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Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY Basic Cookie Mix + 3 Yummy and Easy Cookie Variations

These recipes came from one of my many Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks. Their recipes are always tried and true country favorites and so delicious! As the name of the cookie mix implies, the mix makes a great gift.

THE MIX: Kate's Cheerful-Giver Basic Cookie Mix
8 1/2 c. flour
2 c. brown sugar
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. dry milk powder
3 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/2 c. shortening (one that doesn't need refrigeration)

Combine first six ingredients in large bowl. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Store in an airtight container 8-10 weeks in refrigerator. For slightly longer storage, store mix in freexer. Yields about 17 cups of mix.

OPTION #1: Grandma's Gran-Oatey Cookies
2 1/2 c. cookie mix
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. granola

Mix together cookie mix, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. Add oatmeal and granola. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow oatmeal and granola to absorb moisture. Bake at 350 for 9 to 11 minutes on greased baking sheet. Cook on wire rack.

OPTION #2: Lunch-Pail Peanut-Butter Cookies
3 c. cookie mix
3/4 c peanut butter
1 egg
1 T. water
3 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped
1/2 t. cinnamon (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. Make criss-cross pattern with tines of fork on each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 or until light golden brown. Cook on wire racks.

OPTION #3: Two-Times Chocolate Chippers
3 c. cookie mix
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. nuts, chopped

Mix together cookie mix, milk, egg and vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate, chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9 to 11 minutes or until done. Cool on wire racks.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Make Your Own Laundry Soap

Making your own laundry soap is much easier thank you might think -- and it's super-cheap! You just need a few ingredients and a food processor and you're good to go.

- bar soap *see note below*
- Washing soda - not baking soda
- Borax

- large container to store your soap
- Measuring cup
- Large mixing bowl
- Food processor

Making Your Detergent:
Your mixing ratio is simple: 1 bar of soap (or 2 cups soap shreds) to 1 cup Borax and 1 cup Washing Soda.

1. Grate your soap using your food processor or a hand grater. The finer the shreds, the better.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups soap shreds with 1 cup Borax and 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix well.

3. Scoop your the soap mix into the food processor and use the chopping blade to finely pulse the soap mix. You want the soap shreds to mix well with the Washing Soda and Borax, and create a fine crumb-like mixture. Once finely processed, transfer to your container for storage.

4. Continue through remaining soap shred mixture in bowl, until all have been finely processed and well mixed with the Borax and Washing Soda. Transfer to your storage container as each batch is finely pulsed.

Using the Detergent:
When washing, use about 1/8 cup for medium loads and 1/4 cup for large loads. This soap does not bubble, so don't be alarmed when you don't see suds! Also, note the type of bar soap you use will have different stain-removal properties. Use Fels Naptha if you rely solely on your detergent for stain-fighting.

Soap Suggestions:
Ivory is a good choice, but I've been known to use whatever blows my hairback when I'm shopping. For the all natural route, you can choose Dr. Bronners bar soap, but at $4+ a bar, it is too rich for my blood. Other options are Fels Naptha (great for stain removal) or Zote.