Vegan Meal Prep | Sushi and Korean BBQ Bowls

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Meal Prep Sushi and Korean BBQ bowls

Hi Savvys,

I received Knorr’s “Taste of Knorr” new seasoning blends for review purposes from Chickadvisor and wanted to share the recipes I created.   I’m bringing you 2 new rice bowl recipes featuring Taste of Japan and Taste of Korea new seasoning blends!  These recipes are so easy to make and perfect for meal prep, which is what I used them for.  I made a big batch of the quinoa and rice blend and used half for the sushi rice and half for the Korean BBQ bowl.

Enjoy! Now set forth and be Savvy!

Ingredients

Both recipes below make 4 portions of each recipe

Rice

~Makes 8 servings – 1/2 cup each

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup short grain (sushi) rice
  • 2 cups water

Taste of Knorr Korean BBQ Bowls

BBQ Marinade and Soy Curls

  • 2 cups soy curls, soaked in hot water
  • 1 tbsp reserved water from soaking the soy curls
  • 1 tbsp Taste of Knorr Korean BBQ seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Topping Ideas for BBQ Bowl

  • Kimchi
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Fried Shishito peppers
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Green onion

Rice

  • 1/2 of the prepared rice (from above), about 2 cups

Directions

  1. Soak the soy curls in hot water for 30 minutes
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix to combine
  3. Reserve 1 tbsp of the water from the soy curls and add it to the rest of the marinade
  4. Drain the soy curls and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible
  5. Place the drained rehydrated soy curls into a dish. Pour the marinade over and coat till they’re all covered.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high and cook the soy curls until all of the liquid has been reduced, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. To assemble the bowls, prepare 4 bowls (or containers for meal prep) and place 1/2 cup of the quinoa and rice mixture at the bottom of the bowl. Top with 1/2  cup of the cooked soy curls.  Top with all of your favourite toppings

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Taste of Knorr Japanese Sushi Bowls

Sushi Rice

  • Remaining 1/2 of the prepared rice (from above), about 1 cup
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Togarashi Tofu

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed (tofu package around 400g)
  • 1 tbsp Taste of Knorr Japan Togarashi seasoning blend
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp water

Topping Ideas for BBQ Bowl

  • Radish
  • Cucumber
  • Microgreens
  • Vegan roe
  • Soy sauce
  • Diced mango
  • Pickled ginger
  • Sesame seeds

Directions

  1. To make the sushi rice, mix in sugar and rice wine vinegar into the remaining rice and quinoa mix. Set aside.
  2. Remove the block of tofu from packaging and place at the bottom of a strainer. Place a plate on top of the tofu.  Place a heavy pot on top of the plate and let sit and press for 30 minutes
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix to combine
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the tofu from the strainer and cut into cubes (I like to cut the tofu into 4 pieces length and width wise, then cut into 4 again so each portion gets 16 pieces of tofu)
  5. Cover the tofu with the marinade.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high and cook the tofu for about 3-5 minutes.
  7. To assemble the bowls, prepare 4 bowls (or containers for meal prep) and place 1/2 cup of the quinoa and rice sushi mixture at the bottom of the bowl. Top each bowl with ¼ of the tofu (about 16 pieces if you cut it like me).  Top with all of your favourite toppings.  Drizzle with soy sauce

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8 Reusable Alternatives to Single Use Plastics

8 Reusable Alternatives to Single Use Plastics for Plastic Free July

Hi Savvys!Hope everyone is enjoying their Plastic Free July!July may be almost over, but I hope all of our new habits and healthy lifestyle changes will stick around all year round! Especially now that it’s summer, we have less time to spend indoors and look to convenience products since we want to maximize and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

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I’ve put together a list of my top 8 reusable alternatives to single use plastics that you can incorporate into your summer routine, whether it be attending food festivals, traveling or even enjoying a BBQ or two.

  1. Reusable Floss

Not only is this floss pot reusable for years to come, the floss itself is also vegan and compostable. That means when we’re done with the floss, we just throw it into our bathroom compost bin!

