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Libby Absten

Cleaning Out Your Kitchen: Clean, Safe Kitchenware

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It’s been so fun to be able to share these past few weeks about Jase and I’s process of renovating and filling our home. While this process has been much longer than expected, it really began, not when we decided to renovate our home, but when I made the switch to Clean Living. When I think of how much we’ve changed over time, from products we use in our home, to practices and more, we really have been on this journey for a while! If I’ve learned anything it’s that Clean Living isn’t just a one time switch, it’s really a lifestyle you adopt and constantly adapt to.

As we’ve renovated our home, we’ve been so fortunate to use materials that are toxic-free and to fill it with clean, modern products and brands that we’ve come to love. This has inspired the current series we’re in on the blog that we’re calling Making a Home. For the past few weeks, I’ve been able to share with you just a few of these products and brands, and in the next couple weeks, I’ll continue to share with you more about specific areas of our home, as well as a few before and afters of our renovation!

I also love that I’ve been able to share with you so many things that I’m constantly getting questions about whether here on the blog or over social media – from clean mattresses that I love, to everyday clean products that I use in my own home. One of the other topics that I am always getting questions about is our kitchen! And of course, the kitchen is such an important topic in all our homes. It’s where we prepare our meals, share time with family, and partake in practices and routines that bring us so much joy. I’m excited to share with you this week a  few clean products and brands that I love to use every day in my own kitchen, and really have become a staple in our own home.

I love these pots and pans from Food52. They are absolutely the best when it comes to using nonstick, cookware that doesn’t contain any added chemicals or toxins that cook into the food we eat or the air we breathe. They’re actually made from sand with diamond-infused ceramic coating, and they promise to never peel or tear like other traditional nonstick pans – which is such a win-win!

No kitchen is truly set without a cast-iron skillet, and I love this one! It’s right on Amazon and super affordable when compared to other brands and competitors. I use mine for a variety of different recipes and dishes in my home and it’s simply the best.

I just love this kitchenware set that is made from natural wood. The spoons and spatulas not only work perfectly when cooking or serving up different dishes, but they’re cute enough to leave on your kitchen counter or to use when hosting. They’re handmade, along with a variety of other cute items from this brand that you can use in and throughout your kitchen!

Rikumo is a brand that I’ve come to love for their kitchenware especially with a few items from them that I use in my kitchen on a regular basis! Again, I love a good cast iron, and while their cast iron pan is a just little more expensive than the skillet I listed above, it’s definitely worth the investment. Other items from them that are on-hand in my kitchen is their copper graiter as well as their stainless steel kitchen tool set – All of which work just as great as they look!

This is something I use absolutely every day in my kitchen, my Vitamix blender! It can seem like a bit of an investment for a blender, but when it’s something you use every day, it’s worth having an item that’s durable and gets the job done! Seriously the best and available amazon – Need I say more?

Lastly – I love having these towels on hand, especially because it cuts down on our paper waste. They’re a great neutral color that works well in my kitchen, but they also have a few other color varieties to choose from!

I hope you’re enjoying following along with our Making A Home process and learning more about all the clean, safe steps we’ve taken along the way! If you’re interested in learning more or making the switch to Clean Living, take a look The Clean Sweep, my 90-day program where I walk through practices, products, and food that create a clean lifestyle. And for more on specific clean products I’m loving right now, follow along at The Clean Stuff Instagram. x

Everyday Clean Products for the Home

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These past few weeks I’ve been sharing about Jase and I’s processes of renovating our home on the blog in a collection of talks we’re calling Making A Home – While we’re still very much in the process, things are slowly but surely coming together and I’m excited to share more with you here in the upcoming weeks! Throughout this time, we’ve really discovered that creating a home isn’t just about the paint you put on the walls and the furniture you fill it with, but even the everyday items you use that make it feel like home. I know we all have our go-to cleaning products, whether they’re ones we’ve grown up using in our childhood homes or those we’ve come to love on our own – Here are a few of the everyday items that are always stocked in my home!

1. Force of Nature

I know I talk about this brand a lot – And it’s because I am absolutely in love! It’s always been a priority to me to keep things extra clean, and with the rise of recent attention towards disinfecting and cleansing, it was important for me to find an all-purpose cleaner that really does its job without being full of chemicals and harmful to the body. Force of Nature is a nontoxic disinfecting solution that cuts through just about anything while also working on virtually any surface – Which I do, trust me! It is an equivalent to the power of bleach and kills viruses, but the only ingredients are salt, water, and vinegar.

Plus an extra bonus, it keeps chemicals out of our water system, cuts down plastic waste, and is shipped using materials that are 100% recyclable – So what’s not to love? This has easily become one of my household staples that I will always have on hand.

