Recycling K-Cups

Not all of us have made the switch to using reusable K-Cups for the Keurig and thats okay. Lots of those pods are now recyclable! Just make sure the box tells you they are recyclable, or check the bottom of the pod. The catch, you have to disassemble them first.

The instructions say to remove the film cover, dump out the contents and recycle the container with the filter. But the filter is not recyclable and you can not simply rip it off . . .

Note: I did not cut my thumb when removing the lid. Separate incident! Lol!!

The only way I have managed to take it off is to cut the container below the lid with scissors. The filter will get cut at the same time.

Once the container and lid are separated, dump the contents, filter included into the compost and you are left with a recyclable container and can trash the lid. Trashing the lid is far better than trashing the whole pod!

School Lunches

Usually packed items through out the week are carrots, apples, berries, oranges, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, Fruitcup, occasional yogurt drink, yogurt in my own container, granola bar wrapped in paper towel. Juice box, sandwich meats(beef and smoked), hotdogs and any leftover meats from supper like chicken or steak. Everybody likes different things so there is a lot of variety.

3 lunch cans for our school kids. I try my best to steer from packaged snacks. I make my own granola bars. I put crackers and such in containers. Fruit goes in containers too. I tried reusable juice boxes, but they started to leak and I didn’t know what to do with them to make the leaks stop. Not lay them down I guess, but that is impossible with lunch cans. They are flip flopped in every position! For now, I switched to juice boxes from cartons, at least they care recyclable. Looking into something more leak proof, and not break the bank! One thought that comes to mind about those disposable juice boxes is how come they can not be opened like cartons of milk? The little milk cartons. Alaina never uses the straw. She manages to poke the hole without it(I’m not sure how) and just drinks out of the hole. Other kids do not too she says.

No sandwich bags needed! Though, containers take a lot of space! I would like to make cloth bags for school which would help with space. Here is a link to the idea.

Writing Instrument Recycling Program. Staples Canada.

I just found out, by accident, that Staples accepts old writing instruments! Don’t throw out your old pens and markers! Stop in, drop off and they will take care of the rest!

I even called our local store to confirm they accept these items. Its true! This really should be advertised more!!!

Here is the link to their recycling program.

Less Packaging!

Another weekly trip to the grocery store. First stop was the Bulk Barn. Actually, I made two trips as I needed refills on lots of items.

Pretzels, rice, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, large rolled oats, macaroons, chocolate covered almonds.
Gummy bears, coffee, Grahm crackers, shreddies, bran flakes, candy treats, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, suckers(I know),

You will notice my yogurt containers. I love using them at the Bulk Barn. They are a perfect size for scooping in products. Its not too small, and they carry the amount of product I want to get. If I need more, I will fill two containers worth. By  bringing in these containers, I don’t have to empty the little bit left from my pantry containers. Plus, the yogurt containers are washed right after they are used and are then clean and ready to go for the next trip. I managed to clean off the label from the lids (most of them) and I am assigning the lids with permanent marker to products. That way they have a permanent label that is not tape which would be removed/ruined when washed. Also, I add the product number used by Bulk Barn to make it easier for them to punch in the product codes. As well, the lid has the weight marked for the container.

Here is an example of refilling my pantry containers, nuts. A show of my newly made labels too. Stock card, a hole punched out, labeled and an elastic band that is attached and wrapped around the jar. This way, when I want to wash my container, simply take off the band, and the label does not get ruined.

Gala apples, green apples, naval oranges, carrots, pepper, field cucumber, celery, broccoli, peach and plum. Package free.

I did find grapes in a recyclable bag, only reason I bought them. I also bought a peach and a plum, trying to encourage my kids to eat other fruits too. Mostly a no go. Also, strawberries and raspberries in a shell package, though, recyclable. Recently I found out that the thin wooden crates the local berries are packed in, are waste! I want to support locally, but not by means of waste packaging. I opted the buy non local products.

Home Made Granola Bars.

The kids really enjoy the store bought granola bars. I was determined to find a recipe they all enjoyed and I did! Even Chris likes them! We both would like added nuts, but with a nut free school, that is “nut” going to happen unless they get eaten lots at home alone.

