Saturday, December 31, 2011

homemade liquid handsoap

I love making things.  I guess I've always loved it.  When I made my own laundry detergent last week I was so excited!  I did finally use it, and no difference from my regular store bought detergent other than the price!  I've since added peppermint essential oil to the mix and it smells so good every time I unscrew the top!  I can't wait to go pull out my clothes from the dryer and shove my nose into the warm pile and inhale deeply!  Agh...serenity.

I was sharing this laundry detergent recipe with some ladies on Facebook and got a recipe to make my own liquid handsoap.  So...naturally, I finished my dinner and brewed up a batch.

I had this great smelling bar of soap that I had bought a month ago and thought it would be perfect for the job.  

It was so easy to make and I liked the results so much that I will probably be making my own handsoap from now on.  And let's face it...I was spending a small fortune on liquid handsoap.  I mean...I have bottles sitting next to all five sinks in my house! 

The Recipe:

Homemade Liquid Handsoap
From the Kitchen of:
1 bar of soap
4 cups water
Recipe Instructions:
-Use a cheese grater to grate the bar of soap.
-While you do that, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Then add the grated soap to the pot and stir until all the soap is dissolved.
-The soap will be very runny while it's hot.  Allow it to cool and then check the consistency, if it's too thick you can add more water (I added almost 2 cups to mine, but the bar of soap was really hard and compact-I had to use some elbow grease to grate it!).  If you add more water, heat up the mixture and stir until the soap and water have mixed completely.
-When the mixture is completely cooled you can pour it into your favorite pump dispenser for use.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

homemade laundry detergent

I made liquid laundry detergent several months ago, and I really liked it (the recipe for the liquid laundry detergent is at the bottom of this post).  A woman I know was making her own powdered detergent and after she said how great it was I decided to make my own too.  After I had used up all the liquid detergent, I bought all the stuff to make the powdered.  All you need is Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, and Borax.  I found all three in the laundry aisle at Walmart! 

Oh my...I love it.  It's super easy, all you have to do is blend everything in your food processor!  And it's cheap!  There is nothing better than that!!!

I bought this really cute jar at Target and put some letters on it with my mom's Cricut and....viola!

You can make as much as you want, this time I made 6 batches.  I'm hooked.

The Recipe:

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
From the kitchen of:  Lindsey


1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda in a food processor.  Then using the grating attachment, grate or shred the bar of soap into the borax mixture.  Pulse until the soap is in fine tiny pebbles and the mixture is well combined.  Pour into the container of your choice.  (You can make as many batches of this as you wish.)
2.  Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads of laundry.  Use 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.

Reposted from 9-17-11

So you might find a recipe for laundry detergent to be out of place here.'s not.  I have a recipe for making your own laundry detergent and since it's a recipe and since I've hunted it down, I think that hits both of the points for the purpose of this blog!

I've been thinking of making my own for some time now and finally last night happened to be the night.  Isn't it funny how all of a sudden you can get an urge to do something and so you it?!  I found everything I needed while I was grocery shopping.  You can also find it all at Target and probably Walmart.  The things I needed to get me started cost around $10.00.  I can make 3 batches or 192 loads just from what I came home with last night!  Then, when I buy more soap I can make 6 more batches or 384 loads, before I have to go buy more Borax and washing soda!

Now...unless something tragic happens like all my clothes disintegrate or my washing machine explodes...I see laundry detergent making becoming a part of my everyday life.

You can add essential oils to the soap to give it a pretty scent.  I only have peppermint oil and I'm not entirely sure I want to use that.  I'd really prefer to use lavender oil so I may go out and buy some this week.

Also, the next time I need to buy more soap, I think I will try to find something scented like lavender or vanilla to use.

I know it sounds scary...making your own laundry detergent.  But trust me, it's not.  Thirty minutes in the kitchen and the thing was done.  Now...I'm just waiting until tomorrow to use it!  I can't wait!

