Tag: plastic-free

Zero Waste, Plastic-Free Tips for Living with Cats

I get so many questions about what I feed my kitties from a vegan point of view as well as how to care for them from an ecological point of view, whether we’re talking about toys, litter, or food. 

Check out this video, as well as my podcast episodes for answers. 

As for the resources I mention, here they are below:

▸CAT ENRICHMENT & TOYS
*Make your own toys if you can
– Cat Scratcher Lounge Collapsible: https://amzn.to/2yK3MZ6
– Cat Scratcher Lounge: https://amzn.to/2KkyTiw (best thing I ever bought!)
– Plastic-free lint brush https://amzn.to/2MqsOyu

▸ CAT LITTER
-okocat https://amzn.to/2KlmKJT

▸ PLASTIC-FREE LITTER BOX
https://amzn.to/2yEl0ad

▸PLASTIC-FREE LITTER SCOOP
https://amzn.to/2KaSG4q

▸HOW TO COMPOST YOUR CAT’S LITTER
http://bit.ly/2IsnQOZ

▸ CAT FOOD
-Natural Balance Cat Food https://amzn.to/2IyzZSS
-Tiki Cat (for when the kitties just want a little extra) https://amzn.to/2KrXNJT

▸ Cornell University on flushing cat poop
http://bit.ly/2N1evRI

Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything. 

Your Plastic-Free Journey Begins Today!

Welcome to Plastic-Free July! Don’t worry if you didn’t plan on making some changes this month. I’ve got you covered.⁠

Whether you’re consciously following #plasticfreejuly or just want to reduce (or be aware of) the amount of plastic you use, consume, and buy, you can join the journey at any point. ⁠

I’m going to be posting content to guide you wherever you are, and I encourage you to ask questions, provide resources, or support someone else — either here or on Instagram or Facebook.

FIVE TIPS TO GET STARTED! Watch this short video that provides the foundation for living with intention and compassion: ⁠

1. Take a look at where you’re at (and start there). ⁠
2. Have fun with it. Gamify it!⁠
3. Create an intention — what do you want to bring to this experience? What do you want to take away from it?⁠
4. The journey isn’t about buying all new plastic-free things.⁠
5. Value / use what you already have. ⁠

Ready to get started? ⁠
How can I help? ⁠
What are you looking for? ⁠
What are your challenges?⁠

👇 (COMMENT BELOW)⁠

🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿⁠

Don’t forget to: ⁠

Vegan Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

We had a fabulous time in our Breakfast & Brunch Class, and I’m still reaping the rewards (READ: eating the leftovers)! The On-Demand Class is now available for you to enjoy the video and recipes! 

Thank you for supporting a small vegan business. xo

PURCHASE THE ON-DEMAND BREAKFAST RECIPES + VIDEO

  • Fluffy Pancakes
  • Maple Tempeh Bacon
  • Strawberries ‘n Custard Parfait

…plus I shared David’s recipe and secrets for making a STRAWBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP to add to sparkling wine or sparkly soda. GET YOUR RECIPES TODAY!  

$9.99

____________________

See listing for my online cooking classes here!

For more on living and cooking vegan (i.e. compassionately and healthfully), my books are here to help:

The Joy of Vegan Baking 

The Vegan Table

Color Me Vegan

Vegan’s Daily Companion

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Joyful Vegan

Compostable, Biodegradable, Zero Waste Phone Cases

I first heard about Pela’s compostable, biodegradable, non-plastic, non-toxic phone cases from my friend Kathryn Kellogg over at Going Zero Waste, and I didn’t waste anytime ordering one. (I have an iPhone, but Pela makes phones for Google and Samsung phones, as well.)

For me, choosing ecologically friendly, animal-friendly products is always top of mind when I’m making purchases, but I also want them to do the job they’re designed for. 

I’ve had the Pela case for more than two years now and can attest to its efficacy — it has absolutely protected my phone, which I’ve dropped MANY times and use constantly each and every day. But a little more than two years in, it’s time for another, as the wear and tear is beyond cosmetic. 

Zero waste is about making choices based on responsibility and value, and while two years doesn’t seem like a terribly long time to own a phone case, there are a few other things to consider:

  • I’ve had other phone cases made of plastic that lasted about as long (or less).
  • Other (plastic) phone cases I’ve had didn’t actually protect my phone, so worse than having to replace the case, I’ve had to replace my phone (several times). Maybe I’m just a klutz, but still.
  • When I was done with previous phone cases, I couldn’t compost them!
  • The manufacturing needs to be considered in addition to the discard options, and Pela cases have 25% less carbon emissions, 35% less water usage, and 70% less waste production than conventional plastic smartphone cases.
  • Pela cases are free of lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates. They are made of a proprietary blend of Terratek Flex and Canadian Prairie flax shive.