  1. Bamboo Toothbrush

I love that companies are so innovative now and creating everyday single use products out of renewable resources. Bamboo is considered a renewable resource as it can grow up to 4 inches a day. Cutting and harvesting bamboo actually improves the soil quality. Again, at the end of its useful life, we throw our bamboo toothbrushes into the compost bin.

  1. Diva Cup

I love my Diva Cup. It can be used between 2 – 4 years before having to be disposed of. Not only is it diverting pads and tampons from the landfills, it will also save you money in the long run!

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  1. Reusable Travel Zip Pouches

If you know me, then you know I love to travel. A lot of single use plastic bags are typically used when travelling to hold toiletries and electronics. I love these reusable zip pouches since they’re see through so security can see what’s in them as you’re passing through security check, and they’re sturdy enough to hold electronics such as wires and cables.

  1. Reusable Snacks Bags

Staying with the traveling theme, I always love to bring snacks with me no matter how long the car ride or flight is. I love that these pouches come in 2 different sizes to meet my snacking needs.

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  1. Travel To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set

I love that these bamboo utensils come in a pouch for easy traveling. I bring them with me when we have BBQ’s, potlucks or food festivals. Lightweight and can fit in my purse!

  1. To-Go Ware 2 Tier Stainless Steel Tiffin

Growing up I’ve always wanted these types of containers since they always reminded me of the bento boxes that anime characters would eat from. Now that I’m older, I love them for their practicality! They can fit salads and fruits and can fit into my small travel sized lunch box for when we travel by plane!

  1. ChicoBag Vita Shopping Bag

Of course we know how important it is to have reusable bags on us. But sometimes when we’re on the go, we don’t always have the space in our purse to stuff a reusable bag into. Luckily this shopping bag from ChicoBag is collapsible and comes with a key ring for your convenience. I never leave my house with this bag!TheSavvyPantry-8ReusableAlternativesPlasticFreeJuly2019 (3)

Of course, there are always reusable things around your house that you can use and incorporate that doesn’t cost extra money, but I wanted to share this fun list with you to show you products if you were interested in investing and reusing for the years to come.Leave your comment below to let me know what your favourite reusable alternative is.Now set forth and be savvy!

 

DIY Garden Backdrop

DIY Garden Backdrop

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Hi Savvys!

I’m sad that this series is ending but I had so much fun making these DIYs for my sister’s bridal shower.  Today’s 4th and last DIY in my garden inspired DIY series was very last minute and was inspired primarily by the new garden collection at my Dollarama.  As soon as I saw these artificial moss mats, I knew I wanted to make something with them.

Initially I envisioned using this backdrop to take photos with guests with since that was also on my DIY to do list.  But because of the size and the weight and poor planning on our part on where we would even hang a back drop, it ended up being the perfect backdrop for our dessert table.  I really liked it in the end because it really helped tie all of the garden elements together, and the sweet table ended up being a back drop in itself!

All of these materials were purchased from my Dollarama.

Materials you will need for this project:

Directions

  1. First, you’ll want to expand the garden trellis to be as wide as you want, depending on how many mats you bought. Since I bought 9, I wanted it to be 3 by 3.
  2. Then you’re going to lay your mats on top of the trellis to see if you’ve expanded it enough. Adjust depending on the size you want.  I left a bit of the trellis exposed to give it that garden vibe.
  3. Once you have the size you want, remove the moss mats so you have only the garden trellis. On the trellis, look for the mechanisms that allow it to expand and contract. Using your push pins, pin each side of the wood to prevent it from expanding and contracting.  Complete for all of the areas until it is stable.
  4. After pining everything I realized that I could have used a hot glue gun and glued the wood to prevent the mechanisms from expanding and contracting, but I only had 1 glue stick left and needed it for this next step.
  5. Turn the trellis over, and you will notice some of the push pins are exposed and poking through. Since we don’t want any sharp edges, take a hot glue gun and glue the pins that stick out. This will create a smooth surface and prevent any injuries.  I also used the rest of the glue to glue the edges together.
  6. Put the trellis to the side.
  7. Lay out your mats with the underside facing up. Place the garden trellis on top with the pin tops facing up.  I had made the mistake of having them face down which means that you can see them but that’s ok.InShot_20190607_171808374
  8. You will use your zip ties to secure the moss mats to the trellis. As you are securing the moss mats to the trellis, make sure that you are also securing the mats that are next to each other to close off the seams.   Use as many zip ties as needed.  I ran out so I had to be strategic but I recommend using more.
  9. If you like, you can also use the left over flowers from the rose gold wreath DIY by inserting them directly into the mats

