Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Game Day Done the Green Way

Football season has officially started! That means tailgating and entertaining, both of which are often not eco-friendly. This season, let's all be conscious about game parties. We promise, you won't have any less fun!

Ditch the Disposables - Reusable products work just as well or better. Preserve makes reusable tableware and kitchen utensils from #5 plastics, which many recycling programs do not accept. If you absolutely must use disposables, opt for compostable items, such as the ones made by Ultra Green.

Buy Local and Organic Food - Eating local products will not only reduce your carbon footprint and support your local economy, but local products just taste better. For local, all-natural meat, our stores offer T & D Charolais and Proffit Family Farms. And we all know the benefits of organics; if you can get local and organic, it's a win all the way around!

Drink Eco-Responsibly - Purchasing a keg for the event, in conjunction with reusable cups, will create much less waste. Using a keg cooler bag instead of bags of ice will save water and energy. If you decide not to go the keg route, purchase local and organic beers. Don't drink beer? Use Natural Rocks spring water ice in your cocktails.

Grill the Green Way -  There is much debate on which grilling method is the most environmentally-friendly. If you grill often, you may want to consider purchasing a solar-powered or ethanol grill, there are many on the market. If you own a charcoal grill, use Royal Oak 100% hardwood lumps, no lighter fluid required.

Use Renewable Energy - Hand crank radios work great and don't require any energy at all for use (except human energy) or try a portable solar powered outlet for your boombox, Ipod system or other electric items. For those of you braving the cold winter games, invest in a solar powered generator for your heaters. For battery operated items, try Perf Go Green alkaline batteries.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle - Hopefully, we are all recycling at home. If you're tailgating, be sure to bring a separate bag for recyclable items. For more impact, use Natural Value garbage bags.

All of the products mentioned above which have links are available for purchase through Healthy Home Market. Now it's time to party! Go Panthers!

Friday, September 17, 2010

46 Smart Uses for Salt

This blog comes courtesy of Melissa Breyer at Green.yahoo.com. We found it so interesting and handy that we decided to pass it on!

How many ways can you use salt? According to the Salt Institute, about 14,000! The salt website has tons of handy tips for using salt around the house, and the best of the bunch -- plus my additions -- are listed below. I can't think of another more versatile mineral. Salt is the most common and readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. In fact, the supply of salt is inexhaustible. For thousands of years, salt (sodium chloride) has been used to preserve food and for cleaning, and people have continued to rely on it for all kinds of nifty tricks. So with its nontoxic friendliness and status as an endlessly abundant resource, let's swap out some toxic solutions for ample, innocuous, and inexpensive salt. There are a number of forms of salt produced for consumption (and by default, housekeeping!): unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. Kosher salt is sodium chloride processed to have flat crystals. And in case you're wondering, Epsom salt is an entirely different stuff: magnesium sulfate to be exact (which is a salt that I consider to be, essentially, miraculous). Here are just a few of the many ways you can put salt to good use in your home:

In the Kitchen
Aside from all of the alchemy that salt performs in terms of baking chemistry and food flavor, salt has a number of other great applications in the kitchen.

Test egg freshness.
Put two teaspoons of salt in a cup of water and place an egg in it -- a fresh egg will sink, an older egg will float. Because the air cell in an egg increases as it ages, an older egg is more buoyant. This doesn't mean a floating egg is rotten, just more mature. Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it for any funky odor or appearance -- if it's rotten, your nose will tell you. (Bonus fact: if you have hard-boiled eggs that are difficult to peel, that means they are fresh!)
Set poached eggs.
Because salt increases the temperature of boiling water, it helps to set the whites more quickly when eggs are dropped into the water for poaching.
Prevent fruits from browning.
Most of us use lemon or vinegar to stop peeled apples and pears from browning, but you can also drop them in lightly salted water to help them keep their color.
Shell nuts more easily.
Soak pecans and walnuts in salt water for several hours before shelling to make it easier to remove the meat.
Prevent cake icing crystals.
A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.
Remove odors from hands.
Oniony-garlicy fingers? I like soap and water, then rubbing them on anything made of stainless steel (it really works), but you can also rub your fingers with a salt and vinegar combo.
Reach high peaks.
Add a tiny pinch of salt when beating egg whites or whipping cream for quicker, higher peaks.
Extend cheese life.
Prevent mold on cheese by wrapping it in a cloth moistened with saltwater before refrigerating.
Save the bottom of your oven.
If a pie or casserole bubbles over in the oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spill. It won't smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked-on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled.

