Thursday, April 30, 2009

Laundry Detergent

***Taken, word-for-word from Our Simple Life.

4 Cups hot tap water
1 bar soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, or Zote)
1 Cup washing soda
1/2 Cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to sauce pan with 4 cups hot water. Cook and stir constantly over medium low heat until soap is melted.
Fill 5 gallon bucket half way with hot tap water. Add washing soda, borax, and melted soap then stir until dissolved. Fill remainder of bucket with hot tap water.
Let bucket sit overnight to thicken. Pour detergent in a cleaned leftover laundry container half way, fill the other half with water.
*Shake before each use as the water and detergent will separate*

For top loading machine use 5/8 cup of detergent per load
For front loading machine use 1/4 cup of detergent per load

I timed myself and it literally took me 20 minutes to make the detergent. {Kitty: I can confirm, it took me 19 minutes!} I figure you can always find 20 minutes in your schedule to do something you consider important, and I consider saving this much money worth my time. Plus, you know my laundry will be expanding in another 6 months!

Here is a cost break down:

Washing soda $2.89
Borax $2.98
Ivory Soap $1.07 (3 bars)
5 gallon bucket $4.24
Bucket lid $1.27

Total: $13.15+tax

This makes 180 loads for a top load and 640 for a front load machine.

I had to purchase the washing soda at Harps since our Walmart did not carry it. {Kitty: I can also confirm to this.} You can find this and Borax with the laundry detergents.
I have enough ingredients to make two more batches and maybe enough borax and washing soda to do 4. The cost of the bucket is the most expensive thing and I won't ever have to purchase another one. So, if I can make three full batches of detergent from these three ingredients it will now only cost me $.04 per load!
{Kitty: SO FUN!!!}

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Veggie Pizza

Delicious, very pretty, and a great twist on crudettes.

Veggie Pizza

2 packages of croissant rolls
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 package dry Ranch dip
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Finely chopped vegetables
Shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350. On a lightly greased baking sheet, spread the croissant rolls across it. Blend the seams together. Using a fork, poke holes throughout the dough.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Mix together sour cream, cream cheese, Ranch dip, dill, and garlic salt. Spread mixture onto croissant rolls.
Top with finely chopped vegetables. You can use any combination of: broccoli, cauliflour, carrots, bell pepper, radish, cucumber. Top with cheese.
Chill for up to 2 hours.
Cut into small squares and serve.

Hot Onion Dip

Another fantastic and easy recipe!

Hot Onion Dip

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 onion, finely chopped*
2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 dish.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until the top is brown.
Serve with assorted crackers and/or vegetables.

*I buy the pre-cut onion, bell pepper, celery package in the frozen section of WalMart. The taste is great and it adds a little color too!

Chicken Salad

I've been using this recipe for the past 4 years! I got it from Anna, a college roommate. Honestly, it is our family's favorite thing to eat. I used to have the quantities, but now, I make it from memory. Basically, I work it until I get the consistency that I like.

1 rotisserie chicken, pulled apart
grapes, quartered
2 small packages of slivered almonds
rosemary, to taste

Mix all ingredients until desired consistency.
Serve with crackers or as a sandwich.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing

I can honestly say that I get compliments on these cookies every time I make them. Using real butter (vs margarine) makes the cookies much sweeter!

Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Blend well.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Mix flour mixture with sugar mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400. On lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Keep remaining dough refrigerated.
Cut with floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 5 - 9 minutes.

Royal Icing
This makes the nice glossy looking icing.

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

In a medium sized bowl combine all ingredients. Beat until soft peeks form.
Use food coloring to make desired colored icing.
Use icing immediately or cover with plastic wrap.

Gingerbread Bites With Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting

Unfrosted muffins may be frozen in freezer bags up to 1 week. Frost and garnish in the morning and refrigerate until serving time.

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 large carrots, finely grated (1 cup)
1 cup minced fresh ginger (1/2 pound)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting (below)
Garnishes: small pecan halves, crystallized ginger, orange rind strips

Beat sugar and vegetable oil at med speed with mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in grated carrots and fresh ginger.
Combine flour and next 6 ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture, beating at low speed until moistened. Stir in pecans.
Pour batter into lightly greased mini muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.
Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Cook in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread tops evenly with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting.

Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons orange liqueur (or orange juice)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Beat softened cream cheese and orange liqueur at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Creamy Peppermint Punch

This is a Christmas drink - but, I could enjoy peppermint flavors all year long!

1 quart eggnog
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
1/2 gallon peppermint ice cream, softened
Hard peppermint candies, crushed

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a punch bowl or large bowl; sprinkle with peppermint candy, and serve immediately.

*Punch may be made ahead, without crushed peppermint candies, and chilled 2 hours.
*If you serve this in a large punch bowl, hang peppermint candy canes on the bowl's rim.

Dill Mini-Muffins

Makes about 3 dozen.
Baked muffins may be frozen in an airtight container up to 1 month.

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups self-rising flour
1 Tablespoon dill seed
2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Beat softened butter at medium speed with mixer until creamy; add sour cream, and beat at low speed until blended.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until blended. Spoon dough into greased miniature muffin pans, filling three-fourths full.
Bake at 375 for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Tex-Mex Salisbury Steak

1 pound ground round
1/2 pound hot or mild ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 large egg
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mild salsa
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 (2.64 ounce) pkg country-style gravy mix
1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

Combine first 7 ingredients and 1 Tablespoon cilantro. Shape mixture into 6 (1/3-inch thick) patties.
Heat a lightly greased large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add patties; reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 8 to 10 min per side or until center is no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Wipe pan clean.
Whisk together gravy mix, broth, tomatoes with chiles, and remaining cilantro. Cook over med heat 1 min or until thickened. Return patties to skillet, and cook until thoroughly heated.