Tag Archive | Lemon

Naturally Clean Kitchen Sink

The natural reaction between a lemon & baking soda is an amazing alternative to using harsh chemical based cleaners to get a sink clean.  Try this method of cleaning your sink prior to composting squeezed lemons.

What to do:

  • make sure the sink is dry (as baking soda will quickly dissolve in the water if it is wet)
  • sprinkle baking soda generously over the surface
  • scrub the sink with the fleshy side of a cut lemon *listen and look for the foaming and bubbles*

                   It’s that easy!!

What we know:

  • Baking Soda – chemically known as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and is a non-toxic, mild abrasive which is safe to use on most surfaces (ie. fiberglass, stainless steel, porcelain and enamel)
  • Lemon – naturally has citric acid and is excellent at removing dirt and rust stains

How it works:

The reaction between the citric acid in the lemon and the basic sodium bicarbonate leads to an acid-base reaction.

C6H8O7+ 3NaHCO3        Na3C6H5O7 + 3H2CO3

citric acid + sodium bicarbonate —-> sodium citrate + carbonic acid

However, since the lemon juice is mostly composed of water, the carbonic acid will dissolve and lead to dissociation.  This part of the reaction releases a gas, which is what leads to the creation of bubbles and foam.

C6H8O7 + 3NaHCO3      Na2C6H6O7 + 3CO2 + 3H2O

 (aq)+ (aq) —-> (aq) + (g) + (l)

The final exothermic reaction releases energy as heat, which in turn helps to clean away any dirt or stains in the sink.

 Voila, a clean sink using natural ingredients!

Tasty Tuesdays – Lemon and Lime Dressing

Finding healthy alternatives to favourite foods is always fun.  This straightforward lemon and lime dressing is refreshing and will enhance the flavours of most any salad.  It can easily be bottled up and stored in the refrigerator for an extended period of time.  If your taste buds favour something less sour, try adding a wee bit of honey or maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  • In a jar combine the olive oil, fresh lemon and lime juice.
  • Add a dash of salt and quite a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Shake well and use on a fresh salad.
  • *If this is too sour for your taste try adding 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup.
  • The salad pictured here is a mix of red leaf lettuce, Belgian endive, radicchio and pine nuts.

Interesting Facts

In comparison to leading store bought salad dressings, this concoction has fewer calories, no cholesterol and a lesser amount of fat and sugar.  Lemons and limes are exceptionally healthy and really warrant our praises.  These beautifully coloured fruits contain an abundance of essential minerals and vitamins A, B, C and E (USDA, 2012).  Aside from being a much healthier salad dressing option, these citrus fruits also have antibacterial, antioxidant and anticancer properties (Santos, et al., 2011).  The high levels of vitamin C found in these fruits combat inflammation by neutralizing free radicals, while also contributing to a healthy and strong immune system (Pham-Huy, et al., 2005).  As well, this water soluble vitamin improves heart health by decreasing the chances of a stroke (Cassidy, et al., 2012), and averting the development and advancement of atherosclerosis (Hu, et al., 2002).  Researchers have discovered an interesting and possibly important compound found in citrus fruits called limonoids.  These phytochemicals are highly absorbed by the body and are under investigation for their potential to prevent proliferation of cancer cells (Roy and Saraf, 2006).  Interestingly, studies have also shown that lemon and lime juices stimulate digestion and assists with the prevention of kidney stones (Kumar, 2007).  If this myriad of health benefits weren’t enough, keep in mind that lemons can be an excellent alternative to using harsh chemical cleaners.  Before throwing those squeezed lemons into the compost consider using them to clean your sink!  Please take a look at the upcoming post which shows you how to inexpensively and naturally clean your sink using baking soda and lemons.

Tasty Tuesdays – Watercress Salad

Watercress has become increasingly popular due to its rise in availability at grocery stores and its enjoyable crunch and peppery taste.  This recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare and is refreshingly delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and fresh juice from half of one lemon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roughly chop the watercress (including the stems) and add to the dressing.

