Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some cheap & healthy cleaning alternatives

We're in the process of moving away from expensive and toxic store-bought cleaners (both of the body and the house), towards homemade cleaners instead. Here's some recipes I've compiled for cheap and effective cleaning product alternatives. One thing I'm still trying to understand is why so many recipes call for mixing vinegar and baking soda, as that would just neutralize them; I'm not sure about the reaction between borax and vinegar, because tho borax is basic, it is actually a buffered base/acid combination... hum. Still, pretty much everything is vinegar, castile soap, baking soda, and borax, with a little bit of club soda added in. Enjoy!

Oh, and here's how to use xanthan gum for when you want some thicker shampoo and toilet bowl cleaner.

1/3 cup castile soap (Dr. Bronners)
2/3 cup green tea
approx 1/4 teas xanthan gum (more or less, optional, for thickening)

If you're going to use the xanthan gum, I'd just add it to the green tea in your blender or food processor, then mix in the castile soap by hand; hard beating + soap = froth.

Conditioner (specifically for use after the above shampoo - don't use the shampoo without this step)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Dishwasher detergent:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax

Use 2 tablespoons per dish load. Put white vinegar in the rinse (jet dry) cycle.

Fabric softener:
Use 1/2 - 1 cup white vinegar in the fabric softener cup

Toilet bowl cleaner:
Vinegar (can be thickened with xanthan gum)

Pour vinegar around toilet as normal toilet bowl cleaner. Sprinkle stains with borax. Let sit 10 minutes, scrub clean.

Window cleaner:
2 tsp vinegar
1 qt water


Club soda (store bought or homemade, no sugar)

Fill spray bottle with this, and wipe with newspaper.

Tub & Tile scrub
½ c. baking soda
3 tbsp. castile soap

Mix together and use as a scrub.

Original photo by Valerie Morrison

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Help: need more local meat

OK, I'm looking for more sources of local meat - beef and chicken specifically. Preferably grass fed, small farm beef, and whole pastured roaster chickens. Geiss' hooks us up with all the chicken breasts, sausage, elk steak, and pork chops we need, but we like a good steak, roast, roast chicken. I know that our CSA is selling organic certified meat, but its in quantities and at prices I can't yet justify.

I really don't want to shop at the supermarket for this stuff; too much of what they have is from the major meat producers, was trucked in, far from natural, yadda yadda. I have an excess of hormones as it is, thanks.

I'm starting to try to wean myself off the easy to use, crazy tasty, but expensive broth I normally get, but finding a ton of chicken bones isn't that easy. Bonus points for someone who can point me at duck, goose, and soup bones - I'll even take old, tough rooster for making some good, meaty broth!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No new stuff challenge starting... soon.

OK, I'm back from the awesome week of GenCon -- highlights: spending mucho time with Josh, game demos, Damsels of Dorkington, Hickman's Killer Breakfast, the dance, and of course and unfortunately the FOOD. Sooo much good food; Sushi on the Rocks, Ruth's Chris,
McCormick & Schmick's (where I had the best dessert I've ever eaten), more Sushi on the Rocks... and I'm going to have to work out a bit extra this week to pay for it.

Still, we made it thru GenCon while only buying a few new things, and they were either presents for the kids, or out of print, or bought at a very large discount, or just plain cool (Adventures of Baron Munchausen RPG). But now that we're back I'm realizing that there are a few things that I'm going to need to buy new before going on my month long abstention.

The things that are holding me back are: an Ikea chair bed - a futon-like bed small enough to actually fit up the stairs to the clock tower; natural/safe ingredient lip color to replace my current lip color (that has started to smell a little off); and a Moon cup (reusable feminine hygiene product). Admittedly, the last two should come under personal products or consumables... but I can't say that of the bed. I also cannot find anything comparable for the price.. but if you know of something, drop me a line.

Josh also pointed out that the month without new shouldn't be hard for me, as we rarely buy anything new anyway. The kitchen stuff weakness is still there tho.