Saturday, January 14, 2012

A few of the homemade cleaning products I use in my house.

For about 9 months now I have been making my own cleaning products.  I've used many different "recipes" for them, and here are a few of my favorite that I have been sticking to lately. 

Homemade soft scrub
 You will need 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup castile soap (I use Dr. Bronners lavender), 1 tbsp. vinegar and 1 tbsp. water.
In a bowl combine baking soda, soap and water and stir with fork.  Last stir in the vinegar.  The mix will bubble a bit, this is normal, just mix with fork until you get a "soft scrub" consistency.  Putting the vinegar in last is important, if you put it in before you will not get a paste consistency.
To clean just scoop some out with a sponge or cloth and wash away!
I usually clean my shower, tub and the bathroom sink with this mixture once a week.

Daily, after showering, I have a spray bottle with vinegar and lavender scented oil and I spray that on daily.
This scrub can also be used in the toilet, but I have another that I prefer.  

Here it is!

Homemade toilet bowl cleaner

To clean the toilet I use 1/2 cup 20 mule team borax and the juice of 1 lemon.    In a bowl mix the borax and lemon juice and pour into toilet before you start the rest of the bathroom.  Let it sit for a few minutes then scrub.  
I have 2 toilets in the house so this is enough to clean them both, if you have 1 toilet or 3 or more, just change the recipe to work for you :)

Be sure to check out the homemade disinfectant wipes also!

Coming soon:  how to make homemade laundry detergent and homemade shout!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homemade Play-dough

 Yes, play dough at the store is pretty cheap and if it says non toxic on the package it is safe to eat, but I thought it would be a fun little project to make my own for my daughter Lillian to play with, and eat if she chose (which she did, pictures follow).

I made kool aid playdough.  There are TONS of different recipes out there for homemade play dough, but this was really cheap and really easy and I like the color the kool aid makes the dough, plus it smells good too!

 Ingredients needed are: flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil (I used vegetable), kool aid (2 packs of same color per bath you make)
 To make you will need a saucepan, spoon, 1 cup, 1/4 cup and 1tbsp. measuring cups and storage bags or containers that seal well to store the play dough.
 In your sauce pan combine 1 cup flour, 2 tbsp. cream of tartar, 1/4 cup of salt, 2 packages of kool-aid (same color and flavor) and 1 cup of water.  Mix well then add 1 tbsp. of oil.  Cook on stovetop over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring the entire time.  When the dough forms a ball, take the pan off the heat and remove the dough from the pan.    
 I moved it onto some wax paper to cool for a minute. Kneed the dough until its soft then put in your container or bag. 
 Here is my finished first batch.  I found these great storage containers with snap lids at the store, they are perfect for this!
 I ended up making green, orange, red and blue.
See, told you she ate some, and its totally alright because its really just a dough.  She spit it right out though (I wasn't fast enough to get that shot) because its SUPER salty.
Having fun!
Next step is for me to find some cutters and stuff for her to play with it with, this plastic knife didn't cut it (pun intended!)  for her, lol.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Freezer Smoothies

Smoothie fans out there raise your hands!
Fans of paying around $1/smoothie raise your hands!
Well, read on and I will show you how to make a wonderful smoothie that is ready to be made whenever you are craving one!
The idea came to me through, surprise surprise, pinterest!  I found laceyinloveblog's version and knew I had to do it!

To make the smoothie you will need plain yogurt (any brand you prefer or that is on sale), and any fruit that tickles your fancy.  I chose blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, bananas, peaches, raspberries and blackberries.  I got lots of fruit and had lots left over to make these again!  I chose fruit that was on sale and you can get already frozen or fresh and freeze yourself.  You can get just one or two varieties of fruit if you like.
 Equipment needed is mini muffin tins (or ice cube trays), cutting board, knife, sheet tray with silpat (use parchment if you don't have one)
 Wash and cut up your fresh fruit and put on sheet tray with silpat or parchment, I had to use both since I only own one silpat, and freeze for about an hour or 2.
 Fill your mini muffin tins or ice cube trays with about a tablespoon of yogurt and freeze while you freeze your fruit.
 Fruit out of the freezer ready to be measured into little bags for ready to make smoothies!
 Frozen yogurt.  If you use mini muffin tins just let the tins sit out for a few minutes and the frozen yogurt will pop out with a little help from a spoon.
 Put about 3 of your frozen yogurts and about a cup of various fruits into freezer bags and pop back in the freezer.  When ready to make just take out a bag and put the contents in a blender with a little milk or fruit juice and enjoy!

