Another short and sweet one for you... We're loving the community tips so do keep them coming!
What better way to save money than eat the same vegetable twice? And no... not just eat onions more than once in your life... we literally mean eat the same onion twice!
Like many of us, the lockdown boredom got to Alex and Jo and a few too many hours were spent on youtube… They learnt a few new tricks though, including how to regrow veggies on the windowsill to keep eating again and again. In their experience leeks and spring onions work best. The regrown leek and spring onions went into their homemade green tomato chutney... check back for the recipe!
Here's the video that got them growing...
Alex and Jo experimented with this quite a bit during lockdown. They found the best way for leeks and spring onions was to keep a fairly chunky base back and pop it in water in the windowsill. Watch the roots develop and then when you've got a reasonable size green regrowth remove from the water and pot up in fresh compost, making sure not to cover the whole thing. If you're able to you can eventually transplant them into the garden to keep merrily growing until you're ready to harvest.
Maybe we should start a competition going, who can eat one vegetable the most times? You might start getting deja vu though...
See you next time!
Tips, tips, community tips!!! These are making us very happy... Got to love it when the community get involved.
We're keeping things short and simple today, with this top tip from Ryan. As many of us do, Ryan's family had 2 cars. Recently they've made the decision get rid of the second car, making the effort to cycle when possible and using the moped when needs must. Great job team, keep up the good work!
We know this can be a big step and that's OK. We've all got to start somewhere, even baby steps are a step in the right direction. We're all human, perfection is practically impossible, just do the best that you can with what's right for you.
Some tips for getting started...
Did you know that 1 in 4 car journeys are less than a mile... A mile can be easily walked in 20 minutes, even at a beginner's pace. It's been recommended that we try to fit 30 minutes of moderate activity into our day - that can include walking. If you cut out a 1 mile car journey and replace it with a walk, the walk there and back again counts as you daily exercise!
Why not try a car share? If you've got a colleague who lives nearby, why not take it into turns to drive and share the commute... Admittedly, you may have to wait until covid regulations ease before giving this one a go.
Plan a bike ride for your family day out! Most of us like some quality time with loved ones at the weekend. Leave the motor behind, pump up your bike tyres and you're away! This could be just a little spin around the local area or off on a day long jolly. Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas have great cycle tracks to explore with more than a few pit stops selling tasty treats along the way.
See you tomorrow!
Hooray... Another community tip!!!! These make us very happy.
Today's community tip is actually from Ruth - AAG's secretary. And it's a simple one, one we should really already know and do but somehow, some of us forget.
When it's dark...
And you walk into a room, turn this on...
When you leave...
Turn it off again...
Told you it was simple.
So simple we're going to add a little extra tip in, we'll even tell a story with it.
Our tip is when you pick up a good habit that saves you money and saves the planet... Teach someone else. Because then there are 2 of you saving the planet and feeling a little more financially smug. If both of you then teach another person, that's four people saving the planet and feeling financially smug.
Ruth is a very good lady who always remembers to turn off lights when she leaves the room. That's 1 person turning off their lights. Richard, sometimes forgets... so Ruth reminds him. Sadly, he still forgets.
So Ruth taught Rosie and Ellen to turn off the lights when they leave the room instead. That's 3 people turning off their lights and sometimes they also turn off Richard's lights. Hooray!!! Richard still sometimes forgets...
Ruth came in to the office and talked about ideas for the sustainability blog and said it's a good idea to turn your lights off when you leave the room. Alex wrote it in the sustainability blog! So now that's Abbotswood residents, Alex, Ruth, Ellen and Rosie all turning off their lights when they leave the room.
Well done Ruth, good work! Together we'll save the planet one light switch at a time... And maybe along the way we can all remind Richard...
Lights off for now and see you again tomorrow!
With the world turning more and more to technology and our happy habits for 'retail therapy' libraries need our support now more than ever... Once you're in the door they can support you just as much as you support them!
Libraries and book swaps aren't exactly a new concept so why aren't more of using them? Save your pocket by reading a book that someone has already read, then pass it along to someone who hasn't.
Chances our your local library is offering a lot more than just a few thousand or so books to browse. Yate Library is a fantastic community resources just waiting for your visit. Pre lockdown you could use their computers, bring your little ones to story time, be part of the poetry group or speak to Bevan Evemy for some free legal advice. And that's just a small fraction of the list! They're in the process of reopening some of their services so make sure you take a look!
Summer Reading Challenge...
We're proud to be supporting the summer reading challenge!
This is a fantastic annual event to get your kids enjoying reading! Challenge bags include reading suggestions, even e-books count, and some fun arts and crafts. Perhaps you would like to join Mason and accessorize your silly squad giraffe...
