Tag Archives: environment

Surviving School Vacation, Low waste, Gluten free, and Vegan

Ack the kids are home. It’s an endless cycle of “I am bored!” and “what’s to eat?”.

When you eat gluten free, mostly dairy free and no processed food unless its unavoidable that last bit seems challenging. You can’t just throw them a bag of Cheetos and a juice box. ( not that I would, ever!)  So what’s a Mom to do?

Every morning I have a simple routine that takes care of the basics. It makes easy healthy snacks within reach for the kids and keeps me from answering the “what do we have to eat?” question 12 times before lunch.  Believe it or not, its a lot cheaper to eat bulk healthy foods.  I’ll put my cart of fruits, veggies, and grains against your cart of single serve processed food-like groceries.

My routine goes something like this, every morning.

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I make cold brew coffee every morning for my coffee drinkers.  Half a cup of ground coffee covered with warm water and then let sit on the counter until bedtime. It’s that easy.

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Place two teabags ( or loose tea if I have it) into a 2 quart jar of warm water. Let the sun brew it until lunch. Unsweetened iced tea is ready for drinks. I do let my kids drink the decaffeinated kind.  Its kind of amazing to have them picking out teas at the store and comparing flavors.

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It’s been a process to get the kids to drink water. First we did the cute little plastic disposable bottles. Kids size reusable bottles were next. Now they have adult sized bottles( BPA free, of course). I just invested in some stainless steel bottles for them to take when they leave the house but they still use these everyday at home. I refill them in the morning and stick them in the fridge so they can grab one whenever they are thirsty.

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I cut up a bowl of snack size veggies for them to nibble on. Whatever has come from the garden that morning or what ever we have on hand.  It’s amazing but if its easy they WILL eat it. Or at least its the first stop before they grab something else. I do not give them dip and they don’t like it anyway. It hides the taste of the veggies. What law says you have to anyway? My only exception to that is hummus, We use it on everything you would use dip or mayo on.

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Same principal applies to the never ending fruit salad bowl. I fill a large bowl every morning with whatever fruits we have on hand that are seasonal or on sale. A sweet snack craving gets stopped in its tracks, for the kids or me.  For an extra treat I will whip some coconut cream to have with it.

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I eat zucchini noodles every day. One of my sons eats them almost as often. Its an almost instant gratification grain free noodle dish. I like canned diced Italian tomatoes and olives, he likes Go Veggie lactose free Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. To help keep them from getting too soggy when cooked, I spiral a few zucchinis in the morning and let them dry out on a plate.

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Last but not least I make a fast batch of bread dough to hang out for 24 hours.  It enables me to instantly make a pizza crust, bread sticks, rolls or flatbread. For some good gluten free recipes for dough, Glutenfreeonashoestring.com has some recipes on their site as well as some awesome recipes books available on kindle or Amazon.

For a little bit of time and effort, these substitutions can help you get off of the processed food train and save you some money in the bargain.  Happy Summer!

 

 

 

 

Four ways to save money and be softer on the environment.

I hate disposable products for two big reasons. The trash it generates, which is bad enough, and the huge amounts of money we all waste on these products.

I used to be as bad as everyone else. Single mom with no time, I considered throw away convenience a necessity. But when I lost my job and went back to school I needed to cut expenses drastically and tried to see where I could cut. These 4 items have saved me quite a lot of money. Most of them are not new ideas, just things from our past we can revisit that can cut down our ecological footprint and save us some money as well. Follow the links after each description to see what I use.

 Reusable Water Bottles.

This one should be a no brainer. I bought these for my boy’s lunch boxes and for at home as well as traveling. Mine are a little bigger but very convenient to wash and fill. We have been using these same bottles for over a year and they still look like new. The cost savings of these over the hundreds of juice pouches and bottled water is huge. Not to mention it is so much healthier to just drink water.

Kid’s Water Bottles   

Mom’s Reusable Bottles

Reusable Paper Towels

I keep seeing all these cute homemade paper towels with fancy snaps and just shake my head. I have neither the time nor want to spend that much for something I am going to destroy. I purchased these microfiber cloths and keep them in a bucket for quick access. I use them for almost everything now and the roll of paper towels I bought 3 months ago is still half full. I have heard the argument that by the time you wash these the cost savings is much less but I don’t buy it. I am doing the laundry anyway and these have lasted 6 months now.

Reusable Kitchen Cloths

Reusable Snack and Lunch Containers

I think we have thrown away thousands and thousands of ziptop bags and paper lunch bags. Ask anyone with a large family and it’s a serious expense. I switched to reusable lunch boxes and containers last year. It took a wee bit of trial and error to find some that we all like but we love them now. Two of my boys are Gluten free so we carry food everywhere no joke. These are the boxes we use.

3 Compartment Boxes

Yumboxes

Fit and Fresh Boxes with Ice Packs

Mama Pads

OK, I am going to go there. Menstrual pads are right up there with disposable diapers for filling up dumps nation wide. After googling mama pads after I came across some patterns on Pinterest I also read a host of other reasons why you should switch. I sewed up 3 dozen that I use regularly and I love them. More comfortable, less leaks, less flow, less irritation, you name it. Once you get over the Ewww factor it makes sense. Disposables are a relatively new invention, I bet your Gram used cloth mama pads. I keep a laundry hamper in the bathroom, I just toss them in there and wash them with the daily laundry.

If you arent handy with a sewing machine there are a couple options to purchase them. These too I have heard are the best,

Heart felt mama pads

Luna Pads

See now that wasn’t so hard was it?