05. January 2013 · Comments Off on Major Mom’s Back to Basics Campaign: Crazy Easy Applesauce · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
When life gives you apples, make APPLESAUCE!

When life gives you apples, make APPLESAUCE!

In this next installment of “Back to Basics”, I’m going to share how crazy easy it is to make applesauce for your family.

Before I found “Natural” applesauce for my family, I tended to avoid buying applesauce because of the added sugars. Mott’s and White House both now make “natural” applesauce that comes in nice containers for lunchboxes. I feel a little better about it.

Nonetheless, I came into a huge bag of red delicious apples when some of us spouses were setting up Christmas stockings for Dave’s squadron’s Christmas party. I had this bowl with a pile of apples throughout the holidays, and only Timmy was eating them. The rest of us hate red delicious apples, other types taste so much better.

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If you can find the "White" popcorn, it has a distinctive flavor that makes up for the lack of chemicals and other nonesuch.

A friend of mine who lives nearby, Cassandra, put the idea in our heads at a spouses’ club-related meeting a couple months ago. We were discussing healthy snacking and she offered up how we can make plain popcorn in the microwave with just a paper lunch bag. She said “a couple tablespoons in a brown bag, fold over the bag twice and pop on high until there’s 1-2 seconds between pops.”

On a recent shopping trip — on which I was also stocking up on whole wheat flour and other baking ingredients — I stopped and stared for a while at the popcorn selections. Mostly the boxed microwave popcorn that contains tocopherols and other goodies.

I remembered Cassandra’s quick ‘n dirty tips for microwaving popcorn and decided to pick up a bag of plain Jiffy Pop popcorn kernels.  2 lbs. of nothing but popcorn!  Nearly 30 servings for $1.99 at our local commissary ($1.99 is the cost of about 6 servings of microwave popcorn.)

We tried it out and it worked beautifully!  Loved not needing any oil to cook the popcorn!  I ended up having to do two batches like that to keep up with my ravenous sons!

Don’t want plain popcorn?  You can melt butter and drizzle it over the popped corn for some classic flavor, or try out one of these fun options.

How about some homemade kettle corn?  Okay, this recipe involves stovetop cooking with oil, but it sure would be nice to have it without having to be at a fair or festival.  We just had some at the Billy Bowlegs Festival Saturday night!

Has anyone else noticed the prices of laundry detergent skyrocketing?***

How about Tide for nearly $12 per bottle (24 loads)??? Or $12 for 40 of those new Tide Pod thingies? I’ve been paying about $7-8 for a bottle of All Free & Clear, which advertised 64 loads of laundry for the size I bought. I only use about 1/2 of the recommended dose (really, it doesn’t take much detergent to cut odors and do cursory cleaning). So lets say I get 100 loads of laundry for $8. So $0.08 per load, right?

I figured I’d try this classic recipe for homemade laundry detergent, using less chemicals and additives than what’s in the popular commercial laundry detergents. I first saw this detergent referenced by the Duggar family several years ago…they had made a documentary years before TLC picked them up for a reality show. In the show, the Duggars covered some of the basics of their household: how they did laundry, how the kids chose their clothes, how they grocery shopped and how they cooked. They made brief mention of their homemade laundry detergent.

The cast of characters. “Washing soda”, Borax, a 3 oz. of soap of your choosing and a 5-gallon bucket. Fels-Naptha is a popular choice for its stain-fighting power. I ended up not using a Firehouse Subs pickle bucket, it smelled too pickle-y, but you get the idea of the size of the container needed.

There are several variations on this recipe, and there are different schools of thought on using a liquid vs. non-liquid version of this recipe. If you want to keep it easy, just run the bar soap through a food processor (get one at a thrift shop expressly for grinding up soap so you don’t have to have soapy food) and combine it with the washing soda and borax. Store it and use about 1 TBSP per load of laundry. The thing to watch for with the non-liquid detergent is that the soap may not dissolve too well in cold water washes. If you use cold-water for laundry, I recommend you proceed with making the liquid version.

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These past two months have been a blur to me.  I was busy with both boys in baseball, and my responsibilities with the Hurlburt Spouses’ Club ramped up, as I was in charge of organizing the elections of next year’s officers and a biennal review of the Constitution and other legal documents.

Pardon the blurriness. I was recognized by Hurlburt Field earlier this month as a nominee for the annual "Angel Award". I didn't win (I didn't hold a candle to most of my fellow nominees!) but I was incredibly flattered to be among such amazing volunteers.

But now it has all wound down, with the new Hurlburt Spouses’ Club officers installed a couple weeks ago, the boys’ baseball and Cub Scouts having come to a close and I have a summer season that I can dedicate to my family.

One of the things that really came to a screeching halt in April and May was normal cooking for the family.  Our dinnertimes became dominated by the “quick and easy”, from chicken nuggets to Firehouse Subs.

With the help of some inspiration from several friends who have embarked on similar cooking/eating journeys, I am going to try to go “back to basics” with our eating.  Not a “fad diet”, per se, but just trying to reset my cooking and eating habits a little.

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