I loved how I was inspired by Dollarama and how I was able to create something without even an idea.  This turned out so well and will definitely use it as a backdrop for future events.

Hope you guys enjoyed this DIY series. I loved how easy and affordable all of these DIY’s were.  I hope this will leave you feeling inspired to create something new the next time you have an event.

Now set forth and be Savvy!

DIY Rose Gold Floral Wreath

TheSavvyPantry-RoseGoldFloralWreath

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Hi Savvys!

I’ve been seeing this DIY absolutely everywhere, whether it be for a wedding or even just a décor piece in your home.  I knew I wanted to make this as soon as I saw it and am happy I had the bridal shower as an excuse to make it.  I am so happy to show you this 3rd DIY in my garden inspired DIY series because it is honestly the easiest DIY that will leave everyone amazed.  This ended up costing me a total of $14.50 CAD but I would said it’s probably max $10 since most of the flowers will be using in another DIY.

This wreath was perfect for the bridal shower as a backdrop but it was also super cute to take photos with as well.  This Rose Gold Floral wreath is so easily customizable based on your color scheme and your style.  The hardest part was really the spray painting and waiting overnight part.

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Materials you will need for this project:

  • Hula hoop, I purchased a large size from the dollar store for $2 (you can also purchase medium and small sizes based on the size that you want)
  • Rose gold spray paint for $10 (for me it was free because I always have spray paint on hand)
  • Package of 50 tie wraps for $1.25
  • Assortment of flowers and a vine. Including the vine I had 5 kinds of florals that I used for a total of $11.25
  • Heavy duty scissors or pliers

Directions

  1. Lay out all of your flowers around the hoop so you can see what type of design you like.
  2. Once you are happy with the design, you’re going to cut off the flowers from the bouquets but keep the stems attached to the flowers as you will need this to anchor to the hoop. You may want to use pliers if you have them since the wires are so thick I ended up breaking a pair of scissors.
  3. Using your tie wraps, attach the vine to the hoop with about 5 inch spaces in between. This should be enough tie wraps to hold it in place.  You should only be able to see the tie wraps from behind.  Adjust the vines to hide any expose tie wraps. 

  4. Now you’re going to attach the flowers. Bend the stems of the flowers so it creates an L shape with the flower head being at the bottom of the L.  Secure the flowers to the hoop by wrapping the tie wrap around the stem of the flower (the longest part of the L) to the hoop.  You may need 2 tie wraps, 1 closest to the head of the flower and 1 at the end of the stem.  Repeat for all of the flowers.  Position the stems so that they are behind the vine or behind the other heads of the flowers.  The stems should not be visible from the front.
  5. Complete until you have attached all of the flowers.  And that’s pretty much it.  No glue required.  No tape required.
  6. Cut off any excess tie wraps and discard.

Everyone was so impressed with this wreath at the bridal shower.  It honestly looks like something I could have purchased from Etsy for $50.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this DIY. I loved how easy this was and how pretty it turned out!  Don’t forget to tag me @thesavvypantry in your DIYs so that I can see your projects.

Now set forth and be Savvy!

 

DIY Crystal Soaps

 

DIY Cyrstal Soaps

Hi Savvys!

