Rachel’s Blog

Take Care of the Toaster

Last night, Chris and Daniel were baking a snack. While waiting for the oven to pre heat, they discovered our toaster had slide out trays, a crumb catcher! They asked if I knew about them by which I responded yes, but I don’t empty it often. Often, I forget it is there (but know its there, if you know what I mean). Not a habit to check it periodically, Maybe once a year!! Eek!

Some back story
We have been having trouble with the toaster for quite some time. The toast diosn’t always toast the way we expect it too. Most times it’s toasted on one side and not much on the other. Doesn’t matter which slot we use. Also, when the toaster was recently used, one should put their slice of bread in a different slot, other wise the toast would come out nearly burnt! As for toasting bagels, we had to set it at #4. We always toast at 3, as of late, we had to go to #2.5 on the dial.

I told Chris, after he emptied the tray and told me the toaster needs a good clean out, I would look at it the next day. This was past 11:00 pm, wasn’t doing it then!

This morning I took hold of the toaster and found a huge crumbly mess underneath! No way the boys dumped the trays there! The toaster was filling up with crumbs, offsetting the heat, causing our poorly toasted food!

Talk about crumb overflow!

Not only was the mess on the counter under the toaster, but crumbs were stuck in the toaster too at the bottom. Lucky there was no fire in my opinion! I did my best to shake the crumbs out. I tried  too reach the bottom with a paintbrush, different sizes. Not much luck. I tried air pressure by blowing through a straw, but it did not work so well. I think in time, with the toaster in use, it will help dry out those crumbs and they should fall out easily. Just need to remember to clean it more often, weekly and stay on top of it!

I thought our toaster, which is about 9-10 years old, was slowly crashing. I figured we needed a new one, but I didn’t want to get a new one. Surly they must last longer than 9 years! Glad we do not need a new one!

Shake and rattle!

While I had it out, I decided to give it a shine as well. I took some baking soda and water, made a paste, and the dark parts on top of the toaster came right off! The real dark patches were much harder to remove. By the end of cleaning the top, I came to realize and reassure myself to not look for perfection! I would be there all day trying to make it spick and span like new, my original idea. No need, really!

Baking soda paste, rag, tooth brush and paintbrush. Great tools for cleaning, scrubbing and reaching hard to reach places!
Before
After

A Waste Free Snack

Popcorn is a great snack to have at our house! Popcorn maker, package free kernels,and margarine wrapped in paper (I can not find butter not wrapped in plastic).

It used to be we bought popcorn kernels in bags and used the popcorn machine. Then we switched to prepackaged popcorn, individually wrapped, microwavable. It was convenient and more “tasty”. Then we started to cut back on plastic, and popcorn was one of the first switches after I started to go to Bulk Barn. 

We brought out the machine again! I did buy a cloth popcorn bag at the Farmer’s Market awhile back, but it did not serve us long. It did not pop the kernels well, some burnt while there were half not popped yet. It seemed to take a long while before we had enough popcorn for everyone, and the bag got super hot from microwaving so long. I was worried about a fire. We used  about a dozen times until I retired it. The machine was certainly the best option! The cloth bag, in my opinion, would be good for a single person, or single use. Not for making a big amount, for like 5 people.

So now, we use the machine popper. I melt butter in a dish in the microwave, covered with a cloth (that will be washed and reused). No garbage, no waste! I always try to eat what they don’t, later.

July 20 Weekend Fun With the Family

This weekend we all went to Chris’s parents for a big family get together! His cousin was getting married, and lots of family came home from away!

His sister Catherine and her husband Johnny as well as their 3 kids arrived. Steve and Michael, Chris’s younger brothers also arrived. The house quickly filled up, with a norm of 3 people living there, that number grew to 17 once we arrived!

Its been a long while since everyone was together. For The night, my mom took our 3 oldest. We kept Jack and Thomas. We had plans to party, Chris and I have not been able to party together for many years! I will guess 6 or 7 for sure! I got pictures to share, but not on my camera. Our Niece Bailey who joined us allowed me to take photos of our good times together and with the family. I may share them once I get them.

Bailey and her pup Samson.
The kids play fighting and tackling their Uncle Steve!
Thomas trying to pedal. Almost got it!
Waiting for the water to turn on for the sprinkler!
Lots of fun!

