Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Organic or Not…Here I Come

While two of my main goals lately have been to start eating healthier and to stop eating so much processed food, I also don’t want to blow my budget.

And when looking at my budget, one of my major expenses is Groceries.

And as if I wasn’t already forking over enough money on groceries, now that we’re trying to get healthier, I’m expected to spend even more by buying only organic products, right?

 

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What does organic even mean?

We’ve all been taught that buying organic foods is important. Buying organic can protect you and your family from any pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, toxins, antibiotics and other chemicals  used during the growing practices.

But what does “organic” really mean?

Although what’s considered “organic” varies from country to country, it’s typically required that In order for a food to be considered organic, it must be produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge and ionizing radiation.

 

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What does being classified as “organic” require?

Let’s look at a few of the requirements necessary for products to be  considered “certified organic.”

In order for animal products to be classified as organic, the animals cannot take antibiotics or growth hormones, must be fed only organic feed, must spend time outdoors and must have enough space to live comfortably.

Multi-ingredient foods, such as packaged and jarred foods, must contain 95% organic ingredients.

 

 

 

 

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But buying organic can be SO expensive.

Thankfully everything that you put into your cart doesn’t necessarily have to be organic.

There are foods that you should always buy “organic” and other foods you can save money on buying the other stuff.

And thankfully someone else has done this homework for you.

Each year the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization,..working with three organizations—the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Pesticide Testing Program, and the Food and Drug Administration…conducts tests to determine what are known as the “Clean Fifteen,” a list of the fifteen fruits and vegetables containing the least traces of pesticides, and the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the twelve fruits and vegetables contain the most. These tests are known as the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

 

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Let’s Go Shopping

Now that we know…thank goodness…that buying organic is not required all across the board…and that someone else has already compiled this list for you, let’s take a look at which items you absolutely should be buying organic and which items you can get by without going organic…so that you can prioritize your shopping and still have the peace of mind that you’re limiting your family’s pesticide exposure…. hopefully saving us all some green when buying our greens.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Saving Money in the Bathroom

  • yyyn 

1.  Anti-Mold Spray and Bathroom Cleaner…Fill empty spray bottle at least half full with vinegar. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water, leaving about a 1″ gap at the top of the bottle. Add 1tsp tea tree essential oil for every 1C vinegar/water solution.

To use, shake vigorously to combine the essential oils throughout the mixture. Generously spray on surfaces-showers, shower doors, walls, and tubs, etc-and do not wipe down.

2.  Carpet Freshener…Fill a shaker about halfway with baking soda. Add ten drops essential oil. Do another layer of baking soda and essential oil. Mix well. Sprinkle over carpet and rugs, and then vacuum.

3.   Daily Shower Cleaner
…Mix together 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 tsp dish soap, and 1 Tbsp dishwasher rinse aid into a 24oz spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle the rest of the way with water.

The hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol work together to help keep mildew at bay, and the soap and rinse aid fight soap scum.

Hydrogen peroxide will break down in sunlight (which is why it’s sold in brown bottles). You can keep this spray in a dark bottle, or just store it in a dark cupboard between uses.

4.  Floor Cleaner… Simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water. Mop.  There’s no need to rinse, and the vinegar smell dissipates once the floors have dried.

This floor cleaner works well on all floor types-sealed wood, tile, laminate and linoleum.

5.  Glass Cleaner...Funnel 1 1/4 cups distilled water, 1/2 cup 80-proof vodka, and 1/4 cup white vinegar into a glass spray bottle. Add 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Replace the nozzle. Shake well.

To use, spray on windows and mirrors, and then wipe with a soft microfiber cloth until dry.

6.  Lavender Linen Spray...Combine 2Tbsp witch hazel or vodka and 10 drops lavender essential oil in a small jar with tight-fitting lid. Place the lid on tightly. Shake well for 15-20 seconds to combine the two.

Open the lid to the jar. Add 6Tbsp water. Replace the lid. Shake again for 15-20 seconds to combine.

Place the funnel in the opening of the spray bottle. Pour the mixture from the jar into the spray bottle. Replace the spray bottle lid.

Spray on your pillows, sheets, and blankets.

 

7.  Room Freshener Spray…Stir together 1Tbsp baking soda and 10 drops essential oil. Put mixture into 16oz spray bottle. Top off with 2C distilled water. Label. Shake before each use.

Scent Combination Ideas…

1. 5 drops Peppermint, 5 drops Wild Orange
2. 5 drops Wild Orange, 3 drops Ginger, 3 drops Ylang Ylang
3.  4 drops Bergamot, 4 drops Lemon, 2 drops Peppermint
4.  4 drops Lemongrass, 3 drops Wild Orange, 2 drops Peppermint

8.  Toilet Bombs…Stir together 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup citric acid. Add 25 drops peppermint essential oil and 10 drops tea tree/melaluca essential oil.

Place vinegar in spray bottle.Spritz baking soda mixture lightly with vinegar. Spritz and stir, then repeat until mixture sticks together when squeezed.

Press mixture firmly into a muffin tin or silicone molds. Allow to dry a few hours. Pop from mold. Store in a quart mason jar.

To use,  toss one toilet bomb into the toilet bowl. Wait 15min. Swish with toilet brush. Flush.

9.  Wood Floor Cleaner and Polish…Combine 1 gallon of hot water, 3/4 cup of olive oil! and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Apply it to your floors with a mop that you’ve wrung out fairly well. Let it dry on its own, without rinsing.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking from Scratch 101

The first breading that we are going to look at is for…

Baking Soda Batter…

Why?

Because most of us have had it sitting in our pantry or fridge for how long without knowing what to do with it?

There is sits, day after day, week after week…sad and lonely.

Yet this big yellow box contains hidden secrets lurking beyond its cardboard…

  • Beauty uses—such as cleaning your face…
  • Health uses—such as calming indigestion, treating heartburn, soothing canker sores, and whitening your teeth.
  • Household uses—such as neutralizing odors, cleaning, and removing tough stains,

And of course the obvious…Baking.

But baking soda can also make a great batter for frying seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.

 

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Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents primarily used in baking. This means that whenever they reacts with an acidic compound—such as molasses, cream of tartarlemon juiceyogurtbuttermilkcocoa, and vinegar—.carbon dioxide is released.

This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…

  • causes the batter to expand
  • adding a lightness to the final fried product
  • enhancing crispness
  • allowing passages for steam to escape
  • keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.

 

 

 

But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?

Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.

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How Do I Use Baking Soda?

Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.

So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.

 

 

 

In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.

Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.

 

 

 

Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.

To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…

Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.

If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.

Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.