My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Cloth Diapering Failures

Once upon a time, I did what many a crunchy mother did. I washed my cloth diapers in homemade detergent. *gasp!!!*

I know, I know. Shame on me.

After years of stinky diapers, and a few ruined ones, I have learned my lesson. I am happy to announce that I am one year homemade detergent sober.

So since many of us crunchy mamas now know that homemade laundry detergent is useless, what’s an earth conscious mama to do with all those dirty diapers?

I have spent quite a bit of time researching and testing different detergents. I have also been following Fluff Love and CD Science’s research. Between the two, I think I’ve found a detergent and wash routine that is Eco-friendly, leaves the diapers stink-free, and doesn’t destroy my washer.

The Eco-friendly laundry detergent award goes to…

I have to admit, I’m a Seventh Generation lover. Their products are way more expensive than most, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice if it means having clean diapers and a better earth. After all, I started cloth diapering BECAUSE I wanted to leave as little of a footprint as possible when it came to my babies. It would be senseless of me to cloth diaper, then turn around and use a detergent that contained harmful pollutants and the like.

I personally use Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus on my diapers. I’ve tested a few different kinds of Seventh Generation detergents and this one has been the winner time and time again. It requires the least amount of water and detergent to get my fluffy diapers, like my AIOs, completely clean.

My Wash Routine

My wash routine is actually fairly simple. I wash diapers every 2-3 days. Included in my diaper wash are our family cloth (toilet paper substitute). Since Bitty A is eating some solids now, I swish the diapers in the toilet before tossing them into our diaper pail. That’s the only prep that I do.

When I’m ready to wash everything, I toss them in for a pre-rinse. Usually after 2-3 days, the kids and I have accumulated enough diapers and family cloth to make for a full laundry load. I throw everything in and turn my washer knob to “Rinse and Spin”. I add a half a cap of my detergent and run the rinse cycle on cold.

Once the rinse cycle is complete, I turn the temp knob to hot. I then fill the cap up completely to the #6 line and add it in. The wash gets run, no extra rinses.

When the wash is finally complete, I hang dry everything. I have a drying rack that I can use indoors if the weather isn’t permitting.

Currently I have soft water, but in the past when I’ve had harder water, I’ve added a little bit of borax to my wash routine.

How to find what will work for you

All I can suggest is experiment, experiment, experiment! It took me a while to finally find what worked for us. The first best step would be to check out Fluff Love & CD Science. Their page has been so helpful for me in my cloth diapering journey.

If you’re my neighbor and near Fort Smith, check out our local cloth diaper group, Fort Smith Fluffy Bums. The folks that run that page know their stuff! Again, if you’re local, you can also stop by Natural State Parenting Supply and Yoga Studio in Fort Smith. Jana and Sarah, the lovely ladies who run the store, know the ends and outs of cloth diapering.

How about you? What does your washing routine look like?

 

*This article contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission from the company if you choose to buy your product through them. You can read more about the affiliate work I do here.*

My Cloth Diaper Stash + Diaper Reviews on 4 Brands

My Cloth Diaper Stash

 

UPDATE 03/08/2016

Now only Bitty A is in cloth diaper, since Little a decided to potty train herself. Gotta love an ambitious chica! Regardless, my diaper stash is about the same, with a few extra prefolds and covers added in. 

UPDATE 11/1/2015

Big A is officially out of night time diapering, WOOT! I didn’t think we’d ever get that bedtime routine down, but it finally clicked for him. Hang in there potty-training parents! It eventually happens! 

I don’t normally post stuff like this, but I’ve become rather fond of my little stash that I have accumulated over the nearly 4 years that I’ve been cloth diapering.

When I first began cloth diapering, I had no idea what I was doing. Big A was only a month old and his father and I quickly discovered that disposable diapers were eating away at our already tight budget.

So I sought out the kind of cloth diapers we could quickly afford on our limited budget. These are often referred to as “China cheapies”, because they’re inexpensive diapers manufactured in China. The brands I chose were KerrBear Kids (KBK) and Kawaii. Both brands were very inexpensive compared to other cloth diaper brands (roughly $8 per diaper) and they came in some pretty adorable prints. When I ordered my Kawaii diapers, I opted for one of their company’s ‘bundle packages‘, which provided me with about 12 pocket one size pocket diapers at a much cheaper rate. I spent roughly $90 on the bundle, but they offer other package deals that you can choose from.

