DIY Pot Holders

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I've always grown up with hand made pot holders, I didn't know they could be bought at a store to be honest... So when mine started seeing better days I immediately started looking at the DIY approach.

DIY pot holders

Headed for my local fabric store (Atlantic Fabrics in Nova Scotia) and got some of that lovely filling that stops the hot goodies from burning my hands.

DIY Pot holders

One meter goes a long way- I doubled it up and I still managed to get 16 pot holders out of it. For the outside I had a lovely collection of fabrics. Best to use a cotton blend. Lastly I finished up the edged with some black bias tape to give it a sleek finish.

DIY potholder dimensions

The dimensions that I found worked best was 8”x8”

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Step 1: Cut out your insulation into 8x8 inch squares, double up the squares.

Step 2: Cut out your desired fabric into 8x8 inch squares.

Step 3: Take some time to carefully pin the insulation and fabric together.

Step 4: Sew the center together, I chose a simple “X“ through the square.

Step 5: Finish the ends off with black bias tape.

Step 6: Go take something hot out of the oven, you’re done!

DIY pot holders

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Thanks to a trade group that I’ve been obsessed with, I’ve managed to obtain a hilarious amount of canned tomatoes in various forms. Whole, crushed, and pureed… Got em all!

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So naturally I had to put them to good use so I made myself a lovely homemade pasta sauce with lots to spare for freezing.

The recipe consists of…

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp red bell pepper flakes

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1 tbsp sugar

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 tbsp dried onion flakes

2 tbsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

1 can diced tomatoes (796ml)

1 can crushed tomatoes (796ml)

1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Mix the oil,bell peppers, garlic, onion flakes, butter, sugar and spices in a large pot on medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the cans of tomatoes- simmer for 2 hours.

  3. When it’s finished, add the Parmesan.

Homemade pasta sauce

This filled 3- 500ml mason jars with ease. REMEMBER to let the sauce cool 100% if you plan to freeze it in a glass jar.

Homemade pasta sauce

Review: 100% Recycled Paper Towel

I was able to track down some recycled paper towel from Staples.ca, I figured I’d give it a try since I’m not ready to give up the disposable paper products just yet…

100% recycled paper towel

Rolls were small but when I did the price comparison it was on par with other brands. (I literally did price per sheet comparison)

Overall this paper towel works as expected, it cleans up my baking mishaps with optimal absorbency, it worked as good as any other paper towel I’ve bought with the added bonus of being 60% post consumer products (recycled newspapers, flyers, etc.)

My only critique is that the product came wrapped in plastic… I don’t think it would have been difficult to wrap it in an alternative (such as just the cardboard box it came in) but I’m assuming that there is sanitation requirements that still need to be complied to.

Will I purchase it again? If I find a recycled paper towel product that doesn’t come in plastic- No. If this is the best alternative to traditional “virgin” paper towel- Yes.

I try not to over use paper towel, but you never know when you’ll have a pot boil over with sugar in it- just good to have.

DIY Body Sugar Scrub

Continuing on with the slow pace of either eliminating the plastic in my home or finding uses for the things already in the house to avoid them getting into our oceans.. I needed some more body scrub!

Equipped with a plastic container from my last purchase I started cruising the internet to understand what makes a good sugar scrub. After some dozen articles and blogs about the best things to use, I was able to collaborate on a recipe that not only matched my preferences perfectly, but I already had everything in the house!

DIY sugar scrub

My Homemade Sugar Scrub included:

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup Coffee grounds

2 Tsp Vanilla

Mix everything together until well blended and store in a container that can be sealed. My general rule with scrubs is use them no more than twice a week.

Your shower will smell like sweet sweet coffee in the morning! It’s a great way to wake up.

DIY Sugar scrub

Review: Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

I will begin by saying… Transitioning to recycled fiber toilet paper was not as easy as I expected it to be… Sure there is plenty of products available but 99% of them come in plastic packaging… Which as you know contradicts what I’m trying to do here.

This post contains affiliate links, I may receive a small commission if you use the link to purchase a product.

Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

Finally I was able to find Sustainable Earth by Staples available in a box and tissue paper. I did the math, and the price for this toilet paper is on par with other brands with the added bonuses of being made from 100% recycled fibers and at least 40% post consumer. Another added bonus that I wasn’t expecting was that it is made in Canada!

You can find the product HERE on the Staples website. Staples also offers cash back to Ebates members, sign up HERE.

