Sunday, February 10, 2019

Super Easy Basic Recipes


Here are some recipes for some basic staples we use frequently. These recipes were adapted and customized from many different sources and our own experience. You may copy and adopt these freely, no license or permission required. You may credit me only if you wish.

I'm posting these recipes all at once because I'm about to undertake a 3 month bicycle journey across the US to talk with people from coast to coast from San Francisco to Boston about oceans, plastic, climate change, and kids. For more about this ride please see ZeroW.org. My wife was not up for this long a ride and needed these recipes while I'm traveling :-)


Super Easy Syrup

We use this basic syrup on pancakes, waffles, and to make granola.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar (white or unrefined)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon maple flavored extract

Directions:
Bring the water, sugar, and molasses to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Take off heat and stir in the maple extract. 
Let cool until no longer hot.
Store in a sealed glass mason jar in refrigerator (needs refrigeration since it does not contain preservatives like store purchased varieties). Usually good for a month or two.


Super Easy Granola

Ingredients:
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
1 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded or chipped coconut
3 cups rolled oats
1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt if none of the nuts are salted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil (olive oil preferred) + oil for sheet pans
1/2 cup syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup raisins

Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the raisins.
In a small 1 qt bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients. 
Mix together both mixtures in the large bowl.
Pour dollop of oil on each of 2 sheet pans and spread evenly
Pour mixed ingredients onto the sheet pans. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven, stir with plastic spatula to loosen from sheet pans, cool, mix in raisins, and transfer to storage containers. 


Super Easy Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup

We love ice cream but hate the plastic or plasticized cardboard that commercial ice cream and chocolate syrup come in, so now we are making both ourselves! We did buy an ice cream maker (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006ONQOC/) and cringed at the styrofoam it was packed in, but it makes hundreds of gallons of ice cream 2 quarts at a time preventing hundreds of single use ice cream containers that are trash.

The recurring trash we currently are left with:
1. The plastic tops from the reusable Straus Family Creamery organic heavy cream and milk bottles we buy
2. Plastic cocoa powder pouches. Once 16 oz pouch is good for about a gallon of chocolate syrup

Everything else is reusable or recyclable: 
The Straus Family Creamery bottles get returned to the store for reuse.
Recyclable vanilla extract container (we buy the quart size clear artificial vanilla - much cheaper than real and close enough in taste for our uses).
Recyclable sugar & salt paper packaging.

We bought a 2nd ice cream freezing container so we can make 2 batches of ice cream back to back and reuse our mixing bowl and utensils without washing them. This results in about 1 gallon (4 quarts) of ice cream.


Super Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:
2 cups (1 pint container) organic heavy cream
1 to 1.5 cups organic milk
2/3 cups organic granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Whisk or stir all ingredients together in mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved. (I pour the milk into the pint heavy cream container to wash it out a bit and to use that container as my measuring “cup” -- filling it about 1/2 to 3/4 full).
Pour into ice cream maker following its directions.
Let churn for ~20 minutes, will be soft serve consistency.
Transfer to reusable container. One batch almost fills two 1 quart plastic containers.
Store sealed in freezer. Use within a month or two.



Super Easy Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients:
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1 cup organic granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, salt (if desired). Whisk in the water and whisk over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly.
Continue boiling 3 – 4 minutes. The mixture may still be thin (it thickens more once cool). 
Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Cool.
Store syrup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. The syrup should keep, refrigerated, for about a month.


Dog treats

We used to buy our dog treats but we switched to making our own to eliminate plastic bag and container waste. We do still buy our dog food in very large 30 lb plastic bags but are searching for a place to buy dog food in bulk in our own containers. We reuse the dog food bags as strong waterproof bags to carry things our steel bicycle baskets -- the bags are pretty tough and by folding over the tops they are almost as good as expensive camping dry bags.


Super Easy Dog Treats

 #1

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon granular chicken bullion
1 egg
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil to grease sheet pans


Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add 2 cups oats and bullion to medium mixing bowl. Using big spoon mix well. Mix in water and egg.

