Deep Fryer Dilemma

My deep fryer has bugged me for years.  After use, I empty it of the used oil and hand wash the removable basin, wipe down the exterior shell and the heating element.  The baskets and handles I either toss in the dishwasher or hand wash in a sink of dishwater, depending on the room available in the dishwasher (and what might be stuck to the basket wires that may require a soak).  But try as I might, there was always a slightly tacky, rough area along the oil line.

The basin is big, and black, so it’s really hard to tell if this was substance stuck (fried?) on or if the finish had been damaged by use. I’m not one to really care that my pots and pans look seasoned.  But the possibility that this was an old oil deposit–or a break-down of the finish (both serious sources of carcinogens)–very much disturbed me.
imageI confess, in early years of its use, I was not aware of the shelf-life of oil (it goes rancid faster than I’d have thought) nor the dangers of reusing oil.  Peanut oil, though cheaper than olive oil, is still pretty expensive in the quantity needed to fill this large of a fryer.  [Note:  don’t by a deep fryer larger than your usual use would require.]  I’d bought the largest one to accommodate the possible occasions for use when I host my whole huge extended family.  The thought of tossing an industrial-sized vat of oil after a single use was enough to make my frugal soul consider giving up Christmas Zeppole–for a couple of seconds.  Plus, I was taught at my mother’s elbow that frying potatoes cleaned up used oil.  So… a batch of french fries, and voila, your oil is good to fry your next batch of chicken or calamari.  But I know better now.  So I’ll store the strained used oil in the refrigerator and re-use once if I have need to within a short period of time. For more about reusing oil, check out:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/532582-the-hazards-of-reusing-cooking-oil/

Because I’ve never been able to get the basin completely free of whatever is on the surface, I dread cleaning it.  Yesterday, I determined I would figure out how to get it off.  I started using dish soap on a Spirisponge – which is safe for almost all surfaces.  When that didn’t work, I pulled out the Cleaning Paste and coated my Spirisponge.  This combination works fabulous for getting off the cooked on food on my ceramic gas stove-top, so I had high hopes.  Alas, oil line – 1, Spirisponge/Cleaning Paste combo – 0.

As best I could tell, this basin was not non-stick (why would it be? — the stuff floats in baskets), so I pulled out my Mighty Mesh Pot Scrubber — which is NOT recommended for non-stick surfaces — and thru it into the mix of dish soap and Cleaning Paste.  As I scrubbed and scrubbed, I considered my next option.  I was considering trying my luck at putting in my oven, heating it up, and using the Oven & Grill Cleaner to let the enzymes safely dissolve the … gunk.  That had worked well on the tougher spots of my stove top and on my toaster oven.

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Then I noticed the bottle of Lemon essential oil on my counter from having added to my batch of blackberry Preserves.  I’d recently read 101 uses for this oil and recalled it is a degreaser and removes sticky stuff.  So I sprinkled a 1-2 drops onto the Pot Scrubber. I gave one side a good scrub and checked.  It DID seem to be smoother!  Eagerly I continued scrubbing the rest of the oil line and lip of the basin.  When I rinsed away the suds, I was thrilled to see  there were only a couple of spots of gunk remaining.  I hit those with another pass and now my basin, for the first time in years is as perfect as the day I bought it.

While I was at it, I grabbed the almond butter jar I’d removed the label from and washed in the dishwasher in order to refill with a homemade nut butter.   I hit the exterior with a few scrubs of the lemon EO infused spirisponge, and away went the remnants of the glue from the label, easy-peasy.

My heroes!
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Menstrual Cups — Who Knew?

***** Note title.  Proceed accordingly forewarned  ****

Almost as good as the products (and the getting them wholesale), being a member of the Norwex U.S. Consultant Connections group is a truly fabulous [free] perk.  In addition to sharing marketing tips and tools, I can ask any cleaning question and get immediate answers.  But sometimes I even learn a little more.

Menstrual Cups

A fellow consultant recently asked for input from the group as to eco-friendly, healthy alternatives to tampons and pads.  I merely skimmed this as I’d already seen the “moon cloths” or “mommy pads” when I was investigating cloth diapering, and determined I’m just not that much of an Earth Mama.  But then someone mentioned her Diva Cup.  And  a plethora of consultants chimed in with hearty appreciation for their own.  Ever the curious one, I had to google this.  And was amazed I’d not heard of these before.

