Friday, March 29, 2013

Rosebud's Butter Topped White Bread... WIN!

I am no chef. Which is kind of funny because I am married to a chef. Actually, until recently, I couldn't cook at all. Motherhood has brought out the Martha Stewart in me though. Add to that a couple of girlfriends who cook completely from scratch to both save money and keep ahead of their kid's dietary needs, and you have the "now" me. The one who cooks and cleans and loves all things crunchy. All that said, I have been terrified of attempting to make bread. That has been the one thing I have been absolutely avoiding. I DO NOT want to bake my own bread. It involves something called kneading... wha??? And then you "punch" it?? Okay, the punching part sounded fun but all the other stuff scared the crap out of me.

No bread baking around here, right? Well, then I went on a roadtrip with my most favorite ladies in the world. And I had from scratch bread at Lishy's house. And I decided come hell or high water, I was making some homemade bread. Lishy was kind enough to share her recipe. And then I had the bad manners to go and lose it. So I improvised and found this pin on Pinterest. This was seriously THE EASIEST thing ever!!! You mix up some stuff. Let it sit. Beat the bejesus out of it. Let it sit some more. Then you bake it! And here I thought it involved hours of kneading by hand, covered up to the elbows in flour, children starving while I spend days trying to create the perfect dough... You get the picture.. No fun. I could have not been more wrong!

Here it is! The recipe for the awesomest, easiest bread ever!

Rosebud's Butter Topped White Bread:
Fresh out of the oven!


4 and 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (or the equivalent of two packets)
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
2 and 2/3 cup additional warm water
9-10 cups all-purpose flour (I used half unbleached and half whole wheat flours)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the tops of the loaves
Additional butter/cooking spray, for greasing your rising bowl and loaf pans

1. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup of warm water, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the sugar, salt, butter, additional 2 and 2/3 cup warm water, and mix gently to combine.
3.  Slowly add 5 cups of the flour, mixing on low speed until smooth.
4. With the mixer on its lowest speed , slowly add the remaining flour until the dough is smooth.
5. Switch to your dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 10 minutes. ***Now, if you have a smaller mixer, I would recommend kneading the dough in two portions so as not to burn your motor out-this is a lot of dough.  Alternatively, like my grandmother used to do, you can knead all of the dough by hand.
6.  While the dough is kneading, lightly grease a large bowl with butter or cooking spray, as well as two loaf pans (I used 9″).
7.  Once the dough is ready, place the dough in the greased bowl and turn over to completely coat the dough with butter/cooking spray.  Cover, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
8. After an hour, punch down the dough (yes!) and divide it into two portions.
9. Working with one portion at a time, roll (with a rolling pin) the dough out into roughly 12″ x 12″ squares, making sure that the thickness of the dough is uniform throughout.
10.  Slowly and tightly roll up each square, sealing the edges firmly.
11.  Tuck the ends of the roll tightly under the bread and place into your prepared loaf pans.  Repeat with the second loaf.  Cover the loaves, set in a warm place, and let rise until doubled, about another hour.
12.  Place one rack on the lowest position in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
OMGosh yummy!
13. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then cover each loaf with aluminum foil to prevent the tops from browning too much.
14.  Once covered with foil, bake for an additional 15 minutes.
15. Remove the loaves from the oven, place on a wire rack to cool, and lightly brush the loaves with the melted butter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent.... WIN! And Other Laundry Secrets

This was my very first attempt at going natural. I knew I wanted to cut down the amount of chemicals in our house and laundry was something I was worried about the most. Our clothes touch us ALL DAY... Unless you are my children, then they touch you until about 5 pm. I, apparently, am raising strippers. We'll get to that later.

With the help of my lovely Lishy, I set out to make my own laundry detergent. I thought it was going to be INCREDIBLY difficult. Until I found She is my hippie mom guru. Here is the pin to her homemade laundry detergent. It is seriously so easy to make I wondered why I spent all that time and money on Tide. And this stuff takes the stains out of most everything.. I wish I had a before picture of Connor's high chair cover. Let me paint you a picture, 18 month old with a serious love of blueberries and a serious ability to squish and mash all of the ones he didn't consume. Yuck. I really thought the high chair cover was a lost cause, until I threw it in with my new laundry detergent. It came out as clean as the day I bought the chair. This detergent gets out spaghetti sauce too!

Thanks clker!

