The warm, Texas summer has arrived! Keep cool with fresh, seasonal produce and frosty beverages.
Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle
|No matter the case, real, unprocessed food is better for you than food that’s been chemically modified. At our store, you won’t need packaging to convince you of what you’re buying. You’ll be buying real ingredients. Learn more||in.gredients is a collaborative effort between business, community, and consumers with the goal of eliminating food-related waste while supporting local businesses and farmers. Learn more||There’s no waste in nature. Waste is a human invention. As good stewards of our environment, our top priority is to reduce the amount of waste we produce and reuse what we have. Learn More|
Now that you’ve stuffed yourself silly after preparing and eating with your new Zero-Waste habits, it’s time to chat about keeping your kitchen spotless. How you clean up after your meal is just as important as how you purchase and prepare it. Many of the conventional cleaning products are filled with toxins which pollute the air and the waterways. A majority of them are found in large, plastic bottles and the amount of water wasted making these products is astounding
Part of the beauty of being an (eco)nista is continuously evolving and improving oneself – particularly towards a more conscious and compassionate lifestyle. Continuing the discussion on the Zero-Waste Kitchen, here are some habits to integrate into your Kitchen-cleaning routine.
Tips on Creating A Clean, Zero-Waste Kitchen:
Unplug appliances not in use, phantom energy is a killer.
When cleaning, try castille soap as a cleaner (which can be bought in bulk from in.gredients) it can be used for ANYTHING from hands to dogs to dishes to floors to counters, and you can use baking soda as a scrubber with a compostable cleaning brush (one great brand is Full Circle’s Be Good Dish Brush)
Check out Lisa Bronner’s Blog for great DIY recipes using Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap.
Create your own dishwasher soap, or buy in a biodegradable cardboard box.
Get strategic with your water washing
Limit the duration of running water by washing small things as you fill larger dishes, whose water you can use to soak other pots + pans
Unless icky + sticky, skip the pre-rinse of dishes. The dishwasher is found to use less water than washing by hands (but only run it if it’s full!)
Better yet, use your dirty water as reclaimed water for plants.
If you’re not near a compost garden, check out the Compost Pedallers. For as little as $4/week they’ll come to your house and take your compost. Or consider storing your compost in Full Circle’s Freezer Compost Bin and then drop it off weekly at one of Austin’s compost bins.
If you need even more incentive to compost, Austin’s Local Government is offering Home Rebates for Composting.
For more recipes, articles, + information on going Zero Waste in the Kitchen check out my Pinterest board!
If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know that sometimes this beautiful little vegetable can yield more squash than you know what to do with. If you find yourself in that boat, here’s a creative recipe that is vegan and can be served as the main course. With the addition of quinoa (a complete protein!), this boat of goodness will keep you full and satisfied.
Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats
From: Low Fat Vegan Chef
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 4 medium zucchini, washed
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1/2 leek, diced
- 1 handful of greens (arugula, beet greens, etc.)
- 1/2- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 Tbsp dried cherries
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Soak the quinoa in a bowl of cool water for 15 minutes. Fill a large 6 quart/litre pot with water and bring to a boil. While waiting for pot to boil, drain quinoa, add vegetable broth 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper to a small pot. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F / 191 C and add zucchinis whole to the large pot of water and boil for 15 minutes until tender. Set aside on racks to cool. Slice zucchinis in half and scoop out the middle seeds, leaving enough flesh to hold the zucchini together. Chop the flesh and set aside. (You can use or discard the seeds if you wish. I discard most of them in favor of the other diced vegetables I’m using)
Meanwhile in a large skillet or wok add 1/2 cup vegetable broth and heat over medium high heat. When hot, add onions carrots and thyme. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes and then add the leek, some of the zucchini pulp, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Continue cooking until tender. Add more broth if needed to prevent sticking. Toss in toasted pine nuts, cherries, and quinoa and season with salt and pepper as desired.
