Sustainable Sunday: Detergent

Is that not the sexiest, most compelling title you’ve ever read on Bummed Out Bailey?

We don’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.

Lauren Singer*

We’re talkin’ both dishwasher and laundry detergents, here.

Good Swap

Swap chemical detergents for natural detergents.

Alright, so, you know how I’m poisoning the world by consuming massive amounts of prescription medications that then excrete through my urine, traces of which are never to be fully filtered out of the earth’s finite supply of water, slowly dosing every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a swig of Prozac? Well, our detergents do the same thing, except Tide and Cascade don’t leave you feeling mysteriously balanced like secret-water-SSRIs.

The things humans create and then put on and in our bodies don’t really ever leave us, meaning the royal “us,” meaning the planet. There’s not even a need to use harsh, unnatural chemicals to clean our clothes and dishes, because natural detergents can be just as effective. As a bonus, they’re gentler on our bodies and our ecosystem. You may not know this for a couple reasons:

  1. Hippie-dippy detergent brand X doesn’t have, like, Johnson & Johnson’s dope marketing budget
  2. You haven’t yet broken out into a sad rash from use of conventional detergent

Some brands that I like include Seventh Generation, ECOS, Puracy, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Automatic Dish Pacs
    1. Pro tip: The Mrs. Meyer’s basil scent smells like heaven.
  2. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Packs – Free and Clear

Laundry:

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Pacs (Various Scents)
  2. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs – Free and Clear

Better Swap

Swap natural detergent sold in flimsy, landfill-or-ocean-bound plastic bagging for natural detergent sold in firm, recyclable plastic containers.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel – Free and Clear

Laundry:

  1. ECOS 2X Ultra Natural Laundry Detergent, Lavender
  2. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
  3. Tide Pods Free and Gentle Laundry Detergent
Plath

ICYMI: You can’t Plath yourself in a washer. Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash


Best Swap

Swap natural detergent sold in firm, recyclable plastic containers for natural detergent sold in metal or glass jars or cardboard boxes.

Products I’ve used and liked:

Dishwasher:

  1. IF YOU CARE* Automatic Dishwasher Tablets
    1. One of my favorite, easiest swaps ever. I’ve subscribed to them on Amazon for years, and have even secretly subscribed my in-laws to them, too, without consultation, because that’s my creepy, sustainable swapping style. I figure if the tablets keep restocking, maybe the unspoken consensus will just be that some box of random tablets seems to be lasting an unusually long time.
    2. Seriously, I’ve used these tablets on five different dishwashers at this point and they’ve worked on… four. Yes, four, not five. I’m in the non-profit business of honesty, here, and my and Rick’s current postage stamp Upper West Side apartment came with a rinky-dink dishwasher that requires a total, complete rinse of dishes before going in. Truly, I’m not sure what it even does except act as bonus kitchen storage, because it seems it can’t even remove a loose breadcrumb. Rick gets all huffy about it and mostly only hand-washes now (with Mrs. Meyer’s basil-scented dish soap, of course), but I’m still holding on, diligently rinsing my dishes until they appear completely clean before placing them in the dishwasher with fresh hope every time. Anyway, the tablets left a speckled powder residue, and the dishes quite literally came out worse than before they went in. Because my dishwasher’s delicate sensibilities cannot make sense of or process tablets or powder, I reverted back to Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel – Free and Clear and plan to try Dropps‘ pods next.
    3. *The brand name “IF YOU CARE” gives me the giggles because it’s so quietly aggressive. Like, here’s some cleaning products if you even care about anything, ever, you monster. I like to imagine someone sobbing and saying “IF YOU CARE!” at an innocent bystander. [This asterisked information has been gratuitous.]
dirty dishes

Here’s what my dishes look like fresh out of the washer. Photo by Izz R on Unsplash

Laundry:

  1. Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods
  2. The Simply Co. Laundry Detergent

Nary a touch of plastic in sight! Break down the cardboard and recycle or, in the case of The Simply. Co, reuse the glass jars. (After a good wash, of course) I like to use them to store bulk grains/beans/nuts in the pantry.