As the DIY ideas really started to ramp up for my sister’s bridal shower, I left the guest favours last since I didn’t know 1) what to get and 2) if it was going to be a DIY or a purchase.  I knew that I wanted the guest favours to be a consumable product that would be suitable for everyone’s needs with minimal packaging.  That meant that it was either going to be a food or a beauty product.

It was actually the bride herself who gave me the idea for this guest favour.  She mentioned that she had seen these natural soaps with minimal packaging sold in packs of 3 at Winners.  There was a huge selection with great scents such as lavender and tea tree oil, however it was going to cost $12 per pack of 3.  Since I needed at least 30 soaps, this would set me back minimum $120.

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So I decided on the DIY route.  Luckily my friend had given out handmade soaps as guest favours at her wedding and really emphasized that they were super easy to make.

I wanted it to go with the Garden party theme but also wanted it to be super easy since the bridal shower was already less than a week away.  After a quick Pinterest search, I came across these crystal soaps.  It was perfect because it was going to be easy to make and was elegant enough for the shower.

I loved how all of the soaps were different shapes and shades.  I had also made them so that they could fit in the palm of my hand.  In total, for the size that I made, I was able to make 36 soaps for approximately $1.25 each (total materials costing me $45).  Keep into account that I had only used about half of each block of soap, which means that if I had made it all, it would have come to about $0.75 cents each!

Materials you will need for this project:

  • 2 types of glycerin soap in opaque and clear, I purchased the medium containers at Michael’s using their 40% off coupon for $20 each
  • Soap dye, from Michaels for $5 for a pack of 3
  • 2 silicone moulds (I borrowed this from a friend)
  • Glass measuring cup

Directions

  1. You will need to repeat this first step twice: once for the opaque soap, and once for the clear soap. Cut up the 1st block of soap into small enough pieces so that it will fit in your mould.  Repeat with the second block of soap and mould.
  2. This step will also need to be done twice: once for the opaque soap, and once for the clear soap. Place the mould of your first soap in the microwave.  Make sure not to overfill your moulds or you will make a mess in your microwave!  You can start by microwaving the mould for 45 seconds and adding 5 second increments until all of the soap is melted so that you are able to mix in the dye.  Repeat with the second mould.
  3. Now you’re going to add the dye to your melted soap in both moulds. Add different amounts of dye to each section so you can get different shades of mini blocks of clear and opaque soap.  Mix with a toothpick.  It doesn’t have to be thoroughly mixed – this will give the crystal added depth and color.
  4. After adding the dye, store the moulds in the fridge for 20 minutes so that they can firm up.
  5. Remove the firmed up soaps from the moulds. Cut the cubes into mini sections to make them look like mini crystals.  Make sure they are not uniform in shape.  Be sure to cut out different shapes and sizes as this will make your final product look realistic.TheSavvyPantry-DIYCrystalSoaps (6)
  6. Mix all of the mini crystals together either in a bowl or on your table top. I had covered my table with a garbage bag so that I could use it as a giant working surface. TheSavvyPantry-DIYCrystalSoaps (7)
  7. Since I knew I wanted to make at least 30 individual soaps, I made 30 clusters of the mini crystals so that I knew whether or not I had enough to make 30 soaps. This will also allow you to see if there are enough variations within each cluster because the more colors there are per soap, the prettier the final product is.TheSavvyPantry-DIYCrystalSoaps (8)
  8. Now you are going to place each cluster in the separate sections of your moulds. I also used a silicon muffin mould so that I could get different shapes of soaps.
  9. Once you have filled your moulds, you will want to cut off just enough white and opaque soap from the blocks to cover the clusters of crystals in the moulds. Starting with the white soap, melt a small block in the microwave in a glass measuring cup and pour it in the moulds so that it goes halfway up.  Repeat with the opaque soap and pour it into the moulds on top of the white soap.  This will give you the marbling effect you see in crystals.
  10. Set the filled moulds in the fridge for another 20 minutes. When they are ready, remove from the moulds.  If you are happy with the shape then you can stop there, otherwise you can cut off the edges of the soap to make the soaps look less round or squared to add more texture.
  11. Savvy tip: if you do end up cutting off pieces you can add these pieces back to your clusters. No waste here!

