Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Peach Melba Iced Tea

A French chef created the Peach Melba dessert in London for an Australian singer named Nellie Melba. It's peaches in a raspberry sauce over vanilla ice cream.

I paired two of the flavors in iced tea and it is so sweet you don't have to add sugar! It's really quite good and tastes like summer!


2 regular-size bags peach tea such as Celestial Seasonings Peach Passion
1family-size bag raspberry tea such as Lipton Specially Blended for Iced Tea Raspberry
8 cups of water to start plus 6-8 more later

Place the tea bags and 8 cups of cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and steep for 15 minutes or so (sometimes I lose track of time and it still turns out OK.)

Remove the tea bags and discard. Mix the tea with 6-8 cups of water ... taste as you add the water to get it to the strength you like. You can add sugar if you really want to, but it's so naturally sweet you really shouldn't. Definitely taste before you add sugar.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

Evidence that we are in a second Great Depression: I made homemade laundry detergent.

I used this recipe from The Family Homestead: I'll print it briefly below in case the link goes bad in the future.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
1/2 cup washing soda(sold in the cleaners aisle, the Arm & Hammer brand is in a yellow box)
1/2 cup Borax powder 
2 gallon bucket

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  (I used the lidded stockpot I wanted to keep my detergent in.) Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket -- I put it in the pot with the soap mixture. If you're using a separate bucket, add soap mixture to the 4 cups of hot water in your bucket and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. It will not be a solid gel -- it'll be more watery and like Chinese egg drop soup. Use 1/2 cup per load. I dedicated a ladle to this job and it stays in the pot. I sometimes use 1 cup for especially soiled clothing.

I made a few changes. I used a half bar of Fels Naptha, which is sold at Wal-mart. I never knew that because I was never looking for it. I go straight for the orange boxes of Tide. I also bought the Borax at Wal-mart but I had to go to a hardware store for the Washing Soda.

I also left the soap in the stainless steel stockpot I melted the soap in. I just added water to it instead of adding it to a bucket of water.

What do I think of it?

The scent is not objectionable. It cleans well if the laundry has an ordinary amount of soil. Mud and toner stains (my husband repairs copiers) need to soak for a few hours and then they come clean. Red stains like blood, berries and tomatoes need serious pre-treating though. It's no match for blood the way Tide With Bleach is. I like that this detergent is liquid because it will dissolve in cold water almost as well as warm. Powder detergent usually clumped in cold water.

If I hadn't liked it, I would've still used it and its ingredients up -- Fels Naptha can treat stains, Borax and Washing Soda can be added with other detergent. The homemade liquid detergent could've cleaned toilets or tubs. The FlyLady says "soap is soap."

But I like it OK.

That said ...

I miss Tide. Old habits die hard.
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