China Cheapie Diapers

While I wasn’t exactly thrilled with these two brands, for various reasons, they have served my family and I well for the time that we have used them. I still have quite a few of the ones I originally started off with, over 3 1/2 years ago, and they’re only now beginning to show wear, despite being on a very steady rotation. Now that they’re old and have seen some wear, I use them as overnight diapers for Big A and Little a, who are both mostly potty trained, but still have some issues at night.

Kawaii and KBK compare

The picture above shows a KBK pocket one size on the left and a Kawaii pocket one size on the right.

In comparing Kawaii cloth diapers and KBK cloth diapers, I would have to say that Kawaii are my favorites. Both brands offer positives, which makes it a hard choice, but after 3 1/2 years of using both, the Kawaii’s have held up the best and have provided the best absorbency, which are both huge pluses in my book. If all you’re looking for is a cloth diaper to get you through one child, then KBK’s will serve you nicely. For me, though, I was looking for a brand that would last me beyond my first child and Kawaii’s have proven to do just that.

KBK diaper tag

Now on to the negatives…

One of the biggest negatives I have with both Kawaii and KBK is that their diapers are manufactured in China. While I have no qualms with ordering items from overseas, I do worry about the work conditions the factory workers dealt with while creating my diapers.

The next biggest issues, and this deals mostly with KBK diapers, is that they’re not made from natural fibers. When I first started cloth diapering, I wasn’t too concerned about the make or fiber quality of the diapers. I just wanted something that would last my child until he/she were potty trained and something that would help save me some money. Both KBK and Kawaii fulfilled those needs. However, as I began researching the different fibers that are used to make cloth diapers, I became more picky about the diapers I purchased in the future.

My concern about fiber came full force when I discovered that Big A had what appeared to be a sensitivity to synthetic fibers. He would get hives along his “manly bits” anytime he wore the KBK diapers, which are made of PUL and microfiber. I eventually figured out that his allergy seemed to be to microfiber. Thankfully, when I had ordered the Kawaii diapers, I ordered them in cotton, so he was able to wear Kawaii diapers for the rest of his diapering days.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive diaper that will last you roughly 2 children and is of decent quality, then Kawaii’s are my recommendation. They even come in cotton and bamboo, if you’re concerned about synthetic fibers like I am.

Now on to the rest of my stash…

diaper stash shot

Here’s a shot of a good portion of the diapers and covers that I use. I use a variety of diapering styles and methods. In the picture, the top arching row of diapers are the majority of the Kawaii’s and KBK diapers I own. I had more, but over time, I’ve sold or traded some.

The little pink one below all of my KBK’s and Kawaii’s is a Kissaluv countour fitted. It’s made out of 10% polyester and 90% cotton, so not a completely natural fibered diaper like I want, but it works great for my chunky thighed toddlers. You can find other really cute diapers and fitteds on Kissaluv’s website.

tardis hemp diaper

If you thought the little diaper on the left was a TARDIS, you were correct! I don’t normally delve into my nerdiness on this blog, but I’m a huge Whovian and have been for years! When I saw this diaper, I just knew I had to have it.

Pitter Patter Stitches

It’s a hemp AIO (all-in-one) one size made by a Tulsa, Oklahoma (semi-local for me) WAHM. Her company is called Pitter Patter Stitches. Isn’t that business tag just adorable? Anyway, I am really in love with this diaper. I’m a huge fan of hemp and I’m already sold on it being a wonderful diaper fiber. You can also follow Pitter Patter Stitches on Facebook.

The white cloths on the sides are flour sack towels. I use these like you would use flats. However, I have found them to be far more superior to the cheapo Gerber brand flats you can buy at WalMart. You can purchase flour sack towels at Amazon, Target, and WalMart. Amazon even offers unbleached flour sack towels. Most of mine I purchased used from a local lady, but you can get them for less than $1 a piece. They fit newborn all the way up to my very chunky thighed 2 and 3 year olds. These are super convenient because I can just throw them in my regular wash and not have to worry about any fancy wash routines.

wool stash shot

The blues and browns are all wool diaper covers that I made myself from upcycled sweaters. I’ve also made wool menstrual pads and wool nursing pads, as seen in the picture above, but I’ll talk about those another time. By the way, my upcycled nursing pads will be listed on my Etsy shop very soon.