Personal Care

Extend toothbrush life.
Soak toothbrushes in salt water before your first use; they'll last longer.
Clean teeth.
Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda -- dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual. You can also use the same mix dissolved in water for orthodontic appliances.
Rinse your mouth.
Mix equal parts salt and baking soda in water for a fresh and deodorizing mouth rinse.
Ease mouth problems.
For cankers, abscesses, and other mouth sores, rinse your mouth with a weak solution of warm saltwater several times a day.
Relieve bee-sting pain.
Ouch? Immediately dampen area and pack on a small pile of salt to reduce pain and swelling. More bee-sting tips here.
Treat mosquito bites.
A saltwater soak can do wonders for that special mosquito-bite itch -- a poultice of salt mixed with olive oil can help too.
Treat poison ivy.
Same method as for treating mosquito bites. (Salt doesn't seem to distinguish between itches.)
Have an exfoliating massage.
After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It freshens skin and boosts circulation.
Ease throat pain.
Mix salt and warm water, gargle to relieve a sore throat.

Around the House

Deter ants.
Sprinkle salt at doorways, window sills, and anywhere else ants sneak into your house. Ants don't like to walk on salt.
Extinguish grease fires.
Keep a box of salt near your stove and oven, and if a grease fire flares up, douse the flames with salt. (Never use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease.) When salt is applied to fire, it acts like a heat sink and dissipates the heat from the fire -- it also forms an oxygen-excluding crust to smother the fire.
Drip-proof candles.
If you soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well, they will not drip as much when you burn them.
Keep cut flowers fresh.
A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer. (You can also try an aspirin or a dash of sugar for the same effect.)
Arrange artificial flowers.
Artificial flowers can be held in place by pouring salt into the vase, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt become solid as it dries and holds the flowers in place.
Make play dough.
Use 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Stir together flour, cream of tartar, salt, and oil, and slowly add water. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until dough becomes stiff. Spread onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until it reaches a good dough consistency. (Read about juice dyes here.)
Repair walls.
To fill nail holes, fix chips or other small dings in white sheet-rock or plaster walls, mix 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons cornstarch, then add enough water (about 5 teaspoons) to make a thick paste. Use the paste to fill the holes.
Deter patio weeds.
If weeds or grass grow between bricks or blocks in your patio, sidewalk, or driveway, carefully spread salt between the cracks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.
Kill poison ivy.
Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water (use a gentle dish soap) and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer, avoiding any plant life that you want to keep.
De-ice sidewalks and driveways.
One of the oldest tricks in the book! Lightly sprinkle rock salt on walks and driveways to keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easier shoveling/scraping. But don't overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to plants and paws.
Tame a wild barbecue.
Toss a bit of salt on flames from food dripping in barbecue grills to reduce the flames and calm the smoke without cooling the coals (like water does).

Salt works as an effective yet gentle scouring agent. Salt also serves as a catalyst for other ingredients, such as vinegar, to boost cleaning and deodorizing action. For a basic soft scrub, make a paste with lots of salt, baking soda and dish soap and use on appliances, enamel, porcelain, etc.

Clean sink drains.
Pour salt mixed with hot water down the kitchen sink regularly to deodorize and keep grease from building up.
Remove water rings.
Gently rub a thin paste of salt and vegetable oil on the white marks caused by beverage glasses and hot dishes on wooden tables.
Clean greasy pans.
Cast-iron skillets can be cleaned with a good sprinkling of salt and paper towels.
Clean stained cups.
Mix salt with a dab of dish soap to make a soft scrub for stubborn coffee and tea stains.
Clean refrigerators.
A mix of salt and soda water can be used to wipe out and deodorize the inside of your refrigerator, a nice way to keep chemical-y cleaners away from your food.
Clean brass or copper.
Mix equal parts of salt, flour, and vinegar to make a paste, and rub the paste on the metal. After letting it sit for an hour, clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.
Clean rust.
Mix salt and cream of tartar with just enough water to make a paste. Rub on rust, let dry, brush off and buff with a dry, soft cloth. You can also use the same method with a mix of salt and lemon.
Clean a glass coffee pot.
Every diner waitress' favorite tip: add salt and ice cubes to a coffee pot, swirl around vigorously, and rinse. The salt scours the bottom, and the ice helps to agitate it more for a better scrub.


Attack wine spills.
If a tipsy guest tips wine on your cotton or linen tablecloth, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with a pile of salt, which will help pull the remaining wine away form the fiber. After dinner, soak the tablecloth in cold water for 30 minutes before laundering. (Also works on clothing.)
Quell oversudsing.
Since, of course, we are all very careful in how much detergent we use in our laundry, we never have too many suds. But if someone overfills ... you can eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt.
Dry clothes in the winter.
Use salt in the final laundry rinse to prevent clothes from freezing if you use an outdoor clothes line in the winter.
Brighten colors.
Wash colored curtains or washable fiber rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.
Remove perspiration stains.
Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains fade.
Remove blood stains.
Soak the stained cloth in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on cotton, linen, or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)
Tackle mildew or rust stains.
Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching -- then rinse and dry.
Clean a gunky iron bottom.
Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.
Set color.
Salt is used commonly in the textile industry, but works at home too. If a dye isn't colorfast, soak the garment for an hour in 1/2 gallon of water to which you've added 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup salt, then rinse. If rinse water has any color in it, repeat. Use only on single-colored fabric or madras. If the item is multicolored, dry-clean it to avoid running all of the colors together.

