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Healthy Living

Cleaning Products Made Simple by Moxie Gusto

October 19, 2011 • Paige

Is the area under your kitchen sink cluttered with ten different kinds of cleaning products?  You really don’t need them. Besides, they cost too much and they’re almost all toxic.  Having a “non-toxic” house (or close to it) is pretty easy. Just stop using commercial cleaners.  You already have simple stuff that works just as well.

All you need is hot water, white vinegar, and baking soda or salt. I clean my stove with plain hot water, which takes less effort than it used to with harsh commercial products.  Commercial cleaners irritate my skin and they have a nasty chemical “stink” to them.  Even when I’ve been lazy and there is stuck-on food from last weekend’s cook-a-thon, it all comes off with hot water.  Sometimes I might scour with a little table salt or baking soda, too. The same thing works to clean floors, counters, walls, etc.  Put a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and you have a natural germ killer and deodorizer spray.  There won’t be a vinegar smell when it dries.

  • Glass cleaner: Water and a clean, dry cloth.
    If you’re really old school, water and newspaper.
  • Floors:  A gallon of hot water with a cup of white vinegar.
  • Kitchen & bathroom: baking soda for scouring, vinegar & water spray, plain hot water
  • Toilet: straight white vinegar and a scrub brush
  • Soap residue and water spots: straight white vinegar

Sponges and scrub pads tend to get germy and stinky after a while, so I don’t buy them. I just cut up discarded t-shirts. I have all the cleaning rags I’ll ever need without spending a dime. The best part is that I can toss them in with the laundry.

Stay tuned… Next, I’ll share my super simple laundry secret.

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Laundry Update: No detergent at all!!

September 9, 2011 • Paige

A few years back, I began reducing the amount of laundry soap I use by half, then by half again.  After that, I started making my own, but these days I almost never use any kind of soap or detergent in my laundry.  (WHAT??) 

Yes – I said I don’t use soap or detergent in my laundry.  It sounds crazy but it’s not necessary.  These days, I add a half cup, or sometimes a full cup of white vinegar to the wash load, and that’s it!!

I still can’t conquer static completely, so I use half of a perfume and dye-free dryer sheet if the humidity is low enough for static to be a problem. In Louisiana, most of the time the humidity is high enough that I don’t need even a half a dryer sheet.

Using white vinegar instead of detergent or soap has actually made our clothes very soft.  Our towels are more absorbent than ever.

Doing my laundry this way has had an interesting effect:  I can’t stand the feel of clothes washed with detergent and softeners!  I can feel wax on my fingers after touching clothes washed in commercial products.  The perfumes added to detergents and fabric softeners are over-powering and I much prefer unscented, unwaxed clothes now.

Dry Beans Vs. Canned Beans Conversions

September 4, 2011 • Paige
These are not exact, since beans are different  sizes.

One 15-ounce can of beans equals:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
  • 1/2 cup dry beans, before cooking

1 pound dry beans equals:

  • 2 to 2.5 cups dry beans, before cooking
  • 6 to 7.5 cups beans, after cooking
  • Four to Five 15-ounce cans of beans

1 part dry beans equals

  • 3 parts cooked beans

How to use dry beans:

First, rinse and sort dried beans, discarding any blemished ones or any grit and small stones.

First, Soak:

LONG SOAK: Cover dried beans with three times their volume of water and lets stand in refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. Drain.

QUICK SOAK: In saucepan, cover dried beans with three times their volume of water and bring to boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Drain.

Then, Cook:
In a large saucepan, cover drained, soaked beans with three times their volume of fresh water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, and topping up with water if necessary, for about 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on age and type of bean. Drain.

One-ingredient Banana "Ice Cream"

August 28, 2011 • Paige
Slice up a few ripe bananas (we used 5)
lay the slices on a cookie sheet and freeze them
put the frozen banana slices in a food processor, and process.
it does take time, so be patient.
It will turn into soft-serve ice cream.  I promise!

You can add a glop of peanut butter, a little bit of chocolate, some cinnamon, other types of fruit, or anything you like!

OMG! I’m never buying ice cream from the store again!!!!

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Black Bean Taquitos

August 7, 2011 • Paige

Rinse, soak and cook 1lb dry black beans,
cool and drain.

Preheat oven to 425
Lightly oil a deep sided pan
(I had to use 3 small pans)

Saute a little bit of minced onion and garlic
Throw in about 30 tater tots*, thawed and roughly chopped
Pour in some salsa (a cup or two)
Add chili powder, Tony Chachere’s, black pepper, and basil
Add the beans
Add about 2 to 3 cups of shredded cheese
Turn off heat when it’s all mixed up, it doesn’t need to be hot.

Put about 3 tablespoons of bean mixture in the center of a small flour tortilla and roll up.
Place seam side down in pan and brush the tops lightly with oil
Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes or until as crispy as you like.

Makes almost 40 taquitos

*I was lazy and used pre-made tater tots. Next time I’ll use real potato. You have to shred it, then squeeze out the liquid before frying or the potato is soggy and yucky.  I just didn’t want to work that hard.

