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Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Green Clean | 1 comment

Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Over-sprayed cooking spray. Dinner boiled over. Hot oil that popped out of a pan. Bits of ingredients that didn’t make the pot. These minor mishaps happen to all of us and they add up. The worst part? The evidence is visible to anyone who walks in our house. On and off for months, I’ve been trying to remove the baked-on remnants of meals past from my stove top. I dreamed of once again having a completely white stove. Regardless of how desperately I scrubbed though, my mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and oils were as ineffective as store-bought cleaners specially made for the job. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a magical mixture of two pantry staples that my problem was solved. It’s not “all-natural” or organic, but it is easy, effective and FDA-approved. I’d rather wash these two ingredients down the drain than toxic cleaning solutions.  What solution succeeded where all others failed? … drum roll please  … Baking soda and Coke. Those two inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients work magic on greasy stove tops. For an unbelievably effective homemade stove top cleaner, all you need to do is mix those two ingredients into a paste and let the paste sit on your stove top for 10 minutes. Then, use a little elbow grease and a damp cloth to rub away any leftover residue. Like magic, your stove top will look new again.  Warning: this recipe is not recommended for glass stove tops or anyone who wants to continue enjoying Coke without thinking: “If it destroys grease that easily, what’s it doing to my insides?”  Homemade Stove Top Cleaner 2014-12-26 10:28:06 Two pantry staples make an unbelievably effective stove top cleaner. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients Baking soda Coke Instructions Pour Coke into a bowl and mix in baking soda until you have a paste. Spread the paste onto the dirty areas of your stove top and let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the paste off the stove using a damp cloth. Wipe the stove top with a clean damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Top 10 Posts And Top 3 Green Products In 2014

Posted by on Jan 1, 2015 in Lifestyle | 2 comments

Top 10 Posts And Top 3 Green Products In 2014

2014 was an incredible year for A Green Routine thanks to you, our awesome readers who share your experiences, give us new challenges to solve, and test some our latest creations to tell us if they’re blog worthy. Although our pace of posts slowed a bit this year as we both had some big career and life changes that soaked up the free time we typically spend on this blog, it was rewarding for us to have such highly engaged readers with whom we could share. Before we start to fill the blank slate that is 2015, we took a look back at your favorite posts and green products in 2014. In case you missed any of these, here are our top 10 posts and top 3 green products for 2014: TOP POSTS 2014 #10 Homemade Comfrey Salve Recipe  A favorite homemade remedy for our family and friends with osteoarthritis and runner’s knee. #9 How To Clean Makeup Brushes Naturally So simple, so sanitary. #8 What To Do Peach Peels & Pits? Make Peach Jelly! Zero waste and a tasty treat. Save this recipe for next summer! #7 Switching To An All Natural Shampoo Haven’t gone no-poo yet? Try it. Your hair will love you. #6 Luxurious, Rejuvenating Homemade Lotion Oatmeal, milk and honey. It sounds almost good enough to eat.   #5  DIY Deodorizing Disks For Trash Cans  An easy, inexpensive fix for smelly trash cans and diaper pails. #4 The Borax Debate: Is It Safe? Is It Green? Natural does not always mean safe. Be selective and careful when using borax.   #3 Rice Water Toner Recipe Two simple ingredients tighten and tone your skin. #2 Jewelweed: Natural Home Remedy For Poison Ivy  If you suffer from poison ivy in the summer and are looking for a natural treatment, you’re not alone.  #1 Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax  I never ever thought I’d make my own laundry detergent, but it works.     TOP GREEN PRODUCTS 2014 Below are the most popular products purchased from our Amazon store to support your eco-friendly lifestyles.  #3 DIY Beauty Essentials These bamboo spoons and a wide range of essential oils are a great start to your all-natural beauty routine.  <br /> #2 Reusable Produce Bags These produce and bulk item bags should almost eliminate your need to take home any plastic bags from the grocery store. Simple Ecology’s bags were the most popular in our store this year. <br /> #1 Foaming Soap Dispensers It seems a lot of readers were inspired to make their own hand soap this year! <br /> Thank you for a great 2014 and happy new year! Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Shop Your Conscious This Holiday Season – Green Gift Ideas

