Grocery Run This Week!

Sobeys trip

A bit smaller than usual, but also more veggies and leafy greens! Can you believe that my oldest two kids wanted Caesar salad for bedtime snacks! They ask for it all day! Salad is definitely not my strong point. More research needed for more recipes! I only ever make caesar! Sweet potatoes galore and yes, in the front is a huge one! I bet it will make great sweet potato fries!

Summerside Farmers Market trip!

  • I have been waiting 2 weeks to get my hands on some local frozen berries! The vendor who sells berries during harvest time also sells them frozen too. Perfect if someone like me, did not freeze any for myself. The only drawback is that the frozen berries come in ziplock bags, but on the other hand, they can be reused for other things. Plus, the vendor will take back the washed bags and reuse them! Can’t wait to make some yummy creations! Lueberries, strawberries and raspberries. They also have black berries and cranberries frozen. I also bought PEI maple syrup. I ran out three days ago and have been needing some, but I was patient to wait and support the local business!
  • Apples for munching and bigger apples to make apple sauce. Many recipes I come across ask for apple sauce. I will not be buying plastic tubs of that. Make my own and control what goes in it too.
  • Carrots
  • Corn shoots
  • Onions, Garlic and artichoke. I will be buying organic chia seeds by 5 lb paper bags in the future!
  • Eggs and 1/2 pound bacon.
  • Got some hand and body cream in my own container. Environmental friendly ingredients.  I just brought the lady my own jar and she filled it for me, bringing it back the following weekend. I dont have the ingredients with me at the moment.

East Isle Farms
Brady’s Farm
Crystal Green Farms
Our Old Island Market Farm
Emmerdale Eden Farm
Pleasant Pork
One Stop Healing

Bulk Barn trip.

  • Candies and chocolate, got to say we love them. I myself though, rarely have any anymore. As tempting as they are, if I pick one up, I put it back! Looking to cut out the sugar overload!
  • Pretzels.
  • Peanuts and walnuts.
  • Ground flax seeds and whole hemp seeds.
  • Cocoa, peanut powder, whole wheat flour and chia seeds.
  • Raisins, currants and citrus peel for future plum pudding. Family traditional Christmas treat!
  • White rice.

Superstore

  • Croissants and bagels in paper bag I had on hand, ran out of produce bags I usually use.
  • Nature clean dishwasher powder in a box.
  • Whole grain spaghetti pasta for me. When I make spaghetti for the family, I will just skip out on the meat and add more veggies! I dont care for the vegetable protein stuff.
  • Ragu sauce in a jar to reuse.

Deli meat for sandwiches for school. Daniel and Alaina want salad for school! I fill a container (soup thermos) with lettuce. Another container with dressing. They scoop the dressing on the lettuce, seal the container, shake and enjoy. They loved it last week!

The Summerside Butcher Shop 

Whole chicken and Hamburg wrapped in butcher paper, compostable here on PEI. The butcher shop has not been getting chicken breasts in bulk the last few weeks, so tray it is.

No Weekends Missed at the Market

Another farmer’s market trip on the weekend!

Kale, apples, rainbow carrots, raspberry jam, garlic, 1/2 lb. Bacon (buying less as I dont eat it and the kids themselves not been wanting any lately), micro greens, bean sprouts and corn shoots. The corn shoots are delicious!! Tgey have a sweet taste to them! The containers can be brought back for reuse and I can bring my own container which the lady will fill up at home and bring back to me the following week! I’m so happy with the options! I also bought some wheat grass. It is great for smoothies and great for cats to aid digestion and cope with hairballs. Sparta likes to eat our Christmas decorations and has hairballs now and then, but also gets sick once in a whike. I am hoping the wheat grass will help sooth her.

Since I started going to the farmer’s market well over a year ago, I have not missed one weekend! Dedication to support local, eat local and strive to zero waste!

Eating Out at a Family Restaurant

This weekend we went to Boston Pizza. We do not eat out often, and I’m a little rusty with bringing our reusables, for the kids.

Kids drinks cake with straws and some covers. I saved them and will put them in my purse for the next time we dine out. I did this a couple months ago when we went to Pizza Delight. I still have the covers, waiting for the time to be reused.

There were some chicken strips leftover from the kids meal. I just wrapped them up in a napkin and took it home. The kids had it for school lunches.

Thomas’s 3rd Birthday

Thomas turns 3 years old today!

  • Cloth diapers since October of 2018
  • Temporary glasses
  • Gates off the stairs
  • Potty training very recently with success
  • Speaking sentences
  • Huge vocabulary
  • Loves the outdoors
  • Loves horses and cows, especially when we go for a drive

We kept his Bithday gifts minimum and Thomas had a great day!

  • Created a playlist on youtube with songs from Baby Shark. Played, sang and danced along with that.
  • Homemade decorations throughout the house
  • Picked up a cake from Sobeys and used my own container.
  • Local jigsaw puzzle as a gift
  • A singing Baby Shark toy. Almost bought a plush teddy just because, but thought about a baby shark toy would be more fitting! Thomas loves baby shark
  • Picked up some candy from Bulk Barn
  • Collected $5.00 worth of coins for Thomas to put into his money can
  • A few suckers, he loves them
  • Grammie and Grandad dropped off some surprises  too.

