low waste valentine’s day

 

Valentines zero waste

Disclaimer: I’m really not into holidays much- I grew up with a mom who was a Jehovah’s Witness so we never celebrated them.  Therefore, it’s not something I have strong connections with- no nostalgia, memories, or traditions tied in.  I know this sounds really ascetic and miserly, but it wasn’t and I’m actually really grateful, because I don’t feel pressure to participate in what I feel can tend to be overly materialistic aspects of holidays.  It’s pretty freeing to just spend time with family and give small and meaningful gifts from the heart as I feel inspired to, instead of on a specific date set in place by capitalistic white patriarchy:  I love the quote from that article- “practically everything in every store you walk into has some sort of Valentine’s Day limited edition, overpriced junk. Rational people ransack the joints, and leave with packages of third world manufactured festivity supplies that will tomorrow find their way to third world landfills. Sentiments, probably born in some gray cubicle, are expressed in cards written by someone else, somewhere else.”  Anyways….I’m not really an expert on holidays so forgive my mistakes if I overlook aspects of them.

Zero waste kids valentines

At Carmela’s school, they exchange valentines.  I can’t control what things are given to her, but I can control what we give out.  I volunteered to make the cookies for their class party so that they were healthy-ish and not bought in plastic from Costco as has happened in the past.  She makes her own valentines every year, from recycled materials such as brown paper bags, the backside of once used paper, old wrapping paper, even pretty chocolate bar wrappers we’ve cut up and used.

Valentines

Gold foil from chocolate make a great decoration to cut out too.  For paste, I do an easy homemade flour and water paste– its messy and it doesn’t hold up forever but it’s fun and biodegradable.  Be careful to find out if any kids in the class have gluten sensitivities if you use it since it does have flour.

Zero waste valentines

As little favors to go with the Valentine’s in lieu of plastic toys or candies, we made some candied orange peels with the leftover peels from local organic navel oranges we ate.  They’re really easy- just basically peel, slice into thin strips and then boil in simple syrup- this recipe works great.  I dip in melted chocolate after.  A good quick option would be bulk candy in a little paper bag or diy envelope/pouch.  We are also adding in little “treasures”- a marble, bit of sea glass, crystal, shell, pretty rock, dried flower, bead- I’ve found that younger kids really love these things and they can be free things you’ve found or repurposed.

Shells treasures beach

I attach the Valentines to the paper pouch with a bit of biodegradable jute twine.  One year, we gave sunflower seed packets and they were a hit, too.

orange peel candy

For the cookies, the teacher requested I make the same ones I made for their Christmas party, which are these Hot for Food gingerbread cookies.  I’ll cut them into hearts and add a little beet juice or cranberry powder to the icing for a natural pink. You could probably sub chilled coconut oil for the vegan butter but one of the kids in the class has an allergy.  I bring them in on one big plate and the teacher uses compostable paper napkins to serve (the school has a worm compost in their garden!)

valentines

If you’re thinking about giving flowers to someone, I’d suggest a gorgeous living plant instead to bring joy and life into your loved ones’ space for much longer and its so much more environmentally friendly.  Or homegrown flowers!

orchid

Plus, who isn’t obsessed with plants?  From a little succulent to a big handsome fiddle leaf fig, there’s an option for everyone.  Orchids are beautiful and the blooms last several months, and can keep blooming for years.  Below is a monstera that my husband gave me a couple years ago.  Since then I’ve propagated and divided it into a couple new plants, given a few away to others, and it’s brought me joy every day.

Monstera

If you can, choose fair trade and organic chocolate or ideally, buy locally if possible.  If you’re in Sacramento, Ginger Elizabeth’s is delicious and really nice about putting stuff in your own container.  You can also DIY this 5 minute chocolate bark from the archives that is infinitely customizable and looks like a million bucks.

chocolate bark vegan pomegranate superfood

For cards, personally I always appreciate getting a handmade card or even just a piece of pretty paper with heartfelt words rather than a premade card with a regurgitated message and signature.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel loved and appreciated to receive a lovely note, poem, etc.  A wonderful gift on Valentines is a book that celebrates self love- like Rupi Kaurs Milk and Honey + The Sun and Her Flowers.

zero Waste wrapping

However you celebrate or don’t celebrate this February 14th, I hope you have a wonderful day and bask in your self love.  If you get a teddy bear and unethical chocolate and lingerie and red roses and a hallmark card it’s ok too.  It’s wonderful to be alive and I love you all xx

healthy holidays: 5 tips to keep your glow

lemon water detox bitters liver holiday glow vegan

Whew!  Can you guys believe its already DECEMBER 4th?!?!  I feel like things are shifting up to top speed already.