If desired sprinkle some balsamic vinegar and/or salt lightly on the inside of the zucchini boats. Stuff the zucchini with filling mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tender.
Cleanses can be daunting. Initially, your brain might jump to the thought of 10 days surviving on nothing but lemon, water, paprika and maple syrup. This is not the type of cleanse we’re talking about. Instead, think of the Daily Greens Summer Cleanse as four days of clean eating, resetting the body and getting everything back to square one.
We started carrying Daily Greens at in.gredients a few months ago, and have fallen in love with their juice. This brand new company has seen amazing success as more and more people get hooked on their product. It’s easy to see why people can’t get enough of the stuff, as each bottle contains 6 pounds of produce, sourced from local farmers. Not only that, when you finish drinking a bottle you’ll have consumed 9 servings of vegetables. If that isn’t enough to convince you, this juice has five times the nutrients as standard juicing due to their cold-pressed juicing methods. Cold pressed juice retains more of the vegetable’s nutrients, as heat is never introduced in the process.
It’s no wonder you feel like a super human after you finish. Now, imagine if you were to drink three (18 pounds of vegetables!) of those bottles a day, on top of a vegan, raw diet. That, my friends, is what a cleanse should look like. By filling up with fresh fruits and vegetables, you’re giving your body a chance to detox and reset to your healthiest self.
Speaking from experience, this four-day cleanse (and Daily Greens Juice) is like a breath of fresh air. Yes, I had a little bit of a headache the first two days, but now that I’ve reached day four I feel fantastic. I feel lighter, my skin is clear and has a ‘glow’, and I make it through my work day while still having enough energy for running, biking and yoga. Shauna, the founder of Daily Greens, is who turned me on to the 2013 Summer Cleanse, as I followed her journey on Facebook. While I didn’t stick to her menu directly, I filled my diet with only vegan, raw and organic fruits and vegetables (the amount of kale I’m eating is absurd.)
If you’re feeling in need of a reset before summer is in full swing, check out the Daily Greens Facebook for Shauna’s menu plan. You won’t regret the decision, I promise.
As the folks from Daily Greens say, Drink Your Veggies!
There is something idyllic about Green Gate Farms. A historic piece of farmland tucked away in East Austin, it’s easy to miss amongst the RV park and new housing developments. Pulling into the long driveway I was surprised at the amount of cars packed into the parking lot. My surprise turned into delight as I was instantly greeted by children of all ages, offering to give me a tour of the farm and selling me fresh squeezed lemonade.
As it turns out, Green Gate Farms runs a summer farm camp for children ages 5-15. As I was led around by one of the campers, I was impressed by the ownership and pride these kids take in the farm. They have freedom to explore, catch bugs, pet pigs and help run the farm stand. Not only that, but they gain leadership skills as they lead farm tours and interact with the adults and volunteers.
Green Gate Farms is run and managed by Erin Flynn and Skip Connett. They’ve been running the farm for eight years, restoring a historical farm site to bring food, education and community to East Austin. On top of maintaining and running a farm (which is an incredible amount of work), Erin and Skip founded the New Farm Institute, a non-profit that exists to educate, assist and inspire the next generation of sustainable farms, especially those within 30 miles of medium to large cities.
Sitting down with Erin amongst the arts and crafts projects left behind by the campers, it was easy to see that Erin is passionate about what she does. “My husband and I are agricultural activists, we want to work towards a system where farming is made a priority,” Flynn said, “There’s always talk about how we need our police and firemen, I want there to be a shift so people start holding their farmers up in the same way.” As a part of the Sustainable Food Policy Board, Flynn goes above and beyond to be a part of the conversation and community that is working towards making small, family farms a priority, instead of a thing of the past.
“Small, family farms are endangered,” Flynn said, “We are a society based on convenience, and it’s time we stopped trivializing what farmers are doing. I want farming to be a year-long, lucrative profession. If it isn’t, we are going to lose our family farms.” The thought of our beloved Austin farms disappearing should make your knees start to shake. Farmers are some of the most resilient, smart and dedicated people in our community. They’re the people that stock our shelves with mouth-water produce, providing our neighborhood with real, local food.
