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The Clean Fifteen

The Clean 15photo credit: The Digitel Myrtle Beach

In my last post we discussed The Dirty Dozen which is the list of the top culprits of food with the most pesticides so that you had an idea of what to splurge on from the Organic section. Today we are giving you The Clean fifteen, meaning the list of those you can buy that are not organic.

The Clean Fifteen:
These items contain the lowest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. Listed from least to greatest, onion scored the lowest for pesticide content.

1.    Onions
2.    Avocados
3.    Sweet corn
4.    Pineapples
5.    Mango
6.    Asparagus
7.    Sweet Peas
8.    Kiwi
9.    Cabbage
10.  Eggplant
11.  Papaya
12.  Watermelon
13.  Broccoli
14.  Tomatoes
15.  Sweet Potatoes

Anything on your shopping list?

The Dirty Dozen

whole foods producephoto credit: miamism

Organic Smorganic is what my grandmother would have probably have said if you told her we now label foods. However she was the first to run to every market to buy what was fresh from the farm, so maybe she was just a lady a head of her time.

When Sarah was little her best friends mom was from California where everyone always seemed to care about fresh food and what they put in their bodies. Her friends mom’s brother owned a Grocery chain out there and she was the first person to introduce me to the “organic lifestyle” but that was almost 22 years ago and we only had one organic market in the area; then a second popped up, then Fresh Fields came to town to become Whole Foods, and then the grocery stores got hit with the bug and began to carry organic foods. Organic foods are harvested without pesticides and for some reason are more costly, actually I’m not sure why if they are grown in “pure” soil and meats don’t use hormones’, however that is another discussion, the fact is they are more costly but the question is does one need to pay the premium to buy everything organic?

After a bit of research I’m letting you know which you should spend the extra dollars on and which foods you can buy from the good old veggie/fruit section..

The Dirty Dozen:
These are the top 12 fruit-and-veggie offenders for pesticide residue.

1.    Peaches
2.    Apples
3.    Bell Peppers
4.    Celery
5.    Nectarines
6.    Strawberries
7.    Cherries
8.    Kale
9.    Lettuce
10.  Grapes (imported)
11.  Carrots
12.  Pears

Kitchen Tip: Since organic foods can be pricey, offset the cost by buying these fruits and veggies when they are “in season”.

Run ups:
Other veggies that ranked high are:

  • collard greens
  • spinach
  • potatoes.

Some Food for Thought:

Hit up your local farmers markets- often times smaller farms don’t have to use the same types or amounts of pesticides as large farms that service grocery stores. Talk to your local farmer at farm markets to find out how he or she uses pesticides.

Kitchen Tip: To decrease the amount of pesticide residue even further wash produce well before using.

This is just another reason to love local farmers markets. What do you splurge on?

The big bad dirty oven

My not so clean oven

Yes, I have a self-cleaning oven… Well it would be one thing if I used the “self-clean” every once in a while but who has time for that? LOL Instead we use it and use it however when it came time for the Eco-Green Kitchen Cleaning Challenge to clean the oven, I took a good look inside and thought Um, Yup this is much needed. OK, I have to put a little disclaimer here I do clean it but just not that often… As I said, who has time to wait the 4-6 hours for self clean?

In keeping with the Eco-friendly challenge I came up with this “concoction” which seemed to do the trick pretty good.

Chemical Free Oven Cleaning Concoction


5T Baking Soda
3 Drops of Liquid Dish Soap
4T White Vinegar


Mix the above into a thick paste.

Watching it bubble reminded me of an old chemistry experiment

Use a sponge to apply to the oven cleaning concoction to the inside of the oven

Let sit for an hour or so

Get ready to work those arm muscles and scrub

Use a lemon to scrub some more and get rid of the vinegar smell

Rinse thoroughly with water and wipe dry

*a little tip before baking in the oven after cleaning I would take some bread and bake it to “absorb” the smells so it doesn’t end up in your next dish.

I don’t know about you but I have a “little” problem with food breaking the boundaries of my pans sometimes and messing up my oven floor. Obviously it is best to try and stop this from happening so here are a few tips:

Muffins: Use a measuring cup with a spout to pour batter into muffin tins neatly, avoiding drops on the tin that can burn and “hop” off. To make sure your muffins don’t topple over never fill the tins more than ¾ full.

Casseroles: Put a cooking sheet on the rack below with aluminum foil inside. If anything spills over it is as easy as throwing up the foil.

Pies: I find that it is best when cooking pies to use a silicone mat (for baking cookies) on a baking sheet below. Again, that way the mat will catch the bubbling fruit that almost always runs over the sides.

Somehow those are my worst culprits for “overflow” hope this helps and remedies… What do you use and tell me how often do you clean your oven? Remember no judgments coming from me!

If you want to check out my other DIY Eco-friendly Kitchen Cleaning:
Shelley vs the Kitchen Sink DIY Style
8 Ways to a Mean Green and Clean Dancing Machine Cook Top

8 Ways to a mean green and clean dancin’ machine cook top!

This morning I am working on Day 2 Greener Cleaning Kitchen Challenge: How I Clean My Stove top with Natural Cleaners, Woot Woot!

This morning I picked up on my second Eco-Green Kitchen Cleaning Challenge. I picked up some handy dandy tips (from the world wide web) for cleaning glass tops which I will pass onto all of you, as well as a wonderfully smelling green “concoction” that left me feeling great and dancing around my kitchen to “beautiful girl” and all I kept thinking was “beautiful stove top!” lol

8 Ways to a mean green and clean dancin machine cook top!

1. Verify that the cooking surface has cooled down before attempting to clean it. Monitor the “hot surface” light feature on your stove.