Welcome to the crazy holiday season: traveling, cooking, cleaning, hosting, wondering what the f@#$ happened to your healthy habits.  butter! candy! cheese and crackers!!  people you can’t really stand but have to play nice with!  traveling!

If there’s any time of the year where you need some extra energy and grace, it’s definitely now.  Not to mention you want to look your best, glowy, vibrant self when you’re heading out to 3495069 dinners, holiday parties, family reunions etc.  So, here’s 5 tips to keep it healthy during the festivities.

palm tree holiday christmas

  1.  start every day with warm lemon water and green smoothie.  This simple habit is especially great during the holidays because it kicks sugar cravings and boosts the liver.  You’re getting your greens in FIRST THING which is promoting healthy, clear skin and resetting your palate.  Add in hemp, chia, or flax for a nice omega boost which helps keep you full longer (so that later you won’t be rummaging through that box of candy your neighbor gave you).  This recipe is nice and creamy.  Not a fan of green smoothies?  Try a turmeric carrot smoothie for similar anti-inflammatory, detoxifying properties.
  2. practice meditation daily.  Even if it’s just 5 minutes!  Taking that time for yourself to ground down, breathe, and stop the constant flow of thinking what you need to do next.  This is ESSENTIAL any time of year, but especially when you have a to-do list with no end.  I like to meditate 5-15 minutes right when I wake up to start with a calm, clean slate + right before I go to bed, to let go of whatever happened/didn’t happen that day.  You don’t have to be sitting, either- sometimes I do this when I take a shower, especially at night.   I like to visualize the water taking my stress, worries, and attachments + rinsing them right down the drain like mud.  If you need a little help meditating, I highly recommend the app Headspace.
  3. chlorophyll.  These little green drops are magic, especially when you’re lacking in sleep and/or drinking alcohol.  You just add a few drops to water and they boost liver function, support detox + are intensely alkaline.  That extra alkalinity will help balance out any acidity you may have from coffee, less-than-ideal foods, and stress.  Chlorophyll also increases energy, immunity + oxygenates skin to support that glow.  Of course, whole plant greens are better than extracts, but when you’re traveling or just need an extra boost, the drops are amazing.  You should be able to find these at any health food store, but here’s a link just in case.4272A317-86EB-4E04-A811-F231EB1E61E3.jpeg
  4. digestive bitters.  It’s all too easy to over indulge during the holidays, even if you normally eat healthy.  Keeping a bottle of digestive bitters in your purse is an easy way to help.  You can take them after eating if you overdid it to soothe a too full, bloated, or gassy tummy.  You can also take them before eating to stimulate your digestion and reduce cravings (even do a dropper full right into your cocktail!).  Bitters are super supportive for your liver + keep skin glowing and clear.  I like these from Urban Moonshine + they have a tiny spray bottle version too which can tuck into even the smallest bag.
  5. meal prep.  INVEST IN YOURSELF by prepping a breakfast/lunch the night before so you don’t even have to think about what to eat when things get crazy during the day.  That way, no matter what, you will be eating healthy.  Prep some of Loni Jane’s burcha the night before and keep it in jars in the fridge to grab and go.  Make a big batch of quinoa and chickpeas and a dressing or two.  Roast a big sheet pan of veggies and pick up some fresh salad greens.  Now you have everything you need to make a buddha bowl for lunch- just mix and match.  If you’re really exhausted, bring your own container to a salad bar like at Whole Foods and get your own healthy takeout.  No excuse to eat like crap, no matter how busy you are.  There’s always a better way + you deserve better.

