Thai-style sweet and spicy pineapple fried rice with red bell pepper, cashews and cilantro. This is a healthy and quick, vegetarian weeknight dinner! This dish comes together very quickly, so be sure to have your ingredients prepped and located near the stove before you start cooking. Chilled leftover rice works best in stir fries because it doesn’t clump together, so cook the rice in advance if time allows (see recipe notes). Recipe yields 2 large, restaurant-sized portions or 4 more modest portions.
4 simple ways you can make a difference by being more eco-friendly at home
It’s worth being gentle to the environment and it’s not hard to do. It’s easy to start with some simple changes that make a big difference! These also actually reduce your household spend too- saving the world doesn’t have to be expensive!
2. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
This helps reduce water pollution. Not only from the waste water from your home, but also from the manufacturer of the cleaners. Often the process of product manufacture can be just as harmful to the environment as use of the cleaner itself.
3. Composting at home
40% of residential waste is organic and compostable. Avoid adding to landfills unnesscarily by composting at home. It returns nutrients back to the soil, and is a terrific fertiliser. This saves money for your local council not having to dispose of your waste, and helps your garden be productive and lush.
4. Eat less meat
To say nothing about health or ethical issues, a good reason to not eat meat every day is because growing meat is hard on the environment. Beef production uses 11 times more water, and 28 times for land than pork or chicken. Compared to potatoes, wheat, and rice, per calorie, beef requires 160 times more land! Try to aim for a few meatless meals a week. Add beans, chickpeas, paneer, or simply loads of vegetables to your meal roster, and lessen your environmental impact on your environment.
Tricks and tips to effortlessly get your bathroom so clean it sparkles
The room you get clean in has to be clean. But with so much water and dirt around, bathrooms can get dirty and mouldy quickly.
This is SO important. Even on cold days, make sure you air your bathroom thoroughly. It will help prevent mould, mildew, and bad smells from forming.
Shower curtains mouldy?
Throw these through a gentle cycle in your washing machine, with your regular washing powder. Dry outside in the sun.
Cleaning your shower
Clean the shower after you’ve used it, while the room is still damp. Spray on a cleaning agent, let sit for 10 minutes and watch the combination of steam and cleaner do their thing. A 1:1 vinegar and water solution is perfect for this too. Wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
The shower head needs a clean as well. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and secure over the shower head using a rubber band. Leave for a few hours or overnight- this is truly a magical cleaning trick!
Sink and other surfaces
Use a surface cleaner and wipe down surfaces, wash off with water and a cloth. For fiddly corners or grout, use an old toothbrush.
The dreaded task- the toilet clean
Sorry, but there’s no quick or pleasant way to clean a toilet. Put cleaner in the bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Give it a good scrub, and then let it sit for a few minutes more to dissolve any build-up. Give it another brush, and then flush. Spray the toilet with cleaner or 1:1 vinegar/ water solution, and let the cleaner do its thing. Wipe clean and dry with a cleaning cloth, which you then either need to clean, or dispose of- don’t re-use this anywhere else! If you have boys in your household, sometimes assigning this task to them may improve their aim next time.
Glass in a bathroom may develop limescale build-up and soap scum, which is difficult to remove. Make a solution of baking soda and vinegar- it should be a creamy consistency. Apply to the glass in circular motions. Let sit for a while, and then scrub again. Wash/ squeegee off and you’ll have sparkling clean glass!
3 simple ways to start creating a healthy, toxin- free home for your family
In 2009, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said household cleaners are one of the top ten pet poisons. If your cat or dog has high levels of toxic chemicals in their systems, imagine what is happening to your children! In 2000, 10% of toxic exposures reported were due to home cleaning products.
While you can’t remove all the toxic products in your life, here are three simple changes you can make to remove the worst offenders easily and with little expense (or, even saving money!)
Read the labels on your cleaning products. If they warn that they are irritants and that you need caution to use them, then they will be using strong toxic chemicals. Common products such as chlorine and ammonia can cause skin irritation and respiratory distress. There are plenty of eco-friendly products available, such as our range here at Dream Eco Products. Also common products around the home, notably baking soda and vinegar, can be incredibly effective cleaners.
Artificial fragrances contain phthalates. This group of chemicals are linked with endocrine disruption and a number of health issues including asthma and ADHD. Essential oils smell good, and are derived from natural products. If you must scent the air, these are a better option that commercial deodorisers/ air fresheners and artificially fragranced cleaners.
