Friday, June 19, 2015

Minimize the Mess: Stuck in a Rut

My journey to live with less has not been moving along as quickly as I'd like. Items haven't been selling very quickly, so they've piled up. I haven't been donating as often as I should. Perhaps worst of all, too many things have been entering the house.

We haven't exactly been following the "one item in, one item out" rule very well, but it's hard when you live with other people who aren't on the same page as you in this journey. My significant other, and son's father, donates roughly 1 shirt for every 10 he brings in. However I can't force him to do anything, so I'll just focus on myself and what I can change. 

Tips for Breaking out of a Rut:

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes everyday, and use that time to declutter. When you've been accumulating things for years like our family has, there will be A LOT to go through; and when there is a lot, the idea of tackling it all can seem extremely overwhelming. Completing even a little each day won't be so overwhelming and you'll still be making progress. 
  • Make a game out of it! The Minimalist wrote this inspiring post, called Let's Play a Minimalism Game Together (click here to read it). At the beginning of any month you donate one item on the first, two on the second, and on you go until the end of the month. 

Tips to Keep Things From Piling Up:

  • If it doesn't sell in a week, donate it. Obviously this rule doesn't need to apply to everything. For example, if my coffee table didn't sell in a week I wouldn't donate it. 
  • Plan a weekly donation trip. Even if it's one box, I feel better getting it out of the house. I really can't stand the way it looks when I have boxes piling up by my front door. 
  • One item in, one item out. I've mentioned this rule a few times, because it's pretty important. We haven't been following this rule, and it lead to too much coming in and not enough leaving.

On the Bright Side!

I sold the coffee table finally! It was a great table, but it was a clutter trap (just like every other flat surface in my house). It was also disproportionately big compared to our living space. Without the table, there are no obstacles to walk around and it opens up the room, making it feel much larger. Getting it out of the house, and making an extra $40, was just the kick I needed to get motivated again!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 Uses for Leftover Whey

I love Greek yogurt! In fact, I wrote a detailed blog post all about how to make your own (click here to read Homemade Yogurt). If you've ever made homemade Greek yogurt, then you know whey is a byproduct of the straining process, and you can end up with quite a bit of it.

What should you do with it? Throwing it away is such a waste, considering there are so many ways to use it!

1) Marinate Meat in Whey

I haven't personally tried this one yet, but (from what I've read), the enzymes in whey help to tenderize the meat. I couldn't find any reputable sources however, only other blog posts. It makes sense to me, since whey is slightly acidic. Whey has a pH of "less than or equal to 5.1" (Source: Handbook of Dairy Foods and Nutrition); that is around the same acidity of apple cider vinegar, which is "4.25 to 5.0" (Source: Testing the Acidity of Vinegar).

Here is an interesting recipe for a whey marinade that I plan on trying soon: Whey Moroccan Chicken Marinade.

2) Boil Pasta and Rice in Whey

This one I have tried! I've read that it alters the flavor a bit, but I haven't noticed yet. Neither has anybody I've cooked noodles or rice for. The only difference I've noticed is that the pasta is a bit more tender.

3) Rinse Your Hair with Whey

This is probably my favorite one! Whenever I do this, it leaves my hair silky, shiny, and softer than ever. Even before I gave up commercial shampoo (check out Going No Poo if you're curious about that), I rinsed with whey a few times. Whenever I did, I didn't need to wash my hair for up to a few days. Of course now I don't wash my hair at all, but I still love a good whey rinse! Just be sure not to get it in your eyes or mouth while rinsing.

4) Use Whey as a Substitute for Buttermilk

I've successfully used whey in a cornbread recipe that called for buttermilk, and even for buttermilk pancakes! I love that I don't have to go out and buy buttermilk just for a few recipes; I can use the whey since I have it on hand. I seriously recommend making French toast with whey (beat some whey into the eggs you'll be dipping the bread into). It makes the French toast slightly sweeter in my opinion.

5) Mix Whey into Your Coffee 

I always mix a few tablespoons of whey into my iced lattes. It adds another depth of flavor as well as some helpful vitamins and probiotics. Adding it to hot coffee might kill the probiotics, but it will still have a yummy flavor!

Do you have any uses for whey that I haven't mentioned? If so, comment below!