In the midst of this pandemic it has us thinking about how many people are buying in bulk to prepare for the unknown. Since we’ve been living abroad we no longer buy anything in bulk, mainly because we simply don’t have the storage space! We thought about other things that changed after living abroad that we intend to continue doing wherever we go. One thing related to bulk buys is limiting our food waste. It’s easy to buy too much of something when you load up your cart with those 2 for 1’s because, why not, it’s a deal and you have the space! But there’s a chance you haven’t totally thought out how much will actually be used. Guess I’ll be the one to coin the phrase, purchase with a planned purpose. We were forced into this mindset when our refrigerator size reduced by half. The freezer had it out even worse! We only buy groceries for that day and the next. Because I’m part pack mule and carry all the groceries home on my back, I’m not exactly thrilled to buy a 10 lb bag of potatoes anyway! If the recipe calls for 2 onions, I grab 2 onions. This not only cuts down on waste but everything is always fresher.
We were bad in the US. We never recycled. It’s embarrassing! When moving to Switzerland someone told us we would be fined if we were caught throwing glass away in the regular trash bin. I’m not sure how truthful this is but regardless, no one just doesn’t recycle there. As it was one of the many changes we made, it was easy to start separating it out. I’m not just talking glass and paper. We have a bin for glass, paper, aluminum, pet plastic, and compost (my least favorite). There isn’t a service that will pick up your bins for you so we then carry our bins to the recycling area close by. We will continue to keep up with this no matter where we go.
If you find yourself abroad, longing for a nice iced coffee… ha… good luck! I remember the first time I ordered an iced coffee. It was a hot coffee that they put 2 ice cubes in, leaving me with a watered-down room temperature coffee and disappointment. I tried a few more times at different cafes but I never did find a good one. As anything, if I can’t find what I want I’ll just do it myself! I decided to start making them at home and I’ll never go back. Find my perfected recipe below along with the cream that makes it freaking delicious. I’ll be waiting patiently for summer so I can start making these bad boys.
1.5 cups coffee grounds (preferably large grains for French press)
4 cups ice cold water
Dash of vanilla extract
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
Dollop of Nutella if you’re feeling froggy
Soak grounds in water and extract for at least 12 hours. Use a cheese cloth to filter the coffee from the grounds. Squeeze the grounds well. Keeps for up to a week. Mix the sweetened condensed milk and the evaporated milk together. Add this as creamer to coffee. Fill a glass with ice and pour up… enjoy!
Let’s talk about reusable bags. Exciting topic I know but it’s a fundamental thing that has changed for us. I bet you have a drawer, container, corner where you hoard all those plastic bags from Wal-Mart? I knew it. Well we no longer have a stash of bags other than our 2 reusable ones that have lasted approximately 500 grocery trips, still going strong! I encourage everyone to use them if you don’t already. I won’t list all the reasons but know it’s good to do and takes no effort. Just do it. If you already do, you rock!
With no car, to get anywhere we’re either walking, biking, taking the metro, or a combination of those. We do try to walk or bike before taking public transport but that was much easier to do in a smaller city than Vienna. Also if it’s like 10 degrees out.. you won’t catch me on my bike. Winter definitely makes us miss having a car. Despite it taking much longer to go do anything, we enjoy the simplicity of it. It’s healthy, good for the environment, cost effective, and we see different sides of the city while walking. We just notice so much more.
Speaking of travel, we realize from the US it’s not easy to travel abroad. We’ve been to 23 different countries over the last 3 years and know that wouldn’t have happened unless we lived here. However, we have high hopes in traveling almost as much throughout the US. Since we’ve had more time on our hands lately (mainly me as Andrew is still working just from home) we have adopted a new dietary change. NOT a diet, simply tracking macros and watching calorie intake. The fridge has been staring at us all day and we had to do something to avoid mindless eating. Outside of work we’re playing cards, deep cleaning, distant trip planning, working out, and setting goals for ourselves. I challenge you to create a healthy habit this week. From ditching the plastic bags to stretching after you get out of bed to taking time to go electronics free each day. Any healthy habit will make you feel better and you’ll wonder why you never did it before!