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The Green Kitchen on Facebook Live (Notes)

If you caught my Facebook Live event on The Green Kitchen, here are some notes to help you connect with resources that I mentioned for the three topics I covered: composting the lazy way, incorporating reusable cloths around the house so you can ditch paper towels, and replacing non-stick cookware with healthier options. When there is a specific brand that I like, I’ve linked that exact one. When it’s whole a category I talked about, but I don’t have a brand preference, I’ve provided a search on Amazon for you based on some key words. Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, I may receive a small commission at no additional expense to you.

1. Composting the Lazy Way

 
Americans represent 5% of the world’s population but generate 30% of the world’s garbage. The average American throws away 4.5 pounds of trash a day. What we reduce and reuse can make a difference! Commercial recycling should always be a distant third to the other two R’s. However, recycling at home–like through composting–is an impactful, doable step.  

Previous Posts:

The book that got me started was Composting by Liz Ball. It is simple and non-gimmicky.

 

Products relating to composting if you don’t want to DIY:


2. Reusable Cloths

The Paperless Project points out that the paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. This industry uses trees at a high rate and pollutes loads of water in the processing.

Previous posts:

Our cute wet/dry bag that hangs in the kitchen. Click on the image to go to the product page on Abby’s Lane. Our not-cute wetbag (which we use when this one is in the wash) is a really worn out cloth diaper pail liner that I added a hanging strap to. Planetwise Wetbag

3.  Non Non-Stick-Coating Cookware

Kirkland Stainless Steel Cookware Set only at Costco– the copper-bottomed set that I have is no longer sold, but this one looks similar. It’s a great price point!

Cookware

 

Lard from J&L Green Farm– a natural source of Vitamin D. It’s great for seasoning cast iron and as a cooking fat. I especially love to pop popcorn on the stovetop in it.

Lard

 

Stainless Steel Baking Sheets– This two-piece set is often on sale for under $30. The pans do warp while in the hot oven, but they flatten again when they cool. Our set has been amazing so far, things don’t stick and it cleans up easily.
 

Stainless Steel Baking Sheets

 

Cast Iron Pans


Cast Iron Griddles


Enamel


Stoneware


Pyrex

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It’s pumpkin processing day! It is a day that I love and loathe. I love it because it means FALL IS HERE and the yield is great! I loathe it because it takes a long time to cut the pumpkins, roast them, cool them, peel them, process, can up the puree, roast the seeds, and then clean up. OK, OK, if you’ve been over to my house, you know we pretty much never get the dishes done the same day. But, sometime in the next week (or two), Dave or I will have to do those dishes. Over the years, I have gotten better at the whole process (almost 8 years to the day, I wrote this post about my first attempt), but now the complicating factor is three adorable little helpers/distractors. 

Today, though, the stars aligned and the children played outside amazingly while I worked inside on this. I like to cook with the kids, but Baby T (16 months) is a wildcard with cooking right now. He loves to shove his brothers off of step stools, climb the Learning Tower and put his fingers where the knife is cutting or throw ingredients on the ground, etc. My go-to of wearing baby on my back doesn’t always work well with this one. He likes to be IN THE ACTION and will start clawing at my back and pulling my hair to get down. Needless to say, any sort of cooking is just hard right now. Yet, enter today! The lovely fall weather just made everything work out. I was able to keep the back door open to the screen porch and let Baby T play in the dirt pile along with V (5.5) and E (4) while they played away. In the morning I asked if they would like to go to the library, and for the first time ever I got a no. “We want to play a complicated construction game today, and we will need all morning–like hours,” V told me. Sure enough, they got intently into digging and arranging dirt, bricks, and streams of water into some sort of kiln-like structure. They shared tools and trucks peaceably for hours. It was amazing and rare! I still am shocked about it, and so, so grateful. It was needed after a ton of sibling conflict recently.

