The Joy of Green Cleaning


Green Cleaning CoachI have a dream…that one day my home will be completely free of harsh chemicals! I was raised to use these toxic chemicals. My mother says “If you’re not using Clorox, it’s not clean!”. My mother even uses it in her dish water especially when someone gets sick in the home. I thought this was how it was done! (Sorry Mom!) Now I cringe when I smell bleach. Lysol All Purpose Cleaner gives me a raging headache.

What is my “why” when it comes to green cleaning? I didn’t actually start to make green, non-toxic changes until I became pregnant and started thinking about my daughter’s health. I thought about how she would be crawling on the floors absorbing toxic chemicals through her skin and mouth. They would be present on her clothes and inhaling these chemicals that kill brain cells, cause cancer, and irritate your skin. If you have kids you know that their skin is very sensitive and their guts are very permeable and these chemicals would quickly get in to her blood stream and wreck havoc. Not only did I think about the cleaners but also the baby products like shampoos and lotions. Another reason

why, is that we over do it when it comes to anti-bacterial products. We have been raised to think that killing all bacteria is good for us…WRONG. Most people don’t realize that there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. Antibacterial cleaners kill everything leaving the strongest bacterias to survive and get stronger. This results in the creation of super bacteria that become resistant to the antibacterial agents you use to kill them. You may actually be doing more harm to yourself by using these harsh chemicals to kill them then what the bad bacteria you are trying to kill may do to you.

So all this non-toxic talk brings me to my latest blog post which is really a book review of The Joy of Green Cleaning. 🙂 I absolutely love this recipe book! It’s a great handy resource book for green cleaning.  It was written by Leslie Reichert aka Green Cleaning Coach whose mission is to teach and encourage others in the art of home-keeping and green cleaning. In her book, Leslie explains what is the big deal about greening your cleaning. She says that most regular cleaning can be done without any toxic chemicals. It is true that you can clean with non-toxic items already in your pantry such as baking soda, vinegar, sea salt, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide.

My Homemade Green Cleaners

My Homemade Green Cleaners

If you’re not in to mixing your own cleaners you can buy cleaners from green companies but you will be paying more than you normally would on cleaners. To me it’s worth it. It really is just a matter of paying for time and convenience. Make it yourself and you will be saving a lot of money and it only takes a little time to create them. With the help of this book, you won’t struggle to find recipes for green cleaners.

I like simplicity. I went with the easiest cleaner recipes for my home. Minimal ingredients and less time to make them is my style. I first tried Leslie’s recipe for an All Purpose Liquid Cleaner. If you are not a fan of vinegar this is the perfect cleaner to try since it is sans vinegar. It includes 4 ingredients club soda, baking soda, dish soap, and any essential oil you like…I used tea tree oil for disinfecting power. This cleaner did really well in the kitchen/bathrooms but if you needed it to be heavy duty you can add borax.

I also tried the Daily Counter Cleanser which does include vinegar, water, and essential oils. If you would like to use vinegar but want to minimize the scent you can fill a container with orange, lemon, or lime peels (I used all 3) and pour in white vinegar and let it sit for at least 2 weeks. It will take on the citrus scent and you can use it to create various cleaners.

One of my favorite recipes in the book was the Baking Soda Scrubbing Paste which can be used for difficult areas during cleaning. I also tried the Green Powder Scrub and I keep it in a shaker container with a lid. I use this scrub for tubs and sinks. This book is loaded with recipes for virtually everything you need to clean in your life. You will find, metal, bathroom, floor, furniture, laundry, and nursery cleaner recipes. There was even a recipe for “Ugg” Boot Deodorizer!

Now, the only downside I have found when it comes to using a green cleaner for your toilets is that you will need to clean them more often in order to avoid the nasty little ring in the toilet that can show up. Mid-week I like to add some vinegar to the toilet bowl and let it sit for a bit then do a quick swipe with the toilet brush. Next I plan to make the Carpet Spot Wipes. My daughter stains the floor with all sorts of foods and it would be nice to have them on hand for spots and spills. Another thing I enjoyed about the book is that Leslie also gives suggestions for green products on the market if you don’t want to make them. For more information on products Leslie recommends as well as videos with tips and free recipes visit her website and like her on facebook. Leslie also has a great online store with wonderful green products.

