Thursday, May 31, 2012

Norwex Series: Dry Mop

Today we are moving on in our Norwex series from cloths and onto mops, woohoo!  There is a telescopic handle which snaps onto an swiveling aluminum mop base that has velcro.  The velcro then attaches onto the different types of mop pads.  For a long time I have been using the dry mop pad.  It was one of my first purchases.  Before that I had been an avid Swiffer Sweeper user.  When I become more conscious of waste and disposable products, I knew the Swiffer had to go.  This was the perfect replacement.

The dry mop pad is ideal for sweeping and dusting.  Its fibres pick up the tiny particles of dust, dirt, hair, crumbs, etc.  Of course, using it on the floor is great.  On top of that, it also works well for cleaning ceilings, walls, fans, and high windows.

I love my dry mop pad.  I use it mostly on our floors, and it does fantastic picking up hair, dog fur, dust, and dirt in our house.  It's still quick and easy to clean off.  I use an old toothbrush to remove the dust and hair from the mop pad.  It doesn't need to be washed after each use, and when it does, it just goes in the washing machine.  The mop pad definitely saves a lot of waste from the one-time-use type of sweepers.

What do you use to sweep/dust the floors?

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Cream" of Broccoli Soup

We are vegetarians, and while I can't see us becoming vegans (at least not any time soon), we do have concerns about where our eggs and dairy products come from.   For this reason, we do our best to get higher quality, local, etc products or avoid certain items all together.  And sometimes it's just fun to try a vegan recipe.  This post is a little bit of both.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup (found at Take Part as part of their Meatless Monday recipe collection)

2 bunches broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
4 c vegetable stock
1 russet potato
salt and  pepper

1. Chop florets and stalk of broccoli.  Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add chopped onion, and sweat about 10 minutes.
3. Add stock and chopped potato.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until soft (about 12 minutes).
4. Stir in chopped broccoli.  Simmer until soft (about 10 minutes).
5. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth.
6. Salt and pepper to taste.  Optionally, drizzle with olive oil, good vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon.

Served with fresh home baked bread.  Yum!

I loved this soup.  To start with, it was so quick and simple to make.  It is definitely up there in my list of favourite soups in regard to flavour as well.  It was also satisfying and filling without being heavy.  It is perfect for dipping with bread.  It was a soup I couldn't get enough of.  As soon as one spoonful was in my mouth, I wanted another one.

I wanted to share this recipe because even though most of you out there are not vegetarians, I think that reducing meat consumption is a viable option for everyone willing.  If for one day a week everyone in the States ate meatless, it would be the environmental equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles.  Or, according to Rodale, if just one day a week every family in the US left out meat and cheese, it would reap the environmental benefits of taking the family car off of the road for five full weeks.

What is your favourite meatless, or even vegan, meal?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Norwex Series: Face/Body Cloths

This is definitely my most used Norwex product.  Yes, it is another cloth.  We'll move on soon enough, but their cloths are just so fantastic.  Without being too redundant, I just want to quickly mention that these cloths are also made of the higher quality microfibre.  They are woven with silver as well which makes them antibacterial.  You can read about those two components in more detail in the enviro cloth post.  These cloths however are designed for personal use.  (Yes, Norwex sells personal care items too!)  They are called body cloths, but I use them on my face.

The body cloths are ideal for regular body or facial cleansing.  Because of the silver again, all you need is the cloth and water.  Use them in the shower, in the bath, or at the sink.  I don't wear make up, but I have heard from others that they are incredibly effective even in removing make up (just with water).  They are also gently exfoliating.

I love, love, love the body cloths.  I recommend them to everyone.  As I've written about before (particularly here and here), I have a long history with unfortunate skin blemishes.  As such, I was wary of trying something that seemed so simple.  Yet washing my face twice a day with just water and this cloth works!  Another friend of mine who has shared my skin related woes has also converted to using just these cloths for her face as well with the same success.  I do still use a spot treatment, the natural zit zapper, but there are no cleansers, soaps, creams, or anything else that go on my face.  And my face is more clear than I ever could have imagined having before.  It's healthier for me, better for the environment, and inexpensive!  A one time purchase that will last years to come.  I'd say that's the best of all worlds.

What do you use to wash your face?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Norwex Series: Window Cloth

This is the second cloth from Norwex that I use regularly, the window cloth.  This cloth is also made of their higher quality microfibre which I discussed in more detail in the enviro cloth post.  This cloth has a different weave and is much smoother though.  It also has silver woven into the cloth making it antibacterial as well.  The silver weave was also discussed in greater depth in the enviro cloth post as mentioned above. 

