November: Blue and Green

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This is a time for all of us diabetics to share the warning signs and daily lifestyle changes we are experiencing because of this disease and a time to raise money for organizations like JDRF to fund research towards finding a cure for us insulin dependent peoples- insulin is NOT a cure, it is a treatment that has changed our death sentence to a life sentence.

So far November has brought some head ache causing blood sugars. With the cold weather moving into the Northwoods of WI, my blood sugars are starting to rise. I have hit the 300s more this week than I did the entire summer and I tend to rest between 160-200 rather than 80-110 like I was in September, even with an increase in basal rate insulin.

With all of this hassle and adjustment, I have decided to make November a challenge month for me: No Waste November

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To clarify: I am only focusing on food oriented waste- i.e. nothing packaged nor wrapped and no disposable to-go containers. I am able to do this by buying locally and utilizing the bulk section in my local food co-op. After only 4 days, I was amazed by how easy some packaged food alternatives are and will definitely continue to cook in this way after November.

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The best part is that my partner, Morgan, and I are doing this together. We are learning together how to become more sustainable as individuals and as a partnership.

Here’s what we’ve made so far:

Pancakes

1 cup oats

2 over ripened bananas

1/3-1/2 cup plant based milk

blend in blender or food processor

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Pancakes topped with bourbon barrel aged maple syrup from a local vendor at Apple Fest, a spoonful of peanut butter, sliced apples, and a side of homemade apple sauce.

 

Veggie Broth

We started saving vegetable scraps (onion peels, butts of zucchini, pepper, and carrots, ends of leeks and green onion, etc.) for about 1 month in a reused ziploc bag for salad from the farmers’ market in the freezer. The day before I wanted to make the broth, I moved the bag into the fridge to thaw and bought fresh garlic and 2 celery sticks to add some flavor.

The scraps were put into a pot and covered with water, celery chopped and added, as well as 3-4 cloves of minced garlic. I let this boil then simmer for 30 min, adding in a few dashes of salt half way through cooking time.

After it cooked, I let it cool, strained the water into a 64 oz. mason jar and used a nut milk bag to squeeze all of the water out of the veggies.

This was so easy and satisfying and such a big money and waste saver! I am excited to continue making this!

 

 

Risotto

With the veggie broth, we made a big pot of risotto that will last us about 3 nights worth of dinners! We followed a simple risotto recipe we looked up online sauteing garlic (we forgot to buy onion) in some sunflower oil –> then adding in the rice (meanwhile the veggie broth is simmering on the back stove top) –> then adding a dash of white wine vinegar before starting to add in the broth 1/2-1 cup at a time –> continuously and thoroughly mixing the rice so it does not stick together or to the bottom of the pot.

We added mushrooms, zucchini, purple cabbage, and sun dried tomatoes (leftover from the summer) to our brew and topped our meals at the end with fresh roma tomatoes.

Scrumptious!!

 

 

Applesauce

Apples are a big big thing up here in the Northwoods. We have the annual Bayfield Apple Fest every fall. So naturally, we have picked and accumulated quite a few apples. My favorite thing to do with lots of apples is make applesauce- it is easy and stores well and can be topped on so many things!

  1. chop your apples, skins are fine to leave on, but that is per preference
  2. put apples into pot and add a little bit of water; do Not cover the apples, you only need 1:2 or 1:4 ratio of water to apples
  3. boil then let simmer for 20-35 min
  4. mix occasionally, add water if needed
  5. add cinnamon and/or nutmeg!

This past time, I tried adding a dash of apple cider vinegar- definitely strong if you are not a vinegar person, but added a sweeter apple taste!

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Beans

Beans are such a staple item in any meal. They can be eaten hot or cold and spiced to compliment any origin of foods. However, it is also the most convenient and easy item to make. Simply buy a can and heat up the contents.

But this act of simplicity is not a time saver, it is a lazy disconnect with our food and what our food needs before it can help us and provide for us. It is also a major up-cost to buy canned beans.

We bought our first batch of dried beans this week- black beans and navy beans- and are in awe of why we haven’t been getting dry beans this whole time!

  1. soak beans overnight with water (covering by 2 inches) in fridge (the beans will expand quite a bit)
  2. put beans in pot with water and let simmer for 1-2 hours (depends on your bean type and for how long they soaked)
  3. add salt
  4. ready to serve!

If you have a crock pot- this is definitely easier for y’all. Either way, I enjoyed getting home from school, starting the beans then working on homework until I needed to start cooking the rest of my dinner.

 

 

Oatmeal

This is go-to staple breakfast for me and also happens to be zero-waste even before I began this challenge!

I purchase all of my ingredients and toppings from the bulk section of my local food co-op: oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, raisins

While fresh fruit, particularly berries, are no longer in season, I have been adding a tablespoon of jam to my oats. These jams come from a homestead farm that is completely off grid and harvests everything that grows naturally or human-influenced on their property. Their jam comes in little mason jars that can be returned and reused for more jams so I love supporting them! (Many small scale farmers are beginning to do this with their canned goods they sell. I would recommend inquiring about this as you typically get good savings and even a free canned good if you bring your jars back! Save yourself some money, save your farmer some money, and save the earth some resources!)

 


What are ways in which you are actively choosing to divest from wasteful items?? Comment them below!!

 

Interested in supporting my work and want to purchase a thrifted shirt with my hand printed logo?? Go to my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TypeOneGeologist

 

-amanda

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