Month: November 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be light

A few hours of daylight, that’s all we got in this part of the hemisphere at the moment. So let’s make the most of it and enjoy light AND darkness. Here are some examples:

Lisbon

Lisbon

Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech

Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech

Stockholm

Stockholm

Talking about enjoying light and darkness: I’ve got such a busy week ahead of me, I won’t be able to update ingloriousplastics. Will be back on the 7th of December with loads of Christmas ideas and strategies for a plastic-free festive season.

Soul Food

A vegan Wednesday in the cold

It’s getting cold outside. That means: I’m craving soul food. Here’s a little collection of what I cooked last Wednesday (no plastic involved). By the way, from now on I will always include the packaging issue in my recipes. A few people asked me about where they could find plastic-free options, so I thought that would help a bit with the plastic-free shopping.

As I said, winter is all about soul food for me. That’s why I started my day with pancakes – muesli pancakes with blueberries. I used (1 Portion):

30 g of wholemeal spelt flour (in paper packaging)

70 ml of soy milk (soy milk in re-usable glass bottles, can be found in most health shops and organic supermarkets)

1,5 TS of agave juice (agave juice is available in glass jars in most health shops and organic supermarkets, for example here)

1/2 tsp of baking powder (available without plastic here, otherwise buy in one big container rather than the individually packaged ones)

2 TS of oats (in paper packaging, available in most supermarkets)

a pinch of salt (in cardboard box)

1-2 TS of walnut oil (in glass bottle) for the pan

For the topping + side

1 bit of lemon juice (to squeeze on top of the pancake)

a handful of defrosted blueberries (bought them a little while ago when it was blueberry season (you can buy them in bulk in little wooden baskets in most veggie shops) and froze them)

a banana

optional: a bit of jam or agave juice to go with it

I don’t know if a description for making pancakes is really necessary. I guess you do what you always do. The dough should be enough for about 3 little pancakes. If the dough seems to runny, you can add more oats.

muesli pancakes with blueberries and banana

muesli pancakes with blueberries and banana

As I started the day with something warm, I decided to have a cold lunch – red millet salad. It’s so easy to prepare in advance and you can just put it in a container, take it to work and enjoy a really yummy, healthy lunch. I normally try to make enough so that it lasts me a few days. Here’s the recipe.

red millet salad

red millet salad

For dinner I craved something hearty and warm, so I decided to try out a recipe I found in Attila Hildmann’s book Vegan for Fit (Will be available in Australia, USA and UK next year, too!) – lentil soup with almond butter with a hazelnut dried tomato oregano topping (Find more of the ingredients in this German blog). Yum! And before I forget – to all my American friends: Have a lovely Thanksgiving day tomorrow!

lentil soup with almond butter

lentil soup with almond butter

By the way, if you want to know where to get a certain product without plastic (or where to buy things in bulk etc.) and it’s not listed on ingloriousplastics, just comment on any post or send me an email. You can find the address in the about section.

Packaging vs. product

What would you base your decision on?

A typical situation in my life: I’m going shopping and I need, let’s say, pasta. I used to buy organic brown pasta. When I decided to say goodbye to plastic, this suddenly wasn’t an option anymore and I had to go for a non-organic pasta brand (Barilla pasta and some other brands come in cardboard boxes for example). Guess why.

It makes absolutely no sense, but most organic products come in plastic. This is a problem I’ve been dealing with since I started my challenge. I decided it was about time to write about it. When it comes to fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, the situation is particularly bad. In order to be able to distinguish the organic from the non-organic products most supermarket chains in Germany decided to wrap all the organic fruits and vegetables in plastic. I watched a documentary about this recently and a manager from a big chain explained that they were only wrapping the organic veggies rather than the other vegetables because it would be more eco-friendly than doing it the other way round.

What to buy?

What to buy?

Sounds confusing? It is! Fortunately the fruit and veggie problem is relatively easy to solve – I just buy organic fruit on markets and in organic-only supermarkets instead. But there are some other products like the above-mentioned organic pasta (pasta is only one example, the list is pretty much endless.) that forced me to ask myself: Am I gonna go for the better product OR the better packaging?

Where can I draw the line? Is non-organic pasta in more eco-friendly packaging better than organic pasta in plastic? Am I doing more damage by focussing too much on packaging? Why can’t the label “organic” and “fair-trade” include packaging? And why are so many organic supermarkets full of plastic?

