Tag Archives: homemade

Homemade Laundry Detergent 101

So here lately (aka approx. 6 months) we’ve been broke.  The husband would probably not appreciate me airing our finance issues, but I’m cool with it because I know we’re by far not the only ones, and I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus that it’s only a temporary set-back.  Anyway…being broke forces you into doing things & trying things you never have before, such as making your own laundry detergent because you’ve run out but there are zero dollars to buy more yet everyone still needs clean clothes because the world doesn’t stop turning & clothes don’t stop getting dirty just because you’re broke.  Right?  Right.

I have quite a few packages of bar soap…it used to be a ton & I acquired them during my coupon heyday.  I googled a recipe for homemade laundry detergent (found one that I almost had all the necessary ingredients) & got to work.  Let me tell ya…do not be daunted by the sound of this activity.  It’s very simple & cost effective & even better (as far as I can tell anyway): it actually works!  So whether you’re currently broke like myself (by the way…I don’t mean the kind of broke that some assholes claim they are yet they have all their basic needs met & then some, which in my opinion is not truly broke, it’s just lying for sympathy(?) or attention (?)) or just curious or trying to save a few bucks or maybe you’re just a Crafty Little McCraftster….try the recipe out & let me know what ya think!!

Broke People’s Detergent

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You Need:
3 bars of soap (I used Ivory; you can use any kind on hand)
6 cups water
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda (Can be found with the laundry junk at the store; I had just run out so I upped my Borax to 1 cup as a substitute)
6 cups warm water
Large pot
Bucket (I used a 3 gallon-I think-plastic mop bucket)

You Do:
Add 6 cups of water to a large pot.  Stir in grated (I only chopped my soap & some of it didn’t melt completely so I’d definitely take the time to grate) bar soap; heat over medium high until melted.  Add borax & washing soda; stir well until dissolved.  Add 6 cups of warm water, mix well with a whisk.  Add 1 gallon (I used a freshly emptied milk jug) cool water, mix well.  Stir with the whisk every 30 minutes until completely cool (I bolded this because I was lazy & did not do this because it felt “cool enough” to me; I think that’s why I ended up with some chunkiness in the end. Don’t let laziness mess up your results!).  Cover & let it sit undisturbed overnight. 

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In the morning you may have to break up some solidified soap on the top & stir well for a little bit just to mix it all up good. 

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After that the mixture should resemble thinned hair conditioner

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(aka Dollar Tree conditioner; aka you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever experienced true broke-ness) & you can pour it into containers for storage & distribution (I used the freshly emptied laundry detergent bottle+the milk jug).  When ready to use just give it a couple good shakes, use 2 oz. for small loads/4 oz. for large loads (or just fill the detergent bottle cap up like myself) & you’re off!  See how clean your clothes can get & truly at a fraction of the price of commercial detergent.

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**Updated** Tastes like home in my mouth. And it will yours too.

Some of my tried & true recipes have been passed down from my mom’s side of the family.  Things like potato salad, sausage gravy, green beans, chicken & dumplings.  Since my paw-paw (whom they originated from), nanny, & mom are all gone now these recipes have become even more sacred to me and I’ve made a point of keeping them in rotation so my kids will grow up remembering them.  Hey, I’m kinda crazy when it comes to food okay?

So the other day I saw 2 different pins (on Pinterest, just in case you’ve been under a rock for the past year) but I believe they’re the same link/recipe.  One says something about “crock pot chicken & dumplings”, one says something about “cracker barrel chicken & dumplings”.  It looks like the same picture on both so I said what the hell & went with the crock pot one.  However my subconscious likes to stress me out so I didn’t get the urge to make it until it was too late to do in the crock pot.  Of course.  So I put my big cook panties on & decided I’d try to convert it to a stove top recipe.  The entire time I was expecting failure.  Seriously…the whole time.  And then they get done & with the first bite I knew that it would be my new go-to chicken & dumplings recipe.  I felt a twinge of guilt towards my “family tradition” but I can’t help it…these fuckers are goooooood.  They taste like home in my mouth.  So despite the fact that I’ve already posted like 65,000 blogs today, I wanted to make a post about this one before I forgot all the steps I had to convert & tinker with.  I am one of those cooks who does “pinches” & “dashes” so I’m gonna attempt to be as clear & understandable as possible but if I cause confusion please leave a comment & I’ll try to clarify.  Obviously I’m not a raging popular blog so I’ll have plenty of time to answer you.  Now, whaddya waitin’ for–get to cookin’!!

