On this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday,” we want to discuss beeswax wraps. Last week we touched on DIY reusable snack bags to move away from disposable plastic, so this week we’re focusing on plastic cling wrap.
If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – “can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen”*
Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives available like leakproof glass containers and silicone stretchable lids that stretch to fit a variety of container sizes, and of course beeswax wraps!
When you pack your own lunch every day (maybe your kids’ too), it might feel like you’re always adding cling wrap to your grocery list… enter beeswax wraps. The pliable covers fold up around foods and cover bowls of leftovers. They rinse clean with cold water and mild soap (hot water would melt the wax!) and you can reuse them time and time again.
These bee-autiful storage solutions sell for about $18 for a pack of three on Amazon, but if you’re feeling crafty, they’re super easy to DIY. Either way, you’ll easily recoup the cost by buying fewer sandwich bags and plastic wrap. If you use three plastic bags per day and a box of 150 costs about $10, you’re already spending more than $70 per year on something most people just throw away after one use.
These beeswax food wraps are not hard to make, but they do take a little bit of time, so plan ahead for that. This recipe makes four wraps, but it’s easy to double the recipe if you want to make more.
Cut the muslin cloth to whatever size works best for you, or even different sizes if you wish. You can use pinking shears if you want to make the edges fancy. I personally love the look it gives. The pine resin is probably the hardest ingredient to come by, but I was able to find a good source on Amazon. Beeswax pastilles are probably the easiest form of beeswax to use here, or you can do what I did and grate some off a block of beeswax.
¼ cup beeswax
2 tablespoons pine resin
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
4 squares of 100% cotton muslin fabric (I used 12″ squares)
glass pyrex measuring cup
1″ wide paintbrush
clothes drying rack
Melt the pine resin in a double boiler (I use a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water) over medium heat.
It takes a while for the resin to fully melt, but once it does add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden or bamboo stick until the resin and wax are completely melted together.
Then slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it all melted.
Preheat the oven to 225°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of muslin on the parchment and use the paintbrush to brush it all over with the beeswax mixture.
Place the baking sheet in the oven just long enough to fully melt the beeswax. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush, so that the whole muslin cloth is coated evenly.
Then take another square of muslin and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra wax. Flip the two squares over so that the blotting square is now on the bottom.
Return the baking sheet to the oven briefly, just long enough to liquefy the wax.
Remove from the oven, and hang the first piece of beeswax coated muslin on a clothes drying rack to dry.
Use the paintbrush to spread the wax on the blotting square, which is now your working square, and repeat the whole process again.
Once they are all dry, they are ready to use! They work perfectly for covering bowls, just as you would use plastic wrap. The beeswax can be warmed in the hands and will conform to the bowl and stick to the rim. The pine resin gives it some stickiness as well.
FYI: Beeswax wraps aren’t air-tight and won’t keep highly perishable items (like raw meat) fresh. We recommend using them to cover foods you’ll eat within a couple of hours or the next day, like a sandwich, bowl of pasta, or piece of fruit. For longer-lasting leftovers or smellier items like cheese, you’re probably better off sealing them up in reusable glass containers. With that in mind, here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps <3
*Concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives(source 1, source 2)
Something that never felt right to me was throwing away used coffee grounds. Many people wake up in the morning looking forward to their cup of coffee and then habitually toss the grounds into the trash without a second thought.
As it turns out, there are many wonderful things you can do with these spent coffee grounds. Before you throw out those grounds after brewing up your morning beverage, give one of these ideas a try.
1. Coffee grounds are wonderful at exfoliating your hair.
To exfoliate hair, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, depending on hair length. In the shower, wet hair thoroughly. Massage grounds through hair focusing on the scalp. It helps to part the hair and work in sections. Once you have covered the whole scalp, thoroughly wet the hair again. Don’t try to rinse the grounds out as it won’t work. Use your shampoo to work up a nice lather. Then you can rinse it all out. A second shampooing may be necessary. Finish with your normal conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse.
2. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants.
Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes love acidic soil!
3. Neutralize refrigerator odors.
Placing them in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.
