It was my sincere hope to kick off 2017 with weekly blogging, but life just has to get in the way of our favorite hobbies, doesn’t it? January went by in a blur of working, working out, and so much studying for my Network+ certification exam. (Side note: if you find yourself studying for the same certification, Professormesser.com is the best study tool for it!) Unfortunately I still have a very long studying marathon ahead of me, but I hope writing here can still be a relaxing break for creativity when I can’t force myself to look at my books anymore.
In my last post I shared my 2017 New Year resolution. My goal is to eliminate any unnecessary waste in my day-to-day life, mostly by refraining from using disposable items for which there is a reusable alternative. What I didn’t share was that I planned to integrate one new method for achieving this eco-friendly goal every week or so. Here are a few of the things I’ve tried in the last 6 weeks:
- Ditching disposable cups. I touched on this a bit already in January, since I gave it a test run through the end of December. After nearly 2 months of toting a thermos or mug with me wherever I think I might want a tea or coffee, I’ve gotten pretty used to it. I admit that I don’t really like carrying more than I need, though, so I bit the bullet and invested in a second thermos. Now I can keep one in my car for unexpected coffee runs, or have a spare for to-go coffee for two. Success so far: winning.
- Using reusable water bottles. It’s a bit unfair to include this, since I don’t think I’ve bought a single-use water bottle in years anyway, but it’s worth sharing in case you hadn’t considered it. As for me, I’m using my pretty blue Nalgene bottle for as long as it lasts! Success so far: killing it.
- Using bamboo instead of plastic. Did you know there are bamboo alternatives to just about all the major utensils you use every day? This eco-friendly tip is a 3-for-1 deal, since I subbed bamboo in for three types of everyday items in our house: plastic cooking utensils, cutting boards, and toothbrushes. Aside from being made of a renewable resource, the new spoons and spatulas don’t flex under high heat, the cutting boards are easier on my Shun knives (they dull quickly on plastic), and the toothbrushes have been just as effective at keeping my teeth clean. I have no complaints! Success so far: eh, mostly good. (In all honesty it took some time to get used to the feeling of bamboo in my mouth, since the texture is very different from the more common plastic ones on the market!)
- Swapping pyrex in for plasticware and take-out containers. This has been my favorite change so far! Before, if I forgot my lunch or wanted a snack, I’d just buy something at work, or grab a pre-packaged treat or granola bar from my desk stash. Unfortunately both of these options create unnecessary waste, whether in the form of a styrofoam take-out container, or the non-biodegradable wrapping of a single serving of preprocessed junk. When I told myself these would no longer be options for me, it forced me to think ahead about what and how much I would need to eat through the day. After a few miscalculations that resulted in very hungry afternoons, I realized the only way to make this commitment to pyrex work without sending my blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster would be planning and preparing a fair number of our weekly meals in advance. This has had additional benefits for our health, since it’s much easier to pick the “right” thing to eat long before you even start feeling hungry. Success so far: doing great and loving it!
Are you still going strong with your resolution(s) for 2017? Are you a fan of the food prep craze that’s been sweeping Pinterest (and obviously my house)? Let me know, or just enjoy the recipe for burnt honey butter kale, courtesy of the great Christina Tosi, below!
Burnt Honey Butter
¼ cup honey (nothing fancy)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Heat the honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 325°F, about 10 minutes. Make sure you use a decent-sized pan, because it will quadruple in volume while cooking—er, burning! The honey should go bubbly and deep brown like no place you’ve ever taken a pot of honey before. Please be careful, because hot honey can burn the living daylights out of you. And when you’re checking the temperature of the honey, make sure the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pan, or you will get an inaccurately high reading.
2. Remove from the heat, add the butter and salt, and stir until the butter is completely melted. Cool completely, at room temperature or in the refrigerator, so the butter firms up.
3. Transfer the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whip on high speed until it is lightened in color and completely smooth, with no chunks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, crank the mixer back up to high speed, and whip for another 45 seconds, or until the butter is super-fluffy and light brown. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use or for up to one month. Makes about ¾ cup.
Burnt Honey Butter Kale
1 bunch (about ¾ pound) kale
2 ½ tablespoons Burnt-Honey Butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Heat the oven to 200°F.
2. Remove and discard the stems from the kale. Slice the greens into 1-inch-wide strips.
3. Toss the kale with the melted honey butter, sesame seeds, and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated with the butter.
4. Spread the kale out on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until it is fully dehydrated and crisp, like a paper-thin chip. Cool completely.*
5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Serves 4 to 6.
*If you prefer a softer, not-so-crunchy kale to accompany another dish, cook for half this length of time, and refrigerate once cooled.