Category Archives: in the home

Rhubarb Crisp a la Mode

IMG_3259Rhubarb is among the first vegetables to be harvested in the spring; out of the garden and onto the dessert table. It is my tradition to serve rhubarb crisp during memorial day weekend for our family get together. This recipe is simple, allowing the rhubarb to take center stage. I recommend to enjoy it with vanilla ice cream (or your favorite dairy free option).

5 stalks rhubarb (about 5 cups)
5 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup flour (I use King Arthur’s “measure for measure” gluten-free flour)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
7 Tablespoons salted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Wash rhubarb stalks and cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Toss with sugar and pour into an 8″ x 8″ glass pan. Mix flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl with shallow sides, add the butter and mix with a pastry blender/cutter until small pea sized pieces of butter and flour are formed. Pour over rhubarb and bake till the top is just golden and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Affordable Green Cleaning

My “ingredients” for keeping our bathrooms clean and fresh without chemicals are borax, distilled white vinegar and baking soda. All of these items are found in the grocery store. Tools of the trade? A spray bottle for the vinegar, paper towel, a sponge for wiping, a scrub brush for the textured bathtub bottom and a toilet brush. Truly, the worst part of this is the strong vinegar smell while cleaning, but that gives way to a fresh smelling, clean and chemical free bathroom. I recommend opening a window and turning on the bathroom fan. At least there aren’t chemicals flying through the air and into your lungs.IMG_0529
I am thoroughly embarrassed at the state of the tub- it usually doesn’t get to this point but one thing led to another and all of a sudden I just couldn’t stand the grime.IMG_0525
With distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle spray the walls and tub then sprinkled with baking soda. Repeat this in the sink. While that “fizzes” for a bit, sprinkle the toilet bowl with borax, scrub with the toilet brush and let the borax water sit in the bowl until the next “usage”. Sprayed the mirror with the vinegar and wipe with a paper towel (or clean lint free towel). What appears to be a film on the mirror disappears, just wait for it, and you will have a clean mirror. Then, with a damp sponge wipe the sink and faucet. For built up grime just add a bit more baking soda and scrub a little more. Rinse with fresh water. Moving over to the toilet, sprinkle the damp sponge with baking soda and smudge around to make a paste. Wipe down the toilet seat and all and rinse with fresh water on the sponge. By now, the tub grime will have had enough time to loosen.IMG_0526
I have a textured, non-slip surface on the tub bottom which is difficult to get clean. I found that using these simple ingredients and a scrub brush in a circular motion makes light work of even this grimy tub. Use the sponge, sprinkled with baking soda to wipe down the walls and side of the tub then rinse with fresh water. IMG_0527

Puerto Rican Style Shrimp Soup

This recipe was inspired by a delicious stew, “asopao con camarones”, that we had many years ago at a Taino Restaurant in Puerto Rico. Pictured with an arugula, carrot and tomato salad dressed in a simple vinaigrette and plantain chips on the side.

serves 4

1 lb raw shrimp
1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup recaito *see below for modification
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
dash turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cups tomato sauce
3 cups water

*modification for recaito
1/2 onion; finely chopped
1/2 small pepper; finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro; chopped
1 clove garlic; crushed

Peal, de-vein and set aside shrimp.

In a large pot over low heat sauté the recaito (OR modification -onion, pepper, cilantro and garlic) in olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and tomato sauce, stir, bring to simmering and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.

If serving this in the traditional style, over rice- start the meal by cooking the rice so it is done once this quick stew is prepared.

Transforming Towels from Musty to Fresh and Clean

The relentless humidity and daily rain has left our towels less than fresh. The solution is simple, effective and totally chemical free! Place musty, like color towels into the laundry machine. I usually put linens and fabric shower curtains in too to freshen them up at the same time and make the load as full as possible. Pour in 1 cup of distilled white vinegar (the cheap stuff). Launder a full cycle with hot water. Add detergent and launder as usual on a second cycle. Though I am a proponent of air drying to save energy and money for this (and it is still raining!) I recommend using the dryer to thoroughly dry the towels and linens.