Small Business Spotlight: Cleenland

Hello, everyone! Most of us are on week 2-ish of being isolated. I hope everyone is still healthy and sane.

Today, I wanted to start something I have been mulling over since before I launched Trees & Honeybees- Small Business Spotlight. I think helping to support small businesses is so important. I truly believe we vote with our dollars and if we continue to support small businesses, especially ones that are making efforts to promote sustainability and remain eco-friendly, people will take notice.

As I mentioned, this was an idea I had been toying with since before the blog went live and I had been dragging my feet because I was hoping to get in touch with a few more businesses before rolling it out. Then, the Coronavirus hit. Now, more then ever, it’s so important to help out small businesses. Amazon doesn’t need more of your money- Jeff Bezos is worth over 113 BILLION dollars. Walmart doesn’t need more of your money- the Walton family is worth 191 BILLION dollars. Starbucks comparatively is only worth roughly 22 billion dollars. I’m thinking maybe they might not need your money, either, though.

BUT, small business owners sure could! So, I’m hoping to highlight different small businesses once a week in the New England area. I bounce between Northeastern, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts so I will be covering stores in both those areas. Please feel free to send me a small business you know and love, though, and I will be more then happy to try them out and feature them.

First up, I’m super excited to feature Cleenland, located in Cambridge, MA. Cleenland describes itself as “your one-stop shop for low-waste, refillable personal and home care supplies.” Their bulk, refillable items include personal care products like shampoo, conditioner and body lotion (I’m a fan of the unscented one!), as well as home products like laundry detergent, castile soap and all-purpose cleaner. You are more than welcome to bring your own containers for the bulk products. Sarah, the owner, is very friendly and will help you get the Tare weight if you need it. They also have bottles there for purchase if you don’t have anything around your place.

If you don’t love the idea of bulk items or it seems daunting, Cleenland also has low-waste, responsibly packaged items such as shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, dry shampoo and kitchen items like Stasher bags or beeswax food wrap.

Sarah was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her business for me. Check out the interview below:

Tell us a little about yourself and your low-waste journey. How did you get started? 

I was raised pretty frugal so we weren’t big on wasting things generally. In college, I learned more about climate change and just generally became much more aware of how our actions impact the environment — including waste. From there, I just started doing one thing at a time. 

Do you have any tips for people that are just starting a low-waste lifestyle? 

Do one thing at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stop before you start. Look through your weekly trash and recycling and see what the biggest contributors are, then try to reduce those. Also — compost! It’s easy, not too expensive depending on where you live, and has a HUGE impact, both from a trash volume reduction standpoint and environmentally. 

Cleenland is such a great space! You describe it as a “Labor of Love” on your website. How did this awesome store come to be? What’s it’s story?

I read about this type of shop opening in different parts of the country and world and it just seemed like an obviously great idea. Greater Boston didn’t have one so I decided to open it myself.

You have so many great products at Cleenland for all areas of the home. What are your top 3 favorite products that you sell?

Mmm top three is hard. I love our floss, Dental Lace, because both the product and the packaging are an improvement on the status quo product — the floss is compostable silk and the container is a refillable glass vial. Another of my favorites is our beeswax lip balm, Bee Balm, packaged in a compostable tube. It’s made locally in Medford with beeswax from Beverly and Bee Balm is another woman-owned company. Plus the product is incredible — only thing to break my years-long Burt’s Bees addiction. Another top selection is our dish soap bar. It challenges folks to think about why things are the way they are and believe that maybe they don’t have to be how they’ve always been done. Why can’t dish soap be in bar format? It has fewer ingredients because there is no water requiring use of preservatives, it’s more efficient to ship because there is no water being transported, and no bottle — the bars come stacked in a cardboard box.

Thank you so much for your time, Sarah!!

Like everyone else, Cleenland’s hours have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Check out their website or Instagram for their most current hours. Their website currently says the only thing they are out of is toilet paper so if you need to restock on soap or lotion because of how many times you are washing your hands, please go check them out!

And if you have a small business in the New England area you would like me to feature, leave me a comment and I will see what I can do about prompting them!

Stay safe, everyone!

Erin

(It should be noted this post isn’t sponsored. I’m just a big fan of Cleenland and wanted get the word out about their awesomeness.)