For your summer reading challenge bags or pyjamama bags if you've got pre-schoolers, you can pop over to the library, see Alex at our community drop in or join is near the Abbotswood play equipment on Friday 11th September from 2.30pm.
What will you be reading?
See you again tomorrow!
Not that we want to lower the tone in anyway... We have some very serious business to attend to...
Naturally as humans we have to spend a few minutes every day on the loo... A good time to think about the important things in life, right? Well, have you ever thought about how green your toilet habits are? And no, that's not green as in you might need to see a doctor... We mean green as in environmentally friendly.
Think green like Barbara!
We've been asking around for tips and tricks from the community on how to live sustainably. Our lovely friend Barbara has given toilet trips a fair bit of thought and has come up with a way to make them a little better for the planet.
Being the nice, tidy, clean people that we are - we all go about our business, press the flush and give our hands a thoroughly good scrub. All good. Well we learnt today that flushing toilets accounts for almost a third of household water usage. A third!!
Now then, you might like to invest in a low-flush toilet. You know the ones, where you've got 2 different flush presses... One for a quick swirl after spending a penny and a bigger gush for when things may need a little extra help around the U-bend... Fair enough, a worthy investment and will save you water along the way.
Or you could you just not flush it...
The sink to the rescue!
You still have to wash your hands, silly. On top of the third of household water going literally down the pan, you've got extras going down the drain every time you tidy up after yourself.
The tip is simple. When you're finished, don't pull the flush. Instead make sure you've got a washbowl available to prop up in the sink, so the water goes into the bowl and not down the plughole. Give your hands the good scrub they deserve then empty the bowl into the toilet. Hey presto, you've got yourself a home-made flush!
A job well done...
We'll stop with the puns now, that's quite enough toilet humor for one day...
See you tomorrow for day 3!
Soup. Also known as a very grown up way to use the inside of your Halloween pumpkin!
The great thing about soups is that they are such flexible recipes. Using our very basic guide you can make any number of inventions. You could use home grown veggies straight out of the garden, oddments you've found in the fridge or pull out one of those freezer boxes you prepared a few weeks back. It' even up to you how you cook it, if you fancy some quiet time in front of the hob then carry on... Or if it's a lazy Sunday afternoon, then fire up the slow cooker and flop on the sofa. Like we did!
Our basic ingredient guide:
Your ingredient pile might end up looking something like this:
The plan was to make a spicy pumpkin soup but apparently we're too early in the season... So we improvised! Do us a favour, when you tell your friends about this amazing recipe, can you tell them it was pumpkin for a spooky Halloween soup please?
Step one: Deseed and peel the squash (cough PUMPKIN cough) and cut into chunks. Season with pepper and chilli flakes then roast for about 30 minutes in a 200 degrees C oven. If you can't be bothered to roast it, fair enough! Put the roasted (or not) squash in your slow cooker pot or pan on the hob.
Step two: Roughly chop your remaining vegetables (or open your freezer box) and add to the pot/pan.
Step three: Add your stock. How much is up to you depending on how thick you want your finished soup. If you're using the hob about a pint is a good place to start. Slow cookers need less liquid so we used a mug and a half of stock. You can always add more water later on if required. Add your seasoning.
Step four: If you're using the hob, leave to slowly boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If you're using a slow cooker, turn it to high and take a four hour nap or turn it to low and take a day trip.
Step five: Blend to the consistency you like.
Step six: We're hoping the Queen might call in so we primped our soup with garlic oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.
Hints and tips:
The main flavour - make sure this is the bulk of your ingredients.
The secondary flavour - Use odd little bits of whatever you like, but if you want to make your soup look pretty at the end, use vegetables that are similar colours to each other.
Dried pulses - Dried lentils, beans or chickpeas are great thickeners but just be careful. They can take more cooking than you think, so soak them first and follow instructions on the packet.
Dairy - Cream, cheese, yoghurt or crème fraiche are all excellent options for thickeners or garnishes, but remember they reactive differently depending on how you are cooking. If you're using a hob and want to add cream or cheese then add it with the stock and stir occasionally. However if you're using a slow cooker you are at greater risk of the soup mix splitting and curdling so add it just before you blend the soup.
Have fun improvising with your harvest this Halloween!
Keep a look out for a post closer to Halloween. We have a carved pumpkin alternative for any crafty grown ups out there, but thought you might have read enough for one day... Check back soon...
Halloween is swiftly approaching... So it's time for pumpkin carving! Hooray!!! But it also means a lot of yummy pumpkin going to waste! Boo!!!
