plastic-free cooking

Homemade peanut butter granola

I used to be a real granola fan. But as it’s pretty much impossible to buy loose granola, I gave up my brekkie favourite. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop craving it. That’s probably not suprising – store-bought granola does not only come in plastic packaging, it’s also full of sugar, That explains why I was so hooked on it.

The good news is: There is a much better alternative you can make in less than 5 minutes – homemade granola. That’s granola minus the excess sugar and packaging. Plus you save heaps of money.

Here’s my favourite peanut butter granola recipe – for all those who wanna ditch store-bought granola and eat better!

You need:

160 g of oats

2 TS of flax seed

1 TS of chia seed (optional, can be substituted by another TS of flax seed)

a pinch of vanilla

a pinch of cinnamon

a pinch of salt

50 g of peanut butter

40 g of agave juice or other sweetener

30 g of margarine

Mix the dry ingrendients in a bowl. Heat up the wet ingredients in the microwave or a pot and mix them well. Add them to the dry ingredients and mix again. Then bake everything in the oven for about 15-20 min at 160°C. Let the granola cool down and store it in an air tight container.

And now: Enjoy!

granola

P.S. You can of course use any other nut butter in this recipe, too – for example cashew, hazelnut or almond butter.

 

What to do with leftover bread

Six years ago I spent three months in Ireland and stayed with a lovely family in Limerick for a few weeks. During this time I did not only fall in love with Irish soda bread and tried bread and butter pudding for the first time, I also made “Knödel”, a traditional German dish using leftover bread. “Every country with a bread-making tradition has their own unique way of using up leftover bread”, my host mum Deirdre noticed. I totally agree. But for some reason leftover bread does not seem to be part of our diet anymore.

In most western countries bread is the or at least one of the most thrown-away food (see here for example) – although there is so much you can do with leftover bread – French toast, breadcrumbs, croutons and the above-mentioned bread and butter pudding or German dumplings. I can only guess that one of the reasons people don’t use leftover bread is time. So my following recipe is dedicated to all those who have little of that –  and my wise Irish host mum who knew so much about bread. So that none of us ever has to throw out bread anymore – plus the recipe is of course plastic-free.

Breakfast tomato bread

You need:

a slice of old bread

a medium-sized tomato (or two small tomatos)

a tsp of olive oil

green pesto (optional)

a clove of garlic

salt

pepper

basil

Mix olive oil and pesto (or just use olive oil). Brush the bread with the olive oil mix and rub the bread with garlic. Chop the tomato in small slices and put it on top. Bake in the oven for about 5-10 minutes and add some fresh basil or other herbs – so easy and good!

Colourful tomato bread

By the way, if you are looking for some inspiration: Love Food Hate Waste and Zu gut für die Tonne are great resources.

 

Long time no see

Hello again,

after vanishing from the blogging world for the last couple of months I finally found the motivating to write again. I do have to admit I got a little lazy, but I needed some time off to regain my creative energy after an exhausting start of the year. So instead of blogging I moved houses, went on holidays and spent lots of fun nights with friends.

One of the most memoreable ones took place about three weeks ago when I went to the first “Schnippeldisko” of my life. The event was organized by Slow Food Youth Düsseldorf and intended to raise awareness for food waste. So my friends (read Amanda’s beautiful article about it) and I spent the night dancing, drinking and chopping heart-shaped potatoes, weird-looking radishes and bent carrots. The food came from a local farmer who explained to us it wasn’t perfect enough for supermarkets, so it would normally have to get thrown out – a thing that is just absolutely outrageous and sad, especially if you take into account that nothing was wrong with the food apart from its shape. The “Schnippel-dinner” proved that: The ingredients were used to cook delicious soup, a yummy side salad and a fruit salad as dessert for everyone.

Schnippeldisko

As a result of this night I’m trying to avoid food waste even harder which led to some crazy combinations on my dinner table. For example I’ve been eating nothing but asparagus for dinner for the last five days (asparagus with hollandaise sauce turned into asparagus soup turned into asparagus pasta sauce turned into asparagus sauce for German dumplings) – and suddenly my creativity is back 🙂 So before I vanish from the blogging sphere again (I decided not to overdo it, so I won’t post as regularly as I used to), I want to share an easy summer recipe with you – gazpacho soup.

It’s a great leftover recipe for using up old bread and it’s really super-quick. For 4-6 portions use:

1-2 stale bread rolls or slices of bread

5 medium-sized tomatos

1 green or yellow bell pepper

2/3 of a cucumber

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp of lemon juice

1 TS of balsamic vinegar

salt

black pepper

parsley for decoration

optional: 1 tsp of sugar (only if the soup is too sour for you)

Soak the bread in a bit of water and let it get all soaked up for about 20 to 45 minutes (depending on how stale it is). Pour hot water over the tomatos and peel them. Then chop everything up and blend it together. Add the bread and blend again. Use tomato cubes and parsley for decoration.

Enjoy!

Gazpacho

 

Oriental style quinoa salad

A plastic-free office lunch

I hate pre-packaged salads. They do not only leave me with lots of unnecessary packaging, they also taste boring and often contain preservatives and other things I don’t want in my food. So whenever I work outside of my apartment (I’m a freelancer, so I can often cook lunch at home – a huge advantage) I make myself a little lunch box. One of the easiest things to prepare is quinoa. You just boil it in salt water or stock, let it cool down a bit and mix it with veggies and spices. Here’s my favourite version of it – oriental style quinoa salad with spinach and chickpeas. I usually make it a day in advance and it lasts for about three days.

