Ground Beef Chili Recipe

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Embracing Motherhood Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This is a pretty basic recipe for chili, but hidden under it’s simplicity is a complexity of layers that make it completely amazing. After a cold afternoon of playing outside, there is nothing better than a nice bowl of homemade chili to warm you up.! The great thing about this basic recipe is that by adding whatever extras you have in your fridge, it will be different every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (Finding a local source of grass-fed beef is best, or you can buy it here.)
  • 1 bag of Tomato Puree (You could also use 2 cans of organic whole stewed tomatoes.)
  • 2 Cans of Kidney Beans (If I had the time, I would soak some organic kidney beans on low heat with a glug of apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of freshly ground wheat or rye flour to unlock the phytase that will break down the phytic acid. Find out why here.)
  • *Veggies: Sometimes, a simple chili is best, but sometimes I like adding a bunch of veggies like zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, and celery.)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 3 T. Butter 
  • 2 t. Ground Oregano 
  • 2 t. Ground Basil
  • 2 t. Garlic Powder
  • 2 t. Onion Powder 
  • 2 t. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 2 t. Chili Powder 
  • *1 t. Cayenne Pepper (I just add this to my own personal bowl of chili so that the kids can eat it!)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Pan: I love using my cast iron skillet for this recipe! Let the pan slowly heat up on a low to medium setting and allow the butter to melt and coat the pan.

    cast-iron-skillet

    Cured Cast Iron Skillet

  2. Cook the Onion and Garlic: Chop up the onion, peel the garlic and crush it in a garlic press and add both to the bubbling butter. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Beef: Once the onion is soft, add the ground beef. Break it apart a little bit at a time as it cooks, and flip it as each side is browned.
  4. Season the Meat: Once the beef is fully browned, add the garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, Real Salt, and Bragg Liquid Aminos. (I never measure out the seasonings. I just sprinkle them on the meat until it’s fairly covered. I always end up adding more than I think I should, and this gives it the best flavor.)
  5. DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT! THE FAT IS VERY GOOD FOR YOU!!!
  6. Simmer: Turn off the heat and let the meat sit covered and soaking up all of the juices while you prepare the rest of the soup. *This is the same recipe as my taco meat!

    Cooked Ground Beef

    Cooked Ground Beef

  7. Add Tomatoes and Beans: In a large pot, add the tomato puree and the drained cans of beans. Slowly heat them up to a low simmer on a low-medium setting (like a 4).
  8. Add the Beef: Add the browned beef and stir. Let it simmer on a low heat for a bit, or just eat it right away if you can’t wait!
  9. *Saute the Veggies: If you want to add more vegetables, don’t just dice them up and throw them in the pot! Saute each batch of veggies with a bit of oil and the same seasonings you added to the meat.

    Seasoned Zucchini and Celery Sauteing

    Seasoned Zucchini and Celery Sauteing

  10. Season to Taste: Add more of the seasonings that you added to the meat. Keep adding and tasting until you get it just right.
  11. Serve: Serve with some tortilla chips and fresh sour cream for a perfect meal.
Homemade Beef Chili

Homemade Beef Chili

In Conclusion

There are many different ways you can make chili. Sometimes, you might just want to empty out what you have in your fridge, and other times you might want something more traditional. I think it’s fun to be able to make the same meal often, but mix it up so that it seems different. So get creative, follow your cravings, and enjoy!

Chili with Black Beans, Zucchinni, Cauliflower, Celery, and Carrots

Chili with Black Beans, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Celery, and Carrots

Sourdough Pizza Crust Recipe

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Embracing Motherhood Sourdough Pizza Crust

This sourdough pizza crust recipe is great for getting rid of the phytic acid that is in all grains, but you do need to prepare it about 8 hours ahead of time. If you need something right away, I suggest you check out my quick and easy pizza recipe.

