Monthly Archives: February 2014

Experience 4: …..Nuts about plastic free food!

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There’s a lot of chocolate pictures above aren’t there? I thought i would dedicate this post to some things that we can all relate to.
Food shopping  (unless you have been living with your overcompensating Mother all your life who refuses to let go of her now adult child and still does your shopping) and cooking. Going plastic free with food requires more preparation and organising ahead of time. So i thought i would share with you a few things that i have started to make since being plastic free to that gets me through snacks. Before going any further i just want to add that i made all of those amazingly scrumptious chocolate bars in the pictures above and il be getting to their story a little further down the page.
We all loath the task of buying our groceries, especially if you have had a busy week. So, i decided to go on my first plastic free grocery shopping experience after a lovely Sunday surf session in Lennox with an open mind for plastic free treats for my week ahead. At this point my fridge and freezer is currently empty due to being away for one month so this was a much needed shop. I headed to a local green grocers, ‘Baz & Shaz’s’ near my house who has a great range of organic and non organic fruit and vegetables, breads, and dry foods. The fruit and vegetable part of the shop was easy and i did not use bags to collect them in. I piled them into the basket, and they were placed in a box upon purchase. I did miss out on a few things in this shop due to not having smaller bags of my own to collect things like baby spinach, brussell sprouts, beans and berries. Whilst the helpful guy from ‘Baz & Shaz’s was carrying my box of non-plasticated goodness to my car he informed me  that i can order my berries in bulk so they are not packaged in plastic and this will not only save me money per gram and plastic but i can put them in the freezer and eat the frozen blueberries for snacks as well as for my daily smoothies. I just need to place an order or go to the local berry farm in a nearby town.  I also found out through some friends that i can get some small cotton mesh bags which are great for collecting  these smaller items instead of plastic bags. (The link to the cotton mesh bags are not the only supplier of these and i make no profit or gain free bags from adding them on my blog. It’s merely a link to give you an example of what they look like).
But again, i struggled with plastic free milk. So this time i didn’t buy any. Instead I bought some raw almonds and hazelnuts and i made my own nut milks! The process is below and you can add many things to make them even tastier but here is what i did:
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Almond milk or Hazelnut milk
  • you will need a ‘nut bag’ (no, not your embarrassing mate you always try to run from at the pub) , a mesh like bag to strain the blended nuts with.
  • you will need a blender (mine is glass).
  • you will need a non plastic container to tip the milk into (otherwise you are breaking the rules!)
  • you will need water and nuts (obviously)
  1. soak your nuts in a bowl overnight (if they are cashews 4 hours) so the oxalates are removed (better for your digestion).
  2. rinse the soaked nuts.
  3. place them in a blender
  4. For every 1 cup of nuts add 2 cups of water (this is an estimate as it depends how ‘light’ you like your milk to taste).
  5. add any spices for e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, agave etc
  6. blend until the nuts are very very very very fine
  7. place the nut bag into a glass bowl or vase and pour the mixture into it so the nuts pieces have separated from the liquid.
  8. I then pour the liquid into a glass bottle and YOU HAVE MILK!
 You will find that you are left over with this amazing nut meal from your milk making project and i could not let all that goodness go to waste. So i made things out of it!
‘Organic Chocolate Champion Chunkers’
OH MY GOD!! Have you ever needed a before surf boost or a post surf kick in the butt to drive home? Have you had that feeling when you are a bit tired on a saturday afternoon but really wanted to go out to that party?  Then these chocolate bars are for you!
I got a few ideas for the recipe off the mynewroots website but you can be as adventurous as you like! My recipe is below and you could use any nut meal that you have from your milk.
  1. mash up about 100gm of pitted dates
  2. toast or dry pan fry the nut meal so there is not water content left in it and you can start to smell the nuts warming.
  3. melt 50-100gm of butter (you can use:organic unsalted butter, cacao butter, coconut oil etc) in a bowl that’s inside a saucepan with water heating in it, over a stove.
  4. stir in about 30gm of cacao powder
  5. add in the toasted nut meal to a consistency of your choice. (the more nut meal you add, the more ‘cakey’ the chocolate bars will be).
  6. you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli , peppermint oil etc etc to this mixture now for your own little touch.
  7. add the mashed dates so a thick paste is made.
  8. taste it! If it’s not sweet enough you could add some drops of agave or honey to be mixed in.
  9. i then use some left over toasted nut meal to sprinkle on a wooden board and then roll balls of the mixture onto the board.so the outside is coasted in nuts. I also used shredded coconut.
  10. make strips of aluminium foil and wrap the soft bars up.
  11. Place in the fridge for at least one hour.
  12. THEN EAT THEM!!!! YUM!

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I also used the almond meal to make cookies (high protein, not sweet, soft inside) and no one complained when they tried them! Another great snack that’s a little lower in G.I than the Chocolate Champion Chunkers and hit’s the hunger cravings due to the nuts in them.
Again this is just a recipe i made up from looking at a few options on line so feel free to improvise:
‘PLASTIC-LESS PROTEIN POUCHES’
  1. in a blender mix the almond meal with 1 egg, soft butter and honey or agave to taste.
  2. i also added a dollop of peanut butter to increase the nutty flavour.
  3. Mix lightly, then add some cinnamon or nutmeg to taste.
  4. Scoop out small portions with a spoon and place on a greased oven tray.
  5. back for around 30 mins at 180degrees. (they will stay fairly soft on the inside so they take a while). 
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 Along with the nuts and fruits and vegetables i also bought organic Auzzie butter (in paper ). I also bought coconut and spelt flour which was in brown paper bags, bottled sauerkraut, jarred nut butter, cardboard boxed eggs and boxed tea. I bought the Sourkraut in a glass jar because again i could not get a natural yoghurt in glass so i have opted for the Sourkraut to feed the good bacteria in my stomach this week.
There were many benefits to this adventure: I had such a big box full of fresh produce it was carried to my car by an employee for me! This shop is definitely healthier than normal as i have no processed foods to snack on and get to have fun making my own yummy, healthy, non-toxic snacks. Another upside is that i will now have some glass jars to reuse.
Whilst typing this i had a break and made some fresh hommus with the food i had and used carrot sticks for dippers. No sugar added, no plastic contaminants, healthy protein and vegetable intake for a snack too!
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Living plastic free does take more time and organisation. For example, to make the hummus i soaked the chickpeas overnight which i had bought dry in a paper bag. Then once drained i could blend them with the other ingredients. Canned foods have a plastic BPA liner in them so canned is now out also. Did you already know that?! I didn’t until now!
There was also no fresh bread in paper bags at the shop  today so I chose to make my own Turkish bread! It’s actually really quick too.
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  1. Simply tip your flour onto a wooden board (you need to have self raising or add a raising agent to it so the bread is fluffy when baked)
  2. make a well in the centre of the flour
  3. add dollops of natural unflavoured yoghurt into the well and combine the flour with your hands to mix the two together.
  4. Add more yoghurt  if the mixture is too dry
  5. add some dried mixed herbs and olive oil over the top with some sea salt if you desire.
  6. place on a oiled baking tray
  7. bake!
  8. delicious and so quick! You can actually do this in the microwave too which is even quicker but i’m a bit suss on microwaves…
I’ve noticed i haven’t had as much garbage to throw out in the last two weeks and even the separate recycling bin has not been as full.  Plastic seems to takes up a lot of bin space! Imagine how much landfill it must take up too………….
If you have any questions about my very loosely explained recipes please don’t hesitate to write a comment as i usually make them up as i go along so my quantities are not always exact.
Also if you have a recipe you think is completely plastic free then add it in a comment below or attach the link!
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