Saturday, February 18, 2012

My FAVORITE cookie in the whole wide world!

Thank goodness I'm not allergic to peanuts because peanut butter cookies are my all-time favorite cookie.  They're also pretty quick to make and you usually have all the ingredients on hand.  I've probably posted these cookies before since I make them almost monthly.  They're practically a staple in my house!  I'm not sure I've included the recipe before so here it is. 

1/2 C butter
1/2 C peanut butter (I use creamy but you could use chunky)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture.  Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  (I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets and that way I just have to wipe them off and put them away when I'm done, no scrubbing involved!)  Criss-cross the cookies with fork tines dipped in the sugar so they won't stick.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool slightly and remove from pan.  Makes 4 dozen. 

I bake mine a little bit longer as I like mine browner.  I am definitely a crispy cookie kind of gal!

See what I mean about baking mine longer....those are PERFECT for me! LOL!
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

How to make your own laundry detergent and save $$$$$$!

I've been making my own laundry detergent for a few years now.  I got my recipe from Mary Jane's Farm magazine but I think originally it was posted in the chat room there.  Anyway, here's the ingredients and the process and it's SO EASY!
I chop up a bar of castile soap which I found to be the least expensive so far.  I used to use a food processor to grind it up but it "died" awhile back and I haven't replaced it yet.  I just lay the bar on my chopping board and slice it thinly and in doing so it falls apart.  I then cross chop it to ensure it's chopped up good.  You could also use a grater.  I forgot to take a picture of it after I chopped it up but I would technically call it "minced"! LOL!  You can also use Dr. Bonner soaps and any other pure soap.  I've used Fels Naptha soap before too and ran it through my Kitchenaide grinder and it looked like shredded cheddar when I got done.  Very pretty but non-edible!
BTW this is perfectly fine to use in high efficiency washers as that is exactly what I have.
I have a nice sized Lock n' Lock storage container I use and I throw the chopped up Castile Soap in there.  I then add 2 cups of Washing Soda, 2 cups of Borax and 1 cup of baking soda. 

You can also scent your detergent which I like to do.  I need to get some natural pure oils but for now I had to settle for what Wal-mart had which is called a concentrated fragrance oil made for those warmers.  I'm pretty sure it's probably artificial but it does scent it but I prefer the all natural oils.  BTW, I got all the ingredients at Wal-mart except for the Castile soap which I get at my local grocery store.  I have also used Dr. Bonner's natural soaps which are already scented, or not and they are pure but cost more.  The more you can do yourself the more money you save.  The scents below are Lilac and Linen but you can use whatever you want.  Some people use Tea Tree oil for it's anti-bacterial properties.  I like to use scents based on the seasons too.  In Winter I like pine scent.  When I use my dryer I don't notice the scent so much but when I hang on the line I can smell it which is an extra  benefit for hanging your clothes on a clothesline.
 For mixing and storing I use a 3.8 quart Lock n' Lock container I purchased from QVC but you can use whatever you have on hand.  I like the Lock n' Lock because it is waterproof and I can throw all the ingredients in there, lock it up and then just shake it like crazy and it all gets mixed perfectly, scent and all.
There you have it!  How to EASILY make your own detergent and save yourself some money!  It cleans to my satisfaction and I get pretty dirty sometimes as I garden and do everything myself around here.  When you hang your clothes out in the sun it bleaches them a bit so I always hang my whites and lights on the front lines where the sun hits and my darker clothes in the back.  In the Winter I hang in the basement but it's also an energy savings and when I hang in the basement they are wrinkled and I end up doing much more ironing which is an energy hog plus I'm taking my life in my hands going down the stairs with a basket full of wet clothes!  Although, with the front loading washer the clothes aren't nearly as heavy!  I've been using my dryer a little more this Winter.  If you want to really chop $$$$$ off your electric bill stop using your dryer!  It is one of the most expensive appliances you own. For softner and a rinse agent I use white vinegar.  You will not believe what a coating those commercial softners and dryer sheets put on your clothes.  If you use vinegar there will be no more soap residue left in your clothes and your towels will be much more absorbent and your colors brighter!  Try'll like it!  And you'll be saving money...lots!
I use 1/4 cup of the detergent per load and I use 1/2 cup white vinegar for softner.  Now go out there and save yourself a bundle!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Got called into the shop yesterday.....

     I got a call from Sue in the morning that her Mother had fallen and she asked if I could come in and watch the shop from 12:30 to 3:00.  I said no problem as I rushed around to get dressed, eat breakfast and get out the door! LOL!  I used to be such a morning person but not so much anymore....more like a slow boat to China in the mornings!  Anyway, it's 35% off right now and she's closing a week from this coming Saturday so this Saturday will be my last day!  It's so sad and I will miss it as it's been so much fun!  But my journey continues and so does my cleaning out!   I have some empty spaces to prove it too and hopefully more in the future!  Here's few for now.

This is my little stove (non-working) in my kitchen which is a t.v. stand for now as you can probably tell by all the wires!  QUESTION:  IF we have wireless phones and pc's and printers  why can't we have wireless t.v.'s??????????  I despise wires...they absolutely ruin a decorating scene, dust runs to them and my Edna cannot tolerate them at all.  So, if anyone out there in t.v. land is listening....get with the program and the technology.....let's "go wireless or go home"!