2. Branch Basics

Another nontoxic cleaning brand that I have stocked in my home is Branch Basics. From all-purpose cleaner to laundry detergent and bathroom cleaner – I love it all! Their multipurpose cleaning solution is plant and mineral-based, free of harmful preservatives and their reusable bottles make it extra sustainable. It also can be used on just about any surface, but their options make it super easy to target cleaning specific areas of your home without having to compromise on using toxic cleaning products instead. And like Force of Nature, it’s very affordable! Proving that you don’t have to compromise on safe cleaning to stay within budget, which is always a win.

3. Revive Essential Oils

There’s a lot of essential oil brands out there today, but Revive Essential Oils has actually become the only one I use! Made without any fillers, synthetic fragrances or odor enhancers (which can actually be found in a lot of essential oils today), Revive is also locally sourced and directly sold without the middle man – So it’s oftentimes cheaper and more affordable than other brands, and the quality is an A+.

It’s also 100% pure therapeutic grade, free from any additives, adulterants, synthetics, or dilutions. I love being able to use them without having to worry if I’m compromising myself in doing so – Which is why they’re my all-time favorite!

4. Equilibria

I mentioned this brand last week in my post on The Clean Sweep for Clean Sleep – but I wanted to jot it down again here because it has quickly become a staple item in my home! Implementing hemp oil into my regular routine has been such a game-changer, not just for my sleep but for my mental and physical well-being. Like I mentioned above, there’s a lot of brands out there today that make promises about what they can offer, then you end up finding out you’re actually harming yourself rather than helping! The journey of clean-living can be so discouraging in this way, so when you find a brand that actually works, and is as clean and sustainable as it promises to be, it’s so exciting! Equilibria has been one of those products for me, and I cannot recommend it more!

5. Supernatural

Another cleaning brand that I love! This one is scented with essential oils, so for anyone who prefers a healthy scent, this is perfect. With a variety of different solutions like counters and granite, glass, bath and tiles, wood and floors, and stainless steel – I love that supernatural makes it easy to know that the product I’m using in specific areas of my home is catered just for that area. Like the other brands, it’s 100% all-natural, plant-based and made from minerals, and sustainable.

All of these brands are actually the only products I use in my home! I hope these help you in the journey to clean-living, especially in times where we’ve all spent a bit more time at home than usual. I talk more about my own journey to clean-living and give specific advice, practices, and products from my years of research in my 90-day program, The Clean Sweep, but I’m constantly updating my knowledge and looking for ways to make clean-living easy to understand and accessible to everyone.

As always, following along with my journey right here on the blog or on my Instagram, @LaurenScruggs or @TheCleanStuff for a peek into the everyday clean beauty, health, and wellness products I currently have my hands on!

Taking A Pause, Here To Listen

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Taking a break from the blog, to stop and listen. My heart is so heavy and I feel at a loss for words this week. I want to do more than voice my thoughts and post what I stand for. I will never understand what it’s like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin, and I want to intentionally learn and act and pray.

I was so encouraged by these prayers that Chelsea Smith encouraged us to get on our knees and pray:

1) That the broken systems of our country and world will be rebuilt to actually provide “liberty and justice” for ALL.

2) Pray for hearts to truly be changed and all racism, prejudice, and stereotypes to be removed. Have the courage to ask God to show you any areas of your own hearts that need adjusting and for the strength to change.

3) Pray for church leaders to have the wisdom and the courage to boldly declare Jesus as the answer for racism and the only ones that can truly transform hearts.

Let’s love each other well, let’s listen, let’s learn, let’s stand for change.

Now more than ever I believe health starts at home, I wanted to do something for my family to help us learn and grow together. I bought these books for my niece to help her learn and understand why what’s going on is so important, and thought I would share. x

Here is a great anti-racism resource, include articles and books to read, videos to watch, podcasts to subscribe to, movies to see, and so much more.

And, here are some great organizations to donate to at this time as well:

Artwork from @sacree_frangine – Who’s openly sharing her art to help spread awareness.

In The Kitchen: Where and How to Shop

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I love how much time have been able to spend in the kitchen lately! I have mentioned this before, but being able to take extra time planning meals and cooking has become a new routine in this season that I have come to love so much. Eating healthy and knowing what I an consuming has always been a big part of my life, but now more than ever I feel like it’s a passion of mine that has really developed with more time to practice it! 

On the blog, I have started a new series called In The Kitchen, and over the last few weeks I have talked about adding new purpose to your cooking routine and have given some practical tips on ways to maximize the life of your fresh groceries. This week I thought it would be helpful to talk about where I shop for my groceries and a few tips on how to shop – Things that I think can so often be overlooked in the day to day of a week spent at home or the craziness and potential fear of grocery environments lately. 

WHERE TO SHOP

One of my very favorite things about this time has been the discovery of our local farm. While Jase and I are so lucky to have one close enough for us to go to, the idea of shopping local and supporting small businesses has been a value instilled in me during this time that I will not leave behind! 

While many of us may have the first thought that shopping small comes at a greater expense, many things like produce, especially fruit and veggies, can actually be cheaper or often on sale and at a better quality, ultimately lasting you longer than your nearby chain grocer. 

