Sep 14, 2010

Eco-friendly household and beauty tips {from the kitchen}

A few weeks ago I held an Italian Language Class in the Kitchen, in which I shared some common Italian culinary terms with annotated translations. Seeing it was such a huge success, I thought another informative article could tickle you to the kitchen.

Here are a few enviroment-friendly tips, common homemaker knowledge and typical Italian make-do-with-what's-in-the-house practical philosophy.


  • To expunge foul smells in the refrigerator (main culprits usually are lemons, cut onions and cheese that have gone off), place a glass filled with baking soda in a back corner of the middle section of your refrigerator. Revive its beneficial odor-absorbing qualities by stirring weekly.  
  • Every day wear and tear can cause your alluminum-clad pots and pans to blacken. A natural remedy to help them regain lustre is boiling apple skins and rhubarb leaves in the pots. Results are surprising. 
  • The best way to avoid your potatoes from budding is putting a Granny Smith apple in their basket.
    • Vinegar can break the lime build-up around the faucets in your sink, and maintaining your iron’s pressing performance. 
    • To polish your wood surfaces, blend 1 cup raw linseed oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 10 drops lemon essential oil; and store in a clean glass bottle. Shake well and apply to all wood surfaces with a soft rag. Acts as a fabulous dust magnet too!

    • I don’t use chemicals to wash my windows, I instead spritz them with a solution of hot water and lemon juice, and then dry them off with old newspapers.
    • Did you know that the acidity in curdled milk that’s gone bad is excellent to shine silver? Or that yougurt passed its expiry date works perfectly to buff brass? Just rinse surfaces very well after polishing!
    • Worried about your child handling engineered chemicals when playing Matisse and leaving lovely handprints all over your walls? Make your own paint! Mix together 1 cup cornstarch, with some cold water to dilute. Add this to 3 cups of hot water, stirring swiftly to avoid lumps. Boil until thick and clear and then add desired food coloring and an optional tablespoon of glycerin (for gloss). Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator!
    • Honey is a natural moisturizer, skin nutrient and excellent scar tissue ointment.
    • Rub your gums with a fresh sage leaf, this will prevent gum bleeding and strengthen the dental collar around your pearly whites.
    • Nature’s best skin care antioxidant against free radicals? Extra virgin olive oil! I began using it scrubbed with a soft brush on evening skin before bedtime; and I’ve never suffered T-zone oiliness since!


      • Cleanse the house from toxins and poisons with plants. Certain plants are even capable of absorbing air pollutants and electromagnetic fields! Combat formaldehyde (commonly found in household foam insulation, modern sofas, carpets, floor coverings cleaning agents and cigarette smoke) with plenty of Poinsettia, Lattuce, Chrysanthemums and Philodendron around the house. You can reduce Benzene absorption (responsible for ear, nose and throat mucus membrane irritation, and nerve and skin sensiblity) by scattering potted Peace lily, Sweetpea, English ivy and weeping fig in every room. Place a large cactus or a bowl of prickly pears near your computer to minimize the devastating effect of electromagnetic fields generated by electrical equipment, power sockets, power cables, and elecrticity meters. We web and iPhone addicts should beware. Purportedly these could be the cause of thumping headaches, menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriages, skin rashes and depression...


        What are your best food-employing tips?



        Image credits: Shutterstock - The Knot

        21 comments:

        1. Coarse salt to scrub pots!

          I have to try that rhubarb leaves trick. I have plenty and I throw them away when I could use them to rejuvenate my old pressure cooker!

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        2. A few drops of lemon juice and salt mashed into a paste will polish brass quite nicely.

          Lemon peel, grain alcohol and sugar boiled up and steeped for a month will polish my insides quite nicely=Limoncello

          Baking soda and vinegar down the drain will bubble up and fizz away grime and odors. It does nothing for my insides........

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        3. intriguing...i think i may try the apple peel trick...and the sage leaves...

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        4. So very interesting. Thanks for the tips.

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        5. Spacedlaw~ I think coarse salt is good for just about EVERYTHING.
          Roseann~ Ha ha that's funny!
          Brian~ Do the sage thing to your kids too... wipes off sugars very well too.
          Loree~ Thank *you* cara!

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        6. Great hints! I use an olive oil, brown sugar and lavender bath rub. I don't remember which blogger friend gave me that recipe, but I'm addicted.

