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5 Top Tips for a Germ-free Kitchen & A Giveaway (over) *!

Disclosure: I received free e-cloth products in exchange for a review on the blog.  Know that I am always 100% honest in my opinions on this blog.

So confessions time. People who know me, would maybe say I was a frazzled but laid back person, who has a cluttered house and semi-clean kids… So they would be shocked to know that… I used to be a germ-freak. Shocked? Well, no judgement from me- let’s not call me a “germ-freak“. I was a bit OCD though. I wouldn’t share soap, sit on any toilets (including my own), touch any handles, etc. Wow. Too much? Yes. It was.

Well, the best way to cure yourself of a fear is sometimes to face it head on… I had four kids, and after many years of diaper changes and trips to public restrooms….I am cured! I wouldn’t be able to function in my world if I had these old restrictions, but some things still linger. I like a clean house. Yes, it is cluttered beyond clutter. But having a blog that is food-centric, I need a clean kitchen. But what was the one thing that was keeping me from having a truly clean kitchen? ANSWER:  I use a sponge in my kitchen. 

Anyone who reads anything about germs, has to know that sponges are literally “sponges” for bacteria growth. My sister-in-law (who knew me back when I was a little germ-phobic), is always shocked by the fact that I use a sponge. She uses a dish-cloth. “Dishcloths are better,” she tells me. Is that true?

Well, it turns out both can be horrible. But I can’t very well give them both up, since licking the plates is just gross. So I did a little digging to find the least-germy way to have a clean, and low-germ kitchen without spraying chemicals or bleach:

Here are my top no-chemical cleaning tips found:

Assign each kid their own cup to drink from. I use color coded cups that they can re-use, so they don’t have someone else’s germs they are sharing.

Wash your kitchen drain. I did a post (here) on an easy way to disinfect with baking soda and vinegar. Just put some baking soda and vinegar in the drain and let it sit for 10 minutes- then run the hottest tap for 30 seconds to rinse it. That’s it – and it helps with weird smells too. There are some gross things down there. Try to clean this out whenever you think of it!

Disinfect the cutting boards. Better yet, make sure you have a specific cutting board for meat, and another one for veggies. Even after you “clean” them, bacteria can linger. For a natural way to disinfect a cutting board, soak a dishcloth in pure white vinegar (not any other kind) and rub liberally over a board (wood or plastic) let sit, then rinse and dry (especially if wood). You can add baking soda to this version too, if you want to super-scrub out any grossness!  An alternative method that smells awesome is scrubbing with a half cut lemon over coarse salt that has been sprinkled over the cutting board surface- also super effective.

Wipe handles and counters. This one seems obvious, but it needs more frequent attention in the cold/flu months of winter. Use any natural antibacterial spray.

Wash your dishcloths and sponges. Yep. I finally got to the main problem in my own kitchen. The sponge. My sis-in-law is right about the cloths being “better” in the sense that you can wash them in the washing machine! But not to be outdone, you can also disinfect a rinsed sponge by putting it in the microwave for one minute or the dishwasher for a wash cycle (in an empty silverware spot). I have done this, and it does seem to get cleaner. But my old phobias linger, as I have said. I want to wash the sponge in the washing machine. And you can if your sponge itself is washable. And of course, I found them from E-cloth. Of course. I love my E-cloth products as I have shared with you all before with the other cloths and Aqua Spray Mop.

e-cloth washing up pad

e-cloth washing up pad

This Scrub sponge (above) is great: has a cloth-side, scrub-side, and is washable. I love it. I runs $5-7 dollars depending on where you buy it, but think about that. You wash it. It is reusable. In my eyes, this is a bargain, and non-germy besides, because the E-cloth fibers keep away 99% of germs already! Also, I was able to try out the dish-cloths, (so I could make my sis-in-law proud!):

e-cloth wash and wipe dish cloths

e-cloth wash and wipe dish cloths

Like the package says, these are also great for wiping down the counters or any other surface to get the germs off! I loved the fact that you can toss these in the wash and they are good to wipe down any kitchen counter and also do my dishes. I am still a sponge-lover however, so the Washing-Up Pad won out in my comparison.