This sourdough pizza crust recipe can be used to make one large pizza, two smaller pizzas, two trays of pizza muffins, or two medium sized calzones.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Sourdough Starter (Blog Post: Sourdough Starter Recipe)
  • 2 c. Raw Milk (Blog Post: Why We Drink Raw Milk)
  • 4 c. Freshly Ground Flour (I get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too and then I grind them with this.)
  • *2 T. Raw Honey (Optional: It helps to neutralize the sour flavor.)
  • 1 ½ t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda (or aluminum free baking powder)
  • *Optional: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, and Basil

Directions

Part 1: Mix it Up and Let it Sit

  1. Dissolve the sourdough starter into the milk, add the flour, and stir until combined.
  2. Cover with plastic (or a towel) and leave out for 8 hours (or overnight).

Part 2: Make Your Crust (8 Hours Later)

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust

  1. Add the honey, salt, baking soda, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano. Since the dough is pretty stiff at this point, I find it easiest to just knead in the remaining ingredients. To do this, spread a little flour on the counter top, grease up your hands with some coconut oil, and knead until everything is mixed together.
  2. To make a large pizza, preheat the oven to 450˚F, roll out the pizza crust onto a slightly greased pizza pan, cover with a towel and place on top of the preheating oven for an hour to let it rise (this is optional and will make a softer crust), add your toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes. *If you want to be extra fancy, melt some butter, add some fresh herbs and salt, and spread generously over the edges of the crust.
  3. If you want to make some amazing Pizza Muffins instead (which is what I usually do), click here to see the recipe. *I cook my pizza muffins for 10-12 minutes at 350º F.

A Quick and Easy Pizza Crust Recipe

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Embracing Motherhood Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

It’s always nice when you can plan ahead and have some healthy sourdough pizza crust ready for your baking needs, but sometimes you just need to make a meal right away without all of the prep work. This pizza crust recipe is basic, simple, quick, and still full of delicious and healthy ingredients. It is enough for one large pizza, 2 small pizzas, or 2 trays of pizza muffins.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 c. Hot Water
  • 1 t. Raw Honey (You can use sugar too. The yeast just needs something to “eat” so it can rise.)
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil (I like to buy my coconut oil in bulk here, but you can buy it here and here on Amazon as well, or you could also use Olive Oil.)
  • 2¼ t. Active Dry Yeast (one package)
  • 2½ c.  Freshly Ground Flour (I get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too and then I grind them with this.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Aluminum Free Baking Powder or Baking Soda

Directions: 

  1. Water: Get the water as hot as you can and put it in a bowl.
  2. Coconut Oil, Honey, and Yeast: Add the coconut oil first so that it will melt, then add the honey, yeast, mix, cover with a towel, and let sit for 10 minutes. It should be nice and bubbly when you uncover it.

    Water, Honey, Coconut Oil, and Yeast After 10 Minutes

    Water, Honey, Coconut Oil, and Yeast After 10 Minutes

  3. Flour, Salt, and Baking Soda: Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder or baking soda. (You definitely don’t want to add the salt earlier as it will prevent the yeast from fully activating.) *To give the dough extra flavor, you could also add some garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano at this time.

    homemade pizza crust with all of the ingredients mixed in

    Notice the Consistency When All Ingredients are Mixed Together

  4. Knead: Grease your hands with coconut oil, and knead the dough until all of the ingredients are mixed together. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. If it’s too stiff and crumbly, add some water.

