Mold & Mildew Shower Spray

This is the first of a multi-part series on using essential oils in the home and on your body. Excited to make some potions? We already have some essential oil uses in our archives, and you can see our introduction to essential oils here. Also, lemons are our ingredient of the season. You can find more lemony-fresh posts here.

Moving into our new house, I had one thing on my mind when it came to the showers : keeping them clean! Let’s be honest, they are never really squeaky clean, but I wanted to be sure that they stayed free of mold and mildew. We have three showers in the house, and they are all tiled and have glass doors, so there are a lot of grout cracks and door crevices to keep my eye on.

With the limited time I have, I knew I wouldn’t be in there scrubbing them each week, so I was on the hunt for a mold and mildew prevention spray that I could use between deep cleans. I found just what I was looking for in my new favorite cleaning resource, The Naturally Clean Home. That is a great book for anyone looking to rid their cleaning routine of chemicals, and it’s particularly helpful if you’re new to many of the natural alternatives as she provides a great overview of what the common ingredients used throughout the book.

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Today’s recipe uses two essential oils and a citrus extract. All three ingredients are powerful antimicrobials, helping to kill mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus. All of the nasty stuff that you don’t want growing in your shower. Water is used as the diluting agent, because at full strength, the oils and extracts would cause damage to your skin and possibly to some of the surfaces in your shower.

Ingredients & Materials :

  • spray bottle, 16 oz or larger
  • 2 cups water
  • 8-10 drops citrus seed extract (commonly sold in health food stores as grapefruit seed extract)
  • 2 tsp tea tree oil
  • 4-6 drops lemon essential oil

Mix all ingredients together in the bottle and spray on a wet shower surface (a great time is immediately after you shower), paying special attention to cracks and crevices, especially those that are in the darker corners of your shower. I like to give the bottle a good shake before each use, just to be sure that the ingredients are well-mixed.

While this spray does an amazing job of deterring mold and mildew, and even killing the little colonies that start to grow, I’ve found that there are time when I have to add a bit of scrubbing to completely eliminate some spots. When I have them, I love to use magic erasers for this job. I find that at times they are even better than a traditional scrub brush at getting into small crevices and completely removing all signs of mold and mildew.

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When it comes to this potion, I always use the grapefruit extract and tea tree oil, but will vary which other essential oil I’m using depending upon the season. I’ve used peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender in the past. If you do experiment, I would recommend sticking with an essential oil that has some antimicrobial properties, but off course, you could always add a few drops of other essential oils if you like their aroma.

Now, do yourself and the planet some good : ditch the bleach cleaners and start crafting your own shower spray with essential oils!

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Lemon Bars

Every season we like to pick one ingredient and find a variety of ways to love it and use it. This summer it’s lemons! You can find our complete ingredient archive here.

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Lemon bars! Leeeemon Bars!! These are not for the sugar-free, but they’re oh so tasty. I love the tangy flavor and the soft texture of these lemon bars made with fresh lemon juice. Lemon bars are my new go-to party treat because a tiny square can go a long way. I actually halved this recipe because it’s waaaay too much for two people and even a lot for a family of four.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Filling:
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light.
  3. Combine the flour and salt and add to the butter until just mixed. It might seem a bit crumbly, but that is normal.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball inside the bowl.
  5. With floured hands, press the dough into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet, building up a 1/4-1/2 inch edge on all sides.
  6. Chill in the fridge for at least thirty minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the crust for 15 minutes or until very lightly browned.
  8. While the crust is baking, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, eggs and flour. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
  9. Cut into squares and dust with confectioners' sugar and top with berries if desired.
  10. *If you're making lemon bars for a crowd (six or more people) then double the recipe!
http://liveseasoned.com/lemon-bars/

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Whaddya say? Lemon bars for dessert this weekend?!

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Ingredient of the Season : Lemons!

Every season we like to pick one ingredient and find a variety of ways to love it and use it. You can find our complete ingredient archive here.

When we think of summer, one of our absolute favorite ingredients is lemons. Think of that first refreshing sip from a tall glass of lemonade. And there’s something so perfect about the tart bite from a lemon bar or a slice of lemon meringue pie at the end of a long summer day. While we like to work with ingredients that are in season, and we know that the primary season for citrus harvests in the US is during the winter, as you’ll see below, lemons sort of break that rule. So we thought they were ripe (haha) to be this season’s featured ingredient!

