Indoor air quality is a hot topic these days… it appears that the air we breath inside our home is 5 times dirtier than the air outside. Considering we cook, use chemical based cleaning products, burn petroleum based candles and furnish our homes with materials made with VOC’s, it’s no wonder we can’t breath clearly. There are things we can do to help. In addition to opening the windows frequently to circulate air, choosing low or no VOC paints (glues, flooring, etc…), using natural cleaning products and switching to soy based candles we can also introduce house plants to help clean up the air. This may be the easiest task of all.
Some plants are better for improving indoor air quality than others… and some are easier to keep alive, if you like me are not a green thumb.
Here is what we are considering adding to our home…
Gerbera Daisies- Great for air quality and easy to care for. Also one of my favorites. You just can’t go wrong with those cheery blooms!
Bamboo Palm- We are adding at least one, maybe two flanking the fireplace (close to the slider door for sunlight). I like how big and green they are. Wondering… will I have to dust the fronds?
Peace Lily- Up in the air on this one… I think this is what I have used in the past with the cute fishy vases. Not sure if we will get some or not.
English Ivy- I know these are really easy to take care of… but for some reason they remind me of Grandma’s house… Maybe one in the kitchen?
Mums- Another bright flower… but I’m thinking not really our style.
Chinese Evergreen– I Love, love, love this plant as well. (This one is suppose to do well in low light areas and have low water needs… sounds like the plant for me!)
Snake Plants– If I can get beyond the name… we might be able to get one of these as well. They are kind of neat looking.
Now that I have decided on what varieties to bring into our home, the next question is how many? According to the NASA study on indoor air quality in the 1980’s a home under 2000 sq ft should have no less than 15 house plants to help clean up the air. Yikes. Where am I going to put all those? They should also be relatively large plants… in containers of no less than six inches in diameter.
Now that we have cleaned up the air you breath… let’s put something tasty in the belly!!!
I must confess, I had a Food Network dream about these bars… it went something like this:
PolkaDotMommy (that’d be yours truly) sitting on the bleachers at a baseball game, wearing my Oregon Ducks hat, I am holding an open container of these tasty treats and my youngest is sitting next to me munching on them. A hand reaches over my shoulder as a voice says, “Those look tasty” and grabs one out of the container. I look back as Alton Brown bites into a snack bar. I replied, “They are gluten free, dairy free and can be vegan as well.” He scrunches up his face as if to say… ick, and then, the line, “and they are Good Eats”. Pathetic I know. Why oh why am I dreaming about Food Network? Oh… maybe because I’d love to see some featured shows on alternative cooking. The numbers of us cooking Gluten free, Dairy Free, Allergy Free is rapidly growing. Isn’t it time someone paid attention?
Gluten Free, Dairy Free Snack Bars (And they taste so darn good!)
Makes approx 24 bars
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4c. coconut flour
1/4c. tapioca starch
1c. crunchy cereal flakes (we use sweet buckwheat flake cereal) crushed
1/4c. Wholesome Sweetners Evaporated Cane Sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4c. canola oil
1 egg or substitute
1 tsp. GF vanilla
1 organic pear peeled and grated
1 organic granny smith apple peeled and grated
1/2 c. organic dried cranberries
1/2c. enjoy life chocolate chips
1/4 c. almonds chopped or diced to your desired texture or sunflower seeds if you can’t do nuts
Oven on to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 insulated baking pan with parchment or wax paper, leave a “grip” edge over each end to lift out finished bars.
Combine all dry ingredients and cereal flakes in medium sized mixing bowl.
Add syrup, egg, oil and vanilla. Now add in grated fruit, cranberries, chocolate chips, nuts/seeds. Stir well.
Spread mixture into the pan and bake for 35 minutes, check to see if done by inserting a toothpick in the middle, it shouldn’t come out clean. Cool, lift out of pan by edges of paper and cut into bars using a pizza cutter.
We like to wrap these individually so they are ready for lunch boxes and afternoon snacks, then place them in a zippie bag or container with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
I will try to get some pictures of the next batch up here… the first batch didn’t last long enough to get the camera out!
Today’s Green Tip- It’s obvious…. Get some plants. 🙂