These woolies are for Bitty A. Some are roughly newborn to 3 months old, while others are more medium sized.

wool longies

These little wool longies are probably my favorite. They’re made from the sleeves of an angora and cashmere sweater. Sooooo soft!

The cute little diaper with the airplane applique is actually a fleece soaker/diaper cover. You would use this over a fitted, flat, or prefold, like you would with the wool covers. This one was made by a local WAHM and I really like it. I still think wool trumps fleece any day, but it’s nice to have because it can just go in with my regular laundry and doesn’t require special washing like wool does.

Cloudy Diapers

I have a few other diapers in my stash, like this adorable bamboo fitted. Overall, I have just barely enough to get me through with a newborn and two mostly potty trained toddlers.

When I had Little a, all I had was 18 diapers that I had to use between two kids. Somehow I managed. I did do part-time elimination communication with Little a, which helped save me on washes.

If someone were to ask me what’s my favorite diapering style out of all of my diapers, I would have to say it’s the flour sack towels and wool covers. Very simple. Very old school. But it’s my favorite!

By the way, you can find more of my articles on cloth (and wool!) diapering here. You can also find my Pinterest board on cloth diapering here.

What’s you’re stash look like and what’s your favorite diapering method? 

50 Tips for Living on Next to Nothing

50 Tips for Living on Next to Nothing - How a Family of 4 Survives and Thrives on Less Than $25,000 a Year

My family of 4 has managed to live on a $25,000 a year (or less) income for the past few years. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been some months in which we haven’t earned a dime and have had to live entirely off of what was in our pantry and what we had in savings (the joys of being a freelancer). We have also benefited greatly from generous folks who didn’t mind sharing some of their food. Despite all of this, we have learned how to survive and thrive.

Over the years, we have picked up a few tips and tricks on how to make it when times get tough. I have scoured through numerous frugal blogs and books for ideas, but I have also just had to be clever at times and come up with my own plans. Below is my list of 50 tips for living on next to nothing. All of these tips have come about from personal trial and error. If you’re going through a rough patch, I sincerely hope this list is able to provide you with some help.

