Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gluten Free Paleo Quiche Recipe

Monday night I had a friend over for some girl time, wine, chatting, dinner and crafts! I wasn't sure what to make but knew we had plenty of ingredients to make something healthy and delicious. We bought a spaghetti squash about 10 days before and hadn't had a good excuse to use it until now. I remembered seeing on Pinterest some intriguing recipes using spaghetti squash as a quiche crust and decided to go for it. We winged the recipe but it came out so yummy, I had to jot it down share. 

Paleo Quiche Recipe (Makes 2 pies)

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Spring Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
3 Zucchinis
1 lb Ground Beef
3-4 Eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serve with Homemade Jalepeno Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the inside of two standard sized pie dishes with olive oil to prevent sticking. Start by cutting the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, either compost or roast the seeds like you would pumpkin seeds. Place squash halves on a baking sheet cut sides up, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and bake in oven for about an hour or until fork tender.

While squash is in the oven start prepping other the veggies. Heat up 1 tbs olive oil in a skillet on medium low heat. Chop up spring onion (bulb) add it to the skillet, roughly chop green part and set aside for garnish. Chop zucchini in to half inch pieces add it to the skillet with onion and sauté until golden, about five minutes. Heat up 1 tbs olive oil in another skillet on medium heat, chop garlic then add it to the oil, let cook for about a minute then add the ground beef. Cook beef until it's light golden brown, strain out water if needed. Set aside both beef and veggie mixture to use later. 

When squash is fork tender, remove it from the oven to let cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, crack 3-4 eggs in a bowl then beat, adding a bit of water or milk if desired, set aside. Using a fork rake out all the 'spaghetti' strands in both halves. Once you get all of the strands separated from the skin dump the squash in the greased pie dishes, one half of the squash per dish. Press the squash down in the center and up the sides to make a pie crust shape. Then divide up the meat mixture in two and distribute on top of the crust, do the same with the veggie mixture then pour beaten eggs on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake quiches in the oven on 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Take out, let cool and sprinkle the green onions on top for garnish. Serve warm or cold, we enjoyed it with a few dashes of my homemade jalepeno hot sauce.

{The finished product!}

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Back about a year ago I got diagnosed with a sensitivity to wheat, my doctor recommended that I eliminate gluten from my diet in attempt to aid my health issues. Since then I've made a big effort to stay away from it entirely, it took a bit of practice but now it's a no brainer. 

Before my diagnosis I used to buy small baguettes of french bread at Acme bread company in the ferry building on my way home from work. Now I do the same thing but at Mariposa baking company in the ferry building, it's an all gluten free bakery in the ferry building. I have to say though I'm not the biggest fan of gluten free bread, even the good stuff doesn't taste nearly as good as the real stuff so I don't buy it that often. Only really when I know we're going to make sandwiches or have a cheese plate. 

I've noticed I have many more gluten free options with more ethnic cuisine such as Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican and more. Out of necessity my husband and I have become masters at making corn tortillas from scratch. They are so much quicker and easier to make then I imagined, from start to table they take no more then twenty minutes. They taste so much better then store bought and cost a fraction of the price. We've stuffed them with everything you can imagine. Lately we've been in to making Korean themed tacos with kimchi, so delicious!

{Our take on the Korean taco}

1 cup masa flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm tap water
1 pinch of salt

Using your hands, mix all ingredients together well then divide the dough in to small balls the size of golf balls. On a clean cutting board place a dough ball between two Silpat mats (one on top of the dough and one on the bottom) then use a cast iron french oven or skillet and press firmly and evenly on the ball of dough to make the flat tortilla about 1/8 inch thick. Carefully remove the tortilla from the Silpat and place in a hot skillet about 450 degrees. These don't take long to cook a minute or two on each side and they're ready to enjoy. If you're making a big batch keep warm on a plate lined with a dishtowel, cover with the rest of the dishtowel so they slightly steam and keep warm. You can use these just as you would any tortilla, the possibilities are endless. 

