Monday, June 04, 2012

DIY Mondays

Since I've been experimenting with do-it-yourself household products, I thought I'd start a DIY Mondays series for whenever I discover something new that I'd like to share. There are many reasons that one might want to make their own cleaning and beauty supplies: environmental concerns, health, money...At the moment, I am doing it to cut down on the grocery bill, but I love how eco friendly it is...and easy!

The first homemade product I tried was toothpaste. At first, I tried a basic baking soda recipe but it was very salty. Then I found a recipe that was smoother and had a nicer mouth feel. The recipe can be found here. All you need is vegetable glycerin, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and essential oil (I use peppermint). For a sweeter paste, you can also use stevia extract. This is super easy and quick to mix up and cleans great. I haven't bothered to calculate how much a batch costs, but I know its much cheaper than store bought vegan toothpaste, which can run upwards of seven dollars. For a nice fresh aftertaste, I rinse with homemade mouthwash which consists of water mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil.


Next, I experimented with homemade laundry detergent. I was having a hard time (and wasting many hours) finding a DIY detergent that didn't contain borax and was vegan. Then, one day while visiting my parents and flipping through a Chatelaine magazine, I came across an article that had a recipe for it. Its safe for high efficiency machines and since switching over we haven't noticed a difference from store bought soap.


The baking soda and coarse salt get mixed into the hot water and then you pour in the Castile soap. Voila! I don't have a pot big enough to hold 7L of water at a time, so I make a half batch and it fills two laundry containers and lasts a long time. Again, I haven't yet calculate how much this costs per load, but its much cheaper than vegan, eco-friendly store bought detergents. Castile soap seemed really expensive at first (17$ for the big bottle) but I've used it for many things and its still not half empty. I've used it as shampoo, dish soap and even tooth paste in a pinch!

I also made a DIY dishwasher detergent, but it was not successful, it left a scum. If anyone has had success with a recipe that does not contain borax, please share!

On to the food!
I made Billy his favourite type of lasagna...far from healthy. Just meat sauce (Yves ground round) layered with Daiya cheese...fantastic!

We went to my parents' camp a few weekends ago to help prepare for their renovations. We arrived for a late dinner and I made "chicken" and dumplings. Yum! Comfort food at its best....

 Me and Dill on a cuddle break!

Peanut Pasta Salad with Fried Tempeh Bits- Skinny Bitch UEC

 Make this! Its so delicious. The recipe is posted here, so make it, and when you love it, go out and buy this book. I'm sad that I'm running out of new things to make from this book.

Greek Style Chickpeas and Spinach with Rice- Supermarket vegan 

 A simple and quick weeknight meal. There's a nice lemon flavour in this.

Potato Spinach Squares- Vegan Brunch 

I was craving some hot breakfast foods last week, so I decided to make these. Turns out they taste better cold, but nonetheless they are a nice hearty meal to start your day. Potatoes, spinach, lemon, oregano, and panko breadcrumbs make for a portable breakfast!

 Zucchini Muffins- Vegan Brunch

These are supposed to be made with spelt flour, but I didn't have any so I just used regular wheat flour...gasp! Billy, the professed zucchini hater, enjoyed these immensely despite the fact that "you can see the zucchini!" Lightly spiced and moist, these are great on their own or with a bit of jam. 

 Chocolate raspberry ice cream- A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise 

I got this recipe from a blog full of ice cream recipes! This is a very nice ice cream, although there's little gritty pieces that are either cocoa or unmelted chocolate chips. Despite that, its still very good. Next up on the ice cream menu is rhubarb!

I got to try fiddleheads this week! I was so excited to see them in the grocery store since it seems whenever I see them on blogs or food shows, they're not available. I boiled them in salted water and then topped them with a bit of melted Earth Balance butter and some pepper. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. A bit like asparagus and broccoli.

Jamaican Style Black Bean Bake with Cornbread Topping- Supermarket Vegan

Yum! This was quick to assemble and tastes great. I used almond milk instead of coconut milk for the cornbread. Billy really liked this dish too. The recipe is posted here, but doesn't seem to credit the cookbook, although its the same recipe.

I had some leftover Daiya mozzarella and veggie ground round from pizza night, so I decided to make these little meat tarts for lunch this weekend. I mixed ground round, cheese and salsa, with a little bit of Vegan Parm, and then baked them in premade frozen tarts. They really hit the spot!

And last but not least, dinner tonight was glazed balsamic "chicken" using PC's meatless chicken breasts, served with whole wheat linguine. I used the recipe here but made a few changes to veganize it. Instead of chicken stock, I used vegetable stock and instead of honey I used agave nectar. I will definitely be making this glaze again, but I think I'd prefer it served with mashed potatoes instead of pasta. Billy really liked this one too.


radioactivegan said...

I'd like to start making my own cleaning things, too .. I'm planning to start transitioning as what I have now runs out. This might be an obvious question, but why do you want to avoid Borax?

Anonymous said...

that peanut pasta salad looks so delicious! YUM!!! and what a cute pup! awww:) thanks for sharing!

Melissa said... I was researching Diy products, borax came up. Some sources say it can be dangerous or bad for you, so I just figure better safe than sorry