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Homemade by Jade

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  • Tracey Boyer
  • January 17, 2015 02:23:21 AM
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A Little About Us

A blog about homesteading and getting back to a simpler lifestyle. Posts include subjects such as cooking from scratch, backyard gardening, canning, cooking, crafts, sewing and household DIY.

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How to Make a Laundry Scent Booster (like Unstoppables)

If you really love laundry that smells great, you have probably already tried store bought laundry scent boosters like Unstoppables. While they don't do anything towards making your clothes cleaner, they do make your laundry smell wonderful!   The downside is they are pretty expensive and I have often wondered exactly what is in them.  Most all commercially made laundry products are usually full of all kinds of chemicals and artificial scents.  Manufacturers are not...


If you really love laundry that smells great, you have probably already tried store bought laundry scent boosters like Unstoppables. While they don't do anything towards making your clothes cleaner, they do make your laundry smell wonderful!   The downside is they are pretty expensive and I have often wondered exactly what is in them.  Most all commercially made laundry products are usually full of all kinds of chemicals and artificial scents.  Manufacturers are not required to put all the ingredients on the label, reading labels will not help you.  The best way to deal with this problem is to make your own.....it is so easy you will not believe it!!


​Just a couple of common ingredients and you are good to go.

Ingredients:

​Directions:

Measure epsom salt into a bowl
Add 20-30 drops essential oil 
Stir thoroughly to combine
Pour onto a cookie sheet and spread out to dry 

Pour the dried mixture into a Mason jar 

Instructions for Use: 

​Add 1 tablespoon of the Laundry Scent Booster directly to the washer while it is filling and wash as usual.

The Epsom salt will dissolve in the water, transferring the scent to the clothing and drying will intensify it.  If you want a stronger scent, just add more oil to the Epsom salt.  Your clothes will come out smelling fabulous and for much less than buying the chemical laden 
store bought variety. 
You can use any essential oil fragrance you like.  I prefer to use a combined scent, mixing two different oils.  Pine Needle and Lemongrass is my favorite.  If you want to try mixed scents and you are wondering which oil scent are good together, here are a few combinations that go well together:
If you like this recipe, please share it with friends and on Pinterest!

Have a great week,

Jade    :)



Images:
By author and Amazon products
https://www.flickr.com/photos/147374674@N04/29787022785/sizes/l



How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas

​Over the last few years, I have found myself using tortillas more and more.  I use them instead of bread for sandwiches. (otherwise known as "wraps")  I toast them in a bowl shape and put salad in them.  Of course there are tons of Mexican food applications like soft tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.  I have also toasted them in triangles for a crunchy snack, either with salt or with cinnamon sugar.  Their uses are endless!  But, as always with stuff that is...

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​Over the last few years, I have found myself using tortillas more and more.  I use them instead of bread for sandwiches. (otherwise known as "wraps")  I toast them in a bowl shape and put salad in them.  Of course there are tons of Mexican food applications like soft tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.  I have also toasted them in triangles for a crunchy snack, either with salt or with cinnamon sugar.  Their uses are endless!  But, as always with stuff that is good, they are not that cheap, so I decided to learn to make my own.  I was shocked at how simple it was. 


​Ingredients:

  • 4 cups white flour (you can use ground wheat flour if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter  (can use shortening but its not as flavorful)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (lukewarm, not hot!)
​​
Directions​ :
  1. Turn on your oven to its lowest setting
  2. Stir together the baking powder, salt and flour 
  3. Cut butter into pieces and drop into the flour mixture and mix with your hands until you get a crumble consistency 
  4. Slowly add the water, stirring until you have smooth dough
  5. Flour your counter and place the dough on it and kneed with your hands, briefly.  Do not over kneed as it will add too much flour to the dough
  6. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough and cut into 24 pieces
  7. Spray your skillet with cooking spray or use a teaspoon of oil and turn on the heat medium-high 
  8. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten to a circular tortilla thickness with a rolling pin
  9. Place the tortilla in the skillet and cook until golden and toasty, then flip and do the same to the other side
  10. Remove from skillet and place on paper towels in a warm oven
  11. Do the same with the rest of the pieces  
  12. When you are done, serve or put them in a container with a tight fitting lid, trying to get out as much air as possible



Since these tortillas don't have any preservatives, they must be kept in the refrigerator, and eaten within a few days or a week.  Mine rarely make it that long!

