Saturday, May 26, 2012

Homemade Floor Cleaner (Non-toxic)

With two people and five greyhounds, you can imagine how often I have to clean our kitchen floor. For awhile I used a Swifter, but I was always bothered by the waste of having to throw away the pads and plastic bottles (they are not made out of a plastic that is recycled where I live). I went shopping around and found this "mop" with reusable/washable pads. I have three pads and soak them in a bucket with water and oxygen bleach after each use, then I throw them in with my weekly laundry and let them air dry.

Of course, I don't want to just use some chemical laden cleaner on my dogs walk on it and lick their feet. I did some research, messed around with different recipes and came up with what works for us. Eventually it will be completely toxin, chemical free, once I use up all the dish detergent that I have stocked up. I will switch to castile soap, a plant-based, all-natural soap.

Kat's Floor Cleaner:
1 cup vodka (cheap is fine)
1-1/4 cup water
1 t dish soap
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops tea tree oil (antiseptic, anti fungal)
5 drops cinnamon oil (because I like the way it smells!)

Mix all together in the container of the mop. This usually lasts me about two-three weeks worth of "mopping" every other day. Let me know if you have questions!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another baking day

I bookmarked a few recipes from the King Arthur Flour website last week and just got around to trying them. I made the Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins and the Doughnut Muffins. I did make changes to both recipes but they still came out yummy!  I substituted one cup of white whole wheat flour for a cup of all purpose flour in both recipes.  In the cinnamon muffins, I omitted the pecans because we didn't have any, made my own filling instead of the package product they had listed , and omitted the cinnamon chips.  In the doughnut muffins I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and accidently forgot to add the vanilla.  OOPS!

I also made 6 pepperoni pizza pockets and 6 pizza shells.  I know there are only 5 pictured, I had the 6th one for lunch!
This is what the Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins look like when cut open. Pretty yummy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I was asked by someone a little while ago to share how I make my homemade laundry detergent. It is not a special recipe or anything, just something I have modified over the course of a year and half.  I started to feel like we needed to be more ecologically responsible in our home and after reading about all the chemicals in laundry soap/detergent (they are not the same thing), I thought this would be a good place to start. 

The ingredients are super simple, all natural, and ecologically responsible.  Originally I used Fels Naphtha as the bar soap, but James didn't really like the chemical smell. Then I researched Fels Naphtha and found out that it is a major skin irritant and toxic.  People who make their own soap often use this because it is super cheap.
2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (this is not the same as baking soda)
2 cups Borax
1 bar Dr. Bronner's Organic, Pure Castile Soap (I have the hemp variety, but any castile bar is fine.)
10-15 drops (roughly 1/4 t) Organic Lavender Essential Oil (I use Aura Cacia)

1.  Cut the bar with a serrated knife into shavings.

2.  Put the shavings in a food processor.

3.  Run the food processor until the soap is a very fine powder.  This can kind of smell a little, not sure why.  You will probably have to use a spoon to scrape some off the bottom of the food processor bowl.

4.  Place the castile soap and all other ingredients into a storage container.  Make sure the container is clearly labeled!  Put the lid on the container and shake until mixed thoroughly.

The final product all mixed together!

Because this detergent doesn't have all kinds of chemicals in it, you do have to take a few extra steps.  I usually start running the water into my washer without any clothes in it, dump in about a heaping tablespoon (yep, that's all you need!) and swirl the water with my hand or a piece of dirty clothing in order to get the soap to thoroughly dissolve.  Sometimes I also add about a tablespoon of OxyClean (this is an oxygen bleach, not a CHLORINE bleach which has all kinds of toxicity) just to boost the cleaning capabilities. Oh, and I almost exclusively wash with cold water because it is more ecologically friendly (a few exceptions of course.)

Ok, time and cost.  It takes me about 15 minutes to make a batch of this detergent.  That includes walking around to gather everything, because of course I store everything on opposite sides of the house, to actually make it, and to put everything away.  One batch lasts us about 3-5 months, depending on how many loads of laundry we have to do.

Price is a little harder to break down because I haven't made exact measurements to see how much I get out of each box.  I will do a little quick, guessing math. I paid $2.77 for a box of washing soda and got 8 cups out of it, so that's about $0.35 a cup.  The borax cost me $2.98 a box and so far I have used 10 cups out of it with some still left, I will guess that I have about 3 cups left, so for that comes to about $0.23 per cup.  The lavender essential oil is listed as $9.57 for 0.5 fl. oz. on, and I used next to nothing from that bottle so I will go the high guesstimate of $0.50 for the amount I used.  Dr. Bronner's Organic Baby Bar soap is pretty expensive but absolutely worth it knowing it is completely plant-based and all-natural.  I paid $23.06 for 6 bars from, which is $3.84 per bar.  Grand total for the detergent is $5.50.  Not too shabby! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yesterday's breakfast baking session

James was in desperate need of some fast breakfast foods, so I had a quick little freezer baking session.  I made 5 Belgian waffles, blueberry streusel muffins (I admit to using a boxed mix that I got for free), and 5 chorizo, potato and egg burritos.  Hopefully this will keep him fed for a little while!

Wild Dewberries

Our dewberry pickings were slim this year due to the fire.  We lost all our secret dewberry patches, except the two small ones in our front yard.  We were able to pick two small batches.  Pictured above is the first batch after I washed and froze it.  Pretty sad!

I'm back

I didn't like what blogger did to the setting on my old blog, and I couldn't figure out how to get the old setting back, so I just started a new blog.  Welcome!