2. Wipe and clean the glass top with hot soapy water or a mild, non-abrasive cleanser with a damp cloth or sponge as soon as possible once the cook top has cooled down. For more of an elbow cleaning kind of day try the concoction below to get up old grease and grime!

3. Clean the glass top cooking surface after every meal so food does not become baked on and stuck on the next time you cook. You’ll really regret cooking with a dirty stove.

4. Soak heavy, sticky spills such as candy, jellies, syrup and sauces, as soon as possible. Hot water will help soften the spill.

5. Use a scraper made specifically for glass top stoves to help lift and scrape away stubborn spills, being careful to not scratch the surface. Continue to clean the entire cooking surface using a mild, non abrasive cleaner (baking soda is the green abrasive!) and a damp cloth or sponge.

6. Try the cleaning concoction below! This will become your best friend for cleaning white film, metal specks from the bottom of your pots, heavy soils marks, dark streaks and any other strange discolorations that may appear. As well as glass tops!

7. Remember that your glass top stove is not a new counter top. Avoid placing objects on it,such as plastic bags, that may accidentally melt or adhere to the surface if it is still hot. Be sure to monitor the “hot surface” light before setting anything on it.

8. Use gloves! Baking soda will take a toll on your hands.

What You’ll Need:

Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) A deodorizer and gentle scrub; softens hard water, removes acidic stains, and polishes shiny surfaces like stainless steel without scratching

Plant-based liquid soap Gentle soap made with oils such as olive (“Castile soap”), palm, and coconut, rather than petroleum derivatives or animal fat

Essential oils Aromatic plant oils; some, including eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree, are natural disinfectants and antifungals. Pure essential oils can irritate eyes and skin upon contact, so handle carefully

Before photo’s:

Basic Soft Scrubber Formula:

1/2 cup baking soda

Enough liquid soap or detergent to make a frosting-like consistency (see note, below)

5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)which I just happened to have picked up when I visited Canyon Ranch last summer. Yay for aromatherapy cleaning!


Pour the baking soda in a bowl

Slowly pour in the liquid soap or detergent, stirring all the while, until the consistency reaches that of frosting.

Add in lavender or tea tree oil, mix together, be prepared to be whisked into stress free feeling cleaning my friends!

Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, and rinse, and don’t forget to throw yourself into the rubbing and scrubbing!

Note: If you have hard water, you will want to choose a liquid detergent instead of a liquid soap. Most health food stores offer all-purpose liquid detergents and soaps. These are the best choices because they include no synthetic perfumes and dyes, and tend to be the most concentrated.

Also, use gloves! Silly me didn’t and the baking soda and tea tree oil did a little number on my hands..

I left the cleaner on the stove top for about 5 minutes to harden a bit and then came back with my little rag, cranked up my little music box and started to burn some serious calories scrubbing. It was elbow grease time; I wanted to see if I could really make this sparkle and impress the old hubby! So circle, circle, rinse, repeat with a few little dance moves mixed in and after about 15 minutes I was done. Oh my goodness, well you tell me what you think…

*only sorry you missed my mad dance/cleaning moves… maybe another time! lol

Do you dance and clean?

If you missed last weeks Challenge it was to clean the kitchen sink: Shelley vs the kitchen sink DIY style

Shelley vs the kitchen sink diy style

Last week I started something new for my “wellness makeover,” I’m now going “green” with my cleaning, and creating a new section called Green Living. It began when my new friend Carla who I met during the Winter ProBlogger 31dbbb challenge asked me to join her “greener cleaning mom’s kitchen challenge” just in time for spring cleaning. For years I have worried a little about all of the chemicals in cleaners as I have rubbed and scrubbed with numerous cleansers and worried about the fumes for me and also for my family especially little Hadley with her medical conditions. Thanks to Carla I am learning I don’t have to sacrifice health for a clean home. Nontoxic DIY cleaners deliver considerable power at minimal cost too which is a “good thing.”

So I thought why not?

Greener Cleaning Moms

This week’s challenge was to clean your kitchen sink. Now you have to know I clean my kitchen sink about 4 times a day, unless it is a lazy Sunday and you know the stuff just piles up until good old Monday!- Um, don’t you do that too?

When I went to take the photo’s of my sink I did notice some black around the drain and between the sink and the granite at the top so those were really going to be the areas I worked on the most.

What did I use to clean the kitchen sink:
OK Carla recommended cleaning with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part Baking Soda to make a paste but we were out of white vinegar so I thought about the great smell of lemons and knew they make great sponges sometimes and leave the disposal smelling great so I used the baking soda and water to make a little paste and scrubbed with my lemon.

Baking soda: (aka sodium bicarbonate) A deodorizer and gentle scrub; softens hard water, removes acidic stains, and polishes shiny surfaces like stainless steel without scratching.

Lemon: A deodorizer, stain remover, and grease cutter; acts as a mild bleach when exposed to sunlight.

So with a little elbow grease here are the before…


and after photo’s…

Next time I will have to try the vinegar/baking soda mixture and see if there is a difference… but loved the lemony smell from the disposal, and no waste or trash! OK now just waiting on this week’s challenge… How about you, want to join?

What do you use to clean your sink with?