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!

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!

 

Make Smart Choices

Often times while shopping, we are presented with products packaged with plastic. Single use plastic most times. Whether its recyclable or not, any plastic is not a good choice. We buy in plastic, another one comes to take its place. Our dollars vote for what we want available, right!

Scan the whole shelf. Look for options of the same product in a diffeent package. Plastic container vs jar, can or a box. We must demand for better packaging not just with our voice or social media, but with our daily actions as well. Often times one must switch brands or even stores!

My featured picture is of construction paper. At Walmart there were two choices: paper sold loose without packaging or a bigger bundle wrapped in plastic. This choice is easy to make. Another example is laundry soap. Choose powders over liquid. Look for refillable options, such as Down East Cleaning Products. If you can not find plastic free options, choose bulk options if available. As a last resort, I choose recyclable options over non recyclable options, at least there is a chance the packaging can stay out of landfill.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Rot. Recycle.

Zero Waste Night Market Event

Yesterday me and Chris went to our first zero waste markets, which was held in Charlottetown at The Riverview Country Market and Cafe. Hosted by the Market, Urban Daisy and Forest Child Natural Beauty. Little did I know, it was an outside event and we were not dressed for the outdoors, oops! Next time, pack a coat just in case! Chris’ mom came down to our place to watch the kids with help from our niece as well. That’s right, we got away child free! Thank you Jean and Bailey! Xx

Sad to say, I did not take any pictures of the market, too busy going from vendor to vendor and holding our mugs of hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Yup, I packed mugs so we did not need a disposable, even if it was a paper cup. But I did take pictures of our products when we got home. It was so nice to finally put faces to names I knew from other online groups and companies. Some of the vendors put in a lot of work into what they make and truly recycling products into new fashions. I met up with the owners of Unpacked, which will be opening in Charlottetown next month, the Island’s first zero waste store.

First off was my new bamboo toothbrush. The Bristles are made of castor bean oil and the whole toothbrush is compostable. I heard of some people using the stick as a fire started once the brush has come to the end of its life, which I am told it should last as long a regular toothbrush before it needs replacing. Moonsnail Soapworks is where I got the toothbrush, $7.50. I also bought toothpaste tabs/bites which are fluoride free, but also plastic free. LUXE Beauty Bar sells it by the ounce, which in turn is about $6.00 for a couple weeks. May be pricey, but compared to other savings made in the long run, it makes up. Also, like I said, plastic free. I tried these out when I got home, and I was surprised with the toothbrush. Works great, does a great job cleaning and the size is perfect. Also, the bristles are so soft. The toothpaste bites, will take some time getting used to, but I’m down with that!

Chris bought a safety razor!!! He has been looking for quite some time and never seen one for sale until now! It was a pricey purchase, but in the long run, no more buying disposables. I’d say it will pay for itself within a year. (Sorry, also can not remember the vendor’s name, I try to find out)

This vendor, Nellie and Gabe really astonished me. Everything she sold was handcrafted by her and mostly came from products she recycled into her own new product. This bracelet is made from hemp, and the beads are reused from her thrift shopping trips. Can not get much more zero waste there, two thumbs up!

Chris convinced me to buy this sea sponge from Freckles and Porcelain. I always used to use the plastic bath sponges, but mine become unusable a while ago. Since then I just wast with my hands or a facecloth, but I found I could not scrub or reach areas very well. I thought someday I would find a loofa sponge, but I have not seen any for sale as of yet. So, sea sponge it was. I used it today and it works well and is so soft!

Great event, looking forward to more in the following months. I encourage you all to go to events in your area and support your local shops, they are counting on you.

School Lunches With Reusable Bags

I bought some lovely snack bags at The Summerside Farmer’s Market! They are made with natural material and are washable. The inside is an air tight and water proof fabric. They are very sturdy and oh so cute! Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags is the business who makes and sells them.

Since packing plastic free snacks for the kids lunches at school last year, the lunch cans were crammed with containers. Some days it was hard to pack everything in and then having all these containers to wash for the next day. I ended up having just enough containers to stretch for 3 kids over two days. But still, so many to wash and dry, and the clutter it created was frustrating.

