Laundry Soap

This might be a snore fest for some people, but I love this sort of thing!  Here’s my recipe for homemade laundry soap.  It is cheap and works great!

Combine the following and store in an airtight container to prevent caking {I use a clean coffee can}:

1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated

1 cup Borax

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1/4 cup Oxi-Clean (optional)

Directions: Use one heaping Tbsp for a small load; use 2 heaping Tbsp for a large or heavily soiled load.  I’ve found that it works best with warm or hot water, not cold.

Natural fabric softener = vinegar.  Just pour a little {approximately 1/4 cup} into the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine as you would store-bought softener.  The smell totally dissipates once the laundry is dry.

Here’s a slightly different soap recipe that I found and want to try next time.  Obviously it makes quite a bit more, but either recipe can be increased or decreased as long as the ratio of ingredients is the same.

3 bars pink Zote soap, grated

4 pound box Borax

4 pound box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

4 pound box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1 small bucket Oxi-Clean or other oxygen cleaner

Same directions as stated above.

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Ducky Cookies

The past few months have brought many new babies into my extended family so I had the opportunity to make a meal for two of the moms.  Along with the meals that I provided, I also took a treat in the form of cookies.  Who doesn’t love a cute cookie?

I was really excited for the chance to use royal icing again and to try to improve my decorating skills.  However, I’m still pretty new at it, so I stuck with one color.  I intended to add faces to the ducks, but they weren’t quite dry enough for the edible marker to work before I had to transport them.  Maybe next time.

I also wanted to do step-by-step instructions of how I made these, but my camera battery died.  And I also realized I have no business giving directions on something that I suck at.  Here’s what I did photograph though:

prepared work surface

cut out dough

baked and cooled cookies

decorated

I doubled this recipe for the sugar cookies.  But substituted lemon extract for the almond extract.  Honestly, I didn’t think the cookies were sweet enough so next time I’ll roll them out using powdered sugar instead of flour.  And I need to stop rolling the dough so thin!

And I used this recipe for the royal icing.

all packed up

I definitely encourage you to check out Bridget’s Blog called Bake at 350.  She is awesome at decorating cookies!!

Random

These are really good!  I’m a beer girl through and through, so I’m usually not a fan of hard lemonade or other sweet bottled mixed drinks, but these are a different story!  Smirnoff Blueberry Lemonade. 🙂

Also, I’m excited about all of the shows returning to TV this fall!  I’m obsessed with so many shows!  Now, before you think I’m a crazy person who does nothing but watch TV, I don’t have to watch every show, every week.  If I miss a few {which I always do} it is no big deal.

Here’s what I watch:

Glee {I surprised myself by liking this one!}

NCIS and NCIS:  LA

Bones

How I Met Your Mother

Big Bang Theory

Rules Of Engagement

Cougar Town

Modern Family

Lie to Me

In Plain Sight

Wipeout

Two and a Half Men

Covert Affairs

The Good Guys

Flipping Out

Grey’s Anatomy

Private Practice

The Good Wife

Real Housewives of everywhere {seems like there is always one on?}

What I’m so glad I don’t watch and I give you all permission to kill me if I ever do: Jersey Shore, Big Brother, Bachelor/ette, Survivor, Amazing Race, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, CSI anything, Law & Order, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance,  American Idol, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, Mad Men, House, America’s Next Top Model.  Pretty much any competition show (except Wipeout).

I’m on the fence about: Brothers and Sisters, Parenthood, Mike & Molly

What will you be watching??

Garden Update September 2010

This will probably be my last garden update of the year.  I really slacked on posting about the garden this year for some reason, but we had a rather large yield.  I already posted about our cucumbers, peas, and lettuce in a post back in July.

Since then, I have made refrigerator pickles and have frozen the corn from about 2 dozen ears.   We ate about another dozen ears fresh.  What I did to freeze the corn was drop the ears in boiling water for about 6-8 minutes {in at least 2 batches}, drained them, let them cool a bit, then sliced the kernels off the cob and place into freezer safe containers.  Since I portioned the corn into servings for two people in each freezer container, there was room at the top of each each container.  So before adding the lids, I just pressed some plastic wrap onto the surface of the corn to hopefully minimize freezer burn.

We have also harvested tomatoes and fresh green beans, cantaloupe, various peppers, and more cucumbers!  Seriously, we were buried with cucumbers!  I even put a table piled high with cucumber and a “free” sign at the end of the driveway one day, hoping to get rid of some.  No dice.

Roma Tomatoes

Jalapeno Peppers

We still have carrots yet to be harvested as well as our second planting of peas – they’re ready, just haven’t been picked yet.

As far as canning:  In my pantry right now I have about 4 jars of pickles, 6 jars of green beans, and 5 jars of pickled jalapenos.  My mom and sister really talked me down from the ledge about canning so now I’m comfortable with it and I’m grateful to them for it!  They came over to my house and we canned the pickles together, then my mom canned the green beans for me, and I canned the jalapenos myself using this recipe.  Let’s hope nobody gets botulism!  Kidding ……….. kinda ……not really.