Hope you guys enjoyed this DIY. I really enjoyed making it and enjoyed how easy and practical these guest favours were!  Don’t forget to tag me @thesavvypantry in your DIYs so that I can see your projects.

Now set forth and be Savvy!

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Kat Von D Go Big or Go Home VoxBox

Kat Von D Go Big or Go Home

Hi Savvys!

I was so excited to have received Influenster’s Kat Von D Go Big or Go Home VoxBox.  Firstly, I love how Influenster is highlighting lots of cruelty free and vegan beauty products lately.  This is my second VoxBox that I’ve received that is cruelty free and vegan, which makes me super excited to see that this is where the industry is headed towards.

The Go Big or Go Home VoxBox features the Go Big or Go Home Mascara and Tattoo Liner.  Both of these products are made with plant based fats, is cruelty free and vegan.

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The Go Big or Go Home Mascara: Upon opening the container, the first thing I noticed was that the mascara seemed a bit clumpy.  I decided to apply the mascara on without curling my eye lashes to see how well it would hold up to my short and stubborn lashes.  After applying the first coat, the mascara did come on a bit clumpy.  But after a few more coats, it became smooth and made my lashes look thick.  It even managed to curl my lashes up a bit!

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The Tattoo Liner: This liner really does look as thin as a tattoo needle (of course I exaggerate, but it was that pointy!).  I don’t have a steady hand for liquid liners, but on my first try (you can see it in my video!), I was able to achieve a straight line.  I would definitely find this useful when wanting to make a bold statement with your eyes.

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Overall because this is plant based and effective, I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a bold and dramatic look.

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Hope you guys found this review helpful.  I am looking forward to the different looks that I can create with the sleek tattoo liner and mascara!!

Note that I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

See below link for my video!

Now set forth and be Savvy!

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Vintage Inspired Picture Frame

Vintage Inspired Picture Frame

Hey Savvys!

With spring finally in the air, there will undoubtedly be many events such as baby showers, bridal showers, weddings and birthdays. I myself recently hosted my sister’s bridal shower in May where she requested a garden themed shower. This would have been so easy and perfect to host in our parent’s backyard, however being in Canada where the weather is very unpredictable, we decided to host it indoors. This decision made my creative and savvy side perk up as I hunted for easy and budget friendly garden inspired DIY’s.

The need for easy and budget friendly garden inspired DIY’s has given rise to this series of 4 DIY’s worth making for any engagement this spring and summer.

The first DIY of this series is this vintage inspired picture frame to hold your photos in. This idea came to mind when I was trying to come up with a low waste yet memorable activity that the guests can participate in while allowing my sister to have a keepsake of. The thought of a photo booth came to mind, but since I wanted my sister to have a keepsake that she could remember the day by, a picture frame was the perfect solution to both providing the guests with a way to be engaged at the shower while creating a gift of memories for my sister to have and reflect on.

This frame was super easy to make using a thrift store frame and some craft supplies. It was also super convenient because a couple of our cousins already owned Polaroid cameras so all we had to do was purchase the film. I was also happy that this project’s total cost was approximately $28, though I would probably say it actually cost $10 since I can reuse the other materials for future DIYs.

Materials you will need for this project:

  • Picture frame, any size and color of your choice. I purchase a 16 in x 20 in frame for $7 from the Salvation Army
  • Paint brush
  • White latex paint, $10 from Walmart (only needed if you didn’t purchase a white frame)
  • White push pins, $5 from Walmart
  • Twine, $5 from Michaels
  • Mini wooden photo pins, $1.25 from Dollarama
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick

Directions

  1. I used a 16 x 20 in frame but you can use which ever size that suits your needs. Carefully remove the cardboard backing and glass from the frame since we want only the frame part. When removing the classy, carefully pop it out from the frame as it could be sharp, and save it for another DIY. I tapped the glass with the cardboard backing to protect the glass from breaking and stored it in my basement for another DIY. Using a butter knife, flatten out the metal pieces that help keep the glass in place and smooth out any sharp edges by making it flush with the frame.
  2. If you’re frame is already white, you can skip this step. When painting indoors, I like to tape a garbage bag to my dining room table to protect it from any paint stains. To make my black frame white, I used 2 coats of white paint. Don’t forget to paint the other side so that the entire frame is white. Let dry for 2 hours.
  3. After the frame is dried, you will need to measure out the space you want between each piece of twine. You will want this space to be wide enough for the clothes pin and the picture. Since my frame is 20 in long, I wanted 4 rows so I made 5 inch spaces between each row. Measure along the long side of your frame and mark with a pen where you want your rows of twin to be. Don’t forget to measure twice to be sure that that is where you want the rows.
  4. Cut enough twine so that you make a knot on each end (since the frame is 16 in wide, you can probably cut 16 in pieces. Pin the knot to the frame using the white push pins. The knot helps secure the push pin to the frame and prevents the twine from falling out. For extra measure I had also hot glued around the pin to make the twine sturdy. Don’t forget to test the mini pin and photo to ensure you have enough space in between before proceeding with the next row. TheSavvyPantry-Pin-VintageInspiredPictureFrame (2)

Hope you guys enjoyed this DIY. Don’t forget to tag me @thesavvypantry in your DIY so that I can see your projects.

Now set forth and be Savvy!

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Toronto Green Living Show 2019

Toronto Green Living Show 2019

Hi Savvys!

This year was the 14th annual Green Living Show held in Toronto, and it was my 2nd time attending.  The Green Living Show  is Canada’s largest healthy living expo, showcasing products and companies to suit every aspect of your life.  If you’ve ever met me, then you know I’m all about sustainable living and sharing tips on how to reduce your overall carbon footprint.  I was so delighted this year to see that there was a whole section dedicated to sustainable fashion.

There were really cool companies showcasing their sustainable fashion, from scarves and tops made from organic cotton to handbags and hats made from leaves.  I picked myself up a pair of glasses made from recycled plastic from Dresden.  These glasses are super customizable and very durable.

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I also discovered the beautiful swimsuits from The Saltwater Collective where their gorgeous swimsuits are made from abandoned fishing nets and plastic scraps.  I felt so inspired walking this area and seeing the innovative things companies are doing to address the amount of waste we create.

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Within the Sustainable Fashion area, there was an interactive museum that showed different facts of the impact our purchasing decisions have on the environment.

At the Green Living Show, they seem to be evolving their food court, which they call their Food & Drink Pavilion, every year.   Like last year, it is a cashless system where you purchase food coupons before entering the pavilion.  After entering the pavilion, you use the coupons as currency to purchase food and drink.  This year was all about international tapas style foods.  They also have a beer and wine section.  Just like last year, we unfortunately never made it to this section because we always get so stuffed from trying all of the samples at the booths, but I would definitely love to check it out next year.

One of my favourite activities when visiting the Green Living Show is checking out all of the food vendors, of course.   There is always a huge selection of products to fit your lifestyle needs, whether it’s gluten free, organic or plant based.  I picked myself up all of the Nona’s cream sauces for an incredible deal and regret not purchasing more.  There were so many food vendors giving out samples that you could seriously have a meal here before you called it a day.

Don’t forget to check out my video below to see the experience.

Now set forth and be savvy!

 

Pinterest - Green Living Show

12 Tips to Reduce Your Waste

Zero Waste - Tips to a Zero Waste Lifestyle

Hi Savvys!

Happy Earth Day!  Every year I love to share different tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but since it’s the first year that I have a blog, I am so happy to be sharing these tips here!

With so much focus now on climate change and people really recognizing that this is a real problem, every little effort or change that each of us individually makes can make a huge impact collectively on our planet.  International days where we collectively take action such as earth hour on March 30th as well as Earth day on April 22nd, shows the impact that we can have.

In my opinion, the most important and impactful thing that you can do is to reduce your waste!

