My Zero Waste Journey So Far

I started this journey towards zero waste about 3 years ago and have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go. I thought it might be helpful if I documented some of the milestones, so I could have a better sense of where I am and where I want to go.

Changes I’ve Made


In The Bathroom

  • Conventional Toothpaste to Homemade
  • Plastic disposable toothbrush to compostable Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Plastic disposable razor to Stainless Steel Safety Razor

  • Shower Gel to Bar of Soap
  • Microbead scrubs to homemade salt/sugar scrubs
  • Feminine Hygiene artificial pads for reusable Bamboo menstrual pads
  • Factory produced lotions and creams in plastic containers to Homemade
  • Disposable cotton face wipes for washable reusable bamboo face wipes/pads

In The Kitchen:


  • Disposable artificial J-Cloths and scrubbers to Coconut Scrubbing brush and wooden brush
  • Artificial Sponges in kitchen and bathroom to Loofahs
  • Foraging for wild foods

  • Artificial coasters to wooden coasters
  • Artificial placemats to Slate placemats


  • Cartoons of Soya, Rice & Oat Milk to homemade Oat milk in glass bottle
  • Cartoons of various creams to homemade Chickpea cream
  • Plastic bin bags to Compostable bags


  • Tea bags to Loose Tea
  • Tupperware containers to glass and tins
  • Plastic electric kettle for stainless steel hob kettle

Out & About


  • Plastic Water Bottles to Stainless Steel & Bamboo Water Bottle
  • Plastic disposable Straw for Glass straw [waiting for bamboo straw to arrive]
  • Plastic disposable Cutlery for reusuable compostable Wheat Straw Cutlery set
  • Plastic bags for cotton & linen tote bags
  • Disposable Tissues for reusable cotton Hankies

Other Changes I’ve Made

  • Using 2 litre plastic milk containers as funnels, jugs, storage, planters…
  • Cereal boxes now recycled as drawer dividers and sorters. also reused as gift boxes
  • All glass jars reused for storage, organisation, homemade cosmetics…
  • Cardboard Egg cartons used to start off seeds
  • Resealable plastic bags used as freezer bags
  • Horse Chestnut soap used instead of conventional detergent [seasonal]


Changes I still want to Achieve

  • Swap plastic disposable biros for reusable bamboo&steel fountain pens
  • Start using Shampoo and conditioner bars
  • Make my own Beeswax Food wraps
  • Buy Tiffin tins/stainless steel canisters
  • Acquire a Glass tea infuser bottle


  • Make my own soap from left over oil
  • Acquire an oil lamp for emergencies

In Conclusion
I’ve had as many failures as successes over the last three years with my endavours to live in a more sustainable way but learnt as much from the failures, as I did the successes.Its been a remarkable and fascinating journey, often not easy but always rewarding. The sense of self-sufficiency, greater connection with the world around me and a greater awareness of how everything and everyone is connected.

I look forward to sharing my continuing adventure on the zero waste journey with you. xx

P.S. Here is a short video of one of the inspiring zero wasters I follow that sum up how I feel perfectly!


The Terrible Shortage of Bread During Storm Emma, & How To Make Wild Yeast SourDough Starter at Home and Never Need Buy Bread Again! :)


Storm Emma is finally over here in Ireland and most people are recovering from serious cabin fever, freezing pipes, electricity lines down and food shortages. Its been a long few days of artic winds, snow and ice but the thing everyone has been talking about is that most vital of necessities, Bread!

Supermarkets were mobbed in the hours leading up to the storm and all around the country, as the weather worsened, our national love of slice pan grew to new heights with dozens of memes on facebook, twitter and instagram about the bread crisis, so I thought a post on how to make your own bread would be timely.

Sourdough bread is one of the most nutritious and expensive of breads but couldn’t be easier to make yourself at home and once you know how, you need never be without again! 🙂


Why Wild Yeast SourDough is Good For You

  • Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index — a measure of how high and how quickly blood sugar spikes after eating a food — than bread made with commercial yeast. This makes it a better choice for people with, or at risk for, diabetes.
  • Sourdough makes certain minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium, and others) in whole grains more available for absorption by our bodies by facilitating the breakdown of phytic acid, a compound in grain bran that inhibits mineral absorption.
  • Once you have a start of natural yeast, you can have it for the rest of your life. You can dry it, freeze it, keep it in the fridge, or grow it on your kitchen counter.

