Homemade Laundry Detergent

I’ve been thinking of making homemade laundry detergent for quite some time. I have acquired all the bits and pieces to make it over the last year, but I just didn’t get around to doing it.  But, like everyone else these days, we need to pinch our pennies.

So, I did a search, and determined that even though I’m used to liquid detergent, the powdered stuff would be less labor intensive. I found a great blog post with pictures and the cost breakdown at diyNaturals. According to their calculations you can save 16 cents per load over the name brand store stuff.  If I do 6 loads a week, I’m saving about $50 a year in just laundry detergent. Cool beans!

So following Jab’s recipe:

I combined 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (that’s the stuff in the baggie) and 1 bar Fels-Naptha. I used Fels-Naptha because I already had it in the house, but Jab used ivory soap, which would probably be cheaper.

I grated up the Fels-Naptha with a hand grater, and mixed all of the above together until it was evenly mixed, all the big lumps were out, and(after grating the soap) my hand felt like it was going to fall off.

My recipe made 32 oz. And Jab says you only need 1 tablespoon for a regular load. SWEET!

So far I’ve washed a load of whites, and towels with 1 tablespoon each of my detergent, and they look, smell, and feel as clean as laundry washed with my old laundry soap. Yeah! And the best part, it works just fine with HE washers! I have a top loading, and didn’t have a problem. Others say it works just as well with front loaders.

Like I said earlier, if you want a more detailed breakdown, check out Jab’s Homemade Laundry Detergent, and definitely give it a try!

Happy Laundering!

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Awesome post from Domaphile about the importance of buying local, and reducing our carbon footprint!

domaphile

With all this talk of composting, why don’t we move up the food-chain a bit and talk about all the things that happen to food before it ends up in your compost bin?  Food gathering in this country is complex, to say the least, and I suppose it would be safe to say that the majority of the food gathering that goes on in this country happens via the supermarket following a food chain that looks a lot like this charming yet disturbing flow chart created by Rahul Kamath:

Crazy, right?  But even if one tries to minimize dependence on this model by limiting grocery store shopping in lieu of Community Supported Agriculture and Farmer’s markets, it can’t be totally avoided. We live in Manhattan.  It’s an island.  Everything in our kitchen had to be brought here one way or another (see nos. 3, 5, 7, and 9 on the…

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Rosemary dipping…bread? My Delicious Goof.

I came across this recipe for rosemary olive oil dipping bread, over at Caramel Potatoes. (A recently found blog  full of homemade deliciousness!) In her post, she refers to some restaurant that serves it, that I have never heard of.  We have a place called Bravo that serves it, and it is my ffffffaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavorite.   We’ll go there rarely, for special occasions. When we do, I’m usually full prior to my meal coming, because I stuffed myself on rosemary bread. So, needless to say, I was all over this recipe like white on rice.

And it turned out AWESOME!! Just like the restaurant.

Oh wait….

Sad specimen of "RAISED" bread.

I won’t even tell you what comes to mind when I look at this. I thought the recipe was “good for beginners.” Piff. And I’m not even a beginner!!

Anyway, there’s a number of things that could be the culprit to this pile of sad looking dough.

1. The yeast packet was already opened. It looked like it was bubbly when I added the warm water but, who knows. I was doing 10 other things at the same time.

2. I cut the recipe in 1/2, because I didn’t have a full packet of yeast.  I am notorious for forgetting that I halved the recipe halfway through, and ending up with half of some ingredients, and all of the rest.

3. My impatience got the best of me, and I didn’t let it rise long enough.

Of course, being frugal in nature, throwing this out was not an option. So, after doing a quick search on how to salvage flat bread, I decided just to roll it out, cut it into pieces, and see what happened. And look!

They’re delicious!

The yeast must have been somewhat active, because they rose just a titch. I ended up with biscuit/breadstick kind of things that taste wonderful! I baked them at 375 for 20 minutes, and they ended up soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside. I brushed them with olive oil while they were still hot.

I’ll definitely try to make the rosemary dipping bread again (with a new packet of yeast). But if all I ever end up with are these little treats, I’ll be happy.

Happy baking!

WordPress didn’t save my post!!! ACK!

So I just took an hour to type up what I considered a cute and clever post about two awesome blogs I recently found. The post was going to be called “A couple great projects, from a couple great blogs.” Of course, I saved my drafts as I went along, so when I saved the final draft, and went to preview…POOF!!!…gone. Nothing, nada, zilch. Talk about irritating.

So instead of blowing another hour trying to re-create my clever stories. I’ll just let you know, I found two really cool blogs that you should check out.

