Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making Homemade Granola

So I got a hold of this Snackle Mouth granola and my husband ate the whole box. He really liked it alot and dug the fact that it was sweetened with agave nectar. Now if this stuff weren't $4 a box i'd be stoked on it...but not as fast as it goes. So I decided to take it upon myself to find a recipe that was suitable in the taste department but also easy on the wallet. I found this recipe via Pinterest and was immediately reeled in. Original post/recipe from Sara Lynn Page's blog, check out some of her other stuff too :)  
Original Recipe 

The Goods
4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
2-3 tbsp cinnamon (depends on how much you like the stuff)
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil  


Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then add in the syrup and oil, stirring until all dry ingredients are moistened. Spread granola on roughly 12×17 rimmed baking sheet and baked until brown (20-25 minutes), then stir with a flat spatula. Continue baking until it is light golden brown, dry, and fragrant, 10-15 minutes longer. Watch it carefully because during the end it can burn quickly!

My Version With Variations
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flax meal (NOT FLAX SEED)
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups agave nectar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil

I followed the directions just the same but having to allow longer time to bake to achieve that awesome golden brown goodness. Just kept going in and stirring and checking about every 5-10 mins after the first round of 25 mins. Just make sure to check it frequently towards the end to prevent burning. This recipe could be altered to meet your taste needs, substitute different fruits and nuts and just remember to keep it simple! Simple food is good food :)

This  most recent batch I opted to stir in the fruit after baking and cooling. Last time it seemed to dry it out a little too much baking it with the oats and nuts. So I suggest that if you like the fruit to be a bit softer to stir in after baking.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Personal Update On The Use and Results of the DIY Laundry Soap

Well i've used the laundry soap several times now and i'm totally happy with it. The clothes come out clean and smelling fresh even without the use of liquid softener. I am also a big fan of the fact that each load only requires 1 tablespoon of the paste. So not only is it affordable to make it's also very efficient when you think about how much you're using for an entire load of clothes!

I will also be handing out samples of both soaps to 7 friends to let them try it out tomorrow. The only thing i've asked of them in return is to write me some short reviews so that I can post them here. I wanted to get a perspective from different people in different homes that way the environments varied and I could really see if it would work for more than just myself. I'm very excited to know what they all think :)

I also made my first batch of liquid hand soap today and so far i'm pleased with how it's turned out. Not only does it smell fantastically but it's a great consistency. I did change the recipe I found slightly to see if it would change the consistency issues that she was having and so far it looks like i've done it. Can't wait to make my mason jar soap pumps and start using it! I will post about the soap pumps as well as that's a whole other project by itself <3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Personal Update On The Use and Results of the DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Well i'm happy to inform everyone that i'm highly please with the results of the DIY Dishwasher detergent! My dishes have never looked cleaner and are absolutely spotless and sparkling. I'm about to die with happiness :) Here are some photos below of my freshly cleaned dishes!

silverware is shiny as is the other lower rack items!
top rack awesomeness! see how clean and sparkling the glass is?
even my black dinnerware was free of spots!

Here is a side by side comparison below of a glass on the left washed by my previous commercially made detergent which I will leave unnamed, I also had the addition of a rinse aid which I will also leave unnamed. On the right is a glass that I washed this evening with my new homemade dishwasher detergent. Big difference right? I think so! So i'm happy to announce that I will continue to use my homemade detergent over the commercially made stuff. It only took me about 10 mins total to mix it all together and finish it off. Granted i'll have to shake the container here and there over the next few days to help remedy the clumps. But that's a small task compared to the large amount of money that i'll now be saving as a result!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone LOL

Now do you understand my happiness? I hope so! here's hoping you achieve the same results with your detergent :)

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Soap So EASY!

Ok so here we go with another homemade soap recipe. I just made this today and am currently running my first load of dishes with it so I still have yet to see how it works. I did a mid cycle peek and things are looking good so far. Typically I use those gel packs or the compressed powder bricks and just throw it in the main cycle area but with this I did a 70/30 split between the main wash(70) and the pre wash(30). I have also decided to hand out some samples of the dishwasher soap and laundry soap to some friends to have them try it out and requested that they each give me a short review on each one. I will be posting those later as I receive them :)

Here's the How To:

Home Made Dishwasher Detergent

2 c borax
2 c Arm & Hammer washing soda
2 c lemi shine*
1 c kosher salt

I found the borax, washing soda at my local Walmart, I had these on hand already from the laundry soap recipe and you can refer to that post to see my costs. I found the lemi shine at Smith's but i'm sure it could be found elsewhere. They were in the laundry and dish soap section. The fresh fruit protector can be found in with the canning supplies, you can buy plain citric acid in lieu of this but I chose this for the silicon dioxide anti-caking agent that's in it. Some folks have also been known to use unsweetened lemonade drink packets for the citric acid. But you should find them in similar places in a similar kind of store. Kosher salt was with the baking items.