So, in all ways, they come out on top, and two years later, I’m ready to compost my case.

While we are lucky to have a municipal / industrial compost system in our city of Oakland, CA, I’m going to add my old case to one of my backyard compost bins to see how long it will take for it to break down. According to Pela, it could take between 6 months and 2 years, so I’ll report back! 

Two years after my initial purchase, Pela has increased their line in terms of colors, and some also have designs created by artists Pela commissions to beautify their products. They also have other biodegradable accessories, including  phone grips, which perhaps I should buy considering how often I drop my phone. Again…klutz. 

Pela is offering a special right now that gives you two cases for the price of one — the intention being that people need to wash their cases more than ever to avoid spreading Covid-19. I took advantage of this offer and picked two pretty cases, which arrived in compostable non-plastic packaging!

 

As with being vegan, aspiring to zero waste isn’t about being perfect; it’s about doing the best we can. It’s also not about buying more stuff — including everything marketed as “zero waste,” but when it comes to prolonging the life of necessities — and yes, my phone is a work and life necessity right now — then I’m grateful for companies like Pela who is providing an option that is ethical for human and non-humans alike. 

Homemade, Vegan, and Zero Waste Online Cooking Class

Watch, eat, or cook along with me — cookbook author, cooking instructor, and joyful vegan — Colleen Patrick-Goudreau as I show you how to create the most delicious, nutritious, plant-based recipes from scratch!
 

Register today to learn to make:

  • Homemade Plant-Based Milks (soy and almond)
  • Homemade Tortillas (flour and corn)
  • Homemade Seitan (juicy and delicious)

*recipes are subject to change due to availability of ingredients

The classes are fun, interactive, and live in real-time! This means, I will see you, you will see all the other participants, and you will see me cooking in my kitchen and answering your questions. In addition:

  • With my multi-camera set-up, you can watch the class with a split screen: me talking on one side and the food demonstration on the other
  • You receive all the recipes in advance of the class
  • You receive access to our private Facebook group to interact with each other before and after class
  • You receive a recording of our class within 24 hours of the end of the class

(Patreon supporters receive 10% off; check your Patreon account for your discount code.)

ONCE YOU REGISTER:

  • You will receive a confirmation page and an email containing directions for linking to the class through Zoom, our recipe packet, plus guidelines for having the best virtual experience possible!
  • If you cook along with me, just have everything prepped in advance!

https://www.colleenpatrickgoudreau.com/irish-soda-bread-vegan-recipe/

Minestrone Soup with Kale {Recipe}

 

Homemade Plant-Based Milks

Plant-based milks were the original disruptor to the dairy industry until coronavirus came along, knocking cow’s milk off its already shaky legs. As dairy operations are dumping milk and consumers are finding empty supermarket shelves, people are cooking from scratch more than ever. While commercial plant milks are faring well during this pandemic, making plant milks at home is even more economical and sustainable, and the basic ingredients may already be in your cupboards.

They cost less, have less (or no) packaging, and can be flavored or sweetened to suit your taste. Zero-waste and plastic-free. It’s a win-win!

Different types of milk vary in terms of taste and texture, so if you don’t like one, try another. All plant-based milks are interchangeable for drinking, baking, or adding to coffee/tea, though some are creamier than others. Oat, almond, cashew, and soy are the creamiest, with rice milk being the thinnest.

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ALMOND OR CASHEW MILK
Used widely in the Middle Ages in regions stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to East Asia, almond milk has long been valued for its ability to keep better than animal’s milk, which has a short shelf life. The same process for almond milk can be used for other nuts, such as cashews and hazelnuts.

Ingredients

1½ cups raw (not roasted) almonds or cashews
4 cups cold water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk)
Pinch of salt (optional, but it enhances the flavor)
Optional ingredients such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc. 

Directions

Soak the almonds in water for a minimum of an hour or up to 24 hours. Soaking is optional for cashews, though they will yield more milk if you soak them for at least 30 minutes in hot water.

After soaking the nuts, discard the water. Add the almonds or cashews and the 4 cups of water to a blender. Add other ingredients such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder, if desired, and blend well on high speed. Optionally, you can sweeten the milk with your favorite sweetener (dates, sugar, maple syrup, agave, etc.).

If making almond milk, you’ll want to strain the mixture with a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or fine sieve/strainer over a large bowl. This isn’t really necessary with cashews. 

Refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Give a little shake before serving. 

Yield: 4 cups

[envira-gallery id="9227"]

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OAT MILK
Rolled, quick-cooking, even steel-cut will work. Oat milk can become gummy (which is why it’s so effective at combating high cholesterol), so be sure to use cold water and avoid over-blending.

Ingredients
1 cup oats
4 cups cold water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk)
Pinch of salt (optional, but it enhances the flavor)
Optional ingredients such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc. 

