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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Tea Runners Subscription Box

Tea Runners Subscription Box

Hi Savvys!

I am so happy to share with you the Tea Runners Subscription box! It’s a new subscription box bringing you the world’s finest teas!

Like any subscription box, you can choose the frequency of how you receive them. You can choose to receive this box monthly, bi monthly or even quarterly.

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They have 4 boxes to choose from: the original, herbal, black and pure. For my 1st box, which was the January box, I chose the pure tea box. The selection of teas in this box contains flavours I’m already familiar with, but was still new and exciting.

I am excited to try all of the teas in this box: Water Sprite Oolong, Flowering Feng Qing Tea Cones, Fujian Black Tea and Golden Mao Feng. I especially love the packaging because it contains information such as country and region of origin, measurement per cup, temperature and caffeine level.

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Want to get your hands on your own Tea Runners box? Check out their website www.TeaRunners.com for more information. Don’t forget to use my coupon code DISCOVERTEA for $8 USD off your choice of first box.

Don’t forget to check out my unboxing in the video below.

Now set forth and be savvy!

Bertolli Influenster VoxBox Review

Bertolli Influenster VoxBox Review

Hi Savvys!

I was so excited to have received the Bertolli Influenster VoxBox because 1. I love free stuff and 2. I love it even more when it’s food.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the sauce as soon as I got it in my hands.

I had made the Avant Garde Vegan meatball recipe and had it all frozen, waiting to be used for a special occasion.  This was that special occasion.

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Like with all premade foods, I always like to add my own flare by adding extra ingredients to it.  For this sauce, I had started with some sautéed cherry tomatoes, king oyster mushroom and of course spinach (for all of the extra leafy green goodness).

The sauce:  I was so amazed by the flavour of this jarred sauce.  I had chosen the Olive Oil and Garlic sauce and wow did it have a lot of flavour.  I am usually skeptical when it comes to pre-made garlic sauces because I usually find the garlic flavour underwhelming.  The garlic here was subtle, but you definitely knew it was there. The olive oil also added lots of depth and umami to the sauce.

The meatballs: It was easier to make than I had expected, though you do need a good couple of hours free before you embark on this task.  It is well worth it though because it can easily serve 8 people so you will have plenty in the freezer for future use.  The meat balls are very meaty in texture, almost like pork meat balls, and the flavour is just like any Italian meat ball you would typically imagine.

Overall I would highly recommend both the sauce and the Avant Garde recipe.  They go perfectly well together and feels like an authentic Italian meal (at least to me anyway).  I’m so happy I have left overs during the week because it is true comfort food without being too heavy!

Comment below on if you tried the Avant Garde recipe as well as the sauce and let me know your thoughts!

Now set forth and be Savvy!

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Ingredients:

This recipe serves about 4 portions

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 package king oyster mushrooms, sliced (about 6 large mushrooms)
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 jar of Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic pasta sauce
  • About ¼ of the Avant Garde Vegan Meatball recipes

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium to high heat.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes and let them fry for about a minute.
  3. Add the sliced king oyster mushrooms, stir it with the mushrooms so that they touch the pan (instead of just sitting on top of the mushrooms), and let fry for about a minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce, spinach and meatballs.
  5. Cover and let simmer for about 8 minutes on medium low.
  6. Serve over your favourite pasta!

*I received the Bertolli VoxBox from Influenster complimentary for review. All thoughts and comments expressed my own.

Terra Winter Market | Milton, Ontario

Terra Winter Market - Milton Ontario

Hi Savvys!

If you’re like me and struggle throughout winter because you don’t do winter sports, are debilitated by the cold and feel like hibernating, then keep reading!

Since I am originally from Montreal and have grown up with winter storms where you can expect 40 cm of snow a week, you would think that winter would be a breeze for this Canadian now living in Toronto. Since living in the greater Toronto area, I’ve been really spoiled buy the tepid cold and lack of snow.

 

However this year was absolutely brutal.  There has since moving to Milton, we’ve tried to make it a point by going out at least once a month to explore our town and cities that surround us. We did pretty well in the summer time, visiting hiking trails, the farmers market and even waterfalls. The winter however has been less exciting.