You'll need:
Washing Soda (bought or made yourself... post to come)
Bar Soap, Dr. Bronners, Fels Naptha, or any other castille soap
Baking Soda (optional)

This step is my least favorite... Grate your bar soap. You can use a hand grater or a food processor. Either way, it needs to be pretty fine so that it will mix well with your other ingredients and dissolve completely in the washer.
Next, mix 2 parts Borax, 2 parts Washing Soda, 1 part Bar Soap and your Baking Soda, I use about 4-5 tablespoons. I do mine in a big plastic container, think cereal container, so that I can just shake it up. You can also mix it in a bowl and transfer to a container. Whatever works best for you!

courtesy of
I use about 1/4 cup for each load of laundry.

This idea isn't really big enough for it's own post so I'll share it here.. White vinegar works just as well as Downy to soften clothes. I put it in the fabric softener cup in my washer and let it go! Your clothes come out soft and DON'T smell anything like vinegar!

Courtesy of
Want to get rid of your Bounce dryer sheets? I have an incredible idea for that too! Buddha Bunz has the most amazing dryer balls! They are 100% wool, natural and safe. They shorten drying time, soften clothes, and cut down on static. I have had my set for over 4 years and they still work like new! You can order them scented, colored, custom designed... Also, they don't release any kind of chemical or waxes like dryer sheets do, thereby cutting down the risk of your dryer catching fire. A must have in any natural home!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vinegar Fruit Rinse....WIN!

My, it has been a long time since I posted last! All sorts of exciting things happening in the King household.. I took my first ever "girls weekend" with some of my closest friends... My internet girlfriends! I always laughed to myself when I saw other Facebook friends meeting up in real life... AND THEN, I met the girls through an online mommy group. Through drama and life the four of us stuck together. So E and I drove out and  celebrated Tiff's 30th birthday in Oklahoma City last weekend, we also drove out to the middle of nowhere Texas (seriously, I think that was the name of the to see our lovely Lishy!

Okay, okay, now to the serious stuff...

I hate the crap that can potentially be on my produce. If you ask E, just short of Armageddon exists on the outside of your fruit. After finding this out, I freaked. I need to clean my fruit before I eat it with more than water!!! I found this pin for an all natural produce soak. I know there are products like Fit Fruit and Vegetable wash exist, I wanted something cheaper and more natural. Here are the ingredients of Fit:
Purified Water, Oleic Acid (from Vegetable Sources), Glycerol (from Vegetable Sources), Ethyl Alcohol (from Corn), Potassium Hydrate (from Basic Minerals), Baking Soda (from Basic Minerals), Citric Acid (from Cornstarch & Molasses), and Distilled Grapefruit Oil.
All of these sound natural, I don't think I believe it though.

Pic from

Enter the Vinegar Fruit Rinse:
(The pin above is from Jo-Anna at
Clean your sink, those suckers can be dir-tay!
Fill your clean sink halfway with lukewarm water.
Add about a cup of white vinegar.
Soak your yucky produce for 10 minutes. I swish it around every so often to make sure all of the sides get a fair shot at the vinegar.
Rinse your fruit and veggies and store as normal!

I like to reuse my berry containers and orange bags. I just wash them in plain blue Dawn to get all of the yuckies out and let them dry while the fruit is soaking.

All of the nastiness from the surface of your produce will be in the vinegar water. It looks pretty gross when you take out your fruits and veggies! I PROMISE, you will not be able to taste vinegar on your veggies. There is enough in the water to clean the produce but not enough to change the flavor of your goodies!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chemical Free Oven Cleaner... WIN!

If anyone had told me that you could clean an oven without dangerous chemicals I would have laughed at them. And then I turned into the hippie mom I am and I became determined to find a way. Here's where Pinterest is again the most wonderful website IN THE WORLD.

Enter, this pin. I didn't believe it... I mean yes, vinegar and baking soda clean my counters just fine. The stuff isn't baked onto my counter tops though... My counter tops haven't baked more pizzas than Papa Johns... I was fully prepared to write another fail post. Until I tried it...

This is exceptionally embarassing. I haven't cleaned my oven in, um, ahem, a while. We'll leave it at that.
Here's what you do:
First, scrape out the chunks of burned pizza goodness or whatever might or might not be in the bottom of your oven... Mine was, as you can see, free of nasty bits of charred dinner. Haha.

Take a spray bottle and fill it with vinegar and water. I would assume you could use straight vinegar, but the original blog said to use a mixture. I did a ratio of 2:1 vinegar to water.

