Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

We've been using this homemade laundry soap for a while now and I really wish I had started using it years ago!  It cleans really well and it has a really fresh smell :-)

  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 3 gallons water
Grate the bar of soap ( You can use any type you'd like but I prefer Fels Naptha)
Put the grated soap into a very large stock pot and add 1 gallon of water.  Cook until the soap is fully dissolved and add the Borax and Washing Soda.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.  Turn off heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water and mix well. 

Divide the soap evenly between 3 1-gallon jugs....a funnel helps trememdously with this :-)
Fill each jug almost to the top with cold water. Put lid on tightly and shake.

Once cool, the laundry detergent will look like it's solid but if you give it a quick shake it will be ready to pour and use.  I use the lid from a traditional bottle of laundry soap as my measuring cup and use a full lid per each load of laundry.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In the Kitchen...

Sweet and Spicy Pickles:

We're anxiously awaiting the 2 week mark so we can crack these open and see how they turned out!  Also, I had a bunch of banana peppers so I sliced them and canned them in some of the extra brine.

  • 3 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 10 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • 24 dried cayenne peppers


Place cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and water in a large, glass or plastic bowl. Cover and allow cucumbers to soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from the onions and cucumbers through a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cloves, garlic, and peppers in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers and onions. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.

Fill each of the hot sterilized pint-size jars with the pickle mixture, dividing them evenly, and enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top.  Process the jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before removing jars from canner.  Let the pickles age for at least 2 weeks before using.

Jalapeno Jelly:

This jelly is seriously delicious!!!  Sweet with just the right amount of heat, it's really good on a peanut butter and jelly sandwch.  For a great appetizer whip cream cheese with a hand mixer, pile onto the middle of a plate and pour jelly over the top.  Serve with crackers.

  • 12 jalapeno peppers steamed and seeded
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 pouches of liquid pectin
    • ( The jelly turned out a bit thick so I'll be trying 1 1/2 pouches next time)
  • green food coloring
Pour 1 cup of the vinegar in a blender, add peppers and puree.  Mix puree and remaining vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a rapid foaming boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Add pectin and continue to boil for 1 more minute. Add 2-3 drops of green food coloring to mixture. This will make your jelly a really pretty emerald green. Place mixture into clean and sterile jars. Process jars in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.


Apple Pie Moonshine:

Freakin delicious but it sneaks up on you! 

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 gallon apple juice
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 liter bottle of 190 proof moonshine or pure grain

In a large stock pot, combine the cider, juice, sugars, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring it to a boil, then remove from heat and allow it to cool. Add the liter of high proof liquor.

Strain through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. Pour into mason jars and add 1 cinnamon stick to each*.  Screw lids on tightly.  You can drink this right away but it gets better after a couple weeks. Remember to shake jar before you pour a drink.
*Remove cinnamon sticks after 3 days.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

My man is an incredible dad and I wanted to make him something special for Father's Day....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bliss <3
Without getting into details... it's been a rough year and an especially challenging couple of months.  Don't get me wrong...there have been many fun times and incredible moments!!  But overall, it's been a challenge...

And then I woke up one day last week...and my life was forever changed :-)  I could compare it to winning the lottery but it's worth so much more than that!