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Live Waste Free

Easiest. Hot Chocolate. Ever!

Welcome back! I have exciting news… I figured out how to make hot chocolate and it’s basically the easiest thing ever! It’s been awhile since I’ve had one. The only way I knew it growing up was either in small pouches or in a giant tub. Both of which create waste and are basically just sugar mixed with flavors. Delicious sugar mixed with delicious flavors mind you, but it’s all completely processed. So if you’re looking for a nice treat to help warm yourselves up on during these icy times, without adding to your trash bin, look no further!

Time: 5 minutes max

Serves: 4

What you’ll need:

1 small pot

1 metal whisk


Measuring utensils of choice


2 cups of water

4 cups of 2% milk

1 tsp of vanilla essence (yes, I found this in bulk 😉 )

1/2 cup cacao powder (I had the dark kind because that’s what was offered in bulk section)

4 tbsp sugar


First, add all the liquid ingredients to your pot and put on high. Cover and bring to a boil whisking sporadically. Be careful that the liquid doesn’t boil over. Speaking from experience, it’s not pleasant!

Once you’ve reached your boil, turn down the heat to low-med. Add the powdered cacao and sugar. Whisk constantly at this point to avoid clumps. Whisk until it’s all dissolved and well combined. It should take about 2 minutes.

That’s it! You now have a delicious treat, with no waste and is perfect for those chilly nights. You can use this as the base and add any other flavor you want. Some ideas include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Marshmallows
  • Creamed liqueur
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Wanna try a vegan version? Use coconut milk or almond milk instead!

The list can literally go on and on. The next time, I think I’ll add a pinch of salt to see how that fares. There we have it friends, the simplest and tastiest hot chocolate base you’ve ever tried. I hope you enjoy this!

For more recipes, tips and tricks to help live a Zero Waste lifestyle, head over and like my page on Facebook Live Waste Free. Where you’ll get daily ideas to keep you going on the Zero-Waste path.

Or follow me on Instagram @livewastefree for random pics and funnies!

Live Waste Free

ZW Vegan Chili

On today’s menu: Dawn’s Homemade Zero Waste-Vegan Chili. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a long name, but who has time to come up with clever names when you’re cooking a bad ass meal like this one! Not to brag or anything, but my dad once described it as “Woah man, this is the S***!” So, take away from that what you will ;).

Now, I love making chili because of the simplicity. It can be dressed up or kept bare and still be absolutely DELISH! It’s possibly one of the easiest Zero Waste meals that you can make. It stores well, keeps for a long time in the fridge or even longer in the freezer and is the perfect, late night meal (for those of us hustling to the wee hours of the morning).

To make this recipe ZW, buy all your goods in bulk with your own jars (spices, beans, olive oil) and hit up a farmer’s market or even the regular grocery store for the veggies. Buy them loose with no plastic bags and be sure to wash them when you get home. For freshest ingredients, I prefer the farmer’s market for sure!

Meal Prep time: 30 minutes of prep-not including the reconstitution of the beans.

Cook time: 1 hour (again, not including the beans-that will soon be explained).



¾ cup red kidney beans

¾ cup black turtle beans

12 tomatoes, whole

1 medium onion

1 tbs of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

2 medium red peppers

1.5 cups of Veggie broth (I use my home made version)

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp Black pepper

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Cayenne

1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes *if you’re not a fan of too much spice, omit this*


Optional to serve with:

Corn chips (bought in bulk)

Sliced avocados

Chopped green onions

Nutritional yeast (or grated cheese for non-vegans)




I buy my beans dried and in bulk with my own jars. You’re going to need to start by reconstituting them. You can soak them overnight and then cook them until tender if you’d like, but I aim myself towards the “instant” way. It’s not literally instant but it is the faster way. Rinse off the beans in a colander, put them in a pot and cover them with water. The ratio is about 2:1-water to beans but keep an eye on them. Add more water if you need. Cover the beans and put on high until they boil. Once the boiling starts, drop the temperature to low (1-2) and leave them to cook for around 2 hours. This is the faster version since you’re not having them soak overnight, but you can really do it whichever way you prefer.

I don’t include this in the cooking time since it only takes 2 minutes of work.
From here on out, you basically just let the beans do their thing.tomatoes

Next up are the tomatoes. I buy them fresh and whole and work with them from here. Cut them into quarters, de-seed and core them. The seeds and cores go directly into the compost, unless you maybe have some chickens, I hear they like this as a snack :P. Once all of your tomatoes are ready, keep them aside for later use.

