Observations on Kitchen & Dining behaviours

There is power in deliberation. Conscious inaction can be a good thing. At the beginning of my journey, I kept myself in a state of growing awareness. Mindfulness helped me know what to do and allowed me to set a plan that was tailored to my unique lifestyle and social situation.

Let’s break this down into small bite sized pieces. In this post, we can take a moment to observe our Kitchen & Dining behaviours:

  • Food waste: Are you finishing the meals you prepare? Do items go dormant in the fridge until they’re thrown away? Recognise patterns.
  • Animal consumption: Count the number of animal products used to make a meal i.e Ricotta + Chicken = 2. Take note of anything you could live without.
  • Dormant appliances: Consider that the items in your kitchen should work for the space they occupy. How often is each item put to work? Are they paying their way?
  • Disposables: Do you use plastic wrap, paper towels, disposable wipes or silicon-coated baking paper? Observe your reliance on these items.

This might seem like it’s only for zero waste beginners, but we can all take a moment to observe where we are at. None of us are perfect. There are insights and opportunities in observations. Be patient with yourself. A change is coming…


Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35

Today, I have an astounding hangover after a fun night away with new friends.

Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35. For those not in Australia, that’s *incredibly* cheap. I got a massive bag of field mushrooms, 6 large cans of tomatoes, 5 packets of spaghetti, 1 large jar of olives and a giant zucchini for the price of 10 takeaway coffees. In light of #fashionrevolutionweek, the low price of my food begged the questions #whomademyfood#whogrewmyfood? Were they paid and treated fairly? Nope.

It helps me grow and learn when I call out my own hypocrisy. I like to think that this mindfulness can balance me out and will prevent me from being too pious or evangelical about my lifestyle choices. My purchase was ethical in one way but not in another:
✅ Vegan
✅ Almost plastic free
✅ Some items entirely package free
✅ Meal was for staff and volunteers of a charity working to build resilience in the pacific in light of climate change.
❌ Food purchased at @colessupermarketswho (among other questionable business practices) subsidises their costs through pokie/slot machines
❌ Ingredients were not ethically sourced / Farmers may have not been treated fairly to produce this food
❌ Non organic / GMO food
❌ Spaghetti made by Barilla who also have reeeally messed up ethical standards.

One thing’s for sure: I did not let the red wine go to waste last night. Today, I meditated in the sun because I’ve forgotten to look after myself these past few weeks. Look after your planet, your body, your mind and others each and every day. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Especially not me


Mind boggling zero waste dairy.

This is a post for all my non-vegan earth lovers and for anyone, like me, whose mind is boggled by zero waste dairy. It gets easier. Our approach is to seek out recyclable, reusable or byo packaging and generally eat more plants. While our health and well-being are paramount, we feel that any effort in favour of plant-rich foods should be applauded.

As Michael Pollan says…

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Here’s some food for thought on zero waste dairy:

  • Adopt something plant-based: I’m a non vegan ex-cheese snob who loves soy milk, coconut yoghurt, nut butter; and macadamia feta. I’ve tried cashew Parmesan and discovered that it’s easier to make myself. It’s great on roast vegetables. As a result, I’m now cooking with nutritional yeast. It’s not always peachy. When our soy boccocini melted into a ‘pearl jam’ consistency, I must admit I struggled to find it appealing 😜
  • Ask questions: By popular demand, a couple of local dairy farmers are now stocking milk in refillable glass bottles. We want to be a voice in that popular demand. For me, it still takes courage, but I’m getting used to saying “I’m trying to reduce my plastic use, would it be ok to put this in my own container?” I’m looking forward to a day when I can buy soy milk in glass too. We also return egg cartons for reuse.
  • Avoid plastic: We have found milk, yoghurt and cheese in glass or paper packaging from local suppliers. We buy parmesan in bulk to reduce packaging overall. It’s a conundrum for me that many vegan options are not yet plastic-free in Australia.
  • Favour local, ethical farmers: We’re lucky enough to live near ethical farmers. When we do buy dairy, we’ll try to support those that are not only ensuring that animals live well, but they also support environmentally sustainable practises in agriculture. Meat and dairy industries vary across the world, so this one takes a bit of research. I’m forever learning and try to be mindful of bias, propaganda and greenwashing.
  • Make it yourself: I experimented with homemade yoghurt and it’s surprisingly easy! Am yet to make vegan milk, but the recipe for almond milk seems like a no brainer.

