We survived breakfast

Filed in Blog by on September 1, 2008 9 Comments
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porridge - our first zero waste breakfast
We’re going to report on things as they happen this week. As well as this being a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ week, we want to share practical ‘How to’ tips as well.

As we said in our previous post, we’ve decided to turn zero waste week into a week-long all singing, all dancing, celebration. But I’ve decided to take a step back from the ‘bigger picture’ too which feels a bit overwhelming and to literally take one step at a time.

Breakfast was porrage today, but not just any ordinary porrage. I’ve learned, through years of experience, that slow cooked porrage is quite a different delicacy than ordinary porrage!

Ordinary porridge is a bit gloopy, you get hard bits in it, bits that resemble frog spawn and it has an after taste; come to think of it a foretaste as well, of cardboard. No wonder people think porridge is a disgusting thing to eat.
But with a little ‘Mrs Green creative licence’ my slow cooked porrage is creamy, decadent and luxurious and gives you a red glow in all the right places.

I needed to open a new carton of soya milk this morning (making it with 1/3 soya milk makes the porrage really creamy and filling). These cartons have a small strip of foil over the opening. That foil is taken off, washed, squashed into our ‘foil ball’ (small piece of foil jam the machines apparently) and saved for recycling. The carton goes in our local tetrapak recycling collection point once a week when we are passing the centre anyway.

Porridge was served with fresh fruit, bought locally (and loose of course). We had apples and raspberries, slivered almonds (bought in polythene which can be recycled) and everything was topped with yogurt. Little Miss Green sweetened hers with some fruit juice concentrate which comes in glass bottles.

I’ve bought a yogurt maker which I use occasionally, but we’ve also found a place where I can send yogurt pots for recycling. There is a company called GHS based in Portsmouth, so there are two options for zero waste yogurt now. Phew!

Apple cores go into the compost; late at night after the wasps have gone to bed!

The oats I buy are organic and come in carboard boxes without a plastic inner – yay! I buy in bulk direct from Mornflake to enjoy a substantial discount on supermarket prices. I’ve been doing this for years and they provide excellent service – the orders are despatched within a day, and as I buy 48kgs at once, it’s great to have it delivered to the door. I wouldn’t fancy my chances at getting that home on the back of a bike πŸ˜€

Mr Green drinks coffee which comes in tins. Recently we’ve been wondering about the lids, which are plastic, but Little miss Green has come to the rescue with her love of tins, boxes, bags and baskets. Old coffee tins are currently put to good use for storing snake food, fairy food, ingredients for making spells (yesterday I was turned into a frog for being such a horrible Mummy) and goodness knows what else. Mr Green uses them in the garage for storing things like nails as well, so while we ponder on a way to recycle the plastic tops or find an alternative, they are being put to good reuse.

Right, I need to think about lunch and media! More on the media stuff later; I have my hair to do πŸ™‚

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. maisie says:

    Well done!! I love porridge and DS1 loves flapjack, and I add oats to all my mince dishes to bulk them out, kids and DH don’t know that one; think 48kg might be a bit much though for us.

    Whilst wandering round Tesco (I know) but needs must on some things, myself and DS2 were looking at the different things and different options available when buying certain things.

    I needed cooking apples for making my Sweet Ratouille Chutney, but the only bags were the plastic variety, so into the basket they went, I did wander round to the mushroom section to look for a paper bag to use for Dh lunch tomorrow but even these now have a plastic “viewing window”.

    Even DS2 agreed that it was silly when the lady on the deli counter put the ham onto a plastic sheet and then into a plastic bag.

    Breakfast today for both boys was hm yogurt and fruit, so only a pot to wash up and fruit peelings into the compost bin.

  2. Hi Mrs Green,

    Scots Porridge Oats is an old favourite of mine, back to my childhood. Started off taking it with sugar and milk, but switched from sugar to salt as a teenager. I’ll need to try it again, maybe in the winter when it gives an inner glow.

  3. Kris says:

    LMG must have relented and turned you back again – thank goodness ;o)

    I wish I could like porridge but it’s never taken with me, it’s possible to make a very nice nutritious bar with oats cooked with apple juice and baked – I also add chopped apricot and sunflower seeds.

  4. Poppy says:

    Wahay!! Saw you all on the TV πŸ™‚ Can I have your autographs now please?

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Maisie,
    The 48kg is good for a couple of years if you have storage! What sort of percentage do you bulk mince out with? Often when I make things with mince it is too strong for Little Miss Green, so padding out with oats might be a neat move. Interesting observations in Tescos today and well done on your zero waste breakfast.

    Hi John; I definitely notice a difference in my core body temperature when I start the day with porrage; it almost makes autumn and winter worth enduring!

    Hi Kris – yes thankfully, LMG is quite forgiving and figured that I wasn’t very good at providing food with my webbed limbs. Do you have a recipe for those bars? They sound good.

    Poppy! I just saw it on the internet; we’re really pleased with it and will share it with readers tomorrow. Yipee!

  6. Sue says:

    Hi,
    I bulk buy porridge from Suma, I buy it in 12.5Kg paper sacks, I usually buy 1 or 2 a month!! And it’s cheaper to buy the 12.5 than the 25kg!
    On offer for breakfast in our house we have porridge, muesli (also paper sacks), oat meal (paper sacks), granola (made from the porridge oats) or eggs (laid by the chickens). To go with the above we have a variety of nuts and dried fruit (bulk bought large polythene bags), honey, homemade yoghurt and homemade bread. No waste.
    At the moment I favour the granola with almonds and papaya with yoghurt, or poached eggs on toast.

  7. maisie says:

    Mrs Green,

    I tend to use 400g mince and then 2-3 good handfulls of value oats to bulk this out. This does make a paler colour.

    The quantity produced is enough to take 2 x 500g pots of sauce off and then do the meal for the four of us. I use this for bolognese, lasagne and chilli just tweaking it with spices etc depending on which meal it is.I also add tomato puree to get the redness back.

    I also use the same method for shepherd pie and mince & tatties, but do add a touch of gravy browning (glass bottle) to get the brown colour back.

    The tomato based meals are usually onion,garlic fried off in olive oil, then add in the mince, tin of chopped tomatoes, small tin of tomato puree,my ratatouille mix, grated carrot,1pint of stock, simmer everything until nearly cooked then add in oats, and cook for approx 30 mins so that the oats are cooked down.

    You do have to watch the liquid content sometimes adding a touch more water so that it doesn’t stick to the pan, as the oats absorb alot of water.

    The gravy based meals are done exactly the same except I omit the tomatoes, and use the gravy browning and sometimes a little gravy granules.

  8. Kris says:

    I think I’ll have to have a go at making the bars again and then I’ll be able to provide some quantities – I’m definitely a ‘lets chuck a bit of this in…’ sort of cook.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sue **waves** that’s a good breakfast selection over there – you should open up a B&B.

    Brilliant – thanks Maisie. Good tip about the liquid content; I once put oats into gravy and we had slices of it on the side of the plate LOL!

    Thanks Kris – I’m a throw it all in cook too; hence my hazardous guesses for the beetroot soup recipe today. I look forward to it when you’ve had chance to make them.

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