Here is a great video by Leslie with a recipe for laundry soap:

So now that you have my take on The Joy of Green Cleaning…I would love to hear yours! Leslie has been kind enough to gift a digital copy of her book The Joy of Green Cleaning ($10 value) to one of my lucky readers! For a shot at winning, send a short email to lilychoyce@gmail.com and tell me why you want to live greener and how Leslie’s book will help you achieve a non-toxic lifestyle! Please put “The Joy of Green Cleaning” in the subject line of your email. I will be choosing one lucky winner on Friday, December 7th! Good Luck!

Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate Mousse

Alright alright…so I only lasted about 2 1/2 weeks with the Raw Vegan Challenge…it really was a CHALLENGE. I found myself VERY tired…pretty much exhausted. I summed that up to two things, detoxing and not enough food. I would take my lunch with me to work and it was never enough. By the time 4pm rolled around I was starved and when I am starved, I get super cranky. I seriously missed eating cooked food. So…now that I am currently fed up with a mostly raw food diet I have indulged with this amazing dessert. I came across this recipe on Pinterest a long time ago and I had planned to serve it at my daughter’s first birthday party but for some reason it didn’t happen. The first time I attempted to make it I purchased a can of Light Coconut Milk and it didn’t work so you will definitely have to use a can of Full Fat Coconut Milk. It’s a super easy 4 ingredient recipe and has a whipped mousse texture. The next time I make this I plan to use it on top of cupcakes to see how it turns out. I am sure you can create different flavors as well. Post a comment and let me know if you like it!

Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (or to taste, I prefer less)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sweetener to taste (Use stevia or powdered sugar for thickest results)

Open the coconut milk and transfer to a small bowl (or leave it in the can) and leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight. Don’t shake the can before opening. It should get very, very thick. If it doesn’t get thick then you’ve purchased a bad can that won’t work for this recipe.

Once thick, transfer to another small bowl but leave out the watery bit at the bottom of the bowl. Using a fork or beaters, whip in your cocoa, vanilla, and sweetener. You can pipe the mousse out using an icing tip for a nice presentation. Top with fruit of your choice and enjoy! Store uncovered in the fridge.
Recipe courtesy of http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com

Raw Vegan Challenge


Alright, so I have the vegan thing down…now raw vegan is DEFINITELY a challenge for me. 30 days of eating almost raw is my goal. I have attempted raw before and failed after 1 day. HAHA! I enjoy cooked, warm, filling food and crisp lettuce all day just doesn’t cut it for me. Sure, I think I could get by doing ALL raw if I had a raw vegan chef creating all my uncooked meals but I don’t. Let’s face it…I have a life. I am a wife and mother of a very active 16 month old not to mention I still work a full time job, keep a tidy house, do all the grocery shopping, and cook most of the meals. Eating raw would mean I have to clean and cut all produce pretty much daily because we all know produce doesn’t do so well nutrient wise after being cut and sitting there even if its in a fridge.

Now that all the complaining is done, I have decided to join a 30 day raw vegan challenge with the support and direction of Dr. Easton here in Las Vegas. Our group meets weekly and we get to ask questions and share recipes and successes and down falls. I want to be realistic and I know myself and what my life allows for. Sometimes we mean well and we get fired up and then quickly realize how some lifestyles really are challenging. Hardcore raw veganists dehydrate, sprout food, and make every thing from scratch. More power to them but if I need to hunt down obscure ingredients to make a raw cheese-like substance or cracker and spend hours making it…it’s not for me.