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

Shop Your Conscious This Holiday Season – Green Gift Ideas

‘Tis the season for gift giving … and maybe doing a little shopping for ourselves too! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite eco-conscious products and retail shops to help you find the perfect gifts. Shop Your Conscious With Rodale’s Rodale’s has curated their shop with nurture (how it makes you feel), nature (how it’s made) and neighborhood (where it comes from) in mind. The result is an eco-conscious shopper’s delight. Start by browsing their gifts section by category or price or checking out the holiday decor for fun ornaments and party supplies. For women, the jewelry shop has some great pieces, many made with recycled or vintage materials, and the apparel section has a wide range of clothes made with natural and organic fibers. Need to buy something for a foodie, how about a butter churn? OK, maybe that one’s a little over the top but browse around and see what you can find. Upcycled Toys for Girls and Boys We’ve listed Green Toys in past holiday gift guides and they continue to be a huge hit with the little ones so here we go again! From tea sets to fire trucks, Green Toys makes colorful, high-quality toys from post-consumer recycled plastic milk jugs. They’re all manufactured ;in the U.S. to minimize emissions from shipping too. Parents will love that the toys are dishwasher safe so they’re easy to clean. Go Glass We all have at least one person on our list whose must-have accessory is a water bottle. For that special someone who’s always willing to let you snag a sip, pick out a fashion-friendly Lifefactory water bottle in their favorite color. The glass bottle leaves liquids tasting great while the silicone sleeve ensures the bottle can travel safely without breaking. I’ve been using mine for a few months now and love it. If your water bottle toting bestie has a baby, why not get matching baby bottles too? For those who might need a more rugged water bottle, we also love Sigg drinking bottles made of eco-friendly, light weight aluminum and certified as free of harmful chemicals. Their eye-catching designs make the bottles really stand out. Slay Power Vampires And Keep Batteries From Burning Out Whether you’re buying for an eco-conscious friend interested in saving energy or a gadget geek who wants their devices’ batteries to last longer, Velvetwire’s Powerslayer may be the perfect gift. Phones, tablets and other devices continue to suck in electricity as long as they’re plugged in. This means the batteries are overcharging regularly – especially when we charge devices overnight – which gradually ruins the battery life. Powerslayer helps by powering off when the device is fully charged so the battery lasts longer and no electricity is wasted. For more information on Powerslayer, read our review. Manly Pampering Delight the gentleman in your life with a stylish shaving set that will turn a mundane task into a pleasurable experience. Beaver WoodWright, located in western Pennsylvania, crafts handmade shaving sets and soaps. This set will last for years and eliminate the need for the wasteful plastic shaving handles that are constantly being thrown away. Choose from the products in the Beaver WoodWright shop or custom order the perfect set. Even if your guy isn’t ready to replace his disposable razors, this Herban Lifestyle...

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How to Unplug at Home

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

How to Unplug at Home

The following is a guest post by Tali Wee of Zillow. In this fast-paced world driven by technology, individuals find it challenging to personally communicate in-person with family and friends. Moreover, the abundance of household gadgets keeps families engaged in a digital space, separating them from the natural environment. Revive and refresh digitally-dependent households by completing a technology detox. This includes removing or restricting the overload of abundant technology and adopting environmentally-friendly home improvements. Green updates create a relaxing ambiance while reducing the family’s carbon footprint. Moreover, a home with eco-friendly features is appealing to Pittsburgh homebuyers when it comes time to sell. Here are three ways to unplug at home. 1. Install Solar Panels Solar panels convert light from the sun into usable electricity for the household. This clean energy source is environmentally friendly and reduces electricity expenses for homeowners. Solar panels are available from local home improvement retailers. They come in different styles and sizes for roof or backyard installation. Install using a do-it-yourself method or through a contractor. Be sure to check permits with the local community zoning board before installation. 2. Update the Décor Remove multiple TVs throughout the house, leaving one communal TV in the living room. Add shelving to cleared spaces and fill with books and board games to encourage your family to read and play games together. Avoid technological dependence at meal times by adding a decorative bowl to hold phones, iPads and cords in the kitchen or entryway. Finish off the décor update by introducing natural elements into the home such as wood, glass and plant life. Freshen up the kitchen with a fresh vase of flowers and give the living room a chic look by adding new plants and decorative wooden ornaments. 3. Plan Screen Time in Advance Avoid the mindless reach for the phone or TV remote after dinner by planning screen time in advance. Be intentional about family time shared engaging in digital entertainment. At the start of the week, choose programming the family enjoys watching together. Monitor the amount of internet and social media usage by choosing an internet router with timing controls. Shut off access throughout late afternoon and evening to ensure your family engages on a personal level while awake and gets quality sleep at night. Avoid technology dependence and become more environmentally-conscious by considering these three suggestions to unplug at home. Other tips to detox from technology and implement green changes at home include: replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, avoiding the garbage disposal by creating a backyard compost heap, saving water by installing low-flow showerheads and reducing particle pollution by replacing wood-burning fireplaces with gas or energy-efficient alternatives. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Wash Last Season Veggies Immediately

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Wash Last Season Veggies Immediately

