There is no other holiday like Halloween where one can become anything the imagination will allow. Decorations and costumes are all meant in fun and jest. Do they become offensive? Probably if one goes too far into the political arena and so it is best to stay away unless you are among like-minded individuals who get what you are doing. This year I have decided to host Witches Night Out which is an idea gleaned from an event hosted by my childhood hometown. Women only attend the event where tickets are sold to enter the community (it’s a very small town/hamlet) and the shops, restaurants and vendors cater to their wine-loving needs. Music is provided and contests are produced. On the small scale of my home we will have wine, punch, beer, soda and tidbits along with white chili and games. Prizes will be awarded for best broom, best hat and best costume. It is hoped that everyone will have fun, play ghostly games and enjoy a ladies night out away from kids, schedules and responsibilities. It’s all in fun.
On the next several posts will be the recipes for the tidbits and some information on games and conversation starters that make the cut to be used for this occasion. Life is short- have some fun!
I discovered this recipe in my Paleo cookbook and love it! You would think that the pizza would be difficult without a crust but it certainly is not. I make this about twice a month and being on my own here it is ready to re-heat for several days. I have also been known to have it for lunch or even dinner. Like all pizza’s it is what you make it to be.
1 – 2 lbs sausage
Vegetable toppings, 1/4 – 1/2 cup each, cut into small pieces or slices
1/2 Cup Cheese (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 small sliced onion
I get the pre-seasoned sausage from the meat counter, not the pre-rolled commercial type but the one at the butcher counter. Myself I like the Italian but there are others available. If you use no flavoring, then you can flavor it yourself to your own liking.
For toppings on this one I used, asparagus, yellow squash, onion, garlic, broccoli, mushrooms and my favorite avocado. It’s what I had in the refrigerator. I also had some leftover cheese from a cheese platter, about five squares that I cut up and put on top. I am not much on cheese these days, except for cream cheese as most cheese is not allowed on the Paleo diet. Indulge yourself if you so choose. Parmesan would be great too. Notice that there is no tomato sauce involved too which makes it less messy. I may try the tomato sauce sometime just to have that flavor.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, cut into squares and Enjoy!
For me this makes about 6 servings, for big appetites I would say 4 – 6 servings.
TADA! This keeps well for the week and so delicious! When you get the seasoned sausage there is no need to add more seasoning. The product gets plenty of flavor added by the variety of veggies added as topping, especially from minced garlic and thinly sliced onions! Low to no carbs!
This may seem like a lot of work to do but trust me, it’s not. I have a friend who all her married life has hung most of their laundry in the basement or laundry room to dry. It seemed like a lot of work to me but I understood the reasoning. Clothing fades with heat applied and can get worn, tangled and dried up in the dryer. She said that their clothing seemed softer and jeans lasted longer with hanging them to dry. They also keep their shape better. So this summer I went and bought two drying racks and began hanging my clothing on them to dry. When I have more laundry to do at once I use hangers to hang the shirts and dresses from the racks on the garage doors. Things dry pretty quickly in the summer so it’s not a days long wait to fold and put them away. I live out in the country where no one can see my house and drive so sometimes I placed the racks in the driveway and in no time, things were dry. My clothing seems softer and the few wrinkles shook out, ironed out or I put them in the dryer for five minutes to get a little heat. Shorts and jeans for the most part did not require this service but sometimes I added them to the load just because.
Yesterday I received my electric bill and it was Seventy Dollars less! That reflects the first full month of savings. Amazing to save money on an electric bill in the summer too! I wish that I had thought to do this years ago! Just think of the savings we would have had while raising a family! In a year’s time at this rate the savings will be $840.00 on a total electric home. Well worth the small effort of hanging the clothes to dry and savings on the clothing that lasts longer too! Also, there is the whole carbon footprint that is reduced by using less electricity. This last six weeks has been my only change in that direction as far as electric use and my total consumption was down by almost 5KW compared to last month where I was doing this for only two of the five weeks of June. Consumption over last year in the same period was down by 10 KW. So the challenge is out there for you. How much can you save?
