The Weekend Post: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Hacks That Actually Work #AD

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Doing a little bit of cleaning here and there on a regular basis, is a lot less stressful than trying to tackle the enormous challenge of cleaning the whole house when family or friends arrive unannounced, or you have that all-important landlord check to pass. To make things even easier, here are my top 5 eco-friendly cleaning hacks that actually work - so you can get the job done without harming the environment in the process - win, win!

Hack 1 - Use White Vinegar & Water to Clean Windows & Mirrors
Lots of mainstream window cleaners contain butoxyethanol which can cause a sore throat if inhaled and can really irritate the lungs of asthma sufferers, so make your own natural window cleaner by simply mixing white vinegar and plain water (50/50 ratio) in a spray bottle. Spritz onto any window and mirrored surface to remove dirt and grease marks, and then buff to a beautiful shine with a reusable cloth.

Hack 2 - Get Rid Of Bad Cooking Odours With Essential Oils
Opened your oven or microwave and got a whiff of something nasty? You don't need to resort to using bleach-based products to get rid of those bad post-cooking smells. Instead, add a few drops of essential oils (citrus, eucalyptus or vanilla all work nicely) to a bowl of water and pop it into the oven or microwave on a medium heat setting. Allow the water to steam the inside surfaces until almost evaporated, then remove, switch off and wipe a cloth over the surfaces. It will smell so much better!

Hack 3 - Remove Tough Grime And Stains With Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used for so many different purposes and it works particularly well for removing those tough, built up stains on oven doors, as well as general daily dirt and grime in both bathroom and kitchen areas. Make a thick paste by combining baking soda with a little water, spread it onto the dirt/stains and allow it to do its thing for 15 minutes before removing with a damp cloth.

Hack 4 - Put Lemons In The Oven, Microwave And Dishwasher
It may sound strange at first, but lemons have natural antibacterial properties which can help to degrease ovens, microwaves and dishwashers. To use in the oven or microwave, cut them in half and rub directly onto the inside surfaces. Leave for 20 minutes and then wipe down with a damp cloth to remove grease and stains. You can also use lemons in the dishwasher to degrease and refresh - simply cut them in half and put them inside the top rack face down, then run the dishwasher on an eco wash. Compost the lemons after use and enjoy a sparkling clean and fresh dishwasher.

Hack 5 - Re-Use Your Old Toothbrushes For Cleaning Hard To Reach Areas
Save your old toothbrushes for cleaning those hard to reach/tricky areas around the house. The smaller brush heads allow you to angle into all sorts of nooks and crannies and remove dirt and grime found around taps, in between grouting tiles and at the back of washing machine drawers. 

Need some more cleaning hacks? 
Check out these cheap and easy DIY eco-cleaning methods from Pattersons below! Pattersons offer both commercial and household eco-friendly cleaning product ranges, so why not discover their eco cleaning products today?



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What are your favourite eco-cleaning hacks?

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Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)

Friday, 1 November 2019

Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
The weather is awful so it's time to embrace those simple pleasures in life, such as cosying up on the sofa with a hot bowl of homemade soup.  This easy Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup recipe will warm you up in no time at all!

Soups are a great way to use up leftover veg and once you get into the habit of making your own (and it's pretty addictive when you start), you'll quickly find that you'll never want to eat a ready-made can of soup ever again. Homemade really is best here and I'm sure you'll agree once you've tasted this delicious recipe.

I always try to make sure that I incorporate plenty of naturally red coloured foods into my diet as they are packed full of super-healthy antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, manganese and lycopene, as well as being a good source of dietary fibre. Cooking tomatoes, in particular, helps them to release more of the antioxidant lycopene which helps to protect the heart and even lowers the risk of some forms of cancer.

Not only that, but roasting the tomatoes and red peppers for this recipe takes this soup to the next level up in terms of adding even more flavour, so it's well worth taking the extra time to do this, and once your soup is ready, you'll have a whole batch to see you through the week for some speedy lunches or dinners. Yum!

Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Ingredients (makes four servings - simply double the ingredients to make a bigger batch if you're meal prepping)
  • 4 medium-sized Red Peppers
  • 400g Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 small White Onion
  • 1 stick of Celery
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic, depending on taste
  • 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 400ml Vegetable Stock
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  • Drizzle of Coconut Milk (optional)
  • Chilli Flakes (optional)

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 4. Cut the Red Peppers in half and discard the ribs and seeds. Halve the Tomatoes and Onion, and place everything on a baking tray, along with the Garlic to roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until soft. 
  • In a large saucepan, mix together the Vegetable Stock and Tomato Puree. Finely chop the Celery and add it to the saucepan, simmering over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the peel from the roasted Onion and Garlic and add them to the saucepan for 5 minutes, before adding the roasted Red PeppersTomatoes and Olive Oil. Simmer for another 5 minutes to allow all of the flavours to infuse.
  • Add a drizzle of Coconut Milk if using and transfer everything to a food processor. Blend until smooth and pour a serving into a bowl. 
  • Season with Salt & Pepper, and sprinkle over some Chili Flakes if you like a little spice. Enjoy immediately whilst the soup is still hot with some slices of toasted sourdough.

Storage tip: Once thoroughly cooled, this soup will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or it can be frozen in batches for up to a month. Ensure it is fully defrosted before reheating and always serve piping hot.

Do you enjoy making your own soup?

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