Product Review: Besame Cake Eyeliner

Hello everyone! As promised, I’m going to try and up the number of times I post each week to help give you some new things to read while you are stuck inside. For my second post this week, I had to share with you my favorite low-waste eyeliner from Besame. I’ve actually had this post written since before I launched this blog but I’d just struggled taking pictures. I’m not a make-up Youtuber, guys! I didn’t want to do a make video but it’s also very difficult to take pictures of your eyeliner. The following review and pictures are the best I could do. I apologize in advance.

Prior to purchasing this eyeliner, Besame had been my Go-To for lipsticks. The are such a fun brand. All of their make-up is inspired by vintage products. But, more importantly, they are the brand that supplied Agent Carter with her signature vintage red lip (color: red velvet. where to watch: Disney+. I highly recommend both the lipstick and binge watching the show.) I was pretty confident based on the quality of their lipsticks that I was going to like their eyeliner and I was correct.

I can’t 100% remember how this was packaged. It was one of the first zero-waste products I purchased and it was before I had decided to start this blog. I’m pretty sure the tin came in a cardboard box and the eyeliner cake was wrapped in paper. The only item that was wrapped in plastic was the little vintage brush that you can use to apply this as a mascara. It looks like a toothbrush and truthfully, I haven’t tried it yet.

I also purchased the Besame’s brush set. I use the liner brush. The handle is made out of wood, not plastic though the set does come in a plastic sleeve.

To apply the cake as an eyeliner, you mix a little water on the cake until it’s a thick, spreadable paste. Then, you apply it to your eyes just like you would an eyeliner pen. That’s it! It takes a little time to get the hang of the application but if you are coming from any type of liquid eyeliner, this should be comparable. In fact, I was using Tarte’s Liquid Eyeliner previous to this and I hated it. It was a million times messier than this is. You have so much more control over the consistency with Besame’s eyeliner.

I like a little bit of a winged eyeliner. I think the Besame Liner brush does a great job at helping me achieve that look.
Also, taking pictures of your eyeliner is weird…

I did read some reviews about the eyeliner on other zero waste websites prior to purchasing it that said it was high maintenance. I have not found that to be the case. I’ve applied it in my bathroom, in my room, in my car and at my work desk and I’ve made it work each time. If I’m not in the bathroom, I will apply a little water from my water bottle right onto the cake and mix it. It’s that easy.

I have not tested it in terms of whether it’s water proof but it does stay on well throughout the day and comes off easily with coconut oil, which is what I use to remove my eye make-up.

The price is $25 which may seem high when compared to something like Maybelline eyeliner at Target but honestly, this stuff seems like it lasts forever! And when you do run out, you can just order the cake separately and refill your tin, which I love!

It’s hard to describe how the eyeliner works so here is a tutorial video from Besame that shows how to apply it as mascara and as eyeliner. They make it look far more glamorous than I do!

Meal Prep for March 16th

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope with everything that is going on in the world, that you are safe and healthy.

It has certainly been an…eventful few weeks. I feel like everything is saturated with talk of coronavirus so I’m hoping to keep this corner relatively coronavirus-free. I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future so I will have 4 extra hours in my day to do with as I please. I’m hoping to use that extra time to bump the content of the website up to help provide everyone with something to read that isn’t instructions on how to wash your hands 🙂

First up this week is, of course, my favorite content- meal prepping.

To me, it’s so important to keep some level of normalcy right now. With working from home, my entire routine is completely off. So I really made sure to meal prep this week so that I had one thing the same in all this change.

For breakfast, I wanted to up my fruits and veggies count so I’ll be making smoothie bowls this week. For the most part, my smoothies will have 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 banana (frozen), spinach, vanilla protein powder and fruit. The fruit will change depending on what I have available but I think it will generally be blueberries and pineapple.

I’m topping the bowls with homemade nut butter, hemp seed and some chocolate granola.

The chocolate granola is from Erin Lives Whole, which is clearly an awesome blog since it’s run by a fellow Erin. I made the chocolate granola with honey (you can use maple syrup if you are vegan) and about 1/2 the cocoa powder and chocolate chips that the recipe called for. It just seemed like a lot of chocolate chips for breakfast! I mean, I’m eating my stress right now but I still have a full day to do that. I don’t need to confine it to breakfast! This would also be a great snack in yogurt later in the day if you need something sweet.

