Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homemade HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Happy Leap Day!  I'm going to make a little "leap" today from the normal cooking and gardening stuff to laundry detergent.  It's not too big of a leap because we're still talking about home stuff, so don't worry about having to stretch out or pulling a muscle or anything like that.

This simple recipe was given to me by my friend Karen J.  Homemade laundry detergent is so easy to make and yet works so well.  I have been using it for several months and can honestly say that it is great.  Tom was the first to mention it because sometimes he comes home with some pretty dirty insulated overalls...and they were coming out of the washing machine looking beautiful...for insulated Carhart overalls.

The cost to make a batch is so economical.  I've found the real factor that would raise your price is the cost of the soap you use.  I've used both Dr. Bronner's bar soap and a bar of Lever 2000 with no difference in the washing power of the detergent.

If you prefer a powdered version, click here for that recipe.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Chocolate syrup.  I have a love/hate relationship with this stuff.  It tastes so good, but I know the chocolate syrup you buy at the store has high fructose corn (HFC) syrup in it plus a myriad of other such ingredients, I'm sure.  (If you ever want to watch an interesting little documentary on corn, I'd highly recommend "King Corn".  Here's a link to watch it via HULU.)

My kids LOVE vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup on it.  Who doesn't?!  But I do feel better when I know what's in what they are eating...control freak that I am.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Monday, February 27

This weekend our local farmers' co-op held "Chicken College".  It's a great event where local veterinarians, chicken aficionados and wanna-be's can all get together and share, inspire, ask questions and enjoy talking about our favorite little feathered friends.  Last year, we attended before we got our girlies and found it to be really helpful.

This year, we had questions about purchasing chickens for meat (broilers).  As we trying to take more control over what our family eats, this seemed to be a logical next step for us.

I'll be writing more on this topic soon!

Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ raisins
Lunch – BLT melts, raw veggies & fruit
Dinner – Chicken burritos, spanish rice, green salad

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Watch "Fresh" FREE Until March 3!

The makers of the food documentary "Fresh" are allowing a FREE preview until Saturday March 3 via Dr. Mercola's site.  Click HERE to watch.  This is a great opportunity to educate yourself and others about sustainable food.

IMPORTANT! Please tell everyone you know to watch this film in its entirety. Please show your support by purchasing a copy of this film for $15 by clicking HERE!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Raw Milk Debate Hosted by Harvard Food Law Society

I just watched this debate on raw milk in its entirety and found it very interesting.  If you have questions about raw milk, you might want to give this a watch. 

Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation, author of Nourishing Traditions, and David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution and The Complete Patient blog debated personal injury lawyer, Fred Pritzker of PritzkerOlsen and Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Streusel Blueberry Buckle

After talking about lacto-ferments this week, I thought I'd take a different turn and share with you one of my favorite winter indulgences before the weekend hits.  Streusel Blueberry Buckle. 

So, what in heaven's name is a blueberry buckle and why would you want to eat one?  Well, I'm not talking about shoe leather, buckles or the like.  I'm talking about something just so much better.  Cake.  Coffee cake.  With blueberries.  And crumb topping.  Oh, yes.

"Buckles" have been around for many years.  Some recipes even date back to the colonists.  The base of buckle is a rich cake batter, which is sprinkled with fresh fruit. Some cooks prefer to split their batter, layering half in the bottom of the pan and mixing the other half with the fruit before pouring it in. The fruit is topped with a streusel mixture. During the baking process, the cake batter rises up around the fruit, encasing the fruit in batter and causing the streusel to buckle, creating a distinctive crinkly appearance.  Do I have your attention?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots

Okay, so if you just can't get your head wrapped around the idea of making, or more likely eating, sauerkraut (or the Latin version, Cortido, that I shared a couple days ago) maybe this recipe might be something you'd be willing to try.

Many believe that this recipe is the best introduction to lacto-fermented vegetables.  The sweetness of the carrots neutralizes the acidity that some people just can't handle.  Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots go great with rich foods and spicy meats, but I like them as an additional side just with whatever is on the menu for the night.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Making Whey & Cream Cheese

Hey!  Did I get a little ahead of myself yesterday with the recipe for Cortido / Curtido?  If you read it and thought it sounded like a good thing to try and then saw that it had whey in it, you may have gotten a glazed over look in your eyes and shut down your computer.  Of course, you can make it without whey by using extra sea salt, but I thought I'd share with you just how easy it is to make whey.

First of all, whey is the watery stuff that separates from your sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and the like.

