Kelly Caiazzo

We’re in the habit of bringing our own water bottles everywhere, sometimes to the point of awkwardness. (Nice restaurants will serve you tap water in a glass, plopping your hydroflask on the table’s
cloth napkin kind of detracts from the ambiance.)

But what about day trips or long afternoons on the beach where one
water bottle per person isn’t really enough?

I used to bring multiple reusable water bottles for everyone in the
family, but that got heavy and awkward.

Now what I do is I skip packing ice packs in our cooler, and instead I
use an extra large mason jar filled with ice-water. It keeps our
snacks cold, and when we’re done eating, I can use the ice water to
refill everyone’s water bottles. Wrapping it in a light kitchen towel
helps prevent condensation from getting on snacks if that’s a concern!

If it’s too heavy to carry, sometimes I’ll leave it in the car,
knowing that we can refill everyone’s waters before we drive home.

You can use ice cubes or you can put water in the mason jar and freeze
it in a solid block. If you do the latter, make sure you don’t fill it
all the way because ice expands and you don’t want to shatter a mason
jar in your freezer. Also be aware that it might not melt in time for
you to have enough water to refill your water bottle!

There are also a lot of large insulated reusable water jugs on the
market made from food-safe stainless steel; these might be a good
purchase if they’ll help make it easier for you to avoid buying
plastic water by the case to bring on your outings. They are also good
for places that don’t want you to bring glass in, such as many
amusement parks and pool areas. Look for them anywhere that sells
camping supplies.

But for me, having a mason jar of ice water in the cooler has made
summer just a little easier!

Kelly Caiazzo

Plastic-free July had me thinking about the places in my life where I still struggle with single-use plastic, and it is undoubtedly food packaging.

It can feel like convenience = plastic.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Frozen burritos are a great example. They’re so easy to make yourself, and when you do that, you can eat leftovers when you’re craving a burrito instead of the day after you’ve made Mexican.

The last time we had taco night, I spent a few minutes after dinner making burritos from all the leftovers. I made 10 burritos and froze them in parchment paper inside a rectangular pyrex container I popped in my fridge.

They won’t last as long without freezer burn as they would in plastic wrap, but mine didn’t even make it two weeks before we’d (ok, I’d) eaten them with a little thrill of self-satisfaction at finding a healthy and delicious meal in my freezer that could be ready for me to eat in just minutes.

The USDA estimates that 40% of food in the United States is wasted; what if we could get back in the habit of freezing our leftovers and eating them instead of packaged and processed convenience foods?

Food for thought!

How to:

1. Use room temperature or lightly warmed tortillas, they roll better!

2. Choose hearty fillings that freeze well; beans, rice, sweet potato, cooked spinach (but not fresh), refried beans, corn and sauteed red peppers are some of our favorites. Avoid freezing guacamole, salsa or leafy greens – those are best added fresh after reheating.

3. Roll your burritos and then wrap them tightly in compostable parchment paper to help keep the air out and keep them from sticking together.

4. Place them in an airtight freezer-safe container and pop them into your freezer

5. Reheating varies based on burrito size; unwrap them from the parchment and start with 45 seconds in the microwave at power level 7 on each side for small burritos, and up to 90 seconds on each side for larger. You can invert a bowl over the burrito to help steam up the tortilla if desired!

Tip: Make some mini burritos for snacks – they’re a great savory hand-held snack for after a workout or to combat your mid-afternoon slump!

You can even bring a frozen burrito to work if you have a microwave; it’ll stay cold enough to be food-safe until lunch time.

Kelly Caiazzo

Welcome to Kelly C’s lifestyle blog. Follow on her journey as she joyfully shares simple, real life solutions to lower impact living. You will be glad you did as she is funny too. Take it away Kelly…

______________________________________________________________________

We hope you’re loving the summer sun as much as we are! Looking for environmentally friendly sunscreen options? We’ve got you covered.

Here are some ways you can go green with your sunscreen:

1. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “reef-safe”, especially if you’re going in the ocean.

2. Opt for zinc-based sunscreens when possible. Mineral-based sunscreens offer great protection and are the least disruptive to our health and the health of the environment.

3. If using a spray sunscreen is non-negotiable, look for one that contains just avobenzone and not oxybenzone. Whole Foods 365 makes a version with 3% Avobenzone that sprays clear.

4. Reduce your need for sunscreen by wearing a hat and long sleeved rash guard. Choosing clothing with an SPF rating of 50+ is the easiest way to stay safe in the sun – no need to reapply! Kids swimming in the pool will be wet enough to stay cool, and you can rest easy knowing their backs won’t burn.


5. Get the most out of your sunscreen by cutting open the tube so you can use every last drop, and choose recyclable containers when possible.

Did you know?

Oxybenzone is an ingredient in many sunscreens, but not only is it an endocrine disruptor, it’s also damaging to coral reefs. It’s such a hazard to our oceans that Hawaii is considering banning the use of oxybenzone sunscreens. Read a NY Times article about it here. Look for alternatives that are labeled “reef safe” – they’ll be safer for you, too.

Check out the EWG Sunscreen Guide:

The Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database is an excellent resource for evaluating the safety of sunscreens and their efficacy. Their top kids’ sunscreen list includes a rating of it’s UVA/UVB balance as well as ranking the health concerns associated with ingredients.

ThinkSport is one of our favorite sunscreen brands – the “Everyday Face” sunscreen is slightly tinted to help reduce the visibility of the bright white sunscreen after application.