Making your own laundry detergent is one way to save money on an ongoing basis. The recipe basically uses three items: a soap of some sort, washing soda and borax.

The most typical type of soap used is Fels Naptha. This is an old fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. You can also use Ivory.

Washing soda is not to be confused with baking soda; they are not the same thing! It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. You can usually find it in the laundry section at the grocery store.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, used as a whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team, this should also be found in the laundry section. That’s it! Mixed with water you can make a liquid laundry detergent or don’t add water and just have a powder form, whatever your preference. The recipe I used also called for baking soda, which is also used as a deodorizer.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, shaved
4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons of hot water
1 cup of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 cup of baking soda
1 large container about 4-5 gallons size

Here’s what you do: 
Grate the soap into a saucepan. Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan.  Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water. Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed. Add 3 gallons of hot water to your large container.  I used a large 5-gallon bucket. Add the mixture to the hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it
completely dissolves, let cool overnight. You will notice that it turns into a thick gel.

I do have an HE washing machine so after reading numerous recommendations I will only use a small amount. This is a low sudsing detergent and should work fine! Due to the gel like consistency I read that the mixture should be stirred well each time before using. I will fill a large Mason jar or old laundry detergent bottle with 1/2 – 3/4 of the liquid mixture and the rest with water. I will shake it really well before each use and should not have any problems with my HE washer doing it this way. It smells wonderful!

This recipe was introduced to me by my sister over a year ago, the minute I tasted it I knew it was a keeper. I think this is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy Butternut Squash! The recipe was adapted from a recipe found on the Epicurious.com web site. When my sister made it she substituted yogurt for the heavy cream and it was delicious! Enjoy!!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Serves 6

3 pounds butternut squash, quartered, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 9 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons oil
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
nine sheets dry no-boil lasagne pasta
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan (about 5 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F and oil a large shallow baking pan.

In a large bowl toss squash with oil until coated well and spread in one layer in pan. Roast squash in oven for 10 minutes and season with salt. Stir squash and roast 10 to 15 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to turn golden.

While squash is roasting, in a saucepan bring milk to a simmer with rosemary. Heat milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes and pour through a sieve into a measuring cup.

In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk mixture in a stream until smooth. Return pan to heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until thick. Stir in squash and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Reduce temperature to 375°F. and butter a baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches.

Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish (sauce will not cover bottom completely) and cover with 3 lasagne sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Make 1 more layer in same manner, beginning and ending with pasta. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream with salt until it holds soft peaks and spread evenly over top pasta layer, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over cream. Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top layer, and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagne 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden. Let lasagne stand 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

 

Linked to: RealFoodFriday 

 

Having an organized pantry will actually save you money by identifying what you’re using, what you’re not using and what you’ve bought in duplicate. It will allow you to take stock of your cooking habits and tells you what you should and should not buy in bulk. Do you have the habit of picking up a box of pasta every time you go to the store only to realize that you don’t eat pasta that often? To do a good job of organizing your pantry give yourself some time, a few hours where you can focus on the task and not be interrupted.

Take everything out of the pantry including food, food storage containers and junk or trash that may have accumulated. Dust the pantry, starting with the highest shelf, and then wipe down each shelf one at a time. Be sure to check for cobwebs! Line up the food items in one space so you can see everything at once. Use your kitchen table or even the floor if you have to. That way you can spot duplicates, spoiled foods and get a general idea of how much space each type of item will need. Check the expiration dates and discard those items that have expired. Ask yourself if you use that item or if it was just an impulse buy. If you don’t use it throw it out! Ask yourself if you like the item? If not throw it out or donate it to a food shelf (if the dates are still good). Organize the like food items for example cans of beans and soups, bottles of oils and vinegar, jars of spices, boxes of grains, boxes of breakfast cereal. It may take a little time but you want to have like items near each other. Invest in some boxes and containers to store those spice packets in. Trays, bins or baskets help in maintaining a clutter-free pantry. As you begin to put things back in your pantry be creative – keep all those breakfast cereals on one shelf, preferably on the lowest one, so that your children can easily access them.

Isn’t it a pleasure to see a pantry closet neat, tidy and clutter free? With all necessary ingredients within one’s reach, cooking is a snap. You can find things, sort them out and even stock up in minutes.

Once your pantry is well organized you will be able to maintain it. What’s the goal of establishing and maintaining a pantry? It’s two-fold: household convenience and protection against unexpected events. A well-planned pantry means the household will never run out of commonly used products such as toilet paper. More importantly, a pantry is a reserve against hard times. Whether it’s job loss, illness, or natural disaster, a pantry ensure that the family will continue to be fed, clean, and comfortable in the face of adversity. A beginner’s pantry focuses on convenience and contains back-up products for each storable item used in the home. The standard is simple: for each open bag, box or carton in the household, the pantry contains a second, back-up product; toothbrushes to spaghetti. A good first goal: a three-day supply of food and hygiene supplies adequate to support your family plus one additional person. More robust pantries serve additional goals. A mid-range pantry can feed a family for a period of two weeks to a month in case of emergency. This pantry includes substitutes for fresh foods, such as powdered milk, dried fruits and vegetables, and protein products. This pantry offers convenience and basic protection.

