Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Little Miss Greylag

Little Miss Greylag

Sat on a beanbag

Eating her mint Moo Free.

Along came a rabbit

Who tried hard to grab it

So Miss Greylag went straight home for tea.

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nursery rhymes, vegan nursery rhymes, vegan chocolate, vegan, organic, fair trade, Moo Free Chocolate

More Plastic-Free Easter Eggs!

This time it’s from good ole Plamil – and they’re shouting from the rooftops about its plastic-freeness 😀

Of course we wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t also vegan, organic and fair trade, but it is, so we are 😀

We also wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t absolutely scrummy.  And it is 🙂 so we are!

Mmmmmm, this won’t last long 😉

Get some from your local health food shop now 😀

Plastic Free Easter Eggs

Here is a scrummy Easter Egg which ticks all the right boxes:

VEGAN

ORGANIC

FAIR TRADE

And it’s not wrapped in plastic!!! 😀

Just a cardboard box with a delicious, foil-wrapped, chocolate egg inside.  Remember when they were all like that?  Not so long ago.

It just goes to show, there’s no need to contaminate the planet, milk a cow or enslave a child to enjoy a yummy Easter egg 😀

Get over to Holland & Barrett for yours! 😀

Yum 😀

 

Easy Gluten-Free Flatbread

This is so easy and absolutely delicious 😀

No fat, no yeast, no gluten and no frying.  Just oats and water.  Baked.

You’ll need:

8 oz rolled oats

400 ml of water

parchment paper to line your baking trays so that you don’t need to oil them.

** For garlic bread version see bottom of post 🙂

First pre-heat your oven to 220°C (less if it’s a fan oven).

Then weigh out about 8 oz of rolled oats and mill it into a flour in your food processor (with the S blade).

Add 200ml of water, whiz to combine with the flour and then add another 200ml and whiz again so that you’ve got a runny, pour-able mixture.

Line two baking trays with parchment paper, and pour half the mixture onto each of them.

Then spread it thinly and evenly with the back of a spoon, and put the trays in the oven.

After about 20 minutes remove trays from the oven and turn the bread over.  Turn the trays around so that they get evenly baked and return to the oven for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove and put on plates 😀

If you want them crispier, bake them for a little longer but keep a close eye on them because there is a very fine line between crisp and burnt.

Now do what you like with them.  Add your favourite spreads, cover them with beans, use them as pizza bases, make sandwiches with them …. whatever you like.

** To make amazing garlic bread just add a few cloves of fresh garlic to the oats when you mill it into flour (I use 4 fat ones to this amount of oats but if you like your garlic stronger, add as much as you like).  The garlic will be finely minced and combined with the oat flour.  Then, instead of using parchment paper on the trays, generously grease them with vegetable oil and preheat the greased trays before adding the runny mixture.  This will produce delicious crispy garlic bread ready to eat with no need for margarine.

Plastic Avoidance: Part Two

Sweet Treats

Doing without plastic doesn’t have to mean doing without.

Let’s get our priorities straight and start with chocolate 😀

The chocolates pictured above tick all the right boxes:

1.  They’re vegan

2.   They’re fair trade (included on the ethical chocolate list)

3.  They’re organic

and

4.  They’re wrapped the old-fashioned way: in foil and paper 😀

  • Since I wrote this, Vivani have replaced the aluminium foil in their chocolate wrappers with a new clear film called natureflex foil.  It is a completely sustainable film made on the basis of wood fibre which is fully compostable (in good composting conditions approximately within 40 days).

In fact, as far as we can tell, there is only one downside to these particular chocolates – they don’t last long! 😉

Vivani is new to us and we’re so glad we found them.  Their chocolate is absolutely gorgeous – I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate over the years and I think I can confidently say that this is the best ever!  My favourite is the White Nougat Crisp, no, the Mandel Orange Rice Choc, no no, it’s the Crispy Corn Flakes Rice Choc …. no, I can’t choose between them, their entire vegan range is completely amazing (be aware that sadly not all their products are vegan, but a lot of them are).  Check out their whole range here 🙂

The Ombars are gorgeous too – especially for those who like their chocolate rich and dark and nutritious, coz it’s raw 🙂 Everything is wonderfully vegan and look what they say about their packaging:

“Like you, we believe in recycling.  So we wrap our bars in recyclable aluminium foil and paper, and ship them in fully-recyclable cardboard. Did you know our button bags are fully compostable? Just throw them in your compost bin with vegetable peelings – within a few weeks the bag will have completely broken down and returned to nature.” (see their FAQs)

We got all these treats from our local Health Food Shop, and we’ve seen Ombars in Waitrose, but if you can’t find them near you, you can buy Ombars online here and Vivani lists their worldwide stockists here 🙂 And of course you can probably find them on Amazon 😉

Fingers crossed whoever mails them to you doesn’t use plastic 😮

But, if you’re having trouble getting hold of those, why not pick up a big bar of vegan, organic, fair trade cooking chocolate from the supermarket?  Good ole Green & Black’s Dark Cooking chocolate is also only wrapped in foil and paper and it’s absolutely delicious in home baked chocolate chip cookies 😀

Speaking of baking, if you want more than just chocolate in your plastic-free sweet treat artillery you can make cakes and biscuits yourself.  Vegan recipes use oil instead of margarine, which can be bought organic in glass bottles; flour comes in paper bags and sugar … well, I have in recent years felt compelled to buy sugar in plastic bags because I wanted organic fair trade.  However, in prioritising plastic avoidance, I have discovered that I can buy paper-wrapped sugar that is pretty ethical 🙂  I had mistakenly believed that all white sugar had been whitened with bone-char.  However, it seems that’s just cane sugar, not sugar beet.  Sugar from sugar beet is vegan!

(NB: Since writing this I have discovered I can buy organic fair trade sugar without plastic wrapping from the Zero Waste Club 🙂 )

Silver Spoon proudly state their commitment to eco-friendliness on their packets:

“Sustainability is nothing new to us – we’ve been working on it for 30 years.  Our sugar beet is homegrown and our bags are recyclable, made with paper from certified forests.  We send nothing to landfill and our excess production energy helps to power British homes.”

 They work directly with 1200 British farmers in East Anglia who grow the beets which are then transported just a short distance to the factory in Bury St Edmunds (also in East Anglia 😀 )

Not bad eh?

So far so plastic-free good.

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts three, four, five , six and seven

Plastic Avoidance: Part One

We have for many years tried to keep our plastic consumption to a minimum but have found it very difficult when also trying to incorporate other ethics into our shopping habits.  For example – it’s pretty easy to buy loose, unpackaged fruit and vegetables if you take your own bags to the market with you, but if you want organic produce, it’s usually wrapped in plastic.

We always recycled it of course but we know that a plastic food container, because of its low melting point, cannot be recycled into another plastic food container.  It can really only be downcycled into things like plastic lumber which cannot be recycled again.  Glass, paper and tin cans on the other hand, can be recycled ad infinitum.  Bottles will become bottles again and again; drinks cans and baked beans tins will become cans and tins again and again; paper can be recycled again and again, and eventually composted.

 

So, even though we were recycling, we felt very bad about the plastic in our bins.  Add to that the worry that maybe the plastic being collected by the council recycling lorry wasn’t even being recycled and … well, let me explain:

I had an email a couple of weeks ago from Avaaz campaigning group saying that studies had shown that most (about 80%) of the plastic in the ocean gyres was coming from rivers in Asia and Africa.  Finding it very hard to believe that people in Asia and Africa consume more plastic than people in Europe and America, I was reminded of an email conversation I’d had with someone at Waitrose supermarket.  They told me that there was no facility to recycle their plastic bags in this country so they sent them to Asia for recycling.

Well – if Waitrose does it, you can bet a lot of other companies do it too, maybe even councils?  And if the UK sends plastic to Asia for recycling, you can bet other countries do too.  If the same is happening in Africa that would explain why 80% of the plastic in the oceans arrives there from those continents.  The plastic that I diligently put out for recycling might be ending up in the ocean!

It’s all speculation but it makes a lot of sense and the only way I can be sure that I’m not part of the problem is to take control of it myself.

We now realise that the good done for the Earth in growing organic, is compromised if they wrap the organic produce in plastic.  Plastic not only litters and pollutes when it’s disposed of, the very production of it is toxic since it is (usually) made from oil.

So we’re not going to pay in to that any more.

We have to prioritise plastic avoidance and hopefully these ethical companies will respond with ethical packaging.  In the meantime, we’ll show you our plastic avoidance tactics.

Starting tomorrow 😀

See all our Plastic Avoidance Tactics here