{The final product: homemade corn tortillas}

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Less Waste Road Trips

Recently we head up to Humboldt county for my cousin's wedding. It was a long drive so we knew we'd get peckish at some point. I brought a few snacks but did not create any waste. We also stopped and ate a nice meal on the way so we avoided producing any trash during the drive. Here is what I brought:

- Stainless steel containers with carrots and homemade hummus. (recipe
- Stainless steel container with mixed nuts
- A few bananas, kiwis and tangerines 
- 2 Kleen Kanteens filled with tap water
- 1 Flip top bottle of wine (we refill, this was for when we got there!)
- 1 set reusable bamboo flatware (knife, fork and spoon)

{Carrots with homemade hummus}

Once we got there we had a kitchenette with a refrigerator to store what was left over.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recipe: Pickled Beets

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. I love the earthy flavor, vibrant colors and that they are packed of vitamins. This time of year we get at least 5 beets a week in our veggie delivery but lately there have been more. I haven't been able to keep up with them, I try to roast them and juice them but found myself with too many to use. Wasting them is not an option so pickling them seemed like the best way to preserve all of those the beets. I found this recipe online that I used as a jumping off point, then processed the jars in a water bath to create a canning seal so that they'll last for months in the cupboard. 

First I infused some white vinegar with tarragon buy just letting it soak in the vinegar for about an hour then strained out the herbs. Then I roasted all the beets, pealed them and sliced them in about 1/4 pieces. While the beets were roasting I sliced up two red onions. Using sterilized jars I layered the beet and onion slices and set jars aside. In a sauce pan I combined the sugar, tarragon infused vinegar, water and salt, simmered the mixture for five minutes and poured brine over the beets and onions. I wiped off the rims of the jars, placed on new gaskets and submerged them in a water bath to create a seal like I do when canning tomatoes

12-15 beets (I used red and yellow)
2 large red onions
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp tarragon

{Pickled and processed beets with red onion}

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY: Vanilla Extract

One product that is grossly marked up in stores is all natural vanilla extract. I don't think that most people realize how easy it is to make at home. There's just two ingredients: vanilla beans and vodka. I bought 10 Madagascar vanilla beans online at beanilla thinking they'd come in glass vials but instead were shipped in a vacuum sealed plastic pouch (ouch!). I still need to find a zero waste way to by them. 

To prep the beans for the extract cut down the center of the bean without piercing through the onther side then use the dull side of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Place both seeds and pods in a jar then cover them with vodka. Store in a dark cool place to marinate for a few weeks. For easy access while cooking and baking strain and store in a small glass bottle. I gave these away for christmas gifts this year using a cute label and bow. 

{4 oz decorative bottle perfect for a holiday or hostess gift}

Monday, February 10, 2014

Zero Waste Bulk Liquids

We make an effort to buy as many of the liquids we use in our daily cooking in bulk. If we cannot buy it in bulk then we won't buy it so we cater our recipes to what is readily available.

{Buying in bulk saved us 20%}
{Tip: take a photo of the plu# if you forget a crayon}

Two staples we make an effort to always have stocked are cooking wine and olive oil. We also stock canola oil, red wine vinegar, tamari, soy sauce and honey. We weigh our jars at home, writing the weight on the jar with a water soluble crayon then bring our hermetic jars to fill up at the store. Back at home I transfer the liquids to glass bottles with pour tops for easy use.

{My kitchen zerowaste label solution: scratch paper with a rubber band}

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Less Waste at Work

To my great fortune my work provides us with stocked kitchens and catered meals. There are tons of snacks, bottled beverages, individually wrapped candy but also great bulk options too. There are a dozen bulk snacks, fresh fruit, cereal, the list goes on and on. 