  1. Only purchase items on sale and with a coupon, if possible. There have been many months in which my family and I have lived only off of day old bread markdowns, “over-ripe” markdown produce, and meats getting close to being out-of-date. Doing this, we have at times been able to keep our grocery budget down to only $20 a week (or less) for 4 people, while still eating nutritious foods.
  2. Purchase an inexpensive chest freezer on a site like Craigslist and stock up on meat and produce when it goes on sale.
  3. Barter with local farmers for foods. Often times, a farmer will be willing to trade some of his crops for help with fence repair, mucking stalls, or other farm-related chores.
  4. If you rent, try to work with your landlord on lowering your rent. Landlords may be able to assign landscaping or handyman work for you to do to help lower your monthly rent.
  5. Cover your windows with plastic sheeting and blankets to help keep the heat in/cold out during winter months.
  6. Ask friends and family for their leftovers. This may sound kind of gross, but you would be surprised at how much food people throw away daily.
  7. Become a freegan.
  8. Breastfeed, co-sleep, home birth, and cloth diaper. They’re all cheaper (and better) than typical Western methods.
  9. If you can’t breastfeed, search for donor breast milk. There are numerous generous lactating women who are more than happy to give your their excess breast milk. Check your local hospitals, with your local WIC office, as well as sites like Human Milk for Human Babies.
  10. I have yet to meet a midwife that hasn’t been at least willing to barter with her clients, some even offer a sliding scale. If you’re working with a midwife, talk to her about possibly bartering goods you may have to pay off your midwife fees. Same goes for a doula.
  11. Don’t purchase shoes for your children until they’re walking well. Shoes can actually be very harmful for developing feet. Only have them wear shoes when absolutely necessary. This will not only save you money, but it will also help your children to have healthy feet and a proper gate. Neither one of my kids began wearing shoes regularly until they were about 2 years old. Even then, we always chose shoes that were minimalistic and beneficial to growing feet.
  12. When you do buy your children shoes, buy them used. Children rarely wear shoes for more than a season, because their feet grow so quickly. It isn’t hard at all to find almost brand new shoes for children at consignment shops. My kids have owned Justin cowboy boots, name brand Crocs, and Nikes that I’ve paid no more than a dollar or two each for.
  13. Sell everything you own that you don’t need (unnecessary furniture, electronics, etc.).
  14. Stop using your cell phone. You don’t need it. All it provides is a false sense of security.
  15. Still think you need a phone? Use Facebook, Skype, or Google instead. Everyone has a Facebook now, I’m sure you can still talk via Facebook to whomever it is that you think you need a phone for.
  16. Get rid of your internet (unless you work online). You can usually get free internet at your local library.
  17. Get rid of your car and walk everywhere, if you live close enough to town. Also, if you’re within a few miles of town, that’s plenty close enough to not need a car. I hear people say far too often that they have to have a car because the grocery store/work/whatever is too far (too far being about 2 miles away)… Get off your butt and get walking (or bike)!
  18. If you must have a car, only use it for the bare minimum. Try to walk as much as possible, instead. Or, schedule all of your appointments and shopping trips on the same days so that you don’t have to make several trips into town throughout the week.
  19. If you do still have to own a car, speak with your car insurance company about getting a cheaper rate. Often times companies will give you a discount if you don’t drive your vehicle often.
  20. Explore work-at-home employment options. Not only will this save you money on things like gas, business attire, and the like, but you’ll also have more freedom and you will be able to spend more time with your family.
  21. Cancel cable, Netflix, or any other extras that you don’t really need. If you homeschool, you might consider keeping Netflix for educational purposes, but it really isn’t necessary.
  22. Buy used clothing or make your own.
  23. Cook from scratch. It’s cheaper and healthier.
  24. Eat cheaper foods. I’m not talking about boxed macaroni, either. Potatoes (even sweet potatoes), rice, beans, homemade breads, and such are all cheaper than their pre-packaged equivalents.
  25. If something breaks, try your best to fix it yourself. YouTube is a great resource for how-to information.
  26. Line-dry your clothes. You will be amazed at how much cheaper your electric bill is if you avoid using the dryer.
  27. Wash your clothes in cold water. The only thing I don’t wash in cold water is my cloth diaper.
  28. Turn off your electronics at night.
  29. Make homemade soups and bone broths. They’re very filling, usually provide leftovers, and can be highly nutritious.
  30. Grow your own produce. You can even do this in an apartment. I managed to grow sage, cilantro, peppermint, tomatoes, and lemon balm all in an apartment with no balcony.
  31. Collect shower water and use it to water your plants.
  32. Use homemade cleaners. They’re safer, work better, are eco-friendly, and cheaper.
  33. Make your own toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.
  34. Download the free Kindle app on Amazon and purchase free eBooks. You don’t have to have a Kindle to do this. You can download the app onto your computer or phone. I have found numerous wonderful books through this for both myself and my children.
  35. Keep your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit during summer and 65 degrees Fahrenheit during winter.
  36. Get over your food stigma when money is tight. Be okay with possibly having to eat wheat, meat, nightshades, or whatever; it’s better than starving.
  37. If you don’t have enough money, don’t buy anything.
  38. Buy used and save the difference.
  39. Make homemade gifts for holidays and birthdays.
  40. Shop at discount stores like Aldi and Dollar General.
  41. Price match and shop around. Don’t purchase all of your items from one store alone, unless you can price match.
  42. Entertain yourself by learning how to sew, learning how to play a musical instrument, singing, writing a book, painting, or any number of other lost arts.
  43. Encourage your children to be creative and create their own forms of entertainment. Give a child some creative freedom and they can turn pine cones and tree branches into cars and a race track.
  44. Make your own baby wraps, cloth diapers, nursing pads, menstrual pads, and the like.
  45. Research local herbs, plants, and mushrooms and learn how to forage. You can often find books on local wild plants at your local library.
  46. Purchase organ meats and bones instead of specialty cuts of meats. Organ meats tend to be cheaper and are more nutritious. Bones can be turned into bone broths.
  47. Purchase a meat slicer and slice your own sandwich meats from discount bulk meat purchases. Sandwich meats costs way too much, but doing this will save you quite a lot in the long run. Not to mention, the meat will taste so much better than icky store-bought sandwich meat.
  48. Purchase foods in-bulk on sale and can, ferment, or freeze them.
  49. Make a pantry list and try to keep it well stocked. When things get tough, if you have a well stocked pantry, you can live off of it for a while.
  50. Research into natural medicines, such as herbalism, and learn how to treat your aches and ills.

