Month: June 2013

Red millet salad in a glass jar – MittwochsBox #21

Another creative re-use idea for the kitchen

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As I wrote in one of my former posts, I’ve got an ever-growing pile of glass jars at home. Instead of putting them in the recycling bin, I usually try to re-use them at home first. So I started using glass jars for many different purposes, as vases, food and drink containers, flower pots and so on.

Today’s project turns them into pretty kitchen equipment. Instead of serving my salad on a boring plate or bowl, I’ll serve them in old jars – With that simple trick the entire meal looks more sophisticated straight away. It’s also a great alternative to buying new dishes for bigger occasions like dinner parties. (I’ve never had matching porcelain for example and just to make it look nice for one night, I would never buy a whole bunch of new things) So just serve your meals in old glass jars and it will instantly make you look like a gourmet chef 🙂

What you can fill them with? Here’s an idea: Turkish red millet salat. Why red? It’s a project inspired by Leckerbox’s ”MittwochsBox #21′‘ (I participated in it last week as well. Look here, this is the original post.) and this week’s topic is ”red”. Millet salad one of my favourite summer meals, it’s so simple and easy and it’s a great addition to every picnic or barbecue. And did I mention that it’s vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free and free of nuts and soy? So you can basically serve it to everyone. This is what I used in my salad (4-6 servings):

1 cup of millet
2 cups of water
4 spring onions, chopped in rings
1 big clove of garlic, chopped finely
a big handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 TS of tomato puree
1 TS of Turkish pepper paste (alternatively 1 tsp of harissa paste)
2 TS of olive oil
1 squeezed lemon
1 tsp of pul biber (Turkish paprika spice, alternatively normal paprika)
a handful of fresh spinach salad, chopped in stripes
1 (mild) red pepper
1-2 tsp sea salt
a bit of freshly ground pepper
2 TS of sesame

The preparation couldn’t be easier: Just put 1 cup of millet and two cups of lightly salted water in a pot, bring it to the boil and boil it for about 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for another ten minutes. In the meantime you can roast the sesame in a pan for a minute and cut the rest of the veggies. After that mix all your ingredients. (Mix them well and try to cover everything with the tomato paste – a spoon helps with that.)

P1080593And here’s a fancy looking dish that doesn’t break the bank:

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The collage issue

From scrapbooks to DIY envelopes – What to do with old magazines

I admit: Magazines are one of my guilty pleasures, I just can’t live without them. And although I try not to buy too many of them, I always end up with some. In the past my re-use/recycling ideas for magazines were rather simple: I gave them to friends or family, I used pretty pages as gift wrapping paper and I cut out my favourite pictures and inspiring articles to put them in my scrapbook, which I call my ”book of ideas”.

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my scrapbook

But thanks to my fellow DIY bloggers, I found a whole bunch of other ideas that helped me to slowly reduce my stack of old magazines. So I turned my old magazines into something truly useful, something I need quite frequently – envelopes. I found a useful link for DIY envelopes here. and adapted it to my needs (I folded the pages differently, but I guess that’s up to you):

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DIY magazine envelope

And that’s what got me started. Other projects followed quickly after that: A little while ago I found two old cupboards on the street that were still perfectly fine, but a bit ugly. So I cut out a whole bunch of interesting pictures and transformed the old cupboards into unique items of furniture. And this is how they look now:

upcycling an old cupboard

upcycling an old cupboard

But the coolest thing is still waiting: I want to turn a whole bunch of old magazines into book shelves and seats. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this!

So here’s a plan what to do with your stack of old magazines. Maybe you’ll find some time to get creative, too. Have a great week!

Going raw with tabouleh style bruschetta

A project inspired by Leckerbox’s mittwochsbox # 20

It's summer time!

It’s summer time!

I normally post my articles on Thursday, but this week I have to make an exception due to an interesting challenge: ”going raw“, even if it is for just one meal. The idea came from Leckerbox, an inspiring food blog that encourages readers to participate and link to their own recipes. I can highly recommend it to all German speakers.

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So I got a little busy in my kitchen and made raw bread – a thing that took me about four and a half hours in the end. If the thought of raw bread (eating uncooked flour and water?) confuses you, don’t worry: I found it hard to imagine, too. Raw bread is not like the ordinary bread you might know, it’s more like a clever mix of seeds and nuts that tricks you into thinking it is ”real bread“. The reason for this is that the raw food movement focusses only on foods that aren’t cooked over 45 degrees. This is supposed to preserve all the really good stuff in food, like the enzymes. On top of that it’s basically impossible to eat processed food when you ”go raw“, a reason that made me think about giving raw food a try.