The cool crisp weather is a welcome sign of fall, but it also encourages the growth of bacteria and mold in the fields. At this time of year your farmers are probably starting to loose some of their crops to disease and blight, while the fruit and veggies being picked are more likely to have bacteria an mold spores on them. Earlier this year my farmers warned their CSA members that the produce would be minimally cleaned because the time needed to throughly clean all the veggies directly affected their bottom line. As a small farm with just a few employees, they needed  as much time in the fields as they could have to grow and pick the produce and tend the chickens. To ensure your farm fresh produce doesn’t rot prematurely wash and dry it as soon you bring it home from the farmer’s market. A spray of vegetable wash, vinegar or lemon juice will help cleanse the produce more thoroughly. If you are looking for specific tips check out our recent articles on washing your leafy greens and cleaning your squash for storage. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Storing Winter Squash

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Storing Winter Squash

The growing season’s coming to an end in many parts of the country but with the right techniques you can store some of your squash and enjoy it for weeks and months to come. Check the squash to make sure there are no bruises or blemishes and the stem is at least two inches long. Wash the squash to remove dirt and the blossom if it’s still attached. Then, let the squash dry completely. Put the squash in a place with good circulation and where the temperature be 75°-80° F for 10 days. If you’re going to store acorn squash, you can skip this step as it does not cure. Store the squash in a cool place (about 50° F) with good circulation and low humidity. Most winter squash will last 3 to 6 months. Acorn and spaghetti squash will only last about 4 weeks. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Eat Your (Leafy) Greens

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Eat Your (Leafy) Greens

Leafy greens are the bookends of every CSA. They are cold weather crops, available from early spring through the beginning of summer and from the end of summer well into the fall. I love my greens but they are also one of the vegetables I’m most likely to waste because washing and drying them is time consuming. However, I’ve found a few tools and a method that’s been working well for me this year. The day I bring my CSA home I immediately prep the greens. If it’s a head of lettuce I grab a lettuce knife and cut off the stump. Using a lettuce knife is key, it prevents the oxidation and browning caused by metal knives with sharp blades. Next, I separate the leaves, spray them with a vegetable wash and put them in the outer bowl of the salad spinner. I fill the bowl with cold water and gently agitate and swirl the leaves to remove dirt and occasionally a bug that’s hitchhiked to the city. Then, I strain the leaves by pouring the contents of the bowl into the salad spinner basket. If the leaves are still dirty I will repeat the step above, otherwise I rinse them under cold water.   Then, I put the basket in the outer bowl and spin until the leaves are fairly dry. To store the greens, I pour the water out of the bowl and place the whole salad spinner in the refrigerator. The leaves will continue to to drip dry, leaving a small pool of water in the bowl. The moisture will help keep them fresh and they will be ready for you to use when it’s time to make a meal. Keeping them in the salad spinner also allows air to circulate, which has advantage over a bag which tends to crush wet leaves together and encourage rot. Since I no longer have to tediously dry each leaf before a meal, I’m more likely to eat my greens. But when I can’t finish them all myself, Sugar’s there anxiously waiting for the leftovers. And she wants to encourage all of you who don’t have a furry vegetarian companion to donate extra greens to your local animal rescue for the bunnies, guinea pigs and hamsters waiting on their furever homes! Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Lemon Cucumbers

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Lemon Cucumbers

When you think about colorful vegetables, cucumbers don’t usually come to mind. But I’ve gotten green, white and, now, yellow ones in my CSA share this year. Lemon cucumbers are round, yellow cucumbers with a slightly milder flavor than a regular green cucumber. Since the yellow skin is tender, they’re the perfect quick fix for adding color to a salad. Just wash and slice. Or you can quickly pickle cucumbers with salt, vinegar and sugar. These Sweet and Sour Cucumbers are ready in less than a half hour. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Tomato Recipes and Canning Tips

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Tomato Recipes and Canning Tips