Bartering is going to be one of the best ways for you to live on next to nothing. Try to barter as often as possible. When you do have a successful barter, keep that person’s contact information readily available for the next time you have something that may interest them.

Stocking up when things are on-sale is also going to be another one of the top things to do when things are tight. Anytime you have spare money, try to put it either towards savings or expanding your pantry.

Lastly, when you have spare money, do your best to put it in savings or invest it. Finding investment opportunities that will generate a passive income can be so beneficial during difficult times. Explore multiple passive income options available to you and put your investment money in numerous venues, if possible.

A Healthy Pantry Checklist

A Healthy Pantry Checklist - A Massive List of Healthy Foods to Keep on Hand + Printable!I often get asked what I would recommend to stock in a healthy foods pantry, so I decided to share my list with you all.

Some of you will probably scoff at my list and be like Wheat is bad for you! Haven’t you read Wheat Belly!?! or You totally shouldn’t eat canned goods, man! While I agree with you, for the most part, I have been hungry a time or two in my life; that is not something I want to revisit. I would much rather feed my family good-quality wheat products, or homemade canned goods (or organic canned goods), than watch them go hungry because of some sort of food stigma I have.

This pantry list is here for survival purposes. I don’t usually stockpile things like Rice a Roni, breakfast cereals, or really much of anything that has been overly processed. Instead, I try to stockpile whole food products that can be stretched and will help my family of 4 survive and thrive. If that means we have to eat a little bit of wheat when times get tough, then we’re going to be eating some good homemade wheat meals made from scratch.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this list, you’ll find a FREE printable that you can use to keep track of all of your delicious goods.

Grains

Steel Cut Oats (my family prefers these for stand-alone meal)

Old Fashioned Oats (my family prefers these for cookies, breads, and other baked goods)

Popcorn

Wheat Berries (for sprouting and grinding into flour)

Long Grain Brown Rice (My local grocery store will run specials on brown rice for under $.50 a pound. That’s usually when I stock up. I have yet to find it cheaper locally anywhere else.)

Long Grain Parboiled Rice (I usually get this in-bulk at Sam’s Club)

Long Grain White Rice (I usually get this in-bulk at Sam’s Club)

Wild Rice

Corn Meal

Quinoa (this is my family’s favorite brand)

Buckwheat (we prefer buckwheat for pancakes – this is the kind I usually buy)

Millet

Rye (for the occasional pumpernickel bread)

Baking Essentials

Baking Powder, aluminum free only

Baking Soda

Cocoa Powder

Cacao Powder

Carob Powder

Cacao Nibs

Yeast

Arrowroot Powder (I use this in place of corn starch in all my recipes. It also works great for diaper rashes.)

Cream of Tarter

Kosher Salt

Sea Salt (I purchase this in-bulk and refill reusable salt shakers.)

Himalayan Pink Salt (I purchase this in-bulk and refill reusable salt shakers.)

Brewer’s Yeast

Nutritional Yeast

Sweeteners 

Unrefined Sugar

Brown Sugar (or make your own with molasses and sugar)

Blackstrap Molasses

Raw Local Honey (I stock up at my local health food store when I have the spare money. At my store, they give me a discount if I bring my own jar. Check with your local health food store to see if the offer a similar perk.)

Maple Syrup

Oils

Coconut Oil (this brand is Fair Trade Certified – I also like this brand and this brand)

Olive Oil

Flax Oil

Hemp Oil

Dairy

Ghee (shelf-stable butter… seriously, this stuff is amaziballs)

Evaporated Milk

Powdered Milk

Canned Goods

(Preferably items you canned yourself, or organic canned goods)

Canned Tuna

Canned Salmon with bone

Canned Chicken

Canned Crab

Applesauce (homemade -crock pot recipe coming soon!)