I’ve always been an avid reader — reading every cereal box from all 6 sides, etc. — so I’d read the TSS warnings in the tampon boxes and new the risk run using them.  And  I’d already figured out it probably wasn’t a good idea to put scented stuff up in there.  Seventeen Magazine ensured this high school girl was informed about all the options out there.    I wasn’t a sporty, white pants/skirt wearing girls, so I wasn’t so terribly restricted to my options.  And in the past few years, really didn’t consider it an inconvenience to avoid swimming when needed, so I was content to just avoid tampons altogether.

Honest Pads

I was quite happy with my Always (God bless wings!). Until the head midwife at the birthing center I used for my third pregnancy noted that blessed magical absorbent layer would “give me crotch rot”.  So I braved healthier options, and had just recently learned The Honest Company began carrying Mom products along with their all natural training pants we use for nights while potty training.  First, they only come in two absorbencies — neither Overnight.  Second, I could not fathom the packaging.  This self-proclaimed earth-friendly company only sold them in boxes of 10. How is buying 2-3 boxes a month, mail order, eco-friendly packaging? [And I had to wonder who the lucky gal is that only needed 10 per month.]  They have wings.  And organic cotton. And I’d deal with shorter intervals between changes in lieu of magical but poisonous absorbency.  But the cost of this alternative was daunting. [NOTE:  I find their training pants to be worth the extra expense:  they’re cute, eco-friendly, healthy, and have NEVER leaked. (Just difficult to get if you forget to restock before you shipment runs out.)]

I’d just finished first month using Honest, and was trying to decide about placing another order, when I heard about the cups.  I was surprised to learn there was so much information out there on this product I’d never heard of.  It’s even sold at 4 local stores (CVS, Harris Teeter, Wal-Mart, and Target).  How have I never seen these?  Outside of the Norwex consultant group, reviews were mixed.  Women predominantly loved them, but if they didn’t, they HATED them. Researching, I learned that each cup company offers two sizes with general guideline that the larger is for women who have born a child or were over 30 regardless of gravidity, exceptions allowed for women’s inherent uniqueness.  And everyone seemed to strongly support one cup over the other.  In addition to the Diva Cup, there’s the Lunette, MeLuna, Blossom, Lola Cup, and a bevy of other lunar/flower-named alternatives in a variety of colors.

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What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that is worn inside the vagina to catch/collect menstrual fluid, unlike tampons and pads which absorb it. There are over 20 brands on the market for purchase. The first menstrual cup was actually produced in 1937!

What are reusable menstrual cups made out of?

  • Medical grade silicone (most reputable brands)
  • TPE- Thermoplastic elastomer (MeLuna, MyOwnCup, Silky Cup)
  • Natural gum rubber/Latex (the Keeper)
  • Food grade silicone* (formerly Blossom Cup)
  • Unknown materials (generic cups)

Typically, silicone cups are “springier” than TPE.

*Note that cups are considered medical devices and for best quality should be made from medical grade silicone, not food grade. Food grade silicone is required to meet less stringent standards than medical grade.

For more information about food grade versus medical grade silicone, visit:

I was intrigued and researched to find out the safety.  I learned that medical-grade silicone was about the safest thing around.  And the FDA has moved to eliminate the requirement for their approval for any medical-grade silicone device.  Almost all have FDA approval, but will soon be a thing of the past.  Diva Cup (Canadian) claims to be the only ISO 13485:2003 certified menstrual cup manufacturer.

Second concern for me was usability. I read they are intended to be emptied and rinsed out (or washed with mild soap and water) at least 3 times per 24 hour interval and then sterilized in boiling water between cycles and stored in a breathable cloth bag that is included with almost all cups.  A process not without some complications, as reviewers quite graphically detail.  In considering how this could realistically fit in my life, I resolved I needed 2 — to alternate so that I could be free to clean the first when conveniently able.  And I needed a suitable storage for said used cup until such time.  And, I needed a means to sterilize between cycle without using kitchen implements.  I cloth-diapered, so storing soiled items on the go is not new to me — my Norwex Reusable Wet Wipes Bag should do nicely.  Even better, Anigan, the maker of the EvaCup makes a collapsible silicone sterilizing cup.  So, I could with some degree of confidence consider realistically fit this in to my lifestyle.