This recipe I found needed to be tweaked to the kids liking, so I will share our recipe with you.

First toast 3 cups large rolled oats at 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring up halfway through timer.

Next, heat in pot 2 Tbsp canola oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar and .5 tsp salt. Heat up until brown sugar is dissolved, but don’t boil.

Once the oats are toasted put them in a large bowl, add the hot liquid mixture and stir for 1 minute to coat the oats. Add 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in the pot while the mixture is still hot so the chips will melt. They will act like glue to hold the granola bars together. Stir for another minute making sure mixture is coated very well.

Add .5 cup milk chocolate chips into the bowl when the mixture is not so hot and fold them in. (Optional).

(see update at the bottom for a waste free alternative to this step!) Line a 8×8 dish (pyrex) with parchment paper, enough to fold over itself once the granola is pressed. Add the mixture and press it down to all corners of dish. Use a flat utensil to firmly press the granola down.

I used a bit too much parchment paper

Cover the granola with the extra parchment paper and with your hands to smooth the mixture flat.

Keep on counter until cool, about 1 hour or more. If still warm, leave it longer! Remove the parchment paper and granola out of pan and peel off the paper. Cut the granola onto bar sizes and store them in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Update November 22, 2018.

I figured out a way to use no single use material in tge making of the granola bars. Simply use a cheesecake pan!

 

 

Baking Bread Day

Today is baking day, bread and sub buns! Yummy!! Chris bought me a bread box a few weeks ago, and it works great!!!! No more bread bags! Our bread will last 3-5 days, and does not go very dry!  I can’t believe we did not use one before!! I highly recommend using a bread box instead of bread bags! Though our family could use two. Depending on the bread size depends if I can fit everything in! My recipe make 1 loaf and 6 sub buns.

First off, measure 2 cups warm water and add 2/3 cup white sugar. Mix until sugar us dissolved and add 1.5 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast. Cover and let sit in warm place for 10-15 minutes or until thick and puffy!

Next add 1/4 cup Vegetable oil and 1 tsp salt. Add 4 cups of flour. Mix until most of the flour us dissolved. Add in half cup at a time 1-1.5 cups of  flour, until dough is not too sticky anymore and the sides of the bowl are clean. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Chris sent me some links a while back for tips on making bread. Kneading and windowpane testRounding the dough.     Finger poke test. They are really good to follow, especially if you are just starting or have issues.

Next I divide the dough in half, and divide one of the halfs into 5 pieces. (Update: divide to have a 500g and 6 130g).Coat them in veg oil and place them in individual dishes coated with butter and cover with warm cloth. I stick them in the preheated oven at the lowest temperature(shut off oven once preheated), for 1 hour to rise.  Be sure not to have the temperature too hot as some bowls keep the heat and will kill the yeast. 

After one hour, take out the dough and one by one, flatten, and form gluten balls. That them sit covered 10 minutes.

Next I take the loaf dough, roll it flat, roll it up, pinch the ends. Coat it with more oil and place it in the loaf pan. Preheat oven followers temp and then shut off. Place pan inside and let rise 40 minutes. Then turn on oven to 350 degree and bake for 30 minutes. During this time, I do the same with the sub buns except slicing the tops. I place them in buttered coated Pyrex dishes and let them rise until the bread is baked, covered with a damp cloth. Depending on how much you let them rise depends on how big they will be.  These ones pop into the hot oven after the loaf comes out at 350 degrees for 28 minutes.

Let them cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Thank you Jack for your help!!!! Xx

Littles Bedroom Clean Up

I look at this room and almost think that it’s a hoarding room of toys! Jack and Julia share this room and there is a lot of mixture of toys. 

So I took everything out except the beds, tv stand and Julia’s dresser. Next I swept and re-positioned the beds. Jack was very determined to put it where he wanted it! Everything else kinda fell into its place.

Job done, now to make some decor for the walls. I’m thinking alphabet, numbers, rainbows ???? and such. They like rainbows and suns ????.