Interesting Facts

Watercress is an excellent nutritious addition to most salads and soups.  This semi-aquatic plant, native to Europe and Asia, is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K.  Although 1 cup contains only 4 kcal, it also holds 0.2 g of total dietary fiber, as well as substantial amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and folate (USDA, 2012).  Watercress is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which is highly studied because of their sizeable concentrations of glucosinolates (Manchali et al., 2012).  Numerous studies have suggested that these organic compounds are valuable contributors to the prevention of many cancers, as well as heart disease (Traka and Mithen, 2009).  An interesting study by Tang et al. (2010) explored the relationship among smokers and former smokers in regards to consumption of cruciferous vegetables.  The results showed a significant association between increasing the intake of cruciferous vegetables and a decrease in the risk of lung cancer among both smokers and former smokers.  Although there is important evidence concerning these health benefits, further exploration into this subject is necessary.  Watercress is also an excellent source of various carotenoids such as lutein.  This pigment is important for eye health (Ribaya-Mercado and Blumber, 2004) and may play a role in preventing the development of plaques in the arteries (Gill et al., 2007).  Undoubtedly watercress is an excellent vegetable, rich in many nutrients.  However, the benefits of watercress have likely been known for ages.  Rumour has it that even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, constructed his hospital close to a running stream in order to have a plentiful supply of fresh watercress for his patients.

Tasty Tuesdays – Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a traditional Greek and Turkish cold sauce served with bread or meats.  This delicious and refreshing recipe pairs brilliantly with lamb, beef, chicken or pork.  It’s very easy to prepare and last for a few days in the refrigerator.  Once you get a handle on the basic recipe, it’s easy to alter to best suite your own palate.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1% plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups English cucumber
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk olive oil and lemon juice into yogurt.
  • Add finely chopped garlic.
  • Grate the cucumber and squeeze over the sink to remove as much juice as possible.
  • Add grated cucumber to the yogurt mix.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Interesting Facts

Cucumbers are another one of those fruits that you probably thought was a vegetable.  It is considered a fruit because it is the ripened ovary of the seed-bearing vine plant from which it grows.  Cucumbers are native to India and are one of the most farmed fruits in the world since they thrive in both temperate and tropical environments (Huang et al., 2009).  Three varieties exist which are slicing, pickling and burpless, and each type ranges in size, colour, shape and texture (Ariana and Lu, 2010). Although there is a lack of research on the direct nutritional benefit of cucumbers, its genome has recently been sequenced by Huang et al. in 2009.This member of the gourd family contains vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate and several phytonutrients (USDA, 2012).  The high concentration of vitamin K is known to promote bone formation and improve bone density (Bugel, 2008).  Furthermore, extensive research has shown that calcium and magnesium rich diets are vital for good bone health (Ishimi, 2010).   The cucumber also aids in weight maintenance since it is a very low calorie food (only 15 kcal/100g), full of important dietary fiber and considerable amounts of water (USDA, 2012).  So this summer be cool as a cucumber with this cold sauce which contains a winning combination of vitamins and minerals.

Tasty Tuesdays – Lemon Ricotta French Toast

French toast is a delicious breakfast treat, which I usually only make on weekends.  Recently, I ran out of maple syrup (I know… not very Canadian of me!) so decided to concoct something using ricotta, and it worked beautifully.  The topping was much more savory but still had a tantalizing hint of sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of part-skim Ricotta
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Put on top of French toast accompanied by your favourite fresh fruit.

Interesting Facts 

This ricotta topping really transforms the typical super sweet, yet delicious, taste of French toast.  Most people think ricotta is a cheese, when in fact it is made through the further coagulation of whey, which is a by-product of cheese production (Tunick, M. Chapter 1, 2008).  Most ricotta is made from skim milk whey which is a low-fat, nutritious liquid.  It is a great source of vitamin A, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium and of course calcium.  A typical serving of maple syrup (2 tbsp) has 104 kcal, 27 g of carbohydrates (16 g of this are sugar) and no protein. Comparatively, the same serving size of part-skim ricotta has 42 kcal, 1.6 g of carbohydrates (which only 0.1 g are sugar) and 3.5 g of protein.  Per serving, that is approximately 60% less calories, 99% less sugar and 100% more protein.  To conclude, I’m certainly not saying to quit applying the good old Canadian liquid gold on your breakfast pancakes or French toast, but why not try this savory recipe once in a while.  It tastes great and the extra protein will help power an active summer day.

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