    Pizza Dough Kneaded Into a Ball

    Knead Into a Ball

  5. Flatten: Start to flatten the dough.

    pizza dough start

    Flatten the Dough with Your Hands First

  6. Roll the Dough: Make sure there is a nice coating of flour on the countertop and that your dough isn’t too sticky before you start rolling. Start from the center and roll out until your dough is bigger than your pan.

    rolling out the pizza dough

    Roll the Dough

  7. Put in Pan: Carefully lift up the dough and place it on your baking sheet allowing to hang over the edges.

    pizza dough on the pan

    Place the Dough on the Baking Sheet

  8. Pinch the Edges: Use your fingers to pinch the edges of the dough until it’s nicely formed.

    pizza crust

    Form the Edges

  9. Toppings: Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings. For more info on these steps, check out my blog: How to Make a Homemade Pizza.

    pepperoni

    Add Toppings

  10. Bake: Bake for 15-20 minutes at 450º F (18 minutes usually works for me). Time can vary depending on your oven, number of toppings, etc. When the edges are brown, it’s a good indication it’s done, but if you cut into the middle and it’s still doughy, cook for a few minutes more.

    cooked pizza up close

    Bake and Serve

In Conclusion

Pizza is a family favorite in this household and when it’s made from scratch, it can be a very healthy addition to any diet. If I have time, I prefer using my sourdough pizza crust to make a pizza, but in a pinch, this quick easy recipe works for me. You might also like to check out my recipe for pizza muffins, which are a really big hit with the kids!

How to Make Pizza Muffins

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Embracing Motherhood Pizza Muffins

As a busy mom with young eaters who LOVE pizza, I needed a quick, healthy, easy, and convenient way to feed them their favorite food. So after much trial and error, I created these delicious pizza muffins, and they were a BIG hit! The kids love them, and my husband and I love them too! They are so easy to make and they are even good cold which makes them perfect for school lunches.

Pizza Crust

  • Sourdough Pizza Crust: If you can plan ahead by about 8 hours or so, this sourdough pizza crust will taste great and be free from the mineral leaching phytic acid present in all grains.
  • Quick and Easy Pizza Crust: If you’re looking for a quick and easy pizza crust that is made with fresh homemade ingredients, this is the recipe for you.

Pizza Muffins

Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil (For your hands and greasing the pan. I like to buy my coconut oil in bulk here, but you can buy it here and here on Amazon as well.)
  • 15 oz. Tomato Sauce with Added Herbs (I love using my fresh chopped tomato puree when on hand, but even spaghetti sauce will work, you just might want to add a little oregano and basil.)
  • 32 oz. (8 cups) Mozerella Cheese (Any kind of shredded cheese will work really. You can even make your own Raw Milk Farm Cheese!)
  • Toppings: Pepperoni, Ground Beef, Tomatoes, Green Olives, Onions, Peppers…or whatever else you might like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease the muffin tins liberally with coconut oil.
  3. Tear the dough into the size of about a tablespoon and plop into each muffin tin.

    Pizza Dough in Cupcake Pans

    Pizza Dough in Cupcake Pans

  4. Grease your hands up with coconut oil and flatten the pieces into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put about a teaspoon of pizza sauce on top of each muffin.

    Adding the Pizza Sauce and Cheese to My Mini Pizza Muffins

    Adding the Pizza Sauce and Cheese

  6. Cover the sauce with a generous helping of mozerella cheese.
  7. Place pepperoni and any other toppings you wish to add (green olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, crumbled bacon, sausage, ground hamburger, etc.) on top. *For you big cheese lovers out there, you can top the toppings with even more cheese!
  8. Place into an oven preheated to 350° F and bake for 10-12 minutes. The cheese should just start to brown and bubble on the sides when done.

    Cooked Pizza Muffins

    Cooked Pizza Muffins

  9. Let the muffins cool a bit, and then use a butter knife to “cut” around the edges and remove from the muffin pan. The bottoms should be nicely browned and firm. If they are still soft, bake for a few more minutes.
  10. Once the kids (and I) devour as many as we can, I put the rest in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator. My daughter loves it when I pack these for her school lunch, and my 2 and 4 year old love eating them cold too.