Directions

Soak the oats in water for at least 30 minutes or overnight. After soaking, drain the water from the oats, and rinse well with cold water. 

Add fresh cold water and oats to a blender, and blend just until smooth. As with the nut milks, you can add liquid or dry sweeteners or other flavors at this time, but be careful not to over-blend the oats.

Strain the milk using a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or sieve/strainer over a bowl. Refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container. 

Yield: 4 cups

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RICE MILK
By now, you’re getting the idea that you just need grain/nut/seed/bean + water to make delicious, nutritious milks. 

Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked long grain brown or white rice
4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk)
Pinch of salt (optional, but it enhances the flavor)

Optional ingredients such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc. 

Directions

Soak rice in 2 cups very hot (not boiling water) for 2 hours. The rice should be soft at the end of 2 hours. Drain and add to a blender. 

Add the 4 cups of water, salt, and any additional ingredients. Blend well. Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly. Strain using a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or sieve/strainer. 

Yield: 4 cups

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SOY MILK
Possibly the oldest of the bunch is soy milk, which originated in China thousands of years ago and was used long before we have written records to document the precise “day of discovery.” You can certainly make soy milk without a machine, but it is oodles easier to invest in a simple soy milk maker. (Here’s my favorite.) You’ll make back your investment in no time with the amount of delicious, nutty milk you will make. 

Though water is really the only beverage we have a physiological need for (beyond our own human milk when we’re young), it is certainly convenient and tasty to be able to make creamy, nutrient-rich milk from nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds. No packaging, no additives, no pregnant cow required. It’s a win-win during times of crisis or anytime. 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLANT MILK? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!

 

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Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an author whose topics include animal agriculture, animal protection, and plant-based eating. She has written seven books, including several cookbooks, is a regular contributor to National Public Radio and LiveKindly, and has published letters and commentaries in The New York Times, The Economist, and The Christian Science Monitor. 

*Photos by Marie Laforêt

Homemade Flour Tortillas (Vegan Recipe)

I’m no “survivalist,” but I do know how to whip up a number of staples from scratch, and for that I am grateful.

Tortillas are something I make from scratch fairly regularly since becoming zero waste, but mostly corn tortillas made from masa flour. However, at my recent visit to the Food Mill for my dried bulk pantry items (beans, grains, flour, sunflower seeds — for the squirrels!), I forgot to get masa.

We make a LOT of beans in our house, and after making a beautiful pressure-cooker pot of chipotle pinto beans, I was jonesing to pair them with tortillas.

No masa? No problem.

It was time to perfect my flour tortilla skills, and I think I nailed it.

RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLAS

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup HOT water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use olive)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  2. Stir in the water and oil. You might start mixing with a wooden, but it’s oodles easier to just use your hands. Get those hands dirty!
  3. If you find the dough is sticky, sprinkle in some more flour; if it’s too dry and not forming a ball, add a smidge more water. You want a nice smooth ball of dough.
  4. Turn the ball onto a floured surface, and knead about 10 or 12 times. Let  it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 portions. Begin shaping each one into a round disc, then on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-inch circle.
  6. Spray a little oil into a nonstick skillet, and cook each tortilla over medium heat until lightly browned, 1 minute on each side. The subsequent tortillas will take less time once the pan is well heated.

Yes, you can freeze these beauties in a sealed package, but I think you’ll find you’ll eat them up before you have a chance!

ENJOY, and let me know what you think! (Also, don’t forget to check out the Quick and Easy Meals recipes for my famous No Queso Quesadillas. Now you can do so with these homemade tortillas!

How Zero Waste Changed the Way I Eat (And Why Baby Carrots Are Evil)

Once you decide to make zero-waste, plastic-free, low- or no-packaging a priority in your life, you learn very quickly you have to make some changes when it comes to what you buy, how you shop, what you eat, and how you cook. Some might find this an inconvenience. I find it an adventure. Journey with me as I share some reflections on favorite foods and how my relationship with them has changed since “becoming zero-waste.”  Oh right, and I’ll also share with you WHY BABY CARROTS ARE EVIL from this joyful vegan’s point of view. 

Thank you to supporters for making this a 100% listener-supported podcast. Become a supporter at patreon.com/colleenpatrickgoudreau!

25 Meaningful Zero-Waste, Ethical Gifts

Aspiring to live “zero-waste” doesn’t mean being perfect or never buying anything ever again. It means valuing and taking responsibility for what we bring into our lives or into the lives of others.  This list first debuted on my Food for Thought Podcast, so if you’d like to hear it in the context of a larger story about living meaningfully, compassionately, and thoughtfully, check out the episode Lessons and Gifts: Making Meaningful Holidays (and Lives).