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        7. I have no tips at the moment, but there is a lovely story in Boccaccio's Decameron about a young boy, I think he is called Pasquino, who is having a tryst with his girlfriend (Simone?) in a garden. He is sitting next to a sage bush, and reaches up to pull off a leaf, and rubs his teeth and gums with a sage leaf and falls over dead. They think the girl poisoned him, but then when they are in the garden, she says, "Look, this is what he did," and rubs her own teeth and gums with a sage leaf. She falls over dead. Then they dig up the sage bush because it is poisoned, and find a giant, poisonous toad sitting underneath the roots of the sage bush, and realize that this is what made the sage leaves poisonous. So they build a bonfire around the toad and burn it up, and then they all mourn and bury Simona and Pasquino.

          I know this doesn't sound funny, but my girlfriend and I were reading it to each other once, and when we came to the part about the toad, we couldn't stop laughing.

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        8. Danke, Lola, such good ideas! Love from Geli

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        9. Daniel~ I don't remember this particular story in Il Decamerone, funny because I would have remembered, since I've been rubbing my gums with sage since I was a small child!
          Geli~ Danke, lovely friend. What are your tips?

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        10. wow lola, these are great ideas and i hadn't heard of most of them (i know well baking soda in thr frig, however). i may never see another sprouted potato and i will thank you. :)

          my hint is household, not food. it is this: always choose dimmers! the cost of being able to dim lights is tiny and the difference is huge.

          ps can you direct me to a simple shrimp or seafood recipe to feed 30 plus people? can't be with pasta because we have one other main that is pasta already. just wondering, if you don't mind.

          love
          kj

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        11. wow lola, these are great ideas and i hadn't heard of most of them (i know well baking soda in thr frig, however). i may never see another sprouted potato and i will thank you. :)

          my hint is household, not food. it is this: always choose dimmers! the cost of being able to dim lights is tiny and the difference is huge.

          ps can you direct me to a simple shrimp or seafood recipe to feed 30 plus people? can't be with pasta because we have one other main that is pasta already. just wondering, if you don't mind.

          love
          kj

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        12. KJ~ thank you for stopping by and for your kind words! Let's see... shrimp for 30 people but not with pasta... if they're extra fresh a great antipasto is "warm crudo": all you do is clean the shrimp/prawns, de-vein them and drizzle them with warmed extra virgin oilve oil and freshly squeezed orange juice. Dust with a hint of black pepper, marinade for 20 minutes... Ta daaa! Delicious and simple. Hugs to you

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        13. Eleaonora! I printed this post to put in my kitchen notebook....great tips...
          BTW, my given name is Eleanor....smiles.

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        14. Good post, Lola.

          Let's see, some food-employing tips...

          To clean caked-on food residue from a skillet or roasting pan, cover the bottom with a couple inches equal parts regular white vinegar and water, bring to a boil over medium heat, turn off heat and let sit for some time, even overnight. The clean-up will be a snap.

          To mitigate strong breath, say after a heaping dish of pasta all'aglio, olio e peperoncino, chew on some fresh parsley leaves.

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        15. Great post, I love little gems like these and have books with such household tips in them. My problem is I forget them :( Until of course reminded again like this plus some new ones.

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        16. Eleanor~ You're an Ele too, then! Great, thanks and there will be more tips coming soon!
          Andrea~ Wow, thanks for the super useful tip! Dry encrusted food is the bane of every cook's existence!!
          Lindy~ I'm like that too... hence the reason for this post: I had to write it down and share it lest I forget!

          Ciao

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        17. I love this post, Eleonora!! What fabulous tips and ideas. :-) Some of them I learned from my mother and grandmother, but others are new to me. You inspired me today. :-)

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        18. i am told Listerine cures nail fungus (which sounds painful) and Coca Cola wipes off rust stains (which makes me hesitant to ever have one again)and am off now to brush my teeth with sage (which is abundant).

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        19. RamblingT~ Oh, good! I'm happy you enjoyed this. Ciao!
          Claudia~ Coca Cola will wipe out nearly anything (it will actually dissolve a rusty nail overnight, *not* an urban legend). Scary!!

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        20. Coca cola also kills some weeds!
          One tip that i made up is, in cake recipes where they tell you to beat egg yolks with sugar etc...then wash out the bowl and beat the whites. I reverse that order i.e beat whites first, move them to another bowl and then do yolks and stuff. Means you don't have to wash the bowl, and if you're quick, it makes no difference to the end product.
          Might come back with more tomorrow when i'm not so tired!

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        21. Mimi~ Thank you for your great time (and dishwashing detergent) saving tip! More, more!!

          Ciao and again thanks for visiting!

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        Grazie for visiting and taking the time to comment!

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        Ciao
        Eleonora

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