4. Weigh Down Ashes for Fireplace Clean-up:
If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, those old coffee grounds will become your best friend. When it is time to clean out the ashes, cover them with a layer of wet coffee grounds to moisten and weigh them down. This will greatly reduce the amount of ash that will float up and coat your living room when you scoop them out.
5. Pest Repellent
Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of used grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.
For this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re discussing “how to start a compost pile.”
The EPA estimates that 22 percent of solid waste that enters the landfill is food.
Composting is a perfect way to divert a lot of that organic matter away from the landfill. While it’s still important to cut down on food waste by eating leftovers and using up produce before it goes bad, no one is perfect. So, composting the kitchen waste that can’t be saved is a great way to reduce food waste.
How to start a compost pile
Starting a compost pile requires a few simple steps: creating the compost heap, adding organic materials, and watering and turning the compost as necessary.
Creating your compost heap
Location – One of the most important factors for starting a compost pile is its location. Choose an open, level area with good drainage. You do not want your compost to sit in standing water. An area with partial sun or shade is also ideal. Too much sun can dry the pile out, while too much shade can keep it overly wet. Finally, choose a site that is easy for you to get to and avoid areas near dogs or other meat-eating animals.
Size – The recommended size for a compost pile is generally no smaller than 3 feet high and wide and no larger than 5 feet. Anything smaller may not heat up efficiently and anything larger may hold too much water and become difficult to turn. It is recommended to start your pile on the bare ground rather than on asphalt or concrete. This impedes aeration and inhibits microbes. Placing a pallet underneath the pile is fine, however, if you prefer.
Adding organic materials
Many organic materials can be composted, but there are some items that you should keep out of your compost pile.
Carnivorous pet feces (e.g. dog, cat)
Diseased plants, or weeds that have seeded Human waste Charcoal or coal ash (wood ash is ok though)
The key materials for composting are nitrogen/greens and carbon/browns. When starting a compost pile, the recommended practice is to layer or alternate these greens and browns, the same way as you would for making lasagna.
Your bulkier organic materials do best in the first ground layer, so start with a layer of browns, such as twigs (less than ½ inch in diameter) or straw, about 4 to 6 inches.
Next, add in some green materials, such as kitchen waste and grass clippings, again about 4 to 6 inches thick. Additionally, animal manure and fertilizers serve as activators that accelerate the heating of your pile and provide a nitrogen source for beneficial microbes.
Continue to add layers of nitrogen and carbon materials until you reach the top or run out. Lightly water each layer as it is added, firming it down but do not compact.
Watering and turning the compost
Your compost pile should be moist, but not soggy. Most of your water will come from rain, as well as the moisture in green materials, but you may need to water the pile yourself on occasion. If the pile gets too wet, you can turn it more frequently to dry it or add more brown materials to soak up excess moisture. Once you turn the pile the first time, these materials will get mixed together and compost more efficiently. Keeping the compost pile turned on a frequent basis will help with aeration and speed up decomposition. Using these simple instructions for composting, you will be well on your way to creating the ideal compost for your garden.
These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: low carb, soy free
2lbsbeef roast thinly sliced *I've also used loin flap meat and it's so easy to slice and cook
1/2cupvegetable or beef broth
1red onionthinly sliced
4tbspoilolive, coconut, avocado, etc
1tspapple cider vinegaroptional
Pitas or Naan bread
grape tomatoes quartered
Feta or goat cheeseoptional, use container to measure
1cupplain Greek yogurt
1/2cupcucumber peeledseeded, and chopped finely
1tspsalt and pepper
Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pot warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pot and let it get hot.
Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.
Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset, cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes.
Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method.
While the gyro meat is cooking mix together the Tzatziki sauce and slice your vegetable toppings. For added flavor, drizzle apple cider vinegar and olive oil over vegetables.
Note: To make your gyro, layer the lettuce at the bottom of the pita or naan bread. Then add your meat, toppings, and sauce. This will keep the pita or naan from getting soggy. Nutrition Calories: 395 cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2.5% | Vitamin C: 5% | Calcium: 6.9% | Iron: 18.1%
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Plunge tomatoes into the boiling water and immediately remove to a medium bowl of ice water; drain. Remove and discard skins from tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until tomatoes are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in olives, wine, capers, lemon juice, and 1/2 the basil. Reduce heat, blend in Parmesan cheese, and cook until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
Place flounder in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over the fillets and top with remaining basil leaves.
Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.
In this salad, we combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries, peaches and added prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced and flavor-packed dish. Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer.
My word, today is just perfect. Too perfect in fact, to be inside slaving in front of the stove for dinner tonight. In just 20 minutes this delightfully fresh dish is on the table without the need of an oven heating up the whole house. Let Grandma Antoinette help you with dinner <3
Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.
Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out under cold running water and remove all fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
Put chicken into a small baking pan. Rub with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, paprika and cayenne pepper together and sprinkle over chicken.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and continue roasting to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 40 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccoli, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation.
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.
Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a broiler-safe baking pan or on a baking sheet. Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.
2skinless boneless chicken breast halvescut into cubes
2sweet potatoespeeled and chopped
½poundwhite button mushroomsthinly sliced
1pinchcrushed red pepperor more to taste
1pinchpaprikaor more to taste
1pinchsea salt or more to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, paprika, and sea salt with the onion and garlic in the saucepan. Pour as much chicken broth into the saucepan to make the mixture as soup-like or stew-like as you’d like it.
Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
“Use an array of colorful veggies to make this healthy shrimp salad pop. Cooking the shrimp with fresh herbs and garlic infuses them with flavor without coming off too strong for a light dinner salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining.”
1¼poundsraw shrimp21-25 count, peeled and deveined
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
10sprigs fresh thyme
3large heirloom tomatoeschopped
½cupchopped fresh basilplus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Toss shrimp with oil, thyme and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the shrimp are pink and firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl (discard thyme and garlic). Add lemon juice and stir to coat. Gently stir in cucumber, tomatoes and basil. Arrange the shrimp and vegetables in a serving bowl. Serve drizzled with any dressing left in the bowl and garnish with more basil, if desired.
The Romanesco broccoli is technically an edible flower and is easily recognized by its eye-catching fractal appearance. It is grown in the region of Lazio, home to Rome and hence its name. In Italy, you find it typically consumed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It has a delicate nutty flavor making it easily adaptable to various preparations and is a favorite ingredient in Italian soups just like this one.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: low fat
Author: Grandma Antointte
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
2small carrotfinely chopped
1rib celeryfinely chopped
7ouncesRomanesco broccoli (a large head)tough parts discarded, chopped
4small potatoespeeled and chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrot, shallot, and celery; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Romanesco broccoli and potatoes.
Pour hot water into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
These wedges of juicy watermelon are topped with nondairy coconut yogurt and berries that make for a crisp and refreshing dessert. For kids snacks, leave the wedges blank and let everyone add their own toppings to the yogurt.
"My favorite recipes are ones with few ingredients that I normally have on hand, you'll love it too!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free
Author: Grandma Antoinette
2large bell pepperssliced into thin strips
1/3cupred wine vinegar
1 1/2poundsflank steakcut into thin strips
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, and garlic in oil until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour soy sauce, honey, and red wine vinegar in pan, then add beef. Cook beef, stirring frequently, until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked vegetables, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
Grandma’s lighter take on eggplant parmesan maintains all the flavors of the classic dish but is baked instead of fried. This is a household favorite here & is bound to be in your house too. Besides being delicious, there are 11 grams of filling protein in this hearty vegetarian dish.
Preheat oven to 400°Coat two baking sheets and an 8-by-11½-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut eggplants crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Whisk egg whites and water in a shallow dish until frothy. Combine breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, salt and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg-white mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. (Discard any leftover breadcrumbs and egg white.) Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.
Stir basil into tomato sauce. Spread about ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add a layer of the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes
I have come to discover Alexis Kornblum’s wonderful website, Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, and her creative cooking. From her healthy food section, I would like to start a series that provides nourishing recipes. You can expect to find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, refined sugar-free, soy-free, and vegan-friendly recipes. Each time, a dinner, snack, dressing, drink, or treat will be featured.