Monday, February 16, 2009

Homemade all-purpose cleaner

For the past 6 months or so, we've been making our own all-purpose cleaner. It's been wonderful not to have that chemical smell in the house, and it's a lot cheaper, too. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 qt (1 l) hot water
  • 1 qt (1 l) white vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp castile soap
  • 20 drops tea tree oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
Mix everything together in a big container with a lid (we use an old 1 gallon vinegar bottle), and shake. It may be a bit cloudy as the castille soap tends to clot up a bit, but it works very well. The tea tree oil and lavender oil are both natural disinfectants and good at fighting mold. The lavender also makes it smell nice in a natural way. You should be able to find castile soap, tea tree oil, and lavender oil in most health food stores (or online).

Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle and use for all-purpose cleaning.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Carrot Rolls

These carrot rolls are a favorite with the kids and adults in our house: tasty and healthy! This recipe makes 32 rolls, but they freeze well, and then you're not baking quite as often.

From Green-Savvy

  • 9 dl (1 qt) milk
  • 60 g (2 oz) butter
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2.5 dl (1 cup) plain yogurt
  • 1.5 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 dl (1/3 cup) flaxseed meal
  • 1.5 dl (1/2 cup) 10-grain cereal (or other grain mix like King Arthur's Harvest Grain Blend). You can also substitute wheat bran.
  • 350 g (12 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp dry parsley flakes or 2 dl (3/4 cup) fresh
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt
  • 400 g (14 oz) shredded carrots
  • 1.4 kg (3 lb) all-purpose flour
Melt butter in a large stock pot (I use a 4 gallon stock pot for the whole process, but you could also melt butter and heat milk in a smaller pot and then continue in a large mixing bowl). Add milk and heat until mixture reaches about 38C (100F), or until luke warm. Take the pot off the heat and stir in honey and yogurt. Dissolve yeast in the mixture. Add remaining ingredients, keeping back some of the all-purpose flour. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lare oiled bowl/pot, and allow to rise covered for 60 minutes until doubled in size and the dough doesn't spring back when poked with a finger.

Form into individual rolls. I try to make them 100-125g (~4 oz) each. I find that oiling the work surface when making the rolls is a lot easier than with a floured surface. Place on baking sheet and allow to rise covered for about 30 minutes. Brush tops with beaten eggs. Bake 15 minutes at 225C (437F) until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.