Friday, March 29, 2013

Grandpa's Bread, Again

Some here might remember that in January I started making my grandpa's sourdough bread.  I have made it a few times, but decided that I needed to perfect my technique.  Now as it happens, my father is a certified master baker.  I know, kind of handy!  So, this past Saturday, he showed me how to knead dough properly.  I love my stand mixer, but it isn't built to make bread, or at least when I try, it makes a burning smell and overheats!  I suppose you have to get a commercial one to really make good bread.  My next attempt at making this bread will be using whole wheat flour.  I want to see how it does.  Happy baking to you!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

These days I just can't bring myself to use a can of soup in a recipe that I have gone to the trouble of making sure is real food.  So, I looked around to find a good, fast substitute.

Basically, I found that I can make a white sauce and substitute the milk with chicken stock and I have cream of chicken soup! It also makes a great gravy to put on mashed potatoes.

Melt 4 T butter.  Add 4T of flour.  Mix.  Slowly whisk in 1 cup of chicken stock.  This should thicken.  Now I have soup to add to my favorite recipes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Citrus Cleaner

Seems like I was always forgetting to pick up some essential oils when I was at the health food store, so I was really glad to see this recipe on Facebook recently.  Plus the orange oil was free, something I was going to toss in the trash!  (I don't compost during the winter.)

In a quart jar pour some white vinegar over the orange peels of about three oranges.  Let stand for two weeks.  In two weeks, add equal parts water in a spray bottle.  Use to clean all surfaces.  It's antibacterial, too!  I can't wait to give it a try.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"No Poo" On Hold

A couple years ago, I went "no poo, " meaning I stopped using comercial shampoo and conditioner. And, it worked great.  My hair was doing well.  Then recently, I was given lots of free shampoo and conditioner, travel sized from a hotel. The good stuff!  I decided that using the shampoo would be the most frugal option. Baking soda and vinegar are cheap, but free is free. So for now, untill the free stuff runs out, my "no poo" is on hold. I will go back though.  My hair is more oily when I use shampoo.  I feel like I need to wash it more often.  I am thankful for the free stuff, though, too.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Drying Clothes and Tennis Balls

In my efforts to be frugal, I discovered a way to dry clothes without a softener sheet or adding softener to the rinse cycle.  A few years ago, we got a pair of dryer balls.  One of them ended up either lost or ripped, I can't remember. They were just OK, but really didn't help with static in the winter.  They were too light. 

Recently, I had to wash all of our down coats.  The tag said to use tennis balls to dry in the dryer.  I have done this before, no big deal, but this time it occurred to me that I could do this all the time, instead of fabric sheets. So, for the last month, I have been using 3 tennis balls in the dryer.  I also put a dry towel in there as well.

The static is no issue. The clothes are soft.  If I think of it, I sometimes put vinegar in the rinse cycle, but I don't think of it too often.  I'd like to have a dispenser.  Anyway, I thought I would write about this here in case anyone else was thinking of ditching fabric softeners. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's Make Napkins

For awhile now, we have been using cloth napkins.  My first haul of them came from an estate sale. I was not choosy about their color. I just wanted them for everyday use. And I needed a lot if them since we eat all our meals at home most days.

The first ones started to wear out, so I bought a few more last fall from a craft mall. They were salmon in color, but so cheap. I also looked on Etsy, but did not have the extra money.  I considered making my own, but I gave away my cantankerous sewing machine last year.

Then I saw this easy tutorial on how to make everyday napkins. I wanted to buy cotton duck as it called for, but I am trying to save my pennies, so I put on my thinking cap. I had bought some nice flat sheets from Goodwill for my son to use as a green screen. He no longer finds the need for two.  Also, my gracious mother has a nice new sewing machine that she was willing to let me use. So... this is what happened.

15 wonderful napkins for everyday use!  I've washed them once and I had to trim the little strings from the developing fringe.  I think they are going to be very useful.  If I can find another sheet, I may make more soon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Distracted Housewife

I've been a little distracted this week.  I did purge my living areas, but did not do any detailed cleaning, just the normal upkeep. I didn't even look at Flylady's website.  (For shame!)  I wanted to do a lot more, but I found myself thinking of a new kitty more than cleaning.  Maybe I am just not motivated to lift the couch cushions and vacuum there.  I didn't feel like doing it last month either.  Next week I hope to get back on track, unless a kitty actually comes to live with me.  Then I will be busy with cat integration.   :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Finished for Now

Yes, I'd love to paint, get window treatments, have bedside tables, and an iron bed frame, but.... we are on a tight budget and this is real life.  (Van got new brakes.  Kitty goes to the vet.  I decide it's time to add a new kitty to the mix.  :-)  Kids need next year's pricey school books.)  So, I make the most of what I do have, a clean, spacious bedroom!  Thanks to my dear husband for hanging up the last picture.  It is a picture that he bought for me for a wedding present, so it is special and deserves a prominent spot in our room.