This brings me to Terra Winter Market of Milton. I was elated to have been invited to check out this market because 1. I love food and checking out eclectic markets and 2. It will get me out of the house during winter.

Upon arriving at Terra Greenhouses (which is the actual store), I immediately started browsing all of the areas, with my attention being pulled everywhere! I saw indoor home decor, outdoor home decor as well as clothing. There were so many cute pots and planters that I was getting major inspo!

 

Then I realized I wasn’t actually in the market yet, but the store itself is worth a day trip. Once I entered the market, you forget that it’s winter time. They had live music, a garden area where you can sit at tables and enjoy the sights and sounds and even live birds chirping and flying around (though I don’t think this was on purpose but it really added to the atmosphere). The temperature was very pleasant, and felt like you were in the tropics with all of the beautiful plants utilized as decor.

The market features over 100 vendors ranging from homemade baked cakes to aroma therapy for your home. There is really something here for everyone. I especially loved the vegan Momo’s from TC’s Tibetan MoMo as well as the jumbo vegan pierogies from Andrzejewski Pierogies.

Since most people don’t realize that the Terra Greenhouses are opened during the winter time, this market is a sure way to bring people out to explore all of the different local vendors and all of the products they have to offer. I have visited twice so far, spending about 2 hours each time and have always left with regret because I didn’t buy more goodies! I high recommend a visit to one of their locations. You will be pleased!

Terra Winter Market id open every Saturday from January 19th to March 30th from 12pm to 3pm. They have a location in Hamilton as well which features over 50 vendors.

Terra Milton Garden Centre and Nursery – 12800 Britannia Rd. Milton, ON L9E 0V3

Terra Hamilton Garden Centre and Nursery – 340 Highway 20 R.R. #1 Hamilton , ON L0R 1P0

Check out A Day in the Life featuring the Terra Winter Market –

Spicy Gochujang Cabbage Soup

Spicy Gochujang Cabbage Soup

HI Savvys!

Even though spring is right around the corner, I love a big bowl of soup any time of year.  This spicy cabbage soup is super easy, favourful and filling!  Feel free to change up the ingredients based on what you have on hand.  Adding kimchi and rice cakes would also be delicious!

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It is important to include the gochujang paste and the cabbage as this make the base of the soup.

This soup can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, and frozen for 3 months.

Check out my video below which features this recipe!

Now set forth and be savvy!

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Ingredients

Makes 6 – 8 portions

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (or any light tasting oil you have)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg shiitake mushrooms (117G), sliced
  • 1/2 large green cabbage, sliced into bit sized pieces
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 broccoli head, diced with the stem as well
  • ¼ cup gochujang
  • 1 pkg smoked tofu (117G), diced
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

Directions

  1. Set a large pot on the stove on medium-high heat.
  2. When the pot is hot, sautee the onion and garlic in the avocado oil for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the mushrooms and continue to sautee for another minute.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrots, zucchini and stem of the broccoli and continue to sautee again for 2 minutes. If you notice the veggies getting stuck to the bottom of the pot, add a splash of water.
  5. Add the broccoli florets to the pot along with the gochujang. Coat all of the veggies in the paste.
  6. Add the smoked tofu, water and tamari.
  7. Cover the pot and bring up to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas in Tfal Actifry

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas in Tfal Actifry

Hi Savvys!

Ever since I bought my T-fal actifry over a year ago, I’ve been scouring the internet for all things actifry.  I love savoury snacks, so I knew I had to discover different ways to make easy, healthy snacks in my actifry.  I love making homemade snacks so I can control the amount of oil and salt being used.

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These roasted spicy chickpeas will leave you feeling satisfied and will quell any temptation for a bag of chips.  These are crunchy, have that umami sensation and are really filling, so just a handful will help you get through the afternoon blues.

Whenever I use my actifry, I always like to cook my veggies half way before I add the seasoning – I find that if I add the seasoning at the beginning of the cook time, by the time it’s done, the seasoning has disintegrated.