Using big spoon press to 1/4-inch thick sheet on inside of mixing bowl. Let stand a few minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile pour dollop of oil and spread evenly on 2 cooking sheets.

Using 2 tiny spoons, scoop tiny portions of mixture onto cooking sheets (ours are usually about 1/2 inch in diameter)
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container (freeze if you need to store for longer than a couple months).



Super Easy Dog Treats

 #2

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 can of pumpkin (15 oz can) or 1/2+ cup of cooked pumpkin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Stir together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. 
Add a little water if needed to make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. 
Roll the dough into a ~1/4-inch-thick sheet on a floured surface. 
Slice into narrow strips then cut those into small pieces (we usually do 1/2 inch squares)
Arrange on 2 cooking sheets so pieces are generally separate from each other.
Bake in oven until crisp, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container (freeze if you need to store for longer than a couple months).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The LinkedIn data breach from 2012 lives on...

The scam email (below) that I just received this morning is a great reason to use LastPass or any other reputable password safe so you can have a unique password for each and every account. I have somewhere around 800 different online accounts.

The person behind this email is trying to blackmail me. 

https://haveibeenpwned.com/ helped me locate which accounts associated with "tim@oey.us" username/email have had known hacks with the data sold.

"LinkedIn: In May 2016, LinkedIn had 164 million email addresses and passwords exposed. Originally hacked in 2012, the data remained out of sight until being offered for sale on a dark market site 4 years later. The passwords in the breach were stored as SHA1 hashes without salt, the vast majority of which were quickly cracked in the days following the release of the data." (information from https://haveibeenpwned.com/ )


Thanks to LastPass's password history I traced the old password they included in the subject line to one I used a long time ago with LinkedIn around 2012. Luckily I changed it shortly thereafter to a weird and unique one that LastPass generated.

Now all my passwords are 20-36+ in length and random characters including upper/lowercase, numbers, and special characters.

Stay safe out there. There are a lot of scammers. Please also practice safe-computing to keep your computer free of key loggers and other malware.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jules Denney
Date: Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 6:01 AM
Subject: tim - xxxxOldPasswordxxxx
To: "tim@oey.us"


Lets get directly to the purpose. Nobody has compensated me to check you. You don't know me and you're most likely thinking why you are getting this mail?

In fact, I placed a software on the X videos (porno) site and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were viewing videos, your internet browser started working as a Remote Desktop with a key logger which provided me access to your screen and also web cam. Immediately after that, my software program collected your entire contacts from your Messenger, social networks, and e-mailaccount. Next I created a double video. 1st part displays the video you were viewing (you've got a good taste lmao), and next part displays the recording of your webcam, yeah it is you.

There are a pair of solutions. Shall we go through the choices in aspects:

1st choice is to dismiss this message. Consequently, I am going to send your video clip to almost all of your contacts and just consider about the disgrace you will get. Not to mention should you be in a romantic relationship, how it would affect?

Number two alternative should be to give me $3000. We will think of it as a donation. As a result, I most certainly will right away discard your video footage. You could continue your daily life like this never happened and you are never going to hear back again from me.

You'll make the payment through Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search for "how to buy bitcoin" in Google).

BTC Address to send to: 1FPnorw1FMy3sMfuJ3gF3A4BVNTMjU47G8
[case-sensitive so copy and paste it]

Should you are planning on going to the police, anyway, this mail can not be traced back to me. I have dealt with my steps. I am also not attempting to ask you for money a huge amount, I simply prefer to be compensated. You now have one day in order to make the payment. I have a special pixel in this mail, and right now I know that you have read through this email. If I do not get the BitCoins, I will definately send out your video recording to all of your contacts including members of your family, co-workers, etc. Nevertheless, if I do get paid, I will destroy the video immidiately. This is the non-negotiable offer and so do not waste my time & yours by replying to this e-mail. If you need evidence, reply Yes! & I will certainly send your video to your 8 friends.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I Give A Crap :-)

I've tried many toilet paper options to minimize waste and harmful impacts to our environment and the best compromise I've found are the toilet papers from Who Gives A Crap - a good balance of quality, affordability, and environmental friendliness. 

