The Veil is Lifted

I adore Halloween time and celebrations. I do not love dressing up in costumes, but I like seeing others and I like the actually creepy decorations as I walk around the neighborhood. Where I live now, rosemary grows prolifically. Traditionally, rosemary is a symbol of remembrance and can be used to cook or bake something and honor those who have lived and have passed on.

In particular, I choose to remember my grandmother Eula. She was the first person in my life from whom I felt unconditional love.

I baked this Rosemary Olive Oil Cake and remembered her presence and quiet beauty and acceptance of myself and my sisters.

It has a beautiful crunchy top and copious amounts of dark chocolate.

The generous and genius Heidi Swanson shared the recipe many moons ago. I give it top marks and it is one of the simplest cakes to make.

Happy Samhain, Hallow’s Eve, and Halloween!

Peace and love,



Low Waste Camping

Hello there! It’s me, Kristan. Writing again and turning to something that makes me feel productive or somehow helping out in the world. This post is titled Low Waste Camping, which, in essence, is true, but I was staying in a bare bones cabin. Is that true? It had a working refrigerator and a heater for nighttime in the high Sawtooth Mountains. I technically did do some camping the night after, with no heater, no electricity, no ice cubes but the ones with which I left the cabin. So I’ll continue on here and talk about my experiences with low waste camping. I have accomplished this same thing again, but with way fewer pictures because constantly taking photographs was taking me away from the scenery I traveled far to appreciate.

This is the cabin I stayed in, it is quite spacious and beautiful. All my belongings are seen on the porch. Basket with food, cooler, water jug, clothing in a suitcase, and some hiking shoes.

The most important aspect of any trip is THE FOOD. Maybe it isn’t to you, but it is to me as I cannot do much of anything if I do not have the fuel to go full force and hike or walk around anywhere without some delicious food. The smattering of food I brought along with me is depicted here, which I am certain you can figure out, I like my sourdough bread, nuts, harissa paste, peanut butter, honey, olive oil decanted into a smaller glass jar, and some veggies. It has been a while since I actually went on this trip, but I am hoping I had at least a few meals planned. Let’s find out!

Any person striving for less waste knows we must take the necessary tools with us. In the above case, I found it necessary to have a couple of tea towels and a washing up cloth (hand crocheted by me for bonus points). In the tiny adorable jar is Sal Suds, which I use to clean everything and gasp! it comes in a plastic container and I DON’T CARE because it is just that amazing and simplifies my life in numerous ways. Oh, and don’t forget a well-loved cast iron skillet that is easy to clean and if you don’t clean it all the way, well that is more flavor in your next meal. Side note: isn’t this stove top killer? Makes me want to cook all day and night.

Ooooh, we must talk about the essentials of hygiene now. I do not go anywhere without nail clippers. This was discussed on a recent trip to Mexico with my BFF and she said she would never think of bringing them, but oh how a hangnail can ruin my day if it cannot be taken care of immediately! I will just list the items you see here to be a bore: tp, sunscreen (made by ALL good if you care), body soap, shampoo bar, shea butter as a moisturizer, facial cleansing oil of some sort most likely jojoba mixed with frankincense, homemade bug spray (I copied the basic ingredients from some commercial company, the NEEM oil should not be left out of the recipe), more sunscreen, homemade deodorant (baking soda + EO lavender + EO clary sage), eyelash curler (for those selfies in the hot springs!), hair brush, David’s toothpaste, toothbrush, DIVA cup, and DIY hand sanitizer.

Some more essential tools: tea (I think it had all been gifted to me), tea strainer, bread knife, regular chopping knife, silverware set, micro planer?? Was that essential? Maybe I was fighting something and needed ginger + lemon hot water which I often make when I’m not feeling so hot.

I got super lucky and had a refrigerator so I bought beer and kept these few items in there. I felt quite like I was glamorous camping.

More food. Half and half is essential to my camping trip apparently. It is an essential when drinking coffee, so here it is. I also brought my homemade ginger beer, some eggs, and who can remember what else? Not me!

Here is a boring photo of none other than ice! But it’s a hot tip to refreeze your ice if you have access to a freezer so it can be reused upon leaving the place with said freezer! Amazing! Very low waste brilliance if you ask me! I will not take credit for this idea; I am certain I stole it from somewhere.

Simple way that I make coffee: a square of muslin atop a handmade ceramic pour over. Boil water and slowly pour over the coffee. Hehe

Oh, my first meal! Looks scrummy (as Mary Berry would say)! I had prepared a few things beforehand and this was one of those meals. Looks like asparagus, chickpeas, parsley, and orzo most likely sprinkled with lemon.

This cup served as my compost until I emptied a mason jar.

My washing up sink in the cabin.

Another meal of cooked lentils, sliced potatoes, fried onions, and eggs. Oh, beer as well.

What a sunny breakfast! Beautiful strawberries from a local grower, boiled eggs topped with harissa on homemade sourdough. Looks like I did use the microplaner to grate ginger and have with hot water and lemon.

These chocolate balls were keeping my spirits alive! I used the Klean Kanteen to keep coffee fresh. At this point in the trip, I was no longer staying at the cabin, and had visited about four natural hot springs. I was extremely relaxed and happy.

I cooked a real meal over a real fire and did it all by myself! The next picture shows how happy and proud I am for being such a firecracker.

I always bring a good book whenever I travel!

I did bring a candle and some matches and a lighter. More potatoes, lentils, onions, bread, and beer. Whooiee!

Purely private soak next to the Sawtooth Mountains nearing dusk. Bathing suits are essential to me, but may not be to you!

Considering I was by myself and didn’t have to worry about irritating anyone else, I stopped along the road numerous times to pick up trash.


Sorted into recyclables and plain trash.

Here are a few 35mm film shots I took of the trip for your viewing pleasure. 🙂


Peace and love,


Grocery Shopping…. in TEXAS

There have been many significant changes in my life and I am learning how to navigate in a completely new city in a new state. This latest trip I walked down to HEB. I used a basket my boyfriend saved from an alleyway trash can ♥️.

I did my best to locate a grocery store that is found all over Texas. I cannot say for sure if all HEB stores have a small bulk section, but the one nearest me does and I am thankful for that, but I also wrote them a nice comment about please including more grains and legumes and fewer sugary snacks. It never hurts to express one’s opinion in a kind manner.

This load cost me just under $36, which is quite good.

A closer look into the bulk bags reveals granola, chile almonds, and walnuts. The green Tupperware contains fresh ground peanut butter. They do not tare jars there, but I know it’s a better price with the weight of the container than the Whole Foods as well as the Central Market (which is owned by HEB).

I could not find loose carrots anywhere in the store, but overall most of their produce is package free and well priced.

I have been shifting away from being extremely hardcore about not making trash only because it has not been sustainable for myself. I am not about to make a second trip just for carrots. Could I do without carrots? Most likely, but I was hoping to use them in meals and I like having them on hand.

It has also been silly to think that the stickers and ties could deter people away from buying fresh, healthy produce. My main concern has been feeding myself in a healthy, practical, sustainable way for myself.

Living in a bigger city and having only a bike to use during the day has given me insights as to how many people live and how we do not all have the privilege of shopping at the big bulk bins stores. In Idaho, the best bulk bins also happened to be the best priced, but that is not the case here. The weather is tricky, as I have to be back inside before 11 in order to not melt into a puddle and avoid heat stroke.

I am open to any thoughts or insights you may have about what is truly important on a sustainable, creative journey.

Peace and love,