Zero waste plastic free dairy and vegan alternatives

Zero waste plastic free dairy and vegan alternatives

Plant-based cheese review from a cheese snob!!

My French-influenced upbringing made me a cheese fiend for most of my life. I understood the difference between cheeses before I knew how to multiply. When I was 3, I liked smoked gouda. When I was 8, my preference was brie. Just like a fine cheese, I was well cultured. Later in life, when I lived with my best friend and vegan buddy, I actually found it easy to be vegan at home… except for cheese.

Soy boccocini

The bocconcini is ok. The texture matches its dairy counterpart. It melts in an unfamiliar and less attractive way though (it looks like ‘pearl jam’ when melted). It’s soy-based but doesn’t have a soy after-taste (note that I might be biased because I love soy milk). It tastes creamy.

In use: Do not melt. Add to salads and serve cold. 

Cashew cheese

The cashew cheese is astoundingly delicious but you can make this yourself for a fraction of the price. Just grind up some cashews, salt and yeast and save a heap of dollaridoos (As a bonus: Add silken tofu for a creamy vegan béchamel sauce). This jar is far too expensive for what it is but I like that they have exposed how easy it is to substitute the flavour of Parmesan sprinkles. To me, this mimics the cheap Parmesan flakes, not the actual cheese block.

In use: Sprinkle on roast vegetables before putting in the oven. Then make your own after this runs out.


By demand: Why am I not vegan?

My dietary requirement is “vegetarian-preference / no onion”. By demand, here’s your “Why isn’t she vegan?” post 😜

Our household has three humans and a dog 😀🙃🤓🐺. One of us is diabetic. By eating more nuts, mushrooms and leafy greens, all three humans have reduced their meat/dairy intake significantly. I take a non-pious, anti-evangelical approach to environmentalism. This is why I will never tell a friend what they should/shouldn’t eat or how their plastic product is polluting our planet. I maintain a positive, supportive stance, forever learning from others. Ensuring psychological safety is paramount.

When I cut out major meat consumption 8 years ago, I decided to only boycott beef, lamb and pig. This way, my partner (who is such a great cook that he should be a chef #justsayin) can still experiment with different cooking styles. If he wants to cook red meat, we have kangaroo. One dose of red meat per week seems to work well. I’m ok with this low level of consumption.

I eat butter, eggs, cheese and occasionally ice cream. I do prefer vegan butter but not as much as I love my mates. We all drink soy milk because it prevents food waste.

Why I’m not vegan or vegetarian:

  1. Onion-free vegetarian food is hard to come by (chicken or fish is often the low-onion option at restaurants).
  2. I love my husband.
  3. I love cheese. It’s one thing my family can bond over.
  4. I want to support diversity in meat consumption ie kangaroo & emu to reduce soil salinity and rabbit, buffalo and camel to keep numbers down.
  5. I’ve learnt that it’s easier to be zero waste if you’re vegan. I am inspired to find a way to make meat/dairy more inclusive to zero waste living.
  6. I don’t believe in absolutes.

💚 Thanks to the increasing awareness of Fodmap diets, I’m able to reduce my chicken and fish intake. Thanks to the growing popularity of kangaroo meat, I’m able to support this farming practice. Thanks to inspiring vegan friends, I’m aware of how to balance nutrition for a low meat / high exercise lifestyle.


Making the most of excess food

Yum! This Brocolli from our @ceresfairfood delivery is bigger than my head. I guess this size would have been rejected by major supermarket chains?
For excess food, I get my inspiration from @pinterest. I plan to cook this for stir-fry, ramen, pasta, soup, potato bake, etc and make broccoli pesto from the stalks.


DIY apple cider vinegar

When life gives you old apples, make apple cider vinegar. My second attempt is a roaring success. It can be made with skins and core or the whole apple. Must be mixed regularly to avoid the yucky mould.
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I use apple cider vinegar for healthy digestion, hair conditioning rinse and clay face masks but it has a multitude of uses beyond this.