To Make a Sourdough Starter/ Mother, you will need:

  • Clean glass or enamel bowl
  • Clean spoon
  • Clean dishtowel
  • 2 cups good quality white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups good water
  • More flour and water on hand to feed the starter for the first week


On Day 1

  • Mix your 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water in the bowl, with the spoon, and cover with the dishtowel. Leave it out on the counter in the kitchen.
  • If there is any wild yeast floating around in your kitchen (and there probably is), it will begin to grow in your yeast trap, also known as your bread and water mixture.
  • Bubbling indicates the yeast is growing, feeding and respiring. Those bubbles are what make your bread rise.

On Day 2

  • Feed your starter 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup water. You won’t get it perfectly smooth, just a few swipes with a clean spoon to incorporate the flour and water is good enough; the yeast will do the rest.
  • If you see a clear fluid on top of the mother when you check it, that is fine, just stir it back in when you feed her/the mother/starter. The fluid is alcohol which is a result of the metabolism of yeast and acts as a natural preservative for your starter and adds flavor to your bread.

On Day 3, do the same as day one and day two.

Keep on doing this until you have reached Day 7. At this point, you should use or discard some of the starter, and refrigerate the mother in a glass container.


IF you see any kind of mold or pinkish fluid on your starter – it is no good! Throw it out at once! The lovely trap of flour and water is desirable to many microorganisms, but the only one that we want to catch is the wild bread yeast. You may unwittingly catch some other kind. Just throw it out and try again with fresh and very clean bowl, spoon, and towel.


Taking Care Of Your SourDough Starter/Mother

  • Once you’ve successfully created your starter, you’ll need to feed it regularly.
  • If you bake a lot of sourdough treats, you may want to keep it on your counter, at room temperature. While this means feeding it twice a day, it also means your starter will be ready to bake with at the drop of a hat (er, oven mitt).
  • However, many of us don’t want the commitment of twice-a-day feedings. If you’re a more casual sourdough baker, it’s possible to store your starter in the refrigerator, feeding it just once a week.

Maintaining your starter at room temperature

Room temperature is the best environment for the yeast and lactobacilli that inhabit your starter, and you can learn a lot about your starter by observing a twice-a-day feeding regimen with the starter at room temperature.

If you’re willing to maintain your starter at room temperature by feeding it twice a day, here’s how:

Stir the starter well and discard all but 1/2 cup (4 ounces). Add 4 ounces water and 4 ounces All-Purpose Flour to the 1/2 cup of starter. Mix until smooth, and cover. Repeat every 12 hours.

A note about room temperature: the colder the environment, the more slowly your starter will grow.

Maintaining your starter in the refrigerator

  • For most home bakers, daily feeding is impractical; so you’ll need to store your starter in the refrigerator, and feed it once a week.
  • Take the starter out of the fridge. There may be a bit of light amber or clear liquid on top. Either drain this off, or stir it in, your choice; it’s alcohol from the fermenting yeast.
  • Remove all but 4 ounces starter. Use this “discard” to make pancakes, waffles,cake, pizza, flatbread, or another treat; Or, simply give to a friend so they can create their own starter.
  • Add 4 ounces lukewarm water and 4 ounces flour to the remaining starter. Mix until smooth, and cover.
  • Allow the starter to rest at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours; this gives the yeast a chance to warm up and get feeding. After about 2 hours, refrigerate.


Getting ready to Bake Your First SourDough Bread

If you’ve been maintaining your starter at room temperature, you may want to increase the volume of starter to the amount needed for your recipe. You can do this by feeding your starter without discarding; or by discarding, and feeding it 8 ounces flour and 8 ounces water.

If your starter has been refrigerated, you’ll want to both increase its volume, and raise its activity to a more energetic level. You can do this by giving it a couple of feedings at room temperature.