Now for the dirty work… The reviewing process. I went in with a ton of optimism but also with the awareness that I have certain requirements for things that touch my derriere... To the hand it definitely is not as soft as the Costco sized toilet paper I’ve become used to, but the overall feel during use was the same for both products when comparing.

The edge sustainable earth has is that it’s nice and thick! No laser cut sheets like you’ll find in a shopping mall, this stuff is the real deal and will get the job done before it starts dissolving.

I do wish that the rolls were bigger.. Again used to my big Costco sized rolls, and it’s going to feel like we’re constantly changing the roll.

Aside from the smaller rolls and being a little rough this is a solid product, and I will continue to purchase it.

While I was researching recycled toilet paper options online, there was some concern brought up about traces of BPA being found in these types of recycled toilet papers, due to the fact that there is BPA in receipt paper that we get from retailers, which is then recycled into these sorts of products. The good news is that the general consensus is that there’s not enough BPA to do any harm to our bodies, so the benefits still outweigh the negative aspects of the product.

I’m hopeful this will become more popular and it will become available in stores, currently only available online.

Review: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Cat Food

I received the opportunity to get a full bag of Nurto Wholesome Essential cat food for my girls to try. Although I received the bag for free, the following review is an honest opinion on the brand.

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I applaud the fact that chicken was the #1 ingredient and it appears they have removed a lot of the garbage that can be found in mainstream cat foods. My girls can be pick eaters at time, and prior attempts to get them off the “junk food” brands have failed so I was curious to see how they would like the biscuits.

I probably wasn’t the best to take on this food for testing due to the fact that both my cats have vet grade food that I couldn’t just simply eliminate from their diet, so I was adding this bowl to the collection of food that was already at their disposal….

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Overall, however, the food went over very well! Even with an overwhelming amount of choices on the floor, it was still eaten rather quickly. I wasn’t a huge fan of the shape of the food due to a slight comparison to .. maggots … but that was fine, in the end the cats don’t care.

I would recommend this cat food to anyone looking to be able to read and pronounce all the ingredients in their cat’s food. I sadly won’t be making this a regular purchase, again due to one cat having dirty teeth and the other having issues with UTI’s HOWEVER they did enjoy it, and we ever get to a place where those issues are managed- I will definitely consider this brand.

How to get the lingering smell out of your Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is currently one of my favorite appliances. This system can make solid frozen chicken breasts in 22 minutes…. It had me at “Hello”

It didn’t take long before I noticed some lingering smells… No matter how much I washed it, you could smell the last thing I cooked in it. Smelling salsa while making mac and cheese wasn’t really what I was going for.

Since clearly the pressure cooking was infusing the metal with smells, I started looking into ways to cook my pot into like new. An easy cleaning method is put 1 Part Water, 1 Part Vinegar and 1/2 a lemon sliced up into the pot, set to the Steam setting for 2 minutes and let this amazing pot do the rest!

After the clean… SPOTLESS

After the clean… SPOTLESS

9 Quart Instant Pot
Before the clean. You can see the residue from past projects.

Before the clean. You can see the residue from past projects.

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Once completed, remove the rubber rim to ensure it can dry fully and you will find yourself with a nice fresh cleaning Instant pot ready for your next adventure!

Getting rid of plastic in your home (and keeping it out)

Getting Rid of Waste

I knew the process of eliminating plastic in my life would be a slow one… Anxiously waiting for items to empty out so you can feel proud of the fact that you can see progress.

I received a real sense of accomplishment when I was cleaning out my spice cabinet, virtually all single use plastic items have been eliminated, never to return again! 4 bags of spices remain to get through along with some larger plastic containers (however these will never see a landfill or be shipped off to a poor developing country to be “recycled.”) The big ones have already come in handy for replenishing the cabinet and allowing this corner of the kitchen (that used to be filled with small single use plastic shakers or bags to be 90% waste free.

All that remains of single use plastic bags in my spice cabinet.

All that remains of single use plastic bags in my spice cabinet.

It’s a small accomplishment but overall still one to be proud of, now every time I refill a container I think about the fact that it’s one less container in a landfill or ocean, one less new container needed to be manufactured for my consumption.

Plastic containers which will continue to be refilled

Plastic containers which will continue to be refilled

A reused plastic container.

A reused plastic container.

These little victories add up on a personal scale and even more so when I see people around me starting to do the same thing. Shortly after I switched from margarine in a big plastic tub to buying real butter wrapped in parchment paper, my mother did the same. I have people approaching me asking for advice for certain products, recipes or alternative items for the home. I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue in hopes that we will leave a healthier world behind.