The first is Little House in the Suburbs. –This is the blog I want to have when I grow up. Check out the coldframe post. I’m totally making this in the next few weeks.

The next is an awesome farming blog called The Field and Table. Mostly, I wanted to share this post about canning. Maybe someday, when I’m not so irritated, I’ll tell you why. 🙂

Check ’em out. They’re both full of awesome information, pictures and stories.

Happy… save your draft-ing …. Grrrr.

I gave up Facebook!

I did! It’s true. It’s my new year’s resolution. I deleted my account. With fair warning to my “friends,” I encouraged a phone call and good old letter writing in lieu of facebook messages. And, I hit the deactivate button. *GASP*

11 days in, and I don’t miss it a titch. Actually, I haven’t even thought about it until today. I was driving home from the grocery store and thought, “I haven’t looked at facebook in 11 days. Wow, that went fast!”

I don’t know exactly why I felt compelled to get rid of it. But I’m fairly certain it has to do with the over abundance of information I was exposed to multiple times a day that, to be honest, I couldn’t care less about.

It’s kind of like when you’re REALLY hungry for something. Grapes, for example. And you go, and buy forty pounds of grapes and eat 8 pounds a day for the next 5 days, then, all of the sudden the idea of eating another grape makes you want to barf. That’s how facebook is for me. I really just don’t have a taste for it anymore. The constantly updating local news stories, and blogs I “liked,” the friend requests from people I went to junior high school with that I never really got along with, and haven’t thought of in 20 years, but feel compelled to “add,” and the incessant ramblings of people you thought were normal in real life, but you are now beginning to question….
It has all become too much! So, in an effort to simplify life, as my header states, I gave up facebook.

But I’m sure my headaches going away, and all this restful sleep I’ve been getting in 2012 has nothing to do with that….

Happy Social Media-ing.

We’re gettin’ Chickens!

Firstly, I’d like to say Happy New Year to all. I know I haven’t posted in some time, but 2012 started off with a real bang. I spent the first 4 days of the year in bed, sick. Then on the 8th day, I had surgery. BANG! But, all is well now, and as you may have guessed from the title…WE’RE GETTING CHICKENS!  And I may be just a hair excited about it.

I’ve been half-heartedly pestering my husband for about a year to get some chickens. But, then we worked out a barter system with a fellow my husband works with. We gave him fresh veggies and home canned goods, and he gave us fresh eggs from his flock. So the desire for our own chickens kind of waned. Then, last week our egg supplier confided in my husband that he’d fallen on some hard times and had to sell his chickens because he was moving. Two immediate thoughts:

1. we gotta help this poor guy

2. our essentially free farm fresh egg supply will be no longer  (selfish? Yes, but we’re being realistic here….)

Now, I just happened to be reading about chickens for a few weeks. (I got a few books on backyard chickens and poultry for Christmas.) So the idea of inheriting this guys 9 chickens sounded super awesome to me! When it comes to farming, I’m of the “Let’s do it, and see how it goes” mind-set. My husband on the other hand is the realist, devil’s advocate kind. So we talked about it, and slept on it, and craigslisted for cheap chicken coops, and after coming to the conclusion that my husband was not ready for the commitment, we dropped it….for about an hour.

It must have finally hit my husband that if we didn’t inherit some of the chickens, we’d have to go back to eating fat laden, bland, watery, sad looking eggs from the grocery store. (If you haven’t had fresh farm eggs, there is a major difference in appearance and taste that you quickly look forward to…Maybe I’ll do a comparison post some day.) So, off we went! We bought a small coop, large enough to hold 3 chickens temporarily, that we found on craigslist.

We decided we weren’t ready for a whole flock of 9 chickens, because, well, we’re chicken. (HA! Had to…) So we’re getting 3 of “the best layers.” I haven’t seen them yet, but they are apparently of the Jersey Giant breed.

Pretty, don’t you think? I definitely would have picked these girls if I’d had an option. According to my readings, they’re calm, decent layers, and good for meat (although I doubt I could stand that.)

We should be bringing our girls home in the next week or so, so I took advantage of this FANTASTIC January weather, and spent the morning raking pine needles for their bedding, breathing fresh air and getting some sun on my face.

I even made them a little roost out of sticks from the yard. Now I just have to give the coop a good cleaning, buy some feed, and make a nesting box and run for them. The more I do, the more excited I am! We’re going to have fresh eggs, but even more exciting, I’m going to get the best composted fertilizer from their bedding for my garden. OH, I can’t wait.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how this little adventure goes.

Happy Nesting!