Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . . It's Laundry Day!

Welcome back to Free Recipe Friday boys and girls!
Today we are going to do something thrifty - my favorite!
We are going to make detergent!!!!
I know what you are thinking, 'that is ridiculous - I can go buy some for $10'...
and I will say...'true, yes you can!'....BUTTTTTTTTTTTTT...
this little, easy, schmeazy recipe costs about half of that!
The estimated cost is $6 for 576 loads!
(depending on soap used and amount used per load---
I don't get near that - but 2 gallons DOES last me 4 weeks or more---
still haven't grasped that it doesn't take very much!)
I'd say that is prettttyyyyy thrifty!

(taken from 'Why Not Sew' blog found on Pinterest!)

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax (you can find on the detergent aisle at most stores)
1 cup of washing soda (you can find on the detergent aisle at most stores)
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers

*I use these utensils for detergent making only*

Grate your bar of soap into your big pot.

Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap.
Cook until the grated soap dissolves.
(be patient, this takes a little while - just keep checking and stirring)
Add the borax and washing soda.
Bring to a slow boil - it will begin to coagulate.

Turn off the heat and add 1 gallon of cold water.  Stir well.
Pour 1 gallon of detergent into each jug.
It will thicken as it cools - so if the first batch is too thick,
please don't throw it out...just shake it well before using
and it will all loosen up a bit.
If you'd like it to be a bit thinner for the next try,
use only 1/2 of a grated bar of soap.

You now have about 2 gallons of liquid clothes detergent!
The blog recommends using 1/2 cup per load.
If you know me at all, you know that I rarely measure things...
therefore, I would say that I use between 1/2 and 1 cup! :)

"This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean.
It took a while to get that into my head.
This detergent cleans wonderfully!"

This detergent is surprisingly much thicker than store bought.
And has little to no smell at all.
At first that bugged me, then I realized that we do not need
the extra dyes and perfumes in detergent anyway!
So, it's a win, win!

This would make great little Christmas gifts -
poured up in little jars with homemade tags!
Have a scrubby dubby weekend!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free 'Double Doozie' Recipe Friday!

Good evening/morning everyone!
Wow, what a crazy day, week, month!
Hope you are having an awesome November so far!
What a great month this is...SO much to be thankful for!
Cooler weather means yummy comfort foods,
so this weeks Free Recipe Friday is a double doozie!
Beef Stew and Fried Cornbread!

In the past few years, I have realized that beef stew recipes
are about as different as chocolate cake.
Chocolate cake means many things to many people.
(thanks to my brother for bringing this to my attention years ago!)
Is chocolate cake a yellow cake with chocolate icing?
Is chocolate cake, chocolate cake with chocolate icing?
See what I mean?!?
But today we aren't eating cake...we're having stew, BEEF STEW ;)
And we are throwing in an extra side of Fried Cornbread for ya!

Beef stew to some people means beef and assorted veggies...
including corn, english peas, tomatoes, etc.
To some it may have hamburger meat as it's beef...but to our family,
that would be called 'beef veggie soup'...THIS particular stew
is basically an Irish Beef Stew...also known as our oldest daughter's
favorite much so, she requested that it be
the meal served at her wedding. 
So we did...and it was duhhh-licious!
Here we go!
Remember, be flexible and adventurous...
you can use many cuts of beef for this recipe...
roasts, round steak, sirloin, etc.

(for a family of 6 or more)

2-3 lbs. beef (nicely trimmed of fat and cubed)
appx. 5 lbs. potatoes - cubed into 1 inch chunks
(not red, new potatoes)
appx. 2 lbs. carrots - cut into 1 inch chunks
(if you like more carrots, by all means add more carrots!)
1 yellow onion, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
beef broth (appx 8-10 cups)
(I use beef paste concentrate and add my own water)
veggie oil (appx 1/4 cup)
flour (appx 1 cup)
heavy stockpot

Cube beef, potatoes, carrots into nice sized chunks (appx 1 inch)
Place stockpot onto medium/high heat.
Place flour, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl
and dredge cubed beef and toss to cover well.
Add veggie oil to hot stockpot.
Drop dredged beef, diced onions and garlic into oil immediately.
(*Hint - hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick!)
Lightly brown beef, stirring occasionally.
Next, add in carrots...stir to combine with beef.
Add in diced potatoes, continually stirring.
Once the mixture has a chance to come back up to heat,
add in your beef stock and stir well...
scraping up the yummy browned bits on the bottom of the pan!
Bring your baby stew up to a good boil, then reduce heat to medium/low.
Partially cover with a lid and simmer for as long or as little as you'd like.
Technically, when the potatoes and carrots are fork tender
it is done and you are ready to go.
The longer this mixture cooks the thicker the broth will become.
And as some things usually are, this is better the day after!


2 cups plain cornmeal
(I have no idea what 'plain' cornmeal is...isn't it all plain?
-- my mom dictated this recipe to me from her memory,
I just wrote it down as fast as I could...
and I usually use plain white cornmeal for this)
4 tablespoons flour (plain? ha)
3/4 teaspoon salt
boiling water
veggie oil
iron skillet - because those are the best!

Now here comes the hard part ;)
Put dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Pour some boiling water over said dry ingredients...
the amount will vary depending on humidity, etc.
It will take at least one cup...stir really fast...
if it is too dry...pour a bit more in...
you want your mixture to be thicker than pancake batter,
maybe more like brownie batter? 
Next, you need to place an iron skillet on medium/high heat.
Add enough veggie oil to come 1/3 to 1/2 up the sides of the pan.
One great trick to know if your oil is ready to fry in is to
stand a wooden dowel (or the end of a wooden spoon)
into your skillet - all the way to the bottom.
When you see tiny bubbles climbing up the wooden dowel,
it's time to fry!  No bubbles? No fry!
Now place a heaping tablespoon of batter into the hot oil.
Fry on each side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.
Pure yumminess!  Great with ANY soups or stews!