Can you make your own detergents? Yes. Might the extremity scandalize/spark suspicion in loved ones/housemates? Also yes. Maybe start with a small swap and then venture to the DIY realm someday, if you like. I know! Make it like a cooked frog in boiling water (etc.)- you sneak new things into your household arsenal and, before they know it, whoever you live with is using soap berries that look like dried up, decrepit figs to assuage stains out of their clothes.

Extra Credit

Use reusable wool dryer balls (scented with essential oil of your choice, if you like) instead of one-time-use, mystery ingredient dryer sheets.

One small consumption change for you, one small improvement for our environment.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Lauren Singer is an environmentalist who does not generate any waste(!). You can shop her store, Package Free, online or at the brick and mortar store in Brooklyn post-pandemic. Read more about Lauren here, and watch her Ted Talk here– she’s inspiring.


Once a month I share a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.

If you like a photo used, please click through the link in the caption to support the artist.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Sustainable Sunday: Floss
Sustainable Sunday: Carrots
Sustainable Sunday: Ziplock Bags


The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Last, I leave you with this nice picture of a golden retriever I found.

Sustainable Sunday: Carrots

We don’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.

Lauren Singer*
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Swap: Instead of buying pre-packaged baby carrots, save money and some plastic by buying loose carrots, peeling them, then slicing them into sticks, coins, etc., whatever your preference.

You might be thinking, Well if I’m buying loose carrots don’t I have to put them in one of those plastic produce bags, anyway? Not necessarily! You can bring a plastic bag from home to reuse or just place the carrots in your cart bagless. Remember, not only will you wash your produce before use, but for this particular item you’ll also be cutting/peeling off all the parts that touched surfaces before consumption.

Rick is magical, but prefers prepackaged baby carrots for snacking. I do what I can- this is about effort, not perfection, after all! When I buy them, though, they often end up getting slimy before the bag is finished, even if they’d been transferred from the open bag to an airtight container.

Tips

I’ve found that carrots I’ve peeled and chopped myself last much longer, and loose/bulk carrots can also be rejuvenated! If they start getting wrinkly and sad in your vegetable crisper they can still be used in a hot dish, but they can also be given an ice water bath and perk back up for raw consumption.

I like to buy loose carrots for recipes, and being able to buy the exact number of needed carrots is also a great way to not over-buy. If you do have a surplus from your carrot bunch, coined or diced carrots are great to go into the freezer for easy use in future soups, curries, and stir fries. This also eliminates the plastic from bagged frozen vegetables. Loose carrots are also great to wash, peel, cut, and purée into baby food.

If you’re buying loose carrots for snacking, don’t throw them in the crisper and count on yourself to do the work when you’re in the moment of looking for a snack. If they’re not already cut up, it’s much easier to reach for something prepackaged, which not only indicates waste, but is likely something not as healthy. Instead, as a part of your grocery unpacking process, go ahead and wash and chop your carrots so they’re ready when you are.

One small consumption change for you, one small improvement for our environment.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Lauren Singer is an environmentalist who does not generate any waste(!). You can shop her store, Package Free, online or at the brick and mortar store in Brooklyn post-pandemic. Read more about Lauren here, and watch her Ted Talk here– she’s inspiring.


Once a month I share a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Sustainable Sunday: Floss
Recipe: Ginger Carrot Sweet Potato Soup (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan)


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Sustainable Sunday: Ziplock Bags

Disclosure: In case it’s not already abundantly clear, I have zero advertisers. Lol. So, please know that anything I feature on Sustainable Sunday posts are products I’ve simply researched and loved.


We don’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.

Lauren Singer*
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Swap: Instead of disposable ziplock bags, use reusable silicone storage bags that provide the same function without the waste.

Ziplocks are great for all types of things: storing ingredients and leftovers in the fridge or freezer, packing a lunch, keeping toys or small electronics, organizing toiletries, and preparing for trips. Hell, they even make a TSA-approved quart size bag for your liquids while traveling. But, the single or couple of uses of each bag before they hit the trash is a bummer.

