Zero Waste Almond Milk/Flour

The other morning I opened my fridge and was amazed at how beautifully un-packaged it was!

There were onions rolling around plump last-of-the-season tomatoes and a bouquet of fresh fruits and veggies practically spilling out of the doors.

I smiled as I took a moment to realize that I had made my dreams come true!

I then glanced at the side door and the back corner of my fridge where I spotted some items I hadn’t figured out what to do with yet: Condiments, almond and soy milk, a few packages of tofu…

Frowning, I sought out a remedy!

This is one of the remedies: How to make your own almond milk

There are loads of recipes floating around pinterest, but none of them tasted quite like that store-bought boxed in drink I love.

So, I tweaked ingredients and came up with a recipe that gives you thick (or thin- variations included) sweet (0r unsweetened) almond milk to play with and make your own!

Now that we’re all ready to get our hands a little dirty, take a look below for the recipe instructions:

Almond Milk

Time: 30 mins + 24 hrs for soaking

Ingredients:

3C Almonds

water

cheesecloth (or fine strainer)

**vanilla extract (optional), agave (0ptional)

Prep: Soak 3 cups of almonds in a large bowl with several inches of water covering them in the fridge 24hrs prior to use.

  1. Completely drain the almond/water bowl.
  2. For a thicker milk: combine 1 cup almonds and 2 cups water in a high-powered blender for two minutes. For a thinner milk: combine 1 cup almonds with 4 cups water on high for two minutes
  3. Place your strainer or cheesecloth (folded to have four layers) over a large bowl/ container and pour your mixture in.
  4. If using cheesecloth, squeeze till you can’t get any more out of the bag and cast the pulp inside aside for making almond flour later
  5. Repeat with remaining 2 cups of almonds

**For sweetner: add 1 tablespoon of agave per cup of almonds

**For flavor: add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract for every cup of almonds

Keeps fresh in fridge for 4 days or freeze for an extended life!

ALMOND FLOUR

Time: 2+ hrs

Ingredients: pulp from almond milk

  1. Preheat oven to lowest setting (typically 170 degrees F)
  2. Spread almond pulp out on a baking tray and bake for 2 hrs.
  3. Check to see if the pulp is fully dry and chalky to the touch every half hour over that time.
  4. When it feels fully dry and no moisture can be seen or touched, remove and blend with high-powered blade or food processor until it is fine and powdery!
  5. You now have almond flour to use in recipes!

Drink up!

Print

Advertisements

Zero Waste Oranges

I hadn’t planned on writing this till I was mid-chop through my last orange for orange juice this morning! Then, it dawned on me just how MANY uses there are for oranges!

Of course, the first use is very simple: ORANGE JUICE! 

Go on and squeeze yourself a pitcher full, and yes- save the pulp. 

The first tip I have is for you smoothie lovers out there! 

Orange pulp holds a ton of fibers, so instead of straining it then tossing it out, scoop it into an ice tray and freeze it! You’ll have them ready to add into your smoothie tomorrow morning and you won’t even be able to taste the texture of it since it will be ground up! 

Now, lets go back over to those discarded peels. 

My favorite recipe calls for distilled white vinegar and fresh orange peels. With these two ingredients, you can make your very own all-purpose cleaner! 

Just chop those peels up small, stuff them into a jar, and fill it the rest of the way up with vinegar! 


Now, place the lid back on, and submerge your jar into a pot of water kept at 150degrees F for 20 minutes. 

Cool him off and set aside 2-3 days. When you come back to it, go ahead and strain your vinegar into a spray bottle (if you want to) and compost those peels! Voila! Your very own all-purpose cleaner! 

I still had orange peel leftover, however, so I set my oven at 170degrees F and popped them into there to dry out for use as fruit tea “leaves” later on. Keep them in for 1hr or until dry and brittle! 

These are the peels before going into the oven! be sure to spread them out!


Another short recipe is to fill a large pot with water and boil your peels in it. Add in 2 sticks OF cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, and bit of cloves and keep it boiling! The result is a holiday-scented home for the next few days!! 

Hopefully you found these tips useful! Let me know what you do! 

Composting 101

Hi again folks!

I was giving a lecture last week and a lovely lady asked me a question at the end about composting and how one should go about starting! I was a little lost for words since there are quite a lot of methods, however, here I have pulled together quite a few and even created small info-graphics about the very basics of starting your own compost! I give all the credit to the absolutely amazing book “The Urban/Suburban Composter” by Mark Cullen and Lorraine Johnson. I highly recommend checking this out at your local library if you’re looking for a very in-depth view on composting methods!

