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Showing posts from April, 2012

Crock Pot Cheese Dip

This cheese dip recipe is always a favorite at family functions and potlucks, and is so easy to make.  It comes from, of all places, the owner's manual of my Kitchen Selectives slow cooker (though I have modified it slightly).  It can be served with chips, veggies, pretzels, or anything else you can think of to dip in.  Also, this recipe is easily doubled if you'd like a bigger batch. Crock Pot Cheese Dip (Printable Version Click Here) Ingredients: 2 cans (4 oz. each) diced green chilies 4 green onions, sliced 1/4 cup salsa 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Jack cheese 1 cup sour cream 3 ounces cream cheese Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, until melted and hot.  Stir before serving.  Serve on low heat, stirring occasionally. Additions/modifications: Add 1/4 pound cooked ground beef Try different types of cheeses, such as mozzarella, Pepper Jack, or muenster Add 2 cups re-fri

Easy Homemade Clothes Pin Holder

Did you know the average household can save $25 a month by line drying their clothing? Furthermore, laundry that is washed with cold water and then line dried lasts longer--after all, what do you think all that lint in your dryer's lint trap is from?  Lint is made up of little particles of your clothing that have come off due to the high heat and tumbling action of the dryer.  This means that clothing dried in a dryer will show signs of wear and tear sooner, and colors will fade more quickly. These are great reasons to line dry your laundry whenever possible, but I wont stop there.  Line dried clothes smell like fresh air and sunshine (much more pleasing than synthetic fragrances), are not full of static electricity, and--if dried in the sun--are disinfected by the sun's ultraviolet rays.  Line drying gets you outside in the fresh air, and it burns around 45 calories every 15 minutes you are hanging clothes. As you can see, there are many benefits to line drying your laun

How to Make Soap for Beginners, Part Two: Simple Shortening Soap

In Part One of this series, we discussed what supplies are needed to make a batch of cold-process soap.  Hopefully everyone has had a chance to pick up the supplies on the shopping list, and is ready to get going. Before We Begin, a Safety Disclaimer... I have been making soap for a couple years now.  When I first began, I was afraid of the lye.  I had on goggles, gloves, long sleeves--basically, there was not a scrap of skin exposed any where on my body.  Now that I have been making soap for a while, I no longer wear the goggles and gloves.  Please understand that I am in no way saying you shouldn't wear goggles, gloves, or anything else to protect your body while making soap; after all, I did put those items on the supplies list.  I just choose not to, but that is my personal choice.  I have never been injured while making soap, but I understand that accidents do happen. The reason I am mentioning this is because you will likely notice in some of the photos that I am not

How to Make Soap for Beginners, Part One: Getting Your Supplies Together

  "What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." I debated for some time whether or not I wanted to tackle the subject of soap-making in my blog.  It is not a complicated process, but people write entire books on the subject, so putting my "soaping" knowledge into a blog post seemed a daunting task. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.  Of all the things I have learned on my path to self-sufficiency, I would have to say that making soap is one of the skills I am most proud of.  Soap can be used not only to clean our bodies, but also to make products that can be used to clean our homes and clothing, make a more earth-friendly pesticide, and even as a lubricant (no, not that kind of lubricant--as in rubbing a bar of soap on a rusty zipper to get it zipping again). With all this usefulness that soap provides, I finally decided that I had to blog about it.  If there is anyone out there reading this who is on the fence abou

City Chickens: The Newest Addition to Our Flock

Everyone, meet Kiwi, the newest addition to our city flock!  (pardon my son's obnoxious laughter in this video) Kiwi is such a cutie, but she is rather noisy.  I suppose this is because we are raising her alone, and she misses her sisters.  You see, we used to have four hens (the maximum allowed according to city ordinance), but one day, tragedy struck.  Two dogs on the loose (and the city was worried about the havoc our chickens would wreak) attacked our beautiful hens. I will never forget the day I came outside to find those two dumb dogs in my yard, and feathers all over the place!  Three of our hens were attacked that day, and unfortunately, one of them did not make it.  So, this spring, we had the opportunity to add another chicken to our flock to replace the one that had been lost.  And we chose the noisiest one in the joint (hubby said we needed one with attitude).  And now, we have Kiwi. She is a California White, which is a hybrid.  She is a cross between a Cali

Big, Chewy Molasses Cookies (Small Batch Recipe)

I have been scouring my cookbooks and the Internet for recipes.  But not just any recipe; what I am looking for are scaled down recipes for my "evil pleasures"--mostly meaning things containing refined flour and sugar.  While I have drastically cut the amounts of these ingredients that I consume, I find nothing wrong in eating treats in moderation. However, it can be difficult to eat homemade goodies in moderation when a recipe makes enough to serve an army.  For instance, I wanted to make my husband a batch of molasses cookies.  Most of the recipes I looked at made around 4 dozen cookies.  This means 12 cookies for each of us, since we're a family of four--not exactly eating in moderation in my opinion! What I ended up doing in the end (since I could not find a recipe for a small batch anywhere ) was modifying a bigger recipe.  I was a little nervous about trying this, and I wasn't sure if it would turn out.  I reduced each ingredient to 1/4 of what is was in t