One way to make whey is from plain yogurt.  I make mine from my homemade yogurt.  The neat thing about using plain yogurt is that when you have drained the whey from it, you end up with a soft, cream cheese.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut (Cortido/Curtido)

So what do you know about sauerkraut?  Well, up until a few weeks ago, sauerkraut really wasn't on my radar.  I grew up eating the stuff, but my husband and kiddos don't really care for it. (understatement)  But recently I've been reading more about the health benefits of eating lacto-fermented foods and thought I'd just have to give if a second look.

Just in case you didn't know, sauerkraut (although I naively thought it was a German concoction) was actually eaten by Roman soldiers, Chinese builders of the Great Wall, and many a sailor to prevent scurvy.  It has become known as a super-food, being credited with boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, detoxifying the body, aiding digestion, and curing colds and flu. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Monday, February 20 & VH's Anniversary!

It's Victory Homemaking's first anniversary today!  Although we touched on a lot of subjects during this past year, there is still so much more I want to learn about.  The old saying, "The more I learn the more I realized I don't know," is so true. 

If there is anything that you'd like me to write about, let me know.  And again, thanks for going along on this ride with me!

Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ strawberries
Lunch – Bean dip w/ organic tortilla chips, raw veggies & fruit
Dinner – Salisbury steaks, brown rice, peas & carrots

Test Tube Meat? Just Say NO!

I read a few disturbing articles this morning about "test tube meat" being created.  It is supposed to be more "ethical" and "humane" way of serving meat to the people of this world.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What to Plant & When to Plant

Are you catching the bug to go and dig in your dirt?  If so, you are going to need something to plant and know when and where to plant it.

First, if you are planting a vegetable garden, choose vegetables that you would normally eat.  If this isn't your first gardening go-around, trying one or two new things can be fun.  Regardless, if you know you don't like turnips or beets, don't plant them.  Pretty simple, huh?

Second, visualize your harvest.  One reason I really like the Square Foot Garden* philosophy is it is far easier to have a good feel for how much your harvest will be and helps you to not over-plant.  (Check your local library to see if they have a copy for you to borrow.) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

The question of where to purchase my seeds has stumped me every year...until this year.

Last year I got a catalog from the nice folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  It's a big, glossy catalog with tons of neat pictures of the usual as well as unusual plants. 

But what really caught my attention was the passion of the owner, Jere Gettle, his family and staff to protect heirloom seeds and stop the proliferation of GMO seed.  As a matter of fact, the nice gentleman who helped me on the phone (I had forgotten to order my Amish Pie Pumpkin seeds with my internet order *d'oh!*) told me he moved from Wisconsin to Mansfield, MO to be a part of this organization.  Not only did that impress me but my call was taken with a genuine interest in helping me get what I needed.  In this day of "Press 1 and see if anyone really gives a care...", yup, these folks had me at "hello".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Companion Plants in Your Garden

This year as I plan my garden, I am taking into consideration the benefits of companion planting.  In the past, I just planted things without a thought if they liked their neighbors or not.

Although the list below tells which plants are compatable, here is also some information about which plants aren't:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Planning Our Garden: Square Foot Gardening

Happy Valentine's Day!  So why am I not writing about love, commitment and the like? 

Well, last week we had some beautiful weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  No rain, the sun was shining and temps reached about 60 degrees.  That was HUGE for us moss-covered folks who live here!

We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the weather, and have started to get the itch to go diggin' around in the dirt.

This year, we decided to add on to our garden.  We have a nice sized raised bed on the south side of the house but we're thinking that it just won't cut it with what we'd like to grow this year.  But how to do that without tilling up the whole back yard was a dark thought lurking in the back of our minds.

Square Foot Gardening

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Monday, February 13

This time of year, I get the itch to go digging in the dirt.  I love having a garden, but I have found in the past that many times I have started to plan too late in the season.  So that's what I'm doing this week and I'm gonna share with you some new things (to me) that I've discovered, too.

Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ applesauce
Lunch – Stuffed baked potatoes, raw veggies & fruit
Dinner – Tacos, spanish rice, green salad

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Valentine on Your Child's Door

I love Valentine's Day.  It's a fun day to just remind each other how much we really love each other.

So now I'm probably shooting myself in the foot but  I really don't appreciate having my man feel obligated to spend $100 for roses that die in three days and/or buying a box of chocolate that tastes like wax.  But hey, that's just me.  What I would really prefer is a nice dinner at home with my hubby and kiddos featuring some yummy fresh fish and maybe a little dessert.