Plus their toilet paper rolls are very entertaining! It's great to get a smile or a laugh or 2 in unexpected places.

If you would like to try them, here is a referral link https://www.talkable.com/x/MruQEZ



Thanks and enjoy!



Sunday, January 7, 2018

You Can Haul a Christmas Tree by Bike

This post is a bit late but better late than never. Yes you can haul a Christmas tree by bike although it helps to have a trailer when you do.


Dogs Welcome to Poop In Front of Our House

Yes dogs are welcome to poop in front of our house as long as the owner scoops the poop and leaves it at our dog poop station. No need to carry the smelly poop with you. :-)



We empty the scoop as needed into our zero waste dog poop handling facility as documented at:
https://ecopractice.blogspot.com/2016/01/new-best-way-to-handle-dog-poop.html

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Zero Waste Halloween Treats

75b5f29b0a0d028a00b125bd919a59f0.jpg

Halloween is quite a challenge for zero wasters with many unhealthy treats packaged in wrappers that are difficult to reuse or recycle. So instead our household prepares our own treats in compostable/recyclable food grade wax envelopes. We also staple a note to each one so the recipient knows exactly what they are getting, where it came from, and how to properly reuse/recycle the note and packaging. And we have a nonfood option as well for kids who have food allergies.

Here is the note we gave out this year with our treats:
Dear Trick-or-Treater,

Thanks for stopping at our house!

This year we are giving out non-food treats (worry stone and $1 for your college fund)  or organic food treats for you to savor (cashews, dark chocolate almonds, or raisins) all packaged in compostable wax paper bags.

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Reduce -- We need to conserve our world’s limited resources. Treats are extra special when you get just a little. So take it slow and easy and savor every little bit.

Reuse -- Please reuse this printed paper and the waxed paper bag. Reuse conserves resources and minimizes trash. If you don’t want the treats we’ve given you, we’re sure your parents would love them!

Recycle -- If you cannot reuse this paper or plastic bag, please recycle / compost / food cycle them (paper into paper recycling bin, bag into compost / food cycle bin). Please dispose of everything in the proper place to keep our world safe and clean.

Trash Nothing -- Unfortunately most regular candy wrappers cannot be reused or recycled and just end up as trash. Much of this trash goes into our streams and ocean -- killing wildlife and eventually getting back into our own food -- yuck!

To learn a few simple ways to take better care of our world, see:

For more advanced tips on how to go zero waste, see:

Please take care of yourself and our world, you are precious and deserve the very best!

Thanks!

Sincerely,
Tim & Pat Oey
Allison Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Here is a picture of our sidewalk sign outside our house:


Our front porch:


The treats we purchased in bulk in our own packaging:


The note we printed and cut up (2 sided):


And the treats all ready to hand out:


In the past we have also given out mandarin oranges and homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. For more about nonfood options, please see the Teal Pumpkin Project.

We hope you all had a great Halloween and will try zero waste options in the future!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Great service and reducing plastic waste at Safeway!



This is the face of great "can do" customer service as well as sustainability. This is Vince the meat manager of the Safeway at 20620 W Homestead Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014. Vince can tare your container (so you only pay for the contents) and put any of their meats into it that otherwise would go into their store packaging. Please bring your own clean container and say hi to him at the butcher counter and thank him for reducing disposable plastic waste. Thanks!

BTW, ​in case you get someone not as experienced as Vince at the butcher counter, here is what they need to do to enter the tare for your container (the order here is important):



  1. Weigh container first to establish its weight
  2. Take container off scale
  3. Enter product code
  4. Hit tare button twice in upper left corner of keypad and then enter the tare weight obtained in step 1
  5. Put container on scale
  6. Notice correct tare and net total weight at or very near zero
  7. Put product in container
  8. Print label and apply to container
  9. Notice that correct tare is also printed on label

You can buy any of Safeway's meats this way.

BTW, at Zanotto's the process is simpler:

  1. Enter product code first
  2. Put empty container on scale
  3. Press tare button
  4. Add product to container
  5. Print label and apply to container.