Game over, grocery store tomatoes. We’ll see you in the fall. Local tomatoes are in season and there’s nothing like them. This year, my CSA delivered heirloom tomatoes in more colors than a pack of Crayolas and all sizes. Some were perfect for popping like candy and others for sandwiches and cooking. One of the best thing about tomatoes is you don’t need to do much to make a great tasting dish. Some great tomato recipes are: Classic BLT – Between my meat and vegetable CSAs, I had the B, the L and the T covered. I just needed to buy bread. While it’s certainly not local to New Hampshire, you can’t go wrong by adding avocado. Bruschetta – The tomatoes are the star in this appetizer or side dish. And it’s so simple to make, especially if you skip peeling the tomatoes like I do. I also added a little bit of mozzarella to the bruschetta. Ratatouille – One of our readers commented on our eggplant post and suggested making ratatouille, which I did the other night. It was a great way to use the wide range of seasonal veggies I had in the fridge after a late night at work when I all I wanted something simple, light and healthy before bed. Tomatoes and Hummus – Cherry tomatoes dipped in red pepper hummus have become a staple in my lunches this summer. I usually bring cucumbers or carrots too for variety. In addition to the CSA tomatoes, I bought a half bushel (about 26 pounds) of tomatoes from a local farm for canning. Since we go through a jar of salsa nearly every week at my house, this year, I wanted to make my own. I also liked the idea of making salsa because I wouldn’t need to peel every tomato. Last year, when I got a half bushel of peaches, I experienced how tedious it was to peel every single one and did not want to do that with tomatoes. (That said, the canned peaches were delicious and I will be making them again this week.) With the tomatoes, I made two types of salsa: Ball’s zesty salsa and fresh salsa. I still had quite a few tomatoes left and probably could have made another batch, but I didn’t feel like chopping anymore. So we’re eating them … after a week, we still have a handful left but I’m not complaining. If you want to can tomatoes, there are some things to consider: Get a recipe from a  trusted source and follow it. Tomatoes are lower in acid than many fruits that are typically canned. That means that preserving tomatoes safely requires adding the right amount of acid (often in the form of lemon juice or vinegar) to the right amount of tomatoes and other foods in recipe. Buy canning tomatoes in bulk. Many farms sell canning tomatoes – ones with few seeds – in large quantities. And it pays to buy in bulk. The half bushel I bought was only $15, but the individual tomatoes were $2.50 per pound. It’ll cost a small fortune if you buy loose tomatoes to make big batches of sauces or salsas. The tomatoes may need to ripen. If you have a specific day set aside for your canning project, you may need to buy the tomatoes a few days in advance to allow them to ripen....

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Eco Fashion at Style Week Pittsburgh

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

Eco Fashion at Style Week Pittsburgh

Going green isn’t easy and for many reasons fashion is one part of my life where I haven’t made much progress. For one, defining eco fashion is challenging. When you see a fashion item labelled as eco-friendly it could mean recycled materials, reused materials, organic materials, a sustainable manufacturing processes, a local- or hand-made product, the ethical treatment of workers or all of the above. To make it easy the definition of eco fashion I’m shopping with is that an item can meet any one of the above conditions. It’s also been difficult to find eco-friendly fashion in a variety of styles. Until recently I’ve only been able to find eco-friendly clothing lines offering boho, hippie, hiker or yoga style clothing. Other issues I often have is size. I’m on the smaller side at 5’2″ with a petite frame and many designers don’t make clothes in my size. Luckily, the landscape of eco fashion is changing quickly, both locally and online, thanks to small business owners who are trying to “do the right thing” and a greater acceptance of and desire for eco fashion. Last week Style Week Pittsburgh hosted many events around Pittsburgh, but the Saturday afternoon boutique crawl in Lawrenceville stood out as the “greenest” so decided to go exploring here’s some of the gems I discovered. Style Truck Locate the Style Truck via Twitter or Facebook. Style Truck is a mobile boutique carrying fair-trade and eco fashions to neighborhoods in and around Pittsburgh. Owner Jackee Ging traveled frequently for her previous job and that experience informs her selection. Style Truck offers versatile fashions, that can be dressed-up or down, in materials that pack well so you can travel light and don’t have to iron. The collections found in the Style Truck mostly come from small companies with ethical manufacturing processes because Julie does not want to support the horrific working conditions that lead to accidents like the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh last year. This past weekend the Style Truck was full of colorful tops, beautifully patterned dresses and trendy items like soft pants. I bought an Escapada Living color block top for $36 (on sale with a 10% Style Week discount). This is more than I would normally spend for a top but it’s something I can wear to work or on a weekend, and supporting a small business owner selling fashion with a conscience is a major bonus. Phoenix 3627 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201 My next stop was Phoenix, an upscale consignment boutique. Buying on consignments fits into my definition of eco fashion because items are given a second life instead of being sent to a landfill. This was my first time at Pheonix and I was impressed by the selection, organization and quality of the clothing. I was able to find items in my size easily and nothing I took off the rack to try on had any defects. The prices were very good too. They had a “dollar” rack with items for $4, $6 and $8, anything 1 month old was 25% off and 2 month old items were 50% off. I have expensive tastes and while working at a high end retailer in high school and college I learned to pick out a quality clothing in an instant. This is a consignment shopper’s super power and leads me to great finds. At Pheonix I bought a designer dress which as luck would have it, was 2 months old so I only...

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