Thursday, February 27, 2014

All Natural 4 ingredient ~ completely edible ~ Dishwasher powder

Now that we are in a place with a dishwasher that actually works (finally!), Gabriella and I decided to make some of our own dishwasher powder.

Every ingredient in our homemade version is edible (not that you would want to eat it) but it is nice to know that any residue that might get left on your dishes will not make you or your family sick.

Here are the four (yes, only 4) ingredients you will need:
1 cup Baking Soda (the grease cutter)
1 cup Super Washing Soda (the cleaning agent)
1 cup Salt (cuts build-up on dishes and dishwasher)
The juice from one lemon (antibacterial and wonderful smelling!)

Pour all three powdered ingredients into a bowl and let your assistant stir them while you juice the lemon

When the lemon is juiced, pour the juice on in. It fizzes and is very fun to watch and listen to.

Then keep stirring and breaking up the clumps made by the lemon juice until it is completely mixed together.  

I poured all of mine into a quart sized mason jar with a bpa-free lid. Really any leftover glass jar with a lid will work.

To use it: spoon 1 tablespoon into the soap holder in your dishwasher, then run as you usually would. So far I have used it on 10 loads, including pots and pans, my juicer parts and food processor parts. It works like a champ!! 

*Note: I have a decent dishwasher and do not pre-rinse or scrub my dishes before putting them in. If your dishwasher isn't as good of quality or you need to pre-rinse before putting dishes in, then do so. This detergent is to be used the same way you would use any other dishwasher detergent but the state of your dishes when putting them in the dishwasher varies by model. 

Let's break down the cost now:
Commercial Dishwasher detergent, the cheapest I could find online was for Walmart's store brand that is loaded with phosphates and other chemicals that difficult to pronounce. It was $3.22 for a 75 ounce box, that is 75 loads (because it recommends filling your soap dispenser completely which takes 2 tablespoons). Which comes out as $0.043 or 4.3 cents per load.

Homemade will cost you:
$0.20 for a lemon
$0.19 for a cup of salt
$0.47 for a cup of super washing soda
$0.28 for a cup of baking soda
For a grand total of: $1.14 for 48 loads or..... $0.023 or 2.3 cents per load!

Not only is it half the price, it works just as well and doesn't bring any nasty chemicals into your house!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moving (again)

Matt got transferred to be based out of Seattle in January so we moved to Kent this weekend to get him closer to work and cut 25 minutes off his commute. Plus we were very unhappy at the house we were at in Tacoma.

It's been really rough. Transition always seems to be. Both kids are hyper-emotional and cry at the drop of a hat. But we really like our new place and hopefully things will get settled down soon.

Gabriella was actually really good at using an allen-wrench to put together a shelf we got from Ikea.

Xander likes to be as naked as possible these days. And he also likes to randomly take a break from playing to lie down and suck his thumb.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake?

I'll be honest, 5 years ago that would have sounded gross to me. I mean, how in the world do you make cheesecake without cheese? But a few years, health struggles, and wisdom gained later here we are.

The texture is amazing. The flavor is sharp and best of all, it is actually healthy for you!

Here is the recipe, if you dare.....

1 1/2 cups raw almonds (soak them for 3-4 hours in water first, then drain)
1/2 cup pitted dates

Blend them together in a Food Processor until they make a sort of sticky paste that you can press into the bottom of a pan. I used an 8-Inch Springform pan.

Ready to process

This is the texture/consistency you are looking for

Done and pressed into the pan.
Once it is smoothed in the pan, place the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.


3 cups raw cashews (soaked for 3-4 hours in water and drained before using)
3/4 cup lemon juice (I used fresh squeezed)
2/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
3/4 cup melted Organic Coconut Oil
1 tsp salt

Put all the ingredients into a food processor

Blend/Process until it is smooth and creamy in texture (and taste!)

Spoon on to the top of the crust that you had stored in the refrigerator. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, or overnight.

I served mine 24 hours later with organic canned cranberry sauce (recipe here ) I made in November.
It was amazing!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fun With Grammie and Hah-Ah!

My parents came up last weekend to celebrate Gabriella's 4th birthday with us. The got in really late Friday night so we put the kids to bed pretty quick and then we stayed up til 12:30 visiting!

Gabriella's Birthday breakfast
(Paleo cookies, bananas, raisins and coconut)

Mom and I rode in the very back seat of the van the whole time. We got bored!

