Homemade Disinfecting Spray

Disinfectant Spray Ingredients - Food in Jars

I have never been someone who gets overly concerned about living a meticulously clean life. For all my adult years, I’ve relied on regular applications of soap, hot water, vinegar, fresh air, and a powerful vacuum for most home cleaning endeavors. But then I came down with a cold that would not end and found myself looking for new ways to kill the cold germs in the middle of winter (if it had been just a bit warmer, I would have opened up all the windows for half a day).

Half Vodka - Food in Jars

It was this search that led me to make up a bottle of vodka-based disinfecting spray. The idea of using vodka as a powerful germ killer was not new to me. When my sister was in labor with her second baby, my mom scrubbed the tub where Raina would deliver with half a bottle of high-priced vodka (it had been a gift to my brother-in-law and in those frenzied pre-birth moments, there was a strong “use what we have” vibe).

Half Water - Food in Jars

My goal was to concoct a product that could be sprayed across bedding and the couch where I spent much of the worst of the cold, to refresh and help disinfect a bit until we could drag quilts, comforters, and zip-off covers to an industrial washing machine. I did a bit of research, dug out a couple bottles of essential oils, and sent Scott out for the cheapest vodka the local state store had on offer.

Essential Oils - Food in Jars

I combined equal parts vodka and water in a spray bottle (I happened to have an empty glass one from ePantry, but anything you have on hand will do) and added about twenty drops of both rosemary and grapefruit essential oils (tea tree, lavender, or lemon would also be good options).

Shake and Spray - Food in Jars

To use, just give the bottle a good shake and spray wherever necessary. The boozy smell is faint and fades quickly, and all you’re left with is a fresh home and a bit of grapefruit and rosemary. Very few surfaces in our apartment have gone unsprayed at this point, and while I don’t know if it actually helped, I feel like it did something. And sometimes, isn’t that enough?

Comments { 13 }

Canning Class with the Swarthmore Co-op

class image revised

It has been a very quiet January around these parts, but I’m slowly starting to come out of my hibernation to teach a few classes. I have one next week that I thought you Philly-area folks might like to know about!

On Thursday, February 4, from 7-8:30 pm, I’ll be teaching a demonstration-style class at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. The class is being put on by the nice folks at the Swarthmore Co-op and costs $25. I’ll show everyone who attends how make a batch of honey-sweetened pear vanilla jam using Pomona’s Pectin. We’ll go through the canning process and I’ll answer every question that I can.

At the end of the class we’ll dig into the warm jam, and I’ll have some copies of my first two books for sale and signature. Registration information at the bottom of this page.

Speaking of classes and events! I’m starting to put my book tour schedule together for the spring and summer. I’m trying to keep things a bit saner than last time (I did more than 110 events with Preserving by the Pint, which was too much). That said, I am still taking suggestions for cities and venues to potentially add to my tour. Please let me know if you have good ideas for me for book stores, kitchenwares stores, libraries or other venues that you think would be good for me to consider as I plan out my travel.

Comments { 13 }

Links: Marmalade, Labneh, and Sheet Pan Hash Browns

preserves at the farm show

I feel like I’ve been in a fog for the last month. I came down with a cold just before Christmas and have spent the all the weeks since then trying to get back to my normal levels of energy and productivity (if the blog has seemed a bit unloved lately, this is why).

I spent more days that I can count laying on the couch doing nothing beyond drinking tea, coughing, and tumbling down a Netflix-shaped hole. Thankfully, I woke up on Friday morning (exactly four weeks since I first got sick!) feeling like I’d finally turned a corner and spent the snowy weekend tackling long-abandoned projects with forgotten energy and focus. Hooray for health! Here are some links!

 

Comments { 5 }

Local Mouthful’s 25th Episode

January 17 chalkboard menu

Hello friends! As you may have gathered from previous mentions on this site and on social media, I co-host a podcast called Local Mouthful with fellow food writer (and long-time friend) Joy Manning. This week, we posted our 25th episode and it felt like an occasion that merited mention on this site.

In this episode, we checked in about our food resolutions and talked about eating for health and well-being. It was an interesting conversation, particularly in this world where there’s a hyper-focus on cleaning eating and superfoods.

I’ve also been meaning to mention that we’ve launched a cookbook club as part of the podcast. This month, we’re cooking out of Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes. We’ll be talking about it on next week’s show, so if it’s on your shelf and you’ve been cooking from it, make sure to listen in!

Comments { 1 }

Applesauce Loaf

applesauce loaf top - Food in Jars

Since the start of the new year, I’ve fallen into a habit of making a slightly sweet loaf of quick bread at the start of the week. At first, the goal was simply to have something to help us wean ourselves off all the holiday treats without going cold turkey. But a few weeks in, I’m finding that having a relatively virtuous homemade treat in the kitchen is actually helping us eat better.

applesauce loaf side - Food in Jars

I realize it sounds a little nutty, but knowing that there’s a loaf of applesauce bread or a simple yogurt cake at home has kept me from a number of impulse treat purchases. I know that anything I bake at home is going to contain better ingredients and be lower in sugar than anything I can buy, and that gives me the power to hold out.

This week, I made a loaf based on this recipe from Martha Rose Shulman (she is one of my favorite food writers). It’s a quick one and needs just two mixing bowls and a few utensils to pull together. I used coconut sugar instead of the turbinado that she recommends and it works beautifully. I like a slice in the late afternoon with some tea, or toasted and buttered in the evening. My variation of the recipe is below.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 9 }

Veggie Mac & Cheese

veggie mac and cheese

When I posted my meal plan last week, several of you spotted the veggie mac and cheese on the schedule and politely requested the recipe. As this is a crowd pleaser of a dish, I am happy to deliver (even if the picture isn’t my best work).

Know that this is one of those things that I never make exactly the same way twice. Instead, I work with a basic framework and wing the details. The batch I made last week used a full head of cauliflower, a giant bundle of curly kale, one onion, half a pound of pasta, and a cheese sauce made from butter, flour, milk, some of the pasta cooking water, and 8 ounces of grated cheese (half delicious Kerrygold and half the remaining bit of a block of yellow Costco cheddar).

Other times, I’ve made it with leeks, broccoli, and peas. Garlic, broccoli rabe, and mushrooms is another nice combination. Chopped ham or chunks of smoked turkey go in nicely if you’ve serving a meat loving crowd. It’s flexible, passes muster with many children, and reheats nicely.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 6 }