The Recipe:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
From the Kitchen of:  Pennywise Women

1 bar of soap (any kind you choose)
1/2 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax
4 cups water plus 24 cups hot water

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  While the water comes to a boil, grate the bar of soap using a cheese grater.
2.  Add handfuls of the grated soap, stirring until dissolved.
3.  Add the washing soda and Borax and stir until dissolved.
4.  Pour the remaining 24 cups of hot water into a storage container.  Add the soap mixture and stir well.
5.  Cover the soap mixture and let sit for 24 hours before using. Yields 64 loads.
6.  You can add a few drops of essential oils to give it a great scent.
7.  Use 1/2 cup of the laundry detergent for each load of laundry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

homemade cleaners

I've been toying with the idea of homemade cleaners.  I've never really been one to think green, but I suppose lately I have been.  Maybe Austin is finally rubbing off on me.  Maybe before you know it I'll be a hippie.  A tree hugger.  A full blown environmentalist.  I mean...I already recycle paper, glass, cardboard, and plastic.  I have a compost trash too.  (All this thanks to my city trash system who provided 3 lovely 90 gallon trash bins, one for regular trash, one for recyling and one for compost materials.  Makes the chore of recycling so easy even I couldn't resist.  Plus my real trash bin is happy to only have 1-3 bags every trash pick up day.)  I've been thinking a lot about the things I put in and surround my body with.  It's sort of scary.  But the idea of making my own cleaners, detergent, soap, was sort of scary too.  That is until a woman I went to high school with started posting about the changes she was making in her house.  It seemed easy.  And if she could do it, I could do it.  So...about 4 months ago I made my very first batch of laundry detergent.  Thanks to Lindsey this task was so painless and I fell in love.  I made my own liquid hand soap the next day!  I then started looking at making cleaners too.

Saturday night Pinterest helped bring those thoughts to a reality.  As I was pinning my life away I stumbled upon several recipes for homemade cleaners.  As I browsed the sites and recipes I decided to go for it.  I made a list of the cleaners I wanted to make, and then I made my ingredient list.  It seemed like a lot, but as I scanned through I realized I already had the majority of what they all called for.

What I didn't have was liquid castile soap, squirt bottles, and a different essential oil than what I already had on hand.  I went out to buy not only these things but the stuff to make powdered laundry detergent too since I was running a bit low (I'll share that recipe in another post).

I found the liquid castile soap and the essential oils at Central Market.  The soap cost $9.29 for 16 ounces.  It seems like a lot of money for such a small bottle, but I only used a little over 1/4 cup tonight.  I have tons left for future cleaning mixtures!  I decided to get the lavender scented soap since I already had lavender essential oil at home.  Plus, lavender is my favorite!  What better way to finish cleaning your kitchen than with a calming aroma of lavender?  I had planned on picking up either tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil but after I smelled them I decided not to.  I didn't like them, not one bit.  I opted for lemon and orange instead.  A bright, fresh, and cheery pair of oil scents!  The lemon cost $4.99 and the orange was $3.99.  Not bad really for the amount you get...a little goes a long way with essential oils!

So here's my list of cleaners that I made tonight:
  • disinfectant
  • furniture polish
  • grease cutter
  • glass cleaner
  • fruit & vegetable wash
  • antibacterial spray
  • all purpose cleaner

I haven't yet used them all, but I did try out the disinfectant, the grease cutter, the glass cleaner, the antibacterial spray, and the all purpose cleaner.  And the survey says.....

 I AM IN LOVE.  In love with the smell.  In love with the price.  In love with the natural ingredients.  In love with the cleaning power. 

The glass cleaner worked so well that I question why I ever bought Windex.  I mean really...what's the point?  Never again.  I will make my own from now on!!!

The all purpose cleaner worked it's magic on my counter tops and sink.  Not only did it smell delightful, but it really did clean.  It tackled the dried on glop of 'whateverthatwas' like a pro.  I'm sold.  Sorry new bottle of 409, but you'll be tucked neatly away in the pantry floor as I won't be needing you...ever again.

The grease cutter, cut grease.  I had made an awful mess of the olive oil bottle tonight and there was oil all over the sides of the bottle and lid.  I sprayed some grease cutter on a wet rag and wiped that bottle clean.  I was shocked at how well it worked.  I used it on my stove top as well and was very happy with the results.  Formula 409 works great but this works just as great too...and it smells better!!

I used the disinfectant too, but I didn't make it properly (I didn't have the water hot enough and so the borax didn't completely dissolve).  I used it on the sink after I had used the all purpose cleaner so who really knows what it did.  Just the thought that it was disinfecting suits me perfect.  The lingering scent of happy citrus and the thought of a sink clean enough to eat off of put a smile on my face.  I think I shall still use it, but as an afterthought to the all purpose cleaner.

