Archives for March 2014

Eco Friendly March, week two


The first week of Eco Friendly march has gone surprisingly well and buying organic and fair-trade has been easier than I thought. Read first eco friendly march post by clicking Here.
My first concerns with this was how much more I would use buying only organic and fair-trade when possible, but since we sort of have a weekly food budget, I found it quite easy to just cut back on a few other things making me not go over our budget.

The thing I found had the biggest price difference is Chicken, we actually used 7 pounds more on chicken this week. Where as with beef there wasn’t that big of a difference in price than what we normally buy and there was a deal on diced beef this week, so we actually ended up saving money on that one.
The area I was really surprised by after gathering up the difference, was vegetables, where we actually only ended up using around 5 more than buying non organic vegetables and that is including all the vegetables we use for making juice and smoothies. Some things, like bottled tomatoes actually ended up being cheaper if you got the organic brand and some things didn’t even have that big of a price difference, like spinach that was only £0.10 more and is on the list of the fruit and veg you should eat organic, click Here to read more about about that.
Things I had a hard time finding was organic frozen berries, only place I found them was Whole Foods, but it doesn’t actually say organic on the packaging, but googling organic frozen berries the same brand comes up, so still a bit confused about that one.
The way we make our food budget work, was to buy less expensive meat and some days have a vegetarian dinner or have things like eggs that are a cheaper than meat as our protein at meals. Plus using up all your groceries and not waisting has also helped with the budget.


For the not waisting part I also think it went really well and only thing that got waisted was a tiny bit of spinach and kale that had gone bad over night.
Some food preparation that I was already doing, just meant a bit of re-thinking, because normally I was buying things to make them specifically instead of waiting until I had over ripe bananas or apples, for frozen bananas and apple sauce. We eat a lot of bananas at our house but they do have a tendency to become overly ripe over night, so when ever they do, I peel, cut into pieces and freeze. Great for healthy banana milk shake or in smoothies.
With apples that are past the eating stage, I just peel, cut into smaller pieces and cook with a bit of apple juice. When cooked and starting go mushy, then just blend, pour into small containers and freeze. Great for baking, in deserts or in yoghurt for breakfast, just take out of freezer a few hours before use to thaw.
But the best way of using up vegetables, I actually came up with one evening, while only having a few things in the fridge and didn’t want to go to the shops, was pasta sauce with vegetables. I only had a few mushrooms that was starting to go soft and a courgette that was a bit bruised, but together with some tomato passata in a jar, a bit of garlic and chilli, this made a really yummy tomato sauce. I think pretty much any vegetable will do, so a great way to use up vegetables. You can also blend it if you are not a big chunky vegetable fan, have kids who are just not vegetable fans in general or just make and freeze for a lazy day when you don’t feel like cooking. 


All in all I think this week was a success and I found it very enlightening, especially with which supermarkets that are best when buying organic, which in my case was Tesco Ekstra and the worst actually being my local Waitrose, that doesn’t have that many organic vegetables as I would have thought they would.
But it has definitely made me want to continue buying as much organic (preferably UK grown) as I can and I am even currently looking into getting an organic vegetable box subscription. Not only because buying organic doesn’t cost as much as I thought, but I have also found that the products have a lot more flavours and smell, than regular fruit and vegetables, so all around a convert.


Week two:
So for the next challenge I am going to set myself, is going to be to get a better indoor climate. Recently I kept being able to smell a gass/petroleum smell in the evening and after three days, I figured out that it was coming from our tea lights. When googling it, it turns out regular candles aren’t that good for your indoor climate. But this google search also led me to a some other articles on indoor climate, so for this week, I will reed up on what I can do to improve my indoor climate and try some of them out.


So stay tuned for next week if you want to know how I got on.
Mia
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Whole Foods Market Haul


A Whole Foods Market have recently opened a shop a bit closer to where I live, so I no longer have to go all they way into centre of London to get my Whole Foods shopping fix, which is great for me, but maybe not so great for my wallet to have one closer!
Now I will say that I wish that they would have more of the amazing products that they have in the american stores, I am still dreaming of Justin’s nut butters, but I suppose there goes a lot of work into bringing a product over to the UK.
But here are some of the things I go to Whole Foods for. I did also pick up a few other things on this trip, like oranges and coconut water, but those you can get from any supermarket now a days, so didn’t include them. 

