Beeswax Wraps

One of the things that I felt would help me on the way to a Plastic-Reduced kitchen was Beeswax Wraps!

These handy sheets and bags were made with an old, clean duvet and napkins that were destined for goodwill, a block of Beeswax from our Health Food Store, my handy dandy sewing machine and some string from Dollarama. Thankfully my Mom was around while I sewed the bags and she grated up all the beeswax for me (thanks Mom!)

First Step was to create the bags...I used no pattern and just eye-balled the size and shape (which is why this rectangle is not perfect - I am a 1 hr-project girl after all!), creating a 1/2 inch hem at the top for the drawstring.

Next I used aluminum foil to line my oven rack and cut to size a piece of parchment paper to go inside the bag to keep the two layers separate. This way I could do 1 side at a time without them fusing together 🙂

Oven preheated to 200F, it only took a few minutes to melt into the cloth...keep an eye on it! When it looks all melted, pull it out of the oven and let it cool ~ I like to pick it up and wave it around 😉 Once it is cool, it is ready to use!

They aren't perfect or overall as pretty as I would like...but that's what trying something new is all about! Next time, I want to choose some fabric that is more colourful and create some sandwich/snack bags for school lunches ~ when I have done them, I'll post some pictures!I find that they keep my vegetables fresh for waaay longer than plastic bags!

Here's an example of mushrooms that I bought in a plastic container, removed the plastic and replaced it with a Beeswax Napkin:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWO weeks later....

a little bit brown but Still Edible! That's a WIN!

Happy Creating!

~Debbie

Textured Vegetable Protein: A Wonder Staple

 

Greetings, Culinary Compatriots!

I thought I would take a quick moment to sing the praises of Textured Vegetable Protein, aka TVP. TVP is made from soy and I can’t think of a better food to help people transition to plant-based cooking. It can replace hamburger in almost any familiar recipe you can think of and it is SO EASY TO USE! SO EASY! I really can’t emphasize that enough, because gone are the days of standing over a pan scraping a solid block of slowly thawing/cooking frozen hamburger.

Instead, I boil a pot of water and five minutes later, I have my mince for any recipe I can think up. Here’s why I like it so much:

  • It has a neutral taste, and so it can take any flavour you want to add to it. I can make chili, spaghetti, taco ‘meat’, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, spicy Jamaican patties … you get the idea.

  • HUGE bonus — if you buy it from a Bulk Store, it’s super cheap. And Zero Waste if you use a cloth bag.

  • It also doesn’t go bad because it is shelf-stable. I have a huge glass jar of it in the cupboard above my stove.

  • In short, it is awesome.

To prepare it, it is a simple ratio of 1 part TVP: 1 part BOILING WATER. 1:1 — it doesn’t get easier than that. Leave it for 5 minutes to reconstitute and it’s ready to use. Don’t worry about the slightly earthy smell, once it is added to whatever you’re cooking up, it has a very neutral flavour — try it and you will see what I mean.

I hope you find it as easy and versatile as I have.

Happy Cooking!

Carla

Go Rogue: Subversive Ways to Battle Climate Change

The rogue or thief is one of the standard playable character classes in most editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A rogue is a versatile character, capable of sneaky combat and nimble tricks.

So there are times when the current state of the world in politics, corporate hegemony and the biggest existential threat our world has ever known -- climate change -- get me so angry and freaked out that I just want to run into the streets and scream at everyone. Which would be super weird because everything around me just rolls along as usual. I suppose if I turned off the news, stopped reading books and articles, I could just nestle in and pretend these issues have gone away.

But of course, they haven't.

And so, as I frantically try to figure out what I have to offer to this fight, it occurs to me again that there is a very subversive way to live our lives that can truly 'stick it to the [corporate] man'.

Now, for most of my life, I've had this frustration while watching movies: A car/truck/train is barreling down a road/track chasing someone who is running for their life. They are running flat out in front of this terror. And all I can think is --

"For the love of God, jump off the road!"

That one person is not going to be able to either: a. Outrun that vehicle or b. Turn around and stop it.

So here is my challenge to everyone who sees what is happening:

Get off the road!

Now I realize that what I'm about to say is really nothing all that new [with the exception of eating animals -- environmentalists seem slow to pick up on that one], but here is where I would suggest it is still important enough to put into bullet form: the changes we need to make are not little pretty changes that make us feel good. These changes must be profound and deep. But before that scares anyone away, consider this: we get to forge a new and better way of living that is less dependent on stuff and potentially much more satisfying. So here are my bullet points:

  • If everyone that could stopped driving and took public transit, demand for oil would drop. And demand for better public transit would lead to better public transit!

  • If everyone stopped eating animals and their by-products, demand for the cruel and environmentally devastating animal 'agriculture' would drop.

  • If everyone stopped using plastic, demand for plastic would drop.

  • If everyone stopped buying so much cheap, useless and essentially disposable crap, demand for that crap would drop.

No government or overseeing trade organization can force you to drive, eat animals, or buy something you don't want to buy.

Instead, how about we:

  • Ride a bike, walk, take public transit. And yes, support a taxi driver when the other methods won't work.

  • Grow a garden, buy local produce, eat plant-based [it's cheaper and healthier too!]

  • Find more beautiful ways to store our lunches, cover our left-overs, sip on our drinks, furnish our homes and kitchens. Forego single use plastics -- they're blah anyways.

  • Spend less on cheap, disposable stuff, and more on quality goods and actual experiences. Buy local, buy carefully, buy only what you deem beautiful and/or useful in your life. Minimalism is a powerful trend that could really have an impact on our wallets and our psyches, and it has as many different versions as people who adopt it. You don't have to live in a stark white home with one set of clothing to embrace the mindset of minimalism.

  • Buy used. Second hand finds are the best!

  • Compost plant-based left-overs. Use the compost in the garden.

Take one step at a time and master it, then go on to the next. I'm not saying this flippantly; this is exactly what I have done myself, so I know it is doable. I'm still working on plastic and so much crap! Oh -- and gardening. I really want to grow an awesome garden next year. I've had some successes in the past that help mitigate my fails, thank goodness, but it is not my strong suit. I'm determined though -- I sooo want to master this skill! In the meantime I've subscribed to a local produce delivery company:

www.mamaearth.ca

If you want to see your progress and get some hard numbers on the results of your efforts, there are sites out there that can measure your carbon footprint. But the site that I stumbled on a year or two ago was One Million Women, and I encourage you to sign up for their carbon challenge. It will calculate your carbon footprint and will add your name to the movement they've started:

https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/

It's time to stop pandering to those who just won't believe the evidence when they see it. If you see it, then it's all hands on deck!

Be subversive, become a Rogue, live a different life and show the world how it can be done.

Until next time, fellow adventurers!

Carla