EcoPosts πŸ¦‰10 Ways to Feast with Less Waste


Hello πŸ‘‹πŸ˜ and welcome to crazy-Thanksgiving-prep-for-so-many-hours-maybe-even-days week! Yay! Oh, ugh…

It can be a pretty hectic week, but it’s not suppose to be. On top of keeping up with your daily life, it can seem very stressful trying to get the Thanksgiving Meal just perfect, plus cleaning and decorating the house for guests. It’s meant to be a time to enjoy with family and friends, making memories! ❀️❀️❀️

Holidays also happen to be a time where convenience gets priority over the expense of the environment and sustainability of our natural resources. With all of this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to waste less around the holidays and actually enjoy yourself. πŸ™ŒπŸ₯° Lets get started:

  1. Plan Ahead & Ask for Help! Take an inventory of what you already have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Then make a complete list of what dishes you want and the ingredients you need, but also consider meals surrounding the big Feast, like breakfast, snacks, and the possibilities of leftovers-turned-into-fabulous-dishes. Also something to consider: you don’t have to make the entire meal! What?!?! You really don’t! This is a family event, so get the family involved. Let other people shine with their awesome side dish of mashed potatoes and gravy, or delegate chores like cleaning up and decorating. You can enjoy Thanksgiving, too! Planning ahead can save you valuable time, decrease the amount of freaking-out moments, as well as eliminate some food waste and trash by not buying what you don’t need in the first place.
    Buy Local & Bulk: Shopping at the local farmers market or small businesses, especially meat and produce, will help support your local economy. So much food found in our grocery store chains travel long distances, even internationally, and by shopping locally you can get the freshest food and great flavors. I like to get my turkey from a local farmer that practices humane living conditions for the birds and eco-friendly farming. They are fed organic and non-GMO feed, so the turkey we’re eating is not only healthier but lived a great life. This farmer shares videos of the turkeys on their Facebook page. πŸ¦ƒπŸ’— There are also many stores switching to bulk item areas, like spices and herbs. I like getting only enough of the spice that I need, which means I also save money! Yay! Saving money here means you can get that specialty coffee or new earrings and giving yourself some much needed peace and quiet.
    Use What You Already Have: What ingredients do you already have in your pantry or fridge? Can you use those instead of something else that you might not even use later in your cooking? I like to consider which ingredients I can swap with, simply because I know I won’t use up all of that herb or spice or whatever it happens to be. Again, save yourself some money, shelf space, and throwing away trash or food waste.
    Meal Prep: Carving out some time before the big Feast building day to prep some meals will make the overall experience of Thanksgiving much happier. Cut some vegetables; bake the pies; chop the bread for stuffing. When you’re prepping, you’ll save in the clean up process the day of Thanksgiving (although, remember to delegate!) but you’ll also be able to find out earlier if you need more of a certain ingredient. If you don’t, then you won’t have food waste and extra trash. Win!
    Stop, Breathe, Enjoy: Seriously! Take a break, take a breath, and enjoy a mug of coffee, tea, cocoa, or apple cider! Find somewhere quiet to recharge. Put your feet up, because who wants to be in pain, unhappy, tired, exhausted, and crazy when the rest of the family is enjoying the holiday?
    Reusable & Multi-purpose: Bring your reusable shopping bags and cloth produce bags to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. Plastic does not decompose, but breaks down into microplastics which end up in our environment. Gross! Recycle where and what you can, which includes aluminum foil and other containers, but trying to use reusable and multipurpose items first is actually a preferred eco-friendly practice.
    Decorate with Natural Elements: Remember when I said to delegate? Well, if you have family over, and perhaps they are underfoot while you would like to meal prep or spend a moment to yourself, send them outside to collect natural elements like pine cones and leaves to decorate for Thanksgiving. Most of these items out of nature can be frozen or heated to kill any bugs, because you don’t want them crawling around your dinner table. Some farmer market stands are selling pumpkins at a discount which would look really nice as centerpieces inside glass vases or paired with candles. This is a chance to get creative! Afterward, the items can be composted or taken back outside. No fuss! No muss! Whatever that means, but at least you’re saving money and not making trash!
    Clean-Up as You Go: Delegate! If you are doing all the cooking, someone else can be doing all the cleaning. Or maybe you don’t want to cook, so you can just do the clean up. Either way, washing is better than tossing disposables away. So much trash is accumulated in terms of paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, and if you don’t want to wash so many dishes, compostable plates, cups, and utensils are available! Woohoo! Another idea is to invite your guests to bring their own dishes, containers for leftovers and cloth napkins, too!
    Leftovers: Here you go! Time to get creative and pretend that you’re on the Food Network doing one of those competition style shows. There are so many bloggers that took that challenge, so there are numerous recipes on the web for “what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers”! Also, do you need disposable containers and giant zip locking plastic bags: Nope. Ask guests to bring containers with them or use multipurpose containers. Glass is a better option than plastic because you can heat up the food in the oven or microwave safer.
    Compost/Worm Farm/ Tortoises: Produce scraps, stems and ends can also be used to make more stock or broth for use in other meals after main thanksgiving feast. We love making turkey soup afterwards, so having extra broth is perfect. Saving carrot greens, celery greens, beet greens, and others means that you can use them to dress up salads, use them in soups, or crisp them up in the oven. So delicious! Some extra bits and leftover produce can also be composted, put into your worm farm, or fed to your spoiled chickens or tortoises! What? You don’t have either of those? Well, with a little extra searching on your smartphone, you might be able to find another place for your leftover produce scraps. Some cities and neighborhoods have communal compost areas, and some farmers markets will take the extra stuff for their composting needs. Also, if you have a big enough yard, chickens and/or tortoises are great to have around for peaceful observations and feeding your veggie scraps to throughout the year. They’re pretty entertaining, too. Watch my Instagram feed and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I’m trying to do more of these practices, and this week is the WEEK! To walk the gobble walk after doing the gobbling talk! I’m going to post more tips and info on my Instagram feed @mugglezoologist so follow me there for more eco-friendly fun this holiday season!