I am going to try to keep it simple therefore I decided to make a plan because plans work for me. I have committed to eating 2 raw meals a day (breakfast and lunch) and all my snacks will be raw. Only dinner will consist of a cooked meal with little starchy foods. The only bread I will eat will be Ezekiel Sprouted Bread and that will be kept to a minimum. All salad dressings will be raw and nuts and seeds will also be incorporated. Lots of water and unsweetened teas are also allowed. I am focusing on detoxing my body. To top all of this off, I will get to the gym to workout at least 3 days per week but am I shooting for 5 and will exercise for an hour.

If you want to join me, post your progress on my facebook page! Whether you want to do this for weight loss, detox, or just to eat healthier, going raw is a great way to do it. I am going to be posting what kind of salad I am eating for lunch for inspiration and I would love for you to do so as well! I find that the hardest thing for me is dressings. I am picky about dressings so below I will include some recipes for raw dressings I found and will be trying out. My plan for meals and snacks is as follows:

Breakfast: Smoothie, 1 frozen banana, raw almond milk (homemade using raw almonds) or water, any fruits/veggies you want to add, ground flax seed, liquid vitamin B12, chia seed.

Lunch: Big Salad, mixed greens and any other veggies, fruit, raw nuts or seeds, raw dressing or balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice and sea salt.

Snacks: Baby carrots, bell pepper, grapes, apples, oranges, melon, celery, raw nuts, raw seeds, dates, figs. Anything raw and vegan goes.

Dinner: Cooked, low-fat, vegan meal consisting of mostly vegetables and some beans and grains.

My challenge started today and will finish just before my 27th birthday 🙂 Good luck to you if you plan to join me! I would love to provide support!

RAW DRESSINGS

Mango-Gin Dressing – Courtesy of RAW The Uncook Book
1 Tbs ginger, unpeeled and minced
1 ripe mango
1/2 cup coconut water

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend well. The dressing keeps for 3 days when refrigerated.

Sweet Onion Dressing – Courtesy of lowfatveganchef.com
5-6 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 cup peeled cucumber, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of sweet vidalia onion, diced (about 1/2 large onion) (Walla Walla is another variety you can use too)
8 small dates, pitted
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2+ tbsp water (to blend or thin as necessary)

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend well. Keep refrigerated.

Lemon Cream Dressing –Courtesy of food.com

1 dates, soaked
1/2 lemon, juice
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons water (more or less depending how fluid you want it)

Don’t juice the lemon – instead slice it up minus the peel. Soak dates overnight or soak it hot water for 20 minutes and remove the pit. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Bragg Liquid Aminos


Bragg Liquid Aminos

I have slacked it quite a bit lately on blogging. I recently started a new full time job and it has been quite an adjustment! Lots of shopping and organizing needed to get done and picking out the perfect preschool for my daughter was not easy. With all that has been going on, it’s been tough finding time and energy to make a decent, healthy dinner. I often over think what to make and get frustrated when all that is left is random food items in your fridge. When this happens, make it simple. Basic food is all you need. Nothing fancy or intricate sauces to make. I often forget how good simple food tastes.

If you haven’t heard about Bragg Liquid Aminos, it’s about time you know about it. You can pretty much put it on anything you want savory. When stuck in a rut and I don’t have a clue what to make for dinner, I usually add any veggies I have on hand to a pan and add a little Bragg Liquid Aminos and voila…dinner is oh so good. No need for any spices or salt…just Bragg Liquid Aminos.

Bragg Liquid Aminos is a Certified NON-GMO liquid protein concentrate, derived from healthy soybeans, that contains the following Essential and Non-essential Amino Acids in naturally occurring amounts:

16 Amino Acids
  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Threonine
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine
  • Lysine

Liquid Aminos is a healthy replacement for Tamari and Soy Sauce and is not fermented or heated and is Gluten-Free. It’s great to use on salads, soups, veggies, rice & beans, tofu, stir-frys, tempeh, casseroles, potatoes, meats, poultry, fish, popcorn, gravies & sauces, macrobiotics.

