Thursday, April 23, 2015

#WasteNot 30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Today is my second day of the #WasteNot challenge, sponsored by Travel Well Magazine. Here's something you've seen on the blog before: our glass milk bottles.

Living Design: Waste Not Day 1 Glass Milk Bottles

Dairy delivery is a big thing in Colorado, and the dairy we chose was already delivering to many of the homes in our neighborhood. They use all glass bottles, which we rinse out and put outside for the delivery person to take back. The bottles get reused by the dairy until they break. The only "trash" is the lid, but it's actually a recyclable plastic!

We love that by getting all dairy products in these glass bottles, we don't have lots of plastic milk jugs going into the recycling or those Tetrapaks which can't really be recycled at all.

How do you reduce your garbage? Join the challenge, and share in the comments too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#WasteNot 30 Day Challenge: Day 1

While I was gone for a wedding in NYC this last weekend, my awesome friend Ali started posting pictures of steps she takes towards a zero waste lifestyle on Facebook. She was tagging them with #wastenot, but since I was relying purely on my phone for internet it wasn't until today that I got to actually find out about the 30 day challenge she was doing, sponsored by Travel Well Magazine. That's a challenge I can get on board with! The official rules for the contest require a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post, but I wanted to share on the blog as well. So, for the next 30 days I'll be sharing different ways I work to reduce my trash and make my footprint on the earth that much smaller.

To start off with, here's an exciting piece of mail we received:

Yep, we have approval to put in a compost bin! 

Our HOA is pretty lenient compared to most, and I did get a little designer-nerdy and draw up very detailed VectorWorks plans of exactly what I plan to do. Since the best location for the compost bin is on the side of the house that faces the street, my proposal includes using lattice fencing to block it and then planting perennial shade-lovers in front. So hopefully in just a few short weekends of work we will have a compost bin and lattice up, and I will be able to toss almost all of our food scraps in there instead of in the garbage. Plus, by next summer (if not sooner) I'll have "free" compost instead of spending money on bags and bags of it at the store in order to amend our very sandy soil.

Do you compost? How else do you reduce waste? Join the 30 Day Challenge and post in the comments!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Laundry Room Updates

I've been doing theater work again, so the house progress slowed a little over the last few months. But with the warmer weather I have been feeling that itch to keep painting and putting my own stamp on the house! While we were out doing errands last weekend we popped into Cost Plus, and as always I had to look at all the pretty things. I found some knobs that gave me the push I needed to start working on the laundry room to give it a new, fresh look. Here's what it looks like right now:

Living Design Laundry Room Updates

There are so many different shades of tan/beige in this house! We have extra paint from my office, so I'll be using that nice pale blue-grey to give the laundry room a clean, crisp feeling. I also want to get all of my cleaning supplies a bit more organized; the actual cleaners and such go in one of those upper cabinets, but the Swiffer and mop don't really want to just lean in the corner there!

Back to the knobs. The cabinets had these shiny brass knobs:

Living Design Laundry Room Updates

There's nothing necessarily wrong with them, but I'm not a fan of the shiny brass and it wouldn't look as good with the blue-grey. So when I saw these cool glass knobs with little bubbles, I thought they were perfect for a laundry room!

Living Design Laundry Room Updates

They dress up the cabinets a bit, and I think the bubbles are a bit whimsical for a laundry room without being something too trendy or over-the-top.

I can't wait to keep working on this room and making it more personal and functional for us!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 3.15.15

I missed posting my meal plan last week, which was OK because we ended up doing a lot of leftover meals -- I had some soups and such stockpiled in the freezer that we put a good dent into. But I'm back to a proper meal plan this week, so here's what we'll be eating:

Sunday: tortellini alfredo

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: baked eggs with sausage and kale

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Swedish meatballs (I love Swedish meatballs, but have never made them from scratch. I'm curious to see how this recipe turns out)

Friday: chicken curry and spicy eggplant with tomatoes (eggplant recipe from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes)

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 3.1.15

The last couple weeks we've ended up with more leftovers than predicted, so I've shifted the new meals by a day or two. So, the first part of this week will look like a repeat of last week as I get us back on schedule and we eat up those leftovers!

