Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

It's been a while since I last wrote about food around here. So let me invite you into my kitchen for a day of meals.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

Breakfast

I'm always super excited to wake and get up on Sundays because this means I get to go eat croissants! Those delicacies are very rich so I try to only allow myself to eat them once a week. So, as soon as I'm up, I trow on a cozy outfit and run to the bakery while Octave warms up a cup of hot cocoa.

My favorite: a plain croissant.
His favorite: an almond croissant.

We might sometimes spice things up with a pain au chocolat or a bear claw, but tend to stick to classics.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

As freelancers, we too easily forget to take time off and slow down, so I figured that a Sunday morning tradition would be a tasty way to make our Sunday mornings a little special (we also eat breakfast out on Wednesdays at our neighborhood café).

And let's not forget that we are both French and that we're lucky enough to have a bakery that sells delicious viennoiseries in our neighborhood. Their employees are also the nicest, usually know what I'll order before I do and always mention how much they love that I bring my own cloth bag to carry my croissants back home.

We alternate between a chai latte and hot chocolate. I usually have a bottle of homemade almond milk ready so all Octave has to do is pour a little milk in a saucepan and add chai or cocoa powder.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

Lunch

After such a fat-rich breakfast, we should have upped our fiber intake and balanced our diet with a vegetable-based meal but opted for a quick and easy meal: a quinoa bowl.

This is a staple in our household. And Octave likes to cook a big batch so we can eat leftovers of the following day, usually wrapped in a tortilla (yum!).

Quinoa, tofu, avocado and a hint of sriracha. These are 4 ingredients that were not part of our diet at all before we moved to the US. Now, I don't think we could do without them (we're slowly building up our tolerance to spicy food).

This is not particularly noticeable but the water we're drinking here is actually sparkling water. We recently purchased a Sodastream) and are very happy about it because: a/ we only have to bring the gas bottle back to the store every other month to exchange it for a full one - so this means no glass bottle or metal cans! b/ we drink way more water now than before. Sparkling water looks so much more appealing than still water. I'm famous for serving it in a wine glass #fancydrink c/ we experiment much more with natural flavors and ditched our usual drinking vinegars, which contain too much sugar.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

Snack

Time to eat veggies!

My favorite Oregon farmer, Andrea Bemis, published a book last year and not only have I read it like it was an autobiography, but I also dive back into it on a regular basis when I want to try a new dish with seasonal ingredients.

My favorite recipe in the beet butter. And I just realized that it's on page 84 - my birth year. Coincidence? I think not!

I've switched a couple ingredients with ones I had in my pantry and whipped up this delicious and beautiful dip in no time.

Beets, cashews, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil and a pinch of salt is all I used to make it.

Then I sliced a carrot and added a little parsley for the picture.

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

Dinner

Not only is Octave an amazing photographer, he's also an awesome chef! This is how we share chores at home, he cooks, I wash the dishes.

Last year, we made 2 major purchases for the kitchen (a food processor, a pasta attachment set for our KitchenAid and and have not regretted them a single second.

We use them several times a week - if not daily. They save us a lot of time and make cooking an even more enjoyable task.

I cut the mushrooms and shred the parmesan with the food processor while Octave mixes the dough and shapes the pasta with the KichenAid.

He's gotten really good at it and it now takes him around 30 minutes to make pasta from scratch!

I personally could live on a pasta diet...

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

We rarely drink alcohol (I especially, because, migraines), but when we do, trust us, it's the good stuff! Octave's father is a cider producer and hooked us on natural wines (no sulfates, no sulfites, no bad stuff added). We have a pretty solid selection at home so if you ever come over, bring dessert!

A Day of Home Cooked Meals by Conscious by Chloé

Talking about dessert, unless we have guests, we will not prepare something special. According to our mood, we'll either eat a piece of fruit or a square of the darkest chocolate (bonus points if there's a salted caramel stuffing).

Notes

Event though we try to reduce our carbon footprint and the amount of trash we produce by shopping local, organic and in bulk, we still purchase certain products packaged, like cheese. Oh, and yes, we (still) eat animal products, such as cheese, meat, cheese and honey though those occurrences are getting rarer and rarer and one might call us semi-vegetarians or flexitarians.

