Saturday, December 26, 2009

I made my own Laundry Detergent

Looks like strawberry milkshake!
I've been making my own laundry detergent since March, 2009. Since I've heard of this, I have found that many people do it. There are quite a few variations out there, and how-to's on youtube, so you just have to try it and find your own preference.
The recipe below makes a five-gallon bucketful (in the pictures, I make 1/3 of a batch).
[And here is a version for powdered laundry detergent.  I like the microwave part!]
  • 1 bar of soap, grated (I used Zote)
  • 1 cup washing soda (Church and Dwight Co., 1-800-524-1328 to order or find a vendor near you.)
  • ½ cup baking soda (optional)
  • ½ cup borax
►Heat 4 cups water over medium heat, stirring in grated soap. Some people have used their food processor. Bethany just used a hand grater because we only used 1/3 of a bar today. Stir occasionally until soap is melted. This part takes the longest.  About 8 - 10 minutes, depending on which soap you buy.
►Remove from heat and add powdered ingredients, stirring with whisk until dissolved.
►Add some very hot water in the bottom of the bucket.
►Now pour the mixture into bucket, and add cold water to the top, stirring with whisk.
►Fill detergent bottle halfway with water, then finish filling with detergent.
Add the water first so that it won't suds over.
You will need to shake well each time.
I use 3/4 a cup for my laundry.
It takes me about 15 minutes to make it now since I'm used to doing this.
There is not any scent, but I've read that you can add essential oils during the process of making it. Or you can use store-bought liquid fabric softener.  This can give your laundry a nice scent.
(the extra large pot in the picture was used because I was trying a recipe using vinegar (for a fabric softener) as well as the other ingredients and I knew it would bubble over when combined w/ the baking soda! The difference was that the laundry detergent didn't gel that time.)

Here's an additional video link that explains it a little better. There are many recipes, and the one I use is like the way I heard it from the Duggar family.

Added Notes:
The Duggars use Fels-Naptha.
►Since the soap we use isn't hard,  we've just continued to use the hand grater.  Easier to clean than a food processor.
►It takes me about 15-20 minutes to make it now since I'm used to doing this.
►If you make a partial batch, keep your leftover bar of soap in a Ziploc baggie, or it will be hard to grate the next time.
►For extra stinky laundry, I use about 1/4 - 1/3 c. ammonia, and let it soak in the washer for a few hours.  I had some towels that were used to wipe up milk, then got left in a bucket for 2 days! For those towels, I used 1 cup!!!  I was not taking any chances. 
►When getting the gelled detergent from the bucket, I whisk it a little at the top of the bucket so it will go thru the funnel, then dip it out w/ my measuring cup and pour it into my detergent bottle. 
This is so EASY!
ETA:  I now just dip straight from the bucket.  I don't dilute, but just get out about 1/3 cup.

Creamed Potatoes

Yeah, I know.  Creamed potatoes is one of the most basic things to make.  But I've actually been asked how I make mine, so I decided this time I'd actually measure my ingredients and post it!  lol
  • about 5 lbs, or 12 medium potatoes (I fill my colander level to the top - this is what will fit into my cooking pot)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 1 T. salt (that's about ¼ t. each potato) I have cut down to 2 tsp. 
  • 1 t. pepper
I peel and slice my potatoes, then wash them in the colander.  I gently boil them about 25 minutes, until nice and soft, and when I stir them with my spoon, they break apart easily.  Drain most of the water, using the colander.  Pour all potatoes back into the pot.  Put in the butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.  Mash with a potato masher.  Stir up the bottom "corners" of the pot to get any unmixed potatoes and mash again.
So easy!  But I'd never actually measured, so here it is.  =)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Easy Oven Potatoes

My sister-in-law brought these at Thanksgiving, and MMMM, they're good!  It's nearly the same as the Easy Oven Fries, except you cube the potatoes, and more will fit in the pan.
  • 6 scrubbed, cubed potatoes
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 1 package of (dry) Lipton soup! =)  I like Herb and Garlic; Rebekah likes Onion. 
Spray cookie sheet first.  Pile cubed potatoes in the middle of the pan.  Drizzle oil over potatoes, tossing to coat.  Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over potatoes, tossing to coat.   Bake at 450º for 28-30 minutes.  You might want to turn on broil for a couple of minutes, but since they're coated, they'll already look a little brown.
Rebekah made these today. =)

This recipe fills a 7 x 11 baking dish.

