Plastic Free July

Vege Box: A Week in the Life
This week it's a lot like "wow, it's Thursday again, already?!" Time warp. Things have been a little extra nutty around here, and I have to remind myself to slow down and focus on just one thing for a time. While I know not everyone has the time nor inclination to create elaborate meals on a daily basis, making the conscious choice to connect with food, to methodically scrub and chop, to stir and ladle, to sit and share- these are ways that I personally find help to evoke a sense of slowing down, of calm. There's a simple beauty in the meditative acts of looking after our basic needs and serving others. 
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streamside organics biodegradable reusuable bags drying on the line
It's Plastic Free July, which is a great nudge to take a look at our reliance on plastics, and the simple swaps we can all make to reduce our usage of those petroleum-based products. What do you do to limit plastic in your kitchen, aside from purchasing your Streamside Organic vege box?
While I was (attempting) calm in the midst of kitchen chaos today, I reflected on the myriad ways the vege box lends itself to reusing, reducing, and recycling. There is of course the direct act of supporting and enjoying locally grown and organic produce, immediately taking care of the food miles and waste associated with imported perishable foods.
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There is Streamside's focus on avoiding single-use plastics, in favour of compostable options and loose vegetables in the reusable cardboard boxes. Then there is using wholefoods to make your pesto/purees/sauces, rather than purchasing pre-made, thereby ensuring maximum health and flavour while simultaneously reducing waste. There's the ability to reuse those few plant-based bags that held mesclun or lettuce leaf, rinsing and drying them, and using them in lieu of specifically purchased plastic bags to store radishes, beetroot, greens, et cetera.
There is taking all the vegetable scraps, covering them in water, and simmering into a delicious and nutritious stock base. How about reusing glass containers to store leftovers or prepped vegetables instead of plastic tupperware, like large jars from peanut butter for extra soup to salad, or smaller jars to hold chopped onion or pesto- if you leave room for expansion they can even be frozen! You can roll silverbeet, kale, cavolo nero in a cloth tea towel that can be washed and reused again and again. Or cover bowls of leftovers with beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap. You can shop for bulk wholefoods to pair with your organic vegetables, from local shops like Piko Wholefoods.
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And let us not forget the endless joy of turning that cardbox box into a fort of epic proportions, toddler life hacks. Or if you have too many box forts already or nobody to be entertained by them, you can return boxes to Streamside to be reused again and again!
Snapshot of a few meals we loved based around the vegetable box this week: 
(Many of which reduce plastic usage pretty simply!)
- Soups using a homemade stock base, from extra vegetable scraps (+ bones if you're a meat eater)
- Simple salads with balsamic vinaigrette or tahini dressing
- Magenta pancakes, made with beetroot and carob (just as good as those green waffles, I'm telling ya!)
- Pumpkin pasta bake
- African-inspired yam peanut stew
- Kale and parsley pesto with nuts and seeds
- Bean & beetroot tacos with fresh radish and coriander
- Carrot-banana breakfast cookies
- Roasted cabbage wedges with fennel seeds
- Whipped pumpkin dip 
- Baked shakshuka eggs with silverbeet, feta and summertime harissa
- Potato pancakes with leftover pesto
- Thai green curry with every vegetable I could toss at it, and extra coriander
 
Have questions about how to store, prep or eat a vegetable from your box? Need inspiration for something new to do with the tried-and-true? Made one of the shared recipes? Created something new? Let us know! Message or tag @streamsideorganics and @nakedcakesandwholefoods
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes and Wholefoods