To get the big granola chunks, I tossed the granola once half way though baking, pulled the granola out of the oven and mixed the chocolate chips in, popped the granola in the oven for 5 more minutes, pulled it out, gave it one more stir to make sure the chocolate chips were melted and well dispersed and then let it cool completely. Once it’s cooled, it will just be one big sheet of granola so you can break it up how you like.

For lunch, in the spirit of poor St. Patrick’s Day, which isn’t getting any love this year because of social distancing, I made roasted garlic and mushroom stew. Rabbit and Wolves is a blog that come up CONSTANTLY on my pinterest searches and I save so many of her recipes but this was the first one I’ve had a chance to make. The stew has a ton of flavor but I would strongly recommend having extra broth on hand. I used the 4 cups recommended in the directions and by the time I went to reheat it today, there was almost no broth left. The barley soaked it right up. It’s super tasty though and I liked her recommendation to cut the mushrooms into larger chunks.

I ate this with the leftover bread from last week that I froze. It tastes just as good this week as it did last week. I keep mine in the fridge at all times, though, and then warm it in the toaster when I’m ready to eat it. If you leave it out or eat it right from the fridge, it’s going to taste stale.

For snacks, I made sure I was ready this week! I mean, if you are going to be stuck at home, you better be prepared. I have plenty of oranges, aka vitamin C, for my morning snack. I’ve had an orange every day since Sumo season started and I swear, i haven’t felt sick with a cold or flu at all. I’m starting to get a little superstitious about eating an orange a day!

For something chocolately, I made a batch of Chocolate Covered Katie’s Chocolate Blender Muffins. She has a lot of substitution options so I used oats for the flour option, maple syrup for the sweetener and almond butter for the nut butter option. I also mixed in 3 TBSP of vegan chocolate chips and sprinkled a few extra chocolate chips or peanut butter chips on top. They are very dense and fudgy but a great use for ripe bananas or when you want a chocolate treat. They are also super easy to makes since you just dump everything in a blender and call it a day.

Dinner for the week is leftovers! I have jambalaya with vegan chorizo and vegan pizza left over from this weekend, along with half the batch of quinoa and zucchini burritos frozen from last week. I may not even get to those this week depending on my other left overs. The more I can stretch my food, the less reason I have to go to the grocery store and the more social isolating I can do!

Since so many of us are working from home, can we take a moment to share some of our favorites? I’m thinking your favorite book, show, movie and snack. All priorities for isolation. Mine are:

Favorite books: The Black Jewel Trilogy by Anne Bishop. The books I most recently finished though are by Sarah Maas. Both authors are great!

Favorite show: Gilmore Girls. Can you watch that too many times? Of course not. I’m about to start Westworld season 2, though.

Favorite movie: Empire Records

Snack: Popcorn with EVOO and nutritional yeast. The perfect no waste snack.

Share yours below!

March 9th Meal Prep

I don’t know what came over me this weekend but I was ambitious on Saturday! I had a fairly empty house so I took full advantage and cooked my butt off, trying a whole bunch of new recipes, including making my own peanut butter!

This week’s groceries were a bit more expensive because I restocked a lot of dry goods but was still able to keep it around $50.

My meals this week included:

Asparagus and New Potato Frittata: I don’t have a recipe for this but I roasted a pound of asparagus for 20 minutes; steamed 4 new potatoes then sliced them thin; layered the asparagus and sliced potatoes in a pie dish and topped with 6 whisked eggs. Then I baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes, I think.

It came out pretty good. It could definitely use a bit more seasoning but it’s not bad. I’ve been eating this with an orange on the side.

Zucchini and quinoa enchiladas, served with a side of steamed green beans. I made half of this will Miyoko Smoked Mozzarella vegan cheese and half with nutritional yeast. I also went waaay too light on the sauce. This recipe said to dunk your shells in enchilada sauce and that seemed excessive so I made the enchiladas, lined them up and poured sauce over the top. Next time, I think I will top each enchilada with sauce after I put it in the pan so it’s all saucy before I put the next enchilada in. They ended up kind of sticking together. For the filling, I did sub 2 cups of mixed beans which I had in my freezer for the pinto beans. The flavor was still really good, though!

