How to save money and freshen clothes naturally! Pre-soaking laundry using baking soda.

Replace chemical cleaners with a natural and cheap laundry soaking solution!

Replace chemical cleaners with a natural and cheap laundry soaking solution!

Miss 2 has really sensitive skin (and eczema) which means that I’ve needed to look around for non-chemical options for the laundry pre-soak bucket. Funnily enough, sometimes it’s the mid-range brands of ‘Oxygenated Whiteners’ or ‘Nappy Soakers’, which claim to be environmentally friendly and ‘natural’, which cause her to react more. Of course they’re still packed with chemicals and I know it’s just a marketing ploy but it’s easy to want to believe them!

Turns out all I needed was a 1/2 cup baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) dissolved in warm water (a couple of litres half fills my soak bucket). It helps to freshen and soak laundry (and keep it smell free) before it goes in the washing machine.

Tip: Rinse laundry first and handscrub any stubborn stains. Create a paste using four tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of water. After working the paste thoroughly into the stains, apply a little undiluted vinegar.

Tip: Don’t add white vinegar to the soak bucket. Baking soda (base) + white vinegar (acid) will largely cancel each other out and reduce effectiveness. Instead, add white vinegar during the rinse cycle (instead of fabric softener or an anti-bacterial agent) and line dry in the sun if you can.  Vinegar will help to soften hard water, reduce odours, and reduce bugs. Sunlight will also help (especially if you’re washing cloth nappies!)

How to make allergy free Peppermint icing

After Dinner Mint Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free!)

After Dinner Mint Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free!)

It continually amazes me how many products contain hidden sources of soy. I wanted to make a peppermint icing but Natural Peppermint Essence at the supermarket contains: Glycerine, Alcohol, Water, Peppermint Oil. That might not sound so bad but our lengthy food allergy journey had me wondering what Glycerine actually is.  Research shows it’s sometimes made from animal fat but mostly it’s made from vegetable oil..with soybean oil being extremely likely.

I liked this on the Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes 🙂

Ingredients

  • 100% Peppermint herbal tea bag
  • Boiling water
  • Gluten free icing sugar

Directions

  1. Steep the tea bag in 1/4 cup boiling water.
  2. Make your cupcakes. (This gives the peppermint time to steep and the water time to cool.)
  3. Slowly mix the peppermint water into icing sugar.
  4. Ice your cooled cupcakes. We like them on gluten free Chocolate Cupcakes.

Note: Herbal / fruit teas work to create other flavour icings as well. Check out this naturally pink icing on vanilla Gluten Free cupcakes.

Making your own gourmet nut butter – it’s easy!

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Home-made Tree nut butter

Ingredients

  • Raw unsalted nuts.
    • I used a 150g blend that was cashew nuts (51%), almonds (26%), brazil nuts (11%), hazel nuts (6%), macadamia nuts (6%).
  • Oil (I use Rice Bran oil).
  • Salt

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free.

I posted recently about how easy it is to make peanut butter and wanted to try my hand with tree nuts.

Making your own nut butter can be great if you have a food allergy in your family. It’s handy because you can customize it and experiment with different nuts. It can also be a cost effective way of making nut butter. Often tree nut butters are really expensive but if you’re able to pick up the nuts cheaply then it’s quick to make your own!

Directions

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  1. Roasting gives the nut butter more flavour. You can choose whether you want to buy roasted nuts or roast them yourself (if purchasing pre-roasted, check the type of oil that has been used if you have a soy allergy). Roasting gives the peanut butter more flavour and helps to loosen the oils inside the nuts to blend into a smoother butter.
    • Heat the oven to 180’C / 350’F and toast the nuts till they are golden and glossy with oil. This will take about 10 mins.
  2. Put nuts, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of oil into a food processor.
  3. Blend on 10-20 second bursts and scrape down the sides with a plastic spatula as needed. You’ll find it starts off looking a bit like crumbly breadcrumbs – this is normal!
    • I found the tree nuts were a lot tougher than the peanuts and took longer to blend. You don’t want to overheat the motor on your food processor so be kind to it and aim for short bursts on/off!
  4. Continue blending  until shiny and smooth.
    • Add a teaspoon of oil at a time if you’re finding it dry.
  5. Add salt to taste.