Bragg Liquid Aminos has a small amount of naturally occurring sodium. No table salt is added. If less sodium is desired use a 6 oz. Bragg’s spray bottle and dilute with 1/3 distilled water or to taste and then either add in or spray on food. It does not contain chemicals, artificial colors, preservatives, or alcohol. Pick yourself up a bottle…you won’t regret it!

Cantana Smoothie


Summer isn’t over yet! Melon is in season so it’s very inexpensive and so nutritious. Just yesterday we got 3 cantaloupes for $2! My 15 month old daughter and I have been having this smoothie for breakfast most mornings this summer and we LOVE it! My friend Mandy gave me the idea when she said she put some in her morning smoothie and to her surprise it tasted amazing. After trying it I came up with a name for it. 🙂
It reminded me of a Mexican drink my mother use to make me as a child called Agua De Melon but even better! Here is the recipe for it, if you don’t have the extra stuff like flax/chia seed or Juice Plus Vanilla Complete shake mix don’t worry, it tastes great without it too and is really there for extra nutrition. You can also add a handful of spinach or try a different type of melon. We have done honeydew and golden melon but our favorite is definitely cantaloupe. Enjoy!
Prep time: 3 minutesCantana Smoothie
1 serving
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed or 1/2 tbs chia seed (optional)
  • 1 scoop Juice Plus Vanilla Complete (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you would like, garnish with extra chia seed.

Ahhh Sugar Sugar


Agave, Stevia, Dates, Molasses

I have always been confused about what sugar and or sugar alternative is best for you. I have heard many different opinions but one thing I know for sure…refined white sugar is terrible. Sugar has been known to cause acidity among other things in your body and an acidic body promotes disease. I want to keep this post as simple as possible and just give you a brief description of the different types of sweeteners out there you can try as an alternative to white refined sugar. It is my personal belief that the closer we get to a natural food source as a sweetener, the better. For example when making a smoothie and you want it to be sweeter, drop in banana, a pitted date, or some grapes. You will get all the nutrients/fiber and the sweetness you want.

Sugar Alternatives:

Agave Nectar – a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It’s 1.4 times sweeter than regular sugar but does not create a sugar rush and does not disturb blood sugar levels as much as refined white sugar.*I have used agave nectar lightly drizzled on pancakes or waffles and in various baking recipes or hot breakfast cereals. A little goes a long way.

Date Sugar or Date Syrup – Date sugar is made by finely grinding up dehydrated dates. Date syrup is made by soaking pitted dates in water, then blending them with water to create a syrup. This can be easily done at home and in my opinion is one of the best alternatives because you are utilizing the fruit’s vitamin, mineral, and fiber content and they are fairly inexpensive.

Brown Rice Syrup – brown rice is ground up and cooked, converting it to maltose. Tastes a bit like butterscotch. You may need to use up to 50% more brown rice syrup than the regular amount of sugar you would use in a recipe and reduce other liquids.

Honey – honey is sweeter than sugar and is one of the oldest natural sweeteners. It can have a variety of flavors depending on the plant source from dark and strong to light and mildly flavored. Raw honey contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. This is not considered to be vegan as it is a byproduct of bees.

Maple Syrup – is made from boiled down maple tree sap and contains many minerals. It has a pleasant flavor and is great for baking and of course…good old pancakes. Make sure to purchase 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored syrups that are really just corn syrup.

Molasses – It is made from sugar cane or sugar beet that is made by clarifying and blending the extracted juices and then boiling them. It has a very distinct flavor. Blackstrap molasses  contains a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium,, and potassium.

Rapidura – This is a brand-name product made by extracting juices from the sugarcane plant then evaporating the water from the juice and then grinding the mix in to a powdery texture. It is unrefined  and contains vitamins and minerals.

Stevia – comes from a  leafy herb that has been used for centuries by Native South Americans. The extract is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar and can be used in baking, cooking, and beverages. It does not affect blood sugars which is great for diabetics and has zero calories. It is available in powdered and liquid form but be sure to purchase the green or brown liquids or powders because the white and clear versions are highly refined.