Make your self care a priority this holiday season so that you look + feel your best.  I’m sure you guys have some tried and true tricks yourself for keeping it healthy in a hectic time- if so, comment below!  I’d love to hear them.

xx Amanda

GF/V kabocha pie

7A997DC8-823D-4F35-83D4-21256A142016.jpeg

I am enamored by Amy Chaplin.  She has the best, most beautiful recipes that use whole food ingredients.  I love her cookbook, At home in the whole food kitchen.  For our vegan + gluten free thanksgiving this year, I tried out one of the recipes from her book for pumpkin tartlets.  It turned out perfectly, and way tastier than traditional pumpkin pie.  All the same rich flavors + super silky texture + bright color.

Some notes about my modifications:  I used my homegrown papaya squash instead of the kabocha.  Since my squash was more watery, I mashed it and then let it drain for a while through a fine mesh strainer until it was thicker.  Kabocha would be ideal here, though, as it’s naturally very creamy and starchy instead of wet.  It makes the most silky puree ever.  Also, her crust originally had gluten in it in the form of spelt flour.  Gluten makes me feel yuck, so I avoid it whenever possible.  It was a pretty easy swap here.  I subbed in an equivalent amount of my own GF flour mix (chickpea flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch) but I’m sure you could use any GF flour blend.  Make sure it’s a blend though- I don’t think it will work with just one type of flour.  GF baking is tricky that way.  The crust dough is really sticky.  Don’t worry about it, it bakes up fine.  The recipe is originally for tartlets.  I baked mine as a whole pie, in a springform pan (the kind made for cheesecakes, that has removable sides).  I baked mine in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I was opening the oven a lot, though because I was cooking other things at the same time.  So yours may need less time- Ive called for baking it 1 hour, but checking it at 45 minutes just in case.  It firms up more as it cools.

pumpkin pie with GF cashew ginger crust (adapted from an Amy Chaplin recipe)

FILLING:

1/2 a large kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (~ 4.5 cups)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened full fat coconut milk (I used homemade)

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used raw sugar since I was low on maple syrup)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR seeds from a vanilla bean

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

nutmeg, to taste (I used ~ 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh, but I like a strong nutmeg flavor) you could also sub pumpkin pie spice blend here

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

pinch sea salt

CRUST:

1 1/4 cups raw cashews

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats (GF)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon GF flour blend OR spelt/all purpose if you don’t mind gluten

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon melted coco oil OR EVOO

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Steam the squash chunks for 10-12 minutes until soft.  Drain, place in a bowl and mash it up really well.  Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the mash.  Blend the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, arrowroot, and salt to combine evenly.  Add the squash and blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (~177 celsius).  Oil a springform pan or tart pan really well.
  3. Place cashews, oats, GF flour, brown rice flour, and salt in food processor and blend until the mix is a crumbly flour, similar to a medium grind cornmeal.  Transfer to a bowl and drizzle the oil over it, mixing with your fingers until the flour is moistened.  Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and mix again until well combined.  Let sit for 5 minutes so the flours can hydrate.  Sprinkle a little extra GF flour blend if it seems reeealllly wet and mix well.  Dump it into your prepared pan and using the pads of your fingers, press it into a crust- work from the center out.  Make it as even a thickness as you can.  Prick the crust bottom all over with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is set but not done.
  4. Remove from oven and pour filling into the pan.  Bake for 1 hour, checking it at 45 minutes for doneness.  The center should be set and there will be cracks all over the pie surface.  The filling will thicken more as it cools.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, put it in the fridge to chill completely, about 1 hour.  Remove the sides from the pan and serve with whipped cream (toasted or glazed pecans are amazing here too!)

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for all of you.  xx

BB2E6EF8-1C23-4555-87EA-9804528E20FE.jpeg

zero waste holiday gift ideas

FAB2EEA5-82FD-4DC4-897F-15603E341F17.jpeg

With the holiday season beginning, I offer you this compilation of zero or low waste gifts, hoping that they will help you brainstorm and give with intention this year.  In my opinion, gifts should be well thought out, from the heart, and functional.  They should bring joy to the receiver (like edible gifts and experience gifts) or serve them for years to come (material gifts).  Where applicable, I’ve linked to items that I mention, but of course it’s best to search out items in your local area.  Not only will they be more special and personal, you’ll also be supporting your local economy.  At the end of the list, I’ve also included some wrapping ideas for less waste that are beautiful and much nicer than brightly colored shiny paper with plastic ribbon.