Borax and Washing Soda

Kosher salt, lemi shine, and preserving agent

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixed.
2. The citric acid in the lemi shine will make everything get a bit hard. The first time I made this I put it directly into my container and it all got really really hard. I had to use a knife to get it out. So I suggest letting this mixture sit out in a bowl for a couple of days, stirring often. You will still get a few little "balls" of detergent, but that is just fine! You just don't want it all in one big piece! Believe me, this is the best way to go!!
3. The lemi shine suggests running an empty dishwasher cycle with just that in order to clean your dishwasher. I followed their directions for good measure!
4. Fill your rinse aid spot with white vinegar. (This is sooo much cheaper then your typical rinse aid and makes a big difference in how your dishes will turn out!)
5. Use 1 tbs of detergent per load of dishes. I do about a 30/70 split with 30% in the pre-wash spot and 70% in the wash spot. If you don't have a prewash spot, you can put it all in the wash spot.

*You can experiment with the lemi shine amount. The original recipe I found and modified called for only 1 cup but said to add more if you have hard water.

This recipe was originally obtained from Simply Designing and slightly modified by me.

DIY Laundry Soap

So i've recently stumbled upon the amazing website that is Pinterest. Love love LOVE it! I could spend many time sucking hours on it browsing for different things, anything from recipes to canning to crafts and home made cleaners. I've always been one for saving a dollar and recently it's come across my table to make laundry soap and dishwasher soap. I will soon be trying a liquid hand soap recipe as well.

After many hours of searching and reading and finding many recipes all with the same basic components borax and washing soda I finally landed on a recipe that I found at The White Silk Purse. She shares a fantastic laundry soap recipe that is more of a paste than a liquid which really piqued my interest. Not to mention the fact that this "paste" can be used as a stain pre-treater, I used a toothbrush and a bit of water to rub it into the stain and then wash as normal. The reason why I was more interested in this recipe over the others is because of the fact that i'm not mixing a large amount of liquid in a 5 gallon bucket only to probably spill it and make a mess when transferring it to another container. And you are only using 1 tablespoon per load of laundry. Not to mention I was able to put it into wide mouth pint canning jars (something I always have on hand) without a funnel. I was able to ladle each jar full with little issue and had to only wipe small amounts from the outside of the jar.

Now I wish I had taken photos of each step of the process to share but really didn't think about it, I was far to excited to get started! Now it's time to gather your ingredients and supplies :) I used one small stainless steel stock pot to boil my soap in, make sure that you use a large enough pot so that there isn't any splashing. Here we go!

1 small soup/stock pot
1 stirring spoon
1 cheese grater or food processor with grating blade
1 cup measuring cup
4 quart canning jars (I used 6 wide mouth pint jars)
2 bars Fels Naptha
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
6 cups of hot water (+ more water as needed)
Figured it might be easy to show photos if you're unfamiliar with these items

Put 6 cups of water on to heat. It will almost boil by the time you are done. While the water is heating, grate the Fels Naptha. I cut the bars in half the long way and run them through my food processor with the grater attachment, but it could be grated by hand. Add the soap to the water that is heating, and stir frequently. This part takes 10 – 15 minutes. Keep stirring until the soap is completely melted. Don’t let this boil or you’ll have soap all over the place. (Don’t ask!)

When the soap has melted turn off the heat and add the Borax and the Washing Soda. (Do not confuse Washing Soda with baking soda. They are NOT the same. Washing Soda is in the laundry aisle.) Stir and stir and stir. You will stir for about three minutes. The powders will dissolve into the liquid.

Pour the liquid equally into 4 quart jars. Now, add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” of the jar. This will leave about 1 ½ inches of headspace. Put lids on the jars and let them sit overnight (about 8 hours).

The soap in the jars will separate while it is standing. This is OK. There will be firm soap on top and kind of gel-like soap on the bottom. Sometimes "crystals" form at the bottom of the jar, don't worry.

Take one of the jars and cut up the firm soap. I just stick a knife down into the jar and cut kitchen aid. Now, because I am frugal I pour about 3 tablespoons of water into the quart jar and swish it around to get all the rest of the soap out. If there are crystals, I use HOT water and stir a bit. I add this to the mixer too.

Start on the lowest speed of your blender or mixer and increase the speed gradually. Your result will be something that looks like really thick, pale yellow whipped cream. You may need to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times to get it all the way blended/mixed. It's like creaming the butter, sugar and eggs when you make cookies. (I can blend/mix two jars at a time in my mixer bowl.)

Pour/spoon the now blended soap back into the quart jar(s). Your jar(s) will be all the way full now and you may even have a little more for another jar. Pop a lid onto the jar(s) and your soap will keep indefinitely. It gets a little firmer in the jar when it sits, but it stays spoonable.

These are how my jars look in the cooling stage. I ended up with 5 1/2 wide mouth pint canning jars at this point. that may change tomorrow when I re-blend and add a bit more water. A few have separation happening but that's nothing to worry about as i'll be blending them all tomorrow :) Can't wait to give this stuff a try!
In the cooling state

I got all of my supplies at walmart, The box of borax was $3.38, the A&H Washing Soda was $3.24, fels naptha bars $0.97/ea, and the case of 12 wide mouth pint jars was $9.24 total cost was $17.80 +tax. Also keep in mind that you will be re-using your pint jars each time so the total cost will go down, not to mention you get more borax and washing soda than you need for one batch so the 2nd batch will be much cheaper than the first. I used some of my leftover borax and washing soda to make dishwasher detergent which I will also post about. Prices of course will vary between stores and area, i'm in Las Vegas so of course everything is a tad more expensive than it may be elsewhere. Hope you enjoy your homemade laundry soap!