I got the blue bookcase at a garage sale last summer.

The bookcase below isn't really destined to remain here in the kitchen but I picked it up at the consignment store and that's as far as it got for now.  There are glass sliding doors for it too.  It's an antiqued green.  Notice how I am already beginning to fill it up though?  Not a good sign!  Please ignore the wallpaper and curtains as they are SO not me!  That was my Mother's decorating...bless her heart and 40 years old too....the decorating, not my Mother.  If she was still here she would have been 96 this year.
So, that's my kitchen right now.  I have the material for the new curtains which doesn't match the wallpaper but that hasn't stopped me so far! LOL!  Oh and look what else I found that I forgot was "heart-shaped" on Valentine's day....there's little hearts in my tablecloth that I never even noticed before. Yet again...another Thrift Store find!  Have a great day...and don't worry...I didn't forget the fact that I still have more cupboards to clean out....ugh.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Finished a couple books..........

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book!  The kind you look forward to picking up and wish it was a "series" that would go on and on.  Unfortunately, the author got ill during the writing and her niece had to come and help her finish it so not sure we'll see any more books from her which is too bad.  I found it at the library and the gal that wrote "Eat, Pray, Love" (book was great but haven't seen the movie yet) endorsed it heartily.  It is fiction but the characters are so real and it's based on the German occupation of the Channel Islands and especially Guernsey Island and then later after the occupation.  I think much of it is based on historical fact but how much is real and how much is fiction I do not know.  They formed a literary society during the occupation and it continued long after with surprising influences and repercussions for the people who attended.   I would highly recommend this book. 

This book was a disappointment.  I'm the type that even though I am not liking a book I will continue to read to the end with the hope that it will get better or that it's leading up to something I'm not aware of but it was not to be with this book.  Don't get me wrong, the premise is wonderful and I endorse most of her views but she and Dr. Wayne Dyer have written similar books; writing an essay on each teaching of the Tao which are in themselves about a page in length.  Some of it made sense and then some of it sounded like she was on something and going off into left field.  Her work called "The Work" has been praised and if you have been plagued with "issues" your entire life this might be a good discipline for you.  Her original book definitely has merit but you can get the gist of it from her website if you're interested.  I've never read her other book(s) and maybe therein lies the problem;  maybe you have to have been immersed in her "work" before you can completely appreciate what she's saying in this book.  There were some parts that were very clear and wonderful but there were other parts that made me question either my sanity or hers.

The reason I have multiple book to talk about is because I never read just one book at a time! LOL!  I read when I go to bed and in order to "keep up" with my magazines and books I read one fiction, one non-fiction and a magazine.  If I'm not enjoying one of the books but am determined to finish it I will pick up something light to read along with it which can lead to multiple books being read.  
This book I picked up at the library actually over the Christmas Holidays.  I enjoy reading some of the Christmas books and this one fit the had Christmas, knitting, snow and recipes!  You can't get much more Christmas inspired than that!  It was a delight and I love a good mystery but this is one of a series and they refer back to previous "crimes" which always makes me want to start with the first book and go from there.  So, I usually Google the author and I'm able to find a list of the books written and in order and I print it off.  She's a good writer and I really like these "themed" mysteries based on a hobby or interest someone has.  There are all types of them out there for quilters, bakers and candlestick makers!  Enjoy a good read and share yours with the rest of us bookworms! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

    I'm not a romantic really,  I'm more the type that "actions speak louder than words" but in honor of this day that is so special to so many I went around my house looking for heart shaped objects and was surprised that I actually had a few!  There's one in particular that I was aware of as I have been collecting heart shaped stones on my walks for years and I even found some heart shaped moss one time.  When I see heart shapes in nature it's like a personal "I love you" from above just for me.  So, Happy Valentine's Day from me to you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

BIg flakes around here!

I actually took this picture right through the window...screen and all and those flakes are SO BIG you can still see them!  I'm of the opinion that at this time of year things look lots better covered in snow.  You can tell my back yard does not have enough yet.
I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday.  I was busy trying to get ready for this storm.  They're predicting ice after the snow and that usually takes the power with it so I figured I needed to readjust my priorities.  But I did get a few things done the other day which I didn't post yesterday.  One is I moved my cookbook collection to the porch and out of my kitchen.  It's still handy and I need room in my kitchen.

I also got a cupboard cleaned out but it doesn't really look like it as I filled it up again but what you can't see is I have an empty one above the stove now!

I know it probably doesn't look that much better but it's organized now...baking is on the bottom shelf, dry staples are on the 2nd shelf, like bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, dry milk and bisquick.  The 3rd shelf has pasta and grains.
I also post things inside my kitchen cabinet doors such as a substitute ingredient list and recipes for frequently used items that I have put in jars such as tapioca pudding and pancake instructions etc.
 I better go get my soup going for supper and "make hay while the snow flies".  The possibility of going without power for any length of time (after the last ice storm) really motivates a person to get things done!
Have a great and cozy day wherever you are!