Move over, Clorox!!

“Move over, Clorox!” That’s what I shouted in my head when I first made these bad boys 5 months ago. Going off of all those other tutorials that tell you to cut a roll of paper towels in half and then stick the darn thing inside a wipe-dispenser container (which TOTALLY DOES NOT WORK), I decided to do the silliest thing I could and do it myself the hard way.

After cutting the roll in half with a bread knife (be careful, folks!!), I unrolled the whole bit and folded it accordion-style. The mixture of ingredients I used are adapted from a few different recipes. With a messy husband, two dogs and myself being a very messy cook, I’ve had plenty of time to get it right. WP_20151204_16_16_07_Pro

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 3 tablespoons Dawn dish soap
  • 7-10 drops essential oil

WP_20151204_16_22_09_ProNow make sure you do what I didn’t—mix the ingredients BEFORE you pour it in the bag of towels. Just a quick whisk or stir and you will be set to shine! I make a double batch of this and keep them in the Ziploc baggie until I need them. I keep the batch I’m using in an old Swiffer pad refill container and with all the extra water in there, I’ve never had them dry out.

**A quick note on essential oils: this recipe has a very strong smell to it, and not a pleasant one. Although I feel that the counters get plenty clean, the smell is overwhelming. I have tried to mask/alter this with some essential oils, but Thieves and Purification are the only ones that I feel work well with the combination of cleaning solutions. I tried lavender, lemon and lime in the past and very sincerely DON’T recommend them in this recipe. If you know of any others that work well, please let me know!

Have you tried anything like these? Do you get yours to fit in those darn canisters? What’s the trick?!

Love,

Betty

XOXOXOXO

My lip gloss is poppin’!

Well, not its not poppin’, but it is pretty cool. And handmade because I’m resourceful like that. When I started running out of the Burt’s Bee’s chapstick I had stockpiled a few months ago, I broke into the kind I made myself from this recipe. Of course I didn’t think to use sugar scrub to ease my lips into transition from one chapstick to the next so I figured an ultra-nutritive gloss would help.

Back when I made my own hand lotion, body butter and lotion bars, I got some sweet almond oil and jojoba oil for when I wanted to make some other stuffs (that I never got around to). Turned out to be pretty handy in a pinch! All I needed was the Vitamin E which I got on sale at the local grocery. Now because I got the capsules on sale doesn’t mean you need to. If you’re going to be making a lot of this stuff, I would strongly recommend you splurge the $11 and get the bottle of Vitamin E oil. Its super for your lips and I’ve heard some ladies use it around their eyes to reduce lines (certainly not this chick, I love my laugh lines).

So, with all of my ingredients together, all you need is a tube with a roller ball or a cleaned lipgloss tube with the felt applicator. I don’t ever use those things, but if you’ve got one, that’s easier than buying the tube I did. Mine is a pretty blue though, and that’s cool.

Measure 10 drops each of jojoba oil and sweet almond oil into your tube. Pierce the capsules until you get 10 drops vitamin E oil (each capsule gave me about two drops but you’ll likely get some on your fingers). I topped that off with three drops of YL peppermint oil just to make it like my chapstick. I love that fresh minty tingle! Shake gently or swirl the tube before each use and you have a lovely lip gloss!

All come to total, this project cost $69.03 minus tax and H&S. Where I saved money and can defend this as sustainable on our budget is that the oils were an investment. The roller balls I don’t see myself using too frequently besides this and maybe a diffuser perfume blend, but the others will certainly see repeated use. So, if you go by unit for this little project if you consider the ingredients “investments”, the cost is really $2.53. Can you see where I’m coming from on this? I know the ingredients are pure, I know exactly what is going on my face, and I can make it myself so I stay out of trouble.

Canning Chicken Meat

In keeping with our theme of self-reliance, the preservation of meat by canning is a valuable skill. Plenty of times you will want to freeze or dry your meat and there is nothing wrong with that under normal circumstances. In the prepper world, there are plenty of arguments against freezers and we learned one of them the hard way when our freezer broke down. Without realizing it, the garage where we kept our freezer had overheated and the unit was without power for about a day and a half on the hottest days of that month. Sadly, the freezer was full of lovely cuts from our 4th of July hog along with veggies, breads and freezer meals. Nothing could be saved. Lots of tears ensued. But, if you can your meats and veggies, everything can be safely stored in a cool room (like a basement). We have not yet gotten into drying meat or veggies though because that’s a little too extreme for me. When I’m cooking, I do need a certain amount of “ready to cook” value there instead of soaking and boiling before I can even begin dinner. So, let’s get to canning some chicken meat!

