Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Wonderful Laundry Detergent

     For a good 6 months now my mother and I have been using this recipe to make our own laundry detergent and we absolutely love it.  I am not sure where she found this recipe so I do not have a link for it, but I figured why not give the recipe and show lovely pictures of me making it, minus me in the pictures.

All these things can be found at a Walmart except the bucket. You will also need a cheese grater.

Step 1:
     Cut the Fels Naptha Soap into thirds.  Grate 1/3 of the soap with your cheese grater or like me I used my grater attachment on my food processor.  You will want the grated soap to be fine for easy melting.  Take the other two thirds of soap and put into a zip-lock for next time.  So one bar of soap gets you three batches of Laundry detergent.

Step 2:

     Put grated soap in a pot with 6 cups of water and heat on low until all the soap is melted.  Do not let the soap boil!  Once all the soap is melted add the washing soda and Borax.  Stir until fully dissolved. 

After it thickens it will be frothy on top

     Remove from heat and pour into bucket.  Keep stirring as it cools till mixture is thick, almost honey like.

Step 3:
Pouring in the hot water

     Pour 4 cups of hot tap water into your bucket.  Stir the soup with the water till blended smoothly.  You can add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree oil or vanilla or really anything you wish.  You can also add nothing and still get great clean clothes its your wish.

After all the water is added and the stirring
 is done now just needs to sit overnight!

     Now add one gallon plus 6 more cups of hot tap water.  I used a leftover empty milk gallon for easy measuring.  Stir for another few minutes then let sit overnight.

Step 4:
  The next morning the soap will look runny, or gel like, or separated with big clumps of slime on top and water on the bottom.  This is normal depending on the weather you are having and soap you used.  You can either keep it in the detergent in the bucket, scooping out 1/2 cup per load or give it a good stir and funnel it into your old well rinsed laundry detergent bottle or you can purchase a nice 2 gallon beverage dispenser like I did. I bought mine at Walmart for less then $3.

This does the job great!

Step 5:
     Since I use the beverage dispenser with a spigot I had to get all the clumpies out of the soap or else it gets clogged up after a few uses.  Using an immersion blender does the job to make it nice and smooth. Im sure you can also poor amounts into a food processor or a normal blender to smooth it out as well.

     If you have a Downy Ball, you can fill it up 1/2 way with Distilled White Vinegar and it can be used for fabric softener.  If you do not have one you can add 1/2 cup of the vinegar to the rinse cycle or just go buy one at Walmart as well for only $1.37.  You can also purchase some of these things through and receive free fast shipping every time! They have amazing prices as well.

   This is a great way to save you money and be a little green too! I believe the total first purchase will be roughly $20 which is about the same for a large liquid Tide.  This price is if you buy all the extras too including the Downy Ball and dispenser.  The best thing about this price this will only be a one time high.  Any other time will only be the purchase of the Borax, washing soda, bar of soap, and the vinegar if you use it.  Like I said my mom and I have been doing this for 6 months and only had to buy 1 more bar of soap since it only gets you 3 batches at a time but the Borax and washing soda if not used for anything but the detergent will last you 6 months plus.  I highly recommend to try this especially in todays tight money societ!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alexia Tarabotti is going Manga

It has recently been released that the first book of the Parasol Protectorate Series written by Gail Carriger is going to be making its debut as a Manga.  Soulless manga will be the next big hype surrounding Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the main character of Gail's big seller series.  This is most exciting for Gail and her fans! I sure know I am excited about it.  When I asked about her feelings on the upcoming manga, Ms. Carriger replied "I'm so excited about the manga, not every author is so lucky as to get to see their characters come to life in such a vibrant way."  The first chapter of it has been released on the Parasol Protectorate Facebook page which I have already read and loved every moment of it.  I didn't feel like I was reading Soulless word for word but instead I was able to see my visual thoughts in beautiful art work which really brought it to life.   Soulless manga is to be on shelves in 2012.

If you would like a taste of Soulless the way it was originally written not the manga here is a podcast by Artistic Whispers of the first chapter.  This is not your ordinary podcast or audiobook but more like an old radio show.  I absolutely enjoyed listening to it and it was very well done! 