Our conversation ended when one of the campers ran up with the tragic news that the lemonade was gone. With a smile, Erin excused herself to make sure her campers and visitors were well taken care of. I ended my trip to the farm by stopping at the farm stand. Open on Tuesday (3-6 pm), Friday and Saturday (10-2 pm), the stand is stocked with vegetables and flowers from the farm as well as meat and eggs from nearby.
“We have a vegetable, meat, egg and flower CSAs available,” Flynn said, “We work with farmers nearby that we trust, and only provide our customers with the highest quality products.” You can sign up for their CSA to receive weekly or biweekly shares that include approximately 8-10 seasonal organic vegetables and you can add flowers, eggs and pastured meats. With convenient pick-up spots around town (in.gredients included), there’s no reason not to support this wonderful family farm.
As two young girls gave me the run down on prices, I realized how special it is that I can drive ten minutes from my house and be at Green Gate Farms. Not only is it a farm, it’s an education center where kids can be outside, learn valuable skills and get closer to their food. Green Gate Farms is definitely worth a visit, and if you have a little one there are still week-long programs to join this summer.
Go ahead, take a field trip and connect with your food.
The idea of cold soup can seem somewhat bizarre, then you try it and you know what the hype is all about. Summer has hit Texas, and the thought of cooking warm soup when the weather is in the upper 90s makes us feel a little bit queasy, so gazpacho is the perfect solution.
Gazpacho was originally made up of blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic with some water or vinegar mixed in, pounded into a paste with mortar and pestle. We think that the addition of tomatoes makes for a more appetizing meal. This dish has been around for years, becoming popular in Spain before it spread around the world. With the warm temperatures producing more tomatoes than we know what to do with, gazpacho is the perfect thing to create on these warm summer evenings
We have beautiful tomatoes from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, basil from our store front garden and garlic from Simmons Family Farm. Combine all of these things together and you have a mouth-watering and nutritious meal. We recommend serving it with a rustic bread for Baked in Austin or Easy Tiger.
From: Food Network
- 1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp toasted, ground cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Make an X with a pairing knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add water to bring the total to 1 cup.
Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high-speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with basil.
The arrival of summer means endless lazy days, juicy watermelon from the Farmer’s Markets, and soaking up that vitamin D at Barton Springs. All that glorious sun means potential for pesky sunburns. With the endless options on the market today – and virtually no regulation from the FDA – how do you know which is the safest, most sustainable sunscreen?
First let’s break some of the most common misunderstood facts about sunscreen.
Sunscreen does not protect skin from all types of sun damage: Until recently many sunscreens only primarily protected people from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the main cause of sunburns, but not ultraviolet A (UVA) ray, which are correlated with aging and skin damage (i.e. sun spots, wrinkles)
Higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) products do not equate in stronger or longer protection: According to EWG’s Sunscreen Guide, there is only 1% difference in the amount of UVB protection from SPF 50 to SPF 100. Instead the key is to consistently re-apply a copious amount to your skin.
Many conventional sunscreens include ingredients that disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies: Many conventional brands infuse their sunscreen with vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or “retinol”), a chemical linked to increased cancer cell growth, and oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor.
The good news is that there are several safe sunscreen alternatives that will truly protect your beautiful skin! in.gredients offers Kiss My Face Kids SPF 30 and Elemental Herbs Sport 30+. Also, you can check out EWG’s Sunscreen Guide for a list of their top-rated sun care products. Or if you are feeling crafty, why not try these DIY sunscreen recipes from Revitalise Your Health. When it comes down to it, nothing compares to the best sun protection: covering up with hats, clothing, shady trees, and umbrellas. Word on the street is, shade is the new sun.
So now that we know how to protect the largest organ on our body, lets go enjoy the sunshine before it becomes too unbearable in this Texas heat!