Save Money with Homemade Laundry Detergent

Spend less with this homemade laundry detergent recipe.

Everyday I think of how I can make 1 change in my daily routine to be more green or substitute a commercial store bought product for something that is safer for the environment as well as for myself and family.

Today, I did a load of laundry using a phosphate free laundry detergent. I buy the largest bottle of the least expensive brand I can find every month. However, I still cringe that I have to buy my laundry detergent in a plastic bottle (I try to avoid buying products that are plastic). I have a friend who makes her own laundry detergent in bulk, which she says lasts her family of 5 about 2 months!

So I found this DIY laundry detergent recipe that is not only easy to make, but also eco-friendly and safe for your family to use too.

-1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender, Citrus, Peppermint, Almond or Baby soap
– 1 dry cup of Borax
-1 dry cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
-optional a few drops of tea tree for disinfecting (esp. good for cloth diapering)

*grate soap into sauce pan- add 2 cups of water- stir, dissolve.
*into a five gallon bucket add Borax, washing soda and tea tree if using.
*dump melted soap liquid into bucket and stir quickly
*add water to about 3/4 of way to top- stir and put lid on.
*set overnight- measure out 1/2 cup of liquid for light loads and 1 cup for normal.

Source: Reply to DIY laundry detergent on DIYNatural.com

What recipe have you used for homemade laundry detergent? What is the cost comparison & effectiveness of using your own detergent vs. commercial brands? I’d love to hear your comments below!

Flavorful Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup Recipe

Now that you have selected the most colorful and vibrant fresh veggies from your local Ohio farmer’s markets and roadside stands, it’s time to make a batch of soup for those upcoming cool fall evenings.

Savor the Flavor of Fall with a Robust & Spicy Roasted Pepper-Tomato Soup

Now that you have selected the most colorful and vibrant fresh veggies from your local Ohio farmer’s markets and roadside stands, it’s time to make a batch of soup for those upcoming cool fall evenings.

I found this delicious vegan recipe for Red Pepper-Carrot soup (I subbed fresh roma tomatoes for the carrots) from Vegetarian Times (Feb. 2010). Try this flavorful and spicy soup when the weather gets chilly in the evenings. I recommend buying or baking a hearty loaf of crusty French or Italian bread for dipping too.

Ingredients:
2 large red (yellow and orange do well too) bell peppers (1#), plus slices for garnish
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced
1 pound Roma tomatoes, without skins and seeds (dip in boiling water for about 45 seconds; allow to cool slightly, then peel off skins & squeeze out seeds)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt, more as needed to taste (garlic salt works well too, more to suit your taste)
2 T lemon juice (or sub white vinegar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bell peppers on baking sheet, and roast 1 hour, or until skin is wrinkled and blackened all over, turning peppers occasionally with tongs.

2. Transfer peppers to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap (or paper towels) for 10 minutes to steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off blackened peel, and remove seeds.

3. Heat oil in 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf, and stir 10 seconds. Add onion,  (carrots) garlic and salt. Cover and cook 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

4. Add 4 cups water, skinned & seeded tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered for 25 minutes.

5. Transfer carrot or tomato mixture to blender, add bell peppers, and puree until smooth (I actually like it a little chunky, like salsa). Stir in lemon juice.

6. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with remaining bell pepper slices, if using.

Additional toppings may include shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese, croutons, sour cream or cream cheese (for non-Vegans) and sliced crusty French or Italian bread.

Let me know what you think of this zesty soup and additional ingredients you used or substituted too!

Seasonal Produce at Ohio’s Farmer’s Markets – Sept. to October

What produce should be stocking up on now for the winter? Here’s a list of available veggies and fruit you should buy from your local farmer’s markets and roadside produce stands.

Welcome to Autumn! Today is the first day of Fall, and if you’re in the Mid-west to East Coast, you’ll notice the leaves are turning colors and although the weather may still be warm, it’s still a great time to stock up on all the delicious produce that’s available late September to early October.

What produce should be stocking up on now for the winter? Here’s a list of available veggies and fruit you should buy from your local farmer’s markets and roadside produce stands:
Apples
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Eggplant
Grapes
Lima Beans
Okra
Onions
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Tomatoes

Mmmmm….these look and taste soo good when you can buy them fresh out of the garden or fields. I’m also still picking red, yellow and green peppers from roadside produce stands.

I have a delicious recipe for Red Pepper-Tomato soup as well. Look for this in my next post!