Regardless of what your goal for your pantry is investing in your pantry pays off in savings of time and money. So take stock of your pantry and  get organized!

 

I haven’t grown garlic in years but this year I got my act together and managed to get some planted in the garden before the real snow! I purchased some locally grown garlic so it should do very well in my garden. There are two main types of garlic. Stiffneck and soft neck.  Stiffneck garlic plants send up a false flower stalk in the spring called a scape. Stiffneck garlic bulbs usually contain 5-7 large cloves. Softneck garlic plants do not produce a scape, and generally contain a dozen or more relatively small cloves. I planted the stiff neck variety. Garlic is multiplied by vegetative reproductions rather than by seeds. Individual garlic cloves are planted and they each produce a bulb. The nice thing about planting garlic is that it is planted in the fall, it’s out of sync with other crops. Garlic requires a cold treatment for about two months to induce bulbing. You want to give the garlic enough time to form roots but not enough time to form leaves! Our fairly mild fall gave me the opportunity to plant my garlic.

I pulled all the weeds from one of my raised beds and removed the various little stones that seem to pop up every year. First thing I did was to break each garlic set into its cloves, just like you do when you are going to cook them. Then I planted each clove, root side down every 5-6 inches apart. Each clove was pushed into the ground about 4 inches and then covered with dirt. I didn’t want the frost to pop them out of the ground. Once the garlic was all planted I mulched the bed with a nice layer of straw. Hopefully each of those cloves will grow into a nice, plumb garlic bulb! Now to be patient.

In the late spring the scapes should develop. These should be removed to retain the plant’s resources for bulb formation. The scapes are edible! Something new to try! I won’t be able to harvest my garlic until the lower leaves begin yellowing from the tips on down, usually in July. Ideally you want the bulbs to have attained their maximum size but the cloves have not started to separate, this way they will store better. I will let the bulbs air dry where they are protected from the sun. Then they will be ready to store.

 

 

When you compare the prices of cleaning products in the stores with the cost of making them at home you’d be surprised at how much you can really save! If you were to add up the toilet cleaner, kitchen cleaner, window cleaner etc. it seems the average clean household requires close to $150 worth of chemical supplies at all times. You can switch to the healthier alternatives sold in the stores but they are also expensive. The best choice for your budget and your health is to make them yourself.

One of the first products I began to make myself was a window cleaner. A good friend shared her recipe years ago and I’ve been using it ever since! With just several basic products you probably already have in your home you can make a window cleaner that really does get your windows clean! In researching various homemade window cleaners I found there are two main recipes; one uses vinegar and the other ammonia. I’ve been using the one with ammonia, I’ll have to make both and compare!

Window Cleaner #1: This can be made right in your spray bottle. Mix ½ tsp dish detergent, 3 Tbsp vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it up and use like any commercial variety.

Window Cleaner #2: This can also be made in your spray bottle. Combine 3 Tbsp ammonia, 1 Tbsp vinegar and fill the rest of the way up with water.

Let me know which one you think is better! Or do you have your own unique recipe?

A good all purpose cleaner:
16oz spray bottle
2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp borax
water (if you have hard water this needs to be distilled or purified water, otherwise use tap water)
2 Tbsp mild liquid dish soap

Mix the vinegar and borax with 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Let the mixture cool and then pour into your spray bottle. Add enough water to the bottle leaving just enough room for your dishwashing detergent. Then add the liquid soap.

Next  weeks frugal tip will be making your own laundry detergent! Stay tuned!

ammonium, vinegar, cleaners

Ingredients to make household cleaners!

This recipe has been in our family for years and years. Originally a neighbor shared it with my mom and she’s been making it ever since. When I left home it was one of my mom’s recipes that I brought with me! The recipe is very simple and you can make the basic recipe as is or add more ingredients if you want. Use any kind of nuts, I’ve made it with walnuts, pecans and sliced almonds. All are delicious. Once the granola is cooled completely you can also add a variety of dried fruits; cherries, cranberries and raisins. This recipe is easy, inexpensive, very flexible and tastes much better than anything you can find in the supermarket!

6 cups of quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/3 cup sesame seed
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Heat oats in ungreased 9 x 13 pan in 350 degree oven for ten minutes.

Combine oats, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seed and chopped nuts and stir. Combine brown sugar, vegetable oil, honey and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until coated.

Divide mixture in half. Bake half in ungreased 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often to brown evenly. Cool. Repeat for other half, don’t let it get too brown or it will burn!

Store in an airtight container.

Linked To: GooseberryPatch

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