Baking Bread

There are very few food products that I use that have any packaging at all thanks to the great bulk offerings at my local store. However, the eggs I buy come in a recyclable package, also my oils: olive oil and others, also recyclable. The one thing that I buy often that was not was organic bread! The stores around me do not offer bulk or loaf organic bread and I have to admit that I purchase it at more than five dollars a loaf sometimes!! UNTIL NOW. Last night I made my first two loaves of organic whole wheat bread ever. They were amazing. Gorgeous and even more delicious than I could have imagined with a dense and moist inside and crunchy crust. I was really afraid of making bread, and I have no idea why now, it was SO simple. I am now more afraid of making bread because I could literally eat the entire loaf in one day it is that good! I had it last night with organic quinoa, corn, and white bean veggie burgers with a cucumber yogurt sauce, and this morning for breakfast as the perfect vessel for sauteed kale, a mashed avocado, sauteed mushrooms, and a sunny side up egg (props to my man). The recipe is at the bottom of this post!

Whole wheat dough:

  • 3 1/4 cups organic whole wheat bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups organic white flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water (the recipe I used calls for 3, but I found it was reallly watery)

1) Mix flour and stir in yeast and salt
2) Add 3/4 of the water and mix with a wooden spoon or pastry scraper
3) Pour in the remaining water in one or two more batches, mixing between each one
4) Turn the dough onto a clean, floured surface to knead until the gluten has developed and it is stretches and moves as a single mass
5) Rest the ball in a lightly floured bowl and dust the top with flour and cover with a clean cloth to rest somewhere warm without a draft for one hour
6) Find two pans (I used a glass loaf pan for one and a cookie sheet with the other) and butter the surface that the bread will touch (in the loaf pan this means the top because it will rise in the oven)
7) Divide the dough in two balls and put one into the loaf pan (shape the ball to a snake that will fit the loaf pan) and cover both again and let sit for one hour
8) Dust the two loaves liberally with whole wheat flour and make diagonal cuts on the top with a sharp knife (I used a serrated one)
9) Preheat oven to 475 degrees F, once the oven has reached temperature, spray it with a little bit of water out of a spray bottle, or like me, wet your hands and gently splash the oven
10) Put the loaves in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
11) Let cool completely and enjoy with butter or plain or whatever you want… YUM.

Share

Zero Waste Shopping: The Essentials.

Is it possible to shop without putting something in the cart that will not end up in the a landfill? YES. It has a lot to do with buying only fresh and bulk food and takes a little bit of planning and a little extra effort, but it makes shopping so much easier and in my opinion more organized and aesthetically pleasing. Here are my essentials that I take with me when shopping for food.

  • Mason jars or any type of canning jar with lid
  • Reusable Bags (cotton or canvas is best because it is washable)
  • A lightweight cotton bag incase you have extra bulk that you don’t have a jar for (mine is just a bag I reused from a sheet set I purchased)
  • To carry my jars I use a reusable wine carrier (mine is from Trader Joes) and it really helps to keep the jars separated so they are not bouncing around when I carry them home from the store
  • A sharpie or erasable marker to write the tare of the jar on the lid as well as the bulk item number to make checking out easier for you and the checkout person. With ball jars the small jar (pictured) has a tare of .6 lbs and the large wide mouth ball jar (pictured) has a tare of 1 lb. You should either know the tare beforehand and have it written, tare the jars right when you enter the store, or bring an extra of each jar that will remain empty to tare at the time of checkout (this is best if it is your first time and then you can just write the tare down to remember for next time)

Share

Indoor Plants

Being from New York and being.. well.. human, I have an affinity for being surrounded by green. Unfortunately, being enveloped by lots of brown buildings and one sidewalk tree doesn’t quite cut it. In a study by NASA, it is recommended that you have one potted plant per 100 square feet of home. Okay for most of us in NYC that means 4 plants max, but they also list the plants that are the most effective at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroetylene.  As an attempt to wake up to green every morning I created a window garden of sorts. Some ferns, some succulents, and an avocado tree. A WHAT!? Yes. I traded an awesome man with a cart full of cuttings for a jar of my homemade ginger beer (recipe to come) last December. It was a lovely young sprouted seed with twelve small leaves and has grown SO much since then I had to give it a pot of its own! So today, spending only $20 and armed with some home-cold-brewed iced coffee, I replanted a bunch of things, bought two new pots, soil, AND a new succulent for my windowsill. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

The tools: Organic Potting Mix, Organic Cactus Mix, 2 new pots, new cactus, gloves (I use fair-trade dishwashing gloves), and a shovel (I used a grapefruit spoon that I got today at Goodwill for 49 cents).
Step 1: Put new pot, cactus, and soil in the sink to prevent a giant mess & to catch any extra soil to reuse


Step 2: Fill new pot 1/3 of the way with soil


Step 3: Put cactus in and fill in with soil leaving about 1 inch on the top
Repeat with second plant


I separated my avocado from my coleus and sunflowers


The view I wake up to every morning!

Share

Zero Waste To-Go Cup

I LOVE smoothies, iced coffee, and juices and I would always put them in a mason jar and drink them with the top off causing the occasional spill. Sometimes I would even use a plastic straw to avoid the mess. I was sick of the waste and feeling guilty when enjoying some of my favorite things and was SO lucky to find EcoJarz on Vegancuts.com.

These tops are so perfect. Not only do the stainless steel straws that come in the drink top and straw kit feel so great when cold smoothies run through them, they are so practical, lightweight, and easy to clean! They even come with a really cute straw cleaning brush! Even better, this lid is made to fit standard canning jars and because of that they can fit onto any glass jar and turn it into an upcycled drinking vessel (think coconut oil, nut butter, salsa, jam… the possibilities are endless!) It is totally safe and made from stainless steel and is surrounded by a silicone gasket to keep your favorite drinks from leaking. I still want to try out glass straws, but have to get over my fear of breaking them!

Share

The Food I Eat

I am a vegetarian and dedicated to eating Organic and Fair Trade whole foods. Everything I cook and bring into my own home is Organic. The best part about it is that it is affordable. Why? I buy in bulk from Integral Yoga Natural Foods, which is easily the best indoor supermarket I have ever been to. Those mason jars in the picture up there, not only are they my obsession, they are the most practical lil’ vessels ever. I bring them to the store (always one extra for tare, or write the tare down) and fill them with my favorite grains, coffee, nuts, dried fruit, granola, seeds, loose mushrooms or beans, and tomatoes to name a few. I also use them to store food in my refrigerator in place of plastic storage containers, and I use them to bring coffee, tea, snacks, or lunch togo.

Share