Hubby and I love our birds–let me start by saying that. We raise birds (and other animals) to know that what we eat has been raised and slaughtered humanely. Unless requested, I will not be posting any pictures of exactly how we slaughter our animals, although I am happy to post about how I process them. This is one of those posts, but there will be no grossness other than what you would experience with a store-bought bird.I have read in many places about the use of a chicken-killing funnel and thought we would give it a try. We had about average success, and while I won’t go into details just know it takes a LONG time for a chicken to “fall asleep”/calm down while upside down. I’m going to try half-gallon jugs next time just to see if a smaller jug will make them feel more contained and “safer” I guess. We’re going to have to keep experimenting with this one.

Once the two roosters were processed and ready to cook, I put them in a tall pot and covered them with water. After that came to a boil, I let it cook for about 20 minutes, turning them from time to time. Then they came out of the pot to cool until I was able to tear the meat into pieces. The meat went into clean, hot pint jars and topped with hot broth. The rest of the broth went through a strainer and into clean, hot quart jars.

For the meat, I pressure canned the pints at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes (please refer to NCHFP guidelines) and the broth quarts were pressure canned for 90 minutes.

A few weeks after canning the meat, we slaughtered two more roosters so the crazy pregnant lady could have tamales. Like always, we boiled the chicken in plain old water and pulled the meat off the bones. I tossed the bones back in the pot and let it boil a little longer along with a handful each of carrots, celery, onions and potatoes then canned it all up. Just the other day I pulled the last jar off the shelf and threw it in a pot with a pint of canned chicken meat and some homemade egg noodles and magically made the best dinner ever! I had two bowls (which is highly unusual for me) and Hubby liked it so much he even ate the celery!! Suffice it to say that when we slaughter our meat birds in three weeks I am most certainly going out of my way to make as much of that same soup as I can make room for!

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

** Obviously a post about pumpkin pie is way out of date for Valentine’s Day, but bear with me–Little One has been quite a handful since 7 months of pregnancy so I’ve been running behind. Now that I’ll be a SAHM with her, I vow to be more dutiful in my blogging. **

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This was from the same weekend I canned cranberry sauce too!

Who doesn’t love a good pumpkin pie from scratch? I know my sister-in-law sure does! You should have seen her eyes on Thanksgiving Day when I told her I was sending her home with one just for her!

Funny thing though, I feel like the concept of scratch cooking conjures one of two images for most people: the first is of the new-agers who buy pre-prepped items and slap them together to form the final product, and second is the typical suburban house wife with (WAAAAYYYY) too much time on her hands sticking her children in front of a screen so she can make her baked goods look just like Martha Stewart’s. I have been guilty of using those pre-prepped items like pie crusts and canned pureed spiced pumpkin, but nothing gets a better reception or better flavor than something made from true scratch. Yes, it takes a lot longer than a Pillsbury crust with Libby’s pumpkin pie filling but in the long-run it is so much cheaper. And for those whose lives revolve around the “what’s-really-in-this” question, the answers are obvious.

So in following with my previous post about canning pumpkin, here’s the recipe I promised! The recipe cards for the crust and filling are way at the bottom for those of you who like to get to the point.

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups flour with 1 stick cold butter (cubed or sliced to incorporate quicker) and slowly add 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water. You want to keep pulsing the mix off and on until it just starts to form a ball. Then pull it out and mix it until it comes together. Lightly flour your surface, split the ball in half (or quarters like I did because I prefer thinner pie crust) and roll out shapes for your pans. Don’t knead it too much though or you’ll get a tough crust. Sorry I forgot to take pictures of this part of the process, but here are my lovely crusts!

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Next, get the amount of pumpkin you need ( I used three quarts) and drain them. Puree this mix in your food processor with 1/4 cup flour. Add the pumpkin mix to your mixing bowl with 6 whole eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup white sugar and the spices listed below. Mix it up and pour in equal amounts into your crusts. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then 350 for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with ice cream, whipped cream, etc. I adapted this recipe from my mom’s traditional pie (omitted the heavy cream and two spices) and the recipe I’ve laid out here makes four instead of just two pies.

pumpkin pie recipe

Hope you enjoy it!

Love, Betty

XOXOXOXOX