I’ve been a slacker for a while on this blog. I’ve still been cooking, but I’m trying to address a few issues on the homefront, most notably practising more zero waste and becoming financially independent. What I’ve discovered after much holiday reading of blogs like Mr Money Mustache, Early Retirement Extreme, Financial Samurai, The Escape Artist and the FrugalWoods is that becoming financially independent is rather easy (in many ways, not all) if you are waste aware.
Having spent the last few years half-hardheartedly practising zero waste and being anti-consumption, it all seems to fit together with the added bonus of money saved (like massive savings in the range of $1k per month!), more efficiency and again, less waste!
As we’re transitioning a bit now, I can share with you how
I’m we’re working towards financial independence without feeling like we are sacrificing anything, and avoiding the family thinking I’m going to feed them rice and beans for the rest their lifetime. I don’t think I’m going to discuss full on financial independence like housing (which is still way to much for us) and I won’t bang on so much about the second elephant (car-use), but I sure can provide you with loads of information to reduce your third biggest expense, whilst still caring for the planet, producing less waste, eating whole foods and improving your health and waistline.
Hello Zero Wasters!
I’ve been plotting a spreadsheet for a few months to make a list of zero waste recipes. Following on from Bea’s excellent advice in her book Zero Waste Home, she has set days for types of ingredients. This narrows down menu planning and makes it easier, as instead of looking for anything to cook for dinner you are looking for something more specific. Ok, that sounds vague, but you’ll see what I mean below.
Bea doesn’t have a pizza night and she doesn’t have an other meat night, but I can’t get the family down to one night of meat a week. You could swap one of these with an egg night. Anyway can you see how this makes it easier to start your menu planning?
But I know what you really want to know about is the recipes. This is what I struggled with at first. I’m not zero waste, I am trying to get close to zero waste. I see most of the household waste comes from the kitchen, and as it’s pretty much my domain so I figure I can be the one to change it.
Summer is really here in Sydney. With a nearly sweltering 34.5 degrees, there is only one thing on my mind for lunch. Gazpacho. If I make it in time, then it can sit in the fridge and get really cold. Only it was about 1pm by the time I got up to make lunch and there was no waiting as my stomach went “growl”…
I started this blog post before I started the Healthy Kids Dinner Cookbook, but you can see here where a lot of the inspiration came from for the recipes included in the book. These aren’t all of the recipes that are in the book and there’s certainly enough in here for another book…but that’s another day!
Healthy kids dinner recipes is more a physical challenge for me. I hate dinner time. There I’ve said it. With a 3 yr old and a six year old it is the biggest hurdle of my day. Negotiating lower prices with suppliers is far easier than getting two children to eat all of their dinner. I’m sure if I fed them fish fingers and chips with lashings of tomato sauce every night they wouldn’t complain, but I want them to eat well. I want them to eat a variety of foods. I want them to embrace food like I do and look forward to trying new foods for the taste explosion it might bring them. God…it’s really all about what I want isn’t it?!
And so I challenged myself to find fifty healthy kids dinner recipes, either ones I currently make, or ones I can try and hopefully add to my collection. Luckily my kids don’t have any food allergies apart from the usual kid gripes, no lettuce, spinach, can’t mix foods (!), one doesn’t eat meat apart from the meats I don’t want him to eat (sausages, bacon and salami).
I’m currently working on a little trick that one of the other mums at school gave to me. I’m giving them a small bowl of vegetables before dinner. Usually about 20 minutes before dinner. So all the veg get eaten first and then I don’t have to grumble too much at dinner time, because I don’t care so much if they don’t eat the meat or starchy stuff (although there will never be a day when they don’t eat the starchy stuff – look out for the flying pigs!). So we’re currently doing edamame and broccoli and I’ll put a bit of tamari on them or some salt or butter. And so far so good! Kale chips are in the mix sometimes as are peas.
And these recipes are just for them. I still cook two dinners as my husband and I aren’t ready for dinner at 5.30pm and finding recipes to please four people is so much harder than finding recipes to feed 2! At the moment Sunday is the only night we eat together.
