A little DIY

6/7/15

I got a text from my mom a couple of days ago asking if my new husband and I had a good day.  I replied that we had, in fact, not only had a good day, but a productive day as well.  I had made homemade laundry detergent, Hubs had made homemade chicken bouillon that we will freeze and use in the place of store bought cubes and I made homemade French vanilla coffee creamer.  She replied with are you going crazy?  While I laughed a little at that, it was a little strange for her to ask me that question.  I grew up with her and my father always doing as much in terms of self-sufficiency as they were able.  We always had a garden, chickens and rabbits as long as I can remember, and in the more recent past, we have raised a couple of pigs a year to supply us with meat.  So when she wondered via text whether I had lost all my marbles by taking this to its next logical step, I was a little confused.  I explained that the laundry soap was so much cheaper to make, and all the ingredients came in cardboard boxes rather than plastic jugs.  The cream has very little sugar in it, and I can control where I get the milk and whipping cream from.  In the future, I want to find a local dairy farmer who will sell me gallons of whole unprocessed milk so I can make my own cheese and butter, and I will be using the frothy creamy layer to also make coffee creamer.  As for the bouillon, well it just so happens to have a fraction of the salt that the store bought does, so it is already healthier for us.  But we also use our own chicken bones and meat to make it, so we also know where the chicken component came from and how it was raised.

Once I explained it to her and we showed her what we were up to, she seemed less skeptical and more likely to try the things we are doing.  Our mission at our home is to have as little of a negative impact on the earth as we can.  We also choose to raise our own meat so that we know the animals we eat got to see the sunshine, and roll in the dirt and eat vegetables from the garden.  We make sure they have a great life so that we can in turn have a great life.

We know that the way we do things doesn’t always appeal to everyone.  I have lived in cities as well as in the country, and I can’t even count the times I have heard someone say they just couldn’t look at their dinner’s face.  It is my firm belief that knowing where your food comes from and being connected to it, at least on some level, helps raise your appreciation for it.  We love our pigs, and really do spoil them.  They get garden veggies, they get sprayed with the water hose when it’s hot, they get brushed with the horse brushes and they get to play hide and seek with the people.  We name them, we talk to them, and we love on them.  Does that make it hard to say goodbye knowing they are about to be killed?  Of course it does.  But I know they lived a good life, and got to experience so many pleasant things.  The meat from the grocery store is mostly from pigs or cows or chickens who spend their lives in cages or feed lots.  They don’t get to do and experience all of the aforementioned pleasures in life.  And they also die.  And they also get eaten.  We make sure that the person butchering for us does it humanely as possible.  If we think that the animals we take to someone might die scared or hurt, we never go back.  We are working towards having the capabilities at our own farm to do the processing ourselves to ensure that they are happy and comfortable to the last.

Anyway, enough of me on my soapbox.  I would like to share a couple of the recipes that I have used that I really like.

First, and in my opinion, most important, the coffee creamer!  If you can find it, by all means use local, hormone free milk.

French Vanilla Creamer:

2 cups whole milk

1 ½ cups either half and half or whipping cream, depending on how rich you want it

5 Tablespoons sugar

5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract- we prefer the real thing since it has less of a chemical aftertaste

I put mine in a large quart canning jar, screw on the lid and shake for a few minutes vigorously.  If you have a favorite song, put it on, make sure the lid is tight and shake your jar and your booty for the duration of the song.  I think it tastes better when it is shaken to music.

Laundry soap/detergent (whatever you want to call it)

2 cups Borax

1 cup washing powder

1 cup baking soda

1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated finely

I just combine all of these ingredients in a bucket with a lid.  I prefer the Fels Naptha because it has a lemony fragrance, but my mom, who is sensitive to too much scent, prefers Kirk’s Castille soap.  Any soap will work, in the amount of about 4-5.5 oz per this size batch.  I do not ever use antibacterial soap.  Most of those soaps contain triclosan as its main antibacterial ingredient, but this is a hormone disrupter and there are studies that suggest it may contribute to health problems.  A recent article I read suggested that triclosan may also actually encourage antibacterial resistant organisms to grow and reproduce instead of reducing their numbers.  To be on the safe side, we don’t use anything with triclosan in it.  Before you go accusing me of being a crazy conspiracy nut who wears aluminum hats, I should tell you I am a nurse in a hospital.  Two, actually, because I am also a workaholic.  But the articles I read are peer reviewed in medical journals.  Again on the soap box.  Sorry, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. Just a quick note- the creamer is not overly sweet or sugary.  We use it to greatly reduce the sugar in our diet, as the coffee consumption is our main source.  That being said, feel free to add more sugar if you would like.  Thanks for reading my long-winded blog.  I hope you come back.

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