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In the kitchen to celebrate Mom

A part of living waste free is getting in the kitchen & cooking from scratch. I've always enjoyed cooking...I can play music, dance around, follow a recipe or get inspiration from one, just create & have fun! Yes, it takes time but it's time very well spent in my book. When I create in the kitchen, I get completely lost in the process, it makes me feel ALIVE & thoroughly connected to the food that nourishes my body & soul as well as for those who I love, who I share my food with.

Last month was my mom's birthday, and my gift to her was preparing a surprise birthday dinner of veggie spring rolls & sauteed zucchini noodles with seasonal veggies; she knew that I was making dinner so the surprise was what was for dinner. For dessert, I gave her a few recipes to choose from & she chose peppermint patties & tagalongs, which I made entirely from scratch.

To save myself from being in the kitchen for hours upon hours, I made the dessert the day before, which saved me so much in the sanity department. I was able to take my time & enjoy making the desserts without feeling pressed for time. Another sanity-saving tip: prep what you can in the morning.

For the dinner prep, I cut all of the veggies for the spring rolls after I had breakfast, so a few hours later all I had to do was "cook" the rice paper rolls (I'll explain below how I do this), stack the veggies on each roll, & well...roll! I also made the dipping sauce in the morning because it tastes that much better after sitting for a few hours :)

Fast forward to my mom's review of my efforts: she loved everything & my dad did too! My mom actually said that the peppermint patties were better than the store-bought kind! YES!! They both raved about the tagalongs AND the zoodles with veggies were a huge success as were the spring rolls.

It felt so great to see & hear how much my parents enjoyed everything I had spent making for my mom's special day. To me, that is so much more important and meaningful than buying a fancy material gift, or any material gift for that matter! Part of moving towards becoming waste free has taught me that experiences create memories & live on forever. A material object may make someone happy in the short term but then they will likely forget about it or it creates clutter in their lives.

I know that may seem extreme & you may be thinking "I wear that necklace my parents gave me every day & never take it off" or "I use [specific object] all the time!" or "That [object] means so much to me!" and I'm not disputing that because I have a few material items I absolutely love and use every day. I'm referring to all that is beyond those few treasured items. For me, I want to remember the times I created memories of unforgettable moments for the people in my life.

Wow. That got deep real fast...

I meant it though! And I hope it makes you think. It may even inspire you to do the same! That would totally rock my world :D

For now, onto the recipes & totally drool-worthy photos that make me hungry for everything I made for my mom's special day.

Veggie Spring Rolls w/Spiced Almond Dipping Sauce

Serves 4 (or in our case, 3 with leftovers for my work lunch)

12 rice paper rolls

2 avocados

2 mangoes

1-2 cups alfalfa sprouts or any other sprout type

3 carrots

2 cucumbers

bunch of mint & basil

Wash & cut all veggies. Bring water to boil to “cook” the rice paper. Let the water cool for a few minutes then pour into a wide mouth bowl. While holding one side of the rice paper, dip each piece into the hot water & let drip. Move around to cook all sides. Transfer to a cutting board (I find using glass is easiest but use whatever you have on hand). Add in veggies, fold in edges & bottom like a burrito & roll!

Spiced almond dipping sauce

4T almond butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2T tamari

1T maple syrup

1T lemon or lime juice

1T ground ginger

1tsp turmeric

1/3C water (added once everything else is mixed together)

Mix well & store in fridge. You can also heat the water if you like.

Zucchini noodles with leeks & watercress

I used this recipe but adapted it to make it vegan, AKA no cheese. I wasn't able to find fresh peas at the farmers market so did without & this still turned out amazing!! I left out the red pepper flakes too because me & spicy aren't great friends. (isn't the best photo, but everyone was hungry so we wanted to EAT)

Peppermint Patties

I used this recipe from Meaningful Eats.

Her recipe makes 12 but I made them WAY way too big and made 8, so we ended up cutting them in half ::oops:: but a yummy oops!


I used this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. Here's my end product!

Because more pictures of these make me happy, here are the tagalongs in steps! I made them heart shaped in honor of my mamma love :)

This recipe made 12 for me. Well, 11 and a half (see the little heart that I had to form by hand?)

I used cashew butter on 8 of them & almond butter on 4, instead of peanut butter because my mom and I are not huge PB fans, but use PB if you like it!

And if you haven't tried cashew butter....seriously, go buy a jar right now, or you know, whenever you go to Whole Foods next ;) OR in true zero waste fashion, make your own! Cashew butter tastes like I imagine heaven would taste like, if it were a taste...

I hope these photos & my words have inspired you. Here's to creating in the kitchen & being a step closer to living waste free! Happy cooking!

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