Detox That Kitchen!

I read a lot about healing, healthy practices like green beauty, clean diets and detoxing our bodies but what about the kitchen?  The kitchen is where we prepare the food we are eating so it makes sense to have a clean, green, detoxed kitchen. I have good intentions and thought I was doing a great job but when I take a good, honest look at things - there's much room for improvement.  

Here's a few simple steps I'm taking to detox my kitchen:

1. Replace my plastic food storage containers with glass ones.  I say I don't reheat in plastic but sometimes life happens and I do. Sigh. We all know the horrors of cooking in plastic. Storing food in plastic isn't good for us either. Here are some sources for glass food storage containers:

2. Use green, environmentally friendly cleaning products that are safe for you and your pets. This includes your hand soap. One of my favorites is Common Good - they make lots of different types of green soap products and have these great refilling stations that you just bring your bottle to and fill up - so much less waste!  Other favs are below!

3. Switch our your sponges on the 1st and 15th of the month. Sponges get gross and need to be changed regularly. Creating mini schedules for simple tasks make it more likely you'll remember to do it. I use this 1st and 15th of the month trick for a few things around the house. It really helps. 

4. Use re-usable produce bags and shopping bags.  This isn't so much about our personal health but the environment's health. It will also help you declutter - I bet you have hundreds of pesky plastic bags crammed under your sink or between your fridge and the wall. Not a bad idea to carry a little portable bag with you so you're always prepared. Did you hear that NYC is now going to charge you for those plastic shopping bags - just another reason to bring your own.

5. Add a plant! Plants do a lot of great things.  Consider adding one that purifies the air like a spider plant, something with medicinal properties like aloe vera or simple fresh herbs for adding to your cooking. 

6. Clean your vents and filters regularly. There's a filter in your dishwasher that needs to be cleaned. It can collect mold which is not what you want all over your dishes. Here's a great way to naturally clean your whole dishwasher.  Don't forget the vents over your stove or any heating ducts - they need attention too. 

7. Remove your non stick, Teflon cookware. It's toxic. Consider ceramic, cast iron, copper or stainless steel pieces. Don't bother with a whole set - think about what you cooked in the last month and what pans your used. For us, a 10 inch skillet, a wok, 3 quart saucepan and a 6 quart stock pot are what we use almost all of the time. 

8. Use cotton towels instead of paper towels and napkins. Years ago, Cameron and I picked up about 25 cotton rags/teas towels and we still use them all the time for cleaning up spills or drying our hands - we have a handful that we use as napkins as well. Find some you like, pick up 20 of them and ditch your paper towels. The earth will thank you. 

9. Brew your coffee with a french press or pour over method because your basket or pod coffee maker is probably full of mold and bacteria. The chemex (a manual pour over style) is my favorite because I feel it makes the best tasting cup of coffee. Also, it's easy to clean and there's nowhere for mold to hide. 

What about you?  Any tips?  

Detox Brownies

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to call these natural brownies, gluten free brownies, detox brownies, food cleanse brownies or paleo brownies.  I'm going with 'detox' because they are made with natural, minimally processed ingredients.  I've been making an effort recently to eat better but I still need a sweet treat every now and again.   

These are moist, almost cake like brownies that have a mild coconut flavor.  There's no added sugar, the medjool dates and dark chocolate provide enough sweetness.  

Almond meal/flour is made from almonds and can be found in most natural food and well stocked grocery stores.  Bob's Red Mill is probably the most easy to find brand and Trader Joe's carries one of their own as well.  

Makes 16 squares.  (117 calories each)

Detox Brownies

7 mendjool dates, pitted

pinch baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 oz dark chocolate, 85% of higher

2 eggs

1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed

3/4 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8" x 8" baking pan.  I like to line mine with lightly greased parchemnt paper for easy clean up.  

Place dates in small bowl and sprinkle with the pinch of baking soda.  Pour in hot water and let dates soak for 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  

Melt chocolate and process with softened dates in a food processor 1 to 2 minutes.  Add eggs, process 1 minute.  Add coconut oil, process 1 minute.  Add almond meal/flour, salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, process 2 minutes.  

Pour into prepared pan and spread around with a spatula to even out surface.  Place in oven and bake about 16 minutes.  A toothpick poked into the center will come out clean.  Cool about 1 hour.