With them happy in the backyard, I excused myself to the kitchen. The weather was perfect for leaving the back door open to the screen porch so I could still hear all of T’s pips and babble and watch the three of them team together. Usually T has to stay in the porch or house  when I am in the kitchen (and then screams at me) because he gets into everything in the yard: climbs up the swing set ladder, picks mushrooms, etc. But, today he was happy to stay at the dirt pile and perfectly within sight and sound of me. Flitting in and out of the house to help him as needed, get everyone de-mudded and fed, etc. throughout the day actually worked well because it gave me breaks in the midst of the long process.  I actually think it was the most pleasant pumpkin processing day I’ve had! 

For the past few years, I have used “neck pumpkins” (Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash) rather than pie pumpkins (or even jack-o-lantern ones). They have such a sweet flavor and are comparatively easier to cut into than the super-thick-skinned orange variety. Plus, the slender, long neck is all flesh with no seeds so it yields a lot of puree. These two came from Great Country Farms

Neck Pumpkins Read more…

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 A little over a year ago, my family got hooked on Green and Grateful’s  Oatmeal Bake. Bethanie provides helpful suggestions for adapting this recipe for a variety of dietary needs, which was just what my family needed when starting our dairy-free, gluten-free journey. Since then, I have made this once per week (or more, it’s that good) and have further adapted the ingredients and instructions into something that we’re rather obsessed with in our house. Little E, age 2, wakes up and asks for “Bake O-O” every single day, even though it usually only lasts for two days’ worth of breakfasts each week. This means that we end up with tears at least a few of the other five days of the week when we have less-superior oatmeal for breakfast, and he sobs, “No overnight O-O, bake O-O!” Baked Oatmeal Every Saturday  it’s my day for early morning duty with the kids (my usual shift is late nights and night-wakings), so I get up with them and we make baked oatmeal together. The boys work on their pouring and stirring skills and V (almost 4) is now capable of cracking an egg without getting any shell in it. Then we read books for30 minutes while it cooks and our bellies rumble with anticipation. So, what is this wondrous dish that we’ve settled on as sweet perfection? Check it out!

Baked Oatmeal
Easy to make, delicious dairy-free, gluten-free breakfast that is just as good the next day and bakes in the same container you mix it in.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup olive oil
  2. ½ maple syrup
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 4 cups dry oatmeal (gluten-free)
  5. 4 teaspoons baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  8. 2 cups coconut milk
  9. 2/3 cups dried cranberries
  10. 2/3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
  11. 2/3 cups nuts, unsalted (we love cashews or slivered almonds)
  12. Optional toppings: additional coconut milk, additional maple syrup, applesauce
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the olive oil to a 13x9 pan and let it coat the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingredients through the coconut milk. Stir thoroughly, making sure that the eggs are broken up and the baking powder does not clump. Add the remaining mix-ins and stir again. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  2. Serve warm or cold, it's delicious either way. Top with applesauce, coconut milk, or maple syrup, if desired.
Notes
  1. A frequent substitution for us is using a "chia egg" for one or more of the eggs. For one egg-alternative, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seed (ground, if possible) with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it stand until thick like egg white. Use as one egg in the recipe. Using all chia eggs is possible, but does lead to a drier texture. Also, using duck eggs works well and makes the oatmeal a bit fluffier.
Adapted from Green and Grateful
More Green for Less Green http://moregreenforlessgreen.com/
 

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The Amazing, Versatile Canning Jar

As a family who minimizes plastics, glass canning jars come in handy in many ways in our house. They are affordable, versatile, and easily washable. It took us several years to gradually weed out our plastic containers and switch to Pyrex and jars, but now that is the primary way we store food.

I frequently get asked how often we deal with breakage.  I am, by far, our family’s worst culprit of dropping and breaking glass items.  In all honesty, these glass items are so sturdy that a drop doesn’t necessarily mean breakage anyway, especially on a more yielding floor like hardwood. 

As for the kids: yes, we let them use glass.  Usually they choose the stainless steel dishes and cups from the cabinet, but have glass in the mix, too. Both boys’ first drink of water was self-fed from a tiny open glass at 6 months old. Our kids are very careful with breakable items because they’ve seen the mess when accidents happen. (It usually happens when I am pulling something out of the fridge and a jar slips from my hand and lands on the tile kitchen floor. It stinks when something breaks and we have to sweep it up, but it doesn’t happen often.)

Without further ado, check out some of our favorite ways to use canning jars:
Read more…

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