Spray your vinegar water all over your oh so yucky oven.

Then take a box of baking soda and sprinkle it liberally over the moistened oven nastiness. Like so:

Immediately, it will begin to bubble and fizz. This is good. This is what keeps you from having to scrub for six days to get all that garbage out. You can see that I used A LOT of baking soda and vinegar. The less scrubbing, the better for me. Because I don't like cleaning.

Leave this to do it's magic while you wash dishes, watch Days of Our Lives, or knit.. I'll leave it up to you all to figure out which ones of these I did and which ones I didn't. You can leave it for 10 minutes or almost an hour.

Right before I started cleaning, I sprayed and sprinkled again. This was in hopes of having to do even less scrubbing.

I then took a bit of steel wool and pretty much just gently rubbed in a circular motion and all of the gunk came off!! Don't believe me? LOOK!

That's me, IN THE REFLECTION of my oven door! Taking a pic of the amazing work that I didn't have to do! I used the steel wool and then just wiped the stuff off with one of my awesome knitted dishcloths. I would say it took less than 15 minutes to do the entire oven.. I still haven't done the racks yet. Had to go get the kiddos from Mother's Day Out. Darn, right?

Does it smell? Sort of, vinegar doesn't have the most pleasant odor. But I didn't feel like I needed a gas mask or a hazmat suit to clean. And it was easy. And cheap.

Go now! Clean your ovens! Report back! 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Elderberry Syrup... WIN!

Cold and flu season are almost over but this is a GREAT remedy to keep in your fridge all year. It works better than Tamiflu in some studies. See this linkthis one, and this one to learn about the benefits of consuming elderberries. 

Here's a little note: I am NOT a doctor, I DON'T play one on TV, I just like finding holistic and inexpensive ways to treat common illnesses. If you are seriously ill, see a medical professional. 

Okay, back to the fun part... Elderberries are so good for us. Their flowers make wonderful teas and liqueurs. The berries make good wines and syrups. Only use the dark berries, blue or black. The red berries are poisonous if consumed. NEVER eat red berries from elderberry bushes. I buy mine from a local new age shop, the Mystical Heart. You can find them at or if you're not into new age shops. I've also heard that you can find them on Amazon as well, but I've not ever looked there.

I use Crunchy Betty's recipe (here for her post). I don't mind the taste at all... My mom says it tastes worse than prune juice. The thing is, it gets you healthy without all kinds of goodness knows what chemicals. It treats the illness, not the symptoms. Which is a HUGE win in my book. So, just know it isn't going to taste like Hawaiian Punch. :P

Here we go!

Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe
1/2 c. dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)
2 Tbsp dried echincacea (it’s perfectly fine to open an echinacea tea bag and use that)
1 Tbsp dried ginger root (or 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root)
1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half (I used ground, about 1/2 tsp)
1-2 Tbsp dried peppermint (my own addition)
Several dried cloves (also, my own addition.. I think I threw in half a dozen or so)
3 c. distilled water
3/4 c. raw honey

Directions:First, sterilize everything you will be using to make your syrup. This is just good practice since you don't want any little bacteria monsters hanging out in your yummy syrup! Boiling all utensils for about 10 minutes will do the trick!

Now, take everything EXCEPT THE HONEY, DON'T PUT THE HONEY IN THE POT!!!! and dump it in your pot, stir and stir. Get your mixture warmed up to a simmer, just let everything go for about 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.. Mine didn't take quite 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it. You'll also want to stir occasionally and mash the elderberries against the side of the pot with your spoon to really release their goodness.

While this is going, measure out your honey into a mason jar.

After the liquid is reduced, you'll need to strain it. Use a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Crunchy Betty used her french press, clever girl...  You will end up with a dark brownish-red liquid. It looks kind of like prune juice but it smells divine. Do not drink it yet... I hear it is pretty tart at this stage. I strain my juice right over the top of the jar, into a funnel of course, so that the heat from the juice will melt the honey just enough to mix everything.

Once you've strained your liquid off, stir really well into the honey. You don't want your juice and honey separating!

I let it cool for a while then put my lid on and popped it in the fridge. The whole family loves it! Connor says "peease"  as soon as he saw the jar come out of the fridge this morning!

You can store it in the fridge for up to three months. Ours never lasts that long though. :)

Dosage instructions are as follows: 1 teaspoon daily for prevention in kids, 1 teaspoon every couple of hours for illness. 1 tablespoon daily for adult prevention, 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours for illness.