My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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Am I REALLY Saving Money? Homemade Laundry Detergent

 

Before we begin, I have a quick reminder.  Don’t forget to check out my April Giveaway here!  And please visit my sponsor’s page.  🙂  Thanks!

 

When I first made my own laundry detergent and posted it on Facebook, telling all my friends how much money I saved, my husband said, “We have enough money to buy laundry detergent!”  And he’s right.  We do.  So, why in the world would I make my own?

1.  I like knowing exactly what’s in the things I use.

2.  I have a son with allergies who needs a fragrance free detergent.

3.  Every penny I save I can put toward building my food storage.

 

So, does it really save money to make my own detergent?  Let’s see.  We’ll start with the “recipe.”  I came up with this after reading several recipes online and took what I liked from a few of them, and I came up with this recipe.

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent

 

1 box Borax

1 box Super Washing Soda (you can make your own from baking soda)

1 3-lb box Baking Soda

1 bar Fels Naptha

2 bars Ivory soap (or castille soap)

 

Finely grate the soap using a box grater or a food processor.  Mix grated soap together with Borax, Washing Soda, and Baking Soda.  Store in a sealed container.  Use 1/8 cup per full-size load of laundry.  Makes 20 cups (160 loads).

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

Here are my ingredients.

Here are my ingredients.

 

I used a box grater and grated my soap.

I used a box grater and grated my soap.

 

It looks a bit like Colby Jack cheese, doesn't it?

It looks a bit like Colby Jack cheese, doesn’t it?

I got a bit lazy at the end and switched to the largest size on the box grater.

I got a bit lazy at the end and switched to the largest size on the box grater.  Again, it looks like cheese.

 

I added my Borax, Washing Soda, and Baking Soda and stirred everything to combine.

I added my Borax, Washing Soda, and Baking Soda and stirred everything to combine.

 

Then I poured it into the bucket I use for my laundry detergent.

Then I poured it into the bucket I use for my laundry detergent.

 

See?  I got this (for free) from the bakery at a local grocery store.  Many bakeries receive their icing in buckets which are single-use buckets.  Many stores are willing to give their customers these buckets if they ask. I did, and they did.

See? I got this (for free) from the bakery at a local grocery store. Many bakeries receive their icing in buckets which are single-use buckets. Many stores are willing to give their customers these buckets if they ask. I did, and they did.  I had to wash it well before I used it, but it is the perfect container with a lid and everything!

 

Pretty easy, huh?  It takes about 15 minutes total.  Grating the soap makes up most of that time.  The question remains: Is it worth it?  Does it save money?  Let’s see…

 

Cost of Ingredients

 

Borax – $3.97

Super Washing Soda – $3.24

Baking Soda – $1.53 (I buy mine in bulk at Costco.  If you buy it at Wal-mart, it’s $2.24)

Fels Naptha – $0.97

Ivory Soap – $0.80 (I bought mine in a 10 pack.  This is the cost of 2 bars.)

 

Total Cost – $10.51/160 loads = 6.5 cents per load

 

 

Grocery Store Prices (Powdered laundry detergents)

Tide – $18.99/102 loads = 18.6 cents per load

Store brand (fragrance/color free) – $6.99/40 loads = 17.4 cents per load

Surf – $10.99/120 loads = 9.1 cents per load

Store brand (regular)  – $9.99/120 loads = 8.3 cents per load

 

Warehouse Club Prices (Powdered laundry detergents)

Tide – $26.37/160 loads = 16.5 cents per load

Surf – $13.57/180 loads = 7.5 cents per load

 

Conclusion – I am saving between 1 cent and 12.1 cents per load, depending on where I buy my powdered laundry detergent and what brand I buy.  As Tide is one of my favorite brands, and I like this as much as Tide, I am saving a ton of money.  If I compare it to a less expensive brand, such as Surf, I am not saving quite as much.

 

Is it worth it to me?  You bet!  I know exactly what’s in my detergent and my allergy prone son has no problems with this.  I liked the detergent enough that I made it a second time.  Next time, I think I’ll try making liquid laundry detergent.

What about you? 

Do you think it is worth making your own laundry detergent?

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SHHH! Don’t Tell My Family They Just Ate TVP!

TVP. A.K.A. Textured Vegetable Protein.  What is it?  Why should you eat it? And how can you get your family to eat it?

Looks a bit like GrapeNuts, doesn’t it?  Dry TVP (Pic and info from Wikipedia)  – “Textured or testurized vevetable protein (TVP), also knows as textured soy protein (TSP), soy meat, or soya chunks is a defatted soy flour proeduct…  It is often used as a meat… extender.  It is quick to cook, with a protein content equal to that of meat.