Sunday: Balsamic Pot Roast and vegetables (sides will be based on what looks good at the store)

Monday: currywurst

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: slow cooker chickpea stew

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken with vegetables

Saturday: neighborhood dinner

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eating Locally: Discovering our Co-op

Back in California, eating local, organic and humanely raised food was relatively simple. Sure it took more than a simple trip to the supermarket, but there were so many options for CSAs, a wealth of farmer's markets year-round, and even locally owned grocery stores that stocked great CA-grown products. We belonged to both a fruit/veggie CSA and a meat CSA, bought our eggs directly from a farmer at the farmer's market, and had access to an amazing number of resources for the kind of food we want to buy.

After moving to Colorado, I can see just how spoiled for options California is!

Here, the growing season is much shorter than I was used to (year round crops in CA, roughly May-Oct in CO). The farmer's markets ended before we even moved into our house, and they won't start up again until May. There are fewer CSA options, and most are only available during the summer. When I go to the grocery store, most of the fruit and vegetables are brought in from CA!

So imagine how happy I was when a neighborhood friend invited me to join her at a meet and greet for the High Plains Food Co-op. It is a network of local farmers (again, cue the shock as I realize "local" here includes Kansas and Nebraska, which are both closer to Denver than Los Angeles is to San Francisco) and the co-op facilitates sales directly to the consumer. Transparency is important, and all the farmers welcome visitors. All of the meat is humanely raised, and some farms are certified organic -- not all have gone through certification, but all follow organic principles. There are free range and pastured eggs for less than the cost of store-bought cage free eggs. There is even a farmer who sells heritage wheat flours! The vegetable selections are limited right now, and the fruit selections are only dried or jams, but I'm looking forward to seeing those offerings come spring.

Living Design Eating Locally Discovering Coop High Plains

For our first order, we got the following:

  • 1 dozen pastured eggs
  • 1 package of German bratwurst
  • cheddar sampler pack (3 varieties, about 1lb total)
  • lamb shanks
  • triticale flour
  • heritage turkey red flour
  • ground beef
  • chuck roast
  • whole roasting chicken
They even gave us an insulated tote to keep everything cold, which I will reuse for future orders. We haven't tried everything yet, but so far we are happy with this resource for good, humane, locally raised food.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Eating Locally: Our Dairy Delivery

One of our amazing foodie discoveries since moving to Colorado has been dairy delivery. When we were touring homes with our realtor, we noticed that many had a cooler on the front porch with the name of one of two dairies. Our realtor told us that these dairies are both locally owned, and they deliver fresh milk and other products throughout the Metro area.

After the craziness of moving settled down, we did some research and settled on Longmont Dairy for our needs. They own their own cows, practice organic farming (though they're not currently certified) and best of all they deliver all milk products in glass bottles! Each week, the night before our delivery day, we set out the clean empty bottles in the cooler, and in the morning we have a new bottle of fresh milk.
Living Design Eating Locally Our Dairy Delivery Longmont

If you're in the Denver area and looking into dairy delivery, here are some of my thoughts on Longmont Dairy:

-they have a three item minimum per delivery. We tend to get milk, orange juice and eggs, and change it up every once in a while (the photo above shows milk, whipping cream and half-and-half, which I got so I could make ice cream)

-they have amazing seasonal eggnog. It's a good thing it's a short season.

-prices seem to be comparable to purchasing the same quantity of organic milk at the grocery store, but you don't have to run to the store for "just one thing" and come out with extra

Overall, we love the ease and convenience. Plus, for once the convenient thing is also the one that produces less waste -- the lids go in the recycling bin but the bottles are returned and reused. Our neighbors were already getting this same delivery service, so the truck would already be stopping on our street -- no extra gas used.

And, the milk is really delicious and tastes fresh!

Do you have dairy delivery in your area? What do you think about it? Share in the comments!