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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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Whitfield's Home in the Country  has now launched a Facebook page. If you would like to see the newest posts in your news feeds on Facebook, just go to the page and "like" it.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent & Vinegar Rinsing Aid

I  have been wanting to make this for awhile but I waited until my store bought detergent was gone, and I did a lot of research on it first!  Well yesterday I went and purchase everything that I needed, I used the last of my Cascade. (finally) ;)
I always like to save money anywhere I can, and this seems like one way to do it... I do a load of dishes probably every other day, maybe every three days, this homemade dishwasher detergent will last forever!! And the cost savings is going to be great!!
I do, however rinse my dishes before they go in the dishwasher, I have to, since I don't run it daily. I would hate to have to rewash everything (and waste water) because of stuck on food
Some of you may have to do some adjusting on the salt, either a little more, or a little less...depending on how hard or soft your water is. 
BTW Salt also acts as a scouring agent to scrub your dishes.

Washing Soda - Baking Soda (doesn't work as well, so I've heard)
Kosher Salt     - Epsom Salt 
Citric Acid       - LemiShine, or Fruit Fresh or Lemon flavored Unsweetened 
                       Kool-Aid...*note* Kool-Aid will stain your dishwasher!
Borax             - No Substitute 

Here is what you need:
1 Cup of Borax
1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 Cup of Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup of Citric Acid (can be found in the canning isle or at Amazon)
White Vinegar
6 to 8 drops of Dawn Dish Soap per dispenser (see edit below)

**edit 5-24-2012 ~ I'm pretty sure I saw the "Finish" brand dishwasher soap that had some Dawn in it for "grease fighting action" lol that gave me an idea (light bulb) I tried putting some Dawn in the pre-wash dispenser AND in the main wash dispenser...I used anywhere from 6-8 drops per dispenser. I just add the drops after I put the powder in each dispenser. It works great!! It didn't suds up to much, and my dishes are really clean. I'm not sure I would use anymore than that, maybe experiment and add one more drop to each dispenser... I'm going to try.

** Edit 6-13-2012 ~ 9 drops in each dispenser...there is a little suds,but not to much,I think I'll stop here, before I'm sorry :) It works good,my dishes are clean!
** Edit #2 on 6-13-2012 ~ I also noticed that the Borax? does not mix well with aluminum, I have a cheese cutter that has a aluminum handle that looked a little corroded,so I'll be washing that by hand. But it also did it with regular store bought dishwasher soap also.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Store in Air Tight container, in a cool dry place. (I will not be putting mine under the sink lol )
You can double or triple this recipe if you like.

Just a word of warning, this does tend to clump because of the Citric Acid, with that being said I am adding my Citric Acid when I run the dishwasher.

Tips to Avoid Clumping:
Add 1/2 teaspoon Citric Acid separately to each dishwasher load. (This is what I'm doing, and I'm splitting it between the pre-wash and the main wash dispensers)
1/2 teaspoon added separately to dishwasher 
Put some White Rice in panty hose (knee high's) tie a knot,cut off the majority of the "tail", and store in the container with the detergent.

* Add a couple Silica Gel Packets to the Detergent Container (This is what I wanted to do, but of coarse I couldn't find any when I needed them!) 
You can find these usually in Vitamin bottles, or in a shoe box etc., you know they are everywhere...except when you need them!!

Wash Dispenser/ Pre-Wash Dispenser:
Add 1 rounded Tablespoon, divided between the  pre-wash dispenser and the main wash dispenser. You can add a little more if you like, but I think less is more in this case. 

Rinse Dispenser:
* Add White Vinegar to the fill line in the Rinse Aid Dispenser (this should last about a month with regular use.(In the past I have added a drop or two of blue food coloring to the vinegar, if you have a viewing indicator window on the dispenser, it makes it easier to see how full it is I don't have one anymore. :(
* Also I add 1/2 Cup  to the bottom of the dishwasher before each load, it helps clean the dishes AND the dishwasher. And your dishes come out crystal clear! If you have hard water it helps with the lime build up on the heating element, and every where else inside the dishwasher for that matter!

I am happy with the results, I didn't have spots and my dishes came out with some bling ;) lol  Even my plastic cups came out with shine! 
Look at that shine! ;)

This is safe for any type of  dishwasher, including Stainless Steel Interior  Dishwasher's.

Now I can't wait to make my own Laundry Detergent....coming soon

 6-13-2012 ~ Link to Homemade Laundry Detergent(s)  :)


Friday, April 13, 2012

Crock Pot Red Beans & Rice

I've been wanting to make this so I could add it to the blog, and my husband said "but its more like a cold weather dish"... well the other day (4-11-12) it decided to cool down a bit here (65 degrees hehehe, Hey! 65 is cold when you get used to 75-80 degree weather ) so it was a perfect day to make it ;) And we are having it again for leftovers, because its on the chilly side again (the next day) :D warmer than Wed. though... but it doesn't matter to me, I think it would be yummy any time... its a nice comfort food. I served ours with Corn Bread Muffins. VERY filling!

