Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Homemade- #AtoZChallenge

Homemade wine, busy fermenting (this will be addressed in
another post)
An important part (probably THE most important part) of my Living and Learning adventure is learning how to make things myself. It was one of the several reasons I started this blog to share with the world. So, in honor of the Living and Learning blog itself, today H is for Homemade.

I grew up in a family that did a lot of things by itself: grew food, hunted, fished, made wine, fixed cars and trucks, built things in general. I've always enjoyed (even if I didn't appreciate it at the time) the skills that I gradually picked up around my relatives. Since I moved to Tasmania in 2010 I continued the DIY tradition, and have since learned to do so much for myself and my household, mostly in the kitchen, but also in the garden and in the cleaning cupboard. Check out the many skills below that I've taught myself during my journey.


2012 saw the start of my experience in preserving food by bottling. Back home in the US, I was well familiar with the Ball Blue Book Method, but down here, I learned the Fowlers-Vacola method instead. Since I started collecting jars and their accessories, I've taught myself to bottle jams, tomato sauces, chutneys, and pickles.

Laundry Detergent and Soap

Homemade Old Fashioned Rose Soap
I followed up in 2013 with learning my most favorite skill: soap making. And not just hand soaps either- I started making home made laundry detergents as well, because I was beginning to become sensitive to the strong perfumes they use in conventional liquid laundry detergents. My soap hobby has since become somewhat of a "business"- it makes me a little extra income when I need cash for my projects. It's a good clean hobby.

Green Cleaners 

Well before my fascination with home made soap, I was experimenting with green cleaners. I began teaching myself about alternatives to the toxic cleaning chemicals generally found in commercial "public" environments. My absolute favorite spray 'n' wipe recipe is the one in that blog- I make it every other month, and use it to clean all kinds of surfaces.

Spices and Seasonings 

One of many homemade skills: pie making!
I love flavor. I'm not going to lie. When I bite into a baked chicken leg, I want the perfectly crispy skin to crunch and release the flavors of  garlic and sage. My homemade tacos are bursting with chili, garlic and cumin, and pasta sauces always benefit from a good blend of Italian style herbs.

Bouillon Cubes  

One of my greatest and most successful experiments with food preservation was my experiment with making homemade bouillon "cubes" (stock cubes). They last a long time, save on freezer space, and can be added to anything that needs a little something extra added to the flavor.

Finally, I'd like to wrap this up with a homemade condiment that my husband loves, and which is super easy for me to whip up whenever we need more of it. Mayonnaise! No longer do we buy the questionable stuff at the stores, loaded with their preservatives, flavorings and junk vegetable oils.

Living and Learning's Whole Egg Mayo  

2 cups light olive oil
2 whole eggs
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tsp English mustard (optional)
Salt (optional)   

Place the eggs, mustard, salt and vinegar into a tall metal milkshake cup, and add about 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Using a stick blender, blend until the mixture is smooth and yellow. Then, using the lowest speed setting on the blender, slowly pour the remaining oil into the egg mixture. Blend until the mayo is thick and white. Scrape the lot into a screw top jar, and refrigerate immediately. 

This recipe will easily last two to three weeks, but that also depends entirely upon your usage of it. My spouse puts it on his sandwiches, and I use it to make salad dressings. 

I hope you are enjoying this homemade journey as much as I am, and I'll see you tomorrow with another blog for the Challenge!

1 comment:

  1. I admire you for all the homemade things you shared here! Not sure I would have been so motivated to do so :)



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