Homemade Tortillas– I used solid coconut oil instead of lard and used these for the enchiladas. They don’t stay fresh for long so you’ll want to use them right away or pop them in the fridge pretty quickly.

Dutch Oven Bread – My first foray into making bread with my dutch oven came out pretty well! The dough was definitely wetter than the video in the link and I wish I had added more flour. The result was the bread came out a tad doughier then I think it was supposed to but the crust was perfect and it still tasted great! I froze half of it and will be having the other half for dinner this week with some Sundried Tomato hummus and cucumbers.

I’m going to plan daylight savings for my laps in taking photographs of ALL the things I made this weekend. You can see above all the spreads and dessert I have linked below.

Sundried tomato hummus – I completely made this on a whim. I had extra chickpeas and I wanted something to go on my bread and I found this recipe after figuring out what I had in my fridge. And it’s SO tasty. It tastes like pizza. I highly recommend.

Chocolate Hummus – I left out the dates and added another TBSP of maple syrup. The result was the dip really wasn’t all that sweet. Whether that’s a positive or negative, I’ll let you decide. Taste test it as you make it so you can add more sweetness if you want. I’m pairing this with apples for an afternoon treat.

Homemade Peanut Butter – I didn’t add anything besides roasted, unsalted peanuts and salt. 2 cups of peanuts reduced down to about 1 cup of peanut butter. As a reference, it filled half of my Teddie’s Peanut Butter jar. It tastes exactly like Teddie’s, too.

Homemade almond butter- I followed the instructions for the peanut butter but just used roasted, unsalted almonds. I left it to blend for longer then the peanut butter and the results were amazing! I’m a big fan of making my own nut butter now!

Vegan Almond Blondies – These used my homemade almond butter and have a really good flavor but the servings are quite small, if you follow that, and the coconut sugar left them a bit grittier then a traditional blondie. I think light brown sugar would incorporate into the blondie better but I haven’t actually tried that. Please note that the texture did not prevent me from eating like three of these the day I made them!

And there you go. My very full recipes for the week, all made with as little waste as possible. I’m particularly glad I found some hummus recipes I like as those are a bit too easy to buy in packaging.

March 2 Meal Prep

Happy 1st Monday of March, everyone! I can’t believe it’s already March. It feels like it should still be January!

This week’s meal prep is apart of what I’m beginning to think of as The Grain Bowl winter series. There’s just something really comforting and hearty about a warm bowl of veggies and grains for lunch and it seems like I’m exploring every possible variation of this for lunch.

For my groceries this week, I went to Russo’s again and spent about $20 on produce, picking up: 1 avocado, 2 bell peppers, 1 zucchini, 1 lb of green beans, 1 sweet potato, 1.5 lb of mushroom, 1.5 lb of brussel sprouts, a butternut squash, dino kale and curly kale. I always walk out of there spending less than I think I will. I spent too many years buying produce at Whole Foods!

For breakfast this week, I meal prepped one of my favorite meals- roasted vegetables with eggs, everything but the bagel seasoning and Tessemae’s dressing, which is inspired by a dish Simply Taralynn makes all the time. It’s incredibly easy, just roast up some vegetables you like (I did sweet potato, zucchini, green beans, onion and mushroom) and mix in eggs, however you like them (I did scrambled but I’ve also done hard boiled). Once you are ready to eat it, reheat it and then top with Tessemae’s Avocado Ranch dressing (or any sauce/dressing you like) and sprinkle with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. It’s so tasty and you can use whatever vegetables you have or like!

For Lunch, I’m having another grain bowl. This one is the Quinoa Power Bowl with Chipotle Maple Brussel Sprouts and Smoky Butternut Squash. This has so many yummy flavors! The chipotle and the maple syrup together are amazing. The recipe recommends serving it with a honey mustard dressing but I went light on the dressing. I didn’t want to overpower the chipotle and smoky seasoning on the butternut squash. I would say I used about half of what is pictured above.

My sweet for the week are left over no-bake brownie bites from Jessica Eats Real Food. I had exactly 5 left so they should get me through the week.

