Inspiring DIY projects, beauty recipes and advice to green your daily routine.

For Your Kitchen

Buy This Not That: Seventh Generation vs Palmolive Eco Dishwashing Gel

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 0 comments

Buy This Not That: Seventh Generation vs Palmolive Eco Dishwashing Gel

A few years ago I thought I was doing a good thing for the environment when I switched to the Palmolive Eco+ dishwashing gel. The packaging was clean, white and bright and the name was Eco+, presumably for eco-friendly. It’s not advertised as being an environmentally friendly product, I just assumed that it was, until a few months later when I discovered the Good Guide website. The Good Guide is a fantastic resource for finding responsible products because it gives each product a 1 through 10 ranking for its effects on health, environment and society. The site also gives you information on each ingredient, helping you decipher the labels and make a more informed choice. I always look for the health and environment ratings to be very high, especially for products that go down the drain. My thought process is that if it’s not good for my health I don’t want it to go into the water, which ends up in the plants and animals I eat or back into my own water supply. Palmolive Eco+ has a 1.0 rating for health and a 6.2 rating for environment. There are multiple ingredients in the product that are suspected of causing skin, respiratory and reproductive toxicity and one ingredient is suspected of causing cancer. Seventh Generation Dishwashing Gel has a 10 rating for health and an 8.7 rating for environment and there are no warnings for any of the ingredients. It’s also less expensive than Palmolive Eco+ and works equally as well. It doesn’t get much better than going green and saving green. 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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What Can You Do With Apple Cores And Peels? Make Tea!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

What Can You Do With Apple Cores And Peels? Make Tea!

Last week I canned spiced apples using Kim’s recipe. I knew the project would leave me with a pile of cores and peels that I could compost, but trying to be greener and decrease waste I went searching for a way to use the leftovers and settled on a recipe for apple tea from the Finding Joy In My Kitchen blog. The original recipe only calls for peels, but I used the cores and bits of apple that broke off as well. As I prepared the apples for canning I dipped the peels and cores in the same solution as the apples to prevent them from browning and set them aside. My anti-browning solution was 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice. When I was done canning the apples I was tired of being in the kitchen so I threw all the leftovers in a crockpot with water and turned it on low for 8 hours. If you plan to drink the tea immediately or as iced tea, you should add the lemon juice, honey and cinnamon at this point. If you are going to freeze or refrigerate and reheat later, wait until you reheat the tea to add the other ingredients. Before serving, refrigerating or freezing strain tea to remove the apple cores and peels. You can see from the picture that my tea is not pink like the tea from Finding Joy In My Kitchen. That is because my apples were only partially red and using the cores and pieces of apple made the tea cloudy, like cider. It’s still delicious, and since it’s easily scaled, whether you are baking a pie or canning 12 pounds of apples, you can use your “leftovers” to make yourself another treat. Apple Tea 2015-03-15 17:46:58 Making a pie? Canning apples? Use the leftover peels and cores to make this delicious tea. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 3 cups apple peels and cores (tightly packed) 8 cups water 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons honey 2 sticks cinnamon Instructions Put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a large bowl. As you prepare the apples for your recipe, put the peels and cores in the bowl, mixing regularly to coat with lemon juice and prevent browning. Put peels, cores, and water in a crockpot. If you plan to drink immediately or as iced tea, add honey and cinnamon. Heat on low for 8 hours. Strain and drink, or refrigerate for later. If you refrigerate for later use as a hot tea, add the honey and cinnamon when you heat it the liquid up for drinking. Notes Yields 6 cups. 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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Pumpkin Gut Recipes: Pumpkin Puree & Pumpkin Seed Snacks