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Homemade Lemonade,

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Happy Wednesday!  Making homemade lemonade is one of those super simple activities that I don’t do nearly enough.  This past Sunday I reaaaaally wanted a treat, but I’m sure you remember that I’m saving up for a travel adventure, which means NO treats! At least no treats that I have to pay for. After gazing longingly into my freezer and still not seeing any ice cream, I spun around and spotted an enormous bowl of lemons on my countertop and that’s how this homemade lemonade recipe was born.

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Quick Pickles

If you’ve been following along, you may have heard and seen that our farm share started. I’m still in disbelief that we were able to get a share that is this awesome so late in the season! And now I’m remembering what it’s like to have (the wonderful) pressure of a fridge full of veggies pushing me to get creative with dinner.

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In this first box we received your typical fall fare: a few bunches of kale and chard, potatoes, squash, etc. What I didn’t expect were the couple of cucumbers and the big beautiful bunch of dill blossoms. I thought cucumber season had passed, and I’ve never received the dill blossoms, so this was a new and unexpected surprise. I have to admit that I have a tendency to buy cucumbers and forget about them, but I didn’t want to let that happen this time. So I turned to one of my favorite easy ways to use up those cukes in a jiffy: overnight pickles! We don’t buy pickles often (and when we do they tend to sit in the fridge for months), but these are different. They are so fresh and delicious,  barely lasting a week in our house.

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This recipe comes from my mom, but I adjusted it to make use of what I had on hand: eliminating the green pepper and adding the dill blossoms and a bit of fresh dill. Do you hear that? The blossoms were totally a bonus, this recipe is just as delicious without the fresh herb, but as you’ll see, they sure add a touch of something beautiful to the jar.

Ingredients

  • 3 average-sized cucumbers (here I used 2 large)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • optional – dill blossoms

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How-to

  • Slice the cucumbers, green pepper, and onion, and mix them in a bowl with the salt and celery seed. Let this mixture stand for one hour.
  • Mix together the sugar and lemon juice and add it to the cucumber mixture. Add the sliced lemon and stir.
  • Cover the container and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating. I like to go in there and give it a stir once in a while, or if using a jar I just give it a gentle shake, slowly turning it upside down. The juices may not cover your mixture right away, but they will as the 24 hours progresses.

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The blossoms are a really flavorful part of the dill plant. I added a few to a warm veggie mixture as it cooked, and they imparted a fantastic but not overpowering dill flavor. I found that they did a same thing here ~ creating a batch of pickles that had a sweet dill flavor. I added blossoms that weren’t fully open to my jar before filling it with the cucumber mixture (I’m not sure if there’s any difference in the flavor imparted by open versus closed blossoms?).

While the pickles taste delicious, I think I get just as much fun out of opening my fridge and seeing this beautiful jar sitting on the shelf (for the whole 2-3 days that it’s there!).

Ack, ok, maybe it’s even more fun seeing little A gobble them up and then sign for more with celery seeds sticking to his face!

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Rosemary Body Scrubs

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. Today we’re using the same rosemary essential oil that we used to make those invigorating room sprays. Want the recipe for a perfect evening? Take a shower with these scrubs, pore yourself a Rosemary SAGE Fizz, and roast a plate of rosemary tomatoesliveseasoned_spring2014_rosemaryscrub7-1024x768 copy

We are always down for making our own body care products. Sure, it requires time and sometimes a bit of experimentation, but it’s almost always worth it. Why? It feels good to know the short list of ingredients we use are nontoxic. It’s often cheaper than products from the pharmacy. The options for personalization are endless! And finally, when I’m in the kitchen mixing up a big batch of this or that, I love that Calder refers to them as potions. Silly, but fun.

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Refreshing Lemon Vodka Waters

I’m not one for getting drunk, but I definitely enjoy my fair share of cocktails.  Right now I’m loving this simple and refreshing lemon vodka water.  If you like lemon water, you’ll like this.  It’s unbelievable how the lemon masks the taste of vodka so well.  It’s easy enough to whip up a whole pitcher, so go ahead and try it next time your friends are over.  If you’re really in the entertaining spirit, slice up a lemon, put it in a muffin tin, top with water and freeze for cute ice cubes like shown below.

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