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Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas preperations, Bread and Soap Making...Oh MY!

Soap brewing on the stove top

3 Ingredients used to make soap

Made my first batch of homemade liquid laundry soap today, I grated a bar of Yardley's Lavender soap I got 2 pkg for $3.00 and had $0.50 off doubled coupon up to $0.99 so basically $0.99 each, used 1 C each Borax and Washing soda each for $2.50 per large box (don't have box handy do give oz) No each batch I made will do 64 loads so about 45 days of laundry and out of my boxes of Borax and Washing soda I will get about 576 loads if I exclusively use them only for laundry soap, now depending on the soap deal I get I think I can estimate safely that I will spend about $6-$10 (depending on usage of essential oils will affect my price) and be able to wash  nearly 600 loads! I will be adding essential oils bc I LOVE fragrance- but we will see what my budget allows. There is a link added to check out this recipe for yourself, it gets alot of action, ppl really seem to like it, I will give it a chance...

I was told that a lady uses this recipe to wash her welder hubby's clothes and 2 kids, and with an addition of "oxyclean" she get her clothes very clean. I just washed my sons clothes I had forgotten about that had dried in urine, I could still faintly smell it so I rewashed it- I added 20 drop of lavender to gallon container but didn't wait until it was room temp, so I will add some more along with Patchouli, Sandalwood, Litsea Cubis and Cedarwood E.O. I used warm water so I don't know if that was I smelled the faint trace or if this isn't going to work for us- I have other options I can try. I might add more Washing soda or baking soda, perhaps ammonia-will have to research what ammonia does to the our health and environment, in the past I added 3/4 C ammonia to the really dirty, greasy clothes, like Jim's work clothes or the urine soaked bed linens and clothes.

If not this recipe doesn't work for us I bought Sal-Suds from Dr. Bronner it is looking like my "fail-safe" or "Go-To" all purpose cleaner. I am finding the recipe I used for doing dishes didn't quite work as I wanted, I could still feel some grease on dishes and didn't try clear. I think the hard water and minerals in our water make it difficult to use some of those natural cleaners. I used a small "squirt" in my dish water and I had some REALLY greasy pans I used it on, it was squeaky clean and no residue feeling after it dried plus they looked gr8, no spots! I have a recipe that uses 1/4 vinegar,  1 Qt water, 2 T castile soap (will use Sal Suds), and some essential oils-will do tea tree for anti-bacterial effect. I will see how this works, the last batch I made I used borax, washing soda, vinegar and the little bit of Dawn I had left in the bottle, this has not worked well. SO I will try the a fore mentioned recipe and see how that works.

Artisan Bread mix b4 yeast has rose
So far it is looking like my cleaning supplies are going to be Vinegar, Tea Tree essential Oil, Baking and Washing Sodas, Borax, Sal Suds, Peroxide, and Witch Hazel.  For everything from Dishes, to floors, counter tops, windows and mirrors, laundry, toilets, appliances, and everything in between. I am not sure I can totally do without soft scrub with bleach or plain bleach and I don't really have a good hand washing soap that is good for the whole family, that is gentle enough for the kids and strong enough for Jim. SO other than liquid hand soap, and perhaps soft scrub with bleach we will be a "Green" and Frugal cleaning family-yay!!
Bread dough & book

I was so excited when I heard about this book Artisan Bread in 5 minutes, from a fellow blogger, so I immediately went to Amazon and bought it. I have read the book front to cover several times now and feel pretty confindant I can do this, so I bit the bullet and made a batch earlier tonight. What is the worst that can happen, it doesn't work out, then I will buy a loaf from the store and try again. I really want to make my best effort to eat as fresh and whole foods as possible, this allows me to do that, bread has so many perservatives in it when u buy commerically made, it is funny to me that the less the ingredients the more u pay! Like "natural" peanutbutter, it is so expensive and has only 1 or 2 ingredients...all u really need is peanuts, that should be all that is listed roasted peanuts, but they add oil, why I don't know I am not sure if it helps make it smoother or preserves it better, but if I had a really strong commerial food processor I could grind that up fresh too...
Dough after is has risen

I digress, I made the batch today, I hope I measured correctly I was horribly distracted by the crazy sounds coming from Izak's bedroom as daddy put him to bed, don't know why daddy's get kids all rilled up then expect them to just fall asleep peacefully after?? Anyways I was trying to not "micro-manage" and I might have miscounted Cups as I added the flour. They don't want u to use the larger 2 C measuring cups bc the flour will get distributed differenctly, so I only had 1/2 C measuring cup I could scrape with a knife (they don't want u to use ur hand and compress the flour too much), so hopefully I did that right. It is a wetter dough than I am used to seeing and working with, so it is hard to gauge the flour ratio correctly. The premise is a wetter dough baked on a hot stone with high heat and a broiler pan filled with 1 C hot water will create the harder, crispy, crackly crust breads with soft chewy insides we associate with European breads like Cibatta and so forth. I have heard more praise than not, so we will see if my hard earned $16 was worth it.

Ginger Bread Hot Cocoa Mix with Thank you Letters to Izak's therapists
I made Gingerbread Hot Cocoa mix for gifts, hand made tags complete with glitter, some free printables labels for the cleaners and Christmas gifts, Orange Cookies, and Cherry Crunch Cake yesterday so all I have to do is finish the Coconut Bon-bons, dip mini Peanut Butter Ritz, Giant Marshmallows, pretzels, spoons, candy canes and might make another batch of buckeyes if I have enough chocolate left only adding in 1& 1/2 C crushed pretzels and completely cover the ball and leave out some of powder sugar, I think that would be sooooo yummy!

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