Chemicals used in pest eradication can be harmful. For instance, fly spray is a neurotoxin that disrupts the nerve system. It is a good enough reason to try and use more natural methods of pest control when possible. Prevention such as using fly screens and cleaning food waste promptly helps. Using a fly deterrent product such as Fly Off surface cleaner discourages flies using the power of essential oils. Borax/ boric acid powder sprinkled lightly behind fridges/ in cupboard corners helps to kill cockroaches. Keeping food stored in airtight containers helps to eradicate moths, silverfish, and other pantry lurkers.
Make your own beeswax food wraps
So easy ..... School holiday fun with the kids.
This environmentally friendly alternative to plastic cling film is easy to make at home.
Wax food wraps are made by infusing a mix of beeswax and almond oil into cotton fabric – they are an easy-to-make, environmentally friendly alternative to plastic cling film. A wrap becomes sticky when warmed in the hands, which makes it easy to fold and seal around food or a bowl. Wraps can be washed in cool, soapy water and reused. As they can’t be washed in hot water, don’t use them to cover raw meat.
1/3 cup grated organic beeswax
¼ teaspoon of propolis (optional)
2/3 cup of organic almond oil
WHAT YOU NEED
3 x 30cm x 30cm pieces 100% cotton fabric, washed, dried and cut into squares with pinking shears to prevent fabric fraying
Clothes pegs for hanging waxed cloth
Add almond oil and propolis to a clean glass jar with a lid. Place on a sunny windowsill and allow to infuse for at least a week. Shake the jar daily.
Remove propolis from the almond-oil infusion. In a double boiler add the infused almond oil and beeswax. Heat slowly to melt the wax.
Lay cloth pieces flat on a clean baking tray and place in an 80°C fanbake oven for 10 minutes. Remove tray from oven and use the paintbrush to paint each piece of cloth with the hot wax and almond oil mixture.
Once painted with the wax-oil mixture, lay the fabric pieces on top of each other and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes for the fabric to become infused with wax.
bees wax wraps
Remove from oven and quickly hang each piece on the clothesline. Act fast to prevent the beeswax from cooling and sticking the pieces together (if this happens, reheat in the oven). After three minutes, the cloth squares can be removed from the line and used.
Beeswax is fat-soluble which means it quickly soaks up and holds onto chemicals. For this reason, we recommend using organic-certified wax or capping wax when making beeswax wraps.
Clean your home with vinegar- the cheap, eco-friendly, & effective cleaner
Vinegar is touted as the magic clean-all solution, and with good reason. It has a variety of uses around the home, and has the added benefit of being budget, family, and eco friendly.
Why does vinegar clean so well?
Vinegar’s main compound is acetic acid. This makes it ideal to clean with as it breaks down greasy build-ups and cuts through dirt quickly. It’s antimicrobial and can kill a number of bacteria.
What shouldn’t I use vinegar on?
Avoid using vinegar on natural stone, marble, granite, or wooden floors. The acid can damage these surfaces. Some delicate fabrics may also react to vinegar, so if you are unsure, do a patch test in a hidden area beforehand.
Also avoid cleaning anything with a protective coating, such as waxed surfaces or cell phones, as the acid will damage the surface.
What is vinegar good for cleaning?
Descaling and cleaning your coffee maker
Because it’s acidic, vinegar can descale your coffee maker. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to water and run the cycle. Empty the maker and then rinse.
Kitchen range hood filter
The kitchen range hood can become a greasy mess, but luckily, it is simple to clean. Find a pot large enough to fit your filter and fill it with water. Bring it to the boil, and add ¼ cup vinegar, and then slowly add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Add the filter and sit for ten minutes as the water slowly simmers. Remove the filter and place in the sink. Scrub both sides with a little dishwashing detergent.
Cleaning mould and mildew in the bathroom
As vinegar is antimicrobial, it can be effective in cleaning mould and mildew. Use a solution of 1:1 water and vinegar and spray directly on the affected area. Wipe off with a soft cloth.
Streak free windows
Clean your windows with a 1:1 water and vinegar mix. Spray the solution on the window and wipe off with a microfiber cloth or newspaper.
How to easily remove cat and dog hair from your home and clothes
Animals are such important family members. However their fur can be an irritant, and also is capable of turning your best outfit into a furry disaster. The urge to vacuum your pet might be strong, but there are other ways to remove pet fur from your home without traumatising your furry friends! Here’s how to remove cat and dog hair from your life.