Check out what fellow Ethical Writers & Creatives eat in one day over here:


How much do you think about what you eat and its impact on the environment?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

A Creamy Coconut Milk Matcha Latte Recipe

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

As days are getting warmer (yay!), I feel like it is high time I shared a recipe I've been making all winter long.

I can't really tell how I first heard about matcha. But I do remember getting a little addicted when I realized that a café I walked by every day last autumn made the best matcha latte I'd ever tasted!

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I do not drink coffee, so my go-to drink at cafés when meeting with friends (or, let's be honest just getting some work done and people-watching) had mainly been chai teas. But as soon as I tasted my first matcha (with almond milk) I was hooked!

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I tried to learn a little more about this green powder and stumbled upon this book, which inspired me for the following recipe. Reading about the Japanese ritual that surrounds the preparation of matcha reminded me of the tea ceremonies I attended when I lived in China.

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

I have to admit that I tend to skip a couple steps mentioned in some recipes (heat the bowl, wet the whisk, sift the matcha powder) but I do sometimes take the time to prepare a more elaborate version on slower mornings, starting by making my own nut milk.

Coconut Matcha Latte by Conscious by Chloé

So here is my Coconut Milk Matcha Latte recipe, which could be named the lazy interpretation of a real matcha latte (read the recipe notes first). I hope you'll like it as much as I do.

COCONUT MILK MATCHA LATTE

Matcha is a green tea powder packed with chlorophyll and antioxidants. It's a great alternative to coffee to boost your metabolism while keeping you calm.

Yield: 1-2 cups
Active time: 5 min
Total time:

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • Sweetener (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil water and pour some into a bowl to warm it. Set aside.
  2. Pour 1/4 cups more boiling water into a cup and let it cool slightly (or pour it into another cup). (Boiling water or milk will scorch matcha. The ideal temperature is said to be 175°F. To get to this temperature without a thermometer, simply pour the volume of liquid you'll need into a cup, and then into a second cup. By the time it gets to your drinking bowl, the temperature should have lowered to 175°F.)
  3. Sift the matcha though a fine-mesh seeve into a small bowl (optional).
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot water and stir, or whisk with a (bamboo) whisk until no lumps remain.
  5. Stir in the remaining water and sweetener (optional) until dissolved. Pour it into the warmed bowl from step 1.
  6. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat just until it begins to boil (you can try my nut milk recipe).
  7. Froth the milk (optional).
  8. Slowly pour the (foamy) milk into the bowl.

Notes

On most days, I tend to skip a couple steps (bowl warming, matcha sifting, milk frothing) because I'm lazy, but I highly recommend trying the whole "ceremony" at least once, just to taste the difference.


Now I need to take a few barista classes in order to make beautiful patterns in my cups. Is there a school? OK, I'm gonna look for tutorials online, get a frother and show you my progress in a few weeks. Deal?

Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

No Knead Bread

French Breakfast by Conscious by Chloé

Okay, I'm gonna say it right now just so you know I'm not totally delusional. This bread looks pretty sad! Uff, I said it, now we can move along.

French Breakfast by Conscious by Chloé

When I first thought about baking my own bread, I pictured myself kneading and kneading and kneading. One thing about me, my upper body is not my strongest asset (you should see me rock climbing, it's pathetic). So when I read this recipe title on one of my favorite blogs, I flipped.

French Breakfast by Conscious by Chloé

I first tried this recipe a loooong time ago (this details is important, you'll see), then forgot about it because there's a really good bakery in my neighborhood. But since I've gotten into homesteading, making food from scratch and since I had these packs of yeast gathering dust in my cupboard (see where I'm going here), I thought I would give it another go a couple days ago.

French Breakfast by Conscious by Chloé

The result isn't the best looking loaf, but it's still very tasty and perfect for my favorite kind of breakfast: Hot chocolate + OJ + butter & honey tartines. I'll keep going until I run out of yeast and I finally get to making my own sourdough (I've had my eye on this workshop at People's Coop in SE Portland.)