PS: all of the pics are at the end; I didn’t want to confuse things even more by interjecting photos everywhere!

Delicious Home Tasting Chicken & Dumplings from Pinterest or Cracker Barrel but who really cares because they’re so damn good

First, the HOMEMADE CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP.
You will need:
4 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
2 c. Liquid (broth, milk, water)

Throw all your butter into a saucepan or skillet over med-high heat; melt completely. Toss all the flour in then stir with a whisk to combine with the butter. It should end up resembling a pliable, soft, play-doh like mixture. Let this cook for a couple of minutes then begin to add your liquid. Now: this is the part that requires patience & concentration. You must add the liquid a little at a time. What type of liquid you add is up to you; the first time I made this I was low on milk so I did half milk/half water; the next time I did 3/4 chicken broth/1/4 milk. It’s totally up to you, just make sure it’s 2 cups. Anyway…I always add just a splash of liquid at first then whisk everything together; as you’re adding the liquid the “play-doh” is soaking it up & expanding. Splash, whisk, splash, whisk…you get the idea. Once your mess mixture starts to resemble a soupy liquid it’s generally pretty safe to dump the rest of your liquid in, whisk & cook for a few minutes. Variations on this are easy too: for cream of celery just toss some finely chopped celery in with your melting butter; for cream of mushroom add finely chopped mushroom to your butter; for a stronger chicken taste sprinkle some chicken bouillon in. You just made homemade cream of chicken soup-take that, Campbell’s!!

Alrighty…once you’ve made the soup just set it aside. If you’re more organized than myself, you could actually do this next step before making the soup but…eh, whatever.

The Chicken
You will need:
2-4 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken
(You can use any type you want, I prefer breast because you don’t have to trim the fat; also a little chicken goes a loooong way in this recipe so if you don’t have much that’s a-okay)
2 T. Butter
2 c. Cream of Chicken soup (what you just made)
1 c. Chicken broth
1 onion, diced

What you do:
Place the chicken in a pot, cover with water, dump some salt in & bring to a boil. You can move on to other tasks while the chicken is boiling but don’t forget about it…you don’t want it to start falling apart. Thoroughly cook the chicken, reserve the water (which is now homemade chicken broth!), and place the chicken aside. In another large pot combine over medium heat the 2 cups of soup you made earlier, 1 cup of chicken broth (yes that’s right: get it from the reserved “boiling” water!), the onions & butter. Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly blended, then add the chicken pieces. Cook this mixture-stirring occasionally-for about 20 minutes/while preparing dumplings to blend flavors.

The Dumplings
You have 2 options here: use Bisquick, or follow the recipe listed below. You could also cut up refrigerator biscuits if you’re crunched for time or just lazy as hell. I promise you that rolling out dough is SO SO worth it & really doesn’t take long at all. You can absolutely taste the difference over fridge biscuits & you will be super glad you took the time to do it. If you opt for Bisquick they always have their biscuit recipe on the box, just follow it & jump back in here for the rolling part. If you’re going the distance for your dough you’ll need this recipe:

You will need:
2 c. Flour
3 t. Baking powder
2 T. Sugar
1 t. Salt
1/3 c. Oil (veggie, canola)
2/3 c. Milk

