Hello and welcome to the softer side of Randy. If, like myself, you find yourself on the hunt for ways to keep your house smelling fresh, you may have purchased carpet refreshers or carpet deodorizers in the past. Simple enough, they’re powders that you sprinkle onto your carpet before vacuuming to absorb odors and leave a nice, pleasant scent behind.
But what exactly is in them? I don’t know. My guess is that it’s some scientist’s cocktail of somewhat natural and obviously artificial ingredients that I don’t want lingering around my abode and getting into my lungs. (If you’ve got pets or small children running around, I’d be doubly concerned.) The good news is that there’s a cheap, easy alternative that was so brilliant, I had to share.
What you need:
- Baking soda
- Organic essential oils
Yes, that’s seriously it. I took one box of baking soda, dumped it out into a mixing bowl, added 30 drops of organic bergamot essential oils, stirred it around to equally distribute it and break up any clumps, then returned it to the box. Now, I’ll sprinkle the mixture over my carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb any odors, and then run the vacuum to sweep it all up. Fresh scent, no foul chemicals… done and done!
And it’s far less expensive than buying the pre-made stuff! Yes, the essential oils will set you back anywhere from $9 to $12, but a little goes a long way and you’ll have plenty leftover for more boxes of baking soda, to add to your bath, or for a whole lot of other interesting uses. I chose bergamot, which is an excellent deodorizer and one of my favorite scents (bergamot is the added flavoring in Earl Grey tea and it’s used widely in the cologne industry) but you can certainly use whatever essential oil or blend of essential oils you like.
All the kudos for this brilliant idea go to OverthrowMartha.com. There’s also a tutorial there for how to make your own shaker using an old mason jar, some paper, and a hole cutter should you want to get a little fancier than my ghetto “toss it back in the baking soda box” method.
Now that I’ve gotten this domestic bliss and essential oil talk out of the way, I feel like I should go crack a beer or something. Maybe put a monster truck rally on TV…
I love a good salad, but sometimes I want something a little heartier. This is when salads boosted with beans, grains, or rice come to the rescue. They’re cool and refreshing, don’t take much time to put together, and they are indeed filling.
When my fancy friend Colleen mentioned that she was making dinner with white beans, something clicked. I had no idea what I was going to eat, but white beans sounded delicious, so I went straight to my nearby Whole Foods and picked some up along with a few other ingredients that inspired me. (All organic, of course.) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
White Bean and Kale Salad with Lemon
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 bunch green kale
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans (I used cannellini), or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained
- 8 plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large shallot, or 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and minced
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill, or parsley
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
Finely mince the zest of 1/2 of your lemon. Prepare the kale by removing and discarding the tough, thick ribs running down the center of each leaf. Coarsely chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the kale with the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a healthy dose of black pepper. Massage and squeeze the kale firmly so that the leaves begin to soften as the fibers break down. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the white beans, tomatoes, shallot, dill, and chia seeds along with the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon, the reserved lemon zest, and the remaining 2 1/2 tsp olive oil.
After the kale has rested, give it a few more firm squeezes to ensure that it’s nice and soft. Toss with the bean mixture, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. You can eat this right away, but the flavors improve if allowed to sit for at least an hour. This recipe will keep for up to 5 days if stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Have you ever made your own almond milk? I hadn’t until about a year ago, and I knew instantly that I’d never go back to the store-bought stuff in the cartons.
This… this had flavor! It actually tasted like almonds, wasn’t cloyingly sweet, and was far more nutritive than anything you might find dead on a shelf.
For optimum flavor and nourishment, I always use raw almonds that I’ve sprouted myself. It’s a fun little science project in a way, and it really is easy to do.
And a word about those raw almonds before we proceed: make sure they’re truly raw. You see, the fine folks at the USDA (in partnership with the Almond Board of California) saw fit to pass a ridiculous law that required all almonds grown in the United States to undergo pasteurization, even those that are labeled as “raw.” And while “raw” organic almonds have to be steam pasteurized, conventionally grown almonds are often sterilized with propylene oxide, a compound that the USDA’s homies, the EPA, call a “mild [central nervous system] depressant” and a “probable human carcinogen.” There is a small loophole that does allow consumers to still buy truly raw almonds directly from a farmer at a farmers’ market, or by purchasing imported raw almonds. (Do try to find and support local growers, even if our government doesn’t extend the same courtesy with legislation like this.)
Anyway, on to how to make the almond milk.
A little over a week ago, I posted a picture of some chopped up cabbage with the caption “Future sauerkraut” followed by some words in obligatory hashtag fashion. (Vegan, raw food, science, etc.) The number of questions I’ve gotten about making your own sauerkraut ever since has been astonishing, so I thought I’d lay out the very simple process for you here. How simple, you ask? Let me just say that writing this post will take more of my active time than actually making a batch of homemade sauerkraut.
You only need two ingredients: cabbage and salt.
Weigh your cabbage. Multiply that number by 0.02 and that will tell you how much salt you need. (If you don’t have a cooking scale, do yourself a favor and treat yourself; I got my digital kitchen scale for ~$25 on Amazon, and I never bake without it.)
Get as much organic cabbage as you like. One head of cabbage is usually all I use for a batch, and I end up with a ton of kraut for less than two dollars. Feel free to use red or green cabbage… your preference, and don’t wash it.
Using a large chef’s knife, cut the cabbage head into quarters, then remove the core and slice the remaining cabbage into thin(-ish) ribbons. Chop the reserved core into smaller, bite-sized pieces. (more…)
This is easily my most-requested recipe, and I’m sorry it took me so long to post it. Sprouted garbanzo beans are an excellent source of protein, and their delicious, nutty — almost grassy — flavor helps to make this raw hummus a real crowd pleaser. It’s a lot of fun to make, and the unique texture that comes from using the raw sprouted garbanzo beans is what I think puts it over the top.