I made 11 smoothies with the amount of yogurt I had and I have about 1/2 bag of each pre-frozen fruit left and a little of the strawberries and blueberries that I froze left too.  When I run out of smoothies now all I have to do is get a little more yogurt and freeze and bag then I'm ready again!

UPDATE 1/21/12:  I've made a few of these and I find it easier to take the bag out of the freezer and let it sit for 10 minutes before blending.  I have a pretty great blender (no Vitamix, future investment hopefully!), but it still can't break up the frozen yogurt without a little thawing.  Hope this helps!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homemade cleaning wipes

I'm pretty sure we've all one time or another (or maybe every week) have bought the "clorox" wipes, or that of the sort.  Since we moved about 8 months ago, I have pretty much gone to making all of my own cleaners. Laundry detergent, toilet, soft scrub, window cleaner, homemade "shout", and all purpose cleaner.  I will share all of the cleaning "recipes" I use soon!  The one thing I have still been buying are these cleaning wipes.  I tried to justify it by buying the Seventh Generation or any other "green" brand, but really you are still throwing away a ton of waste that isn't necessary.  So began my search to find an alternative.  

If you've read my first few blogs, you are probably realizing I am one huge copy-cat.  I rely on pinterest for practically everything from DIY projects (coming soon!) and homemade cleaners to recipes(coming soon!) and funny quotes.  
That is where I found One Good Thing and this wonderful homemade disinfecting wipes "recipe".

To make the wipes you will need some rags that you don't use anymore or old t-shirts.  I made the boyfriend give up 2 old white t-shirts and cut them up.  I got about 8 "rags" from each shirt.  You will also need some Dr. Bronners castile soap.  I used lavender, but there are other scents to choose from.  Vinegar, bowl to mix in, container to store them in (I used a baby wipes container), and water.
 After your rags are ready put them in your storage container and mix your ingredients in your bowl.  You will need 1.5 cups of HOT water, 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 tbsp. of the soap.  Stir together and pour on top of your rags.
 Here are my little disinfecting wipes!
 Off we go to clean things!

After you clean with your new disinfecting wipe, just wash them in the laundry!  I have a lot of cleaning rags every week and just do one load with all of them.  Don't mix your cleaning rags with other laundry.

Oven Cleaning, without commercial oven cleaner.

 I would love to take all the credit for this amazing way to clean your oven, but I found the idea from Pinterest on Cleverlyinspired, thank you Tracie!

This is really embarrassing to admit, but our oven is only about 8 months old.  We bought it new when we moved into our new house.  I feel horrible because I should have taken better care of her.  Yes, you read that correct, my oven is a her.  From now on I promise to not have so much spillage from pans or random pieces of aluminum foil on the bottom of my oven!

Now, here is how the magic happens!

To make the cleaner you will need dawn dish soap, baking soda, white vinegar, a bowl to mix it all in, and a tbsp. measuring spoon.   Not pictured is a pair of gloves, a sponge and a lemon.  Yes, a lemon, not lemon juice.  You will actually be using the lemon to scrub.
 Now in your bowl, mix 5 tbsp. baking soda, 5 drops of dawn and 4 tbsp. vinegar.  Make a paste. 
Here is a before picture of my oven door.  It seriously does not justify the amount of stuff that was on that door.  It was bad :(
 Before picture of  the inside.  Yep, that dirty in only 8 months :(
I blame it on oven baked fries.
 Now, put on a glove.  You'll thank me later, baking soda is amazing, but does a number on a bare hand.  Now slather that paste mixture all over the oven.
 Set your oven timer for 15-20 minutes.  I did 20, felt it would be easier to scrub the longer I waited, haha.
After you wait, put that glove back on and get your sponge and go at it.  Seriously, you won't need to do your daily workout after you scrub your oven.  Mine took me a good hour of scrubbing and I probably could have done better.  To get the door of the oven really clean (seems that holds the most grease) take a lemon and cut in half then put a few drops of dawn on the lemon and use the lemon to scrub the door.  It will eat at the grease so the sponge and your arm and hand aren't doing all the hard work.
 What all my hard work got me!  A clean oven door
and a clean oven!
Sorry, it is a little smudgy, but I was tired ok!

