Another Take Out Restaurant Win

Its been a strange week. Busy I guess. Time was not on my side for supper plans tonight, so we ended up eating out. This time KFC.

We do not usually order any of the side salads. No one really likes them so they end up wasted. Instead I order gravy, as one medium dish is not enough for our large family.

When I decided to get KFC, I immediately thought about the gravy packaging. Plastic, as well as the cover. I picked up the phone and spoke to the manager at KFC. I asked if I could bring my own containers for the gravy as our family is cutting out plastic waste at home. To my surprise the answer was yes! Though, they had to use one of the plastic bowls to measure the amount of gravy to put into my dish, “company policy”. I thought one plastic bowl wasted is better than 2 or 3 bowls and lids. 

Once again, we had a waste free take out meal at home!

In case you missed our latest experience, here it is.  McDonald’s plastic free.

Happy Pi Day

Today, on March 14th, we celebrated Pi day; 3.14159265359.

Apple pie and chocolate pie.

We celebrate by having pie. A family tradition. One of my husband’s favourite day of the year. 3rd month, 14th day. My husband is a wizard at math. He is a computer programmer and deals with numbers all day. He always makes fun by comparing birthdates and ages with number configurations.

Today, out of the blue, at 3;14 pm, he calls down the stairs from his office, “Happy Pi day”. Lol!! Never a dull day!

Plastic Free Meat Options

I made my first trip to our local Summerside Butcher Shop for unpackaged meat! Kevin, the manager, allowed me to purchase meat products with my own containers! I was over joyed!

Though, he would appreciate the meat wrapped in butcher paper rather than my own containers. He does not want to risk my containers contaminating their area for food health reasons. I certainly do not want to cause any problems. The fact that they are willing to use butcher paper alone suits my needs to not have plastic wrapped products. A win win in my eyes.

I can call to place my order before I go to the shop and they will have it ready for pickup. Super easy and they are accomodating me with the days I have available. Weeks ago, when I spoke with Kevin, he gave me permission to use my own containers, but I had to go on certain days (Monday or Tuesday) as they are busy with their own orders. Well, those days did not work for me. Either I had no vehicle, or the other day just did not give me time. I was not too keen on taking the other kids either (I don’t know why I thought it would be difficult, it was not!!). Today while I was talking to Kevin, I expressed that Saturday would be much better for me to pick up supplies, as that is my grocery day anyways. I would be in the area too. He agreed to any day, what ever helped me.

He told me another lady started ordering her products just in butcher paper too. Snowball effect!!! Also, they are trying to find a compostable material to use instead of the Styrofoam trays. They have been experimenting trying other products. Yeah!!!!

I need to find a container that will house a whole chicken. And fit in the fridge. We always have a roast chicken diner on Sunday. I don’t really want to make a special trip in on Sunday, but we are only 5 minutes away. If I did pick up that day, there would be no need for re-fridgeration if I timed it right. Food for thought.

Related:

I now buy our bacon and kobalssa sausage plastic free (in butcher paper) from Pleasant Pork at the Summerside Farmer’s Market. 

Update March 16th

Got my meat plastic free at The Summerside Butcher Shop. Though, the paper is lined, I don’t know by what, I will investigate. But, it is much better than the Styrofoam trays and less plastic (if the lining is plastic) than the cling wrap normally used on packages. I will continue this path with The Summerside Butcher Shop.

Easy to clean thermal bags in case there is a leak of meat “juices”.
Hamburg on the left chicken breasts and two whole chickens on the right. The whole chickens are small, so need to buy two for our family.
Placed in an old ice cream cake container.
Perfect fit, perfect dish for reuse.

As for the butcher paper at the Farmer’s Market, there is no lining on the paper!

Today’s Farmer’s Market hull

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Another recipe to share!!!

Chocolate pudding!! I stopped buying the kids pudding packs a long time ago, used to buy the packaged powder kind you add milk to, but not often. Definitely not since our zero waste lifestyle.

I bought some gelatin at Bulk Barn, thinking I would make pudding and jello, and what ever other treats. Behold . . . You don’t need gelatin to make pudding! Nope. The recipe I used is just 7 ingredients you probably have at home! Here is the link!

This recipe would be perfect for chocolate pies too. Just like my nanny used to make. With whipping cream on top. Oh, mouth watering!!!!

No one should have to go buy a package of pudding anymore!!! For school treat size portions, mix up a batch, and pour into the kids containers to take in their lunch can. Portioned and ready to go! It would be easy to even cut the recipe in half.

“Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract”
Put dry ingredients in a “heavy saucepan”.
Blend them together well, no heat yet.
The first of 2 cups of milk
I slowly added the first 2 cups of milk until well combined. Literally, slowly add as in the picture, a constant drizzle as the mixture is whisked together
Turn the heat to medium and slowly add the next and final 2 cups of milk. Same as above, slowly, to ensure a great mix.
4 cups of milk added. Constantly whisk so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan
just before the boiling point. Getting thick. Must whisk or it will stick on the bottom.
boiling point, continuing whisking for 2 minutes as the recipe says.
2 minutes are up. Off the heat and add butter and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
Complete
A quick rinse to see how much stuck on the bottom. Not much at all! Easy clean up!
Poured and ready to set in the fridge. I waited until the pudding stopped steaming at room temperature first.
Yum!

I recommend small servings. This pudding is excellent, but rich!

A Waste Free McDonald’s Supper

Fast food restaurants create a lot of waste. Cups, lids, straws, juice and milk bottles, toys and all the packaging that goes with them. Lets not forget about the organic waste associated as well, all the box board for the kids meals. Those are still resources being used and energy needed to create them.

Our family chooses McDonald’s for our choice to fast food. Chris and I like the other restaurants as well, but the kids really enjoy McDonald’s. I know eating at these fast food restaurants leaves a lot to be desired.  We do not eat out very often. maybe once a month or two at most. Kind of the last resort for me if I have no time to make supper, or am disposed for what ever reason, which is rare. When I say “eat out”, I mean bring home. We do not go out to eat with everybody, yet. Special occasion if we do.

I despise the kids meal toys!! So much packaging. I always thought before that at least the packaging for the toys was recyclable, until we started zero waste. plastic is plastic no matter if it is recyclable or not. The toys, oh my. they get used the first day, maybe the second. It is rare for a toy to be continually played with for many days. They take up space on the shelf, scattered on the floor, always picking them up or finding them lost under the couch. Filling bedrooms with more non-sense junk. They always seem to be in the way of the actual toys that get played with. They are not a learning activity, that is for sure. No real purpose. Just another item to get tossed, lost, or put in the attic. Possibly donated. We have 5 kids. That is a lot of these toys and packaging. 99% of the time, all the toys are the same character too. Frustrating more so. I know there is a book option available too, I tried that once and got 4 of the same book . . . yup.

A while ago, while placing our order at the self order booth, I was trying to figure out if I could order the kids meals without the drinks. I knew we could order no toy. I learned we can order no yogurt tube. Yay! What about the plastic cups, lids and straws. I wanted to avoid that too. We have our own drinks at home anyways. But there was no option to refuse the drink without having to pay for it.

The kids were awesome at not accepting a toy or yogurt tube with their kids meals. We were surprised! Not a big deal! Its becoming the new normal, as I am learning lots of changes are becoming the new normal. Daniel already grew out of the toys, was no longer interested as well as the yogurt tube. Thomas was just beginning to get his own kids meals, so not a whole lot he knows he is missing out on. Its a good thing.

Our order consisted of:

Chris- Double Big Mac, Med fries and a Med Root Beer
Rachel- Double Quarter Pounder, Med fries and a Med Coke
Daniel- Kids meal chicken nuggets with pop
Alaina- Kids meal chicken nuggets with ch. milk
Julia- Kids meal Hamburger with ch. milk
Jack- Kids meal chicken nuggets with ch. milk
Thomas- Kids meal chicken nuggets with ch. milk
6 pack chicken nuggets

This totals to about $53.00 (we do not eat out very often)!
Normally I take a reusable grocery bag, which allows me to fit the kids meal boxes in and 3 ch. milk bottles, 1 drink tray with 4 drinks and a paper bag. Lets just say, my arms are full.

So the last time we ate out, Chris and I came up with a plan. No more kids meals. No more drinks. Stop the waste at the source.

How to eat at McDonald’s waste free

#1. Decide what you want before you go
#2. Purchase items for the family, not individual meals
#3. No drink

Our newest order consisted of:

1 Double Big Mac Burger
1 Quarter Pounder Burger
2 Hamburgers (Alaina was going to try one)
20 chicken nugget pack
3 large fries

This totaled to about $43.00!

I was floored. I did not know if this order was going to be cheaper.

So many positive notes:

#1. $10.00 cheaper
#2. No plastic
#3. Less paper waste
#4. Less food waste
#5. Quicker time between ordering and picking up for home (I would say I waited 1/4 of the time I normally did)
#6. Number 5 means the food is more hot when ready to eat.
#7. Less to carry (2 paper bags worth)
#8. Quick clean up after supper

Reducing waste can happen at home, proper restaurants, planned parties, travels and fast food restaurants (among other places). Use the same tool you apply for zero waste achievements and look outside the box.

