Month: July 2010

Energy Saving Myth – Washing Dishes

  • Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than running an electric dishwasher.

This is one instance where the modern machine beats the old-fashioned method: hand washing generally uses more hot water per load than using a dishwasher. The key to maximizing energy savings is to use the dishwasher efficiently. Most modern dishwashers don’t require pre-rinsing of dishes; and according to Consumer Reports, this practice wastes up to 20 gallons of water per load without getting dishes any cleaner.

Don’t bother with the “rinse hold” on your machine, for the same reason. Wait to run the dishwasher until you have a full load of dishes, but don’t overload the machine. The energy-saving control offered on many dishwashers will turn off the heat during the drying cycle, which will also help keep the kitchen cooler in the summer.

Opening the door after the rinse cycle and letting the dishes air dry is another way to save energy. {full article}

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So Fresh & So Clean

Lemons are pretty much nature’s bleach and can be used in many areas of your home to make it clean and shiny, not to mention lemony fresh! Here are a few….

  • In Your Laundry

To brighten whites, you can add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. This is a safer alternative to bleach and for those of you who have a septic system, lemons are much friendlier than bleach!

  • On Countertops & Cuttingboards

Dip the open side of a lemon half into some baking soda. Scrub countertops/cutting boards, then wipe with a wet sponge and dry.  This is a simple homemade cleaner that is a perfect alternative to harsh chemicals!
*Warning: this mixture can sometimes cause discoloration on delicate stone or stainless steel so always do a test patch first to be safe or just avoid those surfaces all together.

  • To Clean Silver or Brass

Mix lemon juice and baking soda so it’s the consistency of toothpaste. Use a soft cloth to rub the mixture on the metal surface. Rinse and wipe dry. Look at that shine…

  • Stuff Them in Your Garbage Disposal

To keep your garbage disposal from smelling questionable, put a quarter of a lemon down there from time to time. Right before I do this, I usually squeeze the last of the juice out and scrub the inside of the sink as well. I love this because then the sink is sparkling and the whole kitchen smells like lemon – some cleaning that can actually make you smile!

Own a Ice Cream Maker?

I don’t, but I wished I did when I saw this recipe from Nora Pouillon, owner of Restaurant Nora (America’s first certified organic restaurant located in Washington, DC). I love ginger so I think this sounds so delish!

Ginger Ice Cream

Serves 8
Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 inch piece of ginger
3 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
mint or lemon balm, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Pour the sugar into a small saucepan, add the water, and stir to dissolve. Boil the sugar and water for about 10 minutes or until it registers 220°F on a candy thermometer. Set aside. Do not touch or stir the sugar while it is boiling or sugar crystals may form and crystallize the syrup.
  2. Grate or shred the ginger by hand or in a mini chopper. Put it in a double layer of cheesecloth and squeeze the ginger to make 1 tablespoon or more of juice.
  3. Whip the egg yolks in an electric mixer or by hand with a balloon whip until lemon yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While the mixer is running, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup along the side of the bowl, avoiding the beaters, which will splatter the syrup. Whip for about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to slow and add the cream and the ginger juice and beat until combined. Refrigerate the ice cream base until cool.
  4. Pour this ginger custard into an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s directions for freezing.

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Homemade Gazpacho

We had a really fun dinner the other night – not only was this gazpacho homemade, but all of the ingredients were from the weekly farmstand near our place. Gazpacho already tastes super healthy and refreshing, but the extra freshness of the vegetables made it that much better. All the ingredients cost $8 and it made enough for 1 dinner and 2 lunches for 2!

The gazpacho turned out so delicious! My husband paired it with an incredible grilled cheese that consisted of sharp cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and peppers on whole wheat bread grilled with olive oil and sea salt. It was perfection.

Ingredients:

1/2 sweet white onion
1 1/2 firm cucumbers
2 small sweet green peppers
6 medium to large tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 small piece fresh jalapeno, seeded
1 tablespoon sea salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
*save a bit of tomato, cucumber & green pepper to add on top

Relish:

A few pieces of tomato, cucumber & green pepper slivered/chopped
juice of half of a lemon
fresh cracked black pepper

How to:

  1. Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onion into chunks (garlic & jalapeno can be cut in half or even left whole)
  2. Combine all fresh ingredients in a blender or food processor adding olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and seasonings as it blends (We had to do it in 2 parts because our blender did not fit all of the ingredients)
  3. Puree until smooth (it will most likely turn a light pinkish color)
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer
  5. Meanwhile prepare relish
  6. Serve with relish & fresh lemon juice (we also had some fresh chives on hand, which were a nice addition)
  7. Enjoy!

Peaches & Plums Look Promising for Breast Cancer

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2010) — Breast cancer cells — even the most aggressive type — died after treatments with peach and plum extracts in lab tests at Texas AgriLife Research recently, and scientists say the results are deliciously promising. Not only did the cancerous cells keel over, but the normal cells were not harmed in the process. {full article}

Quote of the Day

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” -Confucius

{we heart it}

At times, I definitely catch these words being applicable to myself and others. This quote is a reminder to always keep things simple because there’s nothing to gain by making things unnecessarily complicated!

Here’s a challenge: What are 3 ways you could simplify your life starting today?

Capellini with White Beans, Spinach, Garlic & Oil

I had a such lovely surprise when I got home last night and was perusing the fridge for dinner ingredients – leftovers that were the perfect amount for another dinner for two! I completely forgot about them. I paired the above with a salad with a homemade garlic vinaigrette I made and it was a perfect quick and healthy meal.

