Baby steps to help our environment

“You can’t change the world; you can’t fix the whole environment. But you can recycle. You can turn the water off when you’re brushing your teeth. You can do small things.” – Patti Smith (“Because the night…”)

Even if you don’t believe in climate change you must believe that with more and more people today on this planet, we have more waste, and that waste is going somewhere. Yes our trash is picked up for us at least once a week and taken to a land field where we hope it is being properly disposed of, ie buried in the ground. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. What services we have in America are also not universal. And finally, our trash is not the only waste that can affect our environment and subsequently our health.

Throughout my website and blog posts, I hope you find truthful information and small ways that can contribute to your environment. One small step by one person can make a difference. And if you miss a week of recycling or forget to bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store, no one here is judging you! If you fall off the environmental bandwagon, you can always jump back on. For everyone who attempts to make our planet better, whether for yourself, your children or for everyone or thing, thank you so much!

Stop Using Straws

This video is not for the faint heart. But even if one person views it and commits to reducing their use of plastic straws and/or recycling their plastics, then it is worth sharing. This is heart breaking. Thankfully for this turtle, he is better…for now.

Carry your own reusable cutlery with you

Even though I began declining straws in restaurants, it wasn’t until my partner from the UK commented on the amount of plastic ware being distributed in restaurants that I became aware of how restaurants automatically add plastic utensils to your take out bag unless you specifically ask them not to. Hence, my new thing…

My new Boba straws for my “treat-yo-self” visits to @NagaTea. From hiware. Keep these babies handy in my purse.

My Mom bought me a set of reusable cutlery from a trip in Hawaii but since I am usually feeding more than just me, I bought another set from BewBew. This set comes with reusable chopsticks and a toothbrush. I will say the straw is very skinny but thankfully I have my own set of boba or smoothy straws too.

BewBew bamboo set and Hiware boba straws can be found on

Make Your Own Yoghurt

This may seem like a big ask. But let me start by telling you how I started this journey. Every day I was packing yoghurts for my child and myself in lunches. I would be on the look out for those 10 for $10 specials. Then I started to look at the sugar content of these yoghurts. I started using half the fruit on the other side of those plastic cups. I wanted less sugar in our daily yogurt intake. So I decided to start buying the large containers of vanilla yogurt. Remember baby steps here. Especially if you are making changes with a child, gradual steps make for an easier transition. Then I started to buy large containers of plain yoghurt. In order to make this leap and control our sugar, I needed to create my own fruit compote and provide my own cups. Now I reuse a lot of my previous plastic purchases so I had plenty on hand. A good “investment” for reusable, small plastic cups are these-

Image result for Noosa 4 pack yoghurts

Noosa’s 4 packs yoghurts. Eat the yoghurt (which is yum) and then reuse the cups with plastic lids for your own batches. Or you can also purchase some of these small sistema storage containers

These are perfect portion size for school lunches.

So even though I was still reducing my waste, I could only store so many large plastic yoghurt containers (great for storing soups and stews btw). So I decided to make my own. Why I like making my own despite reducing my waste? I can control the products used to make it, like organic milk or sugar content. In order to due this, I needed to buy an instant pot. Now the main reason I bought the instant pot was to make yoghurt but I will say its a good investment. How many times have you come home from work and forgot to pull something out from the freezer? As a working Mama, I have very little time in the evenings to cook. So many times I have forgotten to take something out of the freezer, or it didn’t thaw completely in the fridge. I also tend to make big batches of food and freeze meals for busy school nights so to me, the instant pot was a good investment. This is the one I got. **Make sure your instant pot has the “yoghurt” button on the front. Not all pressure cookers and instant pot cookers can make the yoghurt.**

I waited until I could grab an online Black Friday deal from Target and paid less than $70 for this Instant Pot. So far it hasn’t let me down and is able to cook every recipe I wanted. Here is a recipe which is almost identical to my instant pot cookbook recipe.

Here are a couple of tips:

  1. This is a 2 day process at minimum, more if you strain your yoghurt;
  2. Greek yoghurt is just strained yoghurt. If you like thick yoghurt than you will want to strain it. I invested in a strainer (see below);
  3. I almost always have to hit the “saute” function to get the temperature raised after it goes through the 1 hour yoghurt/boil process;
  4. I use a gallon of 1% milk and add Chobani plain yoghurt as my “yoghurt starter”;
  5. I have tried a variety of fruit compote recipes and a variety of fruit. Basically end up doing some type of frozen fruit, a little lemon juice and maybe a little almond extract. If its too watery just add a little bit of corn starch to thicken it up. I rarely add sugar to any of them anymore. If you want a “tropical” fruit compote, try pineapple with frozen mango. For me, the pineapple is all the sugar I need.
Bringing down the milk to 110F quickly.
Whisk in 1/4 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt to cold milk. I usually use plain and get my sugar from the fruit compote I add later.
Yoghurt strainer from Euro Cuisine and worth the $25.00.

After half a batch has been strained.
Waiting patiently. He loves the yoghurt. Plain yoghurt is good for a dog’s digestive tract and their coat too 🙂
Making your own fruit compote allows you to set your desired fruit flavor and control your sugar content.
I make about 5 days of containers for my child and myself in one go. One for each day of the school/work day. Enjoy!
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