 

Let me begin by saying that TVP isn’t for everyone.  It’s a soy based product, so if you have soy allergies, this is not for you.

 

I grew up eating TVP and didn’t know it.  Funny story…  When I was first married and learning to cook (my hubby and I split tasks, and, if I cooked, I didn’t have to do the dishes), I decided to make meatloaf.  It was one of my favorite childhood dishes.  Growing up in a family with 11 children, we did not have meat as the main dish too often, so I LOVED the days my mom made meatloaf.   She also made “meatloaf” hamburgers, which were to die for!  I requested them on my birthday and everything.

 

So I made meatloaf, and it tasted fine, but it didn’t taste like my mom’s meatloaf.  For lack of a better description, it tasted too “meaty.”  I tried several recipes and eventually found one both my husband and I liked.

 

My current favorite meatloaf recipe from Food.com. Picture from Food.com.  Link above.

 

A few years ago, when talking about meatloaf tasting too “meaty,” my sister said, “You know Mom put TVP in it, right?  It was at least half TVP.”

 

KACHOW So that was it!  And that’s probably why I don’t really love meat.  What I thought was meat was not really meat.  It was “meat.”

 

Oh well.  TVP is cheaper than meat, and it’s easier to store.  I can find it online for $10-15/can (a #10 can), which has between 60 and 166 servings per can!  The chicken flavored TVP is just under 16 cents a serving for 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber!

 

Chicken Breast - picture from Zaycon Foods Website

Chicken Breast – picture from Zaycon Foods Website

 

Chicken breast has 8 grams of protein per ounce and is about 19 cents an ounce from Zaycon* when I buy 40 pounds at once.  The average national price is $3.38/pound making it just over 21 cents per ounce.    This may not sound like a large price difference, but it adds up.  Plus there’s fiber in the TVP, and I’m always looking for ways to add more fiber to our diet.  Easy to store, long shelf life, costs less than meat… I’m SOLD!

 

But, sadly, my husband and children were not.  The first time I tried serving them TVP, let’s just say it was less than ideal.  I think they ended up running to McDonald’s, because they considered dinner inedible.  I’ll admit, it was not my finest moment, nor was it the best meal I’ve ever cooked, but I learned a lot from that experience.

 

Here are a few things I learned which have helped me successfully incorporate TVP into my meals without a major revolt from my family and friends.

 

1.  Start slowly!  If you are feeding a bunch of devoted meat eaters, don’t go all in and replace the meat entirely with TVP.  While the texture of TVP is similar to meat and it tastes a lot like meat, most meat eaters can tell the difference immediately if it’s all their eating.  Try cooking one of your regular recipes, but add a little bit of TVP.  Remember, it expands, so 1/4 cup of dry TVP makes about 1/2 cup of reconstituted TVP.  I would not add make more than 1/8-1/4 of your “meat” TVP if you’re trying to slip this into your family’s food.  🙂  I have gradually increased the amount of TVP in each dish over time, and now about half of my “meat” is TVP.

 

2.  Season well if using unflavored TVP.  I buy unflavored TVP from Sprouts.  The first time I used it, I did not adjust the seasoning enough in the recipe.  I added a bit of extra salt and pepper, but it was not nearly enough, resulting in a big THUMBS DOWN from my family.  I’ve learned that I need to add a little extra salt, pepper, and other seasonings.  I taste my dishes a bit more while cooking with TVP to ensure it tastes “right.”

 

Reconstituted Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Reconstituted Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) – GrapeNuts, anyone?

 

3.  Reconstitute the TVP before adding it to your dishes.  TVP is a dry product which absorbs water while cooking.  You can add it directly to many dishes and add extra liquid while cooking, but I found it was easier, in the beginning, to reconstitute the TVP before adding it to my recipes.  I simply put some TVP in a container, pour warm water over it, and let it sit.  Once it’s “fluffy,” I drain the excess water and add it to the dish I’m preparing.

 

4.  Add the TVP while you’re browning your meat.  I’ve had the most success adding TVP to recipes which call for ground meat.   When I add it while browning the meat, the TVP takes on more of a meaty flavor.  If I’m making spaghetti, I begin to brown the hamburger, then I add the reconstituted TVP when it’s almost done browning.  I season accordingly, drain the fat, and continue making my sauce.

DSCN5599

A couple of nights ago, I browned one pound of ground beef and added the equivalent amount of reconstituted TVP.  I seasoned it, added the sauce, let it simmer, and served spaghetti sauce with TVP to my family.  They each ate more than one serving and liked it.  My husband even brought some to work the next day.  Yeah me!