Have a great weekend!

​Jade    :)



Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

​If you use hand sanitizer on a regular basis, it can get to be rather expensive. Why buy it, when you can easily make it?Have you ever looked at the ingredients on store bought hand sanitizer? Do you have any idea what most of the ingredients are? I don't! Do you really want to put that stuff on your skin on a regular basis, not knowing what chemicals and preservatives they throw in with the goal of a long shelf life being more important to them than the health and safety of your family's...

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If you use hand sanitizer on a regular basis, it can get to be rather expensive. Why buy it, when you can easily make it?

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on store bought hand sanitizer? Do you have any idea what most of the ingredients are? I don't! Do you really want to put that stuff on your skin on a regular basis, not knowing what chemicals and preservatives they throw in with the goal of a long shelf life being more important to them than the health and safety of your family's skin ? Not to mention that some companies still test sanitizer on animals, a practice I would never want to support. Make your own, it's better in every way.
I use two recipes, one with alcohol and one without. I usually use the one without, but sometimes, like visiting a hospital, I will use the alcohol based one, since I feel it probably kills germs more thoroughly. (but at the cost of drying out your skin, if used every day)
Alcohol Based Sanitizer Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of 91% or higher rubbing alcohol
  • 3 drops of lavender oil (optional for a nicer smell)


Alcohol Free Sanitizer Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 2 teaspoons of witch hazel
  • 3 drops of lavender oil (optional for a nicer smell)

I prefer to mix the ingredients in a blender, I feel you get a better end product, but you can mix them by hand. Then you just pour them into a small bottle and keep in your purse or pocket. I get the empty travel size bottles at the dollar store.

There you go! Do it yourself hand sanitizer that you know is safe and is much, much cheaper than the store bought variety. Enjoy!

Jade    :)
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​If you liked this post, here are some others you may want to check out:

How to Make Liquid Hand Soap
How to Make a Magic Eraser Type Sponge
How to Make Reusable Dryer Sheets


Zesty Mexican Corn Dip

Today​ I want to share with you one of my favorite Mexican dips.  Many of you will be attending or giving a Super Bowl party soon and you will want to include this dip in your menu.  Trust me, it will be a huge hit with the spicy crowd!​​Ingredients:​​4 cups whole kernel corn1/2 cup diced celery1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined then chopped 3 tbsp. mayonnaise1/4 cup sour cream (optional, I like my dip creamier so I use it)1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or if you like more...

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Today​ I want to share with you one of my favorite Mexican dips.  Many of you will be attending or giving a Super Bowl party soon and you will want to include this dip in your menu.  Trust me, it will be a huge hit with the spicy crowd!


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​Ingredients:
  • 4 cups whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined then chopped 
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional, I like my dip creamier so I use it)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or if you like more spice, pepper jack)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, chopped or 2/3 teaspoon dried 
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin (can use regular onion about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt to taste
​Directions:

Mix all ingrdients except the corn and lime juice in a bowl.  
When it is well mixed add corn and lime juice and mix gently
Chill at least 3 hours before serving.  I prefer to make it the day before so the flavors can come together and mix more fully


You can use any kind of corn you like, canned, frozen, or fresh sliced off the cob.  I usually chop my corn, but you don't have to.  I just prefer my dip to have a smaller profile and not be full of whole corn kernels, which makes it kind of large on a chip.  I also use mayonnaise with olive oil because it is less fattening and creamier.  The sour cream I use is also reduced fat.  This is how I make it, you can use whatever type of mayo and sour cream you prefer.

A lot of this recipe is made "to taste."  Any of the spices can be adjusted up or down, depending on what you like.  You can also use whatever cheese you like from pepper jack to mozzarella.  If you like creamier dips, add the sour cream, but you don't have to.  You can also add more or less jalepeno or skip it altogether if you don't like that much heat.