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, dice the onion and slice the garlic. Add to the hot pot. Cover and cook them on medium until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Roughly chop the red peppers and add to the onions, let cook for another 3 minutes. To this, add your prepped tomatoes, veggie broth and sea salt. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes, or until super tender.

When you have reached your desired tenderness (not falling apart, but you can put a fork in the flesh and remove it with ease), remove from heat, but keep in the pot. You’re going to use a submersion blender to blend the veggies until they’re smooth. If you don’t have a submersion blender, use a regular one and just work in batches. Be careful while handling the hot veggies and broth, I’ve gotten splashed a number of times and it’s hot! Like, wicked hot!

Before you’re fully finished blending, stir a fork through it to insure that all the large chunks are out. After your little smoothness check, you add all your beans and the spices. Start with the quantities above for your spices and alter them to your personal preference.  Let the chili simmer on low-medium heat, partially uncovered for about 30-40 minutes to really blend the flavors and to cook off any excess water. Don’t forget to stir the chili every few minutes to avoid burning.

Serve straight or prettied up with sliced avocados, corn chips and nutritional yeast (shredded cheese for non-vegans).

Hope you enjoy this recipe! For other recipes like this, or general tips and tricks for living a Zero Waste lifestyle, check out my website Also

Live Waste Free

Zero Waste Granola Bites

Baked goods, what’s up!

At the beginning of this Zero Waste journey, I took a step back and tried to picture everything that made up my trash. It was filled with the wrappers from my fiancé’s meat products, chips and candy bags and a variety of granola bar wrappers. Healthy eh?! Needing an alternative to these pure delicacies in the world of Dawn. I sought out to find them all made in bulk. Meat for the fella, check. Candy and chips, check. Granola bars, yeah right. No such luck here, so I instead turned to the home made versions and looked for the easiest and fastest recipe I could find. Let’s be real here, who has an entire day to bake, I’ve got stuff to do! It didn’t take long to find a healthy recipe that was filling, full of amazing nutrients and DELISH (shout out to Minimalist Baker here, they really know their stuff)! It’s from here where my zero waste granola bites truly evolved and became unique.

While I loved those granola bars and found them to be perfect for my lifestyle, they were missing a little somethin’ somethin’. Oh, I also am possibly the worst at following recipes. Not that it’s complicated, but I have an issue with food waste and storing super small quantities when I don’t have to. If I have a table spoon of extra sunflower seeds left in my jar, you bet I’m putting those into the batch too. I’m not keeping them in my pantry until the next time. I’d much rather just toss it in and enjoy it all now.

For the sake of this entry, I’m going to give my best approximation, avoiding using the terms “1 large jar and half of a teeny jar”. Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


4 ripe bananas

3 cups Large Flaked Oats

½ cup Hemp Seeds

¾ cup Chopped Pecans

¾ Chopped Walnuts

½ cup Sliced Almonds

½ cup Pumpkin seeds

¾ cup Roasted sunflower seeds

½ cup Cranberries

½ cup Raisins

4 tablespoons Maple syrup

1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

1.5 teaspoons Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Sea salt

*1 tablespoon of an oil of your choosing to grease the pan. I use coconut oil.*


Slice the bananas and add them to the mixer. Let it run for about a minute to really mush them up. To this you’re literally going to add everything! And I mean EVERYTHING! There’s nothing special here, no technique, no grace. Just dump it all in the mixer and let it do its thing.

Now remember, it’s not a big deal if there’s a little more or a little less of each ingredient. The texture you’re aiming for is one that comes together well but isn’t incredibly sticky. If your batch is too wet, add more large oats. If it happens to be too dry, add more sliced bananas.

I use a mini muffin tin to help keep my bites together, but this is not needed. Grease your tin or tray with a little bit of oil. Roll you granola mixture into bite size pieces. It’s nothing fancy, just plop them down. I find a little less ‘perfection’ adds more texture. The loose edges will get the teeniest bit crunchy and it’s a heck of a good time!

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes. Cooking time may vary, you’re looking for lightly browned bites. Once they’re finished, let them cool. Then dig in! You’re going to love them! Delicious, simple, fast, and easy to eat on the go. A side bonus to these being super awesome, and they’re Vegan!

If you enjoyed this recipe, head over and like my page ‘Live Waste Free’ on Facebook for daily tips and tricks to becoming Zero-Waste.