Thursday, February 20, 2014

DIY: Household Cleaner

One way to save money is to make common household items rather than buy them in a store.  An easy start is to make a cleaner that can be used on countertops, sinks, tables, floors, etc.  There really is no end to it's uses because it is just vinegar and citrus peels.  It is non-toxic and all natural, and literally costs pennies to make.  I realized I was running low this morning, and I think I last made this before we moved last summer.

There are lots of recipes online, but I use the most basic.  A couple of weeks ago, Aldi had small bags of limes for $0.49.  There were five small limes in the bag.  I used one for margaritas one night (ahem), and then the other four I peeled into a large mason jar, and then juiced into a different small mason jar.  I filled the large mason jar with plain white vinegar, put a lid on it, and I can forget about it for the next three weeks or so.  I store it in our basement overstock since it's a cool, dark space.  I don't recommend storing it near strong sunlight since it might interfere with the citrus peels.  After that time, you strain the peels, dilute the mixture and put it in any old spray bottle.  I prefer to use a 50/50 dilution, and the resulting mixture will last for many months.  You can use orange, lemon or lime peels- whatever floats your boat.  The mixture will kill germs on any surface, but test a small area first if you are using it on something valuable.  It cleans our entire kitchen with minimal effort, and you are only left with the faint scent of citrus.

Since we are in a waste-not, want-not household, the juice will also go to use.  I am thinking Tequila Lime Chicken for dinner tomorrow.  In case you feel like doing that as well, here is the recipe:

4 limes
1 C tequila
1/4 C olive oil
2 T salt
5 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 C grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Squeeze the juice from the limes into the food processor, and add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro.  Blend well, then add the mixture to a plastic bag with the chicken, and marinate overnight. Cook the chicken breast over medium high temperature for about 4-5 mins on each side.  Then melt the cheese over the chicken breasts.

This is a great recipe for cooking in bulk, and you can easily set up a freezer dinner for later.  Keep in mind that chicken breasts are insanely large these days.  When I buy a big pack of chicken breasts at Sams, I take a sharp knife and cut the breast in half width-wise.  If you push it flat on your cutting board, the knife will slide right through.  That way you aren't overeating since no one needs that much chicken in one sitting.

And in the end, what is left of the limes go into the compost pile, and we are only left with a jar of cleaner and a big pan of chicken!

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