Friday, March 27, 2009

Super Suds!

I am committed to using non-toxic products. Every once and a while I miss the gagging smell of pure bleach. After learning all about what is in most commercial products, coupled by the fact that I have an adventurous 2 year old always craving a good dive into unexplored territory, I will have to replace a good bleach whiff, for a good vinigar whiff...and both sort of clear you up!

I sort of gave up after making my own crazy soap concoctions with no real success. Under the guidance of some "green home" book I got on line, I was pouring 1/2 cup of straight borax and washing soda into my wash cycle. All my clothes faded and balled up like crazy, and I decided that the $13.99 spent on a gallon of 7th generation was a better deal than having to replace Nike pants every other load.
After seeing this recipe on a blog last week, I realized how concentrated this stuff is (for example, that same 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda makes 2 GALLONS of detergent) I now understand my error. Just because it is "all natural" doesn't mean its wimpy!
So, round two and I think have a winner! Grab your pencil, you are going to want to write this recipe down:

1 bar Fels Naptha soap
6 cups water
Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap into a large pot of water, on medium heat until soap is dissolved
1/2 C washing soda
1 /2 C Borax
Add the washing soda and borax into the pot of soapy water and mix
Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I used lavender and lemon)
Grab two one-gallon containers (I'm reusing old laundry soap containers) and fill them half way with warm water.
Add half the mixture to each gallon container, then shake.
Fill the containers all the way with water, shake again, and let sit over night to gel.
If it gels too much, just add more water.

Use 1/4-1/3 cup of liquid detergent per load. (roughly .3Cents per load)

4 Fels Naptha bars, a box of borax and a box of washing soda is about $14 on line . I went to to order the products. They have more recipes on this website as well!
Happy soap making! And holey moley, happy savings!

Putting the name to the face...or the face to your food!

The Omnivores Dilemma
""...nobody was insisting I personally slaughter a chicken, but I was curious to learn how it was done and to see if I could bring myself to do it. The more I'd learned about the food chain, the more obligated I felt to take a good hard look at all of its parts. It seemed to me not to much to ask for a meat eater, which I was then and still am, that at least once in his life he take some direct responsibility for the killing on which his meat-eating depends". (p.231)

I didn't kill anything...directly. But when indicated in my last order to Green Hills Farm to "throw in something that would make my chicken stock gel the way yours does" what I took home in a plastic bag made me gag in my throat. Two bald chicken heads, with eyes half shut, tangled in a little baggie with 4 scaly yellow feet. This was the first hard look I have had in a while of the true ingredients in my food. I was proud of myself in some ways, for playing a part in not allowing such a valuable body part, if you consider a head to be important, to go to waste. The chicken was destined to end up in my freezer anyway, right?

The stock turned out fantastic, a rich golden color, semi solid in the glass jar in the fridge.
Still, I must admit, when I went to the pot to skim off the scum that had formed on the top, and I saw my little chicken friend bobbing around, I tried to push him down under a huge onion. Something about his little swollen face made me uneasy. But apparently he liked the fresh air because his little beak popped right up. Thanks little chicken head.