Let's try this.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

As a little experiment, I made this last year and started using it on the first of January.  We have gone OVER one year now and we still haven't even used HALF of what I made!  Keep in mind...there are 3 of us, so if there are 6320937 people in your family, you might use it a teensy bit faster. ;-)

This recipe is all over the internet and I couln't possibly tell you where it originated or I would try to give someone some credit here:

Powdered Laundry Detergent of the Homemade Persuasion:

1 Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 Box of Borax
1 Box of Pure Baking Soda
2 bars of Fels-Naptha
1 container of Oxy-Clean
Essential oils (optional for fragrance)

1. Grate the bars of soap.
2. Dump the entire boxes of everything together in a giant bowl with the grated soap.
3.  Mix it up. :D
4.  Divide among two 1-gallon containers.  I used 2 of THESE.  If you use two 1-gallon containers, you're not stuck lugging around 2 gallons of soap all year. ;-)

When doing your laundry with this soap, you literally only use about 1-1.5 Tablespoons per load. 
I put the soap in first, close the lid, let HOT water in for a few seconds to start soaking the soap (I'm not even sure if this is totally necessary), then put in the clothes, close the lid again and run it on whatever temp I want the clothes washed in.
My GF says that her black shirts fade a little too quickly, but I haven't noticed. 
My daughter spilled curry soup on a brand new pair of WHITE denim shorts. She cried the whole way home.  As soon as she got home, I went to work...  I rinsed out what I could with cold water, sprinkled this soap on top, rubbed it in, then let it sit overnight.  The next day, I sprayed Resolve (yes, I cheated, but I'm convinced my soap was the best place to start) on the stains a few times, then proceded to machine wash them. 
The stain didn't come out after the first wash, but that was the only time I ever treated the stain.  It was barely visible, but it was still there...over the next couple of washes, it came completely out.  CURRY soup, you guys.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Afraid you will miss PASTA?!

Here's the thing...everyone says they love pasta.  Pasta is just an almost tasteless vehicle for the sauce though!  When you eat pasta, you feel like a lot of things...mostly like a nap...and REALLLY full.  Did you eat a salad as an appetizer?  No?  Then chances are, you're not going to be getting a serving of veggies with dinner.

In our house, we knock out two birds with one stone...figuratively speaking. :)  We started off mostly using spaghetti squash in the place of pasta.  It's excellent...if you cook it right!  Once you get the hang of it, you realize that it's actually super good all by itself.  The Widget actually loves it with a little grass fed butter and salt as an after-school snack!

Add some pesto, crumbled bacon, and leftover chicken and you've got a family favorite! Srsly...the girls ask for that one constantly.

Edited to add: Thanks to my friend Autumn, it was brought to my attention that not everyone may know what spaghetti squash IS or how to cook it!!  Here's what I had to say:

A spaghetti squash is just an oblong yellow squash and it's always called a spaghetti squash, so people usually know what you're talking about. If you have a "produce place" near you...one that sells mostly produce, that's the easiest place to start. They also have them at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and most grocery stores this time of year since it's a winter squash.

This is my favorite method of cooking it:

1. Poke it a few times with a knife (the skin is hard), then stick the whole thing in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Check it by poking at it with your knife and pull it out when it pierces the skin.
2. Wear an oven mit and cut the stem end off, then cut it in half. It's still HOT, so take your time.

3. Scoop out the seeds and slimy stuff, then wait a while for it to cool before using a fork to separate the strands and scoop it into a bowl.

This sounds way harder than it is, lol. If you're not a fan of it the first time, don't give up...it may take you a few times before you decide how "done" you like it...if you like it a little crispier, then cook it less time, if you like it mushier, then cook it more. I leave it on the crispy side, then saute it in the pan with whatever sauce I'm putting on it until it's the texture that I like.

Cabbage!  ..............Wait!  Come back!  I'm serious!  Listen...buy a giant cabbage, cut it in half, then thinly slice half, and put the other one away for a later date (trust me, you'll want to make this again). 

Heat a pan on "screamin' hot"(HIGH), but a dollop of coconut oil in the pan and toss in the cabbage.  Season with salt, pepper, and whatever spices compliment what you're going to put on top...my favorites are Ras al Hanout, tandoori, and garam masala.

Let it get a little charred before stirring it up...trust.  Don't let it get mushy...leave it a little crispy. Here's a pic of one of my lunches...the cabbage with caramelized onions and a yummy chicken thigh.

NEXT:  Put stuff on it.  I could seriously do this daily.  I think I even mentioned it in another post here: My wannabe homesteader post.