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.