Variations

  • Garlic Butter Muffins: Melt some butter and add salt, oregano, basil, and garlic powder (or better yet, freshly pressed garlic), and spread generously on top of the dough. Then, sprinkle a little cheese on top.
  • Pizza Loaves: I find that my kids like to eat food WAY MORE when they help make it! They love tasting all of the ingredients along the way and helping out with whatever they are comfortable doing.
    Ruby Making Pizza Loaves

    Ruby Making Pizza Loaves

    We have these little mini loaf cooking containers that make for some really cute mini loaves. These loaves took about 15-18 minutes at 350° F to bake.

    Cooked Pizza Loaves

    Cooked Pizza Loaves

  • Mini Pizza Muffins: I recently bought this tray for mini muffins, and I love it! I just made a few batches to send into school with Ruby as her monthly class snack. The are the perfect bite-sized little treat!
Cooked Mini Pizza Muffins

Cooked Mini Pizza Muffins

Tomato Purée

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I worked with my mom and grandma one late summer afternoon to learn the fine art of canning tomatoes. It was so awesome to learn such a fine craft, but it was sooooooo much work, and something that I just don’t have the time for these days. Well, one day, my Grandma brought over some puréed tomatoes that had been in her freezer for practically a year. I cautiously used them in a chili and it was amazing!!! The taste was so much fresher than the canned tomatoes and freezing is so much better at preserving the nutrients too. What I like most about this method is being able to do small batches as my tomatoes ripen.

Ingredients/Materials

  • 10-12 Tomatoes
  • Cilantro (Half of a bunch)
  • Parsley (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Dill (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Fresh Garlic (4 pods)
  • 2 T. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • Large Bowl
  • Blender

Directions

  1. Cut up the tomatoes into quarters or eighths (depending on how efficient your blender is).
  2. Smush and crush them into bottom of the blender.
  3. Cover and blend in short pulses. You may need to smush the tomatoes down more in between pulses in order to get the juice flowing and the blender to run more efficiently.
  4. Prepare the herbs by chopping them up coarsely and add them to the middle of a tomato blend cycle.
  5. Add salt to a tomato blend cycle.
  6. Dump all of the blended tomatoes into a big bowl and stir. Give it a taste test to see if you’ve added enough herbs and salt. *You can also add some garlic, but I like the taste of fresh garlic and I’m worried that over time the garlic might take on too powerful of a flavor. 
  7. Other optional ingredients: Onions, peppers, chives…be creative!
  8. Store in gallon size Ziploc freezer bags. I like to fill each bag about ¾ full. When pouring the tomato liquid into the bag, lay it down flat until the purée comes right up to the locking mechanism. This is the best way to get rid of all air bubbles. Find a flat place in your freezer to store it until it freezes in a nice shape. Try to avoid plopping the bag on top of wire racks. If you do, the bag will be more likely to stick in weird places and leak or tear when you retrieve it.
  9. Label the bags with the date you made it and the herbs you added if desired. IMG_3515
  10. To thaw, place in a warm sink bath, then add to whatever you are making!

Notes: As you are preparing your purée, think about what you’ll be using it for. I like to use mine primarily in chili, as pizza sauce, or as spaghetti sauce, so I like it to have a nice Italian flavor. You might also want to store it in some smaller pint or quart size Ziplock bags if you plan on making smaller recipes. I find that one large gallon size Ziploc bag is perfect for one pot of chili, so that’s how I like to store it.

Raw Milk Farm Cheese

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We get raw milk every week from a wonderful little Amish farm where we own a cow share, and by the week’s end we sometimes have milk left over. So I started looking for some easy ways to use it up, and I ended up with this great recipe for making a simple farm cheese. The flavor is similar to a mozzarella cheese and the kids love it! I was completely surprised by how easy this was to make.

