the little things

One of my favourite things about our waste not goals is that it gives us so many new projects! It’s fun to be forced to slow down and figure out solutions to household needs, and it really gives me a sense of ownership and self-sufficiency that I didn’t realize I was lacking before we began this. Of course, another benefit of new projects is that they can aid in keeping you humble when they don’t all go exactly to plan…

Part of Jesse’s Christmas present from me was the start of our indoor herb collection! I started them off as seeds in little jiffy peat pods (pictured above), and they worked like magic, sprouting and growing to their pictured size in about two weeks! Once they hit about two inches, I transplanted them to some terracotta pots that I painted myself, and we had little plant babies for parsley, oregano, and dill!

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Unfortunately, the seed babies ended up having an infant mortality rate similar to that of the 1600’s. Today the parsley is still growing strong, the dill only has one little tiny sprout still struggling along, and the oregano is long dead (I just continue watering it out of denial). I’m not what I would consider to be a plant person, so I’m actually pretty happy that we may end up with a parsley plant out of this, and I’ll definitely be grabbing some plants that are perhaps a little further along in the growth process once some local greenhouses are stocking them!

Another new project that I’ve taken on is making bread; sourdough, to be exact. I love how complex the process seems, and how if I get a good starter going, I can continue to feed it into the next loaf – that cyclical recipe appeals to me somehow. The instructions I’m following are found HERE

Step one is to simply combine warm water and flour (I chose to use brown, but all flour will work), and let it sit out with some exposure to air. Stir it a few times a day, and eventually (within 3 – 7 days) it will become bubbly and fluffy/frothy. That’s when you can proceed to step two!

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Alas, I have no information on step two, because I didn’t even manage to make it that far on my first attempt. My mixture did become bubbly and frothy around day 3, but I was waiting for something more earth-shattering, and thought I should leave it sit for a little longer… I then watched as it slowly hardened and became impossible to stir over the course of the next 5 days. Lesson learned! When it has bubbles (subtle or otherwise), proceed to step two! I now have a second attempt (which I’ve named Jeremiah to help me cultivate a sense of attachment to how he turns out) sitting on our counter, and I’m very much looking forward to making it past step one with him this week!

Finally, some fun successes! Many of you guys suggested keeping our veggie waste in the freezer to eventually make vegetable stock out of. Great idea! We threw 1 1/2 months’ worth of veg leavings into our slow cooker last night and filled it with water to simmer overnight. It turned out a deep brown, and apart from being a little bit bitter (I’m guessing because we had some squash leavings in the mix?), it was an easy and gratifying success. Off to the compost with you, used veggie leavings!

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Jesse is a quiche master, and last evening he made us his very first totally waste-free quiche for dinner! Eggs from our farm hookup, pie plate which we re-use (we could also use our glass one), pie crust made from mix obtained at Bulk Barn, and veggies purchased sans packaging. Yummmmmmmmmmm!

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