Honestly, this was way better than any oven cleaner I've ever used.  I could breath the entire time I was cleaning and my lungs don't hurt from chemicals eating at them.  It is not magic, you do have to put some elbow grease into it (pun intended with putting grease in oven while cleaning it, lol, yes I think I'm hilarious) but look at that pretty oven in the end!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Glass Stove top cleaning

Thanks to behindthestudio, who I found on Pinterest my glass top stove is A LOT cleaner than it was this morning!

Keep reading if you have a glass top stove, super simple way to clean it without chemicals!

Here are a few before pictures of the stove top.  
It is really hard in the pictures to see how dirty it actually is.  There are rings around where pots usually sit on the burners and other marks that I have never been able to get off.

 To clean you will need baking soda, dawn (maybe any dish detergent would work, I'm not sure, I'll try another next time!), a bucket, hot water and a larger rag or towel.
 To start, pour baking soda over the entire stove top.
 Fill your bowl with hot water and a little dish soap and soak your rag then ring it out really well.
 Place the rag right over the baking soda and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  

I cleaned the rest of my counters while I was waiting :)
 After you take off the rag wipe the stove a little, it doesn't take much effort at all, wipe up the baking soda then use a damp cloth to finish it.

Viola, a much cleaner stove top without using harsh chemicals!

Here are the after pictures.
The baking soda and dish soap/water mixture got off all the rings from the pots and the other spots!
If I didn't look hideous today I would take a picture of my smile :)

Tomorrow I plan to tackle the oven using pretty much the same ingredients.  I'm NOT looking forward to putting up a picture of my dirty oven, but for the sake of the blog world I'll do it :)

Apple Chips

For Christmas I got a mandelin.  If you ask my boyfriend, you will know that I cannot cut anything strait or thin, so this was a kitchen gadget that was a must have for me.  There are plenty of recipes on my list that I can use a mandelin for (zucchini chips, potato chips, sweet potato chips and french fries to name a few) and just cutting vegetables and fruits in general.  I am very excited to have this added to my kitchen favorites.  

Today I cut up some apples with the new mandolin to make apple chips.  I made a batch last week and they lasted about a day, they are super easy and super yummy and really healthy.  As you follow my blog, you will see that I am a fan of easy, yummy and healthy and I will probably overuse the word "super" also.  I apologize in advance ;)

To make the apple chips you will need apples, cinnamon, canola oil spray, a cutting board, knife, mixing bowl, sheet trays, mandolin (unless you are talented and can cut strait and thin unlike myself), and parchment paper.  Make sure when you do this you will be home for a bit, takes about 2-2 1/2 hours for the apples to become chips.
 Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.  Cut all your apples, I use the 1/8th setting on the mandolin to get them thin so they dry out and are crispy.  Add the sliced apples to the mixing bowl and put about a tablespoon of cinnamon in the bowl and mix.  Oh, by the way, I used 3 medium apples (sorry, I'm forgetful too!).  Place a piece of parchment on each sheet and line the apples in a single layer then lightly spray with canola spray.
Here are the apples pre-bake.
You want to put one tray of apples on the top rack of the oven and one on the bottom rack, after one hour swap them. 
 Apples half way through baking.
 Finished, yummy dried apple chips!
To store, let the apples cool fully on the sheet trays then transfer to a dish with a tight fitting lid.  They will last about 3 days, but trust me you will eat them all before that.

UPDATE 1/6/12:   I've made these apple chips 3 times now.  Once with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, once with just cinnamon and once plain.  They were excellent each time, but my favorite was with a bit of sugar and cinnamon.  They seemed to crisp up better, and I like a crispy apple chip, not a chewy one.  Just wanted to let you all know :)  Happy chipping!