I was curious what it would be like to cook something raw because normally I like my meals hot and I’ve never been a fan of plain salads without exciting extras. Of course I’ve always eaten certain things raw, like apples, bananas or certain veggies. But this was always either as a part of a bigger, cooked meal or as a snack. I found it hard to think of a completely raw meal that wouldn’t bore me to death. After browsing through a lot of suddenly not so dull looking raw recipes, I was convinced: I’m gonna give this a try. So here’s the result: Tabouleh style bruschetta à la ingloriousplastics.

First I made the bread. I found a really useful recipe on Germany goes raw, which I modified to my needs. For English speakers this slightly different recipe by the rawtarian might also be helpful. This is what I used in my raw bread recipe (serving 4-6 people):

4 cups of ground almonds (you can ground them yourself or buy pre-ground almonds)

1 ½ cups of flaxseed

½ cup of cashews, finely chopped

10 black olives, chopped in halves

8 dried tomatoes

2 spring onions

pepper

salt

2 TS of lemon juice

1 tsp of soy sauce

2 TS Moroccan spice mix (alternatively curry powder)

2 TS of fresh parsley

2 TS of mint

I soaked the flaxseed in a bit of water (just enough for the flaxseed to soak up the water, don’t let it get too runny) for about 20 minutes. Then I mixed all the ingredients together with a blender, wrapped the dough in cling film and put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Then I took it out and cut it into 40 thin slices and put them on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

And for the next four hours you can relax...

And for the next four hours you can relax…

After that you’re supposed to dehydrate the bread for several hours in a so-called dehydrator. As I don’t have one, I followed germanygoesraw’s advice and put it in my oven. I turned the oven’s temperature to 50 degrees celsius and to make sure that it goes down to the required 45 degrees (see explanation in the first paragraph), I followed the blog’s advice once again and put a thick kitchen glove inbetween the oven and the oven door. That way the temperature gets lowered.

After that it was time to do something different, as the bread took about four hours in my oven. I turned it over from time to time, that was all I had to do. It’s kind of nice to know that with temperatures that low it’s hard to burn things. In the meantime I prepared my tabouleh style salad that was supposed to serve as a bruschetta topping. I took:

1 cucumber, chopped in triangles

3 big tomatoes, chopped in triangles

4 spring onions, chopped in rings

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

4 TS of cashews, chopped finely

2 TS of pine nuts

the juice of 1 small lemon

4 TS of mint

6 TS of parsley

2 TS of high quality olive oil

salt

pepper

I roasted the pine nuts in the pan (no oil needed here) and then chopped and mixed the rest of the ingredients. Et voilà, my first raw dinner:

raw tabouleh style bruschetta

raw tabouleh style bruschetta

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And guess what? It tasted awesome and extremely fresh. And all the ingredients can be bought without any plastic packaging. A big thank you to Leckerbox for the inspiration! I’m sure I will participate in another mittwochsbox cooking day.

Plunder the trees, urban pirates!

mundraub – harvesting the cities’ trees and plants

Last year I walked along the train tracks with my husband and we were overwhelmed by the amount of blackberry bushes we saw. You tend to forget nature around you quite easily when you live in a big city. So we started harvesting the blackberries over the next few days (we ignored the berries at the bottom though due to warnings of fox-tapeworms in Germany), using them for smoothies and we felt proud like we had just achieved something we had never even known before: independence from supermarkets and grocers.

Unfortunately the blackberry bushes and our balcony garden remained our only truly successful harvesting sources and very soon the blackberry season was over. But thanks to a website called mundraub.org we know where to look for more fruits, vegetables and herbs in our area. On their website everyone can pin and look up harvesting spots. At the beginning there were only listings of trees and bushes in Germany, but now you already find spots in France, Finland or the UK – participation is free. Talking about free things, „free“ is definitely the keyword here: Urban fruits are plastic-free, packaging-free and free in general!

A balcony garden is only one idea.

A balcony garden is only one idea.

Find out more on mundraub.org. I love the idea!

One of my buddies from Marrakech. He loves the idea, too.

One of my buddies from Marrakech. He loves the idea, too.

By the way, I would have loved to show you similar websites from other countries (I bet there must be something similar in the US, the UK or in Australia). So if you know any, please post them in the comment section. Thanks.

My ever growing pile of glass jars and bottles

Ever since I tried to avoid plastic packaging, I’ve been left with a whole bunch of glass jars and bottles (in fact my husband called it ”a jar mountain”). So what to do with them apart from using them as a Tupperware alternative? I’ve been working on several little projects. One of them was to make berry jam. I just washed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, added some vanilla, blended a tiny little bit (I did that very carefully, so that it wouldn’t turn into soup!) and boiled it with jam sugar. If you want it to be less sweet, use some agave juice and agar-agar instead.

