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Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. - Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. – Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Today is Earth Day.

The outlook is bleak. Our planet is dying and it’s our fault. Weltschmerz seeps in easily.

One of the major problems we all contribute to is plastic.

Yet, it is so easy to avoid using plastic bags.

The Earth Day movement has launched a Plastic Pollution Calculator: www.earthday.org/plastic-calculator.

Use this calculator to learn how much plastic you waste.

In addition you can pledge to reduce your plastic consumption.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis. Be the change. Stop using plastic!

 

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The vegan version of my naturally gluten-free homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies is just as good, but healthier. 🙂

Yummy and good for you: The vegan version of my Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies is healthy and low in calories.

Yummy and good for you: The vegan version of my Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies is healthy and low in calories.

 

Vegan Gluten-free Chestnut Crumble Cookies

200g chestnut flour

50g coconut oil

Salt to own liking, but no more than ½ teaspoon

1 ripe medium banana

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 vanilla pod

 

Stir the at room temperature soft coconut oil into the chestnut flour together with the vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup and a dash of salt.

Puree the banana into a soft, even mush and mix in.

Roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 1/2 inch slices.

Place closely packed on a with baking paper covered tray and bake for 10 minutes at 180°C.

 

Completely guilt-free pleasure!

Not only are chestnuts gluten-free, their carbs are complex, meaning slow-releasing their energy.

Unlike most nuts, chestnuts are low in fat and protein, resulting in low calories.

The high amount of starch is very filling and satisfying, so these cookies could help with losing weight.

In addition, the vegan version ensures no animals were harmed in the making of these cookies. Besides maybe the humans who got stung by the chestnut’s prickly outer shell when foraging for these yummy treats. 😉

 

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Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies

Yum! Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies

 

I couldn’t find a recipe with 100% chestnut flour in it, so I had to make one up.

The great thing about chestnuts is they’re gluten-free and thus a healthy intake of carbs and the bad thing about chestnuts is they’re gluten-free and won’t stick for baking.

Chestnut flour is not really easy to come by. We made it ourselves – hence the homemade – by peeling the roasted chestnuts ourselves – hence the crumble.

For a shortbread like crumbly and nutty biscuit that favours the original chestnut flavour, try this easy to make simple ingredients recipe:

 

Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies

200g chestnut flour

100g salted butter

1 large egg

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 vanilla pod

 

Cut the butter at room temperature into flakes to stir into the chestnut flour, together with the vanilla, cinnamon, honey and egg yellow. Beat the egg white stiff and mix it in.

Roll the dough into a sausage and cut into round 1/2 inch thick slices.

Pack closely on a tray covered with baking paper and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 180°C.

 

Tip: Eat while still warm, fresh from the oven. Yum!

Bonus Tip: Try the vegan version of my Homemade Chestnut Crumble Cookies for a guilt-free snacking indulgence!

 

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Your dirty dishwater could kill some of those creepy bugs.

Your dirty dishwater could kill some creepy bugs.

 

My urban gardening guerrilla tomatoes (guerrilla because they kind of have the tendency to grow themselves) were all of a sudden not faring so well. A close inspection revealed they were under attack: Red Spider Mites!

 

When I researched How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites Organically I was surprised to read a simple recipe for bug spray listed:

 

Easy recipe for bug spray

1 litre water

+  2 tablespoons cooking oil

+  2 tablespoons soap

 

That’s basically my dirty dishwater!

 

If you brush your dishes free from food leftovers and wash them with biodegradable dishwashing liquid, you can use the dirty dishwater on your plants as a bug repellent. You might need to add oil or soap, or just want to use it as a preventative in a mild mixture.

 

Vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, essential oils are also great bug repellents. So if you have any of these left over, don’t waste them down the drain, but spritz them on your plants instead.

 

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BBC's podcast "I hear voices" helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

BBC’s podcast “I hear voices” helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

 

There’s a great podcast series out there by the BBC called “I hear voices” about Alice who explains in a very rational manner what it is like for her to live with schizophrenia.

 

Her description of a psychosis reminded me of another podcast by This American Life called “My Damn Mind” in which Alan explains how his manic episode unfolded and how crazy it can get.

 

One thing in both podcasts is clear: It is because of us ‘non-crazy’ people that these protagonists were not helped at first or not at all or not in the correct way.

That’s why it is important for ‘normal’ people to understand what it is like to hear voices.

 

And don’t we all hear voices?

Surely most of us have encountered the critical voice that tells us we’re too fat.

Or the opportunistic voice that tells us it’s ok not to point out to the waiter they gave back too much change.

Or the disappointed voice that tells us we should do more.

Or the narcissistic voice that tells us we’re better than them.

 

We all have thoughts crossing our minds that are irrational and not helpful. It is the way in which we deal with them that can make the difference between crazy or not.

 

I highly recommend these podcasts as an insight to how a mind can go off and how it can be possible to get control of it.

Furthermore, a bit of empathy goes a long way. – If you ever wondered what it is like to hear voices, start listening now:

I hear voices

My Damn Mind

 

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This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

 

In an effort to conserve water new ideas are being implemented, new products are being created.

 

Here a great example of a water saving tap at the Woodstock Exchange:

 

A simple, yet so efficient idea, and in addition to fulfilling its purpose, it’s also beautiful!

 

No surprise this concept by Simin Qiu won the 2014 IF Concept Design Award.

 

Thanks to clever designs like these it is stylish to upgrade to water saving. #EveryDropCounts

 

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While Western Cape residents are urged to do everything they can to reduce water usage, saving water doesn’t stop at home.

But how to go about it in public spaces?

Most water saving methods are rather intimate, bordering on hygienic issues.

However, as we are learning new water saving habits at home, it’s easy to extend them to the work place.

Even if it’s small steps, every drop counts.

Here a great example at the Bandwidth Barn, where they place ice cream tubs in the sinks to collect grey water:

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

 

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