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I’ve only been making this version, but will be posting different flavours in the future.  Comment below if you have any recommendations!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpeas, drained and dried
  • 1 tsp oil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder

Directions

  1. Place the chickpeas and oil in your actifry. Set time for for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes are up, add the seasoning. Set time for another 10 minutes.
  3. Let cool before munching on these or you’ll burn the roof of your mouth!
  4. You can also use this recipe in an oven – roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Check out below for why I pack these when we travel!

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Cookies and Cream Energy Bites

Cookies and Cream Energy Bites

Hi Savvys!

I love energy balls for so many reasons.  They are so easy to make, delicious and packed full of nutrients.  We travel quite often, and when we do I always make sure to make some energy balls for the trip.

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This recipe was created when I had self-imposed a “banana” challenge – I had accumulated 60 bananas from a work function and didn’t want them to go to waste, hence the self-imposed challenge.  I made at least 4 batches of these, which was great because they’re easy to freeze and taste great when cold.

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I hope you try these out; they’re super easy to make and travel well.  Leave me a comment below on what you think of these!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripened banana
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ cup carob chips, chopped

Blend everything except the chocolate chips in a food processor until it comes together.

Remove blade from the container and mix in carob chips with a spatula

Form into 20-24 balls

Refrigerate for4 hours or over night

They are best served cold, but room temperature is fine too.

Watch the video below on how easy these are to make!

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Thai Basil Fried Rice with Cashews and Pineapple

Thai Basil Fried Rice with Cashews and Pineapple

Hi Savvys!

I love a good fried rice because it’s so versatile, full of nutrients and super easy to make.  My Thai Basil Fried Rice with Pineapple uses ingredients that I usually have on hand or in the freezer.  In this version, I used regular Italian basil because that’s all I had on hand, but you can use any type of basil and it will be just as delicious.

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Feel free to switch out some of the veggies so you can use up what you have in the fridge.  Comment below on your favourite variation.

Now set for and be savvy!

Makes 4 full meal portions

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Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp tamari (you can use soy sauce or liquid aminos, your choice)
  • 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce (also known as mushroom sauce)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Fried Rice Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice, preferably left over and cooled (1 cup from dried)
  • ½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • ½ extra brick of firm tofu, drained and crumbled by hand (I used half of a 350g package)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ black salt/kala namak (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3-5 Thai green chilies (optional)
  • 4 pieces of king oyster mushroom, sliced (or use brown mushrooms if you can’t find king oyster mushrooms)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 handful of baby spinach or chopped kale, about 1 cup packed (whatever you have on hand works)
  • 1 cup diced pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup packed basil (I used regular basil from my plant), roughly chopped
  • 1 spring onion, sliced

Directions

  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook your rice ahead of time, even the night before and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to make this dish.

*Savvy Tip* fried rice is always best with cold, left over rice.  So the next time you have left over rice, save it in the freezer in a container until you’re ready to make some fried rice!

  1. In a bowl, add the tofu and turmeric and kala namak (optional). Mix until the tofu is coated in the mixture (you will know when it’s all bright and yellow).  Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the roughly chopped cashews to the dry pan let roast for 2 minutes, tossing constantly so that the nuts are evenly roasted.  Keep an eye on it so you don’t burn it!  Once the cashews are all toasted to your liking (color and scent, you can even try a piece to see if you like it), remove it from the pan and set aside in a bowl to cool.
  3. Place the wok/pan back on the burner and add the oil over medium to high heat (no need to clean the pan). Cook onions, garlic and chilies until fragrant and slightly transparent, about 2 minutes.  Add sliced king oyster mushrooms and arrange them so they’re evenly spread out to maximize surface area for caramelization.  Leave the mushrooms to cook undisturbed over medium heat for about 1 minute; after a minute, flip them so they get color on the other side.  Cook for about 30 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes until the carrots and celery are fragrant, have nice brown marks and are tender when you press down with a spoon.  If you notice during the 5 minutes that the pan is getting dry, just add a splash of water to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the tofu mixture and stir till the tofu mixture and the spinach/kale and mix through, cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the rice, sautéing it with the veggie mixture until coated and mixed.  Cook for 5 minutes until the rice is heated through.
  6. At this point, turn off the head, add the pineapple, basil, green onion and sauce mixture and mix through. Enjoy!

Check out below on how I prep these bento boxes for plane rides!

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