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Archive for the ‘how to’ Category

Yes, I suppose I have to confess that it’s been more than a year since my last post here.  Too long for sure.  I’ve been going through a change in the season of my life and let me tell you it aint no spring season… more like fall or winter.  Life seems to whiz by and it’s not waiting for anybody to catch up.

Lots of things have changed in the past year, like I got hooked on Pinterest.  One of my favorite categories is homemade stuff.  Stuff like bio-green household cleaners, alternatives to lotions, shampoos and the like.  Today I decided it was time I shared some of the surprising results with you.  Of course, I realize this has been for the most part a food blog but today I guess that will be a thing of the past.

And for my first trick…. watch me pull a rabbit out of my orange tree… well not exactly a rabbit.  How about a Citrus Enzyme Cleaner?  I didn’t come up with this myself, infact, I found it on Pinterest and figured I’d give it a try since I have an orange tree and don’t like to waste the peelings. (normally they go into my compost pile)

Here’s the link to the original blog post at Homemade Mamas with the recipe and some good information.  I’ll forgo some of their details and assume you’ll visit the original post for that.  What I will do is share the recipe and my findings.

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

  • 1.  In a large 3 liter soda bottle (or similar plastic container) combine 7 Tbs brown sugar and 2 1/2 cups lemon and orange peels and scraps in pieces small enough to get into the container.
  • 2.  Pour enough water to cover scraps (about 4 cups) into the container.
  • 3.  Put the lid tightly on the container to make it air tight. Shake the container long enough to get the sugar incorporated throughout.

3 Liter Fermenting Bottle- sugar, water, citrus peels.

  • 4.  Now it’s time to ferment.  Write the date on the outside of the container with a sharpie so you can keep track of the progress and remember when you started.  The sugar/fruit mixture will ferment for 3 months to get those enzymes going. As it ferments, CO2 gas will build up in the container. The container will swell, open it to release the pressure, unless you want an explosion, then recap it. You’ll need to release the CO2 daily in the first month and less often after that. After 3 months, the process is complete, and the enzymes are ready for use as a household cleaner.
  • 6. Filter through a cheese cloth and pour into the containers of your choice.  (I recycled some clear bottles with screw caps)

Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

You can use full strength or dilute as needed.  For light cleaning I went with a 50/50 cleaner/water solution poured into a spray bottle. You can use it around the house, on floors, cabinets, appliances and it doesn’t streak!  You can also pour a couple of tablespoons into laundry to help remove stains.
Let me tell you this stuff is awesome!  The proof came when I used it on that gunky built up grease that collects above your stove.  You know the stuff I’m talking about, don’t you?  Just look and the ugly mean stuff that has built up since last spring.

Gunky built up grease on the plastic vent cover to my microwave over the stove.

 I’m talking gross!  Now watch what happens when I sprayed on a 50/50 solution and let it sit for a few minutes… not long, just maybe 5 minutes at the most.

After a few minutes I wiped off the gunk with ease! I was flabbergasted!!!

Now look at my microwave… it’s so clean that you cant tell if you are looking through the door at my kitchen or if it’s a reflection.  I’ll let you guess which.

My microwave after cleaning with the same 50/50 solution. It's never been so shiny.

So there you have it!  Try this at home but I recomend you test this cleaner on surfaces you aren’t sure about.  I would hate see you remove the paint off your cabinets or messy up your pretty tile or wood floors.  When in doubt go with a diluted solution first then up grade as needed.

Blessings and joy!  And happy cleaning. [kiss]

She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.  Proverbs 31:17 
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homemade air freshener

homemade air freshener

Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I have become more and more sensitive to a number of things including fragrances and air fresheners.  After reading some of the contents on various air freshener labels I’ve noticed there are essentially two kinds, air fresheners with gobs of stuff I cant pronounce and air fresheners with the simplest list of ingredients; alcohol, water and essential oils.

I have come to greatly appreciate the latter.  One type in particlular stands out in my mind as simple and amazing in it’s ability to freshen the air quickly and pleasently.  I’ve considered trying to reproduce it and have come up with a recipe I think will ease the minds of most indoor air-pollution consious persons.

Ingredience:

  • 6 oz  distilled water
  • several drops of essential oil (citrus, peppermint, lavender, etc)
  • 1 oz  alcohol (rubbing, vodka, gin etc)

Use a good misting style trigger spay bottle, shake and spritz away!

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photo: Not Dabbling in Normal

In the beginning God created the….