I am one of the worst to get spots and stains on my clothing. It seem that everything finds it’s way to the front of my shirt eventually. Wearing an apron is a good thing but a habit that I have not used much unless I am on a baking binge. So when sorting clothes or when I take something off I set those items aside to be treated before hitting the washer. This stained relationship has been on-going for some time so I have made the rounds with Shout, Clorox, OxiClean, Dishwasher Detergent and the off brands. Not so much luck as diligence brought results. Google stain removal and you get quite the mother load of advice. Trial and error seemed to be the route and in the meantime I was not wearing the garments that I obviously had a relationship with or the item would have been gone. The best grease and oil absorber that I found was Dawn dish detergent. It is designed to absorb oil so naturally it would work but not consistantly and not on all stains. I wanted more – one product that would work on all stains. So – off to Pintetrest and research. Whoa – what a plethora of information, it’s another part of the Cult – the homebodies who care. I found one consistent ingredient – Dawn, so it dawned on me to try one recipe that had three simple ingredients, Dawn, Hydrogen Peroxide (whitening power) and Baking Soda (another absorber).
I have one stain story to share. I had a white cotton dress that everyone loved. It was a joyful sack like affair that brought comfort and ease when wearing it but being white and being me, eventually there was an accident. I was in a board meeting with a really good indelible permanent ink pen in my hand. The darn thing broke at some point and to all our shock and dismay it was on the front of my dress. Nothing to do there at the meeting but let the ink dry. I went home and tried hair spray – the sure fire remedy for ink removal, which faded it a little. Next came alcohol and paint remover as well as WD40, all to no avail. By this time I had a pretty good supply of stain removal items and trying all of those usual ones did not change the dark dark stain. Someone mentioned a spot remover sold at the Dollar Tree. So off to the local market to find said item and what the heck, it’s only one dollar! I brought that item strait to the stain and Viola! It worked instantly. I thought “I have found the perfect stain remover.” but alas it has since been a disappointment. I am not sure why but it’s not as good as it was on the ink. For ink stains, I could make the recommendation but for other stains, go with the following recipe. It’s cheap and easy to make, lasts a while and best of all it Works.
Simple Stain Remover
1 Cup Dawn – any color
2 Cups Hydrogen Peroxide – get the 16 oz bottle and use it all
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
Mix together and store in a spray bottle. Spray on stained area, let set and even dry before washing the garment. Re-apply if necessary. Don’t just spray and wash it right away, give the agents time to do their job. Here is another stain removal tip for small areas that might involve blood. Wash the spot as soon as possible and then (this sounds gross) take a wad of white sewing thread or a white cotton cloth and spit on it. Use this to dab the blood spot. Your saliva contains the same ingredients of you blood and thins out the pool of blood stain. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. It works, I know from experience.
A word about the recipe. The original recipe I used called for a cup of baking soda which promptly hardened inside the sprayer and I had to deal with the clog. I bought a new sprayer at the hardware store and decreased the amount of baking soda. All is well. When you first prepare the mixture it will be the color of the Dawn but after a few hours or overnight it becomes clear from the use of the Hydrogen Peroxide. I just love chemistry and the science behind this recipe.
One more note about laundry. All fabrics are treated with chemicals for various reasons. The dyes can be poisonous to the blood system and the sprays used on fabric finishes include formaldehyde for one, bug spray if it is being imported and stiffening agents to make them crisp. These are in our fabrics by the bolt, all clothing items and textiles. Always wash everything before you wear it or if you are sewing wash the fabric before it is cut. If something is to be altered, wash it first if possible. Washing will remove the stiffness, formaldehyde and other agents which you do not want absorbed through the skin. Safety first.
I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the baking soda here. I reduced the amount used and will reduce that amount again in the next batch. The baking soda continues to clog the sprayer and it’s not so fun to have too much of it stuck to the fabrics either. Adjust to your liking.
