Zero Waste Recipes – No 1. Toothpaste & Mouthwash

We see excess discarded packaging everywhere. It’s heartbreaking to see the effect it can have on the environment. I’m not sure how one begins to deal with this overwhelming situation and the only thing I can think of is to try and take some personal responsibility and try and make some changes in my own habitat.

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”… Cloud Atlas

My Mum used to tell me how she never had toothpaste as a young child and often would use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on her finger to rub her teeth clean. Sodium bicarbonate was an ingredient used in making Irish Soda Bread and presume many households probably had this in their larder in Ireland if not for the bread then other types of baking.

So I did a bit of Googling and snooping around and thought about a homemade toothpaste using baking soda that I could make and store in a re-useable jar. I found a recipe using baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils and decided to give it a go. The toothpaste actually works really well but i will be honest with you, it tastes awful! Baking soda is a salt (and you musn’t ingest it so rinse your mouth thoroughly after using it) so even mixed with twice as much coconut oil and a generous amount of peppermint essential oils it isn’t a particularly pleasant experience.

I’ve made it now and I’ll use it but meanwhile I will look at creating a more palatable toothpaste.

Zero Waste Toothpaste Ingredients
4 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
1-2 level tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Peppermint essential oil to taste (about 10-20 drops)

Method
Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon until smooth and creamy and spoon into a glass jar.
Dip clean toothbrush into mixture and with a pea sized amount brush teeth thoroughly.
Rinse mouth thoroughly afterwards, do not ingest.

Makes enough for a couple of months.

At the same time I found a very simple mouthwash recipe and I was wondering what to do with a beautiful turquoise coloured bottle I was gifted by my daughter a few years ago so this seemed perfect!

How did the mouthwash compare with the toothpaste? I’ll be honest again, not great but definitely better than the toothpaste! Once again I will use it but seek out a different recipe next time!

Zero Waste Mouthwash Ingredients
Water 500 ml
1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Peppermint essential oil to taste (20-30 drops)

Method
Simply add all ingredients together in the bottle and shake!

C xxxx

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Some recent photos

Was thinking of Old Dutch Masters still life oil paintings (as you do) while making a meatless spag bol tonight and on a whim grabbed some Morrisons wonky grapes from the fridge, the lid from my ottoman and an old scarf and took a photo to try and recreate one. It took just a few minutes and I’m so pleased with my first attempt. I wanted it to look like an old unlit room, a little natural light from a window and a film of grime subduing any sharpness.

A couple of weekends ago I was feeling quite well and decided to take myself off into the countryside from Roche Abbey (which is only a few miles from my house) to a village called Laughton en le Morthen. It was a circular walk of 6 or 7 miles following an old footpath through the amazing countryside. It was a sunny, breezy day and took my time enjoying nature and the silence. Please take a moment to enjoy a few minutes of how quiet it was by watching my little video below…

 

These days, for me, my favourite thing is to go and walk somewhere, taking my lunch and a camera, taking time to stand and stare and be in the moment and simply try and remember it…

Marrow & Lentil Stew – Recipe No. 181

Today I have managed to use another 1/4 of my marrow by making a delicious ‘marrow and lentil stew’.

Just to clarify a question that has been popping up on Facebook and Instagram… a marrow in the UK is pretty much an overgrown courgette (zucchini) and not bone marrow (but I can understand the confusion there for sure!).

So far out of 1 marrow I have created 3 large portions of ‘Marrow Masala’ (not a 1940’s recipe), a ‘Courgette Cake’ (not a 1940’s recipe), 3 large jars of ‘Marrow Chutney’ and today a ‘Marrow and Lentil Stew’. The stew today was delicious!

Here is the stove top recipe.

Marrow and Lentil Stew

  • 1 lb of marrow, deseeded, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon of chutney (I added the marrow chutney I made yesterday)
  • Salt & Pepper to your own preferred taste
  • Rosemary and other dried herbs to your own preferred taste.
  • Bisto powder to thicken (or gravy granules)

Method

  1. Place the onion is a saucepan with a teaspoon of margarine and fry lightly until starting to brown
  2. Add in the marrow, chopped tomatoes, red lentils, chutney, herbs and mix.
  3. Add in some boiling water to cover veggies and ad salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add in Bisto powder (mixed into a smooth runny paste with a little water) to thicken after the stew has been cooking for 20 minutes. Continue to cook until veggies and lentils are cooked.