And then to finish off my cleaning spree I sprayed the antibacterial spray over everything.  Since it's not directly cleaning you just have to have faith that it's killing all those lingering bacteria.  I do, plus I like the smell of it.  Essential oils have tons of therapeutic and antibacterial properties. 

As I use the others and make some more (bathroom cleaner, drain cleaner, and microwave cleaner are in the making) I'll come back and share what I think of each.

For many of these recipes I doubled or tripled the batch in order to fill up the squirt bottle. 

I'm posting a few links to the sites where I found all my information.  There's a lot of good stuff out there, and I hope you'll take the time to read and then make your own cleaners!!!

Happy Cleaning everyone!!!

The Recipe:

All Purpose Cleaner

3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap
2 cups hot water
10 drops lavender essential oil

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and stir to dissolve.  Pour into a squirt bottle.

The Recipe:

Antibacterial Spray

1 cup water
20 drops lavender, lemon, or orange essential oil (I used lemon and orange for a citrus scent)

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake to combine.

The Recipe:

Fruit & Vegetable Wash

1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a measuring cup and stir to dissolve.  Pour into a squirt bottle.

The Recipe:

Glass Cleaner

1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup vinegar

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake to combine.

The Recipe:

Grease Cutter

2 cups water
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake to combine.

The Recipe:

Furniture Polish

1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake to combine.

The Recipe:


2 cups very hot water
1/4 cup borax
3 tablespoons vinegar
10 drops lemon, orange, or lavender essential oil

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Combine ingredients in a measuring cup and stir to combine.  When the borax is completely dissolved pour into a squirt bottle.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

make-up brush cleaner

I cringe to admit that I don't clean my make-up brushes as often as I should.  Okay...I've only cleaned them once since I started wearing make-up...and that was probably 15 years ago.  Sure, I've bought new brushes in those 15 years but I do still have some of the very first brushes I ever used. 
I was wasting away my night on Pinterest last night and found a link for some homemade cleaners.  I've been thinking of making my own cleaners for a while now and just haven't taken it anywhere yet.  As I was looking last night I found a simple, easy cleanser for my make-up brushes.  It was simple, I had all the ingredients in my home already, and better yet I had time to do it.  So...for the second time in my life I cleaned my make-up brushes. 


My brushes were so dirty that I had to soak them for one, yes...1, full hour.  They were dirty.  Okay, not 'dirty' but make-up drenched dirty.  But - ew.  I couldn't believe I touched those to my face everyday.  Yuck.

Anywho...they are brilliantly clean now and drying on my kitchen table.  I refused to take a picture of how dirty they were before I started and I didn't want to show you how dirty the solution was after I was finished but I'll sure show you them now!

Clean as the day I bought them!  I've decided that I need to start cleaning them more often.  Say...once a month.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to clean them.  The last and only time I cleaned them I used facial cleaning soap and boy was it hard to get them clean.  Not to mention trying to get out all those suds from the bristles.  That's probably why I never cleaned them again...

All you need is hot water and white vinegar.'s that simple.  Just mix them in a bowl and swish your brushes in the mixture a few times and then rinse with water.  But...if however you haven't been taking good care of your brushes you may just have to let them soak for hour.  And you might just have to double the recipe to tackle all that grime.  And if you're brushes are exceptionally dirty you may have to really rub the grit out of them.  I just rubbed them back and forth across my palm under hot water for a few minutes to really break up all that gunk.  On one of the powder brushes I had to rub some of the bristles between my fingers to get all that dried foundation off, but it worked!
Now I just hope that they all dry before tomorrow!  I have some errands I need to run and I don't have any dry make-up brushes!  Yikes!

Happy cleaning!!

The Recipe:

Make-Up Brush Cleaner
From the kitchen of:
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup white vinegar

Recipe Instructions:
1.  Mix the water and vinegar in a bowl.
2.  Swish your brushes around in the mixture a few times and then rinse with warm water. 
3.  Leave to dry completely before using.

Friday, October 7, 2011

crazy cooking challenge & skillet baked chocolate chip cookie


I was sitting around surfing food blogs in September and came across the most intriguing thing...a cooking challenge.  About 70 food bloggers were all posting recipes for macaroni and cheese, and man did they look good!