Try one or more of these tips this holiday season and let me know how it goes. But don’t feel pressured to try all of them. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone! πŸ˜˜πŸ¦ƒπŸ˜πŸ™Œ

EcoPosts πŸ¦‰: Feasting with Less Wasting!

Every year, the holidays drag with them stress and waste. They are suppose to be filled with the laughter of friends and family, gathered around a bountiful feast; everyone wearing joyful expressions as they bite into the delightful treats I spent hours making; and me cozying up with a hot cup of coffee, enveloping myself into a blanket, and relishing the peace and quiet while starring into the twinkling lights of a decorated tree…ahh, sounds so nice!

Instead, multiple lists are made, shopping at multiple places ensues, and defaulting to convenience as much as possible. As a person who practices eco-friendly techniques and skills in the kitchen throughout much of the year, and as someone who wants to do better for the environment, why does it all fall apart when Thanksgiving and Christmas comes around?

It’s never too late to keep up “New Year’s” resolutions! πŸ™Œ I wanted to improve on my eco- friendly practices, and here I am: Preparing for the Thanksgiving Feast and Christmas season. Challenge accepted! πŸ’ͺπŸ˜…πŸ’ͺ

I’m working on my top 10 ways to have an Eco-Awesome Thanksgiving, and finding all kinds of new eco-friendly practices. This involves reducing my plastic waste, as well as time wasters!!! I don’t want a stressful week leading up to Thanksgiving; I want to enjoy it and take part in the joy of the holidays.

Also, I want to hear from you! What are you doing that reduces your waste around the big Feast? What other feasting holidays do you celebrate?

I’m looking forward to hearing from everyone. πŸ˜πŸ‘‹ πŸ¦ƒ

EcoPost πŸ¦‰: Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Or at least as much as you can! πŸ˜…

Sometimes, it’s difficult to shop completely zero waste, so I try to get as close as I can!

I bring 2-4 reusable bags with me, as well as an insulated cooler bag for cold items and reusable produce bags. These have eliminated A LOT of plastic bags! From my use, that is, and has often served as a conversation starter with other people in the store.

Other items that other people have used and that I would like to work into my zero waste shopping habit:

    Jars: a variety of sizes and the weight of the jar written on it, so the cashier can subtract that weight from the weight of the product.
    Containers for meat, like ground beef or bison, chicken, and seafood. Some cuts of meat are already wrapped, so I need a separate insulated cooler that I can easily clean if the package leaks. I want to avoid contamination, so I need to keep certain items separate.

I try to get some dry goods like flour, nuts, grains, and spices, in a Bulk Section. The produce bags and jars are ideal for these items. I also look for glass or cardboard containers instead of plastic, because I can easily recycle these items. Not all plastic is recyclable so I avoid that where I can.

Not every shopping trip is eco-perfect, but I try my best and have items with me to remember them easier. Other tactics I use to help include making a meal plan and shopping for meat and produce locally. The meal plan helps me know what fruit or veggie needs to be used up so it doesn’t go bad and is wasted, and shopping locally reduces the travel waste that comes along with transporting food long distances.

I continue to learn and grow in my efforts to reduce plastic and single use trash when I’m out shopping. Even when I’m not just shopping for food, I bring bags with me into the retail stores or say no to a bag and carry out my purchase. It makes an eco-difference in daily life and has the potential to start an eco-conversation to keep the eco-efforts rolling. Less trash is a good thing, no matter where you live! πŸ˜πŸ™Œ

What eco-efforts are you using while shopping for food or other retail items? I’d love to hear about it! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘‹ 🌎 πŸ›’

Photo credits: Top 2 of produce bags are mine, and the Bottom 2 of jars and the Bulk Section are from Google.

Luna Lovegood the Lion πŸ¦

I love Luna Lovegood! Cheering on the Gryffindor Quidditch team πŸ™ŒπŸ¦πŸŽ‰πŸ˜

When I saw Funko Pops, I thought “oh, they’re cute,” but I wasn’t collecting them at the beginning. It was all over when I saw the one of Luna Lovegood in her lion hat! 😍 I love the gold accents within the lion’s mane, her eyes with the cute eyelashes, and her cozy outfit.

