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Archive for Healthy Home

March 12th, 2012

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Groovy Green Livin How to clean stainless steel

Stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. I’ve really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. The Teflon pots and pans are being swapped out on an as needed basis. The Teflon cooking utensils have slowly been replaced by their wooden and stainless steel counterparts.  I finally tossed the scratched and scary non-stick cookie sheets and replaced them with stainless steel cookie sheets from ESP. Love them (as much as anyone can love a cookie sheet).

My quest for a few cast iron pans is still on, but for now stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen.  Our family is a family filled with wannabe cooks. I am not Julia Child by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to cook. My husband is an amazing cook and my three boys have expressed an interest in cooking. Let’s just say they can scramble a mean egg and make toast the perfect shade of brown.

Suffice it to say, our stainless steel pots and pans are constantly in use.  As you probably know, stainless steel pots and pans are not non-stick. There are times when things don’t stick, but with my kids cooking the pans are generally covered with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t want to come off.

A little TIP for cooking with stainless steel: heat the pan first and then add cold cooking oil.

How to clean stainless steel pots and pans the green way

For the past umpteen years I’ve been using good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to clean our stainless steel pots and pans. I usually let the pans soak overnight and then in the morning wash with hot, soapy water.  I never wash the pans in the dishwasher-this could damage the stainless steel finish.

Friends of ours were visiting a few weekends ago and we cooked dinner together. One of the pans took a beating and was a challenge to clean even after soaking overnight. We decided to look into a few other ways to clean stainless steel.

  1. Cover the bottom of the pan with vinegar. Sprinkle in some baking soda. My kids love to watch the interaction between the vinegar and baking soda-they will fizz and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse it out and wash.
  2. Heat the pan after use and then pour in hot water. Once the water is hot use a wooden cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and remove excess food.  After you’ve loosened most of the food, dump the water from the pan and wash in warm, soapy water. Don’t put hot stainless steel into cold water in the sink-this could warp the pan.
  3. Fill the dirty pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.
  4. For tough stainless steel stains and burns: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply it to the burned or stained area. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away with sponge or a clean cloth. Wash the pot with warm, soapy water or poor in a cup of vinegar and sprinkle in baking soda. Add a half cup of water, and allow it to simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes. Pour the mixture out and scrub the pot clean.

How do you clean stainless steel pots and pans?

photo credit: Cooks & Kitchens via photopin cc

This week I’ve linked up to The Green Backs Gal and I Thought I Knew Mama.

March 2nd, 2012

Tide, Safe Pots and Pans, Makeup and More

Newspaper

Every week I’m amazed by the variety of headlines that pass by my desk. This week was no different. Here are a few headlines that caught my attention:

  • There was a lot of buzz surrounding opening day of The Lorax movie. The movie opens today-Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
  • There was also great information on how to avoid artificial flavors in your food.
  • We found out that Walmart will be selling Monsanto GMO corn starting this summer.
  • My friend Anna over at Green Talk started a petition asking the FDA and the EU to institute strict guidelines regarding arsenic in rice. Please take a few seconds to sign Anna’s petition.
  • The beauty of Julianne Moore’s gorgeous clean air gardens (which happen to be right in New York City) helped to ground me and put some perspective on the larger issues facing us these days.

A Few Recipes to Try

Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green shared an awesome recipe for an  Almond Cup Smoothie. Amy from The Healthy Apple has a fantastic recipe for Arugula Salad with Moroccan Mint Brussels Sprouts ,which is dairy and gluten free. Anything with brussels sprouts catches my attention.

How Safe are Your Pots and Pans?

My ongoing search for non-toxic pots and pans continues.  There are many different types of cookware to choose from, however not all pots and pans are created equal. Some materials used to make pots and pans shouldn’t come in contact with food.  If you are trying to create a greener and cleaner kitchen there are a few types of cookware that should be avoided. Also pay close attention to the safety of your cooking utensils. Continue reading HERE.

Tell Tide to Take the Cancer Causing Chemicals Out of Their Detergent

Last I checked we had 1,882 signatures on our petition asking Tide to remove 1,4-dioxane (a known cancer-causing chemical) out of its detergent! That’s amazing.Thanks to everyone who has taken a few seconds and added their name to the list. If you would like to sign the PETITION please click HERE.

Pin of the Week

Pinterest continues to be my new playground. I’m thrilled to see so many of you have joined me. This week my favorite pin led me to this article on 7 Ways to Clean with Castile Soap. Dr. Bronner’s has been a staple in our house for a long time.

Giveaway

If you’re interested in testing out mineral makeup, don’t forget to enter the great giveaway from Style Essentials. The products are non-toxic, green and without harmful chemicals.