As I read more I knew I wanted to participate, and one email later I was in!  I was so excited and couldn't wait to see what the next challenge would be!  I checked my email obsessively the next several days until the next challenge made it's way into my inbox.  And I was so excited to see that it was something so delicious...CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!  What's better than a 100 posts on cookies?  Just about nothing I'd venture to guess.

And then...the hunt was on!  I'm an avid recipe hunter (if you didn't already guess that) and so I loved searching for the best chocolate chip cookie!  I think I just might have found the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe!  It was tucked away on a post of one of my favorite food bloggers!  I hadn't intended to search her recipes, but my planets must have been aligned because there I was scrolling down the page and marveling at the delicious sight.  Tracey, from Tracey's Culinary Adventures had given me my inspiration!  There, on a post dated February 8, 2011, was the Skillet Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Need I say more?!

Okay, I will...

I was so excited about this challenge that as soon as I had found my recipe I was on a mission to bake it.  I always do my baking late at night, for some reason late night baking soothes my soul.  I put on Madeleine Peyroux and started gathering my ingredients.  An hour later I was leaning against the counter, plate in hand, vanilla ice cream melting on top of the cookie, savoring every bite.

I don't know how Tracey got the first slice out in one piece...she shows a picture of it so nice and pretty with a scoop of ice cream on top.  Here's what my first slice looked like...

Sigh.  Dreadful.  I'm telling myself she made two different cookies.  The first one she demolished the first pie slice, the second one she demolished everything but the first pie slice; thus creating two perfect looking cookie parts.  Believing this makes me feel better.

I'm happy to share this recipe with you!

The Recipe:
Skillet Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie
From the Kitchen of:  Tracey's Culinary Adventures
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter - at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg - at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Recipe Instructions:
-In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
-In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the egg and the vanilla, mixing until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Then add the chocolate chips and mix to incorporate.
-Transfer the dough to a 10 inch cast iron skillet and pat down to make an even layer.  Bake until the edges of the cookie are brown and the top is golden, 40-45 minutes (my demented oven only needed 30 minutes to bake my cookie).  Do not overbake, it will continue to cook for a few minutes after it's out of the oven.
-Let cool slightly before serving.  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

a culinary adventure...

This morning as I was clicking my way through the 43 food related emails I had received overnight I found something that sparked some interest.  I clicked on the link (since the subscription to this particular blog doesn't include a full preview of the post) and scrolled down slowly as I took it all in.  I was excited by the first sentence which planted a seed of adventure almost immediately...I saw the words 'recipe' and 'swap' nestled together.

As I continued reading I began to understand this new concept.  Basically you take a recipe, change a few things, and make a completely different dish.  How exciting and unique!  I had to find out more...

I clicked on a link in the post and ended up here, at the root of it all.  I perused the other recipe swap participants and marveled at the dishes they had created from the original recipe.  

The original recipe:  Wild Rabbit with Vegetables
Variation:  Smoked Chicken with Cheddar/Beer Sauce over Mashed Potatoes
Variation:  Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary with Wasabi
Variation:  Shrimp and Crab Chowder
Variation:  Wild Venison Breakfast Sausage
Variation:  Rabbit and Sausage Cassoulet
Variation:  Rabbit Stew with Dumplings in a Red Wine Sauce
Variation:  Prosecco Bathed Rabbit with Pecans and Apricots
Variation:  Pork Paprikash with Potatoes
Variation:  Coq au Vin
Variation:  Savory Rabbit Maju Stuffed with Chicken and Bell Peppers
Variation:  Rabbit with Shallots, Whiskied Prunes and Leekie Chappit Tatties

I've been inspired to spice up my kitchen and try my own recipe swap of sorts (the creator of this swap claims anyone can enter but I feel I'm not on the same level as these other food bloggers-and so I'll stick to myself).  I informed Erin this afternoon that we'd be adding a new 'game' to our kitchen and told him about it.  Erin and I love to play little games in the kitchen, 'Chopped' and 'Iron Chef' have made appearances.  They make our everyday cooking exciting and it's a way for us to bond on his days off.   

So I'll be looking for a recipe to use as the original and this month we'll be swapping out ingredients on our very first (and hopefully not last) monthly recipe swap!  I'm hoping to get my mom in on the swap (since she's such a great cook) but I'm not optimistic about the outcome...