Happy first day of October!
How are ya today? Before we get into the usual food and new-thing chatter, I just wanted to say thank you SO much to those of you who have filled out my reader survey. Your feedback has been fantastic and you can fully expect me to take it into account over the coming months. If you haven’t yet had a chance to give your two cents, you’ll find the survey here.
In addition, I’ll be sending out my quarterly newsletter this weekend and just like the blog, it’s been re-vamped! It’s looking pretty darn snazzy if I do say so myself, so if you’re not already on the list, be sure to sign up ASAP. (Note: This is a separate list from email subscriptions.)
With those housekeeping items out of the way, it’s time to talk about soup!
1. Recipe of the Week. As I mentioned last Wednesday, it’s soup city over here and I’m going strong this week with another one.
On the weekend I went back to Dutchies for some more crazy cheap and delicious produce, and while visiting found squash of all sorts on sale for about 66 cents per pound. It would have been rude to pass up the opportunity to replenish my stock, so that’s precisely what I did.
It’s one of my favourite vegetables now, but I actually didn’t have my first taste of winter squash (or know what it was) until I was about 17. This was during my quest to shed the weight I’d gained as a teenager, and since I found the higher volume, lower calorie density approach worked well for me at that time to keep me feeling satisfied, squash was a big favourite.
In this Fall Harvest Vegetable and Bean Soup I’ve used carnival squash, but it would work just as well with whatever kind you like best or have available. If you’re really not sure what kind you’re buying, this winter squash guide from Epicurous is a super handy resource to pull up on your phone or keep on your fridge.
This soup has been either packed in my lunches or on my dinner table every day this week and I’m already planning to make a new batch this weekend because it’s that good. It’s amazing how much flavour a big pot full of seasonal produce, beans, stock and herbs can have, and if you’re looking for a big-batch budget-friendly meal, I’d strongly recommend giving this one a try!
2. Sport Suds. This is a little different from my usual food and fitness-related new things, but if you appreciate working up a good sweat as much as I do, listen up. As I’m sure my fellow sweat enthusiasts out there will agree, doing laundry at the end of the week can be a particularly stinky and gross endeavour, especially with several days worth of damp, sweat-soaked luon, spandex, socks and sports bras piled into your laundry basket. Am I right or am I right?
Recently I was talking to a friend at a race about this issue that I’m sure plagues most runners and active folks out there, and she asked me if I’d heard about Sport Suds. I hadn’t, but the name as intriguing. It turns out that Sport Suds is a brand of high-performance laundry detergent designed with active people in mind, that is particularly great at removing dirt and odour. Having done plenty of running, cycling, and muddy trail racing this year, I’m intimately familiar with both. I have a few items of clothing that just seem to have a sweaty odour baked into them, and no matter how hard I try it won’t come out. I figured they’d be a good test for Sport Suds.
Within a few days, a package arrived on my doorstep containing a bag of detergent to try. The company claims that the product eliminates odour and stains using ingredients that are:
- Fragrance free
- Free from bleach, parabens, harsh sulphates and other questionable ingredients
- Gentle enough for everyday use
I was skeptical about Sport Suds’ ability to get the stink out of my clothes because in my previous experience, natural cleansers haven’t been able to do it. Curious about how exactly they’re able to achieve this, I read more about odour elimination on their website.
In short, there have been 2 methods of getting rid of stinky smells in clothing in the past:
- Covering them up with fragrances
- Killing the smelly bacteria with harsh chemicals containing peroxide (but not necessarily removing them). This is believed to be a temporary fix because the fabric still isn’t left 100% clean and chemicals still remain.
Sport Suds claims to actually remove the bacteria from the fabric, leaving it completely residue-free. (Washing machines can also be coated in residue too, by the way. I learned more about this here.) I just assumed my usual laundry detergent was removing bacteria, but perhaps that’s not really the case given the lingering stink.
Enough about the claims. What really matters is whether or not it actually works, and I’m sure that’s what you’re wondering. I washed a load of towels first before my load of Lululemon workout gear, just to be sure that nothing disastrous would happen. They came out looking just fine, so in went the sweaty luon. While I was in the laundry-doing sort of mood, I decided to also test the product on this beast:
My totally gross iPod arm band which seems to have a smell that NEVER goes away. I tried making a natural cleaner for it here, but it wasn’t long before the smell came back the next week. Since you’re not supposed to put them in the washing machine, I filled a sink with boiling hot water (to kill bacteria) and sprinkled about a tablespoon of Sport Suds detergent on top. I swirled it around a bit until it dissolved, and submerged my arm band for about 5 hours.
Clothes: They smell like nothing now, which is good! I sort of enjoy the scent of my usual Tide laundry detergent, but if all the chemical residue stuff really is true, then I’m happy to go without it. Apparently by removing said residue, technical fabrics last longer. I’ll do anything to preserve the life of my Lululemon collection, so on the whole I’m satisfied. My socks (which are very hard working too) also didn’t have any lingering smell left in them, and most importantly they weren’t crusty which is one of my BIG pet peeves when it comes to laundry.
iPod arm band: This was actually the result that got me most excited. It worked! My previous cleaning method of putting tea tree oil on the strap to help kill the bacteria may have been somewhat effective, but it left behind a tea tree smell that I wasn’t enjoying on my runs. That scent, in combination with my sweaty aroma are pretty much gone now, and I think if I’d left it another couple of hours it wouldn’t be noticeable at all.
I’m no laundry detergent connoisseur or domestic maven, but in general, this seems to be a pretty great product. Its earth-friendly, gentle ingredients were surprisingly really powerful and I can see myself being a loyal user.
So tell me…
- Do you have solutions for getting smells that are seemingly baked into your workout gear to come out? I also found these cleaning hacks for fitness buffs which you might find helpful. I think I might try a few!
- What’s your favourite type of squash? I’m all about the butternut, but I don’t discriminate. 😉