"There is more to life than increasing its speed." -- Mohandas Gandhi
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need forComplicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the Philosophy is kindness." --- Dalai Lama
"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." ---Rumi
"All that we are is a result of all that we have thought" ---Bhudda
"If every household in the US replaced one bottle of shower cleaner containing chlorine bleach with a hydrogen-peroxide-based shower cleaner we could prevent 1 million pounds of chlorine from entering our environment."
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 48 oz petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with a vegetable-based product we could save 96,000 barrels of oil."
"Not by harming life does one become noble.One is termed noble for being gentle to all living things." ---Dhammapada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 85-sheet virgin-fiber facial tissue with recycled ones, we could save 280,000 trees."
"He who knows that all things are his mind, That all with which he meets are friendly, Is ever joyful." ---Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
"If every household in the US replaced just one 25 oz bottle of petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with a plant-based product, we could save 81,000 barrels of oil."
"In whom there dwells no self-deception and no pride, Who is desireless, whose wrath is put away, whose self hath cool become --He is Brahmin." ---Udana
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." ---- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of the decisions on the next seven generations." ---Great Law of the Iroquois
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." ---- Dalai Lama
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ---Mahatma Gandhi

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Archive for the ‘kitchen’ Category.

A Cleaner Fridge and a Healthier Body

This is the time of year we tend to be the most focused on health and wellness, thanks to the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions and the merciful slowing-down of our lives post-holidays. Once all those celebration leftovers are gone and the fridge starts to fill up with nutritious fruits and veggies and whole grains, it’s a good time to think about cleansing your appliance as well as your body.

But do you really want to use conventional spray cleaners with their chemicals and artificial smells—or, worse, use bleach on the surfaces your food lives on day in and day out? And how to get out those nasty spills and stains? (Where do those come from, anyway?)

Good news: an edible item that you probably already have in your fridge is the perfect way to clean up the mess and get rid of any lingering odors: baking soda. Baking soda is a natural abrasive that, by the way, is also great for cleaning out your oven or bathroom.

Cleaning the interior of your refrigerator is not a small project, but with a little bit of organization and focus, you can do it quickly and waste as little electricity (and food) as possible. Here’s how:

Step 1

Pull everything out, quickly, and stack it on the counter.

Step 2

Remove drawers and shelves and close the fridge door while you fill up the sink with warm soapy water and let them soak.

Step 3

Add about ½ cup of baking soda to a bowl or pail of warm water (as hot as you can tolerate; wear gloves if it helps).

Step 4

Use a clean rag to scrub the inside of your fridge with the baking soda mixture, and another clean, dry rag to wipe it down after.

Step 5

Scrub down your shelves and drawers with the water/baking soda mix and then dry them off.

Step 6

Place everything back in much more neatly, and with renewed dedication to keeping your fridge, and your health, in order!

A Natural Way to Disinfect Surfaces (That Still Works!)

Even those of us who prefer to use natural, non-toxic products still occasionally reach for the “real stuff” when we are serious about cleaning. Case in point: when going after germs. No one likes getting sick.

But the truth is, there are natural alternatives to the chemical-based cleaning products that we grew up with and constantly see advertised on T.V. Stores like Whole Foods and even some mainstream groceries now carry alternative product lines that are better for the environment and for your body.

You can take it a step further and make your own disinfectant spray for very little effort and cost.

Certain herbs and natural substances have been used as antiseptics since ancient times. In fact, their natural antiseptic properties helped popularize the use of such herbs as lavender, mint, and thyme. Window boxes full of these fragrant herbs aren’t just a nice way to supplement your home cooking — they can actually freshen the air and keep insects at bay. And essential oils culled from these and other plants have potent antiseptic effects. The trick is to use these essential oils in the right amounts and combinations — otherwise they can be ineffective or, worse, toxic.

Here’s one great antibacterial spray that’s easy to make, smells amazing, and does the job quite nicely:

• 2 1/2 cups water

• 10 drops sweet orange essential oil

• 5 drops lavender essential oil

• 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix them together in a spray bottle, and go! You can use this one for cleaning countertops, bathrooms, and cutting boards. Essential oil sprays should last a long time if stored in a cool, dark place.

Scrubbing Your Oven Without Toxins

Many of us are committed to using environmentally friendly cleaning products 99% of the time… but when it comes to the really nasty chores, we revert to traditional toxic products because we believe they are stronger. Take cleaning the oven. It’s dirty work, and it can seem impossible to get the thing truly clean without resorting to nasty chemical measures.

But do you really want to eat food that’s been cooked in an oven recently scoured with powerful, toxic sprays and scrubs? No bueno.

The Recipe

  • 2 T Sal Suds (A liquid cleaner from Dr. Bronners. Other liquid non-detergent soaps will do, but this one works best.)
  • 2 t Borax (available at any hardware store)
  • 1 T Baking soda
  • Warm water

Mix these things together in a spray bottle, wait until the borax and baking soda are completely dissolved, and you’re good to go. The trick to spraying the oven is to hold the bottle very close to the dirty surface and spray it gently, so that the cleansing solution clings to the walls of your oven and doesn’t end up mostly airborne.

Let the solution sit for a half hour or so, and then put your rubber gloves on and scrub with a scouring pad and a natural scouring powder (ie not chlorinated).

TIP: The best way to clean your oven? Don’t let it get dirty. Putting down a cookie sheet or even a strip of aluminum foil on the lower rack can prevent icky gooey spills from adhering to your oven floor.