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Ever since I was pregnant with Anna, just about 2 years ago now, I haven’t touched a heavy duty cleanser. Not that I haven’t done any housework, that is… although at first I was able to con(vince) my husband into doing a majority of the household chores when I was feeling too sick or too tired during the first and third trimesters, *wink*. No, we didn’t abandon our porcelain and our counter-tops or the oven or floors when they got dirty, we didn’t hire any outside help, although I would like to from time to time, we just implored the use of baking soda and vinegar to come to our cleaning aids. No need to spend a pretty penny on special environmentally sound cleaners or make a special trip to your nearest Whole Foods store, just go to the baking aisle in the grocery and pick up a 69-cent box of baking soda and a gallon of white vinegar for a little over a dollar. We just sprinkle the baking soda on the surface that needs to be cleaned, add a little vinegar and scrub with a sponge. Then rinse with fresh water and you have a shiny, clean surface with no ill-fated surfactants or chemicals going down your drain, out into the world and contaminating your water supply. Clogged sink drain? No problem.  Put a pot of hot water on the stove to boil, then in the meantime take out the drain stopper, pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and then a cup of vinegar (you’ll see it foam up) and once it has died down after a few minutes quickly pour the pot of boiling water in after it and presto! If this doesn’t work and you have a particularly stubborn clog (thanks to my husband’s shaving and not because of me of course) then do the same thing again up to two more times and that should do the trick.  You can add baking soda to your loads of laundry to freshen and whiten, to your fridge for odors, to your rugs before you vacuum and almost every cleaning application you can think of, even in the garden, too!  And after you’re done cleaning your house and you want to relax and have a nice quick loaf of warm bread then get out your baking soda again and have a go at this recipe. This bread is so easy to make, moist and delicious, by far the best soda bread I’ve ever had. You’ll be happy you spent the 10 minutes to make this.

Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Adapted from M. Saginario

4 cups all purpose flour


1/4 cup sugar

4 tbs ground flax meal *optional*

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 stick of butter

1 1/3 cup butter milk

1 egg lightly beaten



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the pieces are small and crumbly. Blend together the buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl. Mix into the flour mixture. Put the blended dough, which will be crumbly and not very cohesive on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 25 times. Shape into a ball. Place on a greased cooking sheet and cut a 1 inch cross in the top about 1/4 of an inch deep. Brush with buttermilk or an egg wash, optional. I forgot and it came out fine. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the center is no longer doughy. Serve with butter while still warm and enjoy!


Freshly Cut Bread