Has anyone experienced the same? Let me know your thoughts on this!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

An old man on a horse couch in the middle of a traffic jam, a bike in a tree or an opened suitcase in the middle of a busy square – there are so many unexpected things in life that boost my creativity. This week’s Photo Challenge on WordPress asks for these moments. It’s not hard to guess I couldn’t decide on one. So here’s a collection of my unexpected moments in life (covering the last two years). Without them life would be dull.

man and his horse in a traffic jam in Istanbul

man and his horse in a traffic jam in Istanbul

Unexpected3

Banksy throwing some more flowers on Istanbul

Unexpected4

A flying bike in Amsterdam. Where’s the Flying Dutchman?

Unexpected5

An opened suitcase at Place de la Bastille, Paris

Unexpected6

Missing: Our friend the sun. Seen in Montmartre, Paris

Unexpected7

Deserted warehouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

DIY Lego magnets

The world’s coolest fridge magnets

Looking for an easy-peasy present for your loved ones? Before you hit the high streets, go through you old stuff. There are so many great things you can do with old toys – Lego magnets for example.

As I’m a huge Lego fan, these are my favourite magnets. I know that the idea isn’t all that new, but I was so excited about my little Lego man magnet (which goes in someone’s advent calendar this year ๐Ÿ™‚ ) that I just had to share my experience with you. This is how I made my Lego magnets: I used the following three things:

Lego man, glue & magnet

Lego man, glue & magnet

I just glued the magnet (I re-used an old blank magnet) to the end of a Lego brick and a Lego man.

lego instructions

I let it dry for 10 minutes (I used a hairdryer to speed it up)…

Lego - instructions2

… and my first DIY Christmas present is done.

Lego magnets

I can’t wait to see Lego landscapes on my friends’ fridge doors!

By the way – I stumbled upon these awesome Lego ideas on Buzzfeed, you might want to try out some of them.

A “trashy” house wall in New York

… a funny upcycling project in Brooklyn that makes you think about things we throw out

For those of you who expected another recipe today: I’m sorry! But when I went through my pictures the other day, I found something I had totally forgotten to share with you – and before I forget again, I just have to tell you the story.

When I went to New York in March I spotted what I thought was probably the coolest house wall in the world. It was painted in different colours decorated with old objects people had thrown out – a typewriters, a keyboard, shoes, a fax-machine, a guitar, a chair, a cupboard, toys and old boxes. The owners of the house (or whoever did this) came up with some pretty ingenious ideas – to use an old shoe as a flower-pot for example.ย  I rang the bell, but nobody seemed to be home. “What a pity”, I thought. I would have loved to talk to the artist Nat Hendricks.

Maybe someone has been there or knows what’s going on there (and if this house still exists)!? The house was on State St near Smith St in Brooklyn. This is what it looked like (I wish I would have taken nicer pics…):

P1080139 P1080140 P1080141 P1080142 jon-e cash P1080144

I absolutely love the ideas and I can only hope more people will decorate their houses that way ๐Ÿ™‚ I will definitely start with the flower-pot shoes!

DIY soap dispenser and liquid soap

… the second life of a glass bottle

It’s this time of the year again where everyone around me seems to be sneezing and coughing. As soap bars don’t seem to be the perfect companions for this sort of situation, I started making my own liquid soap. Buying liquid soap is not really an option for me, as it’s impossible (and unthinkable) to get without plastic.

I can’t really give you a recipe for my homemade soap, as it’s way too simple. I just grated my favourite plant-based soap bar and added boiled water (You decide how thick you want your mixture to be) and a few drops of lemon or orange oil to it. I’ve only been using my homemade liquid soap for a few days and so far it seems absolutely fine. As I keep it in a small bottle it will be used up quickly and I guess I won’t get any problems with the texture. But I will definitely give you a little update on the long-term effects of my soap in a few weeks. I also found Wellness Mama’s recipe and the long article on Lovely Greens quite helpful.

So what to do with this now? I tried using glass bottles (with ordinary lids/caps), but it wasn’t very convenient, as I always poured way too much soap over my hands. So I decided to make my own soap dispensers (which by the way are great for my homemade washing-up liquid, too). I saw some many cool DIY soap dispensers online that inspired me to do this, for example on The Red Chair Blog (Mine pretty much look like them now, they were just too pretty) or on Redhead can Decorate. I started asking people for their old plastic soap dispensers (Danke, Mama ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and removed their pump caps.

So I went through my collections of old glass bottles (I chose a pretty one from France) and found a perfect match straight away – no glue needed. It fits perfectly and you can remove it easily to refill it. So here are my DIY glass bottle soap/washing-up liquid dispensers:

for my soap

for my soap

for my washing-up liquid

for my washing-up liquid

By the way, I’ve already got a project for the future. This recycled whisky bottle soap dispenser is pretty kick-ass! Someone might find might it under the Christmas tree this year ๐Ÿ™‚