Monday, January 26, 2009

An experiment revealed.

As things are not so bueno for us financially, (jeez, enough with the no-money, already!) I have been getting very creative with ways to save money, and I think I may have found a couple of keepers. I thought I would share them, now that I am feeling confident that the information is worthy of sharing.
Keep in mind: as the stay-at-home component of a family unit subsisting on a teacher's salary for 20 years, I have debated in my head ad nauseum the time vs. money condundrum...and time, however little or much of it I might have, always wins. Both of the following ideas take a little time, but I have noticed a definite loosening of the grocery burden already, and time is not really wasted when it ultimately means better health for my family, and a smaller ecological footprint left behind. So without further ado: I have started making the bread in our household again. I never really did like the recipe I grew up with, but could never find anything that was as easy, but made a better loaf. Until last month. I found a website that led me to TWO recipes that I have come to depend on, and they both make simply the best bread I have ever eaten. And both recipes are about as easy as they could possibly be. The website is one good loaf, which led me to this recipe, and this recipe, both links from the original website. The dutch oven bread is absolutely to die for. Amazing artisan bread that seriously is better than anything you will buy at a little corner bakery. I am making this recipe today in anticipation of forming baguettes. If it works, I will be able to die happy. I'll keep you posted. :) The other big money-saver is that I made my own laundry soap last week. (I know, don't we wish we all had that kind of time. See disclaimer above.) Surprisingly, it took very little actual time (not counting 'fermentation') In fact, I will probably keep doing this one even when my husband starts making more money than we will ever know what do with, for this reason: I hate artificial smells, and laundry soap tops the list. The next reason, and I'm a little embarrassed to mention this one, because this trait is so obviously from my father, is that this one just feels like I am really 'sticking it to the man.' I love that I have found a way to beat those folks who make products that are really 2 or 3 simple ingredients that our grandmothers used, packaged it all up pretty, tack on 580% for advertising that theirs is somehow better than the other guys, and we are stuck buying it. And did I mention that it stinks? Well, no more. Tiny bit more labor-intensive each day, as the glop must be shaken before each use, but my triceps are already thanking me. I used a plain old Ivory soap bar, Arm & Hammer super washing soda (not baking soda, mind you) and borax. Follow this recipe, and you too can spend a mere 0.03 cents per load of laundry (versus 30-50 cents per load. It adds up quickly, trust me)...and the bonus is that it is super low suds, so it is great for high efficiency washers. My laundry is as clean as it ever was. I went the extra mile and poked a hole in the top of my bucket, so that once I stir it, I siphon the stuff right out of the 5 gallon bucket into the little container I use for the daily wash. (I give a shout-out here to my older brother, the Master of siphoning.) It was easier to do it this way to facilitate the shaking. You will need, in addition to the ingredients, a 5-gallon bucket, and a smaller 150 oz spigot jug.(These are easy to shake up.) I will say that next batch will be made with fels-naptha, mostly for experimental purposes, but also because it's just so old-fashioned...I'm kinda getting into that aspect of it, and have you ever smelled fels-naptha? I love it. Distinctive, but light. Just right.


  1. AWEsome, Megan! I'm so glad you shared these tips! We came up with some scrumpdilyicious bread last week - gluten-free, no less. I'll certainly try your soap recipe.

    Have more money saving ideas? Send 'em on, Sista!

  2. So after all these years i find out that you didn't really like my bread. I am crushed!
    Love you anyway

  3. Not the bread itself, dopus...the recipe!