Are you heading to see The Lorax this weekend? Let me know what you think. Have a groovy green weekend!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from NW Newsflash/Flickr]

*There is an affiliate link in this post. Anything purchased through it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

February 17th, 2012

Green Workouts, Colds and Tide Oh My!

Green grass and tulips

Happy Friday, my groovy green friends! Can you tell I’m already hoping for spring? This week was another busy one at Groovy Green Livin. Here are a few highlights:

Green Your Workout

Did you ever stop to think how your workout could have an impact on the environment? Well, it can. Thankfully there are several ways we can lessen our eco-impact, while keeping our workout routine intact. Click HERE to read more.

How to Treat a Cold the Natural Way

Colds and flu run rampant this time of year. Noses are dripping, throats are hurting and coughs and sneezes can be heard in homes around the world. Thankfully there are a few simple tips that will ease your symptoms and help strengthen your immune system the natural way. Click HERE to read more.

Mom Talk Radio Show

I had the honor of joining host Maria Bailey on her Mom Talk Radio show. During the show we talked about how to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day. We also hit some of my favorite topics: how to live a green and a non-toxic life.  Click HERE to listen to the February 12, 2012 show. My piece is called ‘Moms Roundtable” and can be found near the end of the segment.

Tide: Get Cancer-Causing Chemicals Out of Laundry Detergent

If you haven’t heard, it turns out that Tide Free & Gentle® isn’t so gentle. A report recently released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent. 1,4-dioxane doesn’t appear on the product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it’s even there.

With the help of Healthy Child Healthy World and  Women’s Voices for the Earth I put together a petition asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!

Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green and Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green both shared posts on this petition. Jenn Savedge from The Green Parent just shared a post on this too. Thank you Stephanie, Jenn and Lisa!

Last count we had over 600 signatures. If you haven’t already done so, please join in and SIGN THE PETITION. Better yet, sign the petition and then share it with your friends!

Pin of the week on Pinterest

This pin got a lot of action. It received likes and repins, too many to count. It just confirms my suspicion that we all have a new obsession with coconut oil. The pin originated from Delicious Obsessions and is called “52 Uses for Coconut Oil-The Simple, The Strange, and The Downright Odd!

This coming is a school vacation week for us so I will be spending more time with my family and writing less. I hope to get a few posts out, but we shall see!

Have a groovy green weekend. Do you have President’s Day off?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]

 

February 7th, 2012

Tell Tide to Remove a Cancer Causing Chemical from its Detergent

 

Laundry Detergent

 

Today’s the day. It’s time to join forces with  Women’s Voices for the Earth, MomsRising and Healthy Child Healthy World, to demand that Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) strip a harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®.

Like many moms, my commitment to a greener lifestyle was strengthened after having children. I’m careful about what we eat, and am selective about products we use to keep our home clean.

It probably goes without saying that in a house full of boys, we do a lot of laundry. I know that some cleaning products are marketed as safe and healthy, but in truth, what’s in the bottle can hurt you.

For example, it turns out that Tide Free & Gentle® isn’t so gentle. A report recently released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent. 1,4-dioxane doesn’t appear on the product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it’s even there.

This is especially concerning, because Tide Free & Gentle® is marketed to moms as a healthier choice for their children’s laundry. Infants and children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures, because their immune, neurological, and hormone systems are still developing.

1,4-dioxane is a known cancer-causing chemical, and has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer.

Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide®) already have experience stripping 1,4 dioxane out of its products; in 2010, the company reformulated its Herbal Essences® shampoo to eliminate 1,4-dioxane. Unfortunately, Dirty Secrets test results show that the company has not chosen to make the same effort for its laundry detergent.

The Tide website says: Safety: The Most Important Ingredient in Tide®. If that’s true, then 1,4-dioxane should never have been in the product in the first place.

Please Sign the Petition

With the help of Healthy Child Healthy World, MomsRising and  Women’s Voices for the Earth I put together a petition asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!

Please join me by signing the petition asking Procter & Gamble to take immediate action to remove 1,4-dioxane from Tide Free & Gentle® and any other Procter & Gamble products.

Together we can make change happen.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Pixel Drip/Flickr

January 30th, 2012

Book Giveaway! Take a Deep Breath: Clear the Air for the Health of Your Child

Baby sleeping 2

Around 11 p.m. most nights I begin my nightly ritual. This routine has been in place since my three boys were born. I methodically go from one bedroom to the next listening for the same sound. Sometimes I hear it right away and other times it takes a few seconds, but I don’t leave until the sound I’m waiting for is confirmed: their breath. Then I’m able to sleep.

When my kids were infants there were times when their breath sounded different or strange. There were nights when they would snore or hold their breath for what felt like an eternity.