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Next up, pricing. Averaging $20-$40, this is an extremely cost-effective alternative, if it works as well as its fan-club touts.  But it’s kind of an expensive mistake if it doesn’t live up to hype, the wrong size is selected (it’s definitely not returnable), or if it just doesn’t work for me as an individual (even it’s proponents caution there’s a learning curve). And I’d determined I’d need 2 to make a viable transition.  Fortunately, the Lola Cup offers 2 cups in their packaging and you can select one size of each or 2 of the same.  And thru Amazon Prime, it’s $26.99 — more than $10 less than cheapest single Diva Cup I could find (also on Amazon).  It’s a woman-owned company in the Canary Islands (Spain), but their cups are manufactured in Michigan, FDA-approved.

I made the leap.  And it was fabulous!  Learning curve, for me was not steep.  Not any more messy than I’d been dealing with.  I found it overall to be much cleaner, actually.  Best of all… No leaks. At all.  And I could sleep longer at night!  I just wish I’d discovered them sooner.  It’s crazy, but I’m actually looking forward to next cycle — weird, I know.

A Celebration of Improved Health!

I’m so excited I can hardly sit still!

I was dreading my annual check-up — namely finding out the results of my blood work.  For the past 3 years, each time they did a work-up on me, my liver enzymes kept rising.  My doctor had told me if they were still elevated, he’d want to refer me to a gastroenterologist to have a biopsy done.

Liver_large

When first diagnosed, he did a full liver panel.  It was his suspicion that the culprit was Fatty Liver Disease.  While awaiting the results, I started doing my research.  And found certain herbs were known to help improve liver function.  But when I returned for my results, my doctor cautioned me against using them as there was some clinical research that indicated they did more harm than good.  Tests were inconclusive for Fatty Liver Disease, but he felt that was still the cause of the elevated enzymes and prescribed a strict diet of whole foods. And to lose weight.   He said the most effect way to cleanse my liver was to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish.  Eliminate the toxins impacting my liver (e.g. processed foods, carbs, sugar, additives and fillers) instead of adding any particular cleansing herb.

I lost some weight, the liver enzymes continued to climb.

Needless to say, I could not follow such a strict diet lacking the support of my family — they’re not about to give up their macaroni (and I’d have to pry the processed foods from their cold, dead, fingers).  But I did cut out the processed foods for myself, sticking to the meat and veggies of the meals I prepared.  I buy organic and non-GMO where able to.  I have most recently  begun pressure canning my stocks, soups, jellies, and sauces.

And I looked to eliminate other toxins — those I was exposed to via contact or breathing.  Now I clean my home with water. My dishes and laundry are cleaned with pure soaps containing none of the icky stuff:  Bleach, fabric softeners, artificial scents.  My personal care products from toothpaste and deodorant to shampoo and body soap are organic, and free of the bad stuff: parabens, SLS, fillers, etc.  I replaced OTC medications with Essential Oils, as well as diffusing them just to enjoy the naturally great smells.

Norwex Microfiber and water replaced all these chemicals!

But my weight has crept back up — shoulder surgery last year put a rather large speed bump in my running program, and time constraints with a toddler restricts my exercise regimen.  And they drew my blood just after the holidays.  I was terrified to hear my results.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 3 YEARS, MY LIVER ENZYMES HAD DROPPED — SUBSTANTIALLY!

On the inside, I’ve been doing a happy Snoopy Dance ever since I got the news.

Snoopy Dance

Even though I desperately need to improve my exercise regimen for cardio and musculoskeletal health, radically reducing the toxins in our lives is working!

Shop or Enroll (but don’t order online, contact me directly for the discount) here.

Global Mission

The REAL Cost of Norwex

If you’re like me, you may have looked at Norwex’s catalog of products and thought, “$17 for a cleaning cloth?!?  It better be freaking magical!”

Well, first off, other than cleaning all on its own like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, they are pretty darn magical — be sure and catch a live demo if you ever get the chance.

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But, even if your budget doesn’t allow for virtual magic, take a look at the savings you rack up by what a one-time cost of Norwex microfiber replaces of recurring grocery list:

Saving With Norwex

 

Cold and Flu Season Wellness

As a mother of almost 20 years, I’m totally okay with my kids getting minimally exposed to normal childhood illnesses.  Exposure builds immunity. And children bounce back easier than older kids and adults.  They’re going to get sick, and I’d rather nurse them thru their illnesses when they’re little rather than during their school years.

