Summerdays: Easy Mix-It-Yourself Liquid Laundry Detergent

fresh & minty laundry anybody?

fresh & minty laundry anybody?

Thanks to the hot summer weather I have a nice collection of dirty laundry pilling up like a little mountain… My weekly laundry routine is in need to be upgraded to twice a week, which means a jump in our laundry detergent consumption. Besides the frustration by looking at my little mountain load of laundry, tackling laundry duty can bring me a sense of accomplishment: take a moment to imagine the warm, soft, fresh-smelling laundry. There’s something soothing about the smell from fresh laundry that is hard to describe by words…the smell of happiness, maybe. This is why I decided to experiment with making my own laundry detergent. Lots of blogs posts on homemade laundry detergent has already done the math for me. With the apparent increase in our detergent consumption, it is definitely worth trying. Also, I feel like picking up each individual ingredient that goes into your laundry detergent and hand-mix them all together makes me realize the charm of home-production, and the simplicity of the ingredient makes me believe my handmade product is going to be gentle on the skin as well. Plus, there’s the bonus that you got to choose your own scent (either by using essential oil or using scented liquid castile soap, which will be explained later in this post). I prefer the minty fresh smell for my laundry, so I have chose the minty scent instead of the lemon scent from the original recipe.
After some research, I decided to go with a liquid recipe. They are much harder to find than the solid ones, but I prefer the liquid formula because it’s less concentrated so it will protect delicate materials (like those chiffon tanks tops etc). Thanks to mishmashmama.blogspot.com (-sorting out the facts & -on pH balance/chemistry), I learned about the scientific perspective of homemade detergents and recipe courtesy to Michelle Jeffcoat (viewatfive-two.blogspot.com)
1 CUP     hot water
1 CUP     Dr. Bronner’s castile soap*
1/2 CUP  washing soda
1/2 CUP  Borax
1            1 Gallon clean, empty, lidded container **
*Castile soap is a natural soap extracted from castile plants. You can find this product at Whole Foods and Superstore. The soap comes in different scents. You can experiment with any scent as preferred. I used peppermint because it leaves my laundry smells fresh 🙂
**1 gallon=3.8L. I suggest using a clean milk container (the largest size you can find on market).
Use 1/4 cup each load of laundry. Use more if necessary, since this is a natural recipe, you don’t have to worry about the harsh residue left on your clothes.
Another thing to point out is that depending on your location, you can slightly adjust the Borax: washing soda ratio depending on whether if you have soft water vs. hard water. For soft water, you may use the recipe above. For hard water, you might want to slightly reduce the Borax and up the washing soda due to higher mineral content in the hard water.
Happy “laundrying” 🙂 If you decided to try out this recipe, please let me know in the comments below. I’d like to find out how this recipe works for you~Take care!

Summerdays: Jello Watermelon Cookies

These cute, bite size cookies are packed with fruity flavours

These cute, bite size cookies are packed with fruity flavours

When summer arrives in Vancouver it also brings along the long-missed sunshine. Every sun-kissed surface seems to pick up cheerful colours; there are neon coloured blossoms, lively green lawns and of course there are all kinds of temping colored fruits. When it comes to cooking, I always love to incorporate a broad spectrum of colours into my dishes. From a nutrition perspective, a hearty portion of colourful fruits & vegetables contributes to our daily needs of vitamins and minerals. But when it comes to the not-so-healthy department of cooking, a.k.a. baking, I am inspired by the bright summer colours and feel more daring to add a splash of fun colours into my sweet treats. So i decided to mould the fruity flavours and the yummy colors into a cookie dough, and here we have these adorable watermelon slice jello cookies 🙂

These cookies are slightly soft in texture, mildly sweet with refreshing fruity flavours. What really make them standout from any regular cookie is that they really really taste like fruits!

Ingredients (yields approximately 20-24 bite-size cookies):

  • 2 cups      Flour, All-purpose
  • 3/4 cup    Margarine, soft
  • 1/2 cup    Sugar
  • 1                  Egg, large
  • 1/2 cup    Jello powder, Strawberry Banana
  • 1/2 cup    Jello powder, Tropical Fiesta
  • 1/4 tsp    Baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp    Baking soda

Baker’s Short Cut (if you are a pro already, feel free to skip the step-by-step photos): Bake @ 300F for about 10 min

Tip1: it's important to keep the ingredients separate at this stage

Tip1: it’s important to keep the ingredients separate at this stage

Step 1:

-Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a mixing bowl

-Cream sugar and soft margarine together in a separate mixing bowl

Tip2: incorporating egg into the creamed mixture at this point will prevent the dough from over-mixing

Tip2: incorporating egg into the creamed mixture at this point will prevent the dough from over-mixing

Step 2:

-Well combine the egg into the creamed mixture (sugar and margarine)

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Tip3: Adding the jello powder before the flour will help to distribute the colours more evenly

Tip3: Adding the jello powder before the flour will help to distribute the colours more evenly

Step 3:

-Divide the creamed mixture into two equal portions and mix in the jello powders (I’m using strawberry&banana flavour for the red part and tropical fiesta for the green part. The two combined together magically taste like watermelon~but feel free to use your own combination of flavours :D)

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Step 4:

-Divide the dry ingredient mixture (flour, baking soda and baking powder) into two equal parts and add them separately into each mixing bowl

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Step 5: 

-Chill the dough slightly in the cooler for about 5-10 min to harden them into a more play-dough-like consistency

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Step 6: 

-Roll out the green dough into a rectangular shape so the width is roughly equals to the length of the red cylinder

-Wrap the green dough around the red dough like if you are making sushi 🙂

-Slightly roll your cookie dough sushi on the counter top to stick the two parts together

Tip3: I find it's better to slice them a little thicker because I personally prefer softer cookies. Thicker cookies also have better keeping quality.

Tip3: I find it’s better to slice them a little thicker because I personally prefer softer cookies. Thicker cookies also have better keeping quality.

Step 7:

-Chill the dough again for about 15 min. Hardened cookie dough makes slicing a lot faster and neater

-Slice your cookie dough sushi into approximately 1/4 inch slices and them slice them in half

-Lay them out on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart from each other and sprinkle on black sesame seeds (Jello cookie dough doesn’t spread too much, so if you happen to put them a bit closer to each other, you don’t have to worry too much)

-Bake @ 300F for about 10 min (make sure to watch the edges to prevent them from going brown)

-Enjoy you treat time 😀