Farmer’s Market Trip

My Saturday morning routine starts at the Farmer’s Market. I don’t have any pictures but maybe next week I can bring my tablet to take some. Off the vendors allow their pictures taken. I am a visual person, I would live to show what I get and from who.

I posted about Clohossey Farms a little while back, allowing me to purchase carrots package free. Here is the post relating.

Today, Clohossey Farms had a separate table featuring 2 lb carrots bundled by an elastic, loose potatoes and loose onions! Each in their own basket, for sale individually. I was so happy to see that!!

I bought more apples from Brady’s Farm, and returned an egg carton to the vendor selling local eggs. I am bad with names!

I started, this weekend, to purchase our bacon plastic free from Pleasant Pork. Also a kolbalssa sausage for Chris. No more plastic wraps. Yay!! Bacon is more pricey, $8.00 per lb and kolbalssa $10.00 per lb (I bought $3.00 worth). But, its local, does not travel a long distance, and plastic free.

I also, bought a popcorn bag!! Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags. This vendor sells all kinds of cloth bag products. Check used out at The Summerside Farmer’s Market.

1/3 cup bag size. I do not recommend jumbo popcorn kernals. They take too long to microwave and burn as well leaving lots unpoped.
She told me start the time less than the instructions, 2.5 minutes to start.
small size popcorn kernels
3:45 minutes in microwave and this bag is full!
Barely any kernels left, same as popcorn machine.

My Farmers market bag. Consists of the sturdy jute bag itself, an extra reusable grocery bag just in case, 4 produce cloth bags, a pencil and paper, 2 paper bags (for soap bars will be reused over and over),  my money pouch, water bottle, bar soap and hand towel and any empty egg cartons go in here to be dropped off asap to the egg vendor. I want to find a long container to use for the bacon. Will start looking for options. I will start brining my own utensils as well incase I end up eating some amazing foods! Me and Alaina had a crepe the other weekend and we got caught up into using plastic forks and knife. I was not pleased. They suck! Also, if I have time, take a break and have a coffee. Take my own mug and spoon and see if the coffee stand will accommodate my request and maybe plant a seed or two. Who knows who may be around to talk to as well!

Trying to make homemade Hazelnut Butter

The past two weeks I have been trying to make a homemade hazelnut butter recipe. Our kids love Nutella.

I started to go with the Zero Waste Chef’s recipe, but with my tiny food processor, I could not manage to make the hazelnut butter. the texture was way too crumbly and I used too much coconut oil to try to make it more runny. It will be great to try and make hazelnut butter balls (like peanut butter balls). Yummy!

I bought some hazelnut butter at Bulk Barn, which was a perfect butter blend. I followed the above recipe, with 1 and 1/4 cup of hazelnut butter. I found the cocoa to be strong tasting and added a total of 1 Tbsp icing sugar. It could use more. The other problem I encountered was the salt. 1/8th of a tsp was too much. Next time round the salt will be left out and added by pinches or shakes (salt shaker) to taste. More hazelnut type treat needed to be made, don’t want to waste it! (Less food waste and money loss).

I bought some more Hazelnut butter for another re-try in the near future.

March 16th

I finally nailed the recipe!!! This time I took the time to re-read the whole article in The Zero Waste Chef’s article. She mentioned that one of her daughters uses icing sugar instead of honey. I figure, the recipe needs more sweetener than the honey can give. The kids are custumed to that. So I took the route of icing sugar and the recipe turned out beautifully!! I also only added a pinch of salt, not the directed amount. I did not want to make the too much salt mistake again! The kids like it!

I will make a new article with my process the next time I make a batch. Here is the recipe I used.

Repairs

Julia’s teddy she got from Daniel for Christmas was in rough shape. The arm fell off before Julia recieved it, and after Christmas the two legs let go as well. 

Today, a no school day, Julia was fumbling through my repair basic I have set aside for sewing repairs. She found her teddy and asked if I could fix it. Right away, I pulled out my sewing kit and set to work. Two legs secured on and the other flimsy arm got adjusted too, would not be long cord that one to come off either.

Patched a hole I found on the foot too. Julia is super happy and renamed her teddy, Reindeer. How original! Lol.

Alaina’s pajama top turned into a strange disaster when the neck line started to let go. She got this one at Christmas time and held together for a couple months only. Disappointed in this one. Should have held better.

But I fixed it too. I learned the collar is a separate price of material, just folded over the main shirt material. I sandwiched them back together and secured it. Not a pretty job, I’m no professional, but it worked. No more holes.