Take the starter out of the fridge, discard all but 4 ounces, and feed it as usual with 4 ounces water and 4 ounces flour. Let it rest at room temperature for about 12 hours, until bubbly. Repeat as necessary, every 12 hours, until you notice the starter doubling or tripling in volume in 6 to 8 hours. That means it’s strong enough to leaven bread.

For the final feeding, make sure you add enough flour and water to use in your recipe, with a little left over to feed and maintain the starter for the next time you bake.

For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 cup (about 8 ounces) starter, add 4 ounces each water and flour. If your recipe calls for 2 cups (about 16 ounces) starter, add 8 ounces each water and flour.

Once the starter is bubbling and vigorous, remove what you’ll need for the recipe and set it aside. Feed the remaining starter with 4 ounces flour and 4 ounces water. Mix until smooth, and allow the starter to work for about 2 hours at room temperature before putting it back in the refrigerator.


How To Make Sourdough Bread

  • Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it’s doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  • Gently divide the dough in half; it’ll deflate somewhat.
  • Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10″ to 11″ logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
  • Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
  • Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

In Conclusion

So now you know how to make your own bread. Its the most simple and basic of human skills but once you have this skill, self sufficiency and the joy and pleasure of freshly baked homemade bread is yours forever.


In The Meantime

Heres someone who loves the snow… 🙂

How To Make Creamy Vegan Vanilla & Chickpea Ice Cream



  • ¼ cup aquafaba (liquid from chickpeas)
  • 3 cups full fat coconut milk (2 cans)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 Tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 Icing sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  1. Place coconut milk in refrigerator at least 24 hours before making ice cream.
  2. In a bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the aquafaba on high for about 5-7 minutes or until it’s turned into a fluffy mixture that comes to stuff peaks.
  3. In a second bowl, mix together the coconut milk (both solid and liquid parts), vanilla bean paste, sugar, and sea salt.
  4. Gently fold whipped aquafaba in with coconut milk mixture, doing your best not to deflate the aquafaba.
  5. Once thick, spoon into a freezer-safe container, cover tightly, and freeze. Alternatively, you can eat it right away!
  6. To serve, remove from freezer about 10-15 minutes before scooping with an ice cream scoop that you’ve run under hot water.
Other Variations
  • Banana Ice Cream
  • Coconut Ice Cream
  • Raspberry Ice Cream

Next Time

I shall be making yummy Nutella [not vegan] ice cream, Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter and talking about all the other culinary experiments I’ve been doing! Xx

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P.S. Advice on How to Stay Well in This Wintery Weather from the wonderful Niamh at Fairyland Cottage

How To Make Delicious Vegan Cream & Tasty Carrot and Black Pepper Hummus


Aquafaba almost sounds like something you’d say to cast a spell. Fitting, because this is indeed a magical ingredient. But what is it? Simply Chickpea juice!

In my last post, I talked about my discovery of the astonishing countless uses of chickpeas. I continue to explore its many possibilities including gorgeous cream…

Aquafaba Chart1

Aquafaba has some unique properties, one of which is the ability to be whipped into stiff peaks like heavy cream or egg whites.

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This whipped topping is plant-based, making it suitable for vegans and those who may be dairy-intolerant.

  • 1 can unsalted chickpeas
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
  • Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
  • Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.
  • Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of chickpeas. Save the chickpeas for another use and transfer the liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large metal bowl if using a hand mixer.

Add the cream of tartar and vanilla and begin whipping at medium speed. Slowly add the sugar and continue to whip for about 10 to 15 minutes, until firm peaks with slightly softened tips form.

You can use this cream to make vegan meringues and pavlovas.


This cream is best used immediately, as it can begin to collapse quickly. If you’d like to make it in advance, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours and re-whip it for a few minutes to reform the stiff peaks.