Most of the time I serve this as a dip with tortilla chips, but it can be eaten many different ways.  I have eaten it in soft taco shells with shredded lettuce, mixed it in with a cold rice salad and I have even stuffed it in tortillas like a burrito and baked them!  It really is a 

wonderful flavor, hot or cold.
This dip is always a hit, wherever I take it, so try it at your next gathering....but be prepared to have people ask for the recipe!  

Jade    :)

Bamboozle makes all kinds of 
great kitchenware.  Check out 
​all their stuff here
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Bamboozle Bamboo
Chip and Dip Tray

Sustainable ~ Biodegradable ~ Inexpensive


How to Wrap Beautiful Gifts Without Bows

Why would you want to wrap gifts without bows, you ask?  Well, there are several reasons, but why I had to do it was because I have a feisty 10 month old orange kitten that simply won't leave bows alone.  So unless I want a bunch of bedraggled, ripped and toothmarked Christmas bows, I had to go another route.  Another reason would be to save money.  Ribbon is expensive, even bags of premade bows are as inexpensive as they used to be.  Going without bows saves...

Why would you want to wrap gifts without bows, you ask?  Well, there are several reasons, but why I had to do it was because I have a feisty 10 month old orange kitten that simply won't leave bows alone.  So unless I want a bunch of bedraggled, ripped and toothmarked Christmas bows, I had to go another route.  Another reason would be to save money.  Ribbon is expensive, even bags of premade bows are as inexpensive as they used to be.  Going without bows saves money!  A third reason is that it is impossible to stack gifts for transport if they have bows on them.  You can try, but I guarantee by the time you get them to the desired location, they bows will be mashed, ripped or missing completely.  Do yourself a favor and go bowless!  With a little ingenuity and glue, you will have gorgeous packages and the recipients will be amazed!

​What you will need to do this is a glue stick, scissors, a few different kinds of ribbon, and wrapping paper.  I found it to be easier if you have paper that comes in a set, so they go together, but this is not necessary.  You can be creative and use any assortment of paper that you think looks pretty.  The glue stick I used is this one:  Elmers All Purpose Glue Stick
You really need this, trust me!  Don't try to do this with regular glue, or even Mod Podge.  Regular glue will make your paper pieces wrinkle and warp, and not lay flat.  Mod Podge should be brushed on the gift and then the paper pieces put on the Mod Podged wrapping paper.  Doing this will ruin the shine of the gift wrap.  Take my advice and get a glue stick, and save yourself the grief.
First you wrap your gift.  Make sure not to use gift wrap that is too busy.  If it is, your pattern pieces will get lost and hard to see.  After your gift is wrapped, decide what you want to put on the front of it.  From here, you can go three ways, you can free hand cut out the pieces, you can draw the shapes on the back of the paper and cut out, or you can make a pattern to trace on the back of the wrapping paper.  I used all three methods, depending on how complex the design was.  Below is one of the packages I used a pattern for:

​I used a ruler for the lines and plain typing paper for the pattern.  This is the result:


Luckily, I happened to have two colors of the same wrapping paper, which I think happened to make this pattern particularly pretty.  After gluing on the tree, I cut out the red circles out of red paper scraps and glued them on in the center of the snowflakes.  I think it came out really cute!  I used this idea to make the same tree design on a another gift, only in a different way.  This time I just used a ruler and pencil to trace out the pattern on the back of the paper before cutting.
Here is a zoomed in picture.  I should have left more space between the pieces so it would be easier to see the separation.  Live and learn!

For this one, I just used a ruler to trace out triangular trees and I left them whole.  The paper I used came from a set that came together, so they match well.  It's a simple design, but I think it is quite beautiful.

Sometimes I use the patterns on paper as a base for a design.  Like the one below, I made with the same paper as on the left hand tree on the package above.


I saw the ornament shape of the pattern on the gift wrap, and I decided to go with it.  First I cut them out, then I snipped a few pieces of ribbon for hangers and glued them together.

This is the other side of the giftwrap. 
​I love double sided paper, don't you?

​You don't really have to get fancy, sometimes a more plain design fits the package or gift wrap more, like the one below.  Simple geometric shapes make for an interesting design, especially if your background paper is a more busy design like my HO HO HO paper.