There hasn’t really been a good alternative until reusable silicone storage bags came on the scene. Stasher makes multi-faceted bags in all different sizes and was founded by a regular parent trying to solve a problem packing her children’s lunches. Y’all know how much I love a small, woman-owned business! Some other companies that make reusable silicone bags are Earthsider, The Noble Narwhal, and Ziparoos. There are actually several versions on the market, so there are lots to choose from and many price points.

The bags are typically pricy, but so is buying disposable ziplocks over and over. Reusing disposable ziplocks can get unsanitary, and my favorite thing about the silicone bags is that most of them can go in the dishwasher. I just flip mine (Stasher) inside out and put it on the top rack. While Ziparoos are the most affordable version I’ve seen, something to consider is that dishwashers aren’t recommended for their product.

I only have one because I wanted to try them out before committing to several, and after months of use I still love and use it. I do still have disposable ziplocks in the house, but when the world starts to move again and I have a salary again (I graduate in three weeks!), I plan to fully switch over at some point.

One small consumption change for you, one small improvement for our environment.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Lauren Singer is an environmentalist who does not generate any waste(!). You can shop her store, Package Free, online or at the brick and mortar store in Brooklyn post-pandemic. Read more about Lauren here, and watch her Ted Talk here– she’s inspiring.


Once a month I share a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Sustainable Sunday: Floss
Recipe: “Chicken” Salad (Vegan) (Get it?! Cause you’d put a chicken salad sandwich in a ziplock bag)
Introducing Easy Sustainable Swaps!


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Recipe: THE Stew, AKA Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric (Gluten-Free + Vegan)

My best friend from high school, Alana, texted me asking simply if I’d made The Stew. Capital T, capital S. I hadn’t even heard it yet, and I’m supposed to be the one hip on popular recipes. BOB fail.

Anyway, she said it was so good and so many people had made it that its name had been dropped and was now just referred to as The Stew. I served it with some Thai jasmine rice, but that was entirely unnecessary. The Stew stands on its own!

Ingredients

1/4 c olive oil, more for serving
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 t minced ginger
several pinches sea salt
several pinches fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 t ground turmeric
1 t red pepper flakes, more for serving
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans full fat coconut milk, blended if necessary*
2 c vegetable stock
1 bunch rainbow chard (or Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens) stems removed and torn into small pieces
1 c mint leaves, for serving

*Sometimes, even with a good shake of the can, coconut milk will remain separated. In this case just plop it all into a blender and blend it for 5-10 seconds to make it smooth again.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, onion, and ginger, pinches of sea salt and pepper, and cook. Stir occasionally until onion is translucent, about three minutes.
  2. Add turmeric, red pepper flakes, and chickpeas, and season again with generous pinches of sea salt and pepper. Stir frequently while cooking so the chickpeas fry a bit in the spices and oil and start to break down a bit, about eight minutes. Remove ~1 c cooked chickpeas and set aside for serving.
  3. With a spatula, crush remaining chickpeas slightly, something that will help thicken the stew. Add coconut milk and stock, seasoning again with pinches of sea salt and pepper. Bring stew to a simmer and scrape off any bits that have formed on the sides or bottom of pot. Stir occasionally for about 35 minutes as the stew thickens and flavors start to come together.
  4. Fully submerge greens in the stew and stir, cooking about five minutes so they soften. One last time, season stew with sea salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, top stew with mint, fried chickpeas, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves four.

Bummed Out Bailey Rating: 7/10
Big points for ease, but it wasn’t as life-changing as I’d expected it to be!

Rick-the-Meat-Eater Rating: 7.5/10
What would make it score higher? (me, to Rick)

Chicken. Ground beef? Steak?

Rick, a meat-eating spouse

Adapted from Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric.