Dinner is, again, the frozen acorn squash I’ve been talking about for a month now. I forgot to defrost them last week and I ended up not being in the mood for them. That happens and that’s the great thing about having some meals frozen. You can pull them out when you are short on meal prepping time or you can keep them frozen a little longer if you aren’t in the mood for them.

What’s on your menu this week. Feel free to share recipes. I need some inspiration for next week or it may be Grain Bowl week 4, though I wouldn’t be sad about that. 🙂

Meal Prepping Feb. 24

Happy Tuesday, everyone! My grocery shopping was very small this week. All I purchased was some protein powder, cucumbers and sumo oranges. I’m pretty confident you don’t need a picture of that! I’m excited for the recipes I made, though, so I wanted to share them with you to hopefully inspire meal prepping for next week.

Protein Waffles – The linked recipe is for pancakes but I always use my waffle iron. For some reason, I feel like the pancake recipe always comes out under cooked for me. I made 2 batches of the recipe attached and 2 with a little cocoa powder and 1/2 TBSP of chocolate chips. To warm them up, I pop them in the toaster and then serve them with PB and a sliced banana. These can also be frozen and reheated in the toaster if you want to do a big batch of them. Of course, I also meal prepped a batch of cold brew.

So, the recipe above is made with protein powder. I struggle to find vegan protein powder in sustainable packaging but I like to include it in certain recipes as an alternative source of protein. Right now, I use Tone It Up because it’s my favorite in terms of flavor. If you know of any that comes in compostable packaging or a place around Boston that you can get it in bulk, please let me know! If aren’t down for protein powder in plastic but want to make a banana waffle/pancake recipe, Chocolate covered katie has several recipes that you could possibly turn into waffles. I haven’t tried these but her recipes are always good and usually can be prepared with a variety of flours including gluten-free, depending on what you can find in bulk.

Tofu Poke Bowl – Holy smokes. This recipe is so good! I replaced the tofu with chickpeas because that’s what I had in the house and marinaded them for probably about an hour? For the marinade, I used these bags and I was super impressed. They didn’t leak at all as I shook the chickpeas around and mixed up the sauce. (At least, I think these are the bags I have. My cousin gave them to me as a Christmas gift. The ones I linked to are sold out but there are a lot of similar styles with the slide tops on Amazon). I kept all the same toppings and used the Dynamite Sauce that she references in the linked post. I already had everything listed and was able to purchase it all package free or in glass containers.

The recipe says it makes 3 but I got 4 out of everything and, honestly, could have probably gotten 5 servings as the 4 servings are hearty!

No-Bake Brownie Bites– I just discovered Jessica Eats Real Food last week. I don’t follow a Paleo diet and more commonly eat vegan (though I do regularly eat eggs) but these brownie bites looked too good to pass up. I also had almost everything already. I did substitute the almond flour for coconut flour because, again, that’s what I had in the house. Unfortunately, I totally botched the recipe. I thought for some reason these were made in a food processor so I dumped everything in and pulsed it for a bit. This is, in fact, not what you are supposed to do. The flavor was still really good, though I can tell the texture is off. I’ll give them another try and next time, will actually read the instructions and use the right flour! Until then, I do recommend these based off the taste!

Stuffed Acorn Squash– This recipe came to me via my mom. She made a batch for me a few weeks back but I had already meal prepped so I popped it in the freezer. She replaced the sausage with vegetarian sausage. As she made it, I can’t speak to how anything was prepared. I imagine you will need to swap out the sausage to keep this plastic-free/no waste but everything else should be accessible.

Protein powder is always something I struggle to purchase in sustainable packaging. What is the one thing you can’t live without and struggle to find a more eco-friendly replacement for?

Product Review: Nighttime Moisturizers

Product reviews are hard to keep concise because I want to cover all the questions you may have but I’m going to try today because there are two products I want to review: RMS Beauty Oil and Bambu Earth Petrigrew Moisturizer.

I’ve been trying to find a good nighttime moisturizer for a while now. I didn’t have one that I loved when I decided to go low-waste so I wasn’t heartbroken to move onto a better moisturizer.

The first one I tried was RMS Beauty Oil. I’d been following RMS for a while on Instagram as a clean beauty brand but hadn’t made the plunge to try anything. When I had initially discovered them, they just weren’t offering makeup I was looking for. But by the time I tried their Beauty Oil, I was getting a bit on the desperate side.

Their oil comes in a glass bottle. The dropper is glass, rubber and plastic. It’s not perfect and I am keeping my eye out for other options but so far it’s the best packaging and quality I have found.

The oil works OK on my combination skin. If I’m being honest, I think I went into it with really high expectations. This is the most I’ve ever spent on a beauty product so I expected some big results. I do keep going back to it, though, because so far, it’s the best I’ve found. It does occasionally result in breakouts around my nose but for the most part, it keeps my dry skin at bay. It doesn’t clear it up entirely, which is what I was hoping for, but between this and the Raw Elements product I shared with you last week, those two products get my skin as close to normal as I’ve found when used consistently.

a little goes a long way!

The application is incredibly easy. I wash my face and then when my skin is still damp, apply 4 drops to my face and neck. Though it is expensive, this stuff does last forever because you are applying such a small amount each time. I bought mine the first week of October and am not even halfway through it. I do keep trying other moisturizers so this isn’t a great representation of usage but it does go a long way.

Additionally, this has a very mild smell, which I really like. I hate scents. Like, all scents. I pretty much can tolerate vanilla, peppermint, and some milder citrus scents and that’s it! Floral scents are a hard ‘No’ so I really like that this was subtle.

Overall, I would recommend giving this a try if you are able to find a sample somewhere and see if you like it or if the price doesn’t make you twitch. The oil retails for $78. For my Boston peeps, I found this, and all the RMS Beauty products, at Cambridge Naturals in Porter Square. I was able to sample it and really loved it when I first tried it so stop there first. For my Connecticut readers, I believe Green Beauty Salon and Spa in Willimantic stocks RMS products, though I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. I would give them a call before heading over.

photo from Bambuearth.com. This is the trial size and contains about 2 weeks worth

The second product I tried was Bambu Earth’s Petitgrain Moisturizer. This comes in a glass container with a plastic lid. Their website states that their packing is “sustainably sourced for a minimal environmental impact”. This was mailed to me and the shipping products were minimal and recyclable- no plastic. All their products seem to be packaged mostly in glass, where possible, with minimal plastic. Again, it’s not perfect, but this was $32 for full container compared to RMS’s $72. I was also able to try a sample size at $14, which I think is such a good idea! (seriously, why don’t all companies offer trial sizes???)

The first problem I had was upon ordering their moisturizer, I got a FLOOD of emails. Bambu Earth emailed me at least once a day, everyday, once I placed my order. The irony is, it took them over a week to ship out my order because one of the items was back-ordered but none of the 8 emails I received mentioned that. I finally reached out to them to see what was going on and that’s when they notified me that one of the items was back-ordered. The emails did seem to slow down to about once a week after that, which I don’t mind.

The second problem I had with this moisturizer was I absolutely hated the smell. The ingredients list was short, which I liked! The list is: Organic Raw Fair Trade Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Petitgrain Essential Oil. I think it was the Petitgrain oil which I didn’t like the smell of and honestly, I had never come across it previously so I genuinely had no idea I wouldn’t like it.

Smell aside, I used it religiously every evening for about two weeks, which was how much came in that sample size. I wanted to be able to get an accurate idea of the product and how it worked. For the most part, I felt that it didn’t really penetrate my skin enough to moisturize it. It seemed to sit on the surface. When I washed my face in the morning, I saw no improvements and my skin was still dry. I opted not to order more and went back to reusing the RMS Beauty Oil.

I do have another product from this company that I like and will review later so I am not writing them off completely! They do have another moisturizer called Intense Hydration Cactus Concentrate but that retails for $160 for a full container and I absolutely refuse to spend that so I didn’t dare try their sample size for $28. I would inevitably fall in love with it and then just be disappointed when I couldn’t afford it regularly. But, I figured I’d bring it up incase you have a larger budget then me.

So in conclusion, if you are looking for a nighttime moisturizer, I would recommend giving the RMS Beauty Oil a try at a location near you first. It has been the best moisturizer I have found for my combination skin with the best packaging.

As I said though, it’s not a perfect solution. If you have a moisturizer you like or have heard of a good brand you want reviewed, please leave me a comment below! I would love additional recommendations.

February 10th Meal Prep

Sometimes my meal preps come together fast and other times, I accidentally purchase silken tofu instead of extra firm and my meal prep is spread out over the weekend.

This weekend was definitely the later. As a result, I didn’t get a complete spread of all my prepped meals but the recipes are so good, I had to share anyway!

I did the bulk of my shopping at Pemberton Farms. I needed olive oil ( which they sell in bulk and they let you bring your own container, just try and use one with the amount on it) and a few other dry goods and to save time, I picked up as many of my other groceries as I could. Pemberton’s isn’t the cheapest spot for a full grocery run but I found some cool new things like veggy stock bouillon in a glass container and miso paste in glass. They also have dark chocolate pretzels, smoked almonds and plantain chips in bulk. Worth it!

For meals, I made:

Eggs and leftover veggies for breakfast. I’ll top this with a little Avocado ranch and everything but the bagel seasoning and have a piece of fruit on the side.

Creamy Chickpea Miso Vegetable Stew for lunch. I left out the cauliflower because I don’t really like chunks of it but I may try it with riced cauliflower next time. If you haven’t tried miso yet, I highly recommend it! According to the BBC, it’s a good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, K and folic acids and helps promote gut heal. Plus, it tastes good.

And for dinner I made these grain bowls with turmeric sweet potatoes, baked tofu, lightly dressed arugala and Trader Joe’s sprouted California rice. If you follow the link, you’ll see this was originally a breakfast bowl with an egg but I switched it up and added tofu since I was having eggs for breakfast. This recipe was so good! That Trader Joe’s rice is my absolute favorite and I don’t even like rice. Unfortunately, its not plastic-free. This last bit was all that was left from a pre-low waste shopping trip. I would say you could use any grain here you enjoy. I think next time, I’ll try farro. This whole meal was packed with flavor and is one of my favorite dinners I’ve made this year.

I also made some chocolate cookies to have at lunch and have apples and oranges for snacks.

What are you making this week? Be sure to let me know if you try any of these!

Product Reviews: Day Time Moisturizer

This month for Product Reviews, I’m going to be focusing on makeup and skincare. I think this was one of the more daunting changes for me. It took me forever to get a make-up routine down that included more natural products. To find natural AND low-waste seemed a lot! So, hopefully this helps you out a little bit when you go to make some changes.

The first thing I tackled when I switched was moisturizer. I used to have oily skin and then I turned 30 and my skin and I had a bit of a breakdown. I handled becoming 30 by going to Disney and pretending I wasn’t an adult. My skin decided it was going to dry out. I now have combination skin- I have very dry skin across my nose and cheek bones and yet, I get break outs across my chin and forehead. It’s great.

For a day time moisturizer, which I will be discussing today (check back next Tuesday for my evening moisturizer), I wanted a moisturizer that was mostly all natural ingredients, had SPF and was in low-waste packaging. A low price tag would also be nice but I thought maybe I was asking too much if I made that a priority! I actually really lucked out and found a really good moisturizer my first try.

Enter the Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen Tinted Facial Moisturizer.

Raw Elements Tinted Facial Moisturizer has been my go-to daytime moisturizer for the last few months and I’m a big fan. The moisturizer had all three of the things I was looking for and the relatively low price tag as well. Be still me heart!

For the ingredients, the Tinted Facial Moisturizer only has 12 ingredients- non Nano zinc oxide, sunflower oil, green tea, black tea, coffee bean, hemp seed oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, bees wax, rosemary oil extract, vitamin E and iron oxides. If you check out their website, you can see most of these are also organic and that their ingredients page boldly states “if it isn’t produced by mother earth, it isn’t in our sunscreen”.

Additionally, the moisturizer has SPF 30, which I love! Skin cancer runs in my immediate family so this was non-negotiable for me and something I really struggled finding in natural moisturizers. Raw Elements, though, is a sunscreen company so it’s clearly something they prioritize as well! Their founder was a lifeguard looking for a healthier sunscreen for people and the planet. As an added bonus, their sunscreen is also reef safe and they have founded World Reef Day. As someone who lives in New England where it’s cold for roughly 9 months out of the year and who goes into the water maybe once a year, reef safety wasn’t exactly on my list of priorities in my moisturizer. That doesn’t mean I don’t love that the company is considering the welfare of the ocean, though, and I’m looking forward to giving their Face+Body sunscreen a try in the summer.

