Vanilla Rooibos with a touch of Rose

There has been an lengthy absence in my blog updates, which is what I didn’t want to happen. I frequently dream of being a ~real blogger~ (frankly because so many beautiful lifestyle blogs are the reason I’ve made so many positive changes to my life in recent years) but I’m pretty rubbish at it. I’ve started and given up on so many blogs, and I felt like giving up on this one, but I thought of the reason I started this one – to talk about zero waste from the point of view of someone who’s not wealthy, not a ‘crunchy mum, and not completely crazy.

Well, I did recently make mini greenhouses out of strawberry boxes which most people thought was mad, which was actually quite successful. (I’m growing thyme and Gypsophila or ‘baby’s breath’) There have also been a lot of missed zero-waste team hangouts, we made a tonne of Mexican food and pancakes and even had a big old clothes swap! Featuring vegan bake sale by yours truly.

Lately the broke scale has been sliding more towards broken. While I’m impressed that I can now stretch $7 to last me 2 weeks, this newly enforced monkish veganism is starting to get me down. I haven’t had take away soy hot chocolate in a park (my favourite thing ever) in several months. I’ve stopped drinking, going out, eating meat or drinking many dairy products.  It’s been pretty good for my cooking skills, and for my scrounging skills (see aforementioned strawberry greenhouses) but what I wouldn’t kill for that takeaway hot chocolate in the park.

It’s not all bad. I’ve recently found I have a particular affinity with making beeswax wraps, and I’ve fallen in love with my local library (I love my current home, so so much). I’ve been loving having a nearby zero waste store, and so so many parks (oh, and a wetland or five). It’s a different bit of Perth to what I’m used to, and it’s pretty nice. Sure, there are a higher proportion of old, conservative, crotchety, tiny dog owning, no-voting, Liberal fans, but they pale in comparison to waking up each morning to the sounds of my lovely (and yes-voting) housemates shuffling around the house at 6am and the gentle warbling of the magpies outside my window.

 

IMG_1769IMG_2077IMG_2175IMG_2202IMG_2204IMG_2207

 

For now, I will try my best to updated this blog weekly, even if it has no readership, for nothing more than to have done what I set up to do – write more.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of my beeswax wraps you can find them here:
Witch of Waste

Much Love,

Clement.

Perth is pretty small for a capital city, and we don’t really have a strong zero waste/plastic free community, but thankfully this is something that is changing rather rapidly thanks for things like Plastic Free July (henceforth referred to as PFJ, we’re trying to make it sound more hip) and places like The Wasteless Pantry. There are a few different places cropping up, but the Wasteless Pantry really piqued my interest because they are really focusing on  creating a real community around waste reduction which is key to changing the patterns of consumer behaviour and well, it’s actually in my hometown – Mundaring!

So last week, after a job interview (which I did not get, I’m still unemployed, sigh) I headed the 45 minutes up to the hills with two other PFJ friends, Nic and Lauren with the goal of grabbing supplies to make a ~happy PFJ~ dinner. And also lamingtons. We all really like lamingtons, I don’t apologise for my love of baked goods one iota. All photos are by Nic because I cleverly left my phone in the car.

Oh look, Nic and Lauren ~

19821059_10155478203728749_446151440_o

One super good thing we did do before we headed up was to hand in Lauren’s ever growing collection of dead batteries and light globes at our university guild’s collection point. Lauren is a tour de force of trash, always learning new ways to recycle things, and she was the first person to introduce me to PFJ and to start thinking about the level of trash I produce in my daily life. You can find more places to drop off your batteries/globes/printer cartridges at the Earth Carers Website. (Also who Lauren does lots of training through – check it out)

img_1315

The drive was a bit long, but it was nice to revisit my past and spend the time chatting about what zero waste means to us, and what ways we’re changing bits and pieces about our lives. The issue of distance is a major player for me, what the benefit of shopping zero waste if you have to burn 45 minutes worth of fuel to get there? Anyway.

But it was definitely worth the trip. The Wastefree Pantry was so beautiful and so well organised. It was gorgeous. They had everything from the staple ~7 different kinds of flours~ to spices to plastic free m’n’ms. I was totally in love. Their prices were pretty reasonable? Being zero waste/bulk means that you’re going to pay a little more per unit for some things, but others will be more affordable and you can decide on the amount that you actually need, to ensure nothing is wasted. They also had a lot of plastic free/reusable accoutrements like compostable wooden toothbrushes (i bought one), produce bags, free jars (with the tare weight written on them) and things like packaging free shampoo, deodorant and many other misc toiletries.

19840491_10155478203493749_931958462_o

There was also plastic free dog and cat food. As a pet person that’s an issue I constantly worry about, but fortunately I have vegetarian pets who actually help me by eating what I can’t compost using my Bokashi (more on that eventually).