Soulless By Gail Carriger ch 1, Production by Artistic Whispers

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Sushi

     Last night was an wonderful night!  My loving husband who doesn't like fantasy movies nor does he like sushi took me out for both with our friend Adam.  Even though everything was Adams idea I was glad to get out of the house and have a night off as mom and was about to be just a wife. The three of us went to Ooka Sushi Restaurant at the Riverside Plaza, CA.  The prices were very reasonable for the atmosphere that you get!  As for the food, it was absolutely delicious!  All three of us ate till we were full  and brought home left overs.  There wasn't much when it came to the left overs but there was some.  Next time I do plan on just going there for desert! After dinner we went out on their patio and enjoyed the live music that the Plaza had in its main street while finishing up our drinks and letting our food settle.  This was very relaxing and entertaining.
    Off to the show when all was done and eaten.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the end to the big series.  The biggest shocker for me was that my husband who always falls asleep during any movie that is fantasy based stayed awake for this one the entire time.  Over all I enjoyed this movie and is pleased with the production with only a few minor complaints.  The length of the movie is 2 hours 5 mins which I found to be a perfect running time.  You never get bored or a sore butt, and  right when you think you are in need for a bathroom break the movie comes to the finish.  I highly recommend this film for all fantasy lovers but I wouldn't suggest doing so before watching or reading all the rest or else you will be lost in the story line.  My husband has "seen" all the movies since we own them but still he is always asking me questions on whos who and which one is the bad guys and what the heck is Gringotts.  So spare your friends or loved ones you go with and do some catching up first before you go see it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's That Your Baking? Part 2

     In the past two days I have made to very successful breads.  Using my trusty King Arthur Flour and their recipe I produced the most delicious Italian Bread for my dear pregnant friend Chelsey.  This certain bread is from the King Arthur Flour "The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook" and takes well over 18 hours to make.  I began the starter around 11:30 Wednesday evening and let it sit covered for 16 hours.  From there I added the rest of the ingredients using my bread maker as the mixer then transfered the dough into a large lightly greased mixing bowl and covered to rise.  During this rising process I would fold the dough and flip every 30 mins for a total of an 1 hour and a half.  After the time was complete I then separated the risen dough into three equal balls rolling them out into a 20 inch snake like roll.  With the 3 rolls complete they were braided together to form a beautiful ready to bake loaf.  Covered for another hour to let another rise compete I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  Once the hour was over I egg washed the loaf and stuck it in the heated oven for 25 to 35 mins.  I have learned that the best way to know that you have the perfect loaf is by using an instant read thermometer to see if the bread has reached 190 degrees internally.  I have yet for that theory to be proven wrong!

The Finished Project!
     Today was a new baking adventure.  A few days back I started a sourdough starter using a King Arthur Flour Sourdough Starter recipe online.  I really liked this starter due to how simple it is and not needing to discard half of it everyday to feed it.  Actually I had this starter now for 4 days and did not have to do anything but stir it once a day with no feeding.  When it was time to make the bread the starter was roughly around 2 1/2 cups.  Needing only 2 cups of it for the bread recipe I left the remaining 1/2 cup in the container it was originally in and fed it with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour then placed it in the fridge to slow down its process.  Now for once I didn't use a KAF recipe for the actual bread but one from Chef John Mitzewich.  I took the 2 cups of starter that I set aside and poured it into my bread maker pan.  Then I mixed 2 cups (8 1/2 oz) of flour 1tsp. sugar 2sap salt 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl then gently poured it over the starter in the bread maker pan.  I set my bread maker to a medium white bread setting and let it rip.  While it mixed and kneaded I began to add roughly 1/2 cup of flour one spoon full at a time letting it mix efficiently.  Now this 1/2 cup isn't an exact measure it is an estimate, adding just enough till the dough looked smooth and had the proper consistency of a bread dough.  Close the lid and let the maker do the rest.
Beautiful Sourdough!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PC Challenged

     All my life of computers I have only owned Apple products thanks to my loving father.  I remember the first one he ever brought home too.  Black and white screen and slower then molasses.  So in the next few months I will be making my first purchase of a laptop but do to trying to keep a budget I am afraid that I will have to join the PC world and wait for my dream Mac when the time is right.  Now I have a problem, I have no idea how or even where to start when it comes to picking out the right PC laptop.  There are so many brands and I know nothing about any of them.  I was considering just buying a netbook to just hold me off till I can afford what I really wish but non have a DVD/CD drive.  
      I'm asking for you PC owners out there for your help! Give me some point of direction! The things I need for it to do is simple.  Play movies, get on the web, and the ability to sync my iPhone with iTunes.  I also will need it to hold all my photos of my son and family along with any home videos we make of my son to share with the rest of my family while we are away from them.  Please help me in my journey of buying a computer!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Changeless: Book 2 From The Parasol Protectorate Series