Ingredients/Materials

  • ½ Gallon of Room Temperature Cream from Raw Milk *You can use an entire gallon of milk if you don’t want to separate the cream and it will work just as well.IMG_3444
  • ¼ c. Apple Cider Vinegar *More or less depending on the curds.
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • Cheese Cloth (I used a bird’s eye cloth diaper and it worked great.)
  • Colander
  • Cooking Pan

Directions

  1. Bring the cream to a boil on medium heat stirring very often.IMG_3445
  2. Once it boils, turn the heat down low and slowly add the vinegar until you see the curds start to separate from the whey. *You can continue to add more vinegar until it stops curding.IMG_3447
  3. Strain into a colander lined with the cloth. *You can put a bowl under the colander to save the whey to soak grains or use to boil stock.IMG_3449
  4. Salt to taste and lightly mix.
  5. Pick up the four corners and twist out as much of the whey as you can. (You may want to let it cool a bit.)IMG_3450
  6. Tie up the four corners and let it hang for an hour or two. IMG_3454
  7. Cut and serve!

I modified this recipe from The Nourished Kitchen and WikiHow.

*If this recipe has inspired you to try some more challenging and complex cheese recipes, I recommend checking out Cultures for Health and you will enter into an amazing world of cheese making possibilities.

Sourdough Waffles and Pancakes

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These waffles are a BIG hit with my kids! I like to keep one fresh batch in the fridge and one spare batch in the freezer. In either case, I just pull one out, pop it in the toaster, and we’re in business! Then I like to slather it with a generous amount of butter, cut it into bite size pieces, top with some fresh maple syrup (or organic syrup when the budget is tight), and WALLA –breakfast is served! (*Note: Sometimes my kids suddenly turn on me and stop liking what they used to like. When that happens with this, I switch to my Sort of Sourdough Pancake recipe or my Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.)

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Sourdough Starter
  • 2. c. Milk (Raw is best.)
  • 4 c. Flour (Freshly ground for optimal nutrition so that the phytase that will break down phytic acidI get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too.)
  • 2 Eggs (Preferably pastured)
  • 6 T. (¾ stick) Melted Butter (You can add room temperature butter and it should mix alright though.)
  • 2 T. Raw Honey  (You could add ¼ c. brown sugar, or just skip this ingredient – it just helps to counteract the flavor if you’re not used to sour. It’s best to buy local raw honey, but you can buy it here too.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda  (or Aluminum Free Baking Powder)
  • 2 T. Cinnamon (Buy some here.)
  • 2 T. Vanilla Extract (This vanilla would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil (This coconut oil would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)

IMG_2795Directions

Part 1: The Sponge (Mix and Let Sit Overnight…or for 8 Hours)

  1. Dissolve the sourdough starter into the milk.
  2. Mix in the flour.
  3. Cover and let sit overnight or for 8 hours. (I like to do all of my food prep in the morning, so I make my overnight batter in the morning, then put it in the fridge during the day, and finally put it out on the counter before I go to bed so it’s ready the next morning.)
  4. Note: Now, if you’re like me and you unintentionally leave it out for way more than 8 hours, YOU might still like it, but your picky eaters may not. So watch the time.

Part 2: The Final Batter (The Next Morning…or 8 Hours Later)

IMG_2945

  1. Start preheating your waffle iron.
  2. Add the eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to the overnight mixture. (You can mix all of these ingredients in a separate bowl first if you want.)
  3. I like to use beaters to mix everything together, but you could also use a spoon.
  4. Coat the waffle iron with coconut oil. I just bought this waffle iron, and I love it. (I like my waffles square so that I can pop them in the toaster.)IMG_2946
  5. Cook for about 6 minutes (or until the light turns green). You want them as lightly cooked as possible so that you can reheat them later in the toaster, and they won’t be too overdone. IMG_7895
  6. *This also makes great pancake batter, so if you don’t have a waffle iron, just make pancakes instead.
  7. Smother with butter and maple syrup then serve! (Find out why I like to smother everything with butter here.)IMG_7894

*I adapted this recipe from The Fresh Loaf, which is a great source for all bread making.

Why Eat Sourdough? To learn more about why sourdough is the best way to get rid of phytic acid, check out my blog: Phytic Acid: The Anti-Nutrient That’s Slowly Killing You.