 

Spaghetti sauce with ground beef and TVP.

Spaghetti sauce with ground beef and TVP.

 

My son just walked over to my computer and said, “You put TVP in the spaghetti!”  And I had to come clean.  I told him.  He didn’t seem thrilled, but he also admitted that he couldn’t tell.  SCORE one for Mom!!

 

Now it’s your turn.

Would you like to save money by stretching your meat? 

Have you tried TVP?  If not, why not?

If so, what were your successes and failures?

 

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Practical, Real Person, Grocery Store Shopping Prepping

I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to search for basic preparedness information on the Internet only to find myself visiting Doomsday Prepper websites.  While there is a ton of good info, and I love my doomsday prepper friends, that’s not me.  I am a pretty positive person and think that things usually work out just fine.   Yet, when I read too many Doomsday sites, I start worrying.  A little bit of worry can spur me on and get me going with things I know I should be doing.  A lot of worrying turns into paranoia for me. 

 

Paranoia + Laurie = Bad Idea!

Paranoia + Laurie = Bad Idea!

 

I’m sure that I’m not alone in feeling this way.  Maybe you’ve felt that way too, or you’ve avoided the traditional “prepping” website because you just don’t want to know or hear about everything that could go wrong.  Yet, like me, you want to have a little stockpile of something to ensure that you have food in the event of an emergency, or that you have extra food in your pantry to give away if someone you love (or someone you don’t know) needs help.  Or both!

 

A little extra in your pantry to share with those in need.

A little extra in your pantry to share with those in need.

 

About a year ago, I found a few websites which offered “food storage in a year for $5 a week” lists.  There are quite a few of them out there.  These lists are intended to help you build a year supply of food for one person in one year for $5 a week (on average, some weeks will be a little more and others a little less).  This is the list I’ve been using, because I want to have some things in my cupboards that I regularly use which are also easy to prepare.  If there’s an earthquake here, I don’t know if I will be baking bread.  But I should be able to heat up soup.  I have the equipment to do so, even if my utilities are out. 

 

Since I already have some food storage, I don’t buy something from this list every week.  I use this as a general guideline and try to buy something from the list at least once or twice a month.  I also buy the staples like sugar and flour in 50 pound bags, and I mark them off accordingly.  If I don’t like something on the list, I substitute with something comparable.  For example, we won’t eat all this tomato soup.  Instead of buying only tomato soup, I buy bean with bacon and chicken noodle in place of some of the cans listed.

Tomato Soup

 

So, I’m sharing this list first.  I’ll share some others over the next few weeks.  I encourage you to look them over and find one that works for you, for your family, and in your situation.  And REMEMBER!  You can and should adapt this to your individual needs and tastes. 

 

Build your food storage for about $5/wk

Week 1 – 6 lbs salt
Week 2 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 3 – 20 pounds of sugar
Week 4 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 5 – 10 lbs flour
Week 6 – 6 pounds macaroni
Week 7 – 20 pounds of sugar
Week 8 – 8 cans tuna
Week 9 – 6 lbs yeast
Week 10 – 10 lbs flour
Week 11 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 12 – 20 lbs sugar
Week 13 – 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 14 – 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 15 – 10 lbs flour
Week 16 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 17 – 1 bottle 500 ct multivitamins
Week 18 – 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 19 – 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 20 – 10 lbs flour
Week 21 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 22 – 20 pounds sugar
Week 23 – 8 cans tuna
Week 24 – 6 lbs shortening
Week 25 – 10 lbs flour
Week 26 – 5 lbs honey
Week 27 – 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 28 – 20 lbs sugar
Week 29 – 5 lbs peanut butter
Week 30 – 10 lbs flour
Week 31 – 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 32 – 10 pounds powdered milk
Week 33 – 1 bottle 500 ct aspirin
Week 34 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 35 – 10 pounds flour
Week 36 – 7 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 37 – 6 pounds salt
Week 38 – 20 pounds sugar
Week 39 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 40 – 10 lbs flour
Week 41 – 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 42 – 20 pounds sugar
Week 43 – 1 bottle 500 ct multivitamin
Week 44 – 8 cans tuna
Week 45 – 10 lbs flour
Week 46 – 6 pounds macaroni
Week 47 – 20 lbs sugar
Week 48 – 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 49 – 5 pounds honey
Week 50 – 20 lbs sugar
Week 51 – 8 cans tomato soup
Week 52 – 10 lbs flour

** Remember some of these items have a short shelf life.**

 

Now it’s your turn!

Have you started building your food storage?  Do you have a particular method you use?

If you haven’t started building your food storage, what is stopping you?