It’s not easy to do the dishes when there are a bunch of reusable bottles in the way. And early in the morning, when I’m more than a little stressed out trying to get out the door on time, confronting this situation was making me nuts.
I know, I know. How hard is it to just move those bottles? Terrible problem to have, compared to all the other problems in the world, right? Still, sometimes fixing small, irritating problems–especially those that slow me down in the morning–helps me be more effective for the rest of the day.
So I went on the hunt for a perfect bottle drying solution that would not take up extra real estate on my small kitchen counter. (Putting them over wooden spoons or chopsticks wasn’t really working for me.) And then, searching Amazon, I discovered the Mommy Genius bottle and bag drying rack, which had a slew of positive reviews.
Since it’s chrome-plated steel, rather… Read the rest
A few months ago, I bought a pressure cooker. I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I hadn’t planned on blogging about it. I just thought that I would eat legumes more often if cooking them took minutes instead of hours. (I don’t eat canned beans because all food cans are lined with plastic, which can leach either BPA or some other mystery alternative that could be even worse. )
Anyway, I’ve been pressure cooking up a storm every weekend… making big pots of beans to eat during the week or to store in the freezer for later. And I’ve also used the pressure cooker for other things like potatoes and even kale.
I assumed I was the last one to the party… that everyone else in the world already knew that pressure cookers are magic. That was until I received an email from a reader named Deborah, who seemed to have read my mind!… Read the rest
Three years ago, when Jay and Chantal from the online store Life Without Plastic sent me a sample of their new HUGE rectangular airtight stainless steel freezer container to review on this blog, I couldn’t think of anything I would use it for. They touted the container as useful for freezing large quantities of produce prior to canning because the silicone seal will keep veggies and fruits from getting freezer burn.
Note: I have joined the Life Without Plastic affiliate program, which means that if you purchase from Life Without Plastic via links in this post, you also support My Plastic-Free Life.
The thing holds over a GALLON (over 4 litres), but since we have year-round farmers markets in the SF Bay Area (reducing the need to preserve large quantities of produce for the winter), I didn’t have (or didn’t think I had) a gallon of anything to put in it.
So the container sat in my never-ending “to do” pile for probably… Read the rest
A few weeks ago, blog reader Sandy Lansdale posted a question in the Discussion Forum:
I would love to hear how beeswax wrap works if anyone has tried it. Does it keep food well? How long does one wrap last?
Well, Sandy, as it happens, I did try three different beeswax cloth wraps all the way back in January of this year and meant to write a review of them at the time. But, to be honest, I was less than enthused, and when I’m not excited about something, it’s hard for me to write about it. (Which is why, by the way, I haven’t written a holiday post. Just not my thing.) Still, lots of people have asked me this question, and I know there are quite a few people who are fans of these products, and I myself mentioned their existence in my book, Plastic-Free. So here goes, but first:
BIG DISCLAIMER: I have a VERY Sensitive Nose
I’m going to mention the smell of these wraps and the taste that they impart to food. … Read the rest
We’ve had a Copco plastic salad spinner (aka lettuce dryer) for years. Actually, Michael has had it since the 90’s before I was even a thought in his head.
I use it because we already have it, but I’ve never liked it. It’s plastic, so it gets slimy and hard to clean out. And it’s big. It takes up a lot of valuable real estate in the kitchen. From time to time, I’ve gone online and searched Google for “plastic-free salad spinner” or “stainless steel salad spinner.” But I just keep getting tricked by this Oxo stainless steel salad spinner, which is only stainless steel on the outside. The inside basket–the part that actually touches your salad — is still plastic. Plus, I don’t make salads that often anyway, so I couldn’t really justify buying a brand new one even if I did find a plastic-free model.… Read the rest
Did you know Vita-Mix, the high speed blender that is so fast it can make hot soup, originally came with a stainless steel container instead of plastic?
If you don’t have time to read this whole post, please click the following link to sign and share the brand new petition I posted on Change.org last night asking the company to bring back the stainless steel container.
https://www.change.org/p/vita-mix-please-bring-back-the-safe-non-toxic-stainless-steel-pitcher… Read the rest
Okay, speaking of brewing coffee in a mason jar, there are a couple of companies that want to make it easier for you to drink your coffee from a mason jar as well. Back in 2011 when I was writing my book Plastic-Free, I heard about a product called Cuppow that lets you add a reusable drink lid to a mason jar to reduce the need to buy a whole travel mug. I thought it was a cool idea to reduce consumption of brand new stuff, so I mentioned it in the book. But I wasn’t thrilled that it was made from plastic, which is probably why I never reviewed it on this blog… that and the fact that it was shipped to me in plastic bubble packaging.
Plus, I already have a travel mug with a plastic lid. I’m looking for something better.
So I was really happy a few months ago to stumble across a stainless steel alternative at Berkeley’s Ecology Center Store: EcoJarz lids.
EcoJarz come in two sizes to fit different sizes of canning jars. Neither will fit the ubiquitous… Read the rest
I’m back home from Burning Man and so glad to be able to have my morning green smoothie again. When I wrote that post, I promised a follow up about my blender. Well, here it is.
Back in 2011, I wrote about hanging out with my friend Mark and watching him make homemade ketchup. What I didn’t mention was how impressed I was with his blender.
It’s a Waring Pro MBB518 stainless steel blender. Mark said that even though it only has two speeds, it’s the sturdiest and best blender he’s ever had. But what caught my eye was that there is no plastic at all inside the glass pitcher to come into contact with the food.
See, my current blender, a Kenmore that I’d had for years and that also had a glass pitcher had plastic at the bottom that twisted on and off for cleaning.
I wasn’t crazy about that plastic inside the pitcher, but it wasn’t enough to make me chuck the machine for a new one. And then the bottom started to leak. And … Read the rest
Dear Lotus Foods:
My husband and I used our old rice cooker a lot. We used it so much, that we burned out the fuse and had to replace it. I was pretty stoked about being able to fix our appliance and make it last longer instead of tossing it out. So recently, when the connection between the machine and the power cord started to get loose (and we had to lay something heavy on the power cord to keep the machine from cutting off each time we used it), I told Michael that I was going to see if I could fix it again. But Michael’s reply surprised me. This time he said, “Why don’t we just recycle it and get a new stainless steel one?”
Repair vs. Recycle
See, there is a trade off sometimes. It may be gentler on the planet to fix things and make them last as long as possible rather than replacing them when they break. But if the old things are made of materials that might possibly be toxic to our health (plastic containers, for example,… Read the rest
Summer is not yet over, so there’s still time to squeeze in a post about Life Without Plastic’s new Freezycup stainless steel popsicle molds. (Of course, there’s no rule that says popsicles can only be eaten in the summer anyway.)
But before I talk about this new mold, let me back up a bit. Two years ago, I reviewed the stainless steel popsicle mold from Onyx Containers. Many of us were excited about it because it was a great alternative to plastic or silicone. But, as I mentioned in that review, there were drawbacks. First, the steel stand that held the molds was coated in polyethylene plastic, plastic which actually was peeling a little bit on the one I received. I wasn’t crazy about that aspect of the design, but I was happy that the molds themselves contained no plastic.
What I didn’t know then was that one of my favorite companies — Life Without Plastic — had had a stainless steel popsicle… Read the rest