I cringe when nursery’s and pre-schools mention how much bleach they use this time of year — they’re dousing it on every thing and every surface.  The truth is viruses live an extremely short time outside of their human hosts — so it’s more likely the interactions with the other kids than it is the toys they share.  Chemical cleaners are more toxic than most germs their bodies are designed to combat.
Snot Nose
For the past 2 months or so,  my 2-year-old has developed congestion after every encounter with the church nursery, her dance studio, or the kids I watch after school — ’tis the season.  The season of snot.  When immune system activity increases, we rub On Guard, a blend of Wild orange essential oil, combined with clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, on the soles of her feet.  (I put on mine morning and night because Moms don’t get sick days).  And I’ve been diffusing it like crazy in our house to keep the men-folk sniffle-free.  A fragrant, natural and effective alternative to synthetic options for immune support, this essential oil smells heavenly when diffused — like Christmas in a bottle.

Despite precautions, my husband came home from work with a fever and the accompanying aches and chills.  He’s not fully embraced essential oils, but is coming around.  His usual protocol is to suffer thru the ordeal.  This time, I changed out our bedroom diffuser from a combination of oils to promote peaceful sleep to the On Guard I’d been diffusing in the living areas, and he allowed me to rub his forehead and neck with Peppermint oil.  He immediately felt relief, and after a good night’s sleep, woke in good health.  Quickest bounce back ever!

All-Natural Pest Control

Pest Control

Here are 7 ways to use essential oils for all-natural pest control:

  1. Use black pepper or oil around the edges of the bathroom or kitchen to repel ants.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup of water, 5 drops of cypress and 10 drops of peppermint oil to keep cockroaches at bay.
  3. Rub a drop or two of TerraShield (a blend of Skimmia Laureola, Catnip Plant, Amyris Bark, African Sandalwood, Cabrueva Balsam, Wild Orange Peel, White Fir Needle, cedarwood, Citronella Herb, Eucalyptus Leaf/Stem, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Genet Absolute, and Rose Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil) with some fractionated coconut oil on your skin to keep mosquitos away.
  4. Combine 1/2 cup of water with 10 drops of eucalyptus oil and spray in the room to create fly-free area.
  5. Keep spiders at bay with cinnamon oil. Combine 10 drops of cinnamon oil with 1/2 cup of water and spray on the baseboards and around doors and windows.
  6. Combine 1/2 cup of water with 10 drops of clove oil to counter dust mites and garden pests.
  7. Combine 1/2 cup of water with 10 drops of orange oil and spray on plants to control aphids.

EO Pest Control

 

What Is BacLock?

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Have you heard the words “Antibac” or “BacLock” and wondered, “huh”?  It’s a common question, and as revolutionary as BacLock is, it’s really a very simple concept to understand.

Norwex Antibac is now Norwex BacLock™.  Norwex was able to trademark the term BacLock™, which is the reason for the change. It works exactly the same as Antibac because it IS the same! Norwex has developed a unique technology that combines an antibacterial silver-based agent with our microfiber. The antibacterial agent is embedded inside the tiny microfiber. The agent is solely designed to inhibit bacterial odor, mold, and/or mildew growth within the cloth. The silver antibacterial fiber has self purification properties.

What’s in it for you? Cloths that essentially get to work cleaning themselves as they dry! Hate the stinky sour smell of Grandma’s crocheted cloth? Tired of microwaving sponges? Sick of wasting money on, storing, and then tossing away all that paper towel? Frustrated by the piles of bath towels that are constantly waiting to be washed? Enter BacLock!

How do you maximize your BacLock features?

  • Rinse your Norwex cleaning cloths in hot water after use.
  • Scrub the fibers against themselves to help remove any loose food, dirty, or gunk.
  • Squeeze the cloth hard to remove as much water as possible. Then squeeze again.
  • Hang your Norwex microfiber by the tag to dry and self-sanitize.

Want to learn more about Norwex TLC? Treat your Norwex nicely and it will be good to you too! Click here to read more about caring for your Norwex!

Caring for your microfiber

Cute Halloween/Fall gift idea!  

1 Dish Cloth (white)
1 Kitchen Cloth (salmon)
1 Travel Enviro (yellow) (we have a few of these still in stock since they were discontinued as of                        September, replaced by the new Grey!) OR
1 Kitchen Cloth (buttercream)

OR opt for the Chocolate Candy Corn and use a Latte Kitchen Cloth.

Halloween Gift Idea