Monday, September 13, 2010

DIY: Pickled Eggs

In honor of the recall-free, local, organic, free-range and totally delicious eggs that we carry here at Healthy Home Market, we would like to share with you a recipe for Pickled Eggs, the poor man's caviar!


12 extra large eggs
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf 
1 or more jalepeno pepper(s) (optional)


1.Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool and peel.

2.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together the vinegar, water and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and mix in the garlic, bay leaf and jalepeno(s). Remove from heat.

3.Transfer the eggs to sterile containers. Fill the containers with the hot vinegar mixture, seal and refrigerate 8 to 10 days before serving.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." - Albert Einstein
This winter, US farmers reported that they lost an average of 40% of their colonies, but some lost upwards of 60-70% and some as high as 90%. Colonies across Europe are collapsing in dramatic numbers as well. 2006 marked the first year that the mass disappearance of honey bee colonies was recognized as Colony Collapse Disorder, though the decline in numbers really began in 1972 and has only gotten worse each year. There are many variables that factor into the decline including urbanization, viruses, malnutrition, fungal infections, antibiotic use, pesticide use and tracheal and Varroa mites. But it is now suspected that Genetically Modified or GMO crops are also playing a part. The United States grows nearly two-thirds of all genetically engineered crops with roughly 171 million acres worth. Billions of bees rely on these fields. A German research study on Colony Collapse Disorder has found that when bees are are exposed to Bt (bacillus thuringiensis), a bacterium in the GMO seeds used to control insects, that the Bt, according to Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry -- or perhaps it was the other way around. We don't know." Another study showed that Cry1Ab, the primary toxin in Bt, impairs bees learning performance, causing them to not gather enough food which can cause colony collapse. More research certainly needs to be done. This is a major problem that has been largely ignored by the government and that millions of people are unaware of. Not only is bee pollination responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables, but our entire existence hinges on it.

What can you do to help? Petitiononline.com is hosting a petition to the world governments asking them to take action and save our bees, it can be signed here. You can also vote with your dollars. Healthy Home Market carries Raw Organic Brazilian Forest Honey Products. This honey comes from native Brazilian bees who have not been treated with antibiotics or pesticides and who have fed from many sources of pollen and nectar, all GMO free. And as an added bonus, these products are all currently buy one, get one free! For more information, please visit their website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Putting Old Produce to Good Use

It happens, we forget about a piece of produce in the back of the drawer, we don't eat all of the bananas before they start browning or the celery before it starts wilting. Produce gets old and it gets damaged in various ways. Sometimes we buy it that way at a discount. But just because a piece of fruit or a veggie is past its prime, doesn't mean that it belongs in the the trash or the compost pile. Here are a few great ways to put old produce to good use!

  • Freeze - If you wash your fruits and veggies before freezing them, they will be ready for smoothies, stir-fry, chili, gumbo, fajitas and anything else you come up with.
  • Dehydrate - Slice your produce thinly and then dehydrate them for a quick snack or in the case of herbs or chilis, for seasoning.
  • Bake - Soft bananas make great banana bread (and pudding!) You can pretty much use any fruit to make bread or muffins. Carrot cake and zucchini bread are examples of baked veggie goods.
  • Sauce - You don't have to be limited to apple sauce, you can also make pear sauce, plum sauce, cranberry sauce, peach sauce, etc. Add cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries...the sky is the limit.
  • Juice - Juicing can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Check your store's reduced rack for past prime produce. 
  • Soup - Soups, stews, chili and gumbo are fantastic destinations for old produce. Keep the skin on for great flavor and hearty vegetable stocks.
  • Baby Food - Fruits, like bananas, actually sweeten as they get older, making them perfect for baby. But this a great idea for any past-prime produce, as long as they are age appropriate. It can be frozen into ice cube trays for later use.
  • Wine - What a great thing to make with past prime fruit! Just let it keep fermenting! There are many recipes on the internet for homemade wine. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Seasonal Recipes for Labor Day Entertaining

AAA predicts that 34.4 million people will travel this Labor Day weekend, many to visit friends and family. So, it looks like a lot of us will be having guests! Here are some easy to prepare seasonal recipes that will not only impress your guests, but allow you to utilize any late summer garden veggies, fresh picked fruit and local produce.


Baked Zucchini Fries
Cucumber Dill Sandwiches
Seasonal Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint and Local Honey

Entrees and Side Dishes

Easy Indian Style Okra
Mediterranean Wraps
Pesto-Stuffed Tomatoes
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lemon-Basil Butter
Grilled Peach and Shrimp Kabobs


Quick and Easy Apple Tarts
Honey-Glazed Grilled Plums

Blackberry Mojito
Bloody Maria
Country Thyme

Healthy Home Market wishes you all a safe and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend!