I am going to Myanmar

26 May 2013
Soooo I am not technically going to Myanmar (Burma) for another five months - but I booked my flights today and I am excited.

This will be country number 46. My ultimate aim is to visit 50 countries by the time I turn 30. Time to start looking up ways to travel sustainably and to be environmentally friendly as possible.

Clean Bin project

22 May 2013

During my weekend of convalescing I decided to break up the marathon of Nicholas Sparks movies and watch a documentary. Watching too many Nicholas sparks will have you contemplating life in a seaside town somewhere in North Carolina. Maybe that is just me.

Anyway, the documentary I watched on recommendation from my sister was The Clean Bin Project. My first eco documentary and one that provided a much needed wake up call especially about how much plastic we all use.

"The goal is zero landfill waste. For one year we avoided buying material goods and attempted to live without producing garbage." The documentary creators, Jen and Grant

The rules looked simple but as they begun their quest it became obvious they were hard to follow in our conveniently packaged world. Jen and Grant were not aloud to buy any material goods (new or used), no producing garbage (they could not purchase anything that comes in non-recyclable package, and be responsible for all their own waste (they would take home any waste to be recycled or composted).

A blog was kept throughout the year detailing how they made their own toothpaste which can be found in their DIY section.

Could I do the same?

I feel like I need to do something. But where to start? Buying habits would become full of rigorous conscious thoughts about how each item can be refused/reused/recycled. I bought a regular cup of yogurt that I would normally throw into my bin at work. Instead I took it home, cleaned it and put it aside for future use. I now have a portable yogurt cup with folding spoon. Maybe I can make my own yogurt?

Somewhere in my room are two foldable reusable shopping bags gifted to me by friends. I wonder how often I've actually used them? The fact I can't tell you the location might be an idea in their lack of use. My parents gave all of us children reusable water bottles years ago and I don't know where that is. I did use it in London mainly to save money or to use when travelling...but wouldn't know where it is now. I generally buy all my vegetables without packaging but then they don't come with too much packaging unless it's organic which can be a little out of my price range anyway. But small things like taking additional bags for mushrooms or beans would be even better. The list goes on. I have started looking at my consumer habits closer. I always opt for second hand clothes opposed to new ones but more for fun than to be eco. I might write more on that choice later. I have always prided myself on buying package free shampoo from Lush again it wasn't to reduce my rubbish or plastic it was because they are light to travel with. But items like toothpaste and other products have me looking for other options. It all adds up.

So I am going to try hard to think about how purchases I make will affect others and where they will end up. It takes planning but I think this type of life can be managed more easily than we think. Maybe.

Garlic soup

20 May 2013
I love garlic. When a recipe calls for two garlic cloves, I will put in another.

Roasting my vegetables cannot be done without at least five to six garlic cloves thrown in and they are the first things I eat once the roast is pulled from the oven. I especially love garlic as a remedy.

Last week was full of deadlines and I could feel my body start to stumble. Slight headaches, aching ears and the runny nose. Usually at this stage I would cut up 2 garlic cloves, toast them slightly and consume. I would do this every day until those symptoms went away. And then I would not get sick. Crisis averted

But this time I focused too much on those deadlines and forgot what my body was saying. I pushed those little signs to the side. When the week came to an end and I started to relax - I got sick. Bed ridden for the weekend, watching Nicholas Sparks movies.

During this time I turned to my old friend garlic soup to help me through and get me right for Monday morning. I first had garlic soup in the Czech Republic. I love trying new foods and garlic soup was definitely one I had never tried. It is simple and nourishing.

8 cups chicken or beef stock
6-8 cloves of garlic
2 medium potatoes
peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons parsley.

How to put it together 
I cut the garlic fine (you can use a garlic press) and mixed with salt. Add garlic and salt to a warm large pot adding the broth and bring to boil. Do this slowly. Once the broth, garlic and salt is at boiling point reduce the heat and let simmer. Add your butter, potatoes, caraway seeds, marjoram and pepper. Cook until potatoes are ready to eat.

And that is it. You have made garlic soup. Once you have served it up in a bowl, add your parsley.

Optional Czech extras: Those Czechoslovakians love fried bread. Before serving your soup, fry some lovely dense brown bread in butter and put the fried bread into the bottom of the bowl you are serving the soup in. Then pour the soup over the top. Yum!
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