Canned Jalapenos

Stuffed Peppers

I had stuffed peppers on my mind after seeing a post from Chloe the other day, so when I had a few leftovers in the fridge suitable for filling the peppers I gave them a try.  I’m not really going to list specific measurements for everything because I was just using what I had in the fridge.  I also ended up with a little extra filling, but it was tasty eaten plain.  The sun-dried tomatoes added a nice chewy texture and a subtly sweet flavor {similar to raisins} to the dish and the chickpeas remained a little crunchy, so overall the balance of textures was really nice.

Stuffed Peppers

Inspired by:  Valuable, but Small Life

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper

1/2 yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/4 cup leftover ground beef cooked with onions and jalapenos and seasoned with taco seasoning

1/2 of a can of chickpeas, coarsely mashed {could substitute black beans}

sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1-2 Tbsp tomato paste

chicken broth or water

Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Wash peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the stems, seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a microwave safe dish. Add half an inch of water, cover and microwave on high for 9 minutes, or just until softened. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly mash chickpeas with a fork or pastry blender, leaving some whole.  Reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes if necessary, or drain if they have been packed in oil, and chop.

Warm up the rice and beef, in a saucepan and then add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, mashed chickpeas, and tomato paste.  Stir everything together and add some broth, a little at a time, to bind it together.  Just cook until everything is heated through.

Divide the filling among the steamed pepper halves.  Sprinkle each pepper with the Parmesan.

Place on a baking sheet or broiler pan and broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Enjoy with a dash of hot sauce!

Buffalo Chicken Patties

This recipe was intended to be vegetarian which I’m sure would have been terrific, but I had to add some chicken since T is far from being vegetarian.
Ash at Veggie by Season had a great suggestion to make these into burgers, but we just ate them plain.  Additionally if you make them into mini patties, I think they would be great appetizers or as sliders too.   It’s nice to have versatility.
If you do want to make them vegetarian, omit the chicken obviously and use a whole can of chickpeas, or just follow the link to her blog.
Buffalo Chicken Chickpea Patties
adapted from:  Veggie by Season
Ingredients:
half of a 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. buffalo sauce, plus more for serving
1 egg white
1 small yellow onion, grated or finely minced
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
For serving:
Buffalo sauce
Ranch or blue cheese dressing
Carrot Sticks
Celery
Buns, lettuce, tomato and crumbled blue cheese, if served as burgers
Directions:
Add chickpeas to a bowl, use a potato masher or fork and mash until about 2/3 of the chickpeas are pasty and 1/3 are in pieces or whole.  Add the shredded chicken.
Add the buffalo sauce to the chickpeas and chicken.
Add half of the oats to a food processor, pulse to create a crumb, add to the chickpeas.
Beat the egg white in a small dish to a froth, add to the chickpeas.
Grate onion into the chickpeas, finally add the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Use a spatula and fold mixture, combining ingredients well.
Heat a griddle over medium, spray with nonstick spray or add 1 tbsp. EVOO.
Use a 1/3 measuring cup or large ice cream scoop to portion out chickpea mixture onto griddle, this yields about 7 patties, or more.
Cook patties for 5-7 minutes, until crispy and brown, flip gently and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
Serve immediately to retain maximum crispness.

Hamburgers

Did I fool anyone?  These are actually hamburger cupcakes!!  They are probably the most exciting thing I have made in a long time too!  They were ridiculously easy to make as well, and you’ll see why below.  With summer drawing to a close, I knew Labor Day would probably be my last chance to make these this year, since it pretty much wraps up the picnic season.  I’m so glad I went for it and that T could take them into work to be enjoyed. 🙂

There’s really no recipe here as everything was store-bought/mixes.  Sure, you could make each item from scratch but after a very busy weekend, I just didn’t go that route this time.  This is what you need:

1 white cake mix, prepared as 24 cupcakes {I went with french vanilla flavored}

1 box of brownies

1 can of frosting, divided

gel/paste food colors – yellow {mustard}, green {lettuce}, red {ketchup}

biscuit cutter {I used a 2″ square}

3 pastry bags and 3 couplers

two #3 tips for the ketchup and mustard

one leaf tip for the lettuce {#66 or #352}

sesame seeds

toothpicks

Make and bake the cupcakes as directed in greased muffin cups {or you can use paper liners, but they’ll have to be removed before assembly}.  When cupcakes are still warm from baking, sprinkle each with sesame seeds.  Cool completely, then slice in half to create buns.

Make and bake the brownies.  Cool completely.  Then cut with biscuit cutter into square {or round} patties, making sure the patties are the right size for the buns.

Divide the can of frosting into 3 bowls.  Color with yellow, red, and green or as desired.

Prepare 3 pastry bags, couplers, and tips and fill each with the prepared frosting.

Decorate on the brownie “meat” to create ketchup, mustard and lettuce.

I only put lettuce on the corners, but you can add as much as you would like.  Then top with the upper half of the cupcake and you are done!