Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homemade Cleaning Day!

Yesterday I whipped up another batch of homemade laundry detergent. I mixed two batches of powdered detergent using a bar of Dr. Bronner's Almond soap and one 5 gallon batch of liquid using Fels-Naptha. I like to have both the powdered and the liquid on hand. When I get a tough stain I use a little of the powdered directly on the stain, also the powdered is less messy for transporting.

This time I grated both soap bars on my finest grate and, although it was hard work, I was extremely pleased with the outcome. With the last batch I had been slightly lazy and coarsely grated the Zote bar. I ran into problems once I added the soap to the hot water, it wouldn't dissolve completely and clumped up. It still worked in the washing machine but it didn't look very pretty and occasionally I had a small clump of soap still stuck to a pant leg when I pulled them out of the washer.

This time, the Fels-Naptha grated up nice and dissolved within a few minutes into the saucepan. The smell was floral but not too bad. Nothing stinks worse to me than that super floral scent reminiscent of old ladies' talcum powder and bathroom spray. Eww.  I decided to leave the liquid concoction as-is but the powdered mix with almond soap was very mild so I added a few drops of sweet orange essential oil and mixed well. The almond paired well with the citrus creating a nice clean scent.

I sealed the bucket up tight and it is sitting in our laundry room untouched for 24hrs to "set".

***I just check on it and YAY! It set to a gel extremely well without any soap clumps and it smells really really good.***

I also re-cultured two more quarts of buttermilk using my previous batch to work off of. It is now a mixture of 2%, powdered, and skim milk (largest percent being the skim). As an updated report the 2% buttermilk turned out great but super creamy, almost too creamy. The fat settled at the top of the jar and was a pain to try to clean. The buttermilk derived from the powdered milk turned tangy very quick but pleasantly so and remained a nice creamy consistency. This worked the best for our waffles and pancakes. I think we will probably continue to use the skim milk for culturing but now know in a pinch we can use the powdered milk just fine.

After the laundry soap and buttermilk, I tried a new recipe for automatic dishwashing detergent from my book The Naturally Clean Home:



Automatic Dishwashing Detergent
1 c. borax
1 c. washing soda
essential oil (I used grapefruit and sweet orange for a clean citrus scent; next time maybe lemon-lavender!)

Combine all and store in tight fitted lid. Use 2 Tbs. per load.

Finally I made homemade antiseptic household cleaner from my go-to product book:


I had run out of homemade cleaner and grabbed a "green" product off the shelves in desperation one day as I was shopping. The cleaner was by Seventh Generation. When I got home and started spraying my eyes teared up and my nose burned, my senses felt assaulted. It was a horrible chemical meets vinegar scent and I disliked it immediately. Not wanting to waste money, I continued to use it while warning my husband before each use that he might want to step into the other room while I clean. He detested the smell also.  As the last droplets left the bottle yesterday I silently cheered with glee. Back to homemade stuff...

All-Purpose Antiseptic Household Cleaner
2 tsp borax
1 tsp washing soda
2 c. hot water
1/2 tsp liquid castille soap
total of 1/2 tsp antiseptic essential oils

Combine all in a spray bottle and shake to mix.  Spray on counter tops, let set for a minute or two and wipe clean.

I used peppermint castile soap and orange essential oil (yeah I was going for an orange theme).

The first batch I made, I followed a suggestion in the book for a holiday scent. A combination of clove and cinnamon essential oils. As soon as I spritzed I got an instant headache leading me to toss the batch down the drain and start over. Both clove and cinnamon e.o. tend to be very very strong to me leading to olfactory overload. I wouldn't necessarily toss this idea of a recipe but I would most likely strip down the amounts significantly to a more "hint" of a sent than a blast up the sinuses.

The peppermint and orange married well and I am very pleased with the scent!

Overall, a very successful homemade cleaning product day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Canning, a Friendly Affair

Over the weekend I received a text "I've got tomatoes from the garden. Need to can!" So, Sunday I had Kelsey and Katie (two girls I practically consider sisters) over. We canned tomatoes, Cowboy Candy, and prepared applesauce and pearsauce from fruit I had just purchased at the local farmer's market.

Pears...
Kels displaying her peel art. Bought this apple peeler from Pampered Chef; we are very impressed with it!

The Supervisor

Kelsey wanted to "make more stuff!" so we had her grind wheat and corn for homemade cornbread. 

Katie and Kelsey with the duty of slicing jalapenos. I think it was the first time I've ever seen Kelsey so still.

Cooking them in sugar, cider vinegar, and spices.


And this is what NOT to do when you grab the side of your extremely hot crock pot...dang that hurt.

Overall we had a wonderful time and I think I overwhelmed Katie with my fun canning books! I just bought a new canning book and love it!




It is chocked full of modern and exciting recipes.