About the title

In our home we want learning to be fun. We want to entertain our children first in order to get their attention. Once we have their attention, the learning can begin. School does not have to be boring. So our journey starts with Entertaining to Educate...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stewed Plums / Plum Butter in the Crockpot

Yesterday was co-op day.  The food co-op that is.  What a great day.  I ended up with extra items since one of our members couldn't make it for pickup.  The others did not want the "stuff" so I brought home the extras.  One of the things I ended up with was an entire carton of black plums.  The box said 28 lbs.  Twenty-eight pounds of plums???  What was I supposed to do with that?

We ate some of them, but still had tons.  I searched for easy crockpot plum butter or something similar.  After looking at multiple recipes I chose the easiest one I found.  (Had lots of other things to do today...)  I ended up with this:

8 lbs of plums (before removing the pits)
1 cup white sugar
about 3/4 cup brown sugar (this was my edition)

I peeled the plums and removed the pits.  I sliced the plums and added the sugar and placed them in the crockpot.  I cooked on high for about 8 hours.  After a good while it still had lots of liquid.  I put a wooden spoon across the top to vent the crockpot.  This helped the evaporation some.  I stirred the mixture every so often (when I remembered) throughout the day.  After turning off, some more of the liquid seemed to evaporate.

I ended up leaving them in chunks.  I thought about putting them in the food processer and blend them up, but I opted to leave as is.  They are very tart.  I ended up serving them on vanilla ice cream and the sweetness of the ice cream helped to balance the tartness ~ but oh boy ~ they are still pretty tart.

I still have about 1/3 of the box.  What will I do with them tomorrow???

Homemade Deodorant

One of the things that I seem to hate spending money on are those essentials ~ deodorant, toothpaste, soap, detergent...  all those things I REFUSE to do without....  I just hate to spend money on them.  Well, thanks to Pinterest (oh it can be such a dangerous place!!!) I got interested in trying out some things.

At our house, we like, no love to eat.  We don't eat out very often because I can buy groceries for a lot less money than what it costs to eat out and get so much more for the money.  I cook from scratch often and am always willing to try new creations.Why it never occurred to me to try other products ~ like deodorant~ I am not sure.

While scrolling through pins on Pinterest I saw, "Homemade Deodorant".  Hmmm, I got interested.  I looked at several "recipes".  The basic recipe seems to be very similar.  There are minor differences and formulas.  I went with what I felt was one of the simplest ideas. I decided not to add the extras until I knew if I liked it or not.

There are lots of reasons to make your own deodorant.  Cost is a huge reason.  The homemade variety is a tremendous amount cheaper.  The aluminum in commercial deodorant often causes staining of clothes.  There is also a lot of research that points to cancer and alzheimer's being linked to aluminum in deodorant.  But for me, one of the biggest things is:  IT WORKS BETTER and it is cheaper...

Here is one of the sites I looked at with information about Homemade Deodorant.  The basic ingredients are baking soda, corn starch, and coconut oil.  That is all I use.  Many of the recipes call for essential oils.  Those are for fragrance and they also have added benefits like anti-bacterial properties, etc.  I opted not to use them ~ simply because I don't already have them and when I made the first batch I didn't want to spend the extra money in case I didn't like the deodorant.

The recipe is easy.  I started with a very small batch ~ liked it and now I make a larger batch each time so I have to make it less often.  But, it only takes 3-4 minutes from start to finish per batch!  I usually go with this:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch (can use arrowroot powder as an alternate)
5-6 tblsp coconut oil

I put 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil in a glass bowl or measuring cup and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Remove from microwave and add 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup corn starch.  Stir together until mixed well.

Now, there are a couple different routes you can take from here.  I take a small plastic bowl and line it with either wax paper or plastic wrap and then pour the mixture in it.(this is not mandatory ~ but it makes releasing the deodorant from the bowl much easier.)  I keep my deodorant in the refrigerator.  Coconut oil liquifies at 78 degrees.  If it is really cool in your house, then keeping it on the counter will be fine.  I like the "stick" method.  By keeping it in the fridge it is hard and works like a regular stick deodorant.  As soon as you rub on your skin it will "melt" and applies easily.

An alternative method is to leave it out and use your fingers or some other applicator to rub it on.  This will be more of a lotion consistency.  This method did not appeal to me.  Some ideas you can use are putting the deodorant in an old deodorant container.  This did not work well for me but I have read about a lot of others that do.  Another option is popsicle molds.  I keep thinking I might try this idea someday. ;)

A few notes to consider.  I have been using this for over a year now.  I must say I will never buy deodorant for myself again!  The first week or so is a transitional period.  It seems as though I sweated a bit more the first week with my body adjusting to the more natural product.  After a few days, to a week, I believe that overall I sweat less now.  I do not ever notice an odor.  This product absolutely controls odor.  It is unbelievable!  My hubby has used it as well and he does not have any odor with it either.

There are reports that some people experience rashes or breakouts in the initial period.  Many believe that the cornstarch is an irritant to some.  If you experience that, I would recommend trying the arrowroot powder.  I personally have not tried it ~ but have read others that had great success with this also.

If you don't like this method, there are several other options out there.  Just search on pinterest or do a web search and you will find.  There is also powder method and a roll on method.

Try it out and see what you think.  I bet you will like it too.