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« The Healing Powers of Mother Nature | Main | Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings….. »
Tuesday
Dec212010

Reducing Waste While Creating Abundance

During the holidays, I always feel some sort of primal urge to cook - - a lot. I bake massive quantities of cookies thinking that we’ll share them with friends and neighbors (rarely happens).  I cook overly rich dishes, often with ingredients that I’d never splurge on the rest of the year.  I find some reason why we can’t live without a Buche de Noel and elaborate, though flimsily built, gingerbread houses.  I know a therapist could have a field day with all of this cooking and baking, but it’s really not that complicated.  I like to demonstrate my appreciation for people with things I make myself (when you buy your first Puristics product, you should definitely feel the love!).

It’s hard to do all of this work in the kitchen without some waste - - food, packaging and energy. While I’m notorious in our home for scouring the fridge for leftovers, holiday cooking and baking is rooted in ridiculous abundance.  I’m not likely to put the family on rations during the holidays, so I like to find ways to preserve my treats and leftovers while reducing our waste and exposure to some of the nasties in plastic storage containers.  A couple of my tips for being more thoughtful in the kitchen are:

1. Store leftovers on attractive, microwave-safe plates.  When you go to “recycle” them, the food will feel less like a discard from the previous day and more like something tempting and yummy.  The plates make serving the food at the next meal a snap, and you eliminate the potential leaching of BPA from plastic containers

2. Package leftovers and a few sweet treats up as lunches for the kids.  It helps eliminate the usual lunchtime doldrums and “moves the inventory”.  I do this while the kids are home on vacation while I need to be at the office.  They’re less tempted to eat junk if they have something interesting and easy to eat.

3. Use reusable, washable “baggies” instead of the disposable plastic type.  I got mine at lunchskins.com

4. Make a few extra batches of cookies and bring them to older neighbors with the kids.  Everyone wins in this situation.

Even though my kitchen is quite the scene from Thanksgiving through Epiphany, I have always involved the kids in the cooking.  Now that they’re older, they’re a tremendous help.  When they were younger, I had to pick the jobs more carefully and often selected special projects for us to make together.  If you have younger ones, Kiwi magazine is a great place to find inspiration for cooking with kids.  Cricket Azima really has a way with food and kids.

And then there's the energy consumption over the holidays. I heat up the oven so often at this time of year that I could practically shut the heat off in the kitchen. Because I’m chronically cold, I don’t mind the warmth, but it does cause me to think about the extra energy consumption.  A couple of years ago, we replaced a very old, gas range with an induction cooktop because of its tremendous efficiency and rapid heating.  It doesn’t make my kitchen carbon neutral, but it is a step in the right direction.  An added benefit to induction cooktops is that they work great with cast iron cookware. There’s something particularly enjoyable about making old family recipes in well-seasoned, vintage cast iron (some of my pans are quite a bit older than me).  If you’re doing any remodeling, I really recommend induction cooktops.  

What little ways can you blend old-fashioned holiday cooking with a more thoughtful approach to health and waste reduction? A few small changes here and there could help you keep in touch with what really matters.

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    Puristics® Pure Talk | Anti-Aging Skin Care and Feminine Protection Without Harmful Ingredients - Pure Talk Journal - Reducing Waste While Creating Abundance

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