Ask yourself this, how many pumpkins do you think you've eaten compared to how many you've carved? They're a little bit like marmite aren't they, love them or hate them... But we all love a carved pumpkin even if we don't fancy eating it.
So we've come up with a few alternatives this year! We may have gotten a little carried away so it's in two parts. Fun for the kids today and fun for the bigger kids tomorrow!
Yummy Little Ghosties...
You will need:
Hmmm. He looks like he may have been modelled on Freddie Mercury... Dependant on the variety some apples can ripen off in the trees right up until November. If you've still got some growing near you these little Halloween treats are a great way to use them and they're easy to tweak. If you add a touch of orange food dye you can make pumpkins or swap out the icing for decorations of your own choice. Raisins or melted dark chocolate perhaps?
You will need:
Again, there are many ways to personalise this crafty little lady. You can use paints instead of pens and add as many decorations as you like. If you're really feeling fancy and have a steady hand then you with a sharp knife you could carve the face as you would on a pumpkin.
Remember we don't like to waste anything so save the juices and pulp that you scraped out. You could use it to flavour jellies and truffles as an extra treat. If you've carved your orange that's pretending to be a pumpkin that's pretending to be a witch, then you can also use the peel later on. Use the zest in cheesecakes and brownies or make some preserved and candied peel ready for Christmas!
It might be early but happy Halloween folks!
The title says it all really. We're back on the shopping topic...
But this time we're not talking about where you shop, we're talking about how you shop. Make the most of your money, while cutting down on our plastic usage. Woohoo!
Now there's a great idea! They taste the same, probably cost less as you're not paying for packaging and you're not clogging up your bins with waste.
Did you know some stores are aiming to ditch the packaging completely? You can bring your own containers along and fill with as much or as little as you need. No waste plastic and no waste produce either. Win win!
Chicken breasts - £5.19 per kilo. Whole chicken - £2.05 per kilo. Less than half the price... So why settle for 2 roast chicken breasts and 2 portions of chicken pasta, when you could have 2 roast chicken breasts, 2 portions of chicken pasta (thighs), sticky BBQ chicken (drumsticks and wings) and a family size pot of chicken soup!
Fruit and veg fans, you're not off the hook either. We looked at the same shop and found a pineapple for £1 and a packet of prepare pineapple for £1. What's the difference? You could have 5 meagre slices or a whole pineapple!
Buy in bulk...
There is plenty of produce we buy that either has a long date, or no date at all. Dried pasta. Herbs and spices. Toilet roll. So we experimented again, but this time we had to use a different store. The previous one doesn't stock bulk bags of herbs and spices which just made us sad. OK here we go... One little pot of 12g of oregano, £1. So that's 83p for every 10 grams. One bigger pot of 60g of oregano, £2.50. What?! £2.50! That's outrageous! Oh wait, that's actually 42p for every 10 grams. Almost half price... That suddenly sounds much nicer!
So there you have it. Some simple shopping tips to save you money while cutting back on plastic (or otherwise) packaging. Yay! Thumbs up and a pat on the back is required!
You can probably already guess where we're going with this one...
You remember that challenge we gave you to leave the car at home once a week? Still going with it?
Yes, great, congratulations! Keep up the good work!
Or maybe not...
It's starting to get a little colder so the walk home from work is looking a little less appealing? We only said you should leave the car behind, we didn't say you had to go wheel-less. Two wheels is usually faster than two feet and can be a great deal warmer too!
Naturally cycling has great health benefits but it's also great for the environment as you're reducing those harmful carbon emissions. Have some fun with it and make it social... Why not start a 'cycling bus' with your work colleagues? Join some local cycling groups to help you get in the spirit. Take your family out for organised rides such as the Yate Bicycle Safari happening on Sunday.
Better By Bike!
Yate and Chipping Sodbury is lucky enough to be supported by Bristol's Better By Bike scheme. If you're new to cycling, or even new to the area, it's a great resource. You can have a nosey at different cycling events, find fantastic cycle trips or use it's route planner. They will give you an easy to use map and route with all the details you need to know. They'll tell you where to hop onto a cycle path or even where to hop off your bike. Handy reminders to have, no-one wants to get caught out cycling where they shouldn't.
Helmets on everyone! Happy cycling!
Shopping. It's a very marmite thing isn't it? In one camp you have everyone who finds shopping a necessary evil... And in the other you have the retail therapy lovers. Whichever side you fall on there are a few ways of shopping that are kinder on your pocket and kinder on the planet.
Our current author is our AAG Committee member Pen Bailey. If you would like to be a guest blogger please do contact us here at AAG