Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fragrant Spring Cleaning & Cashew Curry

Happy March!

The veggies in this curry are just barely cooked, leaving them crisp and flavorful.

It has been a rough couple of months for me and Willa: I was sick throughout the month of February, so poor Willa didn't get many hikes. We spent a lot of time sleeping on the couch and drinking ginger tea. But I'm better now, back to cooking, back to hiking. Looking forward to spring.

Shadows on the path.

This weekend, I started my spring cleaning. I make most of my own cleaning products homemade, out of baking soda, citrus fruits, salt, and other household staples. I started doing that years ago for environmental reasons--all of the ingredients are safe and non-toxic for humans and animals--but I later found out how cheap it is. And fun! By switching up the ingredients you use, you can make your house smell like anything: lemons, oranges, peppermint tea, lavender. Probably not chocolate. (Though a splash of vanilla extract makes things smell like cookies!) Maybe this doesn't make spring cleaning completely awesome, but it does make it aromatherapeutic. :)

I will be posting some recipes for homemade cleaning solutions in the weeks to come. Today I give you a basic recipe for wood floor cleaner, and an all-purpose spray solution you can use on your countertops, stovetop, etc. 

Lemon-Peppermint Wood Floor Soap

1/8 cup natural dish soap
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup brewed peppermint tea
2 gallons warm water

Combine ingredients in a bucket, and use a mop or rag to scrub your wood floors clean!

Almond-Orange All-Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp Borax
2 tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 or 2 drops almond extract
2 cups very hot water
spray bottle

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake well for a minute or so. Spray and clean all of your surfaces!* (Always shake the solution again before use.) 

*though obviously not upholstery.

Now back to food recipes, though I can't take credit for this one. Today I made this cashew curry from 101 Cookbooks, a site that I love. It's not the normal way I make curry--the vegetables here are lightly simmered in curry-spiked coconut milk, and are left barely cooked. The curry is therefore very light, despite all the filling ingredients: tofu, cauliflower, green beans, and of course freshly-toasted cashews. 

The pictures on 101 cookbooks are better.
But isn't there something  charmingly honest about my crappy photos?

Enjoy. I'll be back to posting my own food recipes soon. Also, I have a thing or two to say about Emily Dickinson.