Serves 2

Marrow Chutney – Recipe No. 180

When I was given an enormous marrow (actually an overgrown courgette) by a work colleague the other day, I was up for the challenge it would present seeing as I am the only person in my household that appreciates a good marrow!

In my best frugal style I’ve so far lived off the marrow for three days now and have got halfway through it and so far created three dishes. The first was a ‘Marrow Masala’ which made me two main dinners and a packed lunch for work, a courgette drizzle cake of which I ate several slices at home then brought the other half to work where surprisingly my mostly male colleagues enjoyed it despite telling them the main ingredient was “Allan’s Marrow”.

Today I used a recipe for wartime marrow chutney to make three large pasta jars full of this surprisingly delicious meal accompaniment. I’ll be taking one of these as a gift to a BBQ tonight, so pretty confident that I won’t be poisoning anyone…(despite building up a reputation as the ‘Letitia Cropley’ of South Yorkshire)

Here is the recipe

Marrow Chutney

  • 2 lbs of marrow
  • 2 apples
  • 2 onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lbs sugar
  • handful of sultanas (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of pickling spices (I had none so used some dried herbs, pepper, crushed chilli flakes, turmeric)
  • 3/4 pint of vinegar (I used 1/2 malt and 1/2 apple cider)

Method

  1. Chop apples into small pieces and slowly soften for 5 minutes in a large saucepan with a little of the vinegar.
  2. Add the two chopped onions, add more vinegar, cook for another 5 minutes stirring when needed.
  3. Chop up the marrow into 1/2 inch pieces (after removing skin and seeds) and add two pounds of marrow to the saucepan with most of the rest of the vinegar and stir.
  4. Hold some vinegar back to add later on if mixture gets too thick.
  5. Add the sugar, salt, sultanas, pickling spices and stir bringing to a simmer.
  6. Cook on medium/low for about 45 minutes until everything is cooked soft and some of the mixture is getting thick and pulpy. Add a little more vinegar if mixture is too dry and thick.
  7. Meanwhile add the clean rinsed jars on a baking tray into a preheated oven at 140 C for about 10 minutes until jars are hot and steep lids in boiling water.
  8. When mixture is ready removed from heat and remove jars from oven.
  9. Add hot mixture to hot jars and screw lids on.

Makes 3 larger jars or 5 jam jars. Will keep for a year in the larder, refrigerate once open.





5 Things That Are Helping Me Get My Life Together | Number 1 Automated Savings.

As much as I crave at times a simpler, slower way of life (and often have to take myself off for hours for long walks, away from noise and crowds, so there is time to think and truly enjoy my surroundings without being disturbed) I’m also a lover of modern technology and am genuinely excited about new ways to do things all from my phone.

I’m a member of a number of ‘frugal living and money saving’ type groups. I look to these for inspiration and for new ideas on how to spend less and save more. I’ve never been in a safe place financially for most of my grown-up life, but I’ve worked really hard in changing that around the last 18 months or so and am at a stage where I feel a lot safer than I’ve ever done before. Am a big believer in a rainy day fund and food and basic necessity stockpiles! Call me a bit of a prepper if you like! Being prepared alleviates so much stress from my life that I really want to share with you the 5 things that are really helping me move towards my goal…

Number 1. Automated savings

Automated savings have been the single most successful thing I’ve done to start changing my life around so I’m going to talk about them first. By having money deducted from my wages it takes away the money I have available to spend and focuses me on changing my spending habits.. Numbers 2-5 (to be discussed in future blog posts) are the things I do to ensure I can survive on my income after I’ve put money into savings every month.

a) TransaveUK: I can’t recommend automated savings enough. It’s incredibly hard to stay disciplined enough to move money from one account to another and leave it alone so 18 months ago I started my first foray into automated savings through my workplace with a credit union called http://www.transaveuk.co.uk. My workplace works with TransaveUK to offer employee’s small loans to buy company shares (we are a 100% employee owned company at PMS Diecasting where I work). But via our payroll we also have an automated Christmas Club savings scheme and the option of also having an additional savings account. I opted for automated savings from my monthly paycheck into my ‘Christmas Club’ savings account AND into a regular savings account. Basically this money goes straight into savings and NEVER hits my normal bank account. For me it’s much easier to make do and go without if it isn’t there to spend than have it sitting there instantly accessible. YES it’s a struggle every month to do without a lot of things but every month I feel safer financially.