  • Teapigs popcorn tea – Now I know you can get Teapigs in a lot of shops now, I just hadn’t seen this flavour before. After tasting though, I am not sure I would buy again, taste like roasted green tea.
  • Amisa organic spelt, onion and linseed crispbread – These are soooo yummy, the perfect snack for when you are feeling a bit peckish. Great with or without topping.
  • Tropical Whole Foods fair-trade organic dried Mango and Banana – These for me are a life saver when I crave sweets, as they are a great substitute. They do have just as much sugar in them as normal sweets, these just containing fruit sugar, so I literally see them as I would sweets and try and control myself with them.
  • Chia Seeds – I use about a tablespoon of these in my green smoothies as a great way to get more fibre and omega 3.
  • The Food Doctor Cacao and Tangerine granola – Eating this stuff makes me feel like being a child again, but it is sweetened with agave instead of refined sugar. Great in yoghurt or the Vanilla CoYo I also got.
  • Organic Spelt Penne – For some reason wheat pasta seem to be quite heavy in my stomach, but after finding spelt pasta, I no longer get that overly full feeling when eating pasta. Only note with these is that you have to be careful not to overcook them, as that seem to happen quite quickly.
  • CoYo coconut milk yoghurt with vanilla – I am normally not into flavoured yoghurts and since I am lactose intolerant, I haven’t had natural yoghurt since Lactofree stopped making their natural yoghurt. But this little, quite expensive though, pot of coconut yoghurt is what food heaving must be like, because it literally taste heavenly, especially with The Food Doctor granola.
  • Organic Kale – this is actually the main reason why I go to Whole Foods, as this seems to be the only place I can get whole organic kale for my green juices and smoothies.

I do know that it can get quite expensive shopping in Whole Foods, but I normally only buy what I can’t get in other supermarkets and try and be sensible with my choices, as I could easily go on a shopping spree in there every time. But I do think a few good food items can make a huge difference in your daily diet, so this is more than enough to tie me over for a weeks time, together with my normal supermarket shopping.

Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week one


As I wrote about, in a post last month, click to read Here, I am going to try and be a bit more eco friendly in the month of March.
So for my first week of challenging myself to be a bit more eco friendly, I am going to:

  • Buying organic and fairtrade
  • No food wastage 

Buying organic is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I used to be quite good at buying organic, but for some reason I don’t do it as much any more. But organic is not only good for the environment and the people growing them, but they are also a lot better for me as you won’t be getting all the chemicals from spraying, but they are also suppose to have a lot more nutrients in them.
Fair trade because it is just better for the people of the world.
And no food wastage, because I am a bit tired of find fruit and veg that have gone past eating stage and end up throwing it out. Firstly because I have paid good money for it and second because there are just being waisted way to much food on the planet every year.


So for this week I am going to buy organic and fair-trade groceries when possible and to calculate how much more it has cost me that week to do it. 
And I will come up with solutions to cut food wasting.


Stay tuned for my update next Monday 
Mia
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Spelt pancakes (creps)


So pancake day is only a few days away, so I thought I would share with you my spelt pancake recipe. For anyone who doesn’t know what spelt is, is a different grain than wheat, but in the same family. It is an older type of grain, that has a bit more of a nutty undertone and some people find it easier to digest than wheat flour.
These thin and delicious beauties are so yummy and not really that bad for you with the right filling.
For this pancake day, I have filled mine with sliced bananas and a little of my refined sugar free chocolate syrup, click Here to see recipe.

Makes about 8-9 pancakes


Ingredients:
120g fine-ish spelt flour
2 eggs
300ml milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoon of butter, plus more for frying.


Whisk flour, eggs and a little of the milk until completely smooth and lump free. Then add the rest of the milk and cinnamon and whisk well.
In the pan over low heat, melt the butter, then slowly add to the pancake dough while mixing. With the leftover butter having greased you pan, put the heat up to medium heat. When the pan is hot enough, Add 2-3 tablespoons batter (depending on the size of the pan) and swirl to completely cover bottom of the pan. Cook until underside of pancake is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancake and cook for about a minute or two more on the other side.
When all the pancakes have cooked, fill with some sliced up bananas and a tiny bit of chocolate syrup.


Happy Pancake day
Mia
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