19859111_10155478203623749_879579491_o

But the best thing was the liquids, oh my god the liquids. That’s one thing I struggle with being completely zero waste… they ha such a good range of cooking oils (olive, coconut, things like that) and essences and cleaning liquids detergent, washing liquid, fabric wash). Vinegar! Crazy right. Now those are things i would drive 45 minutes to buy in bulk, an things I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. You can check out the rest of their range on their Product List.

Yes after this we did go buy lamingtons and bread from the local bakery, which has been there since I used to visit after netball on super cold Saturday mornings in winter. They were completely plastic free, and we asked for the bread to be wrapped in paper, for which they were super obliging.

We the dropped Nic home and headed to Swansea St Markets for our fresh produce, which went super well, despite the garlic being from Mexico and having to purchase cheese that came in plastic lined paper AND neeed to be coupled with some highly naughty brie in order to make the $10 eftpos minimum. Greeeeeat.

A super good day, but super long, like this blog post. I’ll cover the process of cooking our diligently sourced bits and pieces, as well as the recipes, in the next blog post.

 

 

 

chocolate frogs 

Zero wast doesn’t mean you can’t eat junk food. 

Today was a bit of a hard day, so I went to Spudshed and got a bunch of junk food to eat while running my errands. (And to give as gifts to my hosts various hosts!) It felt good to shop waste free, and to use one of my favourite containers too. And I spent my off time loafing around my dads backyard where my faithful, yet grumpy, rabbit is currently boarding while im house hopping. 


Look at that barely suppressed rage – he hasn’t been able to sneak his way in to anyone’s bed for a whole week. (yes my rabbit sleeps in my bed occasionally, just picture a vegetarian cat okay) (don’t judge me)

Tomorrow I’m looking at a new house with my ~future housemate~ and relocating to house sit location #2. It’s a v idyllic riverside cottage which is unfortunately attached to an unnamed private school? Ho hum. It does come with a v cute dog and is deliciously isolated from anyone. 

Also later this week I’m going to a plastic free dinner party with aforementioned trash elimination inspiration, Lauren. We’re also going to make some plastic free/zero waste meals and visit the Wastefree Pantry. I’m really dorkily excited and despite having little to no viewership on the blog I will definitely blog about it. 

Wishing you a plastic free night x 

strawberries and grape tomatoes

A caveat on zero waste – After chatting to my friend Rob at a party last night (he’s doing plastic free july, and we ate so many chips guiltily because we can’t eat that packaged goodness any more) I’ve realised that I’m not completely the zero waste queen I might appear to be. Well, that I was before I broke my leg, then I started eating delicious packaged foods again and oh god it was good. But I don’t intend to be the kind of zero waste purist you see all over instagram, I want to be rational about it.

There are parts of my life that I just can’t compromise on. Mostly for me that’s medication. Anti anxiety medication, contraceptives, vitamins, painkillers… Without them my life would really, really suck. And to be honest, if I’m having a bad day I’m going probably buy a bottle of wine too.

I’m also controversially not a vegan. The one time I tried to be a vegetarian I had serious issues with anemia and I quite like cheese. And I have yet to find somewhere to buy strawberries and little tomatoes that doesn’t have packaging, but I still eat them on occasion. So sue me. I have enough issues eating regularly and maintaining a balanced diet anyway, so eating the good things I like helps me keep things balanced.

Zero waste is a hard change to make, and is incredibly worth it, but isn’t worth sacrificing your physical and mental health for.

 

 

 

the last frozen beans

Oh! Also the title of the last post is an allusion to my favourite meal of all time – Spelt Orzotto. It’s a mix of mum’s beans and rice, and a fancy vegan risotto recipe I once made for christmas… That I don’t think anyone really liked. It’s literally the cheapest and easiest meal so I make enough for a week if I’m feeling a little mentally unhealthy or I’m very low on cash.

I don’t actually have any pictures, or any definite times for anything because I usually just play it by ear. I assume you can too, I’m a terrible cook, but it’s pretty basic and easy. It’s literally the most zero waste recipe ever too.

Ingredients:
1 cup spelt barley
1/2 cup mixed lentils (go for whatever you like, I usually use a soup mix or quinoa/lentils blend I mix by hand)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (or whatever oil you want)
3 cups vegetable stock (if you’re in Australia I swear by Vegeta “Gourmet” – although it does have a plastic lid I’ve been using the same tub so long that I didn’t think about the consequences)
1-2 cups fresh vege or frozen vege (if using frozen it’ll take a little longer, so thaw them first a tad too) I usually use corn, peas, green beans, broccoli, carrot… whatever I have left
And if I’m feeling flush with $$ 1 cup mushrooms

Method:

  1. Heat oil in large ish pan
  2. Sautee mushrooms until a bit wilty
  3. Add in spelt and mixed lentils, stir them around and heat them through until they’re glossy
  4. Add in vegetable stock, simmer for ~20 mins. You want there to be a little liquid left, but lots to have been absorbed by the spelt and lentils
  5. Add in your vegetables – cook through until desired softness. I’m a heathen who still likes a firm vegetable.