b) PLUM automated savings: Via Facebook for Android and via an app for iPhone is something I’ve signed up to recently. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO. PLUM analyses your regular bank account and through artificial intelligence makes choices for you to save small amounts of money throughout the month where it feels you can afford it (you can decline – it always asks you). Additionally it now has introduced an option to round up all your transactions to save even more small amounts of money. For instance a purchase of £5.79 would be rounded up to £6 and the 21p deposited in either your PLUM savings account or straight into your investment accounts if you decide to set these up. And that IS something I’ve done. I’ve deposited £200 in a Stocks and Shares ISA via the Facebook app, 1/2 in a balanced fund and 1/2 in a growth fund. I’m just curious to see if there are alternative ways to build small amounts of wealth. TO BE HONEST I’M SCARED ABOUT RETIRING DUE TO LACK OF PENSION!

In parts 2-5 I will talk about the things I do every month to get by on my income after I’ve put aside my savings.

C xxxxx

Potato Salad with Dutch Sauce – Recipe No. 179

I’ve been really craving potatoes today, especially a potato salad.

Curious as to what (during rationing in WW2) people slathered their spuds in, I delved into ‘Feeding the Nation’ by Marguerite Patten OBE. Heinz Salad Cream became a wartime favourite like any convenience food was often in limited supply so many of the ration book recipes called for making homemade dressings which tried to replicate salad cream or mayonnaise.

Quite frankly they were all quite bland but palatable nevertheless especially if a spoonful of salad cream was added to the mixture to give it a boost.

I used the below recipe for ‘Dutch Sauce’, I halved the quantities and still made enough sauce for a large potato salad for 3 or 4. I also added in a spoonful of salad cream afterwards and despite my best efforts at spicing it up in a way I thought might be authentic, it was still rather bland. The chopped spring onions, chopped chives sprinkled over the top and extra salt and pepper helped.

Potato Salad
Boil lb. potatoes in their skins. Peel and cut into chunks (I left skins on). Add a little chopped onion (I used spring onion). While warm bind together with salad dressing. When cold, sprinkle with parsley (hate parsley so used chives from the garden instead).

Dutch Sauce (salad dressing – I halved these ingredients)
3 oz flour
1 pint of milk or fish stock (I used oat milk)
3 teaspoons dried mustard
1 egg (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons of vinegar
salt and pepper

Method
Blend the flour with a little of the milk or fish stock.
When smooth add the rest of the liquid and bring to the boil.
Cook for 2 or 3 minutes stirring all the time.
Mix the mustard, salt and pepper with the egg and add to the sauce.
Stir over a gentle heat but do not let the sauce boil again.
Add the vinegar. Stir well and serve (the egg in this recipe is optional)

You can use this sauce as mayonnaise if fish stock isn’t used.

I let the sauce cool down and the potatoes cool down so they were only slightly warm then mixed the potatoes with the sauce as well as the chopped spring onion and chopped chives over the top then refrigerated.

Green Mint Sauce – Recipe No. 178

Mint is growing abundantly in a pot in my side garden.

I decided today I needed to put it to good use so found an old wartime recipe for ‘Green Mint Sauce’ from a book called ‘Good Eating – Suggestions for Wartime Recipes’. All recipes in the book have been submitted by Daily Telegraph readers during WW2.

I only wanted a small pot full so took the recipe below and quartered the ingredients which roughly came up as 100 g of chopped mint, 100 g of sugar and 200 ml or vinegar (I used 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 malt vinegar).

This returned a sweet, minty, sauce with a hint of apple. I’m using it sparingly on everything this afternoon and intend to use it later on my peas and roast potato at dinner time!

Green Mint Sauce
1/4 lb chopped mint (I used 100 g)
3/4 pt vinegar (I used 100 ml apple cider vinegar and 100 ml malt vinegar)
1/2 lb sugar (I used 100 g)

Method
Boil vinegar and and pour it over the sugar in a saucepan and stir until dissolved
When cooled add chopped mint and stir
Add to clean jar, will keep in fridge for several months