Simple Living 101: Non-essential Kitchen Appliances

Simple living means not having ALL or MANY modern conveniences or non essentials for living a fruitful and prosperous life. There are many kitchen appliances you don’t really need.

My kitchen looks very similar to this one; living without small kitchen appliances.

Simple living means not having ALL or MANY modern conveniences or nonessentials for living a fruitful and prosperous life. While some items and appliances may seem unnecessary to some, there are still many who think “I just can’t live without a…. or …” I really try to embrace more simple living ideals, which helps with lowering my monthly utilities and the environment too.

This morning I was making waffles, with my electric waffle maker, but I thought of all the other kitchen appliances I have given up or have given out and I never replaced throughout the last several years. I have to confess, I love kitchen gadgets! I love perusing kitchen and cooking shops at the many little and not so little gadgets one could use in the kitchen. But a reduced income has kept me away, so I realize that is probably for the best.

I don’t have the following kitchen appliances, and have learned to live without them and still feel productive in the kitchen:

> Toaster – had one about 10 years ago, but it didn’t survive a cross-country move. I don’t really have a need for one anymore. If I must toast bread for breakfast, I turn the broiler in my oven on for 5 minutes.

> Electric Can Opener – also had one of these at one time until it became too problematic to use. I gave it to my Mom and she used it until it died. Now we both only use the handheld type. I really like the smooth-edge handheld can opener from Pampered Chef, which is now found on Amazon (it’s also number 1 on my Amazon list!); it doesn’t leave any sharp edges and you can use it on any size can. Remember to scrub and wash can openers occasionally to remove the grime and keep it cranking smoothly.

> Stand-alone mixer – I have never owned one of these, so the compact hand-held mixer works just fine for the things I need to mix. Although I prefer a well-constructed whisk to a mixer, sometimes a mixer does come in handy.

> Toaster Oven – I had one of these at one time and I did use it often instead of turning on the stove or oven. I loved the low cost features of it, but it didn’t fit into my apartment-sized kitchen when I moved, so I handed it down to my mother, who uses it more.

> Electric Skillet – I do have one of these, but I can’t find the power cord from 2 moves ago. It still sits in a box in my closet. I do like using an electric skillet over turning on the stove, especially during the summer. It saves on electricity/gas usage too. However, I have adapted without it.

What small kitchen appliances do you use often and ones that you think you couldn’t live without? Could you embrace the simple living lifestyle in your kitchen by only using frugal kitchen appliances. Leave me your opinions!

The Truth Behind Certified Organic Beauty Products

Organic beauty products are not regulated as much as our food, so when the label on your face cream, cleanser or makeup claims that it contains “organic” ingredients you better do your homework first.

When I hear the word “organic,” I think of holistic or grown without harmful pesticides. When I was just 4 or 5 years old, my parents (hippies) had 2 large gardens on a spacious lot and owned an organic fertilizer business. Organic, like chemical free, not like the government’s standards of what can be labeled organic now.

I also think organic as pertaining to food, not something I put on my face like the post Organic Face Cream: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly on Eco Village Green.

Organic beauty products are not regulated as much as our food, so when the label on your face cream, cleanser or makeup claims that it contains “organic” ingredients you better do your homework first.

Here are the facts you need to know about the truth behind organic beauty products:

1. 1 natural ingredient does not qualify the entire product to be organic. Check the rest of the ingredients and how much of this “natural” ingredient is actually in your product.

2. If a beauty product is labeled organic, then it must contain 70 percent of its ingredients that are truly organic.

3. In order to have a certified label of being organic, then 95 percent of the ingredients need to be organic.

4. Organic includes no animal testing, but no animal testing does not guarantee that a product is organic.

5. “All natural” ingredients really means they may be grown in contaminated soil and pesticides were used. There is no certification for this label.

6. Read all the ingredients on your beauty product and avoid these ingredients, which are commonly referred to as “the deadly dozen”:

  • Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG 4 – 200)
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Triclosan
  • DMDM and Urea (Imidazolidnyl)
  • Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Propyl.. etc)
  • Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)
  • Mineral Oil
  • FD&C Color Pigments
  • Fragrances (synthetic fragrances will have names like “essential lavender oil”, because no lavender was even used)

I found the best information about what is considered organic, natural or synthetic on Oblige by Nature.

A few trusted companies that sell organic beauty products include Burt’s Bees, Origins Organics, and Oblige by Nature. Also organic beauty products typically cost more than their synthetic counterparts.

Shop smart and be beautiful!