Did you know that it has been calculated that the average Canadian produces more garbage per capita than any other country?  We on average individually generate 2.7kg of garbage a day.  Collectively, this adds up to about 31M tonnes of garbage a year, with only about 30% of that being recyclable material.  Can you see now what I mean by each individual action we take can add to a greater impact collectively?  Unfortunately, in this case, it’s for the worse.

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More specifically, did you know that about 70% of our garbage comes from packaging?  Packaging comes in all forms, shapes and sizes.  When you buy ANYTHING at the store, it seems that you cannot get away with packaging.  Whether you are buying wires that come in a plastic box, peanut butter that comes in plastic jars and even fruits and vegetables now wrapped in plastic.  It is hard to get away from all of that packaging.  You might thing that it’s ok because we can recycle and that’s it.  But the problem is that most recycling plants have not adopted to be able to handle all of the new and different types of materials, shapes and even colors to be able to recycle properly.  It has been found that 91% of plastic waste created isn’t recycled, and ends up in landfills and our oceans.  You might think that reducing your consumption of plastic bags should be able to address this issue, but plastic bags only make up about 1% of the waste in landfills.

Not only do we have an issue with plastic waste, but there is also a huge issue with food waste.  Did you know that 63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten?  That ends up being an average of throwing away $1100 a year per household!   I don’t know about you, but I don’t have money to throw away.  And that’s just what we’re doing individually.  As a collective, 58% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted.  That adds to a whopping $31 Billion.

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Food waste not only is a waste of money and food (obviously), but is a waste on resources.  Growing the food from seed takes a lot of water, energy and labour.  It also uses up a lot of energy and gas to then transport this food across the world.

Now I’d like to share my 10 tips on how you can reduce your overall waste.

  1. Bring your own bags, say no to bags. Though plastic bags only account for 1% of waste, this will definitely help create good habits and serve as a reminder that there are alternatives to plastic bags and packaging in general.
  2. Bring your own jars when shopping in the bulk section. Not only do you save the hassle of having to transfer the goods from the bag to your jars later at home, but in most cases, switching to purchasing in bulk is actually cheaper than buying prepackaged goods
  3. Bring your own metal straws and travel mugs, especially when you are traveling, whether it be in car rides or even on the plane.
  4. Say no to plastic bottles and re-fill your own and always have fresh water on you at all times
  5. Left overs at a restaurant? Bring your own containers to pack the leftovers in.  Leave a bag full of containers in your trunk so you always have them on hand for those last minute take out nights
  6. In the cafeteria at work: say no to disposable cutlery and bring your own or use the metal ones. This also works when eating in fast food restaurants or getting take out.  I always carry these bamboo cutlery when I travel (https://www.to-goware.com/)
  7. Paper towel and Sponges – use clothe towels instead which can be used over and over again. For messier spills where you need that extra support, or check out these Kliin reusable paper towels, which can be used up to 200 times and biodegrade at the end of its lifetime (https://kliin.co/)
  8. Re-using items you would usually recycle such as tissue boxes to organize drawers or cans as planters

9. Make trade-offs: when you have no choice but to buy something with packaging, buy in larger format – usually cheaper and at least you’re reducing the waste by not having to buy multiples of the smaller format. Or if you have the choice to purchase in a glass reusable jar or paper over plastic.

10. Plan out our meals and meal prep – this will allow you to curate your grocery list based on what is on the menu for the week (or in my case, what’s on sale in the flyer, then my meal prep, then my shopping list) and save money by not going out to eat

11. Freeze leftovers! In my house, leftovers are frozen indefinitely (though 2 months is best).  Freeze food you know you won’t use!  Fruits and veggies can be frozen for up to 18 months.  Meats can be frozen for up to a year

12. Finally, if you do have waste, composting is best! When food is sent to landfills, as it decomposes it creates methane (21 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is the leading cause of warming).  If you have a home but your city doesn’t not accept compost, throw your plant based scraps in the backyard for the animals to eat (and if not, it will eventually decompose anyway).  Live in an apartment/condo?  See if you can start a compost system in your building through your city.