Pizza Slice Collection

Second time round I have brought my own dishes to get a couple slices of pizza from one of the local pizza shops. Michael’s Pizzeria sells amazing pizza! They always have slices available which is great when a late heavy snack is needed. Sometimes we have a light supper or just a busy day and need that extra meal.

Like most pizza shops, pizza comes in a cardboard box. That is great, plastic free and compostable/recyclable. I like to take the next step when I can and bring our own containers, no matter the packaging! Its super easy and it does not hurt to ask!

So yummy!!!

Ask For Change

I highly recommend you ask your local farmers to sell English cucumbers wrapper free! This is the third cucumber I have bought without the wrap and it has stayed moist and crisp! This particular English cucumber was bought on Saturday, it is 5 days old! Look at the juice on the blade of the knife!

Do you know why English cucumbers are wrapped? Because of their thin skin. They are susceptible to moisture lost and can damage easily.

In my opinion, if they are travelling from field to market to your fridge/table in a short amount of time (like at the farmer’s market), there is no need for wrapping! I don’t know how well they would take to travel long distances, hence the wrapping I suppose. Like most things, there is a time and place for some things.

This is tested and proved in my kitchen! If there is leftover cucumber, I wrap a damp cloth around the cut end (beeswax wrap would work too), and secure it on with an elastic band.

I want to thank Clohossey Farms for two plastic free English cucumbers!! Summerside Farmer’s Market

Another Successful Shopping Trip

The Farmer’s Market sure is starting to burst with new products. Lots of new fruit and veggies to be had! I requested the night before the market to a farmer if he could bring in two English Cucumbers not wrapped in plastic. I did this 2 weeks ago with another farmer, and the cucumber stayed fresh until it was eaten, about 5 days. (English Cucumbers are wrapped because of their thin skins. Moisture lost is a problem to keeping great quality cucumbers). The Laundry Soap container is returnable with a small refund discount and it gets reused! I ask for the leafy greens to be emptied from the bags they are in, into my dish I bring in. The farmer will reuse the bag.

My tin can is working great for picking up casseroles from Superstore. A couple weeks ago I was asked not to bring in glass containers in case it falls and smashes, leaving broken glass all over the products. That would be terrible, and I completely understand the reasoning. In the deli department, my dish is not handled very much so there has been no concern about breakage there.

Bulk Barn trips are going very nicely! My cloth bags do the job, pre-tared and permanently marked with the tare weight. No having to re weigh the bag every trip! I highly recommend powdered products and coffee to be purchased in containers, not cloth bags. Very messy and the coffee will make the other food taste like coffee. That happened to us one time, I will say I learned my lesson.

Normally, my routine is to call the Butcher Shop the morning of my shopping trip. Asking for my order to be wrapped in paper. The last few times, I have not been able to get a hold of anyone in the mornings to place my order (They are very busy). So this time, I called the day before with my order. I will say it was a little less stressful and easier to not have that task the morning before shopping. Saturday mornings are very busy, preparing for the purchases we need for the week as well as needed housework and kid stuff before I leave.Shopping zero waste requires planning, structure and discipline.

First Load of Local Strawberries

Went to one of the local farms selling fresh strawberries! Compton’s Vegetable Stand. The berries are packed in quarts, wooden crates, by which on PEI are considered a waste package. Treated wood can not go into the compost system.

I decided to bring my own bowl as I would if I was going to the u-pick. This way, the farmers could refill the wooden crate for another customer. I like package free when possible, sometimes I have to be the one to pull the strings!

We will be going back for more, or if there are some at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow (Saturday) that will due! Support local when I can and I like to support many local farmers/businesses, not just stick with favourites all the time. They all need our support!

Thomas
Jack
Julia

July 11, Litter Pickup

Picked up a bunch of litter from the park. Groups of children come to this park for play daily and lots of little bits of trash are left behind.

I was surprised by the amount of little wrappers on the ground when there are two garbage bins close by. Most of the wrappers were 5 feet from the bins, which is sad, and they did not blow out of the garbage bin, not full enough for trash to fall out.

I did my part, cleaned it up. I forgot to bring a bag with me to dispose of it at home in a closed bin.