Awww, Soap Nuts

Tags

, , , , ,

Sapindus saponaria

Sapindus saponaria (Photo credit: João de Deus Medeiros)

Who out there uses them?  Tell me about them!  Tell me what you like or don’t like.  Where you buy them.  Do you use something else?  I really don’t think I’m ever going to make my own laundry detergent!  I love that you can compost the nuts/berries after they’re spent!

Here’s what one ebay seller has to say about their product:

So, what’s a Soapnut?

Soapnuts are the seed pod of a macadamia-sized berry which is cracked open and dried in the sun, producing a sticky, dark golden shell. These shells (known as ‘soapnuts’) can be placed into your washing machine instead of detergent and fabric softener, and will leave your clothes clean, soft and without scent. The pods contain a very high percentage of saponins (Mother Nature’s soap), a surfactant which removes dirt and oils from clothing when contacted with water. Soapnuts can also be boiled into a liquid concentrate and used as a general purpose cleaner, shampoo, hand soap… the list is long and growing.

What can I use them for?

Well, just about everything. As a detergent, a personal cleanser and shampoo, a general purpose cleaner, car wash, pet wash, vegetable wash, carpet and upholstery cleaner…

Soapnuts are most commonly used as a laundry detergent. They are used instead of chemical detergents and fabric softeners. Soapnut shells are used simply on their own in a cotton bag or lone sock tied at the top and put into the machine with your clothes. They do not need to be removed during the rinse cycle as there