French Breakfast by Conscious by Chloé

On a side note, as you might have noticed, I've decided to collaborate more with local makers and friends here on the blog. So, a couple weeks ago, I asked my friend Erika, of Portland Apron Company, if I could borrow one of her beautifully and consciously made pinafores (which you've already seen in my shop).

Here's my take on the recipe, with the basic tools I already had at home, plus an alternative one.

No Knead Bread Recipe by Conscious by Chloé


NO KNEAD BREAD

This is pretty much the easiest bread recipe on the Internet. Try it, you won't be sorry!

Yield: 1 loaf
Active time: 20 min
Total time:

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt.
  2. Add the water and mix until it forms your dough. You can either use a regular whisk, a dough whisk, a wooden spoon or put all the ingredients in a Kitchen Aid if you're lazy like me.
  3. Gently mix until all the dry ingredients are combined and then cover the preparation with reusable food wrap and let the dough rise for 12-18 hours.
  4. Remove the food wrap and place it on your work surface. Heavily flour it, place your dough in the center and form a big ball, heavily floured.
  5. Cover it with another piece of reusable food wrap again and let it sit an additional 1-2 hours. When your dough has thirty minutes left of this rising period, pre-heat your oven to 450°F and place your Dutch oven with a heat safe knob inside to heat up
  6. After 30 minutes, carefully take your very hot pot out of the oven and place your dough inside (do not grease the bottom of your pot, it will smoke). Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and let bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
  8. Remove the pot from oven and place the loaf of bread onto a cooling rack for a few minutes or just cut right into it and enjoy a slice while the bread is still warm.

Notes

I like to keep my bread in a cupboard, wrapped in a kitchen towel to keep it from drying. If I know I will not be eating all of it in the coming days, I just slice it and keep it in the freezer in a cloth bag.


This post was inspired by a recipe published by James Kicinski-McCoy. I'm thinking about baking bread once a week, perfecting this recipe and trying others along the way. If you have recipes to share, please do! Oh and if you try this one, I'd love to see the result. Please tag @consciousxchloe if you post pictures on Instagram!

A Simple Almond Milk Recipe with a Twist

Almond milk recipe by Conscious by Chloé

I can still hear my friend Elisa saying this, one night, when a couple friends and I were having dinner at her place: "Humans are the only mammals who still drink milk once they've reached adulthood". That was close to ten years ago! I remember scoffing. To me, milk was essential. In the morning with cocoa powder. After lunch in the form of a yogurt or cheese. Same thing at dinner. I truly believed in what they used to say on French TV: "Dairy products are our friends for life" (and we should consume them three times a day).

Years later, I gradually stopped drinking milk, mainly because Octave is intolerant. And I started doing a little bit of research, to consider whether I should still buy some for me, or if I could live without it. Long story short, I do not believe that milk is good for my health, my bones, etc (I might even be starting to think the opposite, but I do not want to start a debate, or do I?). I still eat dairy products, fermented ones, like cheese, yogurt (I found a producer who uses reusable containers, but really contemplate on making my own), but I replaced my morning milk by almond milk (served with muesli, cocoa powder or blended in a delicious smoothie).

I love making my own milk, I love baking cookies with the almond meal that I am left with after straining, I love knowing where my products come from (the almonds we buy are local and organic, our house has a filtered water faucet). Now I know almond production is not the most environment-friendly (California/drought), so if you have an informed opinion on this matter, please share it.

Almond milk recipe by Conscious by Chloé

In the meantime, here's the simplest almond milk recipe:


ALMOND MILK

Almond milk is a great alternative to cow's milk and it's so easy to make, you won't regret hauling these milk bottles back from the store.

Yield: 5 cups
Active time: 5 min
Total time:

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 5 cups of filtered water
  • (optional) 1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • (optional) Vanilla or 1 date

Instructions

  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight, at least 12 hours (I sometimes skip this part if I'm in a hurry but it is highly recommended.)
  2. Rinse the almonds.
  3. Put the 1 cup of almonds and 5 cups of water in a blender and blend for 1 minute.
  4. Strain the mixture into a large bowl or pitcher through a cheese cloth.
  5. (optional) Put the mixture back into the blender with vanilla, dates, or any other sweetener and add 1/8 ts salt.
  6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes

This recipe works with all kinds of nuts. Try them all!


