A Diary of our Current Meanderings, Thoughts, and Adventures...


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Make your own...Whaaaat?!" Entry #5: Peach Iced Tea

Have I mentioned that fresh fruit is practically my favorite fruit? Do you know that I make fresh batches of brewed iced tea twice a week? When I got the idea to combine peaches in my tea, I got a little giggly.

I have particular memories of Snapple's peach iced tea on rides to and from the shore...Wawa peach iced tea after gymnastics practices...Turkey Hill peach iced tea for lunch during my student teaching days. What a great combo! Time to make my own. :)

On top of the nostalgia and peach/tea being a favorite combination to me...I had 4 peaches in my fruit bowl getting ready to go bad. Perfect timing to try my own summer treat!

Here's what you'll need to try yours:

Fresh/almost-going-bad peaches (I used 4 to get started) - sliced into small pieces
3 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1 1/2 c. water
Food Processor/Blender Ice Cube Tray

Peel and slice peaches into small pieces.

Boil peaches on medium-high heat with water. Once boiling, let the peaches simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Check a peach to make sure its soft and slightly flaky.

Drain peaches from water, then put peaches into a food processor or blender. Add agave nectar and corn syrup into blender. Sugar and honey could be substituted instead.

Blend peaches and syrups. If the mixture seems very thick, add a few teaspoons of water and blend again.

**My initial goal for this recipe was to create a syrup that could be put into the drink itself, but the thickness seems better in an ice cube mixture. As the cubes melt, the mixture is incredible...even better than my long-standing memory/history with peach tea. :)

Pour peach mixture into ice cube trays.

Let ice cubes sit for 24 hours before using.

Add the tea over the cubes...Mmm...seriously delicious. And refreshing!

On a 91 degree day in South Jersey...when the AC is off to save some energy-this tea hit the spot!

How about you?? What delicious summer refreshments have you created?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Make your own...Whaaaat?!" Entry #4: Laundry Detergent

It has always bothered my to buy my own cleaning products. Always. I get kind of huffy, and even twitchy in the store when I put my hand on a bottle.
Why? Because in Little House on the Prairie, Ma made her own. Because chemicals are not meant to treat our houses, dishes, or clothing. Because I hate how expensive it is. Because I can do it myself, gosh darnit!

I have been making most of my own cleaning products for the last couple of years, but have always shied away from laundry. I don't know, maybe something about messing up my $3 t-shirts from the thrift store scares me. (Ha)
I wish I hadn't waited though...making your own detergent is just so.darn.easy!

Here is what you will need:

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other natural bar of soap

1/2 c. washing soda (Don't confuse this with baking soda!!)

1/2 c. Borax

A large bucket or tub
(*You can find all of these ingredients in a mainstream grocery store. Wegmen's has all three right next to one another!)

1.) Cut your bar of soap to size, then grate the soap over a medium/large pot. Be careful not to leave too many large chunks of soap...they just don't melt as quickly. The first time I did this, I actually only used 1/2 of the measurments listed above, so as not to overwhelm myself with the product. Next time, I will use the correct meausurements!
2.) Add 6 cups of water, and turn the burner on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Your soap shreds will begin to melt and turn your water the color of your bar of soap.

3.) When your soap fully melts, and the water starts to simmer, it's time to add your washing soda and Borax. (Have I mentioned that these 2 ingredients are used in half of my other cleaning products as well? Can't go wrong having them in the house!)

Let the mixture continue to simmer until everything has dissolved. Then remove from heat.

4.) Get your large bucket and pour 4 cups of hot water. I would recommend a 5 gallon bucket. (I did not use it, but I would next time when I use the full amounts of ingredients, not half!)

5.) Pour in your soap/water mixture. Then...add LOTS more water: appx. 1 1/2 gallons, or 1 gallon and 6 more cups. *If you don't have a container holding more than 2 1/2 gallons, just half the recipe like I did.

After this, your laundry detergent is done! You will need to let it sit for about 24 hours before using it. It will solidify, but not in the way you might be thinking. It comes out much like the fat from a cooked chicken, or a thickened egg drop soup.

My only problem now is...what to store it in! If you have a 5 gallon bucket with a lid...this is a good option.

Here are some other ideas I have for containers, I just haven't purchased one yet. Container Option #1 or Container Option #2. Do you have any ideas for me??

You only need a 1/2 cup of detergent per full load of laundry. I have now tested this recipe on dish towels, bath towels, baby laundry and adult laundry and have found it works well with everything!

Hope you have as much success as I did!