edible gifts:

2DED6FAD-7F8E-4899-BEB0-985CB72F5743.jpeg

rosemary chile almonds

superfood chocolate bark

organic medjool dates (buy a box and portion them out in pretty jars!)

fermented hot sauce

pickled onions/carrots/beets/giardiniera/jalapeños

citrus marinated olives

olive oil, maple, and sea salt granola

growler of local beer 

local loose leaf tea + a stainless steel tea ball

organic coffee + a reusable cotton coffee filter

organic, biodynamic and/or local wine

beautiful handmade chocolate

sourdough starter + a straw bread proofing basket

curry paste

a nice olive oil and vinegar

a CSA box or Imperfect Produce subscription

experiences:

membership to a local museum, co-op, botanical garden, aquarium, state park pass

tickets to a ballet, play, opera, concert

classes: ceramics, art, language, dance

gift card to a lovely restaurant

subscription to Headspace (an amazing meditation app)

for people who love books:

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking : a gorgeous cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen : one of my all time favorites, lovely whole food recipes.

A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for quick, flavor packed meals : a lovely cookbook with TONS of flavorful and quick recipes

Milk and Honey (an empowering feminist collection of poetry)

The Year of Magical Thinking (love Joan Didion.  This is especially lovely for someone who has recently experienced the death of someone close)

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life (a quick read and very inspiring)

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (by Neil deGrasse Tyson and amazing)

beautiful vintage books- you can usually find these cheaply at a thrift store or second hand bookstore

for someone who loves food:

CBC0C29E-3313-4DB4-8549-CD57D40898FA.jpeg

glass and metal teapot

handmade linen bento bags

a sharp lovely knife

dutch oven- Obviously Le Creuset and Staub are wonderful, but World Market and Chantal both do high quality ones for cheaper

handmade ceramics- especially if there’s a local potter!

straw farmer’s market tote

mortar + pestle

french press

beautiful walnut wooden spoons

reusable silicone baking mat

cast iron skillet: these are an easy find at thrift stores!  Just give it a good clean + oil

for people who love to stay active: 

natural cork or rubber yoga mat

sustainable body roller for sore muscles and recovery

pass or punch card to a local yoga or pilates studio

raw, sprouted vegan protein powder in a glass jar

online membership to Ali Kamenova online yoga videos

for beauty lovers:

Lavender + Cocoa dry shampoo

Kjaer Weis organic refillable makeup

True Botanicals non toxic skincare that is clinically proven to work

reusable/washable facial rounds

non toxic, pretty highlighter in glass

RMS beauty non toxic lip+cheek colors that come in glass

rose facial mist

spa/sauna/facial/non toxic hair salon gift certificate

DIY body butter

set of therapeutic grade essential oils

Rent the Runway membership

masculine sorts of things:

beard balm

stainless steel safety razorDIY bay rum aftershave

vintage silk tie + tie clips/pins

gorgeous pocket knife (engravable, too, if thats your thing!)

chic metal mechanical pencil

minty lip balm  in a paper tube

zero waste stuff:

EF9DD59A-D557-47C3-9BDA-887B1A5FDA4B.jpeg

bamboo toothbrush + DIY toothpaste + refillable dental floss

water bottle, reusable to-go coffee cup

reusable produce bags + cute mesh grocery tote

stainless steel tiffinsteel/  bamboo/  glass straws + set of reusable to-go silverware

stainless steel chopsticks+ pretty cloth napkins

set of mason jars/weck jars/le parfait jars

for the plant lover:

indoor plants from a local nursery like Fiddle Leaf Fig, Rubber Tree, ZZ plant, spider plant, fern, Monstera, succulents

a lovely pot or stand (thrift stores have tons of cool ones)

a crocheted plant hanger: simple DIY or BUY

kids:

Kazoo Magazine for girls (use code MYFAM for 20% off) or Cricket media magazines: they have a bunch of different ones for all ages and genders

pass/gift card to a local museum, bookstore, aquarium, ice cream shop, rock climbing, whale watching, movie theater, pizzeria.

Planet Earth II

wooden toys

coloring book + a nice set of colored pencils

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

puzzles + board games

beautiful hair ribbons- you can purchase these at a fabric store by the yard, magnifying glass.