I was also sent the kitchen-towels, for drying the dishes (a thankless job!), and I liked these too. Not loved, but liked. I maybe just don’t like drying dishes…perhaps. What I do like is that they contain the same e-cloth fibers that fight germs, and they also shine the stainless and glass really well.

I hope you will try these. If you want to check them out, go to the E-cloth site here:

W: www.ecloth.com
F: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
T: @ecloth
P: www.pinterest.com/eclothUSA
I: @eclothUSA
Y: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

Or Enter to Win! (you knew it was coming!)
*Open to U.S. 18+ until 12/22/15 11:59pmEST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sources consulted for content in this post on de-germing are here, here and here.

 Linking with
Erica Finds, Running with SD Mom, Katherine’s Corner,
Awesome Life Friday


Freekeh Giveaway Reminder! (OVER)



Did you enter the Freekeh Giveaway yet? I hope you do! It was so good and I can totally see how I would use this as a stand-in for rice or other grains:

I really loved it, and I hope you will too.  The giveaway is only open until August 21st 11:59EST, so enter below before it closes.


Freekeh Recipe, Review and Giveaway (Over)

Freekeh Tamari

Recently I was chosen to recipe-test and review Freekeh Foods, Original and Tamari Freekeh.

“What is Freekeh” you ask?!

First of all, it is pronounced “free-kah.” It is cracked wheat that is picked when it’s green, and then it’s  roasted and then rubbed- to remove the outer layer…so after all of that, the inner part is the “Freekeh” and it has a somewhat smokey flavor and a great texture.

I found it so easy to cook with- just like rice, and just look at how good this is for you {hint: it is really, really good}:

freekeh dietary

Do you see that?!

¼ cup of uncooked freekeh is 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber!

As a comparison, that is up to 3 times the protein as  brown rice! (source)

The package meauress 4 servings that once made, actually serves like 6-8 side-dish sized portions!  Their website has more information about the product and also about ordering directly through them if you like to do that:

Website: http://www.freekeh-foods.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Freekeh-Foods/304009796295786
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FreekehFoods

…but honestly- it is widely available from all the main grocery store chains and health food chains too!

The folks at Freekeh-Foods have been kind enough to provide a FREE bag of Freekeh to me to offer for a GIVEAWAY!!!! *US Residents only, Open until August 21, 2015 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are sick of making the same quinoa recipe over and over, maybe Freekeh is your new grain. It IS wheat- so not gluten-free, but it is NON-GMO certified, and certified organic as well. It is good to have a little variety don’t you think? Plus, I love that Freekeh Foods has made a Tamari flavor as well as a Rosemary-Sage flavor. Again- variety is our friend people.

Here’s a great recipe I came up with if you want to give it a try:

Freekeh Tamari & Mushroom "Risotto"

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Freekeh Tamari & Mushroom

The nutty taste and wonderful texture of the freekeh grain is perfect in this hearty dish- you can make it as a side dish or an entree!


  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 8 oz package of button mushrooms
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 package Tamari Freekeh
  • 2 1/2 cups of your favorite broth (vegetable or beef are nice here)
  • Kosher Salt/Pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Saute the garlic and mushrooms until soft. Add half of the chopped scallions. Season this with salt and pepper.

Add the Freekeh and stir until it is coated with the oil and veggies.

Add the broth (It will look like soup!)

Bring to a boil, and lower the temperature to a simmer.

Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Serve with the rest of the chopped scallions on top for garnish.


Dairy-Free risotto made with the nutty grain and meaty mushrooms can make this a one-pot meal for sure!


I hope you’ll try it! And because I want you to *win* lots of fun things in life, I am linking up with Erica Finds and Running With SD Mom.

Disclosure: H.A.G. may be compensated to review products, services, websites and various other topics, HOWEVER even though the owner(s) of this blog may receive compensation for posts or advertisements, H.A.G. always gives honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products.