
If you need a recipe for candied pecans, look no further!
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (organic to ensure it is vegan)
1 cup chopped pecans
Heat a skillet over medium heat
Add vegan butter to the skillet, and wait until you see bubbles start to form