Grandma’s Gingersnap Cookies

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As much as I try to avoid sugar (especially when I’m pregnant), sometimes I just can’t help it, and I need something sweet! These are my favorite “healthy” cookies because they are high in iron (thanks to the blackstrap molasses) and made with good ingredients like farm fresh eggs, real butter, and fresh ground flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Butter – 2 Sticks (Pastured butter like Kerrygold is the best, organic butter is the next best, and butter without rBST growth hormones works too.)
  • ¾  c. Sugar
  • ¾  c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Pastured are best.)
  • ½ c. Molasses (Blackstrap has the most iron.)
  • 3½ c. Fresh Ground Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Real Salt
  • 3 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Cloves
  • 3 t. Ginger (I like to use fresh ginger juice made in our juicer.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, molasses, and eggs with a beater until creamy.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.
  4. Roll into balls and roll in sugar.
  5. Lay out on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350˚F. (It should make 3 full sheets with a little left over.)IMG_3235
  6. For a nice flat bottom, lay out on parchment paper to cool. (It absorbs the moisture and helps the cookie to be firm, yet still soft.) *The trick with these cookies is to not overcook them. When you take them out of the oven, you’ll think, “These are too soft, they can’t be done yet,” and yet that’s how you know that they are actually just perfect.IMG_3248

 

This recipe was passed on to me from my Mom who got it from my Grandma, and my Grandma has always made THE BEST gingersnap cookies. On Christmas, she sends these cookies to her children who live across the country and they wait for them with baited breath. My Grandma came over once and I had her walk me through the process step by step because no matter how closely I followed the recipe, I could never get them to turn out just right. Turns out, the trick was to cook them for 8 minutes instead of the 10 that I had been doing.

How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

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How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

I started making my own laundry detergent to save money and for the health of my family. This recipe is definitely a cost savings, much better for us than commercial detergents, easy to make, and it really works! I wash a lot of pee soaked toddler bedding and soiled cloth diaper wipes, and this detergent gets them all super clean.

*I like using the liquid laundry detergent better because it lasts longer, and since the soap has been previously dissolved, it works better, but you could also just not add water and use it dry (just make sure you’re washing with hot water).

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • 1 Bar of Soap: I like to use Dr. Bronner’s Lavendar Castile Soap or Kirk’s Natural Castile Soap, which is a little cheaper.
  • 1 c. Washing Soda: Get some here or find it in the laundry aisle at your grocery store for about $3.50.
  • 1 c. Borax: Get some here or find it in the laundry aisle at your grocery store for about $3.50.
  • Cheese Grater: I like using this stainless steel stand up grater.
  • 2 Quart Pot Filled with Water
  • 1 5-Gallon Bucket: Get one here.
  • *Oxygen Booster Get some here. You can add this separately to your wash cycle to get whites whiter.
  • *Fels Naptha: Get some here. This works really well to get out tough stains. You can add a grated bar to this recipe to make it really powerful, or just grate some up in a bucket of hot water to soak the stained garment.

Directions for Liquid Laundry Detergent

  1. Boil Water: I like using a two quart pot, but really any size will do.
  2. Prepare the Soap: Use a cheese grater to grate an entire bar of soap. You could also just cut the soap into chunks using a knife or cut it coarsely and put it into a food processor. You just want it to dissolve into the boiling water.

    Grated Soap for Laundry Detergent

    Grated Soap for Laundry Detergent

  3. Add Ingredients: Add the soap to the boiling water and “cook” until it dissolves. You can add the washing soda and borax at any time.
  4. 5-Gallon Bucket: Fill a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and add the 2 quarts of dissolved soap, washing soda, and borax.

    5-Gallon Bucket Filled with Liquid Laundry Detergent

    5-Gallon Bucket Filled with Liquid Laundry Detergent

  5. Cover: Cover and let sit overnight. Stir the next day. Stir every few days until it reaches a gelatinous consistency.

    liquid laundry detergent

    Liquid Laundry Detergent

  6. Pour into Containers: I like to use a cup and a funnel to pour the detergent into an old detergent jar from the store. You could also use gallon size jugs or just use the detergent right out of your 5-gallon bucket.