Then came asthma. When one of my son’s was around 2 years old we started what became our annual trip to the hospital for severe breathing problems related to asthma. Watching him wheeze and struggle for a single breath is a vision that’s hard to shake. And I know I’m not alone. There are so many children and families afflicted with breathing issues.

Review and Giveaway

Take a Deep BreathThere’s a new resource available for both new and veteran parents that would have been incredibly helpful when my children were infants: Take a Deep Breath: Clear the Air for the Health of Your Child, a book written by Dr. Nina Shapiro.

Read my review of the book over at Moms Clean Air Force. Thanks to Dr. Shapiro, two lucky winners will receive their own copy of Take a Deep Breath. To enter head on over to Moms Clean Air Force and join the force then leave a comment under my review on the Moms Clean Air Force site letting us know that you joined. It’s that simple!

Disclosure: Thank you to Dr. Nina Shapiro for a complimentary copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed in the review are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Seth Baur/Flickr]

January 26th, 2012

Top 10 Houseplants that Clean the Air

Groovy Green Livin Houseplants

Looking for a simple way to improve your indoor air quality? House plants are the answer.  So often we forget that the environment has the natural ability to clean itself. Many common houseplants act as an air filter, removing toxins from the air we breathe. They are known to produce oxygen from CO2 and they absorb toxins including benzene (gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, and rubber), formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene (printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives).

Peace Lily

Peace Lily

A few years back NASA scientists studied nineteen different plants over a two year span to see which did the best job cleaning the air. They found that some house plants were better than others. The NASA studies recommend that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house. The more they grow the better job they’ll do for you.

My slightly brown thumb has been working hard to keep 7 indoor plants alive for a few years. I wish I could tell you that I always remember to water them and that I talk to them when I’m bored, but I don’t. My 7 plants are low maintenance and thriving.

If you’re like me and your thumb isn’t the slightest bit green,  it’s still worth investing in a few house plants to help remove the toxins from your indoor air. Take this list with you and add a few plants to the spaces you spend the most time indoors- your office and/or your home. When it’s time to buy a gift for your children’s caregivers, a plant makes the perfect present.

Top 10 Houseplants that Clean the Air from the NASA Studies

  1. Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
  2. Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum
  3. English Ivy Hedera Helix
  4. Gerbera Daisy Gerbera Jamesonii
  5. Janet Craig – Dracaena “Janet Craig”
  6. Marginata -Dracaena Marginata
  7. Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena Massangeana
  8. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Sansevieria Laurentii
  9. Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium
  10. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum

I have a peace lily and I’ll be investing in a few more plants from the list. Do you have indoor houseplants?

[Day lily photo used under Creative Commons from Koshy Koshy/Flickr]

November 21st, 2011

How to Dispose of Toxic Cleaning Supplies

green cleaning supplies

 

Last week we found out that many popular household cleaners have hidden toxic chemicals. Tide Free & Gentle, Simple Green Naturals, Glade Touch Odor, Clorox Clean Up, Bounce Free & Sensitive and multiple air fresheners made the list of products tested and were found to have carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors and allergens.

We own them, now know they’re toxic and want to get rid of them. What do we do?

After hearing about the report, many Groovy Green Livin readers contacted me letting me know that they were switching to  green,  non-toxic cleaners and some were even attempting to make their own (the greenest option out there!). Now the question becomes what to do with all the old, toxic cleaners taking up unwanted space in our cupboards and cabinets.

Here’s what NOT to do with toxic cleaners:

  • DON’T flush them. Flushing toxins down your toilet could potentially contaminate waterways.
  • DON’T pour them down the drain. These toxins could end up polluting a river, lake or stream.
  • DON’T dump them in your yard. They will end up poisoning plants, animals and you.
  • DON’T throw them away in the trash or recycle bin. It’s actually illegal to throw hazardous waste in with your trash. They will end up in a landfill where they leak into the soil and air.
  • DON’T burn them. This could cause poisonous fumes, a dangerous explosion and air pollution.

Here are a few tips to help you safely dispose of  toxic cleaning supplies:

  • Treat cleaning supplies as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is any product that is poisonous or toxic, can catch on fire or could mix with other chemicals and cause an explosion or dangerous reaction.
  • Check in with Earth911.com for disposal rules in your area. Just type in your zip and your options will appear. I typed in “household cleaners” and my zip code. A number of  hazardous waste collection programs came up.
  • Many cities and towns have regular collection days or local collection sites that can take the toxics off your hands and dispose of them properly. Contact your local Department of Public Works for more options.

If you want to know what’s in your cleaning supplies make your own!

My favorite ingredients for DIY cleaners are:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Tea tree oil
  • Castile soap

What are some of your favorite DIY home cleaner recipes?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Terrance S. Jones/Flickr]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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