Laundry is a necessity that no one loves to do but that which we all must do at one time or another. When you schedule laundry is totally up to you. This article is strictly about making detergent that is clean, fresh and economical. Why would you want to MAKE laundry detergent? Well personally for the past few years I have used the drop in pods and not cared or paid attention to the cost. The cost, for me is not the issue. The issue that I have with the pods is that the film does not always dissolve and gets stuck on the clothing which means the items or items had to be re-washed, using more electricity and worse yet, wasted my time. The problem was probably the fact that I wash most things in cold water, thus the pod did not dissolve. I used to use liquid detergent and that created a gummy mess in the washing dispenser or left marks on the clothing if I put it directly into my front-load washer. So, what’s a girl to do? See out an alternative. Several people I knew were making their own detergent, it’s kind of like a Cult. I would hear them compare recipes and discuss how much they liked the results. Who knew that laundry could be such a topic? Some would give details on how to use the best scent, where they put this together, how to store it and how long it lasted. Hands down the satisfaction level during all of the discussions was much higher than purchasing detergents that were under performing. So it was off to Pinterest for me for research. When I say Cult, I mean there is a true following out there for this process, who knew that there could be so many recipes to achieve the same goal- clean clothing and textiles? After clicking through a few ideas and pinning a few on a board labeled Laundry – I found one that seemed to be a good idea since it becomes a bit of a gel like substance and would dissolve in the front loading washer without harming and sticking to the clothes. I adapted the recipe to suit my needs and desires since the original did not have non-chlorine bleach (they recommended not to use it) nor fragrance grains. It can change again, but for now- it’s a happy place in my life.
So here is my recipe I call
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap
3 Cups Hot Water
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax Powder
1 Cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 Cup Oxiclean
1/2 Cup Laundry Fragrance Beads 0r 30 Drops of Essential Oil – to your liking – Lavender sounds good here.
2 Storage Jars – 1 quart Mason Jars work well – I bought a Large Decorative Mason Jar at the local Menard’s store. It holds nearly all of one recipe with the extra stored in a zip lock gallon bag. The contents can be added to the jar as it is used.
This may sound like a lot of trouble but it’s really not and you have to try this.
Shred the Fels Naptha Soap in the food processor or with a grater. Go for the food processor, please.
Place the soap in a quart size or larger glass or metal bowl and add 3 Cups boiling or very hot water. Water from the coffee maker works well. Let this soak overnight and form a gel. It’s really cool.
Take 1/2 of the mixture and put it in the blender or food processor with the mixing tool. I use a Ninja so its pretty fast for this next part. Don’t worry about a mess, it will all come out in the wash.
Add 1/2c of each of the dry powders – 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and Oxiclean along with 1/4 cup of Fragrance Beads or 15 drops of an essential oil and 1 Cup Hot Water. Blend until well mixed. Repeat for the second half of the mixture.
Store in Mason Jars or container of your choosing. Leave uncovered or lightly covered for the first 24 hours after mixing to allow for expansion. I found that adding the Oxiclean is worth the effort but there is a chemical reaction with the other powders that causes it to expand for a bit. It’s fine and to me worth having the laundry boost there without having to add it into a load and know that it may or may not get dissolved.
When it is mixed together it has the consistency of marshmallow cream or mayonnaise. If left uncovered, the exposed part will get caky and dried a bit but will become soft when it is mixed and re-covered.
To Use – Add 1 T per load, works in both front loading and top loading washers. I sometimes use more, that’s just me.
What are the advantages?
Cleaner and FRESHER clothing and all textiles. I Love the way my sheets and towels now feel and smell.
Fresher Laundry – When I say this – I mean Fresh – great smell.
No need for softener – I quit using dryer sheet softeners too – magic – lowering more costs there.
My washing machine is cleaner – so this must be good stuff to clean the grime and dirt that seemed to stick machine.
My towels and sheets are softer and did I mention FRESHER! Kitchen towels and washcloths are cleaner, whiter and absorb better without the slick presence of chemicals from softener while the towels are softer to handle too. Who knew such a chemical dichotomy could exist in your kitchen with laundry detergent?
This is the second time that I have made this concoction and I am very happy with the results. I have enough ingredients to make several more recipes so the cost effectiveness, for me, is a bonus. Fresher, cleaner and softer textiles was my real goal and need but I will take the savings too! The boxes of the dry ingredients go a very long way.