The window cloth is perfect for any surface that needs to be polished such as windows, mirrors, faucets, jewelry, or any other shiny surface.  For light cleaning/polishing, spray water onto the surface then wipe with the dry window cloth.  For dirty objects, wash first with the wet enviro cloth, then wipe with the dry window cloth.  Just the cloth(s) and water, and the result is always a bright, streak-free shine.

I love using my window cloth because every time I wipe my bathroom mirror with it, the whole bathroom feels brighter and cleaner.  Plus, I know it's better for me and the environment than Windex or any of its competitors. 

What do you use for windows and mirrors?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Egg Shell Tea for the Garden

Brad and I have been composting for about 9 months now (something that I keep meaning to write a post on, it will come soon).  At first we put egg shells in along with our other food scraps, but lately we have found a better use for them.  I know that putting egg shells in your compost is great, but it drives me crazy how they never ever ever seem to break down.  For a while we went back to throwing them in the regular garbage, but I felt guilty about that.  Now we get the nutrients in a faster process.  I present to you, egg shell tea.

Just kidding.  But it is similar.

We crush and rinse the egg shells to make sure all the egg white is off of them.  Then we soak the egg shells in water for 2-3 days usually.  Then we use that water to water our plants.  I use it particularly for the spider plant, but also for the pot of spinach we are growing outside.  I have noticed a big growth spurt specifically in our spider plant since I began to water with the "egg shell tea."

Egg shells contain water soluble nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.  Soaking the shells allows me to quickly extract these nutrients and feed them to our plants.  Egg shells are also alkaline, and thus using this water somewhat increases the pH level of the soil which is beneficial to some plants.

How do you use egg shells?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Norwex Series: Enviro Cloth

When talking about Norwex, the Enviro Cloth is the perfect place to begin for it is the product with which the company started.  The Enviro Cloth is a microfibre cloth.  Norwex boasts of their higher quality microfibre.  Typical microfibre measures 1 denier while Norwex microfibre measures 0.14 denier (that's 1/100th the size of a stand of human hair).  Because of this, it picks up and removes dirt and bacteria much more effectively.  There is another extra-special component to the Enviro Cloth (as well as many other Norwex products).  Silver is woven into the microfibre of these cloths.  Silver is naturally antibacterial, and thus by using these cloths and water alone you will kill 99.99% of bacteria.  No cleaners required.  The silver also helps to keep the cloth itself clean, meaning you can use the cloth a few times and only rinse it out between washings.  It also keeps your hands safe from a transfer of germs while using it and prevents cross contamination between surfaces.  At every Norwex party I've been to, the consultant loves to shock the guests by informing us that we can safely use an Enviro Cloth to clean our toilet then go straight into the kitchen and wipe our counters.  They have done tests with results showing that not only is there no cross over of bacteria from the toilet to the counters, but the counters are left cleaner afterwards.

There are 2 ways to use these cloths: dry and wet.
Dry - dusting (though I don't use it for this, I will get to what I do use later in this series)
Wet - cleaning pretty well anything: counters, toilets, mirrors, sinks, walls, tiles, any metal surfaces, on and on

I love my Enviro Cloths.  The fact that it has replaced nearly every cleaner I could need has saved me so much money.  I know that it is so much better for the environment as well not putting anything down the drain.  Better for my health as well to not have my house contaminated with cleaner residues or inhaling their fumes.  The cloths' effectiveness continues to impressive me each time I use it as well, so I am not sacrificing cleaning power.  Plus, it is incredibly durable.  I know I will be able to continue to use my same original cloths years from now (and it's guaranteed with a warranty).

What do you think of the Enviro Cloth?  What do you use for general cleaning?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Norwex Series: The Company

I just went to a Norwex party this weekend, and it has reignited my love and enthusiasm for these products.  I have briefly referenced Norwex products before, but not in much detail, so now I have decided to have a Norwex series discussing the items I use.  Today I am going to start with the company itself.

As it reads on their website, "the Norwex mission is to improve quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning."  Their whole concept is to clean without chemicals.  They even take it a step further by doing a lot of their cleaning just with water alongside their cloths.  I love how the Senior Vice President words their theme as a "reverence for the value and beauty of all life on a healthy planet."

So, what are these products I keep going on about?  They have got everything you could need covering all the categories of:
-microfibre cloths
-mop pieces and accessories
-bath and body care
-home essentials
-kitchen cleaning
-personal care
-kids line

 The Norwex products will save you time and money, improve health, and help protect the environment.  Plus, they are the most effective cleaners I have used.  I can't wait to dig into them more during the following posts of this series.

Have you heard of Norwex?  Do you use any Norwex products?