Citrus-ize your home

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tis the season — not that season — but the cold and flu season.  Nature gives us just the right foods to help cope with this season — citrus fruits.

Citrus provides a zest of good health by being an excellent source of vitamin C, and a source of folate, fiber and potassium,  all nutrients we tend not to get enough of. Any way you slice it, citrus can be served in a number of ways:

•The wedge: Cut the citrus fruit in half lengthwise; place cut-side-up and cut three to four wedges from each half.

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•Cartwheels: Cut a thin slice from both ends of an unpeeled citrus fruit; then slice the fruit crosswise into desired thickness.

•Zest it: Grate peel using a microplane or zester over waxed paper before cutting and squeezing for juice. Grated peel is measured by lightly placing the peel into a measuring spoon. You can also freeze this for a later use.

Citrus fruits are at their peak, and it is the perfect time to delve into their versatility in the home.  Not just for eating, citrus can help you entertain, rejuvenate your mind and body, and act as a cleaning agent. Here are some ways to citrus-ize your home:


•Create a lemony arrangement by starting with a clear glass container and then putting another slightly smaller container of the same shape inside it.  Slice lemons and slide them between two containers.   Fill the smaller container with water and your favorite yellow and white flowers.

•Slice citrus into a clear glass pitcher of ice water, fruit punch, lemonade, sparkling water or wine spritzers to add flavor and sophistication to any beverage.


•Create lemony clean skin by combining 1 teaspoon each of powdered milk, water and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Apply the mixture to your face and massage for a few minutes to help nourish the skin without drying it out.  To remove, use freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply to skin with cotton ball to act as a toner.  Lastly apply a moisturizer.

•Relax your senses and steam away your troubles with a facial steam.  Place a large bowl on a table and add four cups boiling water, one sliced lemon and handful of mint leaves.

Place a bath towel over your head and lower your face over the bowl.  Breathe deeply for seven to 10 minutes.  This is a great home remedy to open breathing passages during cold and flu season.


• Household odors can be removed from hands or cutting boards by rubbing with a wedge of lemon.

• Use fresh lemon juice to clean copper by creating a paste of lemon juice and salt and rubbing the item to remove oxidation.

Rinse very well.

•To make your glass coffeepot sparkle, rub glass with cut lemon or soak in lemon juice and water.

Rinse well and dry with lint-free cloth.

Lemon Chicken Stir-fry

Serves 4 (1-1/2 cups each)

Active time: 40 minutes | Total: 40 minutes

 All you need

•1 lemon

•1⁄2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

•3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

•2 teaspoons Hy-Vee cornstarch

•1 tablespoon Hy-Vee canola oil

•1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

•10 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered

•1 cup (1/4-inch thick) diagonally sliced carrots

•2 cups snow peas (6 ounces), trimmed

•1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided

•1 tablespoon chopped garlic

 All you do

1. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest and set aside. Juice the lemon and whisk 3 tablespoons of the juice with broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add mushrooms and carrots; cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas, scallion whites, garlic and the lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the broth mixture and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallion greens and the chicken; cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes.

Per serving: 223 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 3 g fiber; 555 mg sodium; 716 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (120% daily value), Vitamin C (62% dv), Potassium (20% dv), Iron (15% dv). Carbohydrate Servings: 1