What you do:
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Measure out oil & milk in separate measuring cups, then gently add milk to oil. DO NOT STIR. Add oily-milk to the bowl of dry ingredients; using your hands gently mix together. Try to get it mixed up thoroughly yet in as few moves as possible. I know this is confusing but the more dough is handled the tougher it gets. After mixing pat into a giant ball; I usually stick mine in the freezer for a few minutes just to firm it up a bit. Now for the rolling:
-Sprinkle some flour on a clean, flat surface (ie: your kitchen table).
-Place your dough ball on top then knead a couple of times, sprinkling a tiny bit of flour as needed if it has stickiness.
-Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour (this should be abbreviated to S.T.B.F., lol!) over your rolling pin & start rolling out your dough. Make it as thick or as thin as you want (mainly because I never measured my dough thickness, I just always eyeball it) but keep in mind the dough will puff up once it becomes a dumpling. In other words you don’t want dumplings the same thickness as a porterhouse. Or maybe you do. Again, your call.
-Use a pizza cutter (genius, right?!) to cut horizontal & vertical lines, forming little rectangles. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a small cookie cutter like I did last time (a little star!). Or, you can make small strips. Your preference.
-Gather up your uncooked dumplings & place on a plate; repeat these steps until all of your dough is used.

The Final Result
Finally, you’re at the finish line! Increase the heat on the chicken/soup mixture to medium-high; remove the chicken pieces. While you’re waiting on the soup to get a little hotter shred all of your chicken & set aside. Some recipes call for you to put it back in the pot but this is my recipe & I say set it aside because it’s easier to cook your dumplings. You should be seeing the occasional heat bubble in your soup pot; when this happens start adding your dumplings one by one all around inside the pot. After you add a whole “layer” of them wait a minute then stir gently to make sure they’re not sticking. Cook for a few minutes until they’re puffed up, probably 5-6 minutes. You probably don’t have any free space to add more dumplings so remove the cooked ones (I always just dump them in with my shredded chicken) with a slotted spoon, then repeat the process until all dumplings have been cooked. Finally, gently re-add all the dumplings & chicken, stir to mix it all in with the soup, and let it cook a few minutes so the mouth watering yumminess can blend together. To be fancy like me you can sprinkle some parsley on top after dishing into serving bowls.

And wah-la, you have the best chicken & dumplings ever. After you come down from your chicken & dumpling euphoria, let me know what you think! Oh, and you’re welcome. 😉

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Fancy C&D with rectangles dumplings & parsley.
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Homemade cream of chicken soup.
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Shredded chicken.
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Dumplings as they're cooking.
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Cutesy star dumplings! They were the perfect thickness too.

Homemade Starbucks: Iced White Chocolate Mocha.

I’ve always been a coffee drinker and as everyone knows Starbucks has the best coffee around…that’s how they get away with charging so much for it. My first Starbucks love was a Grande Mocha Java Chip with Extra Chocolate. Mmm-mmm good! If you’ve never tried it then you definitely should. My new Starbucks love is a Grande Iced White Chocolate Mocha with No Whip. I’d tried the hot white chocolate mocha & it was pretty good but I’m not into drinking hot coffee during the day in summertime. My Sister was the one who told me about the same thing but over ice. It was love at first taste! It’s good with or without the whip but I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream anyway so I usually do without. My new “relationship” with the IWCM (iced white chocolate mocha) was becoming pretty costly so I started searching for recipes to make something similar at home. I needed a way to feed my addiction without starving my wallet.

Long story short all of the recipes I tested were okay, but didn’t taste like what I was looking for. A lot of recipes I found probably would’ve tasted the same as Starbucks but they called for white chocolate syrup, and the prices for that stuff are not cheap. I wasn’t about to spend money on something that may only get used once & then shoved to the back of the cabinet. I had to let my idea simmer awhile…drift to the back of my brain until a solution made itself known. Eventually it did…I was grocery shopping the other day & it hit me: Why not use white chocolate chips?? I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. Chips just made more sense…not only are they cheaper for testing purposes but if it didn’t work out I could use them in something else. I also felt like real white chocolate would taste better than syrup. To the baking aisle I went. I feel my end result (after my FIRST test run!) was about as close to Starbucks as I’m going to get at home. Maybe it would be exact if I used their brand of coffee. The following recipe is just how I do mine; feel free to tweak yours however you want & keep tweaking until you get it right for you. Everyone likes their coffee their own way. If you try it out & enjoy it let me know!! Leave a comment! Constructive criticism? Leave a comment! I’d love to know if anyone actually comes across this blog & tries my recipe. =]

You will need:

**1 KCup of coffee or “iced coffee”, or a regularly brewed cup of coffee. (I have been using KCups for iced coffee but it really doesn’t matter, use what you prefer.)

