It was one of my goals when we moved here to become less reliant on buying commercial products (that contain all sorts of nasties) and move to making more things myself.
It became very obvious very quickly that this wasn’t going to be an overnight change, after all, there was so much to do here and so much to learn, that it would have been unrealistic to expect all these changes to happen immediately.
But we’re getting there …
Last year we stopped eating meat and dairy. After trying various plant based ‘milks’ we settled on oat milk as our favourite, and we’ve been buying that ever since in 1 liter cartons. Now, we go through a liter a day – we drink a lot of tea and coffee, especially when it’s cold, and have cereal every morning for breakfast. I don’t like the amount of waste that this produces, even though we recycle the cartons, and compared to cows milk, it’s really expensive.
So, time to start making our own – it’s probably the simplest plant based milk to make, but does require a blender. Now I do have a blender, but it doesn’t work on the solar system, it’s just too powerful and sets all the alarms off! So this does mean that I have to pop the generator on for 5 minutes in order to make a couple of liters. I’ve bought 2 glass bottles that we can use again and again, so this will cut down on all the waste. It will also work out to be less than half the cost per liter, so why wouldn’t you make your own!!
It’s very simple – 4 cups of ice cold water to 1 cup of oats – add a tiny pinch of salt and a little squeeze of agave to sweeten and blend until smooth. I then use a double layer of cheesecloth and squeeze the oat milk through. Pour into sterilized bottles and pop in the fridge. It will last about 3 days in the fridge, but it’s such a quick process that it’s no problem to knock up a couple of batches every two days.
The other thing I’ve started making too is deoderant. This is so unbelievably simple and cheap! Two thirds of a cup of cornflour, one third of a cup of bicarbonate of soda (mix) and add two thirds of a cup of coconut oil – mix it altogether and pop it in a jar. I also added a couple of drops of essential oil to make it smell lovely. To use you just scoop a tiny bit out with your finger and rub it in! Pennies to make and better for you!
I’ve also started making seitan (plant based alternative to meat) and plan to turn my hand to making plant based cheese and butter (the two things I really miss!). I’ve had to buy a few slightly unusual ingredients off the internet as I can’t get them locally, but again, making our own will still produce less waste and be less processed (and therefore healthier!) for us – I’ll save these for another blog on another day though!
It’s all too easy to turn to a shop every time you think you need something, but I’m really enjoying the challenge of finding other, more natural ways to provide what we need where possible.
Having to spend a few days laid up in bed last week after screwing up my shoulder really gave me time to think and plan about what changes I wanted to make – it’s good to take time out to take stock sometimes! Every cloud has a silver lining!