Apple Pie Filling

Black Olives

Green Olives

Cranberry Sauce

Diced Tomatoes

Pomegranate Jelly (I get this at my local farmer’s market from a very lovely lady)

Apple Butter

Elderberry Jelly

Coconut Water (This is the kind my children and I prefer)

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Paste (I usually get this brand)

Orange Slices

Peaches

Pears

Pineapple

Red Chilies

Green Chilies

Mushrooms

Pickles

Cream of Mushroom Soup (homemade)

Cream of Celery Soup (homemade)

Cream of Chicken Soup

Beef Broth (homemade)

Chicken Broth (homemade)

Vegetable Broth (homemade)

Spaghetti Sauce (homemade)

Alfredo Sauce (I like Newman’s Own brand)

Salsa (homemade)

Dried Fruit

(My husband usually dehydrates any bulk produce we get on sale. We rarely ever buy dried fruits, except for things like dates.)

Raisins

Dates (I usually get Medjool Dates for raw food goodies)

Cranberries

Figs

Apricots

Pineapple

Coconut flakes

Banana chips

Raw Nuts & Butters

Almond Butter

Cashew Butter

Peanut Butter

Cashews (these are my favorite kind of cashews)

Almonds

Peanuts

Pistachios

Pine Nuts

Brazil Nuts

Macadamia Nuts

Pecans

Walnuts

Pasta

(I usually try to make homemade pasta, but it’s always nice to have pre-made noodles on hand. I also try to get gluten-free noodles whenever I can.)

Macaroni Noodles

Ramen Noodles (the real kind)

Angel Hair Pasta

Fettuccine

Penne

Beans

Black Beans

Pinto Beans

Great Northern Beans

Kidney Beans

Garbanzo Beans

Lentils

Seeds

Broccoli seeds (for sprouting – we like these on sandwiches)

Alfalfa seeds (for sprouting)

Chia seeds

Flax seeds (I use flax eggs when I’m out of real eggs – I order these in-bulk from Mountain Rose and store in my fridge)

Hemp seeds (these go great in smoothies and on yogurt – again, order in-bulk, store in fridge)

Sesame seeds (for homemade bagels and other treats)

Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds (my family and I like these in homemade trail mixes)

Condiments

(I usually only stock homemade condiments, unless I can get condiments for free. My family and I are still finishing off ketchup that I bought a year ago for free after a sale + coupon – we had over 20 jars!)

Coconut Aminos

Ketchup

Mustard

BBQ Sauce

Dried Herbs

(I keep way more herbs than this on hand, but this is a decent list of culinary herbs. I also usually purchase my herbs whole and grind them myself, saving a little bit of money, while also preserving freshness. I also keep a lot of spicy herbs on hand, because I like hot food. You might not need to keep so many spicy items on hand, depending on your family’s heat preference.)

Sweet Basil

Parsley

Oregano

Sage

Thyme

Black Peppercorn

Nutmeg

Cardamom

Caraway

Ginger

Turmeric

Dill

Curry

Cinnamon

Garlic Powder (preferably homemade)

Onion Powder (preferably homemade)

Lemon Thyme

Mustard Seeds

Coriander

Curry

Fenugreek (aside from lactation benefits, I like to use fenugreek in recipes for it’s maple-like flavoring)

Poppy Seeds

Red Pepper Chili Flakes

Cayenne

Cumin (My family goes through cumino like crazy!)

Anise

Cloves

Cilantro leaves

Bay Leaves (I use these for culinary and magical purposes, so I try to keep a large supply on hand)

Celery Seeds

Habanero

Lime peel

Lemon peel

Grapefruit peel

Orange peel

Marshmallow root (for homemade marshmallows)

Paprika

Rosemary

Rose petals (for rose water)

Lavender flowers (for lavender water – this makes for some lovely cupcakes)

Saffron

Vanilla Bean (for homemade vanilla extract, vanilla sugar, and other goodies)

Tarragon

Seasoning Blends

Cinnamon & Sugar (for snickerdoodles, oatmeal, and other goodies)

Cajun Seasoning (homemade)

Lemon Pepper

Chicken Bullion

Beef Bullion

Vinegars

White Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (this is the kind I use – I always purchase it in glass jars, instead of the plastic jugs, so that I can reuse the jars for herbal oils.)