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

Pumpkin Gut Recipes: Pumpkin Puree & Pumpkin Seed Snacks

Whether you’re carving a pumpkin for Halloween or cleaning out a pumpkin for cooking, you end up with a pile of pumpkin guts. Luckily, these “leftovers” can be used for a few delicious purposes. Here are a few pumpkin gut recipes to help you make the most of your pumpkin. First, you need to separate the seeds from the pumpkin gunk. Once separated, rinse the seeds under cold water to remove the slime and small bits of pumpkin, then lay them out on a towel to dry. While the seeds are drying, steam the pumpkin gunk until it is soft and mushy (about 20 minutes), then puree the gunk in a food processor. The puree can be refrigerated if you plan to use it in the near future, otherwise you should freeze it once it has cooled. The puree will be rich and creamy, perfect for pumpkin soup or pie. Once the seeds are dry they can be flavored and toasted. Some flavor options include: cinnamon and sugar, vinegar and sea salt, curry, wasabi or cayenne pepper. Toss the seeds in your selected seasoning to coat evenly, then put the cooking oil of your choice in a frying pan and heat. I used walnut oil for the slight nutty flavor, olive oil would be a good choice if you prefer a heavier flavor and grapeseed oil would be best if you don’t want the oil to contribute flavor. Once the oil is heated, add the seeds to the pan and toast while constantly shaking the pan. It takes about 5 minutes to toast the seeds; they are done when they are dry and crispy. Frequently I find projects that use the leftovers from another culinary undertaking are inconvenient because I’ve been cooking all night and don’t want to jam in one (or two) more recipes before bed. If you don’t feel like dealing with either project right away put the pumpkin guts in an airtight container and refrigerate them. Mine kept for a week before I finally made puree and toasted the seeds. 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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A Safe And Effective Way To Unclog Drains

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 0 comments

A Safe And Effective Way To Unclog Drains

Clearing a clogged drain without harsh chemicals is easy and inexpensive. First, remove the stopper, if there is one. Then pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar and a 1/8 a cup of lemon juice. Let the mixture fizz away, this may take about 15 minutes. Once the fizzing has stopped, run hot water down the drain for a minute or two, then replace the stopper. No matter what you read on the internet, it is not a good idea to pour boiling water down your drain at this point unless you are positive that you do not have any plastic pipes connected to that drain. Hot water from the tap is always the safest choice. If you have a particularly tough clog, our Dad recommends Organic Citrus Drain & Disposer Cleaner By Zep, available at Home Depot. It must be left to work on the clog for 8 hours, but it’s worth the wait. 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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Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 in For Your Home, Green Clean, Skin & Hair Care | 1 comment

Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

This past week triclosan became a hot topic in the news. Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical commonly used in toothpaste and hand soap. It’s currently under review by the FDA because animal studies have shown it alters hormone regulation, impairs muscle function and it may contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In response to public concern over several controversial chemicals Johnson & Johnson announced it will start changing its formulas to reduce and eliminate many of these chemicals, including triclosan, by 2015. So although you have something to look forward to, you may want to decrease your exposure now. Last week, Kim posted an article about natural toothpastes that is worth reading, if you haven’t already. This week I’ll share my recipe for foaming hand soap with you. I started making foaming hand soap because I couldn’t find refills for my dispenser. The thought of buying a new plastic dispenser every time I need more soap did not sit well with me, especially since the spout uses so much plastic. Then, when I learned that foaming hand soap is mostly water, I just felt like I was being ripped off! To make foaming had soap you need 3 ingredients: Distilled water Liquid castile soap Essential oils to suit your needs and scent preferences (optional) The best consistency for your soap can usually be achieved by mixing distilled water and castile soap in a 4:1 ratio. However, you may have to adjust based on the thickness of your castile soap. If you aren’t getting enough foam, add more water. When I make foaming hand for the kitchen I like to use lavender essential oil because it is a deodorizer, which is a must for someone who chops as much garlic as I do, and a bactericide to help keep me safe when I’m handling food. Tea tree, eucalyptus and lemon essential oils are also good for their antibacterial properties. Lemon and other citrus essential oils like grapefruit and sweet orange are good for cutting grease. In the bathroom, all you need is the soap, so you can add essential oils without worrying about their therapeutic properties, or you can use fragrance oils to mimic the scent of a favorite soap or invent your own scent. Try coconut ginger for something tropical and warm or lemon basil for a bright and uplifting scent. Cranberry orange would be fitting for Thanksgiving and a Holiday Spice soap made with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and clove would be comforting and cozy in the winter. Use essential and fragrance oils sparingly to avoid irritating sensitive skin. As a general rule don’t add more than 6 drops per ounce of liquid. Making your own foaming hand soap is easy, inexpensive and another great way to go green. Let us know what interesting scents you want to try in the comments below. Kitchen Foaming Hand Soap 2015-01-19 15:04:08 A deodorizing, antibacterial hand soap for the kitchen. Add a tablespoon of vegetable glycerin to sooth and moisturize your...