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"Sunday Slop"

June 12, 2011 • Paige

This is almost -always- what we have for lunch on Sunday.  I really need a better name for it, though!!

1 box of whole wheat penne pasta
1 to 1 1/2 Cup “Chickpea soup base” (Recipe to follow soon)
real butter – from 1/2 to a whole stick
some shredded cheese
3 cups(ish) of cooked veggies of any type (I use 2 cans of whatever)
salt, pepper, basil, whatever you like

Very difficult instructions:
Boil the pasta. Put the veggies in the colander and drain the pasta over them (efficiency!).
Combine butter, cheese, and chickpea “stuff”, then throw the pasta and veggies in and stir to coat.
Spice up and eat.

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Chickpea "soup base"

May 10, 2011 • Paige
Cook and puree 1 lb of chickpeas/garbanzo beans.

Add to the blender:
olive oil
lots of basil, lemon basil is best!
lemon juice if you didn’t add lemon basil
a little tomato sauce, if you like.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
salt, pepper

It should be the consistency of pudding.

Divide it up into 1 to 1 1/2 cup portions and freeze.  Makes an excellent soup base, or base for “macaroni and cheese”.  I freeze it in zip lock bags, laid flat so they are thin and will thaw quickly.

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Homemade cleaners: simplified and still non-toxic

August 15, 2010 • Paige

About a year ago I made a post about Homemade Cleaners.  It is still a good post,but these days I am all about simplifying my life so I have even fewer cleaners in my cabinet. 

All I really need for general house-cleaning is vinegar and sometimes baking soda.  I still have homemade laundry soap, *commercial dishwasher detergent, and some bleach. That’s it. 

I clean with a disinfectant spray made up of 50/50 white vinegar and water, and a sock-rag.  The sink, stove and bathtub get scoured with baking soda.  I just don’t need anything else. 

* Note Re: commercial dishwasher detergent: I’ve tried the homemade recipes online and none of them have worked for me. You can bet that if I ever find a recipe that does work, you’ll see it here.

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Growing sprouts at home: update

July 28, 2010 • Paige

We have come a long way with sprouting since my last post about it!  Here are some pictures and the basics of how we’re sprouting at home.

You need:

  • a jar with a lid that allows air-flow
  • pantyhose and a rubber band works if you keep it pulled tight, or use a mason jar with some screen from the hardware store.
  • dry lentils (a quarter cup makes a jar full)

Rinse lentils well and soak in plenty of water for 12 hours.

Dump out the water, and rinse the lentils well.
Drain and set the jar on its side at an angle so water can drip out and does not “pool” in the jar.
– you can leave it on the counter. Don’t worry about dark or sunlight – it works no matter what!!

Every 6 – 12 hours, rinse in cool water and dump the water out.
Make sure plenty of air can flow through whatever lid you are using or the sprouts will go rancid, fast.
After your first or second rinse, lentils will look something like this:

This (below) is about a day and a half.  Let them grow for about two to three days before eating

This is about four days:

The same method works for Black Eyed Peas, however after the first day and a half (or so), you will need to dump them in a large bowl of water and pick out / pull off the hulls. It is labor intensive, and most people won’t bother. You also MUST to use a good brand of Black Eyed Peas – not the cheap store brand.

We use a dish rack because we make so much. The one in front is lentils, the other three are black eyed peas, all have been going for about four days when this picture was taken.

A tablespoon of black eyed peas will grow to fill a large mason jar after about four days – see?

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Shampoo alternatives – yes, they work.

July 7, 2010 • Paige

I quit using shampoo and conditioner, and so far I love it!!

I  have very thick hair, and I’ve shampooed and conditioned every single day.  I won’t skip a day unless I’m not leaving the house at all.   That is a LOT of chemical crud I can’t even pronounce being rubbed into my scalp and rinsing over my entire body.

Your hair is greasy the day after shampooing because the natural oils are stripped and so your scalp reacts by pumping out more oil.  Switching to a gentler hair washing routine keeps this from happening.

I tried skipping shampoo and rinsing my hair with an apple cider vinegar solution once or twice a week.  That worked pretty well and stripped off the build-up of crud in my hair but I was still shampooing most days. What I got from that was a glimpse at what my hair is like without all the crud in it – and I decided I’m going for it: no more shampoo!

Here’s what works for me:  
I rinse and gently scrub my scalp with my fingers every day, as before. Just plain water.

Every other day or so: Dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in two cups of water, and pour over my head, rubbing gently into my scalp, and rinse. It feels really nice.

Once per week or so: 
Rinse with a weak apple cider vinegar solution, then follow up with baking soda solution if necessary. Try about a tablespoon of vinegar in two cups of water, and adjust strength to your liking.

That’s it!! My hair is not greasy.  It’s soft and shiny and smells good.  I wasn’t spending much on hair products in the first place but now I’m spending only a few pennies to keep my hair clean.

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