If you’ve read the Elisa-Safe recipes, you might be wondering “What the heck is Elisa-Safe?”

Elisa is my niece. She has food allergies. A lot of them. I create recipes that Elisa can eat. It’s no fun to sit at the table while everyone else eats, but food allergies keep her from being part of the group.

Elisa-Safe recipes are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, not just the one with food allergies. These are all inclusive recipes.

In case you’re wondering about the food allergies, here is a list of all the ingredients I cannot use in an Elisa-Safe recipe:

AlmondAniseBell PepperCashews
Cayenne PepperCayenne PepperCheeseChicken
Goat MilkLambLycheeMacadamia
Poppy SeedRaisinRyeSpelt
Sunflower SeedThymeWhite MushroomWinter Squash

Elisa-Safe Hummus

Elisa-Safe Hummus

I created this recipe as a hummus substitute for Elisa. She is allergic to chickpeas and garlic ( along with many other things). Gluten Free Print Recipe Elisa-Safe Hummus Course Appetizer Cuisine Mediterranean Prep Time 10 Minutes Cook Time 15 Minutes Servings People Ingredients Simmer 1 can Cannellini Beans1/2 tsp Fennel Seed1 tsp Celery Salt1 … Read more Elisa-Safe Hummus

Using Ketchup to Shine Silver

Ketchup on Silver

The Experiment

For this post to really make sense, you should probably read Cleaning With Condiments first. Anyway, I had just published the article to the site and I had a few minutes, so I decided to test ketchup’s ability to shine silver. Surely this wouldn’t really work, I told myself. But, what the heck, it’s only a 10 minute test, I’ll give it a shot. I took pictures of each of the steps. See my test results below.

Step 1: Find Something Silver

Ok, so this took a little longer than I expected. I used to have a number of silver utensils, serving pieces, candle holders, tea service, etc. I think I might have tossed most of them. Eventually, I found a cake server that worked. It had some tarnish.

Silver Server With Tarnish
Step 1: Find Something Silver That’s Tarnished

Step 2: Put Ketchup on the Server and Rub It On the Silver

I found some ketchup and squirted it on the silver part of the server. Following that I spent about 5 seconds spreading the ketchup with the tip of my finger.

Step 2: Put Ketchup on the Server
Step 2: I Squirted the Ketchup on the Silver
Spread Ketchup Around
Step 2: I Spread the Ketchup Around With My Finger

Step 3: Set a Timer For 10 Minutes

10 Minute Timer

I set the timer to go off in 10 minutes. Then I paid no attention to the ketchup covered silver server.

Step 4: Polish Off the Ketchup With an Old Soft Cloth

Ok, so I didn’t actually polish the ketchup off with a cloth. I wiped it off with a paper towel. I took my time and wiped it all off. After I wiped off the ketchup, I rinsed the server in warm water and dried it.

Step 4: Clean Silver Server
Step 4: The Polished Silver Server

I have to say I was really surprised. I put no effort into this experiment, yet the tarnish came off!

Well, this was fun. You’ll have to try this yourself…if you can find something silver with tarnish on it.

Cleaning With Condiments, They Aren’t Just For Food Anymore!


If you want to go green (or save some money) while conducting usual cleaning chores, you might be surprised that some of the cheapest and healthiest alternatives to mainstream cleaning supplies include condiments. I certainly was! Common, everyday items that people usually have lying around in their fridges can help with some of the worst cleaning woes. Sure, the idea of using ketchup, a condiment famous for staining white shirts, for cleaning purposes might seem odd, but every one of these tasty substances has a unique use. Open up the fridge, and for next to nothing, you can tackle some of the worst stains in the house.


Oh, the power of vinegar! If you don’t mind a bit of a harsh smell, vinegar can clean dozens and dozens of items in your house. Some of the most popular items that vinegar cleans are windows, microwaves, showers, and stainless steel appliances. Its close cousin, apple cider vinegar, also serves as a disinfectant and has a more pleasant odor. Most of the best cleaning recipes that include vinegar combine distilled white vinegar with water, oil, or salt.


Halve a lemon, dip it in salt, and rub it against any copper, brass, or chrome appliance. It will show off a great shine. Mix lemon juice and baking soda to unclog minor drains. In addition to introducing a better scent, lemon juice can remove ugly stains from plastic containers. Let the containers sit in a mixture of lemon juice and water overnight. Also, lemon juice serves to remove several different types of laundry stains.


Yes, ketchup actually can lift stains rather than cause them. Polish copper with ketchup; its acidity dissolves tarnish and stubborn spots. It can also help you shine silver. Rub the red substance on your silver item, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, and then polish it off with an old rag.

Rodeo of the Mind Comment: We tested the ketchup suggestion. To see the test results read Using Ketchup to Shine Silver.


Mustard powder specifically makes a pretty great deodorizer, so if you plan to re-use old jars for your next Pinterest project, splash warm water and a bit of mustard powder into the jar. The powder can also help you lift grease from really dirty dishes.


The eggy white substance is pretty useful for getting unsightly water marks out of wooden furniture. It can also help you wash pine pitch off of your hands and remove adhesives and glue from glass. Note that olive oil is also great for restoring the luster of hard wood. (And it’s also a less-fattening alternative for eating.)


Salt and salt water have tons of uses and are included in many cleaning recipes. Salt with lemon, salt with vinegar, and salt with oil can tear away many kinds of stains. Here’s another tip: If you have valuable cast-iron cookware, you know that soaps are a no-no, which, in my opinion, can be maddening. Instead, heat oil in the pan, then add coarse salt, creating a paste. Use that paste to scrub unwanted stains away. Also, the best way to clean coffee pots is with a mixture of salt and ice, which you can swirl around inside. Just pour away those awful brown stains.

These cheap and safe cleaning supplies are only an arm’s reach away. Now, there’s no shame in grabbing one or two extra packets of ketchup when you’re out. There are also plenty of other powerful cleaning agents in your kitchen, including baking soda, coffee grounds, and cornstarch that can be used for more safe cleaning alternatives. Give them a try: You might be pleased with the results.

Originally published on February 6, 2015 by Greg Wiszniewski
on the New York City Office Cleaning Blog

Essential Oils as Spices

Easily Use Essential Oils as Spices

Here are a few recipes

Tip: 1 drop (or less)  of essential oil = 2 tsp dried herbs

Italian Seasoning Blend


Basil Essential Oil

Marjoram Essential Oil

Oregano Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

Thyme Essential Oil

2 TB Garlic Powder or 1 Garlic Clove (use amount to taste)





Mix all ingredients into 2 large cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes or whatever you use as your marinara base.



Herbs De Provence Blend


Thyme Essential Oil

Marjoram Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

Fennel Essential Oil

2 Tsp Dried Orange Zest


Add to soups, on chicken or on roasted veggies.

Herb Oil Dip


1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper

1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

Oregano Essential Oi

Rosemary Essential Oil

1 Tsp Granulated Garlic

1 Tsp Minced Garlic

1 Tsp Kosher Salt

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Combine all
  2. ingredients except olive, on a deep plate or bowl.
  3. Pour olive oil over mixture.