As a follow up to my first Kitchen plastic rehab, I am continuing to work through the items in our kitchen where there is plastic. This is a process and I am always mindful that the goal is progress, not perfection. Plastic is everywhere in our lives and in our stores. It is difficult to steer clear of it entirely but I am trying to make every effort to do so. Our kitchen still has plastic, more than I would like to admit and I promise not to beat myself up about it.
In this second go around of our kitchen plastic rehab, I again employed my rule of tackling three items that we seem to consume the most frequently and tackle those items. I sit here drinking my Soda Steam bubble water with lime juice which was part of my kitchen rehab part one. I honestly love my soda stream and love that by now I have saved over 75+ plastic bottles from being used. My next 3 items I identified are:
- Deli meats + cheese items
- Coffee-mate creamer which is a guilty pleasure of my partner and I am going to try to sneak by my homemade version and see if he can tell the difference
We love to have our deli meats and cheeses to snack on around the house but they always come in soft plastic packaging. I have returned to the deli counter which I feel is how we got meat and cheese when I was a kid. It takes a bit more time and the service counter employees get a little confused when I say I don’t want it in the plastic bag. They usually have paper close by that they use for their sandwiches so I ask them to use that to wrap my meat and cheese instead of putting it in a plastic bag. I also ask them to cut it thin. The cheese that is already sliced sitting in the case is not always the freshest so I just tell them I want it sliced thin so I get it fresh. When I get home I put the meat and cheese in my Stasher Bags in the refrigerator. You will have to have some patience as it takes time and sometimes they don’t really understand why I don’t want the plastic bag. I think the more people who do this, the more it will become part of the way things are done.
Yogurt! I love my Greek yogurt and probably eat it 3 to 4 days a week. I keep it pretty simple and just eat plain yogurt and add dried berries or granola (bought in the bulk section). Obviously yogurt comes in a plastic cup. Ideally if you need to buy yogurt, it is better for the environment to buy the multi-serving yogurt vs. the single serve cup. Many natural grocers have french style yogurt in glass jars which are also a great option. If I am pinched for time due to a hectic work travel schedule or other busy life occasions, I will buy my yogurt in a glass jar or multi-serve container. However, I have been loving making my own yogurt at home to make progress on avoiding more plastic (and less waste in general) in my life. And will continue to do so, time permitting. The homemade yogurt I make is a lot less viscous than the Greek yogurt and I would describe it more like a yo-plait consistency which took a little getting used to.
Here is my recipe which makes 1 quart (easily doubled based on your consumption needs):
4 cups of milk (32 oz)- Whole or 2% worked better. Skim seemed to be a little bit too runny for my taste
1/4 cup of commercial yogurt with active cultures
3 quart or larger sauce pan. I use a stainless steel pot with a lid.
Instant read thermometer- Affiliate Link: Instant Read Thermometer
32oz jar for finished yogurt to store in refrigerator
Poor Milk into sauce pan and begin to heat on medium, stirring gently to avoid scorching the milk or allowing it to boil over.
Heat the milk slowly to 200 degrees and then remove from heat
Allow the milk to cool to about 115 degrees while stirring occasionally to prevent the skin from forming. If it does form, you can just stir it back in.
Thin the yogurt with the milk. Scoop about a 1/2 cup of warm milk and add it to the 1/4 cup of yogurt while whisking until smooth.
Whisk the thinned yogurt into the milk slowing.
Cover your pot with a lid and wrap in cloth towels to keep it warm as it sets. Transfer the pot to a turned off oven with the light on. Let it set in the oven for at least 4 hours. I tend to let it go 5 to 6 hours. The longer it sets, the thicker and more tart it will become.
Once done, I let it fully cool and then transfer the yogurt to a container, cover and place in the refrigerator. Homemade yogurt will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator. For my next batch, I save a 1/4 cup from my previous batch.
If you are not into this process, there is an option for a yogurt making machine.
Coffee-Mate… Not only is the ingredient list questionable but it also comes in plastic and my partner drinks it daily. So I decided to attempt to make some homemade coffee-mate which is quite simple and takes very little time. Since my partner drinks the sugar free vanilla Coffee-Mate, I made a version as close to that as possible. Here is the recipe:
14oz of condensed milk (I used Fat Free Borden)
14oz of milk (I used Fat Free here too)
Two tablespoons of sugar free Vanilla Syrup (Affiliate Link: Fat Free Vanilla Syrup) but there are tons of options to flavor to your liking
I put all three ingredients into a 32oz Jar and shake until well mixed. And then put it in the refrigerator. My partner has been using it. Success!
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