Thursday, January 29, 2009

Detergent Recipes

Today I'm making another batch of Laundry Detergent. It's really simple, you control added fragrances and can save a bunch of money. I had fallen back into buying the economy stuff at the Wholesale Club again, bunch lately I'm just feeling all itchy. Plus, I've really tightened our belt when it comes to spending, so, once again, I'm grating soap and making up a batch of Homemade Laundry Detergent.

There are lots of varied recipes, some for liquid (kind of a gel) and some for dry/powder types. Here's a good site that list a whole slew of variations and tips.

I'm making the liquid/gel recipe #3 and tripling it (xl family=xl laundry)


Then I'm going to try my hand at some more Dishwasher Detergent. This hasn't worked out so well for me in the past. We seemed to struggle with a powdery film on the dishes...and ended up hand rinsing the dishes which was the pits. So, I've come across this page that tells you what you can try to fix that problem.

I use recipe #1 and I'm going to try to use vinegar in the rinse cycle like it suggested. So, we shall see.


This is a very simple way to save a load of money, especially if you keep those washers (clothes and dishes) whirring constantly like me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Only Oatmeal

One of my biggest steps towards food preps was with oatmeal.

Seems a bit "simple", but I really researched it. The prices, the different packaging and the different kinds. I thought I'd share what I discovered for others who are still figuring all of this out. It all started some months ago when I announced to the kids that we were going to start having oatmeal once a week. I nearly had a revolt on my hands.

Eventually I mastered the technique of making really good oatmeal, actually spent time talking to my grandma about it. We progressed to a couple of times a week and now we have oatmeal about 3 times a week and it is enjoyed by all (one child out of seven doesn't eat a second bowl).

Then it was time to start looking into a bulk buy of oatmeal. I figured out we could consume about 10 lbs a month. Therefore 50 lbs would last about 5 months. A 6 pack case of #10 cans would last about 3 1/2 months. A canister from Walmart 2 meals.

Finally I had to decide WHICH oats to buy. Thanks to the internet and lots of help from my friends here, I finally understood the difference.
Oat Groats - the whole oat, stores longest
Oats Steel cut (or Irish Oats or Pinhead Oats) are the whole oats cut into about 4 pieces, with no processing.
Oats Old Fashioned or Regular - have been steamed and pressed
Oats Instant or Quick Oats - have been steamed, pressed, chopped

Then the packaging.
Canisters at Walmart? (This is how I started)
#10 cans for long term storage (will last 30 years)
Super Pails (packed in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers)
50 lb bags (best buy, must be repackaged for storage)

We ended up getting some of it all, except the Oat Groats (yet)! I bought up a bunch in the Walmart canisters right before the prices went up and to tide us over until orders came in. Those are being used up first. The Quick Oats came in the LDS #10 can and will be stored (good for 30 years) in case of a crisis where quick is necessary. The Old Fashioned/Regular Oats I ordered in #10 cans when I found them on sale and didn't have to worry about repackaging. Finally I ordered a 50 lb bag of the Steel Cut, repackaged into our own white buckets and got a great deal ($1 a lb ) when a small package at the store of this 'better' variety is $3 or $4


The steel cut oatmeal is VERY different from what we were used to. I LOVE it and my kids are warming up to it. Eventually I will only buy this's a progression! Maybe one day I'll even try the whole oat groats.Well, that's my Oatmeal Tale! Hope it gives someone a headstart if they're considering Oats as a Prep. It is very healthy!! economical, and a comfort food when you're sprinkling cinnamon, adding raisins, etc. Not to speak of the fact that these oats can be used in countless recipes for snacks, cookies, muffins, etc.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tasty Tortillas

Here I am, finally making the first post on my very own blog, following through with one of my New Years resolutions. I wanted a place to record highlights of my journey, a journey towards self-sufficiency and a simpler life that is focused on the things that really matter.

This week I finally tackled making tortillas. It wasn't near as hard as I had imagined it, as a matter of fact, it was really easy. The kids loved them and I have decided this is a definite addition to my well stocked pantry project. I opted to go with the Tortilla Mix so that all I add is water. I'm doing the Flour Tortillas and hand rolling them with an old wooden rolling pen. I think it will be good arm exercise!

I bought 20 lbs of the mix and hope to find it in bulk at our local wholesale club store. I'll be freezing the bags of flour first and then storing in buckets with oxygen absorbers. I've got to order some mylar bags first. Always one more thing to gather in!

The tortillas were warm (fresh off the griddle), tasty (kids ate them as fast as I cooked them), filling (always good with a large family), fun (I let the kids roll their own), versatile (you can fill them with a huge variety of foods), economical (very important in these trying times) and easy! I love easy!

I learned that the tortilla presses are most often used for the corn toritllas (which I haven't tried yet) and that there is such a thing as an electric tortilla press that cooks them at the same time. I cooked mine on a hot electric griddle but could also use my black cast iron skillets and griddles.

I discovered a good variety of YouTube videos that demonstrate proper rolling techniques, recipes and cooking methods for Flour Tortillas. Seeing something being done really helps me when I'm tackling something new.

My mom told me that she is actually made some Old Fashioned Fried Pies out of her batch this week. She had some cans of the Fruit Pie Filling and used that. She said they really turned out well. I'll be trying that soon.

For one of our batches I walked over to my canning pantry and chose a mason jar filled with seasoned ground beef that I had home canned a few months ago. Dumped it, warmed it, and we had a feast. Toppings included refried beans, salsa (a Pace Copy Cat recipe I had made the day before), sour cream, chopped onions, jalepenos. They were a huge hit, not one child wrinkled their nose in disapproval!