    Use a Cup and Funnel to Transfer the Laundry Detergent to a Smaller Container

    Transferring the Detergent to a Smaller Container

  7. Use: I do a lot of laundry and a lot of big dirty loads, so I usually use 1 cup per load, for smaller less soiled loads, you could use ½ cup. Sometimes I use the cap from the old laundry detergent container and sometimes I just glug some into the washer.

(To make a dry laundry soap, just mix the dry ingredients together and don’t add water, store in a mason jar, and use 2 tablespoons per load. I personally feel like the liquid soap is better and lasts longer, however.)

FAQs

  • What about HE washers? This detergent isn’t very sudsy and should work just fine in HE washers.
  • Why hot water? The next time you make some hamburger patties, try running your hands under some cold water to get them clean. Doesn’t work so good, does it? Now try adding some soap. Still doesn’t work too good. Now try rinsing your hands with warm to hot water. Pretty cool, huh? Now, try adding a little soap to some warmish hot water and notice how your hands are finally clean. Keep this in mind when doing laundry. 🙂
  • Why washing soda? The high alkalinity of washing soda helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains. You can heat baking soda to make your own washing soda.
  • Why borax? Borax works by converting some water to hydrogen peroxide which increases the effectiveness of other cleaners. This chemical reaction works best in hot water. There is some debate as to how “green” Borax is, but it’s just a laundry booster, so you could skip it entirely and this would still be a good recipe.
  • Why soap? Soap is an emulsifier which means that it can suspend oil and dirt in a way that it can be removed.
  • How much does it cost? If you buy the washing soda and borax at your local grocery store and get some good organic soap online (Like Dr. Bronner’s) I figured out the cost of each 5 gallon bucket to be about $3 for 80 loads of laundry (if you use 1 cup per load), which is about $0.04 per load.
  • What about really soiled clothes? If I have something with really tough stains, I keep a stain remover stick like this around to pretreat the stain. Then I grate up some Fels Naptha (about a quarter cup grated) along with a cup of my liquid detergent to a small bucket with really hot water. Then I soak the soiled garment for at least 20 minutes or so. I have not encountered any stain that couldn’t be removed this way.

    Soaking a Stain Away

    Soaking a Stain Away

Dryer Tips

  • The Harm of Dryer SheetsIn addition to being made with a laundry list of toxic chemicals with negative side effects, the artificial fragrances are a carcinogen and coat all of your clothes.
  • White Vinegar: I like to add ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to reduce static cling. Don’t worry, it won’t make your clothes smell like vinegar at all!
  • Dryer Balls: We have also eliminated the use of dryer sheets by using these dryer balls. They are supposed to soften the clothes.
  • But honestly, I usually don’t typically add anything to my dryer (because of time really), and I just deal with what little static cling there is. 🙂

The History of Laundry Detergent

Did you know that the use of “laundry detergent” as we know it today took off because during WWII the fats and oils used to make soap were needed to manufacture nitro-glycerine into explosives? Another source had to be used, and that’s when the synthetic form of laundry detergent using a base of petroleum became widespread. (Read more about the history here.)

