Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Quick (com) Post

I just wanted to share a couple of little eco-goodies that have been happening at our house for the last little while. Having seen so much success, I thought I might toss these ideas into blogland...though I am sure they are already happening in so many of your houses already.

1. Soapy Nuts!
A while back, while researching which diapers were going to cover the bum of the Littlest Vegan, I came across this new/ancient method of washing clothes (and just about everything else). The Green Parent recommended the product via a Reader's test drive type article, and I would give them a try - as I had seen them about in a few of the Brussels' health food shops.

K was skeptical - of course, being staunch about things like laundry and what makes a 'meal' (aka not cereal at dinner time). But, this Mamma Vegan was not about to be duped by the him and his doubting-ways, and saw to it that I loaded our eco-washer properly and popped in enough nuts. Sure enough, the clothes came out smelling like roses and Kevin was impressed - he currently raves about them at every opportunity.

Taking the sustainability one step further - I get to reuse the hell out of these nuts. I do three loads with about 4 full nuts in their little cloth sack and then dump them into a little bowl that when full with about 10 nuts I pour boiling water into and use the soap froth as the water to wash my floors, sinks and tub!!! Love it. You can also make soap nut shampoo and bathing soap...but since I heart my Body Shop products so much, this hasn't quite happened yet.

Coolest thing - two moms who I shared my nut-success with went out and bought a bag o'nuts themselves and have been washing up with nut juice ever since. If you are interested in this magical nut power (derived from the ancient wisdom of Indian and Chinese folks and their soap nut trees) read this SoapNuts Canada website - loads of info - haha, 'loads'of info!

2. Apartment Composting!
My last house in Toronto would have been perfect for the uber-huge composter of Kevin and mine's dreams. Kevin, who is an A1 gardener and loves nothing more than coming home and going right outside to hang out with his Rosemary, Chives and lettuce, would love to make our own soil. But alas, this isn't Toronto, and there is nothing uber-huge about our back we had accepted the sad reality of probably not being able to compost. Being vegan (and mostly vegan K) I felt that not composting was INSANE - as most of our garbage is raw/fresh veg and grain foodstuff we found a solution - and it has worked really well for about 3 months now. The place where we both work has a HUGE compost pile, where they toss all cafeteria scraps (mega-cool, I think) and it is really conveniently located by the parking lot. So....during the week, K and I collect, in a plastic bucket, all the bits and pieces of our foodstuff that needs a' tossin' and every Friday we lug it to the communal compost heap and throw it in! How wicked is that? I love love love that we do it. Granted - we don't get the soil, but we do feel good knowing that our rubish is making soil for the school and not rotting away on some already overpacked landfill.
(I thought a picture of the exterior of the bucket might be better...since this IS a food blog and I don't want to make you LOSE your lunch)

Enough eco-pats on the back.
Here is what I got up to today -

Hearty Vegetable and Dill Soup

6 carrots
6 potatoes
1 red pepper
10 spring onions
6 cups of water
1 tin of beans (your choice)
1 bunch of dill

I wanted to clear the fridge, so I thought I would whip up a protein rich soup and have something to show for my efforts. This soup is what I got! Here's hoping that Kevin is in a soupy mood when he gets home from work....but to quote my mom "this isn't a damn restaurant" so if he doesn't like it...he knows where the falafel hut is down the street!


Tara said...

Thanks for reviewing the soap nuts! I've seen them around and have always wondered how they worked, and now I know!

Jenni said...

Ok, I have seen these soapnuts before and I'm interested in trying them out. I went to the website you linked and either I'm completely dense, or there's no "buy now" page! How do i purchase these?! Thanks :)

veggievixen said...

wow, that is super impressive! right now i have a compost in my backyard, but when i move into an apartment in the city sometime in the future i definitely want to try vermicomposting. have you ever done it? or is your compost still outside?

...barbara... said...

wow, great post,
soap nuts, composting and soup...
i shall have to try them all...
p.s. thanks for the kind words...truly does help.

Nicole ( said...

I love anything with dill in it, I need to make that soup!

HayMarket8 said...

That soup sounds great. I love dill. It is nice to see people use it. It seems to not get a lot of credit. :)

VeganCowGirl said...

Jenni - Here is a link that provides free shipping to both the US and Canada:

Nuts ROCK!

Sal said...

ooh I have often wondered about those soap nuts! My mum told me about them a while back but I don't think she ever bought any! She does have the drier balls though which are awesome and mean you don't have to use fabric softener - I must buy some.

Your soup looks great, i have a load of dill on my balcony and no idea what to do with it!

Lauren said...

Thanks for the review, I am going to try soap nuts out! :)

Yummy soup!

We have a compost this year as well!

JennShaggy said...

I tried replying to your e-mail, but I kept getting a mail delivery failure notice.
Is there another one I can use?


Anonymous said...

Those soapnuts work pretty well - I used them for a few years, but I did find that on Guppy's cloth diapers I needed a little extra somethin' somethin'. I used Ulrich Fleckensalz which I actually ordered from a Belge website - but I can't find the link right now. Anyway - this stuff is kick butt, it's like a natural sort of bleach crystals, but totally eco friendly. If I find the link I'll let you know. The container I have is all in German, and I don't speak/read it, so I'm stuck...

cherrybombpie said...

I am shocked to see natural soap that grows on trees. I am new to this one. Thanks for the link, I think I'll try their sample packets.

I love the idea of composting. Good work there! My building recently started a green bin for organic trash. So I am happy to bring down bags of fruit peels and cat diapers.

Thanks for finding my blog. I am enjoy your blog immensely as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm using the soapnuts too. Almost half a year now, and my bag is still very full. It's amazing how far they go. I use them twice.
When something is really dirty, I use Ecover (it's a gift from my workingsplace and now we can even buy it at my office). Infact I'm responsible for this. It's all part of 'being a green office project'.