No need for a bunch of toys as we already have so much. He can start using Lego now and we have many many puzzels for him to work on! Not to mention, Christmas is coming. We tried to make the day special and I believe we succeeded. 

Compost Cart Cleaning

This day we got our compost cart cleaned. We did not have to drag out the hose or deal with any nasty bits and smells either. Top Notch Bin Cleaning is a new company on PEI who specializes in cleaning the carts for compost and waste, and apparently blue bins! Not just home owners but commercial too. Shaun Laybolt is the guy!

A while back we decided to stop using compost bags. We have a bowl or empty box stationed on the counter for compost waste which gets emptied daily. There is a cloth pad under the bowl so we know that spot is the destination for compost. The compost cart has had quite the beating with gunk. Not everything gets dumped out upon pickup day by the garbage truck.

Island Waste Watch Corporation says for compost, no bags are best.

To save us time and hassle, to support a local business, we decided we would give Top Notch Bin Cleaning a call. I sent a message and we were scheduled in the same week. The cost was $25.00 and his service was grand!

Thank you Shaun!


Coconut Yogurt

I finally got the ingredients together and the time to look up a recipe for coconut yogurt. The easiest part was finding the recipe actually. From what I read, there are some specifics.

  • The thicker the yogurt you want, the more coconut water you leave out of the recipe. If you want it more runny, leave the water in the recipe.
  • Coconut milk with guar gum helps create a smooth texture and prevents separation.
  • probiotic is the culture you want to add, not prebiotic.

This is where I read most of the information I took in and the recipe I followed. This is the site where my culture comes from, so I followed the directions for how much culture to add. My culture is not a capsule, but liquid form.

To start, I picked a random can of coconut milk from the store. 3.48 for this brand. I picked it up before I found any recipes. I emptied the contents in a large ceramic bowl.

I whisked it up until smooth.

Added 20 ml of the liquid coconut culture and stirred it in well.

Next I poured the mixture into 2 250 ml jars. In one of them, I added a tsp of vanilla and stirred it in.

I cut some cheese cloth to size for the jar. Placed it on top and screwed on the ring to the jar.

I don’t really have a warm place to put the yogurt, but I thought on top of the dishwasher might be a good enough spot. some good long lasting warmth there. I put the jars in a milk carton for stability and wrapped a hand towel around them for insulation.

So, about 2 days later.

I let it sit on the counter 25 hours. Let it sit in the fridge 16 hours before I tried it.

The coconut separated. Heavy on top, watery on the bottom. 

I tasted the top, not a fan. Really thick too. Not looking like the pictures in the link above! 

I stirred it up to mix well. Very liquidy,  not very pleasing.

So to me, this trial did not work out so well. It could be my spot on the counter was not warm enough. It could be not enough culture. It could be a wrong recipe? Maybe I need to remove the water from the heavy milk. Lots of the culture could be in the water part, not doing its job. I do have another can of coconut milk. Will try again, this time removing most of the water.

But maybe, I will not persue the coconut yogurt. A recent article stating how coconutmoil has a high content of saturated fats got me thinking about the coconut milk. 45% say. fat in one can. Where whole milk is 25%. So got to find a balance if I’m going non dairy with this one. So my question, if I choose not to use coconut milk, can I still use the coconut culture with a different “milk”? I’m thinking yes, but should find out.

 

Farmer’s Market Trip and a Little More

This weekends haul from Downtown Summerside.

    • Apples from Brady’s Farm. So good and juicy! I bring my own bag and refuse theirs. Although, the paper bag provided is welcomed to be returned for reuse!
    • Broccoli and carrots from Crystal Green Farms were bagged, but I asked for them unpacked and the farmer will reuse the bags. Actually, all veggies bagged can be unpacked or you could call/message them before market day to arrange the items packed in a paper bag for pick up.
    • BBQ sauce from High on the Hog. I have been wanting to make my own and have not yet, so here I am supporting local!
    • Eggs.
    • Micro greens from Our Old Island Market Farm has containers of micro greens which can be returned and/or I can give my own container to be filled for the following week! This is much their norm to cut waste and reuse.
    • Vinegar Hill Bakery will bring goods in paper bags instead of plastic bags if you ask for your order the day before the market!
    • One Stop Healing makes lotions for many uses and more. You can bring her a container which she can fill from the workshop and bring it back to the market the following weekend with the product you chose.
    • Turnip.

Coconut culture in the glass jar for making coconut yogurt. One step closer! From the health food store on Water street.

  • South Shore Soaps bar soap I bought from the Three Oaks Craft Fair.
  • A couple puzzles for Thomas and Chris to enjoy as well from LIL’ Buddy Puzzelz at the fair too.
  • 3 Pj sets to split up with the girls at home from Frenchy’s. Was looking for pj’s for Jack, no luck.

