A Plastic-free Life

Day Five: Yogurt Sunday
February 21, 2010, 3:34 PM
Filed under: Home Made, Triumph over Plastic

I decide to try making yogurt. I pour some milk  and yogurt into the crock-pot and set it on low. It gets very hot. No new yogurt forms.

Vinnie finds a YouTube video on how to make yogurt, which he convinces me to watch.

Now I have to go hunting for the cooking thermometer that I bought him as a gift a few years ago (when we were going to learn to make green tea at just the right temperature, something we never got around to doing).  I find it under some cookbooks.

Picture of a digital cooking thermometer

We take the temperature of the milk in the crock-pot. It is 170 degrees, ten degrees cooler than the temperature the video told us to heat it to. Maybe we could salvage the project. But wait – we were supposed to place the jar of yogurt to be incubated into a picnic jug – plastic – which we don’t have – and of course, cannot buy now.

Vinnie comes up with the idea of using our small red picnic ice chest, the one with the broken handle.


A picture of a Playmate ice chest

By now all three of us are gathered around the yogurt pot staring at the thermometer as it cools to the required 110 degrees. When it does we add more of my precious Trader Joe’s yogurt (I’d killed off the first starter) and stir it in.

Next, we pour it into the quart size glass jar I’d sterilized by dumping boiling water over it (an effect I might have negated by wiping the edge of the jar with a dishcloth laying in the sink). This yogurt making is becoming a science project.

We have a brief argument over whether the water in the ice chest (122 degrees) is too hot to put the jar in yet. It is supposed to be 120 degrees and I am holding out for that, but Vinnie says the yogurt mixture has cooled so much by now that it will balance out. After a couple more minutes I am tired of waiting so we stick the yogurt jar in the water and add enough hot tap water to cover it. By now I really don’t care what temperature it is. Vinnie can barely lift the thing and carry it to a side counter. Then we cover it with some towels and check the time. He thinks the video said to let it sit for 4 to 5 hours. I think it was 3 to 4, so we compromise on 4.

A glass jar of yogurtAt 7 PM that night we unveil a jar of – YOGURT Wow! It worked. The texture is sort of like that silken tofu we sometimes buy.

Encouraged by this success, I Google ‘How to make ricotta’, since I have decided I want to make homemade gnocchi, something I haven’t done for years – but it will be a way to use up the spinach we haven’t gotten around to eating this week (from last week’s produce delivery). I find a few recipes and decide to go with the one that looks the easiest. We will see.

We didn’t go grocery shopping today. I figure, ‘What’s the point?’


Day Four: Fabric Play Saturday
February 20, 2010, 3:33 PM
Filed under: Home Made

Fabric being stenciledI spent the day at a fabric-dyeing class.

Plastic everywhere, but I had purchased all my supplies weeks ago. 🙂

Day Three: Root Canal Rationalization Friday
February 19, 2010, 3:32 PM
Filed under: Triumph over Plastic, Trumped by Plastic

I had a root canal done this morning. Afterward, we stopped at Whole Foods to get fresh carrot and orange juice with Immunity Boost at their juice bar. No plastic bottles. 🙂

It wasn’t until we were on the way home that I noticed our paper cups were capped with plastic lids and sprouting plastic straws. 😦

OK,  a root canal trumps here and gives me some grace. I slurped it all down.

Tonight, at a dinner at the Thai One On, to celebrate our aerobics teacher’s birthday, I forgot to bring my own takeout container. I poured my leftover pineapple curry into the cardboard box meant for leftover rice, instead of the plastic tub the waitress had brought me.

Fortunately, the cardboard didn’t leak.

Day Two: Ambiguous Thursday
February 18, 2010, 3:31 PM
Filed under: Trumped by Plastic

Our dinner table discussion centered around the Rubber Maid bin that our weekly Root Connection organic fruits and vegetables are delivered in.

After considering the whole picture, we decided that since we already had our bin and it only got switched out each week, we were technically within the rules and could continue the deliveries.

Whew! At least we’ll have some lettuce and apples to eat.

Day One: Ash Wednesday
February 17, 2010, 3:29 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

No problem. No shopping needed. We are all stocked up.

Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Before
February 16, 2010, 3:25 PM
Filed under: Trumped by Plastic

It is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, the day before our plastic-free life is to begin. I am panicked.

I stopped off at Fred Meyer’s after this morning’s aerobics class with the intention of only getting a jug of Odwalla orange juice, but before I left the store I had a cart loaded with over  $100 worth of ‘stock ups’.

There were the two jugs of Odwalla (tangerine, since that was on sale!) as were the two twelve-packs of Scott toilet paper (in its plastic wrapped packaging – I was not tearing up old magazines or newspapers to replace this stuff!) an additional quart of yogurt, 3 packages of plastic encased cheese and a bag of raisin English muffins.

OK. So maybe this is going to be a bit more challenging than I suspected.

One Week Before: Uh-Oh!
February 8, 2010, 3:24 PM
Filed under: Shocking!*#!, Trumped by Plastic

It is the week before Lent and the amount of plastic in our lives is suddenly everywhere. We agreed that we had to make an exception for the eye drop vials I need for my dry eye treatment.

We also had a prescription to fill but (shocking) discovered that the pharmacy at Fred Meyer’s wouldn’t let us transfer the new pills into an old pill container. So meds are another exception we will have to concede.