Tag Archive | soap from scratch

My Self Proclaimed Challenge – Homemade Everything!

It started a few years back – you know, you run out of some ingredient and you have to either find a substitute or go without. Where I live, the closest grocery store is a half-hour away. With fuel over $3.00 a gallon, I figure a trip has to be very necessary at that price – so homemade became my motto. About five years ago, I vowed to avoid processed food. Living on a farm with a great big garden made that really easy. I don't eat every meal good, but at least five out of seven is healthy, homegrown, and without preservatives.

I challenge myself each time I go to the grocery store to see what aisle I can avoid. Haven't seen anything in the freezer aisle for years….because it is all processed food. If I am hungry for waffles, I make my own from scratch. I know… I understand that I do not have to leave home for an 8 to 5 job anymore so I have time to live this way, but I also think I would still get up early to keep this style of living even if I had to be out the door to punch a clock.

In the next few posts, I thought I would share a few more reasons to avoid buying prepackaged items. Usually, you can make a batch of glass cleaner, non-abrasive cleaner or laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar AND make a large batch while you're at it. You spend the time to make a big batch of laundry detergent and you are set for months.

So here's a few ideas for your own homemade fabric softener – perhaps one of them will fit your lifestyle!

First option: crumple a few balls of aluminum foil and place in the dryer with a load of clothes. As crazy as that sounds, the metal dissipates the charges that build up between the fabric as it flops around in the dryer.

Second option: plain old vinegar to the final rinse water. It will not only take the leftover soap out of your clothes, but also helps to clean washers and drain hoses too! You do not the risk of smelling like a pickle from using vinegar – when your clothes are dry, the smell has dissipated. If you insist, you can add 10-20 drops of an essential oil (eucalyptus or lavender for example) to the vinegar.

Third option and my favorite to date: Take 2 cups of a cheap hair conditioner and combine it with 6 cups of hot water. When it is all mixed together, add 3 cups of plain white vinegar. No chemicals, no artificial flavors or colors. This makes a family sized batch – pennies on the dollar,

So – here are a few ideas for you to start you off! Many more to follow. If you have a great homemade, no preservative, no processed, no artificial anything you'd like to share – let me know!

Til next time…

 

Grassfed Soap

When I would pass someone a bar of soap that I had made, their smile used to turn to wonderment as they looked at the label. Sure, it's a hefty bar – big enough to be comfortable in Kevin's large hands. And sure, it has a fabulous fragrance. It's even a pretty color. But, oh…..it's made from beef tallow? Really???

 

Yup. I have been making soap for a few years now. I love the joy of giving someone a gift that I have made with my own two hands. I enjoy including a soap shaped like a duck or cow in my grandkid's Christmas stocking, or adding a few bars of soap made especially for an infant to a baby shower gift.

I had always purchased the soap oils online and had accumulated lots of great recipes. It was fun to try new fragrances like sandalwood and pine – and had totally fallen in love with a cinnamon-orange scent. So it seemed like a perfectly natural progression (to me, anyway) to render down the fat from our beef and use it in a soap recipe. After all, our pioneers did it…..

The search began for a recipe using our tallow. Kevin and I wondered whether it would smell funny (who knew?) I figured that some people might be put off by the whole idea even though tallow is actually turned into a different substance through saponification when it is combined with lye. They fear they are spreading animal grease all over them! Actually, some of the characteristics of using tallow in your soap are a creamy lather, mild cleansing, and a fairly hard soap.

Before I get into trouble with anyone, let me first clarify by saying that we raise grass-fed/grass finished beef and our ranch is certified with the Animal Welfare Approved Association. Our cattle are humanely raised without feedlots, antibiotics or hormones, In the interest of trying never to waste, the use of tallow seemed a natural progression.

The recipe I have been using is a blend of coconut oil, olive oil and beef tallow. The amounts I use are as follow:

44 ounces beef tallow

20 ounces olive oil

20 ounces coconut oil

12 ounces of lye

32 ounces cold water

The coconut oil adds a wonderful sudsing quality to your bar, and the olive oil gives it it's mildness.

Well, the soap has been a hit. One friend called to tell me that she had had a patch of skin on her face that she just couldn't get rid of, and it was going away since she started using this soap. She wondered if her old commercially-made soap had been giving her the irritation. We will never know.

I do believe, though, that the less chemicals and preservatives we use, the better we live. The soap makes it just one step closer to healthy living .