You need (serving 4)

200 g of quinoa (in a cardboard box from Davert)

450-500 ml of vegetable stock or water

2 TS of olive oil

200 g of fresh spinach

2-3 TS of roasted pine nuts (bought loose)

200 g of (pre-boiled) chickpeas (I bought them in a glass jar at dm)

2 small carrots

3 spring onions

1 clove of garlic

3 TS of fresh parsley

juice of 1 lemon

1 chilli

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

1 TS of turmeric

1 TS of paprika

1 TS of curry

a pinch of sea salt

fresh ground pepper

dressing (optional):

150 g of soy or greek yoghurt

1 TS of lemon juice

a pinch of salt

Boil the quinoa for about 20 minutes until the liquid is all soaked up. Let the quinoa cool down, chop the spring onions, the carrots, the parsley and garlic. Roast the pine nuts and wash the spinach. Then mix everything with the rest of the ingredients. Then mix yoghurt with lemon juice and salt for the dressing. Et voilà: The world’s yummiest office lunch!

Quinoa salad

Palm oil and plastic…

… and how you can ditch both

I love peanut butter (Who doesn’t?). My consumption has gone up so much that I generally finish a jar in less than a week. Although it’s easy to get peanut butter in glass jars (for example from dm or Rewe in Germany) there is another thing I’ve been worrying about for quite a while – palm oil.

You can find palm oil in hundreds of cosmetics and food products – from quick noodle dishes, ready-meals of all kinds and chocolate spreads to margarine, chips and candy. The problem with palm oil is that tropical rainforests in South East Asia and Africa are being torn up to be turned into plantations for palm oil. The impact on the environment – including deforestation, loss of natural habitats (that affects endangered species like orangutans) and an increase in greenhouse gases – is absolutely shocking and devastating.

So even though some organic producers use palm oil from sustainable sources, it still makes me feel weird to support the palm oil industry. I never really know how sustainable the palm oil actually is. So I decided to do my best to avoid it. A lot of products that contain palm oil are really easy to avoid for me – I never eat ready-meals for example. But I did have to find an alternative for my peanut butter and my favourite peanut sauce. So all you need to make your own jar of peanut butter at home is:

1 empty jar

a food processor (if you don’t have one, soak the peanuts in water overnight and use a blender instead)

about 150-250 g of peanuts depending on how big your jar is (from SuperBioMarkt)

vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)

salt

1 tsp of agave juice (in a glass jar from Allos), alternatively sugar

… and then all you have to do is mix everything together. I can’t tell you how long it takes because it always depends on the food processor and if you prefer your peanut butter to be creamy or chunky. I like it chunky 🙂

For making peanut sauce (goes well with rice paper rolls, rice or noodle dishes) all you have to do is add about a tsp of soy sauce and (optional) a chilli. Et voilà, you got yourself a plastic-free, palm-oil-free alternative. Next time I’m making chocolate spread!

homemade peanut sauce

By the way, if you happen to live in Australia, I just found this website listing products in Australian supermarkets that contain palm oil. It’s a great resource!

Send me your plastic-free recipes

Plastic-free cooking – A blog event by ingloriousplastics

blog event

One year ago I started ingloriousplastics. More than 120 blog posts later I couldn’t be happier about the journey I took. I learnt so much about living without plastic, avoiding packaging and following a greener lifestyle. I also got to know so many inspiring people who share my ideas about the environment and reducing packaging (I just started writing a column The bird’s new nest, an online magazine focussing on a sustainable lifestyle.) And I really hope I could inspire you, too!

As I want to celebrate ingloriousplastics’ birthday in a proper way I had an idea – and I really hope you can help me. How about you send me your plastic-free recipes?

How to participate:

  • Publish a blog post between today and the 1st of March 2014. Your post can be written in any language and your dish can contain any ingredients you like. As I’m a veggie and I would love to try some of your recipes, I would be happy though if you could come up with a vegetarian or vegan recipe. But in the end this is up to you. The only really important thing is that you don’t use ANY plastic packaging for cooking your dish. It would be great if you could include a little description where you bought your ingredients, but this is optional. Here’s an example how you can do that.
  • Link to this announcement.
  • Comment on this announcement.

I will collect all the links and pictures and put together a blog post presenting all your recipes. The blog post will go online on Wednesday the 5th of March 2013. I will also create a Pinterest board and a photo album on my ingloriousplastics Facebook page. Every recipe will also be included in a Twitter post.

So what are you waiting for? I’m so excited to try out your recipes! If you have any questions or you need any advice regarding where to buy certain things etc., please let me know! And feel free to share this. The more the merrier 🙂

Sweet millet porridge

… another plastic-free breakfast idea

There is nothing more warming on a cold winter day than homemade porridge for breakfast. As I eat it almost everyday, I need some variation from time to time. So this time I just used millet instead. It’s packed with protein, magnesium and vitamin b3. On top of that it’s also gluten-free. Plus: Millet porridge makes it really easy to ditch all sweet, overly packed sweet breakfast cereals. Any more arguments needed?

For two portions use:

1 cup of millet – I literally mean fill up a small cup or mug (available in cardboard packaging at international grocer’s)

2 cups of almond milk or any other plant-based milk (soy milk in re-usable glass bottles is available in some health shops like SuperBioMarkt)

2 small apples

3-4 TS of raisins or other dried fruits (can be bought loose in most health shops like SuperBioMarkt)

2 TS of almonds (buy them loose at the market)

1 1/2 TS of agave juice (Allos sells agave juice in glass jars)

1 tsp of cinnamon (I always buy spices from the Turkish grocer, you can get them in glass jars there)

Bring the almond milk to the boil and stir in the millet. Let everything boil at low heat for 5 minutes. Let everything cool down for another 5-10 minutes and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Et voilà, so much better than sugary cereals!

sweet millet

By the way, I’m participating in the Vegan Wednesday Challenge for winter recipes. If you want to find more inspiration for the cold season, have a look here.