I also thought it would be a fun picture with this replica Saber Tooth Tiger skull, from the La Brea Tar pits in California.

Also, it was brought to my attention that these fun posts needed more photos, so I hope this accomplished that and as I do more of these fun Funko posts, I’ll add as many photos as I can. ❀️

Thank you!!! πŸ™Œβ€οΈπŸ¦πŸŽ‰πŸ™Œ

Adventure Thursday: Something Close to Home!

Summer is wrapping up, so I was remembering a trip that was a little closer to home…

The Brueggen Family Vacation out to Central Florida (ish) πŸ™Œ

    Snorkeling at Devil’s Den Park and Cedar Gardens right next door
    Exploring Cedar Key
    Kayaking the Rainbow River

First of all, to get the trip started on the right foot: CPR and First Aid Training. You know it’s a seriously fun trip when you get some safety training, LOL πŸ˜‚

Check! Ready to go! 😎

Now to have our Annual Summer Low Country Boil! This year, we decided to celebrate the 4th of July the week after, since the crowds would be lower. Fewer hoards of people= more, relaxed fun!

Next on the family adventure, we’re off to Devil’s Den Park…

There’s a hole in the ground. A cave where you crawl into chilly spring-fed waters (so chilly is 70-72F). Some people learn to SCUBA in a pool and then graduate to the cave, but we were just going to snorkel it.

I tried to stay warm in my long sleeves and Tiger Shark Waterlust pants, because you see those nearly naked people? Yup, they were shivering something fierce! Anyways, I got use to the temperature soon enough and felt comfortable to swim around. It was really cool to swim around cave walls and see fish swimming around. The park is rather nice and I won’t mind visiting again next summer. 🐟🐟🐟

Next door, you need to make a stop at the Cedar Lakes Gardens, which are just beautiful!

While walking around, we found this very HarryPotter-ish bird house. Too small for Buckbeak and not suitable for any Phoenix, but cute nonetheless.

There’s a nice large, beautiful lake with little ponds and some amazingly cool waterfalls. Plus giant lillipads!

Our next stop was Cedar Key, a sleepy little fishing town…

There’s a few shops, lots of artwork all around, a couple of restaurants, but plenty to do if you have a boat and can leave the island. Otherwise, we felt like it was fun to say we’ve been there, but there’s not much to bring us back.

This art shop had left food out for kitties running around, but I happened to see this little box turtle! Unlike the cats (which are invasive and destructive to native species), this box turtle is a native to the island and fossils have been found of these little turtles. Box turtles have the name because they can bring their head and limbs in close and through hinges in their plastron (bottom shell), they can completely close up. Very cool!

We had to stop for lunch because that Low Country Boil can only sustain one for so long, so I had to gobble down some Cedar Key Oysters! So delicious! I love eating fresh seafood. 🀀

Finally, we spent a morning floating and kayaking down the Rainbow River. 🌈 The river’s source is from springs, coming up from the earth at 70-72F all year round. We’ve seen all sorts of wading birds, some cool river turtle species, and American Alligators.

Family trips are great. Make memories and explore your surroundings. You don’t have to pay a lot of money or travel far to find great places to make great memories.


EcoPost: Straws and Bags

Two basic and most used eco items I carry with me wherever I go:

  • Stainless steel straws
  • Reusable bags…more precisely, one made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Why you need them?
  • Because plastic straws are clogging up the waterways and getting into everything , like sea turtle noses! Blah! πŸ˜– I feel like I’m always finding plastic straws washed up on the beaches. Plastic straws are also difficult items to recycle because of their size and shape.
  • The above image is part of a research study, and is all the plastic that a young sea turtle had eaten over its sadly short life. Some baby sea turtles are found deceased on the beach or shortly after arriving at a rehabilitation center. With all this plastic inside their gastrointestinal tract, they aren’t getting enough nutrients to grow, let alone survive.
  • There’s also the issue of plastic shopping bags…
  • Plastic bags are floating around the driving lanes on the highways and threatening to get clogged under your car, as well as floating in the ocean looking like jellyfish. Lots of animals hunt and eat jellyfish…and also plastic bags, which do not digest. The ocean dwelling creatures end up getting clogged pretty bad and you know how much your midsection hurts when you get…clogged up. Ouch! 😣
  • Going with reusable straws and bags can truly eliminate a lot of these issues and these are great starting points!
  • I often hear: “But I’ll never remember to use them!” It took some effort for me at first, but it eventually became an ingrained habit for me to refuse straws and to bring in my reusable bags while shopping. It’s possible for you, too!
  • It goes beyond eliminating a few plastic straws and bags floating around the ocean, it sends messages to businesses and your community. We all love clean beautiful beaches when we go on vacation and getting the chance to see healthy wildlife, and by choosing to make this change, we can inspire others to make these plastic-eliminating habits, too.
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