I hope these tips will inspire you to look for ways where you can reduce the waste you create.  Whether it be in your home or even at the office, every step that we take individually will lead to a great impact collectively.

Now set forth and be savvy!

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Weekend in Tulum, Mexico

Grand Bahia Principe Tulum

Hey Savvys!

This spring really started off to a sunny start, even though we’ve been experiencing wintery weather here in Canada. I had such a lovely experience traveling for the first time with all of my girls overseas! Growing up, we’ve always talked about vacationing and traveling the world together, but with our differing schedules (some of us working full time or still in school), it was always a challenge to find time together.

Earlier this month, we finally had the chance to travel together! We celebrated my sister’s bachelorette in style in Tulum, Mexico! We stayed at the gorgeous Grand Bahia Principe Tulum. I’ve stayed at this chain a few years ago in the Dominican Republic, so I already had an idea of what to expect in terms of the layout and resort amenities. But what I didn’t realize was how GRAND this resort in Tulum really was!

The resort: The actual Grand Bahia Principe Tulum resort is quite large in itself, but actually sits in a little community connected to 2 other resorts: the Grand Bahia Principe Coba resort as well as the Grand Bahia Principe Akumel resort and golf course. This resort is so large that there is even a disco and market on site! There is also a little train that picks you up from the front lobby of each hotel and can bring you to the different areas of the extended resort, as well as bring you to your Villa if you don’t feel like walking.

I also love that this resort seemed to be operating as sustainably as possible.  There were no more uses of single-use plastic cups or straws on site.  Everything was replaced with plastic reusable cups and compostable plates and cutlery outside of the restaurants.  They also had an extensive explanation of their recycling and composting programs in the lobby, which I was very happy to see being executed when we were at the snack bar on the beach.

The Rooms: I’ve been to resorts before where we had to take an elevator to our room since the resort consisted of hotel buildings. I love that we got to stay in villa type rooms, as it really adds to the beach atmosphere, really maximizing the amount of fresh air we can get. We stayed on the second floor of unit 25 which looked out onto the garden.

Since we were a group of 8, the resort concierge was so accommodating and had our 3 rooms all next to each other.

Our room did have a few problems: the front lock had some technical where the key wouldn’t work. It took 3 times for a staff member to come fix it which was a bit annoying but luckily since all of our rooms were next to each other, we didn’t have any issues hanging out in each other’s rooms. Our shower also didn’t drain properly, but while we were out to dinner, someone came and fixed it. The shower also took a bit of time to warm up, which felt like we were wasting a lot of water having it run till it was warm enough (our unit was 2513).

We received a 2L water bottle each day of our stay, which was great because we always had water on hand when going to the beach and pool. We also had access to the mini fridge, but didn’t really take advantage because it contained colas and beer, which we could get in the restaurants.  The toiletries were typical as well, with shampoo, conditioner, soap and a sewing kit readily available in the bathroom.

The beach: It should be noted that the beaches of Mexico tend to have a lot of seaweed washed ashore from the ocean.  There were crew there every day shovelling as much of the sea weed they could.  Other than that, the beaches were not rocky at all and the waters of course were gorgeous.

The food: I was a bit disappointed by the food based on my expectations from previously vising Mexico as well as Bahia Principe.  There was definitely a lot of food to eat, but since I was trying to eat as plant based as possible, I was disappointed to not be able to find beans more readily available.  The snack bar had lots of selections to make your own tacos and always had guac and salsa readily available, but I would have liked to have seen more bean selections for non-meat eaters.  There was always lots of fresh fruit like papaya, pineapple and mango which we indulged in with every meal.

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We only visited Tulum for 3 full days and we never left the resort, but it was a great way for us to recharge after the long winter we had.  I would recommend visiting another resort if you are looking for more of a typical bachelorette style energy, but we were pretty laid back and just enjoyed relaxing in the sun and each other’s company.

Don’t forget to check out my video below!

Now set forth and be savvy!

 

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