Balsamic Vinegar

Brown Rice Vinegar (I like to add this to my bone broth)

Beverages 

Bottled water (only for extreme situations)

Stored filtered water

Herbal Teas (far too many to list here, but you can check out a few that I like to keep on hand here.)

Southern-style tea (For my husband and when friends visit. I do live in Arkansas, after all. It would be deemed rude if I didn’t keep iced tea on hand.)

Vodka (For tinctures, wounds, and other medicinal things.)

Rum (For mother’s sanity.)

Tequila (For father’s sanity – margaritas, anyone?)

Beer, wine, etc.. (For general sanity and because it all tastes good. Oh, and occasionally for cooking.)

AND, because I’m such a nice person, I’ve created a free printable pantry list for you to use to keep track of all of your goodies, what you have on hand, and what you need to purchase to restock your product.

Pantry Checklist

What are some items you like to keep on hand? 

This article contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

A Healthy Pantry Checklist + Printable!

Skillet Pomegranate Lactation Cookies

Skillet Pomegranate Lactation Cookie

One of my resolutions for 2014 has been to eliminate plastics and aluminum from my

kitchen. This includes my cookware. In order to work with this, I have been learning how to

cook on cast iron.

I gotta say, I am in love!

Cast iron is so amazing to cook with. The foods taste better, cast iron is great for my anemia, and it’s far healthier to cook with than aluminum cookware.

Little a has been going through a growth spurt here lately. Anytime she goes through one of these, I always make some lactation cookies to help with my daughter’s growing needs.

Instead of baking lactation cookies on my very warped and questionable cookie sheet, I opted to bake them in my cast iron skillet.

Amazing, delicious, divine…

Even Viking Man chowed down on these bad boys, and usually he’s not too big of a fan of pomegranate.

These cookies are sugar free (honey sub), egg free, and can be dairy free if you substitute the butter for 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Pomegranate
  • 1 stick of Butter – melted
  • 1 tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast
  • 3 Flax Eggs from freshly ground flax
  • 1 cup Raw Local Honey
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground Fenugreek

pom cook

Directions: 

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease your cast iron skillet with coconut oil and place in the oven so that it can begin heating up.
  • Combine honey, butter, & flax eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the pomegranate arils. Pour some of the pomegranate juice into the mixture to add to the sweetness.
  • Take your skillet out and place your cookie dough into it. Spread the dough out with your hands or a greased spoon.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

This made me about 16 skillet (pie shaped) cookies. I haven’t made this with a cookie sheet, but I would assume it would make about 2 dozen sheet cookies.

Keep in mind that the ingredients that make this a lactation cookie are the fenugreek, flax, and brewer’s yeast. Don’t skip adding these in. You can find these on Amazon or at your local health food store. Please do not purchase ground flax from Walmart, as it is not fresh and tends to be rancid. 

This article was originally posted on my old blog, The Frugal Hippie Housewife. This article contains affiliate links

My Herbal Infusion Routine

herb fuse

I rarely take supplements beyond herbs and mushrooms. The only supplements you will ever really hear me talk about will be colloidal silver, clays, charcoal, magnesium oil, and Epsom salt – unless, of course, I discover something new and worth my time.

Instead of supplements, I drink herbal infusions. An herbal infusion is a very strong tea or brew. The way you make an infusion is by adding an ounce of dry herb to boiling water, sealing the jar, and allowing it to sit for an half an hour to overnight, depending on the herb. Preparing your herbs in this method allows the vitamins and minerals to spread out through the water. Keeping the infusion capped helps to keep the vitamins and minerals trapped in the jar so that they cannot escape through the steam. To learn more about infusions, visit this site.

Every herbalist and tradition has their own method of making herbal infusions, but the method that I use is in-line with Susun Weed’s method and the Wise Woman Tradition.

There are quite a few herbs that you can turn into infusions, but I typically only use 8 herbs every month. I also only use one herb at a time; this is called an herbal simple.