My kids especially love “treasures”: crystals, shells, smooth or interesting rocks, sea glass, acorns, dried flowers + a lovely wooden or metal box/tin to keep them in.

watercolor paper notebook + DIY mini watercolor tin or BUY: this company hand makes their watercolors and you can buy them in a shell instead of a plastic pan!!  Kids think this is so cool.

how to wrap with love and care for both the recipient and the earth:

EE86D3CE-93E6-414C-91CD-819065CA2862.jpeg

Reuse what you already have: newspaper, brown packing paper, a paper grocery bag are all great.  You can also buy a roll of brown paper/butcher paper to use for wrapping gifts.  Wrapping in cloth, furoshiki style (tutorial here) is lovely as well because its beautiful and adds a bonus gift- the cloth! For tying up your gift, pick up natural string: cotton, hemp, jute, or kitchen twine.  These are easy to find, especially at hardware stores or in the cooking section of stores.  If you can’t find that, go with a pretty ribbon.  You can buy this at a craft store and it can be reused.  For decoration, go with natural adornments that can be used or composted: flowers, rosemary, sprigs from your fir tree or christmas tree, thyme, fresh bay leaves.  If you are gifting something edible, try using glass jars or metal tins from the thrift store, lined with parchment paper if necessary.  Write and create your own cards if you have time- they’re much more beautiful and I always appreciate them more than something generic.  Or, pick up a handmade one on Etsy or from a local artist.

I hope this list is helpful to you, and I hope it inspires you to gift lovely things with a circular economy in mind instead of a disposable, or linear economy.  I’d love to see photos of your waste free gifts this season!  Tag me on Instagram to share! @mamaeatsplants xx

vegan + gluten free thanksgiving

01890772-C162-41CF-838D-F4764454781D.jpeg

Thanksgiving (and all holidays) are really low key at our house.  It’s just us for dinner- me, J, and the kids.  We usually go on a hike in the early morning- AMAZING because usually no one else is out.  Then we come home and cook and watch a movie together.  We cook a lot of food because: leftovers (not having to cook again for days is amazing).  Here’s our simple, no fuss vegan and gluten free Thanksgiving menu:

Main: lentil + walnut loaf (this recipe): this is so delicious and has all those stuffing-esque flavors.  Plus, it’s sliceable and works perfectly in lieu of turkey in those leftover sandwiches (arguably the best part of Thanksgiving)

Gravy: mushroom gravy (this recipe): if you’ve never made mushroom gravy you’ve been cheating yourself.  Mushrooms are the perfect umami flavor and it is rich, easy, and delicious.

Mashed potatoes: I use a potato ricer to keep them super fluffy and then fold in splashes of coconut milk, garlic, and salt to taste.  Also perfect here is Miyoko’s vegan butter if you’re into that (and who isn’t?)

cranberry sauce: I buy cranberries at my co-op which offers them package free!  Usually I just wing it and throw them in a pot + simmer with orange juice/zest, maple syrup and cinnamon.  For a hands off oven version,  this recipe is perfect.

brussels: super simple, I just slice them in half (or quarters if they’re huge) + roast in the oven at 400 with a drizzle of EVOO, salt + pepper until they’re crispy and tender.

kale salad: I feel like you always need a fresh, raw, bright component for Thanksgiving to cut through all the heavier flavors and textures.  I’ve been OBSESSED with Amy Chaplin’s creamy kale slaw recipe so I’ll probably make that.  I’ve made this brussels slaw with maple pecans before too, with delicious results.

kabocha pie with coco whip: I’ll be experimenting this year with pumpkin pie and subbing my own homegrown pureed squash instead of canned pumpkin, and experimenting by converting a much loved cashew-ginger-spelt crust to GF (fingers crossed).  This easy V/GF crust from Pure Mamas looks amazing too.  Last year we did these awesome and super easy pumpkin pie parfaits with vanilla cashew cream. For the coco whip, here is a super easy tutorial from Oh She Glows with step by step pics.  I heard that TJ’s carries a coco whip too if you’re short on time!

I hope you all have a wonderful time enjoying food, friends and family this Thanksgiving!  Please consider donating your time to a local food bank to give back to others who may be less fortunate on this holiday xx