Harmful Ingredients in Commercial Laundry Detergents

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate  – Used as a surfactant (lowers the surface tension between a liquid and a solid – helps the water to get everything wet), detergent, and emulsifier in thousands of industrial cleaners and cosmetic products including shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, and laundry detergents. 16,000 studies have been published showing the dangers of this chemical including irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endrocine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes, along with possible mutations and cancer.
  2. Dioxane – It’s not really an ingredient, but rather a byproduct of ethoxylation which combines low sudsing ingredients with ethylene oxide to produce softer detergents that produce more suds. It has been found in about 2/3 of all detergents (excluding USDA certified organic brands). It has been found to cause cancer and to be potentially toxic to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, liver, and respiratory system.
  3. Nonylphenol Ethoxylate – An inexpensive nonionic surfactant that is an endrocine disruptor and estrogen mimicker that can potentially cause hormonal problems or even cancer. It has also been shown to cause kidney and liver damage, decreased testicular growth and sperm count, disrupted growth and metabolism, and increased mortality.
  4. Phosphates – They break down the dirt particles and remove stains by softening the water and allowing suds to form, but they can cause nausea, diarrhea, and skin irritations in humans, and they are difficult to remove from wastewater and often end up in rivers and streams where they increase algae growth which starves the animal life of oxygen. 40 states have currently issued phosphate detergent bans.
  5. Other Harmful Ingredients: Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates, petroleum distillates (which have been linked to cancer), phenols (which can cause toxicity throughout the entire body), optical brighteners (which cause bacterial mutations and allergic reactions, and can be toxic to fish), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate, and artificial fragrances (which have been linked to various toxic effects on fish and animals, as well as allergic reactions in humans). (Source)

In Conclusion

Making your own laundry detergent is really easy once you get in the habit of it. With a large family and the high cost of laundry detergent, this has been very helpful for our budget. Not only that, but it is a definite health improvement from using the commercial toxic laden detergents. If you’re convinced to make your own laundry detergent, but you don’t have the time (or desire), you can buy some that I’ve made at my Etsy shop! You can use it dry or use it to make the liquid version by boiling the contents in a quart pan and then adding it to a 5 gallon bucket of water. It will make enough detergent to get you through about 80 loads.

laundry detergen etsy

Homemade Dry Laundry Detergent

For Further Reading

Are You Poisoning Your Household With This Chore?” by Dr. Mercola – A very in depth look at why commercial laundry detergent is bad that cites many more sources for even further reading.

*You might also like my articles about:

Homemade Diaper Wipe Solution

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I have had every intention of using cloth diapers, but with two and sometimes three in diapers at a time and one particularly sensitive child prone to very bad diaper rashes, it just hasn’t worked out for me. But using cloth wipes and making my own diaper wipe solution has been an easy to maintain and cost effective home solution for me.

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ c. Olive Oil (Helps to slide away the waste.)
  • 2 T. Weleda Calendula Soap (Any soap will work.)
  • 5-10 Drops of Lavender Oil (Adds a fresh scent.)
  • 5-10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil (Great for treating yeasty diaper rashes.)

Directions:

  1. In a small bottle (I use an old glass pizza sauce jar), mix a concentrated version of this mixture that’s about ¾ full of water to mix as needed into a larger container.
  2. I like to use an old diaper wipe container or a tupperware container to put the solution in.
  3. First pour in a glug of olive oil. (It doesn’t need to be extra virgin, any oil will help the sticky messes to slide away).
  4. Then add a generous squirt of soap (For my newborns I like using Weleda Calendula, but for budgetary reasons, I usually just end up using hand soap)
  5. Next add few drops of tea tree oil (This is a great anti-fungal and I used it when my son was getting a bunch of yeasty diaper rashes.)
  6. Then add a few drops of lavender oil. (This just helps it to smell good.)

ragsCloth Wipes: I love using these Bumkin Reusable Cloth Wipes. When I got them on Amazon, they were $8.15 for 12. I ended up buying 36 and that seemed a good amount to only have to wash about once a week for two kids at a time in diapers. (Note: Do not use dryer sheets, they will prevent the wipes from absorbing.) What I do is dip the cloth in the solution, wring it out, and use as needed. I also like to have some thinner cloth diapers around to give a dry wipe afterwards to prevent too much moisture from accumulating.

Diaper Rash: If we do have a diaper rash problem, I LOVE using this Weleda Diaper Cream. It’s kind of expensive at $9.09 for 2.8 oz., but a little bit goes a long way!