Please share your own favorite recipes in the comment section, or on social media with the #consciousby hashtag. I'd love to try them! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Jun, the honey-based Kombucha

Jun recipe by Conscious by Chloé

At my local farmer's market, there's a Community Table where people can sell what they make, or extra produce they have from their garden. A couple weeks ago, I read on the market's Facebook page that Vera was hosting a kombucha workshop there and selling starters for a small donation.

I had been hearing about kombucha for months, but never really knew what it was, so this was the perfect occasion to learn more. I went to the market, Vera explained to me the difference between kombucha and jun, I picked up a jun mother, Vera's recipe and went back home to start my own brew.

Contrarily to kombucha, jun feeds on honey rather than sugar. It also thrives in green tea. These 2 characteristics led me to brew jun rather than kombucha. Apart from this, both fermented drinks seem to have beneficial properties due to their probiotic content.

During my research, I stumbled upon continuous kombucha brewing recipes. As it looks like the mother, or SCOBY - which stands for Symbiotic Culture of friendly Bacteria and Yeast - does not like being handled too much, I thought it would be a great idea to adapt Vera's recipe to continuous brewing. But, let's be honest, I chose the continuous brewing option because it involved less hassle and less washing up!

Jun recipe by Conscious by Chloé

JUN TEA

It is sometimes called the honey-based "champagne of kombucha". I love its tangy taste. I drink it instead of orange juice during the day or add a little water if I I brewed it too strong.

Yield: 1 gallon
Active time: 10 min
Total time:

Equipment

  • A glass beverage dispenser with a plastic spigot (no metal!)
  • Closely woven material to cover (I cut an old t-shirt)
  • Twine to secure the cover (I used 100% compostable gardening twine)
  • Measuring cups
  • Vinegar for sterilizing instruments (soap can leave traces)
  • A strainer
  • Glass bottles with a plastic lid

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Boil the water and let it sit for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the honey and stir until it is dissolved.
  3. Add the tea and let the mixture steep for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Strain it and let it cool (you may use metal utensils for these steps as you're not in contact with the SCOBY yet).
  5. Once the sweet tea is at room temperature, pour it in the beverage dispenser, add the starter tea (about 10%) and the culture starter.
  6. Cover the top of the dispenser with the cloth and secure it with your twine.
  7. Place your brew in a warm place with air flow, out of direct sun.
  8. Depending on the weather and the size of your vessel, the process can take 4 days to 2 weeks. If it's really warm, start testing around day 5. The more sour and tangy, the less sugar is left, which is considered healthier.
  9. Once you've reached the desired flavor, open the spigot and fill glass bottles. Close them with plastic lids and store them in the fridge. Jun can store out of the refrigerator for some time, but it will continue to ferment.
  10. If you really want fizziness, you might want to do what's called a secondary fermentation once the flavor is to your liking. This is simple. Simply store the bottles closed out of the refrigerator for 3-7 days. This is also when you might want to add flavors such as herbs and spices. You may want to add juices and fruit purees after this period, as there is a tendency to get overly sour or carbonated.
  11. As soon as the level in your container is getting low, prepare more sweet tea and pour it into the dispenser once is at room temperature.
  12. After a few batches, a new SCOBY will form. It it gets too big, you can tear a piece off and give it to a friend with some starter juice so he/she can start his/her own brew. Try not to handle it with your hands too much, but a little doesn't seem to hurt and don't forget not to let any metal instrument be in contact with the SCOBY (like a pair of scissors or a knife).

Notes

Be sure to keep the culture covered at all times and to keep and eye out for those pesky vinegar flies. Sometimes, there are color variations on the new SCOBY forming at the top. It's not mold unless it's a different color or gets fuzzy. If this happens, you need to sterilize and start over. Do not use metal instruments while handling the SCOBY. Jun is more forgiving than kombucha if it gets too sour. It might be too sour for a couple rounds but will return to the original flavor. And don't forget to head over to the Conscious by Chloé Shop to find all the equipment you'll need to make this recipe.


Do you drink kombucha or jun? Do you brew your own? How is it going? Please share your brewer's tips in the comment section below!