Since I started working here I brought in and have used my own reusable bamboo flatware. I bought two sets package free at the drug store for camping/picnic uses but they are great for work too. I also use a stainless steel tumbler which I love and use for both cold and hot drinks, they  are so durable you can take them anywhere. Some days I bring in my thermos, a cloth napkin or metal straw. After writing the post 'Easy Swaps Towards a Sustainable Household' I felt it was time to bring in that plate! I had bought a stainless steel camping plate and use it every day now. I thought my coworkers might heckle me about it but all they did was complement me and said they were jealous, go figure!

{my zero waste lunch-kit}

For the catered lunches and dinners facilities provides us with compostable plates, bowls, napkins and flatware. This wasn't always the case though. They always had compostable plates and cups but used to use plastic recyclable flatware until I wrote an email that is. A few months ago I wrote the new facilities manager in our company about sustainability offering easy suggestions for a greener work place. The suggestions went over really well and in a matter of weeks they switched out all the plastic flatware for compostable versions, I felt it was a huge win and the environment is who benefits most! 

Compost, Recycling and Landfill labeled waste stations are in clear view, for the most part our 450 employees follow them. There's has also been an effort to educate everyone about what common waste goes where through poster board display's posted around the office. 

After the switch to compostable flatware I noticed right away that the black landfill bins were nearly empty, everyone was using the green compost. It's really incredible how one little email and others making a small change has saved so much plastic from going straight to landfill. 

DIY Toothpaste

After an experimental phase trying using tooth powder to clean our teeth we both weren't satisfied. On my post about my dissatisfaction my friend Devon digested DIY toothpaste. I did some research and came up with this recipe that we love. 

{DIY toothpaste}

1 part baking soda (about 1/4 cup)
1 part organic coconut oil (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon stevia
Several drops spearmint essential oil to taste
Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Store in your medicine cabinet in a glass jar. Use spoon to apply to toothbrush.

{Espresso spoon used to apply toothpaste to compostable bamboo toothbrush}

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Foraged Wreath

This post is a little late but oh well ;)

I was in Santa Barbara at Christmas time last year, I stopped by my aunt and uncle's house for a visit and found my cousin Julianna crafting. She was making wreaths and planting beautiful individual succulent arrangements. She showed me how to make everything, I left feeling inspired. It was all DIY upcycled, free, foraged and zero waste, very impressive! Since we've never had a holiday wreath on our front door I decided to give it a try, with Juliana's advice of course. 

Although it's not environmentally friendly my husband insisted on getting a fresh cut tree this year because he loves the scent of a real tree. I hadn't heard of The Living Christmas Company, if I had we would have ordered one of their living trees, DOH! There's always next year. 

After we found the perfect tree I asked an employee for trimmings for a wreath. He happily obliged and I was able to help myself to as much as I needed for free. I was closer to being able to make my wreath but still needed some decorations. I looked around our place and found a pretty maroon ribbon that I could reuse for the bow. Then I went on a hike on the mountain (the one outside our front door =) and foraged for holly berries and pine cones. 

Back at home I knew I needed some type of sturdy ring to tie the greenery on to and to make the classic round wreath shape. I brainstormed a few ideas, first I thought I could cut out an 'O' shape out of a cardboard box, then thought maybe I could bend a metal hanger in to shape. Then a lightbulb went off and realized we have a ten inch tart pan with a removable bottom, the ring part is a perfect ridged metal base to use for my wreath. The veggie twist ties i've been saving for something (anything but landfill!) were finally going to go to good use by using the green ones as fasteners. Supplies in tow I was ready to make my first wreath.

First, I cut the trimmings in to more manageable sized pieces approximately six inches long. I fastened the first piece using a green twist tie then made my way around the wreath making sure to cover up each twist tie with greenery as I went around. I used an additional twist tie to make a loop to hang the wreath on. I was ready to decorate, I just placed the pine cones and berries wedging them in between the greenery and twist ties. The final touch was the bow which I tied then tacked in place with a straight pin.

This wreath was foraged, free, zero waste and stayed fresh and pretty all December long, I can't wait to make more next year.

{My first wreath!}