So here’s glass jar use no. 1:

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To make it look  prettier, you can decorate the jar with leftover fabric (Use old t-shirts, tops etc.). It makes a nice present for birthdays, dinner parties etc.

Glass jar re-use idea no.2 involved making grape jam (the recipe was the same as above, just with grapes instead of berries). My grape jam was basically ”leftover jam”, as I had to many grapes and they were about to go bad. Whenever fruit is about to go bad, I turn it into jam. Then it lasts for ages.

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Re-use no. 3: fill up old tomato passata bottles with homemade lemonade. For filling up three bottles (each was big enough for half a liter of lemonade), I squeezed three lemons, added six teaspoons of sugar and a lemon balm (alternatively you can add mint). You can just adjust this to your taste and make it sweeter, less sweet, more or less lemon-y. Here’s the result:

P1080520And this could go on forever… I will keep you updated what else I did with all my jars and bottles – there are still hundreds of ideas. Just one thing: Make sure you clean the jars and bottles thoroughly. Put them in boiling water for a minute and they will be sterile.

P.S. I would be happy to get more inspiration. So if you have an interesting idea, let me know.

Sad stories and brilliant ideas

Plastic in the deep sea and new solutions to the oceans’ plastic dilemma – a collection of interesting links

I did a bit of reading (and watching clips) last weekend, so as Mondays in the office tend to be long and dull, here’s something to read and watch for your coffee break.

My first find deals with a topic that comes up on ingloriousplastics regularly: Our oceans are full of plastic. Tell me something I don’t know? Well, the plastic has not only found its way to visible spots, but also to the deep sea, meaning up to 4000 meters deep. I spotted a post on Sueddeutsche.de that shows the degree of damage in a four-minute long clip (which is in English). You can also watch the video on YouTube. By the way, 32 percent of the waste found in the deep sea were plastic bags. But see for yourself.

I know, this is heavy stuff for a Monday morning. To cheer you up a bit again, you should read about two interesting projects from the country known for innovation – the Netherlands. A Dutch highschool student came up with a brilliant invention that would help getting rid of the plastic in our oceans: The oceans can actually clean themselves. Watch him on YouTube or read this article on Wirtschaftswoche Green (in German). I hope he can put his idea into action.

Another approach that would help clean the oceans: The initiative ”Healthy seas” wants to retrieve fishing nets from the sea and turn them into socks. The recycled socks would be produced – guess where? – in the Netherlands. Read more about on Wirtschaftswoche Green (in German) or here.

What can be done in the meantime? One ridiculously easy thing all of us can do: Refuse new plastic bags and re-use old ones instead. Just put one in every handbag, shopping bag, pocket or in your car and you won’t ever need a new plastic bag – especially as they are meant to last for eternity (not so funny, actually).

Blogpost 08.03. - The ''leftover'' bag

Hope I could get you some inspiration for the new week!

A trashy business

DIY milk carton business cards

For a long time I’ve been wanting to get myself some DIY business cards for my blog, but there were so many other crafty projects that I kept on postponing it. When I saw manumanies fantastic post about DIY business cards that included a QR code, my motivation got revived quickly. I couldn’t wait to hold a card for ingloriousplastics in my hands.

My first idea was to use old cardboard for them and put a collage consisting of interesting pictures from old magazines on the back side. Holding an empty tetra pack of rice milk (something you don’t get in re-usable bottles unfortunately) in my hand suddenly made me think: Why not do something with that? And then I decided to turn the old tetra packs into business cards for inglorious plastics – and with trash being my main material for this crafty project, my DIY business cards couldn’t be more perfectly themed.

First I printed out a whole bunch of QR codes from the QR code generator website fellow blogger manumanie had recommended (Thanks a lot for the inspiration again!) . It’s really easy: All you have to do is put in your blog’s or website’s address and you get a code that directs people to it. I tested it, and it worked. Then I cut out the different QR codes.

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After that I printed out my blog’s address (for all those who don’t have a smart phone) and cut it out, too. I used the back page of a misprinted page.

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Then I cut out ”business cards” from my old tetra pack. Make sure you clean it thoroughly, otherwise it gets a bit yucky. You can use another business card as a sample for the right shape (which I didn’t do, I don’t mind if it doesn’t look perfect.). And of course there are certain cartons that look prettier than others. I was lucky enough to find an old sangria carton that looked pretty awesome.

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Then I glued the cut out QR code and my blog’s address to the carton.

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This is one example of a business card:

front

front

back

back

I experimented a bit and found out that it looks better to have the QR code on the silver side and the address on the front. So here are my prettiest DIY business cards:

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