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Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 3 comments

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

A simple mixture of vinegar and water is a common homemade all-purpose cleaner among DIY and green enthusiasts. But it’s too weak for some jobs and smells awful. The solution? Essential oils make cleaning a sweeter smelling task and can improve a cleaner’s antibacterial, degreasing and stain-fighting power. Powders like borax, baking soda and washing soda can also boost the mixture’s cleaning power. The recipe below is adapted slightly from the book Clean, Naturally. So far, I’ve tried it in the kitchen and the bathroom and it works great, but here are a few ways it can be altered to fit different needs: Switch up the essential oils. The eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oils used in the recipe all have antibacterial properties. Peppermint and lemon oils could substituted since they’re antibacterial too. Lemon oil is also acidic so it’ll help remove mineral deposits and grease. If you don’t need the antibacterial qualities, sweet orange oil would smell good and should be acidic enough to add to the solution’s cleaning power. Use baking soda or washing soda as the powder. Baking soda might be more abrasive than borax but it will clean mildew and stains and deodorize the surface. I’ve read that washing soda is good for tough jobs, such as greasy ovens and grills but it is caustic so wear gloves. All-Purpose Cleaner 2014-12-23 20:38:54 This homemade antibacterial all-purpose cleaner is a natural alternative to chemical cleaners. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1 teaspoon borax 2 tablespoons white vinegar 2 cups water (hot) 1/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil 3 drops tea tree essential oil Instructions Mix the ingredients together until dry ingredients dissolve and store in a spray bottle. Use with a damp cloth. Notes Yields 16 ounces. Adapted from Clean, Naturally Adapted from Clean, Naturally 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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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 in Green Clean | 0 comments

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Until a few years ago, I never lived in a house with a dishwasher. This new-to-me appliance has had me on the hunt for a good dishwasher detergent since. You know the kind – one that cleans your dishes completely and leaves them spot-free and without residue. Some of the widely available eco-friendly brands worked fine but recommended using a lot of product – filling both reservoirs – which raised the cost of clean dishes. Lately, I’ve been using this recipe from The Eco-Friendly Family and it’s outstanding. I like that the mixture is phosphate free, natural (Lemi-shine is basically citric acid), and two of the ingredients are food. Plus, all of the ingredients are easy to find in stores. I’ve seen Lemi-Shine at Target and Walmart and my grocery store carries washing soda, baking soda, and sea salt. The recipe below costs about $.08 per load, which is half the cost of my favorite store-bought green option. One word of warning, read the Lemi-Shine label. It’s not recommended for use on painted glassware or mugs, aluminum, non stick cookware and fine china. I don’t wash those items in the dishwasher but if you do, you may want to try the recipe without that ingredient. Dishwasher Detergent 2015-01-16 20:21:50 It's easy to make your own natural, environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent that really works. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1 1/2 cups Lemi-Shine (a 12 ounce bottle) 1 1/2 cups washing soda 1/2 cup baking soda 1/2 cup sea salt Instructions Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Use one tablespoon per load of dishes. Store in a glass or plastic jar. 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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Buy This Not That: Dish Cloths vs Sponge

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Green Clean | 2 comments

Buy This Not That: Dish Cloths vs Sponge

Buying dish cloths rather than sponges is an easy change to make, but it’s something I put off too long. Seriously, I disappointed myself! My mom used dish cloths rather than sponges, so it should have been a quick and painless return to an old practice. But I got hung up on the fact I don’t do my laundry as often as a family of five and what I was going to do with those dirty dish cloths? Let them sit in the laundry basket while the stains set in for a week or more? No, thanks. When I finally got serious and decided to figure this thing out, I found a beautifully simple solution. I took an extra glass mixing bowl, filled it with water and a little dish liquid and put it on the dryer in the laundry area. Dirty dish cloths go there until laundry day. My first set of dish cloths were lovely soft squares of pastel colored cotton, and they required too much elbow grease! I recommend buying dish cloths with a mesh side or loops for scouring instead. The second set of Ritz dish cloths I bought is available on Amazon in a 5 pack for $4.95. Let’s put that price into perspective. A 6 pack of scrubber sponges for $11.50 would last you about 6 months. These 5 dish cloths have held up for 7 months so far, and I expect to get another few months out of them before they have to be replaced. I encourage you to make the switch if you haven’t already. It’s easy, economical and green! Kim’s 2¢ To avoid soaking dish cloths until laundry day, I buy dark colored cloths that won’t show any stains. If you go this route you just have to make sure the cloths are dry before putting them in your hamper. Also, keep an eye out at discount stores for inexpensive organic cotton dish cloths … I recently picked some up for $1 each at Big Lots. Update: 9/12 Since I wrote this post I learned about microplastic pollution and have decided to use natural fiber dish cloths. The Ritz cloths I recommended are 100% cotton on one side but 100% polyester on the other side. I found 3 cotton cloths I would recommend over the Ritz brand. Excello Scrubber Dish Cloths Tidy Dish Cloths Toockies Multi-purpose Scrub Cloths 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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