Posts tagged homemade
Posts tagged homemade
My twin boys are turning five next week so today I bought all of the supplies for their cakes. I always make their cakes. I know store-bought cakes are fancy and you can do exciting things like get your photo on top, but for some reason I feel really strongly that I always want to make my kids’ birthday cakes (and I don’t feel strongly about much!). They don’t have to be organic, they don’t even have to be from scratch, but I really, really want to make them myself. The only problem is…I can’t do icing. So how does one fulfill their kids’ ridiculous cake requests without any icing ability? I could take a class (cake decorating is pretty trendy right now and there are lots of classes around Toronto), or I could just use CANDY! Kids love it, it’s easier than icing, it’s delicious and it looks very cute (I think). This year Evan has requested a medieval knight’s castle and James is set on a dinosaur cake. I googled both of these and saw amazing creations. Supermoms have made cakes that were actually in the shape of these things and done up in multi-coloured layers royal icing and handmade details! What the hell is fondant anyway? I promptly shut my laptop and headed to the grocery store to buy marshmallows, chocolate buttons, wine gums, skittles, sprinkles and every kind of green candy I could find (for James’ giganotosaurus, obviously). After the boys’ big day next week I’ll post pics of whatever I come up with. James asked for a lemon cake and Evan asked for “chocolate…I mean vanilla…I mean rainbow…oh, just a layer of each with icing in between” — so wish me luck on that!
In the mean time, I’d like to post some cakes from years past. Aren’t they cute (even if I do say so myself!)? And not fancy at all. So next time you have a family birthday resist the urge to BUY a cake and try making one yourself! I’ve never had a complaint yet. And think of how proud and amazing you’ll feel at your kids’ weddings when all of their birthday pics come up in the slideshow with HOMEMADE cakes in each frame. People will know how much you truly love your children and how you really are “doing it all”. (bah ha ha)
Here’s Noelle’s first birthday cake, some sweet flowers for my sweet little flower:
And here’s Evan’s aquarium cake from last year and James’ complimentary fishy cupcakes (not as impressive as the cake, but they were exactly to James’ specifications):
And then there’s always just cupcakes with sprinkles and fancy candles for babies/toddlers. You can’t go wrong with cupcakes for babies:
P.S. If you are worried about all of the sugar and preservatives in candy, then you can always do what I do — add something super healthy to the batter to cancel out the ill effects of the sugar! Did you know you can’t taste pureed beets in chocolate cake? In fact, they make everything extra moist and they are so healthy that all of the sugar is completely canceled out (right?). Same with flax seed meal! So many omega fatty acids in that stuff that they completely cancel all of those toxic sprinkles. So enjoy! It’s only once a year!
My history with small appliances is hit and miss. Our food processor moved in with my mum a couple of years ago. The juicer found a new home on Craig’s List. But my breadmaker? It’s here to stay.
Last spring I bought a Sunbeam breadmaker on amazon.ca. It was an inexpensive model (about $80) with decent reviews and seemed like a good “starter” machine. I was reluctant to spend too much, just in case making bread at home wasn’t as easy and delicious as I hoped it would be. My Aunt in Yorkshire inspired me to get started with a breadmaker. I had some fresh bread at her house and loved it. It was nothing like the white, white bread I remember from the breadmakers that were briefly popular when I was a little girl.
My kids eat quite a lot of bread and making my own is a nice way to make sure they’re getting great quality stuff. I can buy organic flour, add extras like flax and wheat germ and skip preservatives all together. I find making my own bread economical too.
Here are some of the features I love about my breadmaker:
So if you’re like me and you love the glory of homemade stuff (“Who me? Yes, I bake my own bread.”) but not necessarily the hard work, I highly recommend getting yourself a breadmaker! Here’s a link to the model I purchased on amazon.ca (it’s on sale for $69 right now!): http://tinyurl.com/6qvpzcu
Homemade Laundry Soap
A few months ago my friend Heather inspired me to try making my own laundry detergent. I’d become increasingly frustrated with the high price of HE detergents and increasingly aware that their ingredients weren’t good for my family or our water supply. Guess what? Within a few loads, I was hooked. No more Tide for me - I love homemade laundry soap. I decided to make a special “lavender-infused” batch and package it up in pretty glass canning jars with fancy labels to give to my girlfriends for Christmas. Here’s my recipe (essentially the same as one provided by Eco Pioneer, although I find I use much less than the 1/2 cup per load they recommend).
Before commercial cleaners became widely available in the 1940s, household cleaning was accomplished by combining basic ingredients such as soap flakes, borax, washing soda and baking soda. Ask your grandmother how she accomplished her chores as a young woman and you’re likely to hear about vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and other non-toxic cleaners that went out of fashion a generation later (and are slowly coming back into fashion thanks to the environmental movement). Homemade laundry soap is economical, environmentally friendly, effective, gentle on the skin, free from dangerous toxins and a pleasure to use. It is safe for HE washing machines as it does not contain SLS or other chemicals to increase suds.
I hope you enjoy this laundry detergent. I would never go back to commercially available detergents now (and that means a lot coming from someone who does 10+ loads of laundry per week!).
Instructions for Use
Pretreat stubborn stains as usual. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of Homemade Laundry Soap to your wash (directly into the machine with the clothing). Use any temperature of water (I prefer cold but often run the hot for a minute to get the soap started). For heavily soiled loads, add another tablespoon or so of soap. Safe for baby clothes.