groceries this week + thoughts on zero waste perfection

Fridge zero waste

Hi friends!  Hope you all are having a nice weekend.  It’s been beautiful here, low 80s and pretty breezy and sunny which means I’ve been in the mood to deep clean, haha.  I love the time of year where you can fling open all the windows in the morning, sit outside for breakfast, and just generally be out more.  My house is already pretty minimal I’d say, but I’ve been going through the baby stuff like books and toys and carriers and things I held onto for “just in case”, because two is the right number for us.  I got to hold my friends baby last night and it made me feel all the things!  I adore babies and sometimes I think about, what if we had 3?  But when I seriously asked myself (and Joel) that a few years back, the answer was definitely no.  For me, I almost feel like what’s sad about it for me is thinking of this era in my life being done forever, the childbearing years.  You know?  It feels sad to move on, but also exciting to move into the next stage.

Petunias

Not related at all, BUT this week has been super busy for me.  Some of you reached out to ask where my saturday market stories and haul was, and the answer is: I had so much stuff going on I didn’t even make it to the market!  I did send Joel there very briefly to pick up a few things, but it’s definitely not our usual large haul.  I just didn’t have the time to make a list and think of meals and go this week.  I ended up going to the grocery store this morning -the one closest to us- only 2 minutes away, which is more a regular grocery store.  Anyways, it got me thinking about “zero” waste and the amount of time and access that we all have.  The overwhelming majority of the time, living with less waste seems like a breeze to me.  But occasionally, when I get too tired or busy to plan ahead, things can slip.  And that’s ok.  The most important thing is simply to make the best choice you can that day, and every day.  Which will look different for everyone!

grocery haul low waste

Shopping in a more “conventional” grocery store is definitely more challenging to reduce waste than my normal co-operative that only has organic foods, many of them local, and lots of no packaging options.  At this store (Nugget Market for those of you local) there is a bulk section and even a bulk spice section!  However, they will not deduct the tare weight.  So I used my bags instead of the usual jars and bought rice, granola, red lentils, and chocolate chips there, plus some local and some non-local produce.  (Jars are pictured bc I didn’t have time to take the photo until now by which time Joel had transferred it from bags to jars).  All the produce had stickers and some things I wanted to get only came in plastic packaging, so I had to regroup and choose a different veggie.  I even bought a plastic bag of frozen acai to make acai bowls.  It was not a zero waste week.  It was low waste though.  For this lifestyle to be sustainable and enjoyable for me in the long term, occasionally I purchase things I can only buy in plastic, like sushi nori sheets, frozen acai, and spring roll papers.  Personally I’m ok with that, I think it’s not about being perfect and picking apart every single plastic “mistake” but about looking at it big picture and allowing a bit of wiggle room now and then.

So yeah, I bought something in plastic that I could totally live without.  I’ve been craving an acai bowl for almost a year and we will 100% enjoy every single bite of it (I had one this morning for breakfast).  It’s not a regular thing for us, but sometimes trash happens.  Absolute “zero” waste is not reality or even possible, just a goal we can work towards.  So forget any guilt and just do what you can with what you have!

Here’s my loose “meal plan” this week.  See what I cooked last week HERE.

what I’m planning to cook this week:

nachos:  We’ve got leftover hard and stale tortillas that I’ll cut up and bake to make chips, and also leftover refried black beans.  So of course nachos are in order!  I’ll make a quick pico de gallo (chop up tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeño and squeeze in lime juice and salt).  Sometimes we like them with a nacho cheese sauce too, sometimes just with a chunky guac and roasted corn and THIS fermented hot sauce.

dahl with cauliflower and potato mash:  cauliflower is so silky when mashed/pureed and we like to do half and half with potatoes for a yummy mash with boosted nutrients and fiber.  The dahl I make is similar to THIS one but I like to add some whole mustard seeds in and extra garlic.  I’ll make a simple salad to go with it.  Sometimes we do rice with saffron and cashews like pictured below.

dal

simple red lentil soup:  My other favorite way to use red lentils is THIS dead simple lemony soup from Amy Chaplin.  Quick, easy and delicous.  Switch out the greens as you like and serve with rice or bread or avocado.

amy Chaplin lentil soup

potato salad:  thinking about making this for the Wednesday picnic dinner at the farmers market.  Good hot or cold, this is flavorful and versatile.  Basically, just make a nice strong vinaigrette with lots of chopped shallot, thyme, black pepper, red wine vinegar, mustard (I use both dijon and whole grain), salt and olive oil and pour over sliced boiled potatoes while they’re still hot.  Then toss with cooked veggies- zucchini, corn, bell pepper, green beans, cauliflower, basically anything- and lots of chopped fresh herbs.  Basil is super yum, also dill, but again, use whatever you like!  Serve warm or cold, either way tastes great!

coconut broccoli soup:  THIS recipe is simple + easy – we have tofu and broccoli and it’s the first thing i thought of.  It packs a bunch of veggies but is creamy from the coco milk and my kids love the green color.

black bean brownies:  THIS recipe, and I skip the date caramel.  These are so good for a balanced sweet treat.  Gluten, grain and flour free, and the undetectable (really!) black beans add protein, iron and fiber.  I love bringing these to the park with us for an after school treat.  All kids love them in my experience!  These I made with pecans and coconut but you can definitely leave it out for a nut free option.

Black bean brownies

more lunchbox cookies: this has been Carmela’s ritual!  She makes them all by herself every Sunday and then we freeze them in a cloth bag and she takes them as needed in her lunchbox or for a snack.  She loves their taste and I love that they’re sweetened with banana and gluten free!

That’s all this week!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and take a few moments to breathe and relax tonight before Monday starts all over again, letting go of whatever happened or didn’t happen last week.  It’s all good.  Lots of love to you xx

3 thoughts on “groceries this week + thoughts on zero waste perfection”

  1. Our family has been trying to go increasingly package-free and your tips are so helpful! I wonder how you keep the castelvetrano olives fresh without the brine they come in? Do you make a homemade version? Would love the recipe!! Thanks 🙂

    1. Ah I’m so happy to hear it! I just add fresh water at home (I find them a little too salty so this takes away some of that) but what you can do is either add a little salt in with the fresh water or ask if you can top the jar off with brine after you purchase. I find they don’t mind doing this in my area (I do it when I buy pickles).

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