Rebekah made these to take to a family gathering this afternoon, but after we'd each sampled a few (and they're sooo good!), Rebekah said she didn't think the rest of the potatoes were going to make it getting there! 
Hmmm... I thought about the endangered potatoes.
"Do you have a smaller dish???"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Got this recipe from my Mama.  =)
  • 2 well-beaten eggs
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 2 c. whole milk, OR 1 c. evaporated milk and 1 c. water, OR use 2% milk, but increase to 3 eggs to make it richer.
  • 1 T. vanilla flavoring
Mix eggs, flavoring, sugar, and milk well.
Add about a gallon of fluffy, freshly fallen snow (no sleet or freezing rain mixed in).  Mix snow in using a folding motion until mixture thickens to soft-serve consistency or a little stiffer.
You can freeze leftovers. And if your bowl of snow cream melts too fast, add a bit more snow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Easy Oven Fries

Saw this recipe on Rachael Ray a year or so ago, and not sure which one it is, but she has about 5 pages of recipes for FRIES!  So I'm sure it's one of those.  =) I'm sure I've strayed from the original, tho. 
(ETA: Here's a few of Rachael Ray's recipes that are similar. Oven Steak Fries, Oven Fries, Red Potato Oven Fries.)
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 T. vegetable oil, (or RR says extra virgin olive oil)
  • seasoning(s) and/or salt
Scrub and wash potatoes.  Cut into medium-thin slices.
Place on greased cookie sheet.  Drizzle oil over the potatoes, tossing to coat.  Sprinkle on any seasoning(s) of your choice and/or salt.
Bake at 450º for 25-27 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes.
Serves four.  Er, in our case, five!  =)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yummy Birthday Cake!

My 12-yo daughter Bethany made this!  Homemade cake from scratch, homemade icing (to go between the cake and fondant), and homemade fondant!  Her first attempt at fondant, with NO help, and I am SO PROUD!  =D

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yummy Cinnamon Cookies

This is my tweaked recipe from one my friend Breanna gave me.
  • 1 stick butter, unmelted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ c. white sugar
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 c. self-rising flour, sifted
Mix together everything except the flour.  It takes awhile and it's sticky.  Then add in the flour, a little at a time.  Form into 1 inch balls on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º for 9-12 minutes.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Ham and Swiss (or Provolone) Cheese Rolls

Yummy, and doesn't take too long, either.  My mother-in-law had given me the recipe a long time ago, using the tiny rolls.  Then recently, my sister-in-law made them at our house using regular dinner rolls.  =)
  • 12 rolls (of a 24-pack of dinner rolls) or tiny rolls in 2 tin pans
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 8 oz. package of cheese of your choice (I like Provolone)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 t. mustard
  • 1 T. poppy seeds
  • 1½ T. minced onion/onion flakes 
  • 2 t. Worcestershire sauce 
    ~Melt butter in microwavable bowl.  Add poppy seeds, minced onion, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
    ~Using a serrated knife, slice open all the rolls, placing the bottom halves in large pan.  Or slice whole top off the tiny rolls, leaving bottom halves in pans.
    ~Thinly ( make that butter go far!) spread one-half  the mixture on the bottom half of the rolls.
    ~With a pizza cutter, cut the ham to fit on the rolls (but not for the tiny rolls).  If rectangle-shaped ham, you can cut it in half lengthways, then cut each half into thirds.  I use 2 layers of ham per roll (so 1 rectangle slice will cover three rolls).  Stack and cut several slices at a time.
    Not sure what shape/size your cheese will be, so just break it up to fit the rolls.
    ~Put on the roll "lids," and spread remaining mixture across rolls.
    ~Cover with tin foil, and bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes.
    Some people like to make a day ahead, then bake.
    If you use the 2 pkgs of the tiny dinner rolls in the tin pans, don't cut the ham or cheese until after cooking, then use a pizza cutter.