How To Make Carrot and Black Pepper Hummous


  • 1 can chickpeas (roughly 2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas)
  • 2 Roasted Carrots
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon), plus more to taste
  • 1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper


  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas: Drain the chickpeas into a strainer and rinse under cool running water. If time and patience allows, pinch the skins from each of the chickpeas; this will make your hummus smoother.
  • Combine all ingredients in the food processor: Combine the chickpeas, roasted carrots, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of the food processor or blender.
  • Blend hummus until smooth: Process the hummus continuously until it becomes very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to integrate any large chunks.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings: Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste. If your hummus is stiffer than you’d like, add more lemon juice or olive oil to thin it out and make the hummus creamier.
  • Transfer to a bowl and serve: Scrape the hummus into a bowl and serve with pita chips or raw vegetables. Hummus will also keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


How To Make Tahini

Making tahini at home is easy and much less expensive than buying from the store. Tahini can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

Makes approximately 1/2 Cup


  • 1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil such as grape seed or a light olive oil
  • Pinch of salt, optional



  • Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly coloured (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely.
  • Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times.
  • Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable.
  • You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
  • Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in


Next Time

Over the weekend, I will be making Homemade Ketchup, vegan Aquafaba Butter and Creamy vanilla Chickpea Bean Ice Cream, so stay tuned for more healthy yummy recipes! 🙂



How to Make Tasty Chickpea Tofu, Zero Waste Chickpea Hair Mask and Fabulous Flax Milk


I recently discovered the many amazing benefits and uses of Chickpeas and the more I find out, the more I’m amazed. Chickpeas really are a wonder food.

Chickpeas help to increase satiety(feeling full), boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and more. Called Besan or gram flour, chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, and if there’s one food trend we think everyone can agree is here to stay, it’s gluten-free eating! It’s also high in protein, iron and fibre.


Look for dried chickpeas in the “bulk bin” section of your favourite health food store, where you will likely be able to find organic dried beans for sale at a very low cost. Dried beans remain fresh for a long time, so you don’t need to worry about buying too much and having them spoil.


It’s best to soak all dried beans overnight prior to cooking them, which helps to make them more digestible, to aid in absorbing their nutrients, and to decrease cooking time. Keep some dried beans in your kitchen for whenever you have some extra time to cook.


Tofu sets in about an hour and is soft and pillowy, with that slightly nutty chickpea flavour that I love.

The wonderful thing about this chickpea tofu recipe, apart from the fact that it’s a wonderful soy free alternative to tofu, is that it is also budget friendly too. Chickpea flour is relatively cheap especially if you are able to source it from an Indian grocer.tofuprocess

How To Make Tasty Chickpea Tofu

Chickpea flour is mixed with water to form a smooth batter. The batter thickens into a thick custard like consistency which sets and can be easily sliced.

You can use it as a substitute for soy tofu in many recipes. It does well in curries, tossed in dressing, in wraps, salads, also makes a great morning scramble, or egg salad!, breaded tofu etc.


Blend the chickpea flour water and spices into a smooth batter.

Cook over medium heat. the batter will start to get lumpy after a minute or so.

Keep stirring frequently.

The batter will eventually thicken evenly and become custard like.

Cook for another 2 minutes so the chickpea flour is cooked through.


You can taste the mix carefully at this point to ensure that the chickpea flour doesn’t taste raw and adjust salt if needed. the mixture will also start to come away from the pan

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and even it out using a spatula if needed. Let it cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour to set.

Remove the set slab from the pan.

Slice into cubes.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

The tofu can leak some moisture while it sits. drain and use.

Zero Waste Nourishing Chickpea Hair Mask


Top 10 Hair Care Benefits of Chickpeas/Besan

#1 Hair cleansing
This all-natural product is an excellent hair cleansing agent.

  • Make a runny paste of besan and water, and apply it to your hair.
  • Wash it out after 5-10 minutes for clean, shiny and chemical-free hair.
  • Make sure the paste isn’t too thick, or else you’ll have lumps stuck in your strands.

#2 For hair growth
Besan is a chemical-free product and it helps nourish hair in ways that no hair-growth shampoo will. Use gram flour for hair that bounces with health and beauty.

  • Make a thick-ish besan pack and apply it on your hair.
  • Wash it off thoroughly after 15-20 minutes.