At Ikea. This picture was for Jonathan!

Gabriella enjoying her birthday sundae from Red Robin at the Bellevue Square Mall. 

Lego Store!

At the Microsoft store together

Working on Gabriella's birthday cake. Usually I make a cake from scratch but I was behind this year. So I used a Pamela's gluten free cake mix. It wasn't half bad. This is showing how I made it a "money cake", a fun treat my mom always did for us when we were kids. Wrap some money in tin foil and layer it between the cake layers. 
The frosting was made from organic Spectrum all vegetable shortening and organic powdered sugar. 

All iced and decorated. 

Getting ready to open presents. 

Sunday morning we headed to the Outlet Collection in Auburn. Hah-Ah (aka Grampa) let Xander ride the moving train. Xander thought it was the best thing ever and cried and cried when we took him off. 

When we got home on Sunday, my mom and I made some organic lanolin-free lip balm. You can see my post here for how to make it yourself. 

Playing Gabriella's new lady-bug game. 

And reading books before bed time. 

Monday morning right after Grammie and Hah-Ah left. The kids are wearing their new to them jackets. It was a crazy busy weekend, and I think we spent more time in the car than doing anything else, but it was very nice to see my parents again. And very exciting to have a 4 year old! I love that crazy cat so much!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homemade Organic All Natural Lip Balm ~ Without Lanolin!!

My mom and I decided to try making some lip balm on Sunday while they were up for a visit. It turned out really good and we were both happy with it, so here is how you can make your own! And, as a bonus, there is no lanolin!

3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Organic Shea Butter
2 Tablespoons Organic Beeswax
3/8 tsp Essential Oil of your choice (we used Orange)

Step 1:
Melt the beeswax on the stove-top, stirring regularly. I used a mason jar placed into a pan of hot water. Using a BPA-free tin can would also work good because then you don't have to try and wash it out afterwards. 

Step 2:
Measure out the coconut oil and shea butter. 

Step 3:
Once the beeswax is completely melted, gently add in the coconut oil and shea butter. Continue to stir so it melts evenly. 

Step 4:
When everything is melted, add in the essential oil and remove from heat. 

Then put a tiny drop on your finger and let it set (it took about 10 seconds). Then try it out. You can adjust the essential oil at this point to add more if you would like. 

Step 5:
When you are happy with the fragrance, begin pouring it into your lip balm containers. I am using a tiny funnel and BPA-Free Lip Balm Tubes . You can really use any container you would like. 

Step 6:
Let them set up and then add caps to them.

We were very happy with how they turned out! It made 17 tubes and took us less then 10 minutes to do.

Here is the cost breakdown...
Coconut Oil ~ 3 Tablespoons = $.40
Shea Butter ~ 1 Tablespoon = $.42
Beeswax ~ 2 Tablespoons = $.50
Essential Oil ~ 3/8 Teaspoon ~ $.25
17 BPA-Free Chapstick Tubes ~ $3.36

Final Cost per tube: $0.33!! That is a crazy good deal for organic lip balm. Most organic lip balms retail for $3+ per tube!! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sweet Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Pulp Bread Recipe

I have been juicing a lot lately and I am also a miser. I just can't bear the thought of throwing away the large quantity of pulp that if left over after juicing. So here is one of the ways that I came up with to use it.

I use this recipe for "sweet pulps", one that is more sweet fruits and veggies based as opposed to a more "green" drink, or my fav one that has cabbage in it.

This recipe is also perfect for a straight carrot or zucchini bread.

In a large bowl add
3 cups pulp from juicing (or 3 cups shredded zucchini or carrot)
1 cup Organic Cane Sugar
2/3 cup Grapeseed Oil (I find that grapeseed oil works best for GF baking, but olive oil will work well too)
4 organic eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 Tablespoon Organic Molasses Unsulphured
Blend with hand mixer until thoroughly mixed.

Add in
3 cups organic brown rice flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum

1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins

Stir until all ingredients are well blended. If adding nuts or raisins stir them in now.

Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan, or two smaller 8 inch loaf pans (greased as well), or greased or lined muffin tins. My batch usually yields 12 muffins and a small loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes for muffins, 50-60 minutes for small loaf pans and 60-80 minutes for a very large and full loaf pan. They are done cooking when the tops are starting to brown and a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let them cool on a wire baking rack for 10 minutes then turn out of pans.

Store great in airtight containers in the refrigerator for several days.