Friday, January 23, 2009

A Book and A Burger: Two Recommendations

First the book. I really love reading and books. Sometimes I think I'd like to go back to school to become a librarian just so I could always be around books. I know that the times are rapidly changing and with things like Kindle, books will most likely go the way of tapes and compact disks. But I still love to hold a book, smell its pages, lay it on a table with a bookmark stuck in it, close it shut, thoroughly satisfied after I've read it. But I digress . . .

More than the romance of book reading, I love the usefulness of books. Reading is how I learn best. In my quest to live a more natural life, reading has been the one tool that has really informed and enlightened me.

So today I'd like to share one book that has really helped me keep my house a non-toxic place and I'm recommending it today after cleaning my hardwood floor with a recipe from this book: Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan. Sometimes we think chemicals will do a better job of cleaning because they are harsh and are marketed as able to do "all the work" for us with little or no effort on our part. But no chemical laden wood floor cleaner has come close to the one I made up here at home using basic ingredients. This is the best cleaner bar none for cleaning hardwood floors. And the greatest thing about it is that I don't have to hold my nose or brave an all out allergy attack episode in order to have sparkling, beautiful hardwood floors. There are many other recipes in the book but it also gives lots of useful information about commercial cleaners and rates the effectiveness of all the recipes she gives. She also recommends natural cleaners. But with just vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, and essential oils, the whole house can be sparkling clean and fresh smelling without the dangers of chemicals. Now, I'm going to be completely honest: I still have bleach and Ajax powder cleaner in the house but these are very rarely used nowadays. I have a white enameled cast iron sink and mostly, these two chemical cleaners are the only things that will get it white, i.e. the stains out. (More and more, the non-whiteness bothers me less and less.) I also use Bio-Kleen All-Purpose Cleaner in the Kitchen for the stove and appliances (Dr. Bronner's Sal's Suds is just a bit too strong for me and basic castile soap is not strong enough on the grease). So essentially what I'm saying is that you don't have to be a purist but it's a great step in the right direction in terms of your own health and the Earth's health when you quit using chemical concoctions to clean your whole house. There are plenty of effective alternatives and this book is a nice guide to helping you find the one's that work for you.

Now the burger. I found the recipe on Vegan Dad, a fabulous and creative blog. The burger is called the Perfect Tempeh Burger and that it is. It is flavorful and has a great texture that is similar to the texture of Amy's California Veggie Burger. Also, if you buy your tempeh at Trader Joe's where it's less than $2, for the price of one box of Amy's burgers, you can make this recipe twice, i.e. about 12 burgers. Unfortunately for me, it's obvious that I cannot tolerate wheat gluten so this recipe is not one I can eat. I'll be sticking to The Absolute Best Homemade Veggie Burger. But this is a great one to make for the hubby and I think with a little tweaking of the spices, it could be a nice breakfast patty.

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