​I know that some of you are probably thinking, why should I go to all that trouble and work for something that is going to be ripped to pieces and destroyed?  Well, I look at it like an ice sculpture.  It's beautiful while it lasts, but it just isn't meant to last forever.  :)

Have a Happy, Merry, and Joyous Christmas!

Jade    :)

Photos by Jade


How to Make Bird Cakes

​​It's getting to be that time of year.  Cold, snowy and just a difficult time for our fine feathered friends outside.  I imagine it's hard for a bird to find food during winter with no plants blooming and no worms spending much time on the surface of the ground.  Having snow on the ground would make it even harder.  This is why I always keep my bird feeders full during cold weather.  When I have time, I even make little bird cakes to hang on the...


​​It's getting to be that time of year.  Cold, snowy and just a difficult time for our fine feathered friends outside.  I imagine it's hard for a bird to find food during winter with no plants blooming and no worms spending much time on the surface of the ground.  Having snow on the ground would make it even harder.  This is why I always keep my bird feeders full during cold weather.  When I have time, I even make little bird cakes to hang on the trees.  They love them and the fat they are made with helps keep the birds plump and well insulated from the cold.  I have four recipes that I like to use to make my bird cakes.  They are all easy and pretty quick to make.  Making them is a great family activity, perfect for the holidays.

​Many bird cake recipes call for suet.  If you don't know what suet is, it is basically fat.  When you trim the fat off a beef roast or the edge of a pork chop, that fat is suet.  If you don't have any solid meat fat to use, you can use bacon grease or even shortening like Crisco.   What you need is some type of fat that you can melt to a liquid form and then when chilled, it will harden to keep the other ingredients together for the birds to peck.  


My Four Favorite Bird Cake Recipes

Bird Delight

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the suet
Add all the other ingredients and stir to mix
Spoon into large paper cups or muffin tins and insert a drinking straw through the middle to make a hole for the string
Cool in the refrigerator until solid, peel away the paper cups and pull out the straw
Slip the string in the hole tie to a tree branch or bird feeder
Bird Bread
  • 2 cups melted creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal or stale dry cereal blended into crumbs
  • Warm water
  • 3 cups wild birdseed
  • 1/2 cup raisins and chopped peanuts

Soak raisins in warm water to hydrate them
Slowly melt peanut butter, (can substitute bacon grease) over low heat. 
Add cornmeal or cereal crumbs. 
Add birdseed, raisins and peanuts and stir to mix
Slowly add enough warm water to form a stiff dough
Spread mixture on a greased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch thick and refrigerate overnight
Cut or break into pieces to tie to tree branches

Bird Muffins

Melt suet over low heat 
Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until mixed well
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon in the mixture
Refrigerate overnight and tie to low hanging tree branches

Bird Balls
  • 1 cup suet
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup bacon grease
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups wild bird feed with sunflower seeds

In a saucepan on low heat, place suet, peanut butter, and molasses and melt together
Add oatmeal, cornmeal and bacon grease and stir till mixed
Add birdseed a little at a time while stirring until you get the proper consistency to make balls
Make 2 inch balls and freeze for a couple hours.
These balls can be tossed on the ground or placed in a feeder

If you don't have time or ingredients to make bird cakes, you can still help your birds by feeding them left over food.  Below is a list of foods that it is safe to feed birds.

Apple slices
Banana
Cooked rice
Chopped cooked pasta
Shredded hard cheese
Roasted melon, pumpkin or squash seeds
Cereal (low sugar is better)
Crackers (unsalted is better)
Dry dog or cat food
Unsalted nuts
Berries
Uncooked oatmeal
Bread and Cornbread
Cake, cookies and doughnuts  (small amounts)

These are just a few things that you can feed birds, however, if you are thinking of feeding something to your backyard birds, it is a good idea to Google it and make sure it is ok 
because somethings are not recommended, like raw tomatoes or mushrooms.

​This picture to the right is what is called a suet feeder.  Instead of tying your bird cakes to tree branches you can put them in this feeder and hang them anywhere you have birds.  You can also put fruit slices or bread in them for the birds to eat.  They just hang on the wires and peck! 

​I hope you have a great week!


Jade    :)


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