    GREAT with potato salad and baked beans.  =)

    My MIL's Baked Beans =)

    • two 28-oz pork n beans
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped, optional
    • ½ c. chopped green pepper
    • ½ c. chopped onion
    • ¾ c. brown sugar
    • 1 c. ketchup
    • 1 T. mustard
    • 6 strips of bacon
    Mix all ingredients except bacon.  Pour into 9 inch round dish.  Place strips of bacon across top.  Bake 350º for 1 1/2 hours or until bacon is cooked.

    My MIL's Yellow Potato Salad =)

  • about 6-7 lb. potatoes, diced, cooked
  • 2 oz pimentos, drained and squeezed
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. finely diced onions
  • 5 chopped boiled eggs
  • 1½ c. drained sweet relish (I usually have to press it with my hand in the colander to get most of the liquid out)
  • 2 T. mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste

  • Mix all ingredients except potatoes.  Add in potatoes, carefully stirring so as not to end up w/ creamed potatoes!  =)

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Meatloaf Burgers and Onions

    • 2 lbs. ground beef
    • large onion, chopped
    • 4 thick end pieces of bread, or 6 thin (abt 1.5 c. fine crumbs)
    • ½ c. ketchup
    • more onions sliced for the top - about 3 or 4
    • salt & pepper to taste
    Run the pieces of bread thru the food processor, pour into mixing bowl.  Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, chopped onion (use food processor if you want, after the bread), and ketchup together until thoroughly mixed.  Form into 12 patties.  Place into two 9 x 13 dishes.  Slice onions all over top.
    Bake at 375° uncovered for 40 minutes.

    These are more firm than regular meatloaf.  Great with A-1.

    We serve ours as "plate food" the first night with creamed potatoes, garlic bread, and vegetables, and have them as hamburgers the second night.

    Oooohhh, you've never tasted a better hamburger!!! 

    Chicken Pan Pie, no vegetables

    • 2 lbs chicken, cooked
    • 1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup
    • 1½ can of broth from cooking the chicken (15 oz)
    • 3 T. butter
    • 1 c. flour, sifted
    • 1 c. milk
    Cut up chicken into small pieces, let butter melt on chicken.
    With whisk, mix together soup and broth.  Put chicken in 9 x 13 inch pan, and pour soup/broth mixture over chicken, coating all sides.
    With whisk, mix together flour and milk.  With large spoon, gently spoon over chicken and soup mixture.

    Bake at 375º uncovered for 35-40 min. until lightly browned.  Sometimes I bake it for 30 minutes, then turn it on low broil for 5 minutes.

    Larger recipe:
    • 3 lbs chicken, cooked
    • 16 oz. can cream of chicken soup
    • 3 c. of broth from cooking the chicken
    • 4 T. butter
    • 1¼ c. flour, sifted
    • 1¼ c. milk
    This will fit in the same size pan and will fill it up.  Increase cook time to about 45-50 min.

    Monday, December 14, 2009


    • lemon juice
    • sugar
    • water, haha!
    I buy the bottled lemon juice.
    Gallon: 2 2/3 c. sugar, 1 1/3 c. lemon juice
    96 oz juice container: 2 c. sugar, 1 c. lemon juice
    1/2 gallon or 2-liter: 1 1/3 c. sugar, 2/3 c. lemon juice
    Put in some water first, add sugar and lemon juice, shake,  fill to top with water.
    Sooooo good! It should be!  So much sugar.

    Garlic Butter

    • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
    • 2 t. garlic powder
    Melt butter and mix in garlic powder.  Serve in individual dipping cups for pizza or cheese bread.

    When refrigerated, it will separate.  Melt slightly to make it soft and spreadable for garlic bread.   Add a little mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning.   Yummy!  =)

    Cheesy Tortilla Cups

    I made these for lunch today, and my family loved them!
    • 12 small flour tortillas
    • 1 tomato diced
    • ½ onion, diced
    • ½ red (or green) bell pepper, diced
    • 8 oz. cheddar cheese (and/or other cheeses)
    • 6 slices of ham cut into pieces
    • about 1 tsp. or so of dried basil
    • a little chili powder
    Place each tortilla into a cupcake pan. Put a spoonful of cheese in the bottom of each tortilla. Then fill with onion, ham, tomatoes, and peppers. (It will cook down.)  Sprinkle with basil and chili powder. Top with more cheese.  Bake at 350º for 9-11 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and tortillas are toasty.

    Chicken in a (crock)Pot

    • 2 carrots, sliced (I use more)
    • 2 onions, sliced
    • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces (I use more)
    • Several quartered potatoes if you have room
    • 1 whole broiler/fryer chicken, 3-4 lbs. (I’ve also used chicken breasts or chicken legs, which is good for smaller crockpots, or if you want more veggies)
    • 1 t. salt
    • ½ t. black pepper
    • ½ c. water or chicken broth
    • ½ t. dried basil
    Put carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes in bottom of crockpot. Add whole chicken/chicken breasts. (I usually place some of the veggies around the chicken) Top with salt, pepper, and liquid. Sprinkle basil over top. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours (or HIGH 6 hours using 1 c. water).
    Rebekah made the rice, and Bethany made the biscuits.
    This is for a large crockpot.  Mine is a 5-quart.  Adjust recipe for smaller crockpots.

    Perfect Yeast Rolls

    My daughters love making these!  Rebekah made them both Thanksgiving days (Thurs & Fri), and both times there was one roll left!  The lucky person who later got that roll.... mmmm!
    • 2 pkgs yeast (or 4½ tsp.)
    • 2 c. warm water
    • ¾ c. shortening
    • 1 Tbs. salt
    • 1½ c. sugar
    • 2 beaten eggs
    • 1 c. well-cooked, well-creamed, plain potatoes
    • 7-8 c. bread flour (all-purpose flour), sifted
    In very large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Too hot will kill the yeast.  Add shortening, salt, sugar, and beaten eggs.  Stir in creamed potatoes.  Add sifted flour, 2 cups at a time, mixing after each addition to make a soft dough.

    Leave in the large bowl; rub vegetable oil over dough.  Cover with clean cloth, let it sit in a warm place, and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let rise again.  Pinch off balls of dough and shape into rolls on greased pan and let rise again.  Each rising can take several hours depending on the weather, so it's good to start the dough for these a day ahead.  We usually try to start in the afternoon, and let the covered bowl sit in the sun.  If there's no sun, you can set it near a heat vent, or use a small portable heater on low. The dough is fine left out overnight, covered.
    Bake at 350º until golden brown.  (about 18-20 min.)
    Can make about 24-30 rolls.

    Serve with honey butter. Mmmmm.
    Dough keeps well in refrigerator several days.

    Easy Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie

    My girls make these, too!  =)
    • Two 15 oz cans of pumpkin or sweet potato, drained and mashed
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    • 1 c. milk
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 t. vanilla flavoring
    • 1 t. pumpkin pie spice
    • 2 unbaked pie shells
    Mix all ingredients. Divide in half; about 2 1/2 c. each.  Pour into pie shells.

    To make the topping:
    • 2/3 c. brown sugar
    • 1/3 c. flour
    • 1/4 stick butter, softened slightly
    Mix well by hand until crumbly.  Sprinkle on tops of pies.
    Bake at 375º for 32-35 minutes.
    Serve with cool whip.

    Snowman Sugar Cookie

    Last year, my mother-in-law gave us a snowman cookie decorating kit with a snowman pan. (She's a great mother-in-law, by the way :o)
    If you have any type of shaped pan, you can use this simple sugar cookie recipe. The kit came with an icing mix, but you can make or buy icing, and use any kind of candy for decorating.

    My then-11-year-old daughter, Bethany, made this last year.
    • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 T. milk
    • ½ t. vanilla extract
    • 1¾ c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 t. baking powder
    • ½ t. salt
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    In large bowl, mix butter and sugar with electric mixer; add egg and mix.
    Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
    Spray inside of pan with vegetable pan spray. Press/spread dough in pan. Bake 23-28 minutes or until lightly browned. (depends on thickness of dough)
    Place on cooling grid for 5 minutes. Turn pan over onto wire rack and release to cool completely.

    After cooling, ice and decorate.
    Make a picture! :o)