Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I have been playing with the idea of making my own dishwashing detergent.  As prices get higher and money getting tighter I decided to do my research and figure out how to make my own using ingredients that are easy to find in my local supermarket.
Recently, I have become a huge fan of the Live Well Network but more specifically the show Deals.  The host just happened to be discussing with the Coupon Contessa how to make your own cleaners using 5 ingredients.
ONLY 5?!?!?!
Everything from laundry detergent to cleaning your counters.
This week I was specifically looking for DIY dishwasher detergent.  I was down to my last four tablets and decided to hit Smart and Final.  I found everything I needed except the washing soda.  Washing soda is apparently the most sought after product that is difficult to find.  I called Ralphs Supermarket and hoped I can just pick up a box on the way home from the gym.  The "manager" didn't know what I was talking about and after giving him the UPC number from the Arm and Hammer website, he said it was invalid and was a bit rude when he hung up.  I decided to go myself because how can they not have it, right?  After calling Arm and Hammer, turns out they did indeed have it.
Being a little pissed off for being treated with rudeness, I went to the store and found it as soon as I walked into the laundry aisle I found it right away next to the borax.  I did bring it to the attention of another manager and let her know the situation.
Last night I did stop in to Costco and although they had a larger container of baking soda but they did not have Borax, washing soda or bar a of laundry soap.
Last night I used the last tab of dishwasher detergent.  I am reusing the plastic container it came in and mixed 3 cups each of borax and baking soda.  Since I run the dishwasher about twice a day, it should last me a month.

Baked Potatoes Slow Cooker

Baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes

wash your unpeeled potatoes
prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil.
place the potatoes in a 4-6 quart slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Easy right?!?!?

Eat them how ever you want.  I just diced some onions, tomatoes, a little bit of lemon juice, as much cilantro as you want, salt and pepper.

Before serving, steam some veggies to tie it all together.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pending Next Chapter

My youngest has announced she will be joining the masses and going to the local middle school for 8th grade next August.  I am sad.  My youngest has never attended a brick and mortar school.  She has learned her ABCs and 123s at home since she was in diapers.  
Learned to read in the library with Dr. Seuss.  
Watched PBS with its endless educational programming.
Borrowed videos from the library and learned about Ancient Egypt and the science of roller coasters.
We have so many good memories and I'm sure we will make more good memories in the next chapter of her life.

This recipe will go great in a 4 quart size slow cooker.  Cooking time is 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.  It's very short and is great to prepare and have ready while watching a movie at home or out shopping. This recipe serves 4-6 and is great with steamed rice and cornbread.

Slow Cooker Ratatouille
(adapted from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)

2 tbsps olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 diced yellow onion
1 seeded and cut into 1/2 inch diced red bell pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
2 zucchinis cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds (or go ahead and cut it and half and cut into half moon rounds)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice 
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
3 tbsps pesto

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until softened for about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant into the slow cooker.
Add the remaining oil to the same skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion, cover and cook until softened for about 5 minutes.
Add the onion to the slow cooker along with the bell pepper, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, and thyme.  
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook.
Just before serving, stir in the pesto......

Homemade vegan pesto
2 large peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nutes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add the basil, salt, and pepper to taste and process until ground into a paste.
With the machine running, if you can, add the olive oil until well blended.

I added the whole batch in the slow cooker because I just love the stuff.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Own Grieving Process

My father passed away December 16, 2012. It was all very sudden. My father suffered a stroke over 15 years ago and with therapy and a host of medication, he was almost himself. The only way you knew something was wrong was in the way he walked His right side was paralyzed but with therapy he was able to walk with a cane and occasionally cooked and always cleaned.
I was on the next plane back to east to be by my mother's side. I stayed by mother's side until I flew back west.
That's when I began to grieve.
Last week I painted my nails.
Today I unlocked my hair.

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