As for our list, I’ve categorized them into a few different categories and look forward to hearing your thoughts and your ideas for meaningful, zero-waste, ethical gifts. Please use the comments below to do so!

FOOD

  1. Loose Tea — find your favorite in bulk or in tins; if you order from FarLeaves.com (their tins are reusable and recyclable), enter “colleen” as the coupon code for 10% off
  2. Herbs and Spices — If you can’t find them in bulk near you, you should be able to find spices and herbs in glass jars (which can be reused again and again).  When creating your gift for others, you can make theme-based gift packets, such as “baking spices” (including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom), or “Italian herbs” (including parsley, basil, and oregano), or “favorite herbs for soup.” You get the idea. Add the spice jars to a basket and wrap in a pretty kitchen towel and raffia ribbon.
  3. Fruit and Nut Basket — Go to a local farm stand or farmers market and buy some beautiful seasonal fruits like persimmon, pomegranates, and apples and some whole walnuts (along with a nice metal nutcracker) — even a jar of local or homemade jam and create a gift basket. Add a couple hand-written recipes that feature the fruits you’ve included. 
  4. Ready-to-Bake Ingredients in a Jar — Instead of giving chocolate chip cookies, what about giving chocolate chip cookies ingredients (and promising to come over and bake with your friend)! Get a bunch of jars from a thrift store and add exactly the amount of all the ingredients in each jar, along with the recipe itself. Make it more special by adding a pie plate or cupcake tin, and pack it up in a pretty paper box. 
  5. Homemade Baked Goods — Bake a pie, crumble, or cobbler and hand-deliver your gift! Make my Caramel Popcorn (from The Joy of Vegan Baking), and present it in a pretty  tin. There are so many ways to create a pretty presentation of homemade goodies.

REUSABLES
Give these individually, as stocking stuffers, or Secret Santa gifts — or create a gift pack of some or all of these. (If you order online, just call when you’re placing your order to request using only paper and not plastic packing materials.)

  1. Reusable straws
  2. Stainless steel food containers
  3. Reusable coffee cups
  4. Reusable grocery shopping bags
  5. Reusable produce bags
  6. Reusable water bottles
  7. Reusable tea thermos (you know me and my favorite tea thermos!)
  8. Reusable shampoo and conditioner bottles
  9. Reusable travel cutlery set
  10.  

EXPERIENCES

  1. The 30-Day Vegan Challenge Online Course 
  2. Concert or Theatre Tickets  — Either find a theatre near your recipient and pick a show you think they’d like to see, or buy a gift certificate from the theatre so your recipient can choose exactly what show they want to attend. 
  3. The Gift of Time (in a Coupon Book): Something I’ve done over many years is create a little coupon book, which you can make as simple or as elaborate as you like, that you give to a loved one for them to redeem — for a massage, a home-cooked meal, a movie, a walk, a hike, a dance — whatever experiences you want to encourage you loved one to ask you for. There are companies that sell these nowadays, but I just like making my own. 
  4. Travel by Theme: My husband David and I set for ourselves the goal to sleep in every county in California. When we lived on the east coast, one theme was “Literary / Author’s Houses” (and still is, depending on where we go) as well as “Lighthouses of New England.” The National Parks of North America is another on our list, and that can be done either by driving or by train! (Travel doesn’t have to include flying, though if you want it to, then I recommend my CPG Vegan Trips!)
  5. Local Walking Tours. Many cities have walking tours led by docents who love where they live and relish sharing the history of the place with others. Lots of cities also have themed walking tours — they might be literary, history, architectural, women’s history, etc. (For those who came to my Compassion in Action a couple years ago, I led a walking tour of the animal protection history in Oakland!). Contact a city’s chamber of commerce and register you and a friend today! Many are free; some ask for donations, some you pay a minimal fee for — it’s worth it! I promise!

BOOKS 
 Obviously, as a writer and a reader, I’m a huge fan of books — even if they’re ebooks or audiobooks. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite books to give out throughout the year, and I’ve listed some below that I use as manuals for living every day. I encourage you to create your own.

  1. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (trans. Stephen Mitchell)
  2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (trans. Gregory Hays)
  3. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
  4. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
  5. Zooburbia by Tal Moses
  6. Commonplace Book and / or Blank Journals — I journal every day, but I also keep a common book inspired by the Stoics. (Ryan Holiday explains here.) The idea is to not only record your own thoughts (blank journaling/free-writing) but also to record quotes and thoughts of others you find meaningful and want to remember. The act of just writing down meaningful sentences and paragraphs penetrates your mind even more than just reading them. 

BONUS IDEA: MY BOOKS. I’m an author. I’m proud of my seven babies. If you’d like to buy one or more as gifts for others, you’ve made it worth the work I’ve put into each of them. Thank you. 

ENJOY!


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