Sucanat – is short for Sugar Cane Natural. It is made by evaporating organic cane juice mechanically instead of chemically. It is less refined and retains much of the sugarcane’s original vitamins and minerals. It has a grainy texture and can be used in place of white sugar.

Vegetable Glycerin –  is derived from coconut and palm oils. It is a very sweet colorless and odorless liquid. It is ideal for candida patients because it does not contain sucrose.

Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda should be avoided like the black plague. Sucralose was discovered by British scientists whom were attempting to make a pesticide and substituted  chlorine atoms for hydrogen-oxygen atoms which is the basis for the highly toxic pesticide DDT, and can accumulate in fat cells. It does NOT occur in nature therefore your body can’t metabolize it which is why it contains no calories.

Aspartame is another artificial sweetener that should have you running for the hills. It’s a neurotoxin which means it causes brain cells to excite and then they die. I would honestly prefer for you to consume refined white sugar over these unnatural freaks called sweeteners. Beware, many packaged, processed foods and most chewing gum contain these sugars. If you see products labeled “sugar-free” they are an indicator that they are sweetened with toxic artificial sweeteners. READ your labels!

Lastly, switching from white refined sugar to brown or turbinado sugar also does a disservice to your body since these alternatives are not much different in sucrose content.  You can find agave, maple syrup, and molasses just about anywhere now but other sugars like unprocessed stevia and sucanat will most likely be found in health food stores. I personally use dates, sucanat, and agave regularly and enjoy them. Test some of these alternatives out and let me know what you think!

Egg Free Baking


My daughter’s personal vegan 1st birthday cake I baked for her.

I ate a lot of eggs growing up. I like the taste, but I hate the smell. After educating myself on the effects of eating too many animals foods, I gave them up. It is fine to consume eggs, provided that they are organic, and that the totality of your animal food consumption does not exceed 10% of daily calories. There are other reasons however, that have convinced me to avoid them such as farming practices. Now, this is not a blog that is focused on animal rights, but I have to mention that the treatment of chickens and chicks is horrendous. Baby chicks have their beaks sawed off with a hot knife to prevent pecking and unwanted male baby chicks are smothered by putting them in plastic bags and tossing them out like garbage and if you think that is bad, they also grind them up alive with no anesthesia. Know that your consumption of eggs, promotes this.

If you don’t want to give up eggs, you can minimize your consumption of them and a great way to do that is when making baked goods at home. Eggs are used in baking for different reasons from binding to leavening to add moisture. There are healthful, plant-based ingredients you can use to replicate these functions. Here they are:

  • Ripe Banana – Half mashed or pureed  is equal to 1 to 2 eggs.
    Works best in: breads, muffins, cake, pancakes
  • Applesauce – 1/4 cup is equal to 1 egg.
    Works best in: moist cakes, breads, quick breads, brownies
  • Ground flax seed – For each egg whisk 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water until thick and creamy
    Works best in: Waffles, pancakes, bran, muffins, breads, oatmeal cookies.
  • Silken tofu – For each egg blend 1/4 cup of tofu in a blender or food processor until smooth.
    Works best in: rich, dense, and moist cakes and brownies
  • Vinegar & baking soda – For each egg mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of vinegar (apple cider or white).
    Works best in: cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer powder –  Follow instructions on the box
    Works best in: all recipes especially cookies

I use applesauce and the Ener-G Egg Replacer most often. If you can’t find it in the baking aisle at your local grocer, you can get it online. It’s affordable and lasts a long time. I still have the same box of replacer for 2 years now and I am a moderate baker. With my experience in baking egg free you may have to bake your goods a little bit longer except when using Ener-G.

Seriously, you won’t miss the eggs in your baked goods. It’s an easy replacement and you are skipping the extra saturated fat, calories and cholesterol. I can honestly say the most moist cakes I have ever tried have been egg free. Post a comment and tell me about your egg free baking experience! Happy Baking!