Valentine's Day is certainly not just for adults.  But what can you do for your kids, other than buying them a box of chocolate that tastes like wax that you'll regret buying just as soon as the sugar hits their blood stream?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Buttermilk Syrup

When doing my research several months ago about culturing my own buttermilk, I ran across this interesting recipe from  Buttermilk syrup is very much like caramel sauce.  I've heard people use in on pancakes or waffles, although I think it is fabulous on vanilla ice cream.  Yum...


  • 1 C turbanado or white sugar
  • 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 T arrowroot
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 t vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, stir together the turbanado, buttermilk, butter, arrowroot, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Apple Crisp

We don't eat dessert too often, so when we do, it's kind of on a whim.  Apple crisp is my go-to recipe for a warm, comforting, easy dessert.  Topped with fresh whipped cream...mmmmmm.

This past fall, our family was the blessed recipient of apples from a couple of friends.  This resulted in lots of dried apples, canned applesauce and canned apple pie filling

Because I love/hate relationship with making pie crust, our favorite way to use our apple pie filling is in a crisp.  The recipe below is for if you are using a sweetened canned pie filling, like the one I've posted above.  If you are using fresh apples, use the ingredient quantities listed in (parentheses).

By the way, this recipe is so simple to make that it's a great one to have your little novice chefs in the house put together.

Apple Crisp
  • 1 qt jar apple pie filling  (4 C sliced tart apples)
  • 1/4 C sucanat  (2/3 - 3/4 C sucanat depending on how tart your apples are)
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 C butter, melted
  • (3/4 t ground cinnamon)
  • (3/4 t ground nutmeg)
  1. Butter bottom and sides of a 9x9 baking dish.  Place apple pie filling or apples in bottom of pan.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over apples.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until topping is golden brown.
  4. Top with fresh whipped cream or serve with vanilla ice cream...or not!
Photo credit

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winner of "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" Devotional

And now, to announce the winner of "The One Year Uncommon LIfe Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy!

And the winner is…

Heart Shaped Muffins without a Heart Shaped Pan

I recently saw this cute idea from Muses of Megret.  I love cute, simple ideas!

You don’t have to have a heart-shaped muffin tin to make fun heart-shaped muffins or cupcakes for Valentine’s Day.

Simply line a tin with paper liners, then drop a marble in between the tin and liner. (Balls of aluminum foil will also work.)
Heart cupcake liners

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Monday, February 6

Last week, I noticed we were getting low on home-canned beans.  We've been eating a lot more of them lately and my "stash" is getting depleted.  I find that in just a few short days, I can have enough canned beans in my pantry to last several months.  The other thing I like about canning beans this time of year is that it warms up the house. 

Ahhh...bring it on....

Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ applesauce
Lunch – Tuna melts, raw veggies & fruit
Dinner – Salisbury steaks, brown rice, peas & carrots

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Drawing Reminder

Just a quick reminder that Monday (Feb. 6) is the deadline to enter to win the new devotional by Super-Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy!

To see my review and to enter the drawing, click HERE.

Another Reason to Homeschool

Check out this video...  Now, I know that this video is not representative of all publicly schooled teens, but it does cause one to be concerned.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a great way to use the bounty that you so lovingly stored away from your summer garden.  I use my own canned tomato sauce, frozen shredded zucchini and more.

If you don't care for as many beans in your minestrone, you can certainly cut back on them.  I use a whole quart jar of my canned beans in my soup.  Plus, because minestrone soup has no meat, the beans are an economical source of protein and make the soup more filling.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Make Coconut Milk

Did you know that you can make your own coconut milk from dried coconut?  If you didn't, you are in gooooood company.  But take a look at the video below...

I have made several purchases from Tropical Traditions and absolutely love the high quality of the products I have received.  I am a huge fan of their organic expeller-pressed coconut oil (no coconut smell or taste) as well as their other coconut products.  Not only do they have a wide variety of coconut products, they have a lot of other organic items as well.

Check 'em out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Caesar Salad

When Tom and I go out to dinner, we love starting our meal with a good salad.  But even better yet?  A good, garlicy Caesar Salad with lots of Parmesan cheese and fresh croutons.  Mmmmmmm.

For a long time I have been a fan of Cardini's Caesar dressing for when I make Caesar salad at home.  But guess what?  Do ya think there might be stuff in there that you and I wouldn't choose to put in our own dressing?  Yup.  You are just tooooo smart.