Tutorials, Directions, and How-To

Big Box of Citrus: Week 3

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 2 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative (project 1 of 12)

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We’re wrapping up on our bushel of citrus. You can check out weeks 1 and 2 if you’re interested. Who knows? One day you may receive a bushel of oranges and grapefruit in the mail. Now you, too, will have ideas on how to beat the mold race and use them up. Here are some more ideas from this past week:

Refresh the garbage disposal. Most people recommend lemon peels, but I found that grinding up any citrus seems to make a difference. And speaking of “freshening” and “peels”…  You can make all-purpose cleaner, too. I have been following Crunchy Betty’s recipe and grapefruit skin  is my infusion of choice. With the abundance of citrus rind around here, I figured I may as well start another batch. I’ve dropped in some orange and mint essential oils for a boost to the senses.

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Treat yourself to a face mask: 1/4 grapefruit and 1 Tbs. raw organic honey. The directions I had didn’t say how long to keep it on so I decided 30 minutes. After the first night my skin (and even eyebrows) felt soft. Night two made my skin feel smoother – no bumps.  I didn’t go past three nights because there was a weekend getaway that interrupted the progress, but I’m convinced this may be an effective treatment. With the antioxidant power of the grapefruit and the antibacterial properties of the honey, why not?face

Share a smoothie with your family. One morning my son wanted to make strawberry juice with the citrus juicer…apparently we’ve been juicing a lot around here. Since I could imagine that this plan wouldn’t work so well, I convinced him to make a smoothie instead. Mindful that this needed to be kid-friendly we made it sweeter than some of the other recipes I’ve tried: 1 pink grapefruit, 2 bananas, 1 c. strawberries, 1/2 c. yogurt, 1 Tbs. honey, 1Tbs. flax meal. It was definitely a hit.

Smoothie recipe #2 was my favorite so far, but it didn’t get very far with Kid: juice from two grapefruits, 2 bananas, 1 avocado, ginger (to taste). It was probably the ginger that turned him off. Not a big deal. More for me.

We included Dad to the smoothie party over the weekend with a revisit to #2 and new recipes 3 and 4.  #3: 1 orange, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup yogurt. #4: 1 grapefruit, 1 pear, 1 cup strawberries, ginger. We liked all three so instead of each choosing one each  we passed the jars around the table and enjoyed them all. Dad even taught Kid how to enjoy two at the same time.

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Enjoy breakfast (or dinner). We made orange French toast. You can find a recipe here. You can probably make it the way you normally do by just replacing milk with orange juice. I discovered low and slow was the way to cook it so it wouldn’t burn but still cook through. We also agreed that topping it with syrup brings out more of the orange flavor than topping it with orange marmalade and powdered sugar. However, both options were pretty tasty.

There was also some cornbread on the menu this week. So I citri-fied it by following Joy the Baker’s recipe for Brown Butter Rosemary Orange Cornbread. Typically I am not a huge fan of rosemary so I was skeptical, but wanted to stay true to the recipe for the first go-round. Turns out, I like this cornbread as I ate about 1/3 of the pan in one night.

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Make dessert. I found making grapefruit sorbet to be incredibly easy. The hardest part was waiting overnight to eat it. This recipe is definitely one to keep in mind for the summer. It was SO stinking good.  The mix was 1 cup grapefruit juice (chilled), 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. We don’t have an ice cream maker so I followed the technique at the bottom of this post.

Or, if cookies are more your speed how about some Melting Moments? I adapted Itty Bitty Kitchen’s recipe from lemon to orange. My problem was deciding how much orange juice and zest was equivalent to the juice and zest of one lemon. My frosting wasn’t nearly as thick as hers even after another cup of powdered sugar…I must have over estimated the juice a bit. These cookies were good in orange, but I am eager to try them in lemon.

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Number of fruits left: 4 and so ends the Big Box of Citrus Project. It will probably just be juice from here on out.  Thanks to my trusty tools without which I would not have survived this month.