Today’s lunch cans were packed with much more ease, and they felt lighter too.the kids liked the bags the first two days of school and they love the patterns. I must say, it seemed faster to pack the snacks too! No having to neatly pack pretzels so I can fill the container for example. Now, just toss in a handful, zip up and done! I’m very impressed! Also, with the liner inside being water proof, I can use these bags to pack wet foods like carrot sticks. Though, I will continue to use containers for meats and soft fruits. Convenient for the kids to eat from a dish sometimes and I don’t want soft fruits to get squished.

3 lunches packed, and still room to put things on top.
Alaina. Pretzels, local green beans, homemade granola bar, local strawberries and black forest ham. She only takes juice on Wednesdays. That comes from a can which half fills a reusable container. Reusable water bottle is packed in her school bag.
Daniel. Pretzels, crackers, local carrot sticks, local apple and a free range boiled egg. Some juice from a can, packed in a reusable bottle 3 times a week. Also a reusable water bottle packed in his school bag.
Julia. Pretzels, crackers, local peas, local strawberries and Montreal smoked sandwich meat. Juice from a can packed in a reusable bottle. So far she wants juice everyday. Working on “water is best”. Reusable water bottle packed in her school bag too.

The snacks vary from day to day as well as their taste buds! The only snack packed that comes from a plastic source is basically just the crackers. Everything else comes from Bulk Barn using my own containers or are whole foods bought plastic free. Soon I am going to make a new batch of yogurt and I am going to trial using small mason jars to pour the batch into, so I can pack those to send to school.

I highly recommend these snack bags! If you are handy with the sewing machine, make some!! Make it yourself and/or support local before buying from away, including big box stores.

It may be expensive up front, but you will save in the long run! Use what you have, invest a little at a time and you will be set! Supporting local helps local families near you. Local cuts down the carbon footprint for travelling as well as packaging.

When packing snacks try to stick to whole foods, they need less packaging from the stores! Homemade is best too, you know what goes into the food and they do not need to be individually wrapped.

Some examples:

For more ideas, check out my recipe page.

Summerside Farmer’s Market

I love going the The Summerside Farmer’s Market! I have been going every Saturday for over a year now, supporting local businesses. I try to spread out and reach as many vendors as I can. There are so many options of goods and the people are so friendly.

This past weekend I brought home a great haul of goods. When I go shopping I buy plastic free options or try my best. I bring my own produce bags and containers. Our family has been going plastic free as much as possible for over a year. You can read all about it on my website, Rachel.Willcock.ca. You can also follow me on Facebook at Managing Our Waste at Home.

I wish there was more support for the vendors to offer plastic free options. Some options off the top of my head:

  • Sell in paper bags or paper containers (I for one won’t mind the price going up a tad to stop single use plastics!)
  • customers bring their own bag/containers
  • vendors could sell their goods from a large bin using tongs to select the amount purchased. Have a scale available to weigh the products.
  • Have a bring back a reusable container/bag program

In this picture is a lovely selection of the goods I picked up for my family to enjoy.

  • I got some Vesta Bella and August apples from Brady’s Farm using my own produce cloth bags. Brady has paper bags he sells his apples in and he does want them returned when possible. Reuse!!
  • There are strawberries and blue berries from East Isle Farms. The wooden crates are compostable on PEI and the paper containers are recyclable like egg cartons.
  • Some lovely Peas from J&L Farms, using my own white cloth produce bag.
  • Clohossey Farms was selling brocolli and cauliflower package free, score!
  • The best bacon I have ever had is from Pleasant Pork. Sometimes we get back bacon, kolbalssa, salami and pepperoni. Ham is on my list this coming weekend! They also sell free range eggs. The eggs are the best ones I have ever seen too! Nothing like free range!
  • I also bought some lovely snack bags from Inspire Essential Heatable Bags. They are great for back to school! Natural fabric with a water proof fabric inside, keeping the snacks fresh all day. They are also washable in the washing machine. Less containers for me to wash after school!
  • I buy our cleaning needs from The Farmer’s Wife. Bar soap, Shampoo bar, Cleaning soap, Laundry Soap and Wool dryer balls. This list is short compared to what is available! I will add, the cleaning and laundry soap containers are returnable with a small discount, Reducing the container waste. Awesome!