- Slow Cooked Baked Beans – Martha Stewart
- Vegie Sushi – Taste.com.au
- Gluten Free Rocket Cheddar Muffins – Healthy Seasonal Recipes (serve with kale chips)
- Broccoli & Cheese Patties – Foodlets (please sub garlic powder for garlic)
- Cheesy Jacket Potatoes – Food Network (the pic includes broccoli, but the recipe doesn’t so throw it in!)
- Loaded Vegetarian Baked Sweet Potato – Skinny Taste
- Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce – Cookie and Kate
- Vegetables in a Creamy Pesto Sauce – Paleo Leap
- Maple Miso Tofu with Soba Noodles – Craving Something Healthy
- Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn Tacos – Cooking Classy
- Mini Veggie Pizzas – Vegan Yack Attack
- Lentil Tacos – Alida’s Kitchen
- Veggie Enchiladas – Super Healthy Kids
- Burrito Bowl – Forks over Knives
- Mushroom Vegan Sloppy Joes – The Restless Palate
- Burritos with Spanish Rice and Black Beans – Forks over Knives
- Zuchinni Noodles with Pesto – Two Peas in a Pod
- Vegan Vegetable Fritters – Ascension Kitchen
- Vegan Oven Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole – Vegan Angela
- Lentil Loaf – Oh She Glows
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers – My Whole Food Life
- Cheese and Zucchini Frittata – Good to Know
- Spaghetti Squash Cakes, Peanut Butter Mole & Mexican Slaw – Made Just Right
- White Bean and Avocado Baked Burritos – Ceara’s Kitchen
- Zucchini and Spaghetti Pancakes – Real Simple
- Grain Free Salmon Nuggets – Real Food RN (sub onion and garlic for the powdered stuff and I skip the shredded coconut. Serve with steamed carrots and sweet potato chips)
- Sweet Potato Rosti with Smoked Salmon – Paleo Leap
- Fish Fingers & Mushy Peas – BBC Good Food
- Salmon Wrapped Leaks au Gratin – French Foodie Baby
- Clean and Light Sushi Bowl – Wake the Wolves (pick and choose what your kids will eat)
- Coconut Chicken Nuggets – Fast Paleo
- Mini Broccoli Frittatas with Turkey bacon – Smart Eating for Kids (serve with raw veggies)
- BBQ Chicken with Corn Rice – BBC Good Food
- Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Chips – BBC Good Food
- Kale Sneak in Meatballs – Primavera Kitchen
- Hairy Bikers Spanish Style Chicken Bake – Good To Know
- Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos – Nourishing Meals
- Honey Soy Chicken Wings – The Australian (omit chilli, maybe swap Asian greens for something a bit more kid friendly like edamame. We swap soy for tamari.)
- Gluten Free Italian Meatloaf Muffins – Produce for Kids. If you’ve got time, soak your own beans first, or look for BPA free can of cannellini beans. Serve with veg.
- Beef and Sweet Potato Cottage Pies – Louise Fulton Keats
- Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce on Polenta – Simply Delicious Food
- Healthy Kale Fried Rice – Moi
- Pork & Pineapple Kebabs with Green Beans – Foodlets
- Sweet potato chips – Sarah Coates
- Kale chips – Oh She Glows
- Tom’s Perfect Mashed potato – Country Living
- Steamed broccoli – Simply Recipes
- Boiled peas – BBC Good Food
- Roasted Vegetables – Damn Delicious
Spring is here…sort of. It was at least on the weekend, 32 degrees and blue sky, then yesterday I had to get the doona’s out again as it was about 12! There’s something about spring that just makes me feel like clean eating, new habits, reinventing and trying harder (at what I don’t know!).
So, I took a bad instagram picture last week of these veggie wraps I made and people seemed to like them, so I thought I’d knock up the recipe properly and get out the good camera to take some real photos. This is the result. As you can see the sun was shining. And I ran out of zucchini and had to use cucumber, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Even though I squeezed all the juice out, it was still a bit damp. Trust me the zucchini is much better.