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Recipe(s) for Clean

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 3 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative

I have been slowly transitioning our household cleaners to “green” options over the years. I was relatively happy buying Seventh Generation brand but over the past year I attempted to go further…”greener” and “safer” using stuff from around the house.

I started this year with a shower spray I loved, an all purpose cleaner that I felt good about, and floors cleaned with straight up vinegar. I also found a recipe for weed killer that worked pretty well, too (and I felt apple cider vinegar worked better than pickling vinegar). There was a dishwasher detergent that had been banned from our dishwasher after all the glassware turned out to be super cloudy and took forever to get back to normal. But overall, my changes had worked well. I was ready for more.

With a little vacation time in early January, I decided to blow through the remainder of my list replacing other cleaners and trying other recipes. I have learned two things so far:

1. I like the new Container Store that opened near my house way too much.

2. If you buy a boatload of vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, virtually all your cleaning needs are met…assuming these recipes work.

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With post-its, tape, markers, containers, and measuring tools in hand I began mixing concoctions. I made sure to write the recipes directly on the bottles so I wouldn’t have to go searching for them again when it was time to refill. So here is what I have made so far:

Glass and Toilet Cleaner (via Desiring Virtue) – Just a bottle of hydrogen peroxide with a reminder that baking soda can be added for stubborn toilet stains. Verdict: Initially the mirrors seems streaky, but it goes away as the liquid dries. I am still finishing some store-bought toilet cleaner so I will have to get back to you on that. Other notes: I have and would continue to use vinegar and newspaper for mirrors and windows. I have also read (but not tried) 1 c. of baking soda left for an hour works for toilets.

All Purpose Cleaner (also via Desiring Virtue) – 4 Tbs. of vinegar and 3 c. water. I also added about 1/4 tsp. of sweet orange essential oil for a cleaning and smelling boost. Verdict: I might like this one better than what I have been using. It also seems to get through counter gunk better, especially if you let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Carpet Cleaner (also via Desiring Virtue) – This one was a biggie for me because we had/will have baby pee and poop all over the floors for a few years. And I’m a klutz. But I severely wanted to end our reliance on our OxyClean.  So the alternative is rubbing alcohol, pure and simple. It’s in its own container so that I remember what to use it for. Verdict: I got rid of gray paint on a beige carpet. I think I’m keeping this!

Wood Duster (via Desiring Virtue or Down to Earth) – Next to the carpet cleaner, the other cleaner I really wanted to replace was our Pledge. I honestly forgot which of the following two alternatives I made. I put both recipes on the bottle because they seemed exactly opposite each other. So you could either do 1 c. olive oil and 1/2 c. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. olive oil and 1/4 c. lemon juice. Verdict: Whatever I used seems to do the job. I do have to dust more often, but I don’t get headaches after doing it.

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Next up: Laundry soap. But I still have a large container to work through so I bought ingredients, but held off making it. If I remember, I will try to update this later.

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What have you used? What works for you?

Big Box of Citrus: A Project Begins

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired (x2)
  • Read a classic (x4)
  • Try a new recipe (x6)
  • (Re)connect (x12)
  • Get selfishly creative (x12)

Every year for the past three(?) years my father-in-law sends us a box of citrus from Florida. He doesn’t live in Florida. Who knows where the idea came from, but you won’t hear me complain. We usually get about half a bushel, which lasts about two months between two adults and a growing tiny person. But this year…a whole bushel. I think the time for lazy grazing is over if we want to make use of these guys before they spoil.

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It’s a good thing I was on the look out for some resolution fulfillment. These sunny orbs are going to help me get through a creative project AND a recipe series. Double duty and lots of benefit. Recipes that I have started to stockpile include orange ricotta pancakes, citrus salad with feta, and orange chiffon (cup)cake(s). In addition, I will be documenting the use of  all this vitamin-C goodness through “photography” (using the term loosely here as I am not a skilled photographer and I will rely heavily on Instagram). Get ready. It’s going to be rather orange around here for a while.

P.S. If you have a  favorite recipe or use for oranges/grapefruits, feel free to leave a comment. I’m always happy to get some new ideas!