The other thing that I started doing this summer is to hang my laundry on drying racks instead of putting it in the dryer. Heat wears out your clothes and causes textiles to fade. That may be a good thing in some cases but for the most part not. I have some friends who have hung their clothes for years while raising their family just because it was how they processed their laundry. So I thought that I would give it a try. I purchased two racks and found that it takes very little time to get things dry. I do put knit shirts into the dryer for a few minutes to get the wrinkles out and then hang them for use. But basically the only things that go in the dryer for full cycle are sheets and towels. I find that I get things folded and put away quicker because who wants their laundry hanging around? Not me. Before I had a tendency to leave laundry in the dryer, re-dry it and sometimes just forget about changing laundry over which resulted in running another cycle and using more electricity which is just bad. We should all consider our energy use. This has been a good change and the bonuses have been worth the short effort to hang things to dry. AND – my electric usage is down. Who knew such a little thing would create these benefits?
I have to say this stuff remains amazing. I recently bought a plastic scoop to keep in the jar for measuring the product into the washer. It makes the use of it much easier and an even amount is reaching the washer each time. Each recipe makes enough for 128 loads if you measure 1 Tablespoon per load. We all know of course that some loads may require more, never the less you will get 128 Tablespoons per recipe.
New to the blogging world but not to the makings of a humble home. My name is Holly and I am a retired home ec teacher. Yes, you can laugh and grin but can you put in that hem? LOL I love the arts of design and fabrics but I also know my way around managing a home and many things to share from the kitchen, decorating and gardening. What I don’t know I can discover. So some each day I will be posting practical tips and ideas that can save you time, money and energy and that I Know that work. I love to share and so if you have things that you would like to add, please let me know. Or if there is something that you would like to change, feel free – Life is an experiment. It’s Showtime!
I am just now getting things posted on social media and some things are out of order but shared just the same. I hope that you enjoy the adventure with me.
Just a little observation this afternoon. Working with fabrics is not just a hobby for me. It is a lifestyle. Fabrics hold our emotions within them so to speak. We make them into clothing and items that make our life easier but the emotional attachment is just as important. Think about it, where would Linus be without his fabric blanket? We may love our jeans, a favorite shirt, a certain pair of socks, a uniform, dishtowels, pillowcases, blankets, or afghan without thinking about why, we just love unconditionally. We love them or hate them due to our emotional attachment or detachment in the case of the revulsion that we may have to the item. We celebrate within the boundaries of our clothing and want it to be comfortable. We are often sad at the passing of an article of clothing and may try as we might to preserve it, not caring what is in style or if anyone would notice the hole in the inappropriate location. We keep it and wear it anyway, maybe just not everywhere. Yes, when choosing fabrics for clothing or household, we must choose wisely for it may be around a while.
My favorite fabric is silk. A natural fiber, the bi-product of butterfly development. It is the most beautiful fabric out there, being the strongest, longest and most durable natural fiber that is available on the planet. There is one main problem, it’s expensive. Some people argue against the use of it because they say it is too expensive and difficult to clean. The truth of the matter is that it is a protein, just like your hair and can be washed in a shampoo! Who tells you that? NO ONE, but I did. The care label may say “dry clean only” but that is because it is the label available at the manufacturing plant. It can be washed by hand, in your sink with cold water, shook out and hung to dry. I personally have used the gentle cycle of the washer too, results were fine but I had to iron afterward. No dryer involved but some sturdier silks can take the dryer, I am just not a fan of that process. Hang it up, it will be just fine. Honest. The other qualities of silk are that it holds the dye better, keeps you warm because of the natural denier, feels fabulous and lasts much longer than most would expect due to it’s strength. It is resistant to sun damage and fading, a big plus! Most manufacturers attempt to resemble silk in some way by one of those factors, either producing the hand and feel of silk, the color qualities, the strength or softness. Ahh but there is only one original fiber of it, nothing really reaches the trueness of silk, everything else is just the imitation. We choose the imitation for the convenience of washing machine care and to reduce the expense. Think about this though, it was the choice of the ancients for royalty and should we all not feel royal once in a while? Are we all not equal as humans? So my challenge to you is to seek out something made of real silk and indulge yourself sometime in something special, just for you – silk.