Monthly Archives: January 2013

Homemade Ketchup Recipe

Ketchup has been a staple condiment for hundreds of years. Have you ever wondered what people used to do before Heinz started producing store-bought ketchup? (or was it just me?) Well, this past harvest our tomatoes were VERY bountiful! After making Tomatoe Sauce every couple days for 2 months, I started looking for other recipes to preserve the tomatoes. This is when I stumbled upon a recipe for Ketchup! I figured… why not?!

It’s taken me until now to use up the store bought ketchup that was in my basement, but when I brought out the first jar of homemade ketchup all my daycare kids gave it 2 thumbs up! Without further ado….. Homemade Ketchup!

First you need to gather your ingredients:
3 tbsp Celery Seeds
4 tsp Whole Cloves (I used 16 tsp Ground Cloves)
2 Cinnamon Sticks, broken into pieces
1.5 tsp Whole Allspice (I used 8 tsp Ground Allspice)
3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
24 lbs Tomatoes, cored & quartered
3 cups Onions, chopped
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1.5 cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Pickling/Canning Salt

Step #1
Tie Celery Seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks and Allspice into a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. Pour Vinegar into a saucepan, and place spice bag in as well. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand 25 minutes. Discard spice bag.
Step #2
In large canning pot combine Tomatoes, Onions & Cayenne. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes. Add infused vinegar and boil gently until vegetables are soft and mixture begins to thicken.
Step #3
Working in batches, transfer mixture to a sieve placed over a glass/stainless steel bowl and press to extract all liquid. Discard solids.
Step #4
Return liquids to saucepan. Add sugar and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by half and mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup.
Step #5
I used a Boiling-Water Heat Processing method for canning. Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Finger-tip tighten lid. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store. I store the jars in my cellar, but once the jar is open I store it in my fridge (or in this great Tupperware squeeze container)

Well, there you have it! A very tasty Ketchup (and without any Red Dye #2, and lower in sugar & salt than commercial brands) 🙂

Categories: Frugal, Recipe | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Gingerbread Journey

Well, after spending two days immersed in the world of Gingerbread Creations I thought that I would share our Gingerbread Journey with you.

First off, for those of you who don’t know Kristina & I, a bit of background story: In 2003 Kristina and I lived together, and that Christmas is when we began our Gingerbread Journey. In our first attempt at Gingerbread houses Kristina made a simple house from a premade pattern out of a magazine, and I designed and built a Nativity Scene. After 10 years of experience, looking back, I can’t believe how crude my scene was that year. Each year Kristina and I get together on a weekend in either November or December or like this year, because of special birthdays, sudden family deaths, and the business of Christmas; January. Other than that first year we have always designed and created our scenes from ideas in our own heads.

First you must have a great dough recipe:
Gingerbread Recipe

Next most important detail is the Glue or Hard Icing. We learned the hard way in year 1 that to attach candy this “hard” icing is always the best way to go! Otherwise pretty soon candy will be falling of your creation all over the place!
Hard Icing Recipe

Finally all you need is a great imagination!! Here are our creations from over the years:
Year 1: House (Kristina)
Nativity Scene (Karen)
Year 2: Train (Kristina)
Farm Yard (Karen)
Year 3: Unfortunately due to computer problems, pictures from this year were lost. 😦 (Always remember to back up your pictures!!)
Kristina made a Cul-De-Sac, and I made a daycare center.
Year 4: Living Room Scene (Kristina)
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (Karen)
Year 5: Castle (Kristina)
Grain Elevator (Karen)
Year 6: FairyTale Land (Kristina)
Rudolph’s Reindeer Academy (Karen)
Year 7: Finished FairyTale Land (Kristina)
Train Station & Santa Train (Karen)
Year 8: Pirate Ship (Kristina)
oct - dec 2010 189
Berenstain Bear Tree House (Karen)
oct - dec 2010 077
Year 9: Carnival (Kristina)
Santa’s Workshop (Karen)
Stay tuned for Gingerbread Year 10!!! A little hint on my theme for this year: I drew my inspiration from these fabulous books……. 🙂

Categories: Gingerbread Journey, Recipe | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

My Laundry Arsenal

A year ago, I discovered the world of homemaking, frugal-living blogs. Some of the first blog posts that I stumbled across were recipes for making your own laundry detergent. Now…. Call me crazy, but I had never thought of that before. I mean, why would I want to spend 20 minutes every 4-6 months making laundry soap, when I could just go to the store and buy some expensive brand name. However, I had to give it a try!

1 year later, and I have perfected my recipe for detergent, no longer use brand name fabric softener, or bleach in my laundry. It’s so simple, that I wish I had figured this out years ago!

Side note: I have a front-load HE washing machine, and as this detergent is low-suds I’ve never had a problem with it.

Are you ready????? 🙂

Recipe for Fabric Softener

Yep! That’s it! I fill the fabric softener spot in my washing machine with white vinegar.

Recipe for Bleach
Hydrogen Peroxide

Again, that’s it! I fill the bleach spot in my washing machine with Hydrogen Peroxide when I have a load of whites/towels. This works great with my daycare towels/cloth wipes/hankies. If I have run out of hydrogen peroxide, I fill the bleach spot with more vinegar however, hydrogen peroxide works much better!

Recipe for Laundry Detergent
¼ cup Borax
¼ cup Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda)
½ Bar Sunlight Soap
First you grate the soap. I use my hand grater, however, I’ve also used my food processor for this job. Don’t worry about getting soap on your kitchen appliances, because seriously…. IT’S SOAP! LOL
Fill a saucepan with about 8 cups water (actual amount not important) add the grated soap and heat until soap is melted.
Add Borax and Washing Soda. Mix well.
Let cool a bit, and then pour into containers.
I use 2x3L containers, and 2x4L containers. I just pour the soap mixture equally into the containers, and then fill the rest of the way with warm water.
The 3L containers are old brand name laundry detergent containers, and I fill the detergent to the 1 or 2 line in the lid for each load.

I’ve been using my Homemade Laundry Arsenal for 1 year now, and I love it! 1 year ago I bought 1 box Washing Soda, 1 box Borax and 1 pkg of 2 bars Sunlight Soap, spending roughly $20 to make laundry soap, and still have lots of the Washing Soda & Borax left! How much have you spent on laundry soap in the last year?

Categories: Frugal | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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