Removing pet hair from furniture
Run a damp rubber glove over the surface of fabric couches and chairs to attract hair. There are specialised gloves to do this but an ordinary rubber glove from a supermarket works perfectly. Rinse off when done- easy! This also works for removing hair and fur from duvet covers and blankets. For wooden furniture, a damp microfiber cloth works wonders to attract the fur, and removes dust at the same time.
Get rid of dog and cat hair from floors
A good vacuum cleaner does most of the work to remove fur from carpets. Many vacuums now have HEPA filters or dog and cat hair attachments. You may have to go over some areas a few times, and try approaching them from other directions. For a very furry area (often the area of carpet that gets all day sun, or the mat in front of the fire), try scraping a pumice stone gently across the surface.
For wooden, vinyl, and tile floors, a vacuum may just move the fur around. A microfiber mop attracts the fur, making it easier to collect and dispose of.
How to get fur off your clothes
Prevention is definitely better than cure, but sometimes it’s unavoidable (particularly with cats, who enjoy sitting on clean washing). Keep a lint roller by the front door for a quick once-over every time you leave the house. In a pinch, tape wrapped around your hand sticky-side-out is also effective.
A quick groom of your pets once or twice a week will also help to minimise fur deposited in your home.
A product round-up: Fly-Off (or, how to stop flies landing on your benchtop)
In summer in New Zealand, flies can be a problem. They come inside to look for food, and lay eggs to continue their lifecycle. In the process of doing this, not only are they irritating and unsanitary, but they leave fly spots.
Fly spots are literally food that they have vomited back up. The vomit is acidic, so it breaks down the food. The flies then eat the vomit and food. When they poo, this is very acidic as well. This acid will damage paint, so it’s important to clean it promptly. And if you decide to paint over the fly spots without washing them off, the acid will damage the new paint too.
How to remove fly spots from the ceiling
Unfortunately, ceiling paint will show marks where you’ve cleaned. The only way to stop this is not to use ceiling paint- try normal low-sheen water based paint instead.
The second problem is that fly spots are hard to remove, so you scrub harder, which removes the top surface of the paint.
The best fly spot remover is our very own Fly-Off. Spot clean using this cleaner on a damp cloth to remove fly spots with minimal scrubbing.
The best way to avoid fly spots is to deter flies
Don’t leave food out and dispose of rubbish before it starts to smell. Flies are attracted to food, so if you don’t leave food out, they have no reason to visit.
The other option is to use a chemical deterrent. There are many spray options on the market today, often leaving toxic residue on your surfaces. However, Fly-Off is a surface cleaner with a difference. With powerful peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, this cleaner doesn’t just clean. The strong smell is very unpleasant for flies and they will buzz off to annoy someone else.
Use this cleaner to wipe down your bench, and not only are you cleaning your surfaces with a non-toxic product, but you are repelling flies from your home. Tested and proven, Fly –Off is the biggest seller in our range, and for good reason. Try it yourself and enjoy a fly-free home!
How to get windows sparkling and streak-free without toxic chemicals
Cleaning windows is one of the most frustrating tasks ever. You clean them, then the sun light hits them and shows up the streaks. Or, you clean them and then the wind changes direction and you may as well have not even bothered!
There is a way to clean your windows to ensure a streak-free shine- and it’s cheap. It also happens to use an eco-friendly product- so, read on to find out how to clean windows with vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar breaks down dirt and the film that builds up on your windows, while remaining a safe and eco-positive cleaner.
Wash with warm soapy water and detergent
If your windows have been neglected for a while, start with a bucket of water and some natural dishwashing liquid. Wash the windows down with the water using a cloth. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the hard-to-reach corners and tracks. You’ll be surprised (and a little bit horrified) to see how dirty these get. Rinse with fresh water.
Vinegar and newspaper
Create a solution of one part vinegar, and one part water. Put it in a spray bottle. Spray lightly on the window, and use scrunched up newspaper to clean the window. This will make your hands black but the ink is easily washed off afterwards. Newspaper is more rigid than paper towels and won’t leave lint, and they don’t scratch like some cleaning towels might. If you prefer, you can use a microfiber cleaning cloth, but the newspaper does a great job.
Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any residue, and you’re done!
Remember to avoid cleaning your windows if it’s windy, or if there is direct sun on the window. Now you know how to get clean windows with no streaks (and with minimal effort).