It only took two weeks for my book discussion group to finish the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series and the sequal to Soulless by Gail Carriger.  This review on Changeless will start by sharing my little conversation with the author herself on twitter:

     "Time to start Changeless by @gailcarriger so looking forward to what this story is about and what Alexia Tarabotti will do next"
     "@AngYbarra Hope you enjoy it."
     "@gailcarriger finished the first chapter and you already had me lol with the Gamma and Alexia and of course with Ivy. I <3 her and her hats"
         "@AngYbarra I must say Ivy is one of the most fun characters to write."

Gail is probably one of the most genuinely nicest people I have met via twitter! She is always sweet in any of her @Mentions to me and willing to answer any of mine even if I do not except a reply!  I do also enjoy her tweets on steampunk, tea, and retro fashion.  I highly recommend to follow her! I also love the fact that she willingly followed me just because of the fact that I was tweeting about her books and @Mentioned her in them.

Now back to the book.  It topped the first for sure! It was clever and witty along with suspenseful and adventurous. The plot starts only a few months where the first book Soulless leaves off.  It gives a new enemy but in a way no one could ever expect after reading the first which keeps you guessing as the book unfolds it's story. I don't want to tell any details so not to ruin anything for those who have still not read the first book but this is another 5 star reader in my opinion.  I would have read it in one night if I didn't have to pace myself for my discussion meetings once a week. I will say though that Changeless has a dirigible flight adventure to Scotland, an unwrapping of a mummy, and a scandalous elope! If you are wondering what the heck is a dirigible there is a picture below.  The next I will be reading book #3 called Blameless.  So expect my blog on it in two weeks.

A Dirigible: it is a type of Zeppelin

What's that your Baking?

I have pulled out my wonderful Breadmaker and decided to try out a potato bread recipe from my King Arthur Flour cook book.  It has to be my most treasured cook book when it comes to baking! Everything I have ever tried out of it has turned out fabulous! Plus always a surprise too because there are no actual photos in it so I never really know what anything is suppose to look like.  My other favorite cook book is The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond.  She is absolutely funny and talented.  Everything in this book makes you drool just looking at the photo!

Now one cook book I am dying to have is My Grill by Pete Evens.  That man can cook! I first saw this book at Williams Sonoma and of course they were selling it at full price which I am such a penny pincher there is no way I would buy a book for $30 but I do plan on buying it through Barnes & Noble online since they have it at half price.  Cannot beat half price now can we!

So what cookbooks do you live by? Do you have a favorite bread recipe? Please share I would love to hear it!

Heres the promised pictures of the finished product!

Soulless The Parasol Protectorate Series


So I have began the Parasol Protectorate book series.  I recently have finished Soulless which is the first book in the series and began Changeless this week.   For those who have not heard or read Soulless let me give you a run down about the story plot.

It is about a 26 year old spinster named Alexia Tarabotti who lives in London during the time of Queen Victoria.  In this Victorian time Vampires and Werewolves were well know and established in the high society and were treated like any other daylight folk.  Now Miss Tarabotti is neither werewolf or vampire but she is in fact without a soul, a supernatural being called a preternatural.  This state of being soulless gives Alexia a few power tricks of her own. This book was absolutely wonderful the whole way through it.  The author Gail Carriger, has kept the victorian age beautifully in her book but also has add the steampunk technology and even some fashion.  It was one book that I could not even bring myself to put down! Oh and of course being filled with adventure and some horror but Gail also added the perfect amount of romanticism.  Of course the spinster does become involved in an unusual love life.  I also have never laughed so hard while reading a book.  Gail is truly talented and I highly recommend her for any good reading! So here is my mini book review for any of you readers out there.  If you like to keep up with me reading the second book Changeless I will post another review when Im done and will occasionally post about it while Im reading it on my twitter feel free to follow me @AngYbarra