**Ice
**1 bag white chocolate chips
**1/4–1/3 c. Milk or evaporated milk (depends on how milky you like your coffee. I usually use 1/3)
**Cream/sugar just in case you need it.

—First, brew your KCup/cup of coffee the way you usually do. The KCups for iced coffee tell you to brew over ice but I don’t. If you put a little less water than usual it will give it a slightly stronger coffee flavor; you have to remember that you’re going to be putting it over ice which does melt and will water it down a tad. I usually stick mine in the freezer for a few minutes just to help take some of the heat off.
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—In a small saucepan (on the stove, med-high) dump about 1 to 1/2 handfuls of the white chocolate chips & 1/4–1/3 c milk. Stir together until completely melted & combined. I am particular about certain things & one of them is making sure the chips are entirely melted; otherwise you have little white remnants floating around which, to me, is just plain gross.
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—Almost done! Add ice to your cup of choice (I usually use a travel cup because they’re a bit taller), as much or as little as you want. Keep in mind that if you only add 1 or 2 pieces you’ll probably have to add more in order to have “iced” coffee, unless your coffee is pretty cooled off by this point. Mix your homemade “white sauce” into your coffee TO TASTE…meaning…a little at a time, tasting after each addition to see if it’s at a sweetness level you want. If you use all of your white sauce & it’s still not how you want it then feel free to add cream &/or sugar.
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—Pour this final concoction over the ice, give it a good stir, and sip away! You can top it off with whipped cream if you want. It’s your creation…customize it!

Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice…easy peasey!

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In preparation of the final season premiere of (one of the BEST shows ever) Breaking Bad, the Husband & I have been having mini-marathons every night, re-watching all the previous seasons to refresh our memory for the “grand finale”. In one episode from season 2, Walt (aka Walter White, main character, best meth cook ever) is trying to suck up to his (annoying, most-disgusting-eater-ever, bitchy, selfish, ugly, self-centered, hateful) wife Skylar by making homemade breakfasts. He happens to make fresh grapefruit juice one time & I couldn’t help thinking “I’ve never tried grapefruit juice as a drink before…it’s pretty delicious when you’re eating a grapefruit, the tiny bit of sugary-tarty juice you get…I wonder what it would be like to have a whole, cold glass of that.”

I referenced everyone’s “go to” source of information, Google, in search of a recipe. Shockingly I couldn’t find one for plain, simple, yummy grapefruit juice. There were plenty for grapefruit juice smoothies & limeade+grapefruit juice & orange juice+grapefruit juice & all sorts of other concoctions. I know what you’re thinking…how hard is it to make juice? Squeeze the fruit, bada bing-bada boom. Except…when we first wanted to make homemade lemonade we tried it without a recipe. Turned out not so refreshing. Then (after a couple more misses) we found a recipe for THE best lemonade I’ve ever had. I wanted my grapefruit juice to be right so this time I tried to go by a recipe…to no avail. “Guess I’ll have to invent my own.” was my exact thought.

So yesterday at the grocery store I picked up 4 big ol’ grapefruits. This morning I had to take my Husband to work super early (we’re talking 6am early) & for some reason when I get up that early I usually get an energy burst. I came home, broke out the hand juicer, and got down to business. I have to say…I’m pretty proud of myself! For the first time ever making it, my grapefruit juice turned out JUST like I imagined in my mind. Finally, after the most drawn out recipe-creation-explanation-EVER….here is my very own grapefruit juice recipe.

Homemade Grapefruit Juice

4 large grapefruits (= 2 2/3 c. juice)
1/2 c. water
1/4–1/3 c. sugar, depending on your fondness for sweetness

Cut your grapefruits in half; it doesn’t matter if you cut them the “right way” or not, they juice the same. Use your juicer (electric or hand) to squeeze every last drop of tart juice out of them. Add your water & sugar (and if desired a little pulp–like I did–but be sure to remove any seeds first) & stir until mixed well. You may have to slightly adjust the amount of water and/or sugar to your liking…following this recipe made juice that was exactly what I wanted. Note: this recipe doesn’t make very much so if you’re wanting a lot of juice you probably want to double (maybe even triple) it. The final yield for these measurements is 3 1/4 cups.