More on Bummed Out Baker:
Recipe: Borscht Topped with Sour Cream
Recipe: Roasted Tomato Basil and Rice Soup (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Recipe: Enchilada Soup


Do you love Bummed Out Baker? Want to help keep it going? Support here. Your contribution means more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Baker by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website to find the form. Follow Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild, Facebook for mental health articles and discussion, and Twitter for sassy or informative tweets.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Recipe: Disaster Dinner Rolls (Gluten-Free + Vegan + Lol)

And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

Talking Heads on Disaster Dinner Rolls

I thought I’d be slick to post a gluten-free, vegan dinner roll recipe for those cooking a big holiday meal. I’ve been eating gluten-free for about six weeks, probably, in addition to vegetarian and dairy-free (the latter two a long way of saying I basically eat vegan with the exception of eggs).

Gluten-free baking is clearly not my forté… yet.

Ingredients

3 T Earth Balance
1 c full fat coconut milk from can
1/4 c water
1/4 c + 1 T sugar
3 1/2 t instant yeast
3 c gluten-free flour
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 c non-dairy milk of choice

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt butter for a few seconds.
  2. Stir in coconut milk, water and 1/4 c sugar. Test temperature of mixture with a questionable, rinsed off thermometer your father in-law used in the Thanksgiving turkey until it reaches 105-110°F.
  3. Turn off stove and add yeast. Stir once and let the yeast activate for ten minutes.
  4. In the meantime, feel smug about being in the throes of making homemade bread. Also, whisk sea salt into flour in a separate bowl.
  5. Add salted flour to yeast mixture a little bit a time and mix well. Start by using the rice spoon you googled and then bought on Amazon upon first reading this recipe through. Once the dough gets heavy, you get to use your HANDS!
  6. Knead dough until flour is well incorporated. If it’s dry and crumbly, add more coconut milk a little at a time. When you’ve polished off the coconut milk and it’s still crumbly, start pouring water into it. Finally, give up.
  7. Shape dough into a big ball, place in a large bowl, cover top with Saran wrap, and let it sit there for two hours. Pretend to be reading Dead Souls while you wait. As you realize that that book does, indeed, make your soul feel dead, the dough should at least triple in size.
  8. Side eye dough that has not risen one iota and then preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. Remove dough from bowl, scrambling to slap pieces crumbling off of it back onto the ball. Continue, unabashed.
  10. Add some flour on your working surface so the dough doesn’t stick, or not, and knead the dough to deflate it. Deflate what?
  11. Divide dough in half and divide each half in half until you get 12 little balls. At some point, you’ll realize this is bad math and that you actually need to divide the last halves into thirds. Using sheer will, keep balls of dough together.
  12. Line baking dish with parchment paper and add your rolls.
  13. With hope, stir last 1 T sugar into the non-dairy milk of choice.
  14. Using a pastry brush, something else you googled and bought on Amazon, apply wash on each roll to get an icing-type finish. Wonder why the original recipe said the wash was supposed to look brown and glossy. Ponder whether they accidentally used rotten soy milk.
  15. Momentarily appreciate the rolls looking like dessert.
  16. Place rolls in oven and let bake for 30 minutes. Feel your stomach drop in defeat when, after 20 minutes, nothing about your rolls has changed. Look at your father in-law when he reassures you that “there’s still time.”
  17. Take bitter icing balls out of oven and let cool, because you’re still gonna try them “just in case.”
  18. See video at top of post.
Do these look like cinnamon rolls? Yah. Did they taste like cinnamon rolls? Nah.

Serves zero friends, 12 frenemies, or one nemesis.

Bummed Out Bailey Rating: 0/10 (a first!)
Rick-the-Meat-Eater Rating: 0/10

Where are the rolls? Did you throw them in the trash? I’m sorry, babe. When you bake with gluten-free flour, you need Xanthan gum.

Rick, a meat-eating, not gluten-free husband

Poorly adapted from Vegan Dinner Rolls.

More on Bummed Out Baker:
Recipe: Chocolate-Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies (Vegetarian)
Happy Birthday Bummed Out Baker! Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Cream Icing (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Recipe: Sugar Cookies (these are actually good)


Do you love Bummed Out Baker? Want to help keep it going? Support me on my Patreon. Your contribution means more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Baker by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website to find the form. Follow Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild, Facebook for mental health articles and discussion, and Twitter for sassy or informative tweets.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.