Here is what you will need:
This serves  at least 4 people
1 lb. + of Ground Beef
1 package of Sausage (your choice, I used Eckrich Beef Smoked Sausage )
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 16 oz Can, and 1 27 oz. Can of Bush's Chili Beans (you can substitute with any Mexican style Chili Beans)
1 Cup of Rice (not instant or Minute Rice)
*may need a small can of Tomato Sauce just in-case

Brown your Ground Beef, drain, Pour into crock pot, Cut up Sausage into quarters, put in crock, add Beans, Diced Tomatoes, and Rice. Stir. You don't have to pre-cook the rice it will cook and absorb all the flavors of everything else. :)

Set your temperature on High for at least an hour, stir occasionally to make sure its not losing to much moisture. If its losing moisture, you can add some *Tomato Sauce or some water, but you don't want to dilute with water to much or you'll lose your flavor. Its suppose to be somewhat thick, not soupy.

This is what it looks like when it's all put together, before cooking, it will thicken up as it cooks.
I had mine on high for about an hour,then turned it down to low for the rest of the time, for a total of about 4 hours.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

This is one of my kids favorite dishes, ever since we attended their Track Banquet, and this was one of the dishes that was brought. Since then they would beg me to make it!

It was a big hit for this past Easter Dinner....there was maybe a spoonful left, and I was so looking forward to leftovers, oh well, guess I'll have to make some more real soon. ;)     Thanks Gail Harshbarger (Akron, Ohio) for the recipe !!! (I was told, this is a recipe they have had in their family for a long time) I remembered Gail ;)

Here is what you need:

1 Bag of frozen Hash Browns Thawed (12-16 oz.)
1 Can Cream of Chicken
1 Tub of French Onion Chip Dip  (8 oz.) (sure wish I had Lawson's Brand!)
2 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese 

1 1/2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers
1 stick of Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease pan that would fit ( 8x8 -- I doubled my recipe, and it fit in a 13x9)
Mix Hash Browns, Cream of Chicken, French Onion Dip,and Cheese together in large bowl, once its thoroughly mixed spread into greased pan.

Crush sleeve and a half of crackers in a bowl and drizzle half the melted butter in crackers and stir, drizzle remaining butter and stir again. (I think my butter took about 30 seconds to melt in microwave,in 15 second increments.) Spread cracker mix on top of potatoes. 

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes to "golden up" the topping.

This dish would go with just about anything! Of coarse we had it with Ham and Green Beans at Easter and it was wonderful.

Its easy enough to put a big batch together for a party...let me warn you, you will get a lot of compliments and people asking for the recipe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saving those Glue Lids

So I have been doing a lot of re-painting of my Lawn & Garden ornaments lately (they really needed it!!) I love collecting Gnomes (would love to collect more ;) ) and I have a few Flower Fairies, but I have  a lot of other things too that I have collected along the way,and I've put off painting them long enough, they needed a face lift, this year, plain and simple...
I chose really bright fun colors because I wanted them to stand out, I don't have any flowers planted yet and I want some color

Sad  :( Gnome in need of some fresh paint

While browsing Pinterest one day I saw a really cool and simple idea for my acrylic paints that I use...Glue lids in place of the paint lid...(why didn't I think of that??!?) my only problem is.... I only have one glue lid  :( from the bottle that I used for the Homemade Flubber 

Sooo I asked my sister (who works at a school) if she had access to the lids, you know when the kids throw away the glue...I didn't mean she should steal all the glue bottles hehehe, or did I?  Just kidding! Anywho she said they mostly use the glue sticks or hot glue guns now :/  now what!? I'm not going out and buying a bunch of glue, that's for sure! Maybe I'll ask my neighbor, I heard she is a teacher. Or maybe some of my readers that are my Facebook Friends that have kids and live close by can save their glue bottles for me hint, hint ;) or you can send them in the mail, if you want. :D 
As you can see (below fig.A) sometimes its just a little messy if you only want a small amount of paint to come out. With the glue lids its Very Possible!

(Fig.A)   Messy

TaDa!! Easy Fix :)

Wish I had some for all my paint

My Sitting Gnome

My Bright & Newly Re Painted Gnome

A Yard Sign - Before ..actually they used to be, grey background and the flowers were painted,they weren't very bright! These pictures are after I used some white primer on them.  
Yard Signs - Before



After- My fav.!  :)

I guess I'll just use the bottles and lids that I have, until I get some glue bottles. Sigh.... :D
I have a lot more to paint, and will post pictures as I get them done.

Update 5-27-2012

Look What I have!!! It pays to ask a neighbor, who is a school teacher ;)

Not only do I have a bunch of glue lids for my paint bottles, but I could make a whole lot more of my  Homemade Flubber .... that is my most popular post!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Take My Survey :)

Is there something you'd like to see me write about? Try to make, or do? Let me know your idea's.

Be specific, if you can :)

Just to let you know...I have gotten a few requests and I am working on those, just keep checking back. :)

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