I only cover how to build a holding unit, however, there are many types of composting methods that work.

compost-bacteria-infograph

What happens when composting takes place? Bacteria grows and feeds off your scraps thus producing heat that kills them and creates the ideal temperature for another type of bacteria. This happens until the Thermophiles die off completely from the intense heat or from the lack of food. When this is complete, the pile cools down and allows the psychrophilic and mesophilic bacteria to come back and finish off what the thermophiles may not have gotten around to! This stage is called the maturation period and during it you may notice bugs and worms starting to inhabit your pile! When this phase is done, your pile should resemble a very dark sweetly-scented soil! This is called Humus or completed compost.


composting101infograph

Now that you know what happens during compost, let’s take a look at some of the facts around composting in general!


what-goes-into-compost-graphic

Ah, the carbon to nitrogen ratio. This is the part of composting that does actually require a bit of effort on your part. Think back to that high-school chemistry or biology class for a moment. Carbon and Nitrogen can be found in any material you will be composting. However, the amounts in which they are found will differ. Take, for example, wood chips which range have a C:N ratio of anywhere between 500:1 – 700:1 as compared to food scraps which typically have a C:N ratio of 15:1. You want your compost to have a C:N ratio between 20:1 and 30:1. This means that for every nitrogen rich material you add in, you want to add in twenty times the amount of carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves. Now before you check-out mentally and say that this is too complicated to keep up with, it’s not an exact science (well, at least it doesn’t have to be in your home). What you’re trying to do is have quite a bit more carbon rich or “brown” materials than nitrogen-rich or “green” materials as it’s been termed. Experiment around. Compost is very easy to salvage. After all, it is just rotten materials. Too much nitrogen and it gets slimy. Too much carbon and it will be brittle to the touch. You’re aiming for your compost to feel like a well-wrung out sponge: damp, but not too damp.

holdingunit-compostor-infograph

Here’s an easy-to-make compost bin using the holding unit method. This is taken directly from “the urban/suburban composter”

Ok, so maybe you don’t really want to build your own composter- what can you do?

There are dozens of  composters all set up and ready to go available online or at home-improvement stores such as Home Depot and local hardware stores.  This is a wonderful link for those of you who are aiming to just go out and purchase a Composter:

http://www.homedepot.com/b/Outdoors-Garden-Center-Composters/N-5yc1vZbx5p

Keep in mind, though that you don’t necessarily need the most expensive Composter on the market to do the job. Any container with a lid will do. Heck! You don’t even need a container at all if you dig a deep enough hole outside and layer it properly!

I, personally, own a tabletop composter to collect scraps of food from the kitchen in before taking it outside to toss into a rather large compost tumbler. The tumbler is a good option for those of you with patio/backyard space that plan on mainly composting food scraps. This is a minimal-maintenance approach to composting. You toss in your nitrogen, top it with 20x more carbon and close it. Then, once a week, you turn it. That’s all.

I do want to give an honorable mention to vermicomposting which harnesses the power of worms to compost in a fast and efficient manner. I will be starting this process here soon and will update you with how it goes!

Here are a few excerpts from the book that you may find useful! 


I want to leave you all with a quote I found in (you guessed it) The Urban/Suburban Composter.

“My passion for compost stems from observance of a very basic rule of life- put things back in their place after you’re finished with them”- Mark Cullen

Send me an email at littlegreengoddess.blog@gmail.com if you have any questions on composting or would like more information on the methods not covered here!

Stay Green!

Print

Re-using Brown bags

Have you been to a Whole Foods before? If so, you are probably familiar with their reusable bag policy where they will take 10 cents off your bill for every bag you bring yourself (you can then choose to donate or keep the change). This practice is lovely, but sometimes impractical.

As wonderful as it is to bring your reusable bags everywhere (and I do recommend it), stuff happens! Maybe you are on your way home from work and receive a message from your spouse saying you HAVE to pick up xyz from the grocery store.

So what do you do?

You run in right before closing time at the store, pack your cart with the necessities listed out (maybe a little more) and rush to the check-out. As you’re in line tiredly awaiting your turn, you hear the cashier ask the man in front of you, “would you like to donate your bags?”. In that moment, you realize that for the first time in your pristine zero-waste lifestyle, you don’t have a handy reusable bag on you for the odds and ends you picked up that night. Do you dare to cradle your arms and insist the lady behind the register pile them into your open arms? No. You act civilized and take a brown paper bag!

So now what do you do with said bag?

Recycle it? Possibly

Re-use it? Definitely.

When it comes to re-using bags, the possibilities are quite endless. In the past, I have made a hanging pencil holder for my kitchen out of a Chipotle bag and wrapped presents with larger Whole Food’s bags. Cutting them up into squares makes for great shabby-chic labeling on jars and containers, whereas leaving them whole- with the exception of the bottom and a side slit- make wonderful ground cover for paintings and art projects!

Seriously, don’t stress about the occasional brown bag. Stash that sucker in your arts and crafts section and come back to it when you need some vintage gift wrap!

Here’s a quick link to some creative re-uses of paper bags! www.thebalance.com

As for my personal endeavors in the world of brown paper bags, you can find a picture of my pencil holder/chipotle bag and a vintage-inspired gift-wrap for my boyfriend below!

 

 

For the “doodle” bag: take a medium sized brown paper bag (I used a chipotle’s to-go bag) and cut out one of the sides with the handles completely and follow steps bellow!

IMG_0277

I added a string to the front only, but if you want it to look prettier, add a thick decorative ribbon on both front and back in replacement of the handle. This holds it up on a nail (or in my case, a push pin). The front ribbon will need to be slightly longer than the back ribbon, so hold it up where you plan on hanging it first to measure how much ribbon you would need for either side.

*TIP: Ironing the bags on low heat (briefly)  can help to flatten and give a tidier appearance to the crafting project.

P.S. The ribbon I used in the picture of the present was also a re-use! It came off of a gift from the holidays last year!

Happy Crafting,