The herbs that I work with are rose hips, comfrey, oatstraw, nettle, red raspberry leaf, mullein, red clover, and yellow dock.

Why do I use these herbs? Because they encourage whole-body wellness. Let me explain how…

The Herbs that I Use

Rose Hips (Rosa canina) – Rose hips are a rich source of vitamins C, E, and B2. It is a natural immune booster and can be foraged out in the wild or in your own backyard.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) – Comfrey helps to strengthen bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is rich in protein and trace minerals. You can also forage this in your own back yard.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa) – Oatstraw is a beautiful herb for emotional health and heart health. It is rich in protein and trace minerals.

Nettle (Urtica dioica) – Nettle, or Stinging Nettle, is one of my favorite herbs. It is amazing for your kidneys, great for anxiety, and boosts energy. It is rich in chlorophyll and other minerals. This is also an herb that you probably can’t leave your home without encountering. Seriously, this stuff is all over the place!

Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – Red Raspberry Lead is one of my favorites, along with Nettle. It is a fertility herb, helps to balance hormones, has been shown to help with endometriosis. This herb is rich in nearly every vitamin and mineral that is essential for whole-body wellness. You might be able to forage this herb, if you live in an area with red raspberries. I have yet to find any growing in my area, so I typically order mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) – This isn’t an herb that I use every week, but it is one that I really enjoy using. My husband was diagnosed with asthma while in the Navy. Since then, he has smoked this herb and used it in an infusion anytime he feels like he is going to have an asthma attack. This herb strengthens the lungs, is rich in magnesium, and can be foraged in your back yard (it’s a beautiful herb, try to find it!)

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) – This herb… now this herb is one that I cherish. This herb, I feel, helped me deal with anemia during my second pregnancy. I have used it every since that pregnancy and have had little to no issue with anemia with my current pregnancy. This herb is a liver strengthener, a gentle blood cleanser, and assists the body in absorbing iron. It is rich and iron and can very easily be foraged in your own back yard.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) – This is a fertility herb (according to Susun Weed), an anti-cancer herb, and is rich in protein and trace minerals. It can be easily foraged in in your backyard in open pasture.

My typical routine for these herbs looks like this:

Sunday – Red Raspberry Leaf

Monday – Nettle

Tuesday – Oatstraw

Wednesday – Yellow Dock (with blackstrap molasses)

Thursday – Red Raspberry Leaf

Friday – Nettle

Saturday – Any one of the other herbs mentioned, depending on what is going on with me and my body

How to Make the Infusions

Roots/barks – 1 ounce herb in a pint jar for minimum of 8 hours (I do a max of 12hrs)

Leaves – 1 ounce herb in a quart jar for a minimum of 4 hours (I usually do overnight)

Flowers – 1 ounce herb in a quart jar for a maximum of 2 hours (Chamomile should only be done for 30 min)

Seeds/berries – 1 ounce herb in a pint jar for maximum of 30 minutes (rose hips can be done for 1-4 hours)

All of the infusions can be sipped with some honey, maple, or blackstrap molasses. I always sip Yellow Dock with molasses in order to help with iron absorption. I also like to add a little Himalayan salt or sea salt, just to get some extra minerals and to help with the taste.

I will warn you, some of these taste like absolute crap if you’re not used to bitters. That being said, your body NEEDS bitters. Sadly, the Western diet is often lacking in bitters, therefore, Western people’s bodies have grown accustomed to finding the taste of bitters intolerable.

Rose hips are, by far, the tastiest of all of these infusions. The flavors will vary, depending on the rose variety you have gathered from, but I have found them all to taste almost like a wild berry juice. My children love rose hip infusions and I never have any trouble getting them to drink them when they’re sick or during cold and flu season.

That’s right, I give my kids infusions. Nearly all herbs that are safe for infusions are safe for children. My children have sipped from every one of the infusions I have listed except for oatstraw and comfrey. This isn’t because I distrust oatstraw or comfrey, my children just haven’t been interested in drinking them, yet.

These infusions, along with a healthy food lifestyle, plenty of exercise, and lots of sunshine, helps to keep me happy and healthy.

What’s your favorite herbal infusion? 

This article contains affiliate links. This article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any ailment. Speak with your primary health care professional (and use your own common sense) before beginning an herbal routine.