#3 To prevent hair fall
Besan is not only good for hair growth, but it also prevents and stops hair fall.

  • Just whip up a hair pack using besan and half a bowl of curd
  • Apply this mixture to your hair
  • Do it regularly and you will notice a dramatic reduction in hair fall.

#4 For Healthy Hair
If you want nourished, healthy hair and do not believe in off-the-shelf treatments, try besan.

#5 For Long Hair
If hair is healthy and strong, it will grow long. By using besan regularly, as a cleanser or as a hair pack, you can get the long hair that you’ve always dreamed of but didn’t manage because of damaged strands.

  • You can make a deep-nourishing hair pack with besan, almond powder, curd, and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Coat your hair with this mask and wash off after it dries.
  • Do this twice a week for quick results.

#6 To fight dryness
Besan and curd is also a good way to beat dryness. Use this mask regularly for softer hair.

#7 For shiny hair
You can’t beat the result of hair coated with besan and washed with water drained from cooked rice. The shine that you get is unbeatable.

#8 As a natural conditioner
When you wash your hair with the besan runny paste, you don’t need to use a conditioner. The natural properties of besan will leave you with soft, manageable hair.

#9 To control frizz
If most shampoos and conditioners leave your hair frizzy and dry, opt for a besan wash instead to control frizz.

#10 To fight dandruff
Besan fights and controls dandruff, making it an essential component of your regular beauty regime. You can also use Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Shampoo for severe dandruff and then continue to use besan.

Homemade-Hair-Masks-for-womenTo Make The Hair Mask

Make a besan hair pack by mixing 1 egg white, 2 teaspoons besan, 1 teaspoon curd and ½ a teaspoon lemon juice.

Apply this paste to your hair all the way to the tips.

Wash it off with water after it dries. It may take several rinses to remove all the residues.

If any residues remains,it will brush out easily once the hair is dry.

flaxmilk-recipeHow To Make Fabulous Flax Milk


      1/2 cup (150g) flax seeds, any colour

        4.5 cups (~1L) cold water

          Maple syrup, vanilla, or dates for sweetening (optional)


            Rinse flax seeds.

              Place the seeds and cold water into the blender.

                Blend seeds on high for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.

                  Blend for 2 more minute, rest for 5 minutes.

                    Blend for 30 seconds.

                      Pour liquid through cloth or sieve and into large bowl, separating the pulp and the milk.

                        Be sure to squeeze the pulp by hand or using a spoon to ensure you extract all the milk out of the cloth/ strainer.

                          Rinse out blender and pour strained liquid back into blender.

                            Pulse milk for 30 seconds.

                              If you wish to sweeten the milk, add a dash of maple syrup, vanilla, or 1-2 dates to the milk and blend together until well combined.

                                Using a funnel, pour milk into an airtight glass container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

                                  Shake bottle well before each use

                                      No Waste!! To Use The Pulp left over:

                                        Spread the flax seed pulp onto a metal cookie tray.

                                          Bake the pulp in the oven on low heat (~150° F/ 65° C) until dry, between 1-2 hours.

                                            To make flax flour, transfer dry pulp to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds – 1 minute.

                                              Store flax flour in airtight jar in a cool, dark place.

                                                Add to smoothies, cereals, or baking recipes for a great source of fibre!

                                                Hummus-2Next Time

                                                I will be making sensational Chickpea Cream, Homemade Hummous and talking about Aquafaba: a revolutionary tale in the world of veganism! 🙂


                                                Ten Ways To Love Planet Earth On Valentine’s Day

                                                1) Go Plastic Free

                                                2) Switch off gadgets and lights when you leave a room


                                                3) Take the train, a bike or walk

                                                4) Use less

                                                5) Reuse what you already have


                                                6) Recycle when something isn’t reusable


                                                7) Don’t be afraid to speak up for the planet


                                                8) Make Your Own


                                                9) Switch to green energy

                                                10) Grow your own


                                                Happy Valentines Day!! xx

                                                P.s. here is a link to eco friendly free valentine’s Day ecards from WWF