Homemade Spray and Wash {Recipe}

6/18/2012 – UPDATED TO ADD:
This stuff WORKS!  I’ve been using it for a few months now and it is just as good if not better than the other store bought stuff out there.  
I ran out of Spray and Wash today.  Hmmmm.  
I googled “homemade spray and wash” and came across several recipes, including this one.  So I decided to attempt it.  As you may recall, I make my own laundry detergent….so why not attempt my own Spray and Wash too?  
So I took my old bottle and the ingredients you see below and made some.  

Homemade Spray and Wash Recipe:
Pour the following into your old Spray and Wash bottle – 
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup ammonia (this will knock you over, so do NOT take a whiff)
1/2 cup Wisk
Then add enough water to almost fill up the bottle.  Shake well.  Then use.

After I have had a few washings to use this – I will let you know how it works and will update this post.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll need to find a use for this gallon of ammonia I now have.  🙂


Chicken Pot Pie Without Peas {Recipe}

I have a special spiral bound recipe book that I was given as a wedding present almost 14 years ago.  It was blank when I received it and I only write down recipes worth writing down in it (i.e. favorites and/or family recipes).  Some of the recipes in this book are Brad’s moms Harvey Wallbanger cake, Leslee’s Cranberry Relish, Tee’s corn pudding (not a family recipe just out of a Southern Living Cookbook), my mom’s gingersnap cookies, Brad’s mom’s dump cake, Jeanine’s vegetable casserole, etc.

And Chicken Pot Pie.  I should mention that it does NOT have peas in it.  Brad won’t eat them.  David probably won’t either.  So I leave them out.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who or where I got the recipe from.  I spent about 5 minutes on the internet tonight trying to find this exact recipe and I can’t locate it.  So….if you are the author of this recipe (like you’d be reading my blog anyhow), then please forgive me and let me know it’s yours so I can give you proper credit.

This is worth making.  And eating.  So get a pen and write this down.  Or print it out.  Whatever you wish.

Chicken Pot Pie {out of Bethany’s Spiral Recipe Book} Without Peas (how’s that for the name)?

2 chicken breasts (boiled and chopped up)
1 can corn, drained
1 can green beans, drained
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped/sliced
1/2 stick butter
1 can chicken broth
1 pint milk (whole milk is probably best, but I use 1%), plus 1/4 cup more
1 tbs dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
Pillsbury Crust (found in the refrigerated section

Add the potatoes and carrots together in a pot of water.  Boil for 8 minutes.  Drain.  Mix together with the corn, green beans and chicken.  In a pan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Cook (while stirring constantly) for 2 minutes.  Then slowly add the can of chicken broth and the milk.  Cook for 7 minutes or until slightly thicker.  Add seasoning and mix well.  Pour the cream mixture over the veggie/chicken mixture and mix together.

I think this recipe originally was made to fit a 9×13 pan, but I like to use a pie plate, because it’s chicken pot pie….why would you use a 9×13 pan???  You can divide this in half for two pie plates or put it all in one large pie plate.  If you use two pie plates they aren’t super full, but I like them like this.  Spray whatever you use with Pam and spread the veggie/chicken mixture in the pan.  Cover the mixture with a crust and pinch the edges.  Cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape.  You can always use a bottom crust and a top crust, but since I made two pies with this I use the second crust in the package to top the second pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crust has begun to brown and the veggie/chicken mixture is bubbly.   Your 7 year old son may even love it, like mine did.  That makes a mama happy when he enjoys something that I make without having to bribe him to eat it.


Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

So.  This is the best cranberry sauce.  Ever.

My sister-in-law, Leslee, makes it every year and I love it (and I really really hate cranberry sauce – so to say I love this stuff is big).

Since we won’t be together for Thanksgiving this year I decided I needed to make it myself.  I asked her if she was willing to share this super secret family recipe.  You know how some people are with their super secret family recipes.  Lo and behold – she said she would send it to me.  She texted me saying she took a picture and emailed it to me.  I expected to open up the picture and see her great grandmothers handwriting on an old tattered and stained piece of paper for the recipe that has been passed down for generations  Nope.  Not even close.  It’s a picture of a page out of a recipe book.  WHAT?  I realize that most recipes are adapted from recipes out of recipe books….but I was disappointed that this wasn’t a super secret family recipe.

I have changed that.

I now present you with Leslee’s Super Secret Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce (aka a recipe out of an unnamed recipe book – I’d love to give credit where credit is due but the picture doesn’t show the name of the cookbook…if she will provide me the cookbook name I’ll happily update this post to include it).

Leslee’s Super Secret Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 Granny Smith apple
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Squeeze the juice from the orange half and set the juice aside.  Remove the membrane (white stuff) from the inside of the orange shell and discard.  Cut the shell into small dice.  Put into a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Drain and set aside the orange peel.
Peel, quarter and core the apple, then chop into small pieces.  Place in a saucepan.

Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones.

Add to the apples along with the reserved diced orange peel, the reserved orange juice, the sugar, cinnamon and cloves.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover partially.  This is what it looks like as soon as you mix all the ingredients.

Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, the apples are tender and the cranberries have burst.  This will take 15-30 minutes.   The finished product will look like this.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool before putting into fridge.  Can be served cold or at room temperature.

If you make this, please let me know what you think of it!  I’d love some feedback.  And I’ll let Leslee know what you think of her super secret family recipe.  🙂

Vegetable Stock

I am hosting Bunco this weekend. Yeah for Bunco…especially Halloween Bunco!

I’ll be making chicken enchiladas, but for my friend, who is a vegetarian, I’m making black bean soup. Every black bean soup on the planet calls for chicken broth…but I finally found one today with vegetable broth. Then I found a recipe online for vegetable broth, so I picked up the few things I needed and made it tonight.

I’m a big fan of using chicken broth in recipes because of the added flavor, but I have to say that this vegetable broth is just as delicious. I only need a few cups for the black bean soup and I froze the rest to use later.
Heres’s the recipe (I found this online and printed out the recipe but it doesn’t have the link to the site I found this….so sorry to whoever originally posted it):
2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1-2 large onions, chopped
1 lb celery
1 lb carrots
3 whole garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup low sodium tamari (I didn’t have this, nor did I want to spend $5 on the bottle for this one recipe, so I used a little less soy sauce)
1 gallon water, which I think is 128 ounces
NOTE: you can also add any other vegetables you have in your fridge (broccoli, leeks, mushrooms, etc).
Saute the vegetables in the evoo for about 5 minutes. Then add all of the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour. Then add the soy sauce and cook for another 10 minutes to meld the flavors.
Strain the veggies out and toss. The broth can be kept in the fridge and used within 7 days…or freeze and use within a few months.

Apple Butter

Below you will find the best recipe for apple butter. Ever.

As soon as we got home from the hospital after David was born a sweet friend brought over an amazing dinner – which included some delicious casserole, freshly canned green beans and homemade apple butter. I was enamored by the freshly canned green beans and apple butter. At the time this awesome mama had 3 young children and I was inspired by her homemade freshly canned goods and that she could find the time to make it.
I asked for her recipe for apple butter and she happily shared it with me…I’ve had my girlfriends over to make bunches a couple of different times, but forgot to get any pictures to post on my blog. What a foul!
I am posting it here now so that I can point any friends to it that might want to also make it.
Making my apple butter has become a yearly tradition for me to welcome fall/winter. I made 50+ jars in 2007 to raise money for my trips that year to Honduras and Venezuela. And every year I have people ask me when I’m making more. I already have a couple orders for jars this fall. And last year we vacationed to North Carolina and tried to pick apples so that I could come home and can tons of apple butter….this is what happened.
It might look a little daunting, but it’s fun to make and not hard at all….you should at least try it once.

Step One:
5 pounds apples, peeled, quartered and cored
2 cups apple cider
Cook apples in the apple cider over medium low heat until soft, but not mushy (this will take about 20-30 minutes). Stir often. When done drain apples (reserving about 1 cup of the cider) and place in a blender or food processor (1 or 2 cups at a time). Blend until it’s very smooth. If it’s very thick, then add a small amount of reserved apple cider at a time until it’s a little thinner. Do not make too thin. Then, measure the blended apples and place into a large pot.
Step Two:
To each CUP of pureed apples (usually 5 pounds makes 8-9 cups of pureed apples), add the following:
1/2 cup sugar (brown or white sugar is fine)
Step Three:
To the entire pot add the following:
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cook over low eat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until thick enough. Pour into HOT jars and seal in a water bath covered with 1″ water above the lids. For 1/2 pints cook for 5 minutes. For 1 pint cook for 10 minutes. If you need information about canning, just google it. I have no special canning tools – I just have the jars, new lids and a large pot.
Oh, and if you use this recipe let me know what you think.

Granola Bar Recipe – Take II

In an effort to make the granola bars I made last week I little healthier (and so we can take some to Pa Pop when we see him next weekend) I made them again but with some healthier changes.

So here is the Much Healthier – But Not Quite as Tasty Granola Bar recipe (oh, they are still good, but just not dessert quality like the others were).

And I’m really recording this here on my blog mainly for ME. So that when I make them again I’ll know what else I can tweak and try differently.
1 3/4 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar (actually used a little less)
1/3 cup oat flour (this time I used 1/3 cup oat flour…last time I took 1/3 cup of regular oats and blended them up – resulting in much less than 1/3 cup oat flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces) – this time I used the following:
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup flax seed (milled)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons apple sauce
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup lite maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. This time I used a 9×13 pan so that the bars would be a little thinner. BIG MISTAKE. Keep reading – you’ll see why.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the chocolate chips and nuts.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.

My thoughts:

* Since I used a 9×13 pan the bars were quite a bit thinner resulting in crumbled granola bars. Some came out intact, but most of it’s just granola now. 😦

* Since I added extra dry ingredients this time (more than the 2 cups of just walnuts and chocolate chips I used last time….and using more oat flour) the bars are not as moist as they were before. This is FINE because again I was going for a healthier version.

* I added wheat germ and flax seeds, which are both good for you.

* I’ll definitely make them again. Next time I’ll use a little less dry ingredients and I might go back to the full 1/4 cup of honey – for sweetness. Oh, and I had dried apples that I want to do next time…with raisins.


Success! Dish washing detergent!

As it has previously been documented, I make my own laundry detergent. I don’t use it all the time – in fact I’m out right now and need to make some more – but I love it. It cleans great. Is fun to make, oddly enough. And is super cheap. As a note, I only buy the real stuff when I have a killer coupon.

Around the same time I started making laundry soap I also tried to make my own Cascade. I failed miserably. It didn’t clean all of my dishes and it left a weird film on them.
I recently did some research about that and discovered that adding salt to the main recipe helps. Odd, I know….but I tried it – and it WORKED!
Dishing washing detergent

1 cup borax (NOT boric acid, they are completely different)
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup table salt (the cheap stuff, nothing fancy)

Mix it all in a container with a lid. I use 2 tablespoons, which doesn’t quite fill up the closed container….and then I add just a little bit to the open cup.
I guess I should say that I do rinse my dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. I don’t know how well this would clean off stuck on foods.
If you try this yourself, let me know how it works for you.