finding ways to use cooking, crafts, and hospitality to be a blessing for others

Friday, February 17

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

My project this week was making laundry detergent.

I've had this project on my list of someday to-dos ever since my sister tried it (2 years ago) and raved about it. So, after finally getting fed up with buying pricey detergent I buckled down and conquered this task.

This recipe yields 10 gallons of detergent; enough to last 1 year (or more) and it costs $10 for all of the initial supplies; subsequent years will cost $1 since all you will need to buy is a bar of soap!

I am so pleased with the end result! The recipe is simple, straightforward, smells so fresh and clean, even without adding essential oils.

This recipe comes from the Duggar Family Blog.

4 cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax
10 drops of essential oil (optional)

First I wrote the list of ingredients on top of my bucket
to help me quickly gather them for the next time I make this.

Second, grate bar of soap (or chop it up like I did)

Next, put soap and water in a large pot.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

Then, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.
Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.
Stir well until all powder is dissolved.
Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

The next morning, stir large bucket.
Then, finally fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser (I'm using an old milk jug) half full with detergent and then the rest of way with water. Shake before each use; mixture will gel.


Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
* Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
* Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

* You must use “super washing soda” as noted in the ingredients; baking soda will not suffice
* I found all 3 ingredients at Wal-Mart in the laundry detergent aisle and a bucket in the hardware department.

Wednesday, February 15

Chocolate Pound Cake and Ganache

My favorite chocolate cake!

We have been married for 3 years now, but I first made this cake for our 6 month wedding anniversary.

This recipe is from the Southern Living cookbook.

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate, melted
½ cup butter, softened
16 ounces light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In one bowl, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed in an electric mixer for 5 minutes, or until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate. Beat just until blended.

In a second bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture into chocolate mixture alternatively with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased tube pan. Pan at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

After the pound cake has cooled, drizzle chocolate ganache over it. I also like to serve sliced strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream with this cake. Another option is to skip the ganache and sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake just prior to serving.

Furthermore, in the picture there are white chocolate hearts and the word, love, spelled out in white chocolate. I made this cake for an anniversary party. I will post details on how to create the white chocolate details soon.

This recipe is from the Southern Living cookbook.

12 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons butter

Microwave chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a glass bowl for 2 ½ minutes or until the morsels melt. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in butter and let stand 30 minutes. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Yields 1 ½ cups

This recipe is great to serve as a chocolate sauce over the cake. But it is also nice when drizzled over the cake, allowed to harden in the refrigerator and then served.

This recipe for ganache is also great to use for making chocolate truffles!

This post was originally published in 2010 on my Flour Girl blog.

Thursday, February 9

Freezer Meals for the Crockpot- Update

A while back I found a couple blogs via pintrest with meals that could be prepped and frozen to later cook in a crock pot. Talk about 2 birds with 1 stone! I've been looking for more freezer meals and more crock pot meals!

This Wednesday I went grocery shopping and Thursday I prepared 5 different crock pot meals. One was for dinner tonight and four were made into double recipes, frozen, and ready for a future date.

I followed the directions on this blog and found them to be very thorough and helpful. It only took 3-4 hours for the food prep and now I have 8 meals in the freezer! I recommend gathering all of your ingredients into groups (veggies, meats, canned goods, spices) prior to starting and having a trashcan near your chopping station for the veggie trash, empty cans, and meat packaging.

Teriyaki Chicken

Healthy BBQ Chicken
*April 2012 update: we were not super fans of this meal. It is not bad but it is also not particularly good. We also did not care for the aroma it filled the house with...

Beef Stew
*April 2012 update: This reminds me of boeuf bourguignon. I liked it.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup
*April 2012 update: This was my favorite of the bunch and I will certainly make it again. It is a nice and simple beef soup and great with a peanut butter sandwich.

Wednesday, February 8

Freezer Meals for the Crockpot

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom I've slated a project or two for each week. Just keeping up with household tasks and Mr. G has kept me too busy to post anything about these fun projects. I plan to start posting about these crafts, cooking, and household projects soon!

For starters--My project for this week comes from the blog
The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis

Ever since this summer when my mom and mother-in-law stocked our freezer full of meals (for right after Gavin's birth) I have FULLY EMBRACED the wonders of cooking ahead and freezing meals. It's like I traveled to a distant land and learned a whole new way of life...

I will post lots of great resources and recipes in the future. But for now, I've posted the above link to the set of recipes I will try out today. They have been pinned and re-pinned all over pintrest and now I will try them myself :)

Today I went to the grocery store to buy everything needed for this batch of freezer cooking. I will finish planning it all today and start the actual chopping and browning meat tomorrow.

If you have any tips or resources you'd like to share with me-- please do!

Happy Cooking!