I make this dinner recipe so often, especially when I’m low on ingredients and/or time.

Recipe:

  1. Saute fresh or frozen spinach in olive oil and garlic (I use a lot of garlic – usually about 4 cloves at least)
  2. Once spinach is tender/defrosted, I add a can of cannelini beans
  3. Meanwhile, have the pasta cooking so you can add it a minute or two after you add the beans (I usually use capellini)
  4. I like to add some flavor to this with a sprinkling of  the following: sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, & red pepper flakes (I add the salt to the spinach and the rest towards the end)
  5. Enjoy!

Eco Clean

Looking for some more non-toxic cleaning options? Well here is another brand “made in the greenest place on Earth” aka Scandinavia. Eco Clean is a cleaning line made from pure, local Danish ingredients available at quite a reasonable price ($4.49). Another bonus: Eco Clean’s products feature a special foaming option nozzle that minimizes the exposure of vapors, making it particularly useful for people with allergies.  Also, since Eco Clean is made of plant and sugar based surfactants, no toxic fumes are released upon contact with water – great for anyone with lungs! ;)

The full line includes:

  • Eco Clean Dish Soap – Apple and Thyme
  • Eco Clean Kitchen Cleaner – Orange and Rosemary
  • Eco Clean All Purpose Cleaner – Spicy Lavender (currently in my cabinet)
  • Eco Clean Bath Cleaner – Lavender and Mint
  • Eco Clean Toilet Cleaner – Cool Mint
  • Eco Clean Glass Cleaner – White Tea and Sage
  • Eco Clean Hand Wash – Grapefruit/Lemon, Lavender and Wild Fruits (the Lavender is currently in my bathroom)

Eco Clean products are sold at Alice.com and Duane Reade

And Happy Weekend!

{styleandcharm.blogspot.com}

A healthier twist on a bloody mary…
Ingredients:

  • 50ml organic/good quality vodka
  • A celery stick
  • A few green olives
  • A hot pepper of choice (if you love spicy things like I do)
  • Black pepper

For the “gazpacho” mix:

  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 raw red pepper diced
  • 3 slices of cucumber dice
  • 1/2 clove garlic diced
  • a dash or 2 of Tabasco sauce
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt to taste
  • 50ml chilled water

How to:

  1. Blend the gazpacho ingredients in a blender or food processor
  2. Add the gazpacho mix to the vodka in a highball glass with a generous handful of ice cubes
  3. Garnish with the celery, olives, hot pepper and a grind of black pepper

In ode to seeing the friend behind the other hand in this picture this weekend (can’t wait!!), I wanted to post a “healthy” and all natural (of course) bloody mary recipe. This is my twist on a Men’s Health Recipe I found (I switched out the gin for vodka and added some more tasty and healthy ingredients)

Enjoy your weekend!

Better Sunscreens

While the mainstream has everyone covering themselves from head to toe, 24-7 to protect against the dangers of the sun, what about the dangers of what you’re slathering all over your largest organ (your skin)? Not all sunscreens were made equal. The problem with most of the sunscreens on the market is that they contain ingredients that in fact might be causing allergic reactions as well as cellular changes, and hence cancer! Hard to believe, right?

Ideally you would never ever spend excessive amounts of time in the sun and never let yourself get a sunburn. Since, that’s virtually impossible for most, here are some options that do the same job of protecting, but have a much safer profile overall. These mineral-based options deflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them, which is what synthetic chemicals do.

As usual, the natural route is a little pricier and harder to find, but the price tag is definitely worth it and your closest health food store should have at least one or more of these options. It’s summer so definitely enjoy the sun, but try to do it naturally more safely!

California Baby® No Fragrance SPF 30+ Sunscreen Lotion ($19.99)

Desert Essence Age Reversal Mineral Sunscreen in SPF 30 ($15.99)

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28 ($19.19)

And last, but not least I was going to add my much loved Dr. Hausckha option, but I see this very sad news: Dr.Hauschka Skin Care discontinues existing sun care range.

Very sad. I used this one a couple years ago and really loved it, especially for sensitive skin.

Well there are still a bunch of options here, but let me know if anyone wants more or has questions!

SOME GOOD INFO:

(MALIN+GOETZ)

Has anyone tried the peppermint shampoo by (MALIN + GOETZ)? If not, this has to be your next purchase, especially for a summertime shampoo. It is by far, the most minty and refreshing shampoo I have ever used! I just love the way it clarifies my scalp, but still moisturizes my hair.

Homemade Toner

This is my latest cosmetic creation – a toner of just 4 natural ingredients. I was inspired by a toner I saw in Kiehl’s a few months ago. Not to knock Kiehl’s, but it was very pricey and had a lot of questionable ingredients so I didn’t want to buy it.  I figured why not try to make my own version? So I did.. I decided that witch hazel (a great natural astringent) would be the base and then I added some dried burduck root (a blood purifier), chamomile flowers (calming & anti-inflammatory), and hibiscus flowers (high in Vitamin C & naturally provide the pink tint).

I gave my mom a sample of it recently and when she was starting to get low, she said she needed a replacement asap!  She had noticed such a difference in her skin since she started using it. I couldn’t be happier. I’m already thinking of some other blends that I’m going to try making, but for now I’m really loving this one.