I also visit other vendors for string beans, carrots, peppers, croissants, honey, leafy greens and garlic.

Some pictures of past trips to the Summerside Farmer’s Market
Croissant, wrong beans,now as, carrots, English cucumbers plastic free, bacon and garlic.
Free range eggs, lettuce, laundry soap, berries, bar soap, english cucumbers plastic free, kolbassa and bacon.
Free range local eggs, bacon, back bacon, laundry soap, bar soap, fresh greens, pepperoni and salami.
Snack bags
Reusable cloth snack bags
String beans and peas, apples, eggs, bar soap, shampoo bar and croissant.
Carrots, laundry soap, free range eggs, peppers, bacon, garlic, croissant, and peas.
Lettuce in cloth produce bag, carrots, peas, eggs, English cucumbers plastic free, string beans, bar soap, croissant and bacon.
Shopping local has many benefits!
  • Keeping money in local communities
  • Helping local families
  • Products come from familiar people
  • Much less carbon footprint for travelling
  • Products are fresher
  • Usually less packaging
  • Creates more demand for local products in turn creating local jobs
  • And many more!

Check out this post about my Shopping Routine and seasonings! It will show more about why I have changed our shopping and consuming habits and how! It was published in early June, and already we have made more changes!

Don’t forget the important R’s
  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Compostable Items

I just got off the phone with our Island Waste Management asking about two items I have been wondering about for disposal.

Coffee cups, like Tim Horton’s. In lots of news feed I see that they are lined with plastic. When I look at these cups, yes there is a shiny material coating the inside, but the cup rips easily. I was once told by IWMC that if the item rips, compost it. Plastic does not too easily, take a produce sticker for example or cling wrap. On PEI, coffee cups are compostable. It’s the lid that is the main problem. (Also, in my opinion any material single use is a problem, but at least the cup is compostable). I wonder if facilities across the country have a harder time composting them, hence the bad feedback about “plastic lined cups”.

Ice cream containers. ADL and Scotsburn for example, used to come in plastic recyclable containers. They have switched to cardboard a while ago. I always thought it strange because of the shiny coating, I put it in waste. I asked IWMC about these containers, as the other day out of curiosity, I ripped it! According to IWMC, these are compostable too. Though, the cover has a plastic ring which must go to waste. I take the time (20 seconds or less) to remove the cardboard off the ring and compost as much as I can. I’m actually keeping the rings (some at least) for the kids to craft with or use as a stencil. I imagine there will be other uses to come up with too.

All Summer we have been saving ice cream at home for needed days so we do not go through a bunch of wasteful containers. Can I go back in time with this knowledge? 😂

Update: Kate commented the rings should be cut before placed into the waste bin, which is absolutely correct in case an animal gets stuck in it. Thanks for pointing that out Kate!

It is very important to contact your Waste Management Team about proper disposal.

Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit fly season is heavily upon us. My remedy is warm water, sugar and yeast in small amounts in a glass. A piece of scrap plastic punched with holes held to the mouth of the glass with an elastic band. I noticed while Making bread, fruit flies love the yeast smell!

Lately I have found that the flies are always around the compost bin. Why would they not!? I got an idea the other morning as I opened the compost bin first thing and about 20 fruit flies flew out. Use the compost as a trap! No need for extra dishes trying to catch them!

All I do is leave the bin slightly open overnight. As we sleep the flies enter. First thing I do in the morning when I come to the kitchen is snap the compost lid closed, trapping the fruit flies. I take the bin right outside and empty it in my compost cart.

I have forgotten my plan once, and let the flies loose in the house. Oops!! I made myself a note, and for the kids to remember the plan.