Bring on the cooking in my plastic free year
Starting this project, at the beginning of the year, I was hoping it would help me achieve two things. Of least importance I was hoping to lose a bit of weight and so far I have. Drum roll please… I am now 3 kilos lighter than I was at the start of the year, which is about 6 lbs (okay, so it’s a work in progress). The second thing I hoped was that I would cook more; beyond perfunctory dinner cooking. So, today I thought I would share with you how the latter is going.
I have known for a long time that I have a bit of an emotional block in regards to my being any good in the kitchen. As a child it seemed so prescribed and competitive with my results being laughed at by peers in class, or at home perfected on by younger siblings. Everything seemed to have to be done in the right way. Then as an adult, every time I had the inclination to bake anything I would feel disheartened by the exact ingredient not being in the cupboard and give the idea up..
But, all that aside I felt like I couldn’t really declare myself as being any good in the kitchen if I couldn’t make anything as simple as an egg. In my previous life, I cooked most of the time, but when anyone wanted eggs my husband would launch himself into the breech, with a misogynistic air, while voicing words to prey on my insecurity. Needless to say a lot changed last year. Our divorce nici came through.. and I cooked my daughter a perfectly runny, not snotty, boiled egg… poached egg… and fried egg. Unsuccessful first time I was undeterred as it is all about having a growth mindset. Of course we didn’t eat them all on the same day: we don’t eat eggs that much! Think of the poor chickens, even if they are free range Happy Eggs.
So this year, as my children eat like Hobbits, as any friend will be testament too, it was time to make plastic free snacks! Shock horror, unbeknownst to me this was literally achieved within 30 minutes, from start to finish, with a five and three year old helping. I mean, honestly, what was I making all the fuss about!
The flapjacks are delicious, even though I added vinegar instead of vanilla essence as my Instagram followers know. They also come with another hidden ingredient… ground cashew nuts. My children don’t eat many nuts as they don’t like the texture. And as I have said previously we try not to eat too much meat, especially if it contains nitrates, and they don’t like Quorn. So making your own flapjacks is the perfect way to avoid plastic, but also to add protein to fill them up more. They are both built like slim muscular gymnasts (in-case you felt like picturing them in your mind’s eye. As a note as Patrons you get to see images of us, as a part of our extended family: you lucky lot!).
As to the recipe I won’t make it sound complicated. Shove some butter into a pan and heat it. Put in quarter of a cup of golden syrup, or honey, or your equivalent, alongside a further half a cup of sugar. So that’s a total of 3/4 cup of sweet stuff. Melt it to liquid and remove it from the heat. Add a handful of nuts that you have crushed in a blender. I use a hand-held one. Add slightly more oats to the pan than butter. I did 8 large spoons of butter and 2.5 cups of oats. Sprinkle some raisins and a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix it altogether. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough mixture to cover the oats, but keep going there is. Then all you need to do is scoop it out and put it in a greased baking tray in a medium hot oven. Wait about 10 minutes for it to be brown at the edges, if you want it to be chewy like me, or longer if you like a crunchy flapjack. Done. Yummy flapjacks easily made with a young child like Emma. Ben, at 3, greased the baking tray after which he got bored and went to play.
Feeling pleased with myself I had banana pancakes this morning. Obviously there had to be something I needed missing and in this instance it was the baking powder, but I didn’t let that stop me. I had coconut flour that i wanted to use up. So, 2 eggs, couple of spoons of coconut flour and 2 bananas blended together into a stiff batter. Then plop them, using a table spoon, into a hot pan to make 5 small drop pancakes. I served mine with a drizzle of golden syrup as that was what was in my plastic free cupboard. Besides you don’t need much as the bananas are sweet by nature. Like you guys. Thanks for reading. Do check out my Patreon page if you want resources tailored specifically to you.
As one further tip that has gone down well with friends this week.. instead of squash don’t forget to try frozen berries dropped in water. Tastes lovely. Being frozen they release their flavor slower and keep longer. They also contain no processed sugar, or any other nasties, but I do need to find ones that aren’t wrapped in plastic… any ideas? Obviously, we will pick loads for next year and then store them plastic free. But, in the meantime we don’t want to do without our ‘juice’. Ben likes the mango water best, so we may struggle at the ‘pick your own’ for that, but Emma and I prefer berries.
Stay Authentic! Stay You!