Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homemade Diswasher Soap

***Disclaimer*** This is a lot like White love it or hate it. Luckily for me I love both. Must be my tight-wad taste. Mmmmmm....White Castle......Nasty little slider goodness....

White Castle Slyders

Anyways...the point of the story is if it works for you, awesome! If it doesn't I apologize, go get you some sliders and it will be all better.

So if you have the ingredients left from making laundry soap you are in luck, because you are going to use the most of the same things. Let's start with a small batch, that way you can try it in your dishwasher and see if it works.

1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda (again...NOT baking soda!)
Lemon Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, any kind of lemon drink pack that has citric acid. I used 2 of the Walmart   brand individual drink packets for this size.

Aaaaaaand...that's it! I put mine in  glass mason jar and mixed it all together. I use vinegar in the rinse agent container thingy. I swear, I have the worst diswasher in the hisory of mankind. It is disgusting. There are years of other people nastiness stuck in it, I swear. My dishes used to come out dirtier than when I put them in. Since I started using this though, sparkly and squeaky clean!

Happy cleaning! Cheers! Now...where is the closest White Castle.....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Super Simple Summer Salsa

Try saying that three times fast!

Farmer's market season is upon us lovies! Now is the perfect time if you haven't to try your hand at canning some of the goodness of the season, Look at this beeeeeeautiful corn salsa, you know you want some, don't deny it your love...

Corn Salsa

4 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob. If you can't find fresh you can use canned or frozen, I guess
1 big ol' red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
cilantro (optional, I love it though, so it goes in pretty much everything I make)
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin (if you can find the roasted kind it is worth the extra few cents, trust me)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Before you start chopping all your stuff up, start to sterilize your jars and metal screw rings. It is easy, you put them in a big pot of hot water taht covers the jars until they are all steamy. I like to do the lids in a small sauce pan of hot water, that way they stay warm until I am ready to put them on. Now your jars are ready to go!

Throw all your ingredients in a big honkin' bowl. Now is the hard part: not eating it all before you actually get a chance to can it! Put it in the hot jars. Before you put the lids on wipe the tops of the jars with a damp rag, that way no nasty mean bacteria can grow there and ruin your happy corn salsa. Put the lids on, then screw the metal rings. You don't have to go all crazy here and be all He-Man like, so don't overdo how tight you screw the rings on. Now put your jars into the big pot of water again and put the lid on the pot. When the water starts to boil cook for 15 more minutes. After they boil take them out of the water. That's it! You will want to see if they seal, this can take 10 minutes or 10 hours. If they do seal you will hear a little suck and pop noise (technical canning term....when you hear it you will know though, and then when you can in the future you will be giddy with delight when you hear it. My husband thinks I am a nerd when I get excited about it).

This makes about 3 to 4 pint size jars of salsa, depeding on how much you eat before you actually can it. It is great just with chips, or try it on chicken or corn. In the middle of winter it is amazing to open up a jar of this summer-in-a-jar goodness, especially here in the Midwest when the snow and cold starts sucking the very life out of your soul.

Happy canning!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

The first question I usually get when people find out all the crazy things I do is "Why?" My answer is usually "Because I can!" Case and point: homemade laundry soap. Why would I make my own when I can go to the store and buy it? The big reason: it is cheap. And I mean dirt cheap. Before I get into the cost, let me show you my way of making it.

The supplies: Borax soap, washing soda (NOT baking soda!), and soap. I used Zote because that is what I can find easiest, but you can also use Ivory or Fels Naptha soap. All these things you can get in the laundry aisle at the grocery store, I even can find it at the commissary here. I also add some essential oil, so you can add that to the list of things you need if you so choose.

Grate 1/3 of the bar of your soap into a big ol' pan. Then you have what looks like pink cheese. How fun!

Add 6 cups of warm water and heat until the soap is all melted. Add 1/2 cup of the washing soda and 1/2 cups of the Borax and add to the mixture. You can then add the essetial oil if you would like, 1/2 to 1 oz. I used mint eucalyptus in this batch.  Remove from the heat. Put 4 cups of hot water into another huge stockpot or bucket. I used the pot I use to water bath when canning for this part. Then pour the soap mixture in. Add another gallon (yes....gallon) and 6 more cups of hot water and stir until it is all mixed.

That's it. For real. Let it sit about a day and it will get a gel-like just like the store bought kind.

So let's talk the real important reason for making your own soap (aside from that you get pink laundry soap, I mean, come on, would you NEED another reason?! :) Ok, so the biggie...the money factor. Here is a kind of cost breakdown:

Zote: about a dollar
Borax: $2.39
Arm and Hammer wash soda: $2.29
Water...yep, that's still free! Well for us in base housing it is at least!

So altogether It was about 6 bucks to buy supplies, plus the little bit of essential oil I already had. That would be cheaper than a lot of soaps right there. And this makes enough to do about 64 loads. Woah. Plus you will still have enough Zote for 2 more loads, and enough of the other 2 things for about a bajillion more. Plus you can use Borax for so many other things, so it is totally worth it to have on hand. Ok, so the one batch if you figure it out per load ends up being about 1 cent a load. 1 little penny. Plus I get to have yummy smelling soap. Try finding eucalyptus soap at the store. You can do seasonal smells too! Goes perfect for me with my holiday obsession. And I made it myself, which pretty much rocks.

And THAT is why I do it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Random Discovery

I can't help resist buying foodstuffs that are red, white, and blue. Have you seen the new Liberty Goldfish?! Yup, they had to come home with us...the ginormous box.

Alas, when the 4th of July is over I am left with my patriotic foods, if I have any leftover. The most recent was a bag of red, white, and blue star marshmallows. I thought about doing something cute with them , but my sweet tooth got the better of me tonight and I NEEDED cocoa pebble marshmallow bars. And thos poor starts are the only marshmallows we had in the house. Ah well...I will just use them up. But wait! When you melt them they turn this awesome lavender color! So cool! You can't tell by the pictures especially with the cocoa pebbles, but I swear they are!

How fun would this be with regular rice krispies? Especially for a little girls birthday party! Guess I will pick somoe more marshmallows up just for this purpose!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Farmgirl Fourth!

I have always loved the Fourth of July. And I have always loved baking and crafting, especially for the holidays. So any reason to to the aforementioned is always good in my book. Rosemary and I spent the morning baking. I think later we will go out to Illionois Beach State Park and test drive our new bike trailer, then pack up a little picnic and have some lunch on the beach of Lake Michigan. What a perfect day! We need to bring goodies though!

These fun cookies were on the cover of Martha Stewart Living's July issue. Rosemary keeps calling them spider cookies, I guess she is kind of right!

We have an overabundance of strawberry jam resulting from our strawberry picking day. And I had some cake leftover from the cupcakes we made, so I decided to make some shortcake in a canning jar with some blueberry strawberry jam, whipped cream, and cute up cake chunks. Perfect to take to the beach!

I am just learning to crochet, and granny sqaures seem to be my specialty. I whipped this cute little dishcloth up in the car while we were stuck in a strange Saturday morning traffic jam. Gotta love construction season in the Midwest!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th. Take some time to remember why this country is great! Happy Birthday America!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kenosha Civil War Museum

Kenosha, located in southeastern Wisconsin, is the coolest little town I have ever been to. I drive through there every day on my way to school, and everytime I go I learn something else to love about this jem of a town. Today we checked out the Civil War Museum, and for such a small town it was quite impressive! My husband and I are both kind of history nerds, so this was right up our alley. If you are ever in southeastern Wisconsin you have to explore this fun town!

Civil War Reenactors in front of the Civil War Museum