Shopping small or local is also a great way to cut out on the stress of the grocery store during this time! When you relieve yourself of the many negative emotions that can so often be identified with a stop at the store, this activity can actually become a cherished part of your routine. I know for me, I love showing up to my local spot and taking time to see what fresh picks are available – wandering up and down the rows (while practicing safe distancing, of course) and taking it all in! This care that I have developed in my routine for where I shop and what I buy has caused me to have even greater care and excitement in what I prepare. I cook based on my inspiration from the ingredients purchased. It has been a game-changer for me!

Another great place to shop, that isn’t so small, can be Whole Foods. While this was often considered not within budget for many families, the new deals and offers that have been extended to Amazon Prime Members (which so many of us are!) makes it practical once again. It’s also a great option for those pantry items that can be more expensive at your local spot. Things like nut butters, canned goods, healthy snacks and treats, or alternative milks are actually similarly priced (or on sale / specially priced) to your opposing chain grocer and oftentimes made with more quality or organic ingredients! Such a win.

HOW TO SHOP

Now that the stress has been relieved from dreaded trips to the grocery store, the need for a detailed list of things to get in and get out as fast as possible has also gone out the window. While I have my routine items I always get – protein options, potatoes, pastured eggs, leafy greens, and nuts – I also make room in my trip to look at what’s freshly available and think of meals I can create using what’s right in front of me! 

A great way to start doing this is to shop for more universal items that can be created or added to anything. Items like sweet or regular potatoes can be chopped into quarters for a tray of roasted veggies with broccoli, zucchini, onion, and asparagus – or cut vertically and baked into fries! Proteins like pastured chicken or ground grass-fed beef can be added on top of fresh greens and healthy grains with roasted veggies to make into a warm bowl or served on top of a crisp salad. Your pantry items like noodles, canned foods, or nuts can be cooked or chopped and mixed into any meal to add a different texture or a more filling variety. And fresh herbs and spices can take any meal to the next level!

There are just so many options, but the goal when first starting is to shop for a variety of versatile fresh foods that can work together and then let your creativity work as you go throughout your week! 

A FEW OF MY GROCERY STAPLES 

  • Pastured eggs
  • Organic almond butter
  • Organic raw nuts for making home-made nut milk
  • Organic spring onions
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Raw butter
  • Siete tortillas and chips
  • Siete hot sauce
  • Organic dinosaur kale
  • Organic lettuces
  • Organic red peppers
  • Organic green beans
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic white rice
  • Organic potatoes – purple, red, sweet
  • Organic tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Organic fresh spices – cilantro, basil, dill, mint, oregano, sage (we grow these in our garden but are a must!)
  • Organic beets

Where are you shopping in this season, and what healthy recipes are you making in your kitchen? I’d love to hear from you! Follow along with my kitchen routine here on the blog or at my Instagram where I often post meals I’m making or grocery items I’m grabbing. xo

Thinking Bigger: New Rhythms and Routines

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What an interesting time it has been! I know we have touched so much on this on the blog, but it’s so true. This time has been unlike any other. I recently launched a new series on the blog called Thinking Bigger, and this week I wanted to touch on the idea of new routines and rhythms. 

I think one of the reasons we keep talking about this time is because it has caused us to pause – We’ve paused from our everyday life, from our routines, our appointments, our errands, our offices, classes, and schedules. And that pause has caused us to think. And we’ve been thinking a lot! 

Although some of that thinking can cause fear, much of it has been an assessment of what we used to do every day in comparison to what we’re doing now. Things I used to view as such a chore have now become cherished routines. Activities I used to never have time for are now new staples in my schedule – like planning evening meals and eating dinner with Jase, planting a garden, reading a book, or taking joy and excitement in grocery shopping at the local farm. 

With all this new that has come about in this season, and in light of many of us on the brink of communities opening up again, I’ve caught myself almost sad that “a return to normalcy” would mean potentially losing those routines and rhythms I’ve come to love so much in this time. What will life look like when we are able to be busy again? When those appointments, and errands, and classes, and work will fill our schedules once more?

I think rather than being sad, it’s okay to ask this question, and I think it can be a positive in return. We’ve been talking about this time so much on the blog because I think we’re excited about the opportunity that all this pause has given us to become better. Better at being more present at home, better at implementing routines that are healthy and creating healthy environments, better at being intentional about our activities, thoughts, and how we fill our time

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to leave my new cherished routines behind when all this is over. I want to use whatever I have left of this pause to continue to practice them, and instill them in the rhythms of my every day so that, when I have the opportunity to fill my schedule a bit more, I will still make time for those things I came to appreciate so greatly when my schedule was less full. 

What new routines and rhythms have you begun or been practicing in this season that have made you better? What rhythms can you start now that you can carry with you when this time is over? 

My hope for you all is that you have found practices and activities that you have come to cherish during this time, those that have made you feel whole and healthy. And for those of you who haven’t yet, I hope that you take whatever time we have left in this pause to find what fills you up in that way – So that all of us can leave this time feeling and being better than when we went in. x

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