Ok so I wont go that far back but I will ask you to think about what it would have been like to be in the kitchen a couple hundred years ago.  What items would have been in the ordinary pantry?  How simple would the ingredients have been back then?  Raw, unprocessed foods were the supplies in the kitchen except for some things like sugar, flour and maybe a few other simple cooking and baking ingredients we take for granted today.

Simpler times meant simpler ingredients and it was cost effective.  Today, we face the dilemma of trying to decide which can of soup is the healthiest without loosing all that flavor or which boxed cake is the easiest while still light and moist.  Plus, we could save a bundle if we think simple foods and avoid the center of the grocery store and probably be healthier for it too.

I was reminded, this morning, of those simpler times at Not Dabbling in Normal. This sight is full of simpler times, eating real food and growing your own.  Today, Baking Powder is the topic.  Have you ever made your own?  Did  you know you could?… It never even crossed my mind.  Surprise!  Simpler is putting it lightly.  I figured it’s like lots of other stuff that requires special ingredients an ordinary cook doesn’t have access to.

If you want to simplify your kitchen, save a little for the cookie jar, are going back to basics or just want to experience a new thing, try making  your own Baking Powder.  Visit Not Dabbling in Normal and see how simple it really is.  You wont believe your eyes!

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Some of us do some traveling now and then and a nice hotel comes with pricey room service and even more pricey restaurants.  I’ve seen folks talk about making a grilled cheese sandwich on the clothes iron in your room but how about tortellini with spinach and crème fraîche and ciabatta muffins?…. FROM SCRATCH?.. no microwave, no toaster!!!   Now that’s what I call room service!

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hmdestll

There’s a part of me that genuinely believes I was born in the wrong century.  When I was a child I loved to imagine myself in the old west something like Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.  Living off the land and preparing all sorts of wonderful and useful home made concoctions.  Sounds so glamours but not very realistic.  

That part of me sneaks up every once in a while and I get the urge to bake or make a home remedy or some soap.  Usually these urges are unheeded but this week is an exception.

This morning I baked some yeasty no-knead whole wheat rolls which were perfect for our lunch sandwiches of roast beef and pepper-jack cheese.  While, over the past few days, I have been drying and packaging peppermint leaves I grew in my garden for tea.  The aroma in my house on Monday was intoxicating and lasted for days as the oven and food dehydrator slowly did their magic and dried the leaves.  After some simple tasks I now have two large canisters filled with loose tea leaves for gifts and for my own pantry.  And I have plenty of peppermint in the garden to make some more next week and hope to stock up for the year.

This afternoon I’ve been trying something totally outside of my experiences.  I’ve created a simple still on my stove and have begun the process of distilling lavender water from which I hope to extract lavender oil.  

Once again the house smells like a perfumery and I’m so giddy at the thought of my first adventure in making my own frangrances for bath and body soaps and salts.  

Leave a comment… tell me what you like to make at home.

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picture-8

So I get this RSS Feed the other day from one of my favorite food blogs.  Chef John is telling me I can use a no-knead recipe to make pizza dough.  I love no-knead doughs and the thought just kept going round and round in my head, “no-knead pizza dough”…. “no-knead pizza dough”….  over and over and over and I fell victim around 12 noon today.  That’s really bad timing if you want pizza for dinner since the dough needs 12 hours to proof.

But, I got busy and put the ingredients together any how.  Now I gotta wait till midnight to make pizza!   My plan is to make the pizzas (recipe make 4 9-10 inch pizzas) let them cool and put one in my hunny’s lunch box for tomorrow.  

Good plan if all works out.  

Check out Chef Johns site and his No-Knead Pizza Dough video.  I’ll let you know how things turned out.  And post some pics.

BTW… Thanks Chef John for all your inspiration!!!

 

Luke 6:26
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

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My last post was a recipe for Venison Chorizo.  So, I got a request for breakfast sausage as an option for all those less than prime cuts of venison and other meats in the freezer.  Here’s the recipe I use.

Enjoy!

 

ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fennel
  • 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper (fresh peppercorns if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground meat

method:

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices, sugar, salt, and garlic to a well ground mixture.  a simple electric coffee grinder kept just for this purpose will do
  2. Add oil and mix well.
  3. Mix the spice mixture with the ground meat until well mixed. You may wish to do this in a food processor or Kitchen Aid with attachment as it will take a couple of minutes.
  4. Refrigerate overnight before cooking and serving for best results. 

Makes 12 sausage patties. 

 

Notes: This recipe works for any ground meat you prefer.  Try venison or javelina.

You could modify this, using less sugar and Italian herbs instead of some of the other herbs and make Italian sausage. 

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