And last but not least, this moisturizer comes in a 100% zero-plastic container. The tin is aluminum, which is very recyclable and reusable and doesn’t include any hidden plastic, like lid liners or anything. The website suggests reusing it as a container for headphones or jewelry. As you can see, I’m almost out of this one so I think I’m going to keep mine in my gym bag to hold my rings. Though, homemade lip balm in on my To-Do and this container would also work well for that.

This picture looks gritty but the moisturizer goes on incredibly smooth with no grittiness.

As for the application, I use my fingers to apply my moisturizer and foundation and this goes on smoothly. I can’t speak to how it would go on with a brush or sponge. My skin is so dry that using my finger has always worked best. I read some comments that users found the moisturizer was too solid and it made it difficult to apply. I have left mine in the car before and it does get pretty firm if it’s cold. I found it warmed up quickly, though, as I began to apply it and have never had any problems with application.

Compared to traditional moisturizers (I used Coola prior to this), it does initially feel a bit oilier, which is to be expected with the ingredients list. It has never made me break out, though, and I find that it does absorb quickly into the skin. I use a light hand when applying and find that a little goes a long way.

On the left is the moisturizer swiped onto my hand; On the right is after I’ve blended it in. Again, I just use my finger.

As far as I can tell, the company doesn’t specifically have a facial moisturizer with SPF that ISN’T tinted. I think the closest they have is that Face+Body SPF, which isn’t advertised as a moisturizer but it does have almost all the same ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised by the tint in this moisturizer, though. I have fairly light skin and found this provided a very subtle color that blended into my skin well on days I didn’t want to wear foundation. Obviously, I can’t speak to any other skin tones so please leave comments if you end up trying this.

For my Boston readers, I purchased this item in store at Cambridge Naturals in Porter Square. For my CT readers, it’s available on line at Raw Element’s website and on Thrive market (it’s actually cheaper on Thrive and they offer carbon-neutral shipping so you can pick up a few groceries as well).

Tune in next Tuesday as I tackle two nighttime moisturizers I tried: One was a winner and one, not so much!

(This post is NOT sponsored.)

January 26 Meal Prep

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I almost didn’t post this week because my meal prep was pretty small. I wasn’t feeling good most of last week so didn’t finish all my food. I’m trying to finish up what I have first and then maybe I’ll do a small meal prep mid-week.

I decided to post anyway though, because I feel sometimes meal prepping can be pretty intimidating online. Shiny new containers with special dividers, everything laid out for the week- it can be a lot! So I figured I’d so my mini-prep, taking into account leftovers and what I have in the house.

Groceries were around $16 this week as I was just picking up a few essentials.

For meals, I’m having:

  • smoothies for breakfast. We had a left over mango from last week laying around and a bunch of frozen fruit. I made up smoothie packets with the mango and frozen bananas and pineapple and will add protein powder and hemp seeds (I tried freezing these with the smoothie packets and it didn’t work great).
  • Lunch is leftover mushroom cauliflower soup from last week. It made more than I expected so I have a few servings left over. This recipe wasn’t great so I’m going to hold off sharing.
  • Dinner- I have three quinoa burgers left over, which were so good by the way! I highly recommend. Here’s the recipe again. I roasted some leftover veggies I had laying around like green beans and peppers to eat on the side and will top these with avocado and salsa.
  • Snacks this week: sliced up bell peppers with hummus, apples with peanut butter (I slice this the night before to minimize browning as much as possible) and stovetop popcorn with olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt. Stovetop popcorn is one of my top 3 favorite foods. I highly recommend it.

I also prepped my cold brew, per usual.

I was really feeling snacks this week for some reason. Maybe because so much of my food was leftovers that adding snacks helped add something new to the menu? Either way, my commute is long each way so snacks are a must.

That’s it. I’ll maybe do another small prep on Thursday to make some soup to get me through the week and weekend but I’m really trying to get rid of the food I already have.

Would you guys like to see some low waste ideas for the Super Bowl on Sunday? I’ll be keeping it low-key since neither of my teams are playing but you still need good snacks right??