Great weekend supporting local!

Making Our Own Fresh Orange Juice

Nothing like having a glass of orange orange juice; freshly squeezed!  I feel like I’m not getting enough Vitamin C so I decided to start having fresh juice available.  Though, it reallymstarted when me and Chris were making drinks. Bahama Mama is my favorite alcoholic drink. I did not want to buy a jug of orange juice, a box of aluminum cans would be too much. So, making my own juice would work. I took the same idea with pineapple juice. Skip the cans and go straight for the fruit!

Peel and core and pop into the blender with a bit of water. After the fruit is blended, strain through a cheese cloth. Lots of yummy fresh juice! We did the pineapple first, and next was the oranges. Instead of adding water like above, we added some pineapple juice to the oranges. Blend, strain and taste. We thought the taste of orange and pineapple was pretty close to Five Alive!

This day, I peeled 6 oranges. Blend 2 at a time with 1/2 cup of water each time. Blend, strain with cheese cloth and stir in a container. At first I was storing the orange juice in a reused sunflower oil bottle, but Chris felt that the kids (Thomas) was too young to have a handle on it. If it dropped, lots of sharp pieces of glass. So, I found our juice jug and stored over a liter of orange juice in it.

The kids are not a fan, it does not have any added sugar of course. Thomas will have some and Jack is so-so. I want to experiment with adding other citrus fruits and see what flavors we can come up with!

 

Slowly Switching to a Plant Based Diet

While shopping at Sobey’s tonight, I scanned the shelves for non dairy items. I have been wanting to try oat milk a long while now. I tried making some the other week, but I did not enjoy it. This time I’m trying this kind to see where to go with making my own. I’m going to give it a go making coconut yogurt. There is a starter culture I need to pick up tomorrow at a health food store, in glass! I picked up some non dairy cheese and butter. Be nice to make my own. I chose that bag of tortilla style chips, hoping it was paper packaging,  but sadly it is lined with plastic. I also am trying the frozen dessert treat, which comes wrapped in paper!

So yeah, I’m looking at cutting out animal products and moving to a plant based diet. This will take time and small changes. I will be looking at making my own products where I can, I dont want to add more packaging to be honest. Switching has been on my mind for quite a while, probably about year now.

I need to focus on as much local as I can. One of my rules is supporting local and keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. I have already made steps towards this new journey. I stopped eating sea food/fish. I stopped drinking milk, except for cereal and baking/cooking needs.

So this is where I am at, I think Chris is a little on board, its definitely on his mind! Little steps and small changes. No need to dive in as it may be overwhelming and discouraging.

Black Box Waste

This day is garbage day. Every two weeks the black carts filled with disposable waste are picked up. I can proudly say it took 12 weeks to fill our watse cart! Though I am certain it could have waited another 2-4 weeks as we had to toss a mouldy box of books, which took a good chunk of space in the cart.

Our waste bins in the house are not lined with any bags. Super simple to just wipe out the garbage can’s once emptied. We do not have meat trays and nothing wet goes in the garbage cans to make smells. I buy our meat wrapped in paper (which is considered compostable on PEI, as long as it rips easily). If by chance I have a meat tray/wrapping there is a extra large garbage bag in the waste cart outside it would directly go to.

Once the waste cart is emptied on garbage day, it will sit empty until the household waste needs to go out. I take an extra large garbage bag and start filling it from the house. I set it in the waste cart untied. It will be full after about 2 more fillings from the house. For us, our household waste gets taken out every 2-3 weeks. I can fit 2 of those extra large garbage bags in the waste cart with a bit more room.

I have created a page showing most of what we buy now instead of the wasteful practices we used to buy into. It’s not complete, still a working progress. Take a look here.

  • Much of our groceries come from Bulk Barn and The Summerside Farmer’s Market.
  • By bringing your own containers and cloth bags, much waste is avoidable.
  • Making your own products and switching away from most cleaners helps your health and keeps money in your wallet.
  • Focus on reusables and use what you have.
  • Purchase in compostable packaging as much as possible
  • Purchase in non plastic packaging to stop the support to the plastic industry,  jars and metal containers.
  • Reuse the jars for food storage, vases, dry storage, body products etc . . .  (Glass is grounded up and used as aggregate on PEI for construction, not turned back into glass products).

Refuse unwanted items. Reduce your consumption of purchases. Reuse what you can. Repair your items. Purchase compostables. Recycle what you can but try and keep it minimum. Dont forget to shop second hand and purchase long lasting good quality items.

Editing to add: I strongly recommend that waste gets bagged, otherwise light plastics will be blown around by the wind or scavengers.  Whether it is by dumping the waste in your bin, the truck dumping it out of the bin, the truck driving down the roadways or at landfill, there are lots of opportunities for the plastics to litter the land and water. This is why I choose the extra large bags, I get more waste contained in them, and buying bulk is best. Instead of 8-10 small garbage bags, we use 2 garbage bags. Saves money for us as well.