Ta dah you have orzotto! I usually add a bit of parmesan or some spices while it’s simmering, just to add a bit more taste.

To keep this zero waste:
– Buy your spelt and lentils in bulk using a jar or I sewed my own produce bags from an old sheet (really extremely easy and I will eventually do a post on it I guess?) I shop at Kakulas Sister in Nollamara because they have a great great range of things an they’re so kind to me.
– Interestingly Kakulas is also the only place I’ve been able to find zero waste cheese.
– Use fresh vegetables from your local grocer – I’m a bit guilty in that I should be buying things from local markets where I can shop straight from the farmer, but instead I go to Spudshed in Morley because it’s super duper convenient and still WA owned.
– Sub out vegetable oil for coconut oil (purchased in glass jars). Or buy your oil in bulk from The Wasteless Pantry.

This is my go to for meal prep – I usually make a pot of it one week, and then a pot of ‘chilli’ the next week. It works out at less than $1 per serving, and I will eat it every. single. day.

lazy lady tortillas

one big thing that I was unhappy about missing out on in having a zero waste lifestyle was tortillas. delicious soft wraps for every meal under the sun. I didn’t think I could function without them. After some trial and error (and one weird gritty pancake experience) I’ve decided on a pretty decent tortilla recipe.

Lazy Lady’s Tortillas (Makes 8 dinner plate-ish sized tortillas)

  • 2-2.5 cups all-purpose flour (you will need a bit extra to flour your board and rolling pin)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil/vegetable oil

In decently sized bowl, mix the wet ingredients and then add the dry. Knead together to form a quite solid dough. Something like this:

~ Leave for 10 mins ~

Divide in to 8 lumps and gently roll them out until they’re almost see through. I find it helpful also to stretch them out on my hand.

Then you heat them in a dry non-stick pan for not very long at all frankly. Just until they are easy to shift or wee bubbles start to form.

Flip them and cook the other side for ~15 seconds. Keep warm/covered until serving.

They do keep relatively well, but only for a few days at most!

 

My favourite lazy person snack is just these and some sick nut-based spreads.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 7.48.26 pm

There’s nothing like fancy spreads and fresh homemade tortillas.

 

 

coles brand black tea, no sugar.

I think this year I’ve hit my low point – I’ve started buying coles brand black tea. No definitive type of tea, just ‘black tea’. I’m not sure what’s weaker: it, or my resolve to get out of bed in the morning.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.34.04 pm

My name’s not Clement, but we’ll go with that for now. I just turned 25 and I’m in the biggest debt of my life, just dropped out of uni, am unemployed and in less than a month I will be homeless and couch surfing. And still living in Perth. Yeah sounds bad to me too. But frankly, this is the happiest and most mentally healthy I’ve been in years and years. Well maybe not happy, but, okay? This is the most okay I’ve been in years. A genuine achievement.

I’ve decided to publicly write about the things that I’m doing to get out of this slump because I everyone seems to be in the same boat currently. It’s hard being mid-20s, (“millennial”) independent and in Australia right now and I don’t think we’re talking about it enough. I’m trying not to swear but really, it’s shit. I’m sick of older generations looking down on us when all around me young people are working so hard, struggling so much, and sometimes, getting places.

I do also try to live my life as zero-waste as possible. After doing a big zero-waste lifestyle change, I tried to keep it going, but ended up breaking my leg and relying on a combo of coles delivery and kindness from parental figures. Go figure. So I’ll be turning back to my zero-waste roots and writing about how to make small, not drastic, changes in your life that can reduce waste, and your bills. Oh, and did I mention my crippling mental health issues? There’s that too.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.34.46 pm

some sick zero-waste bread

Don’t get me wrong, in many ways I live a cushy and privileged life, and I’m so grateful to the people in my life that keep me ticking along,  but I want to be honest about what I do. I want this blog to be a source of frugal living tips (from not another ‘mommy blogger’), a place to discuss my personal struggle with anxiety and depression, triumphs of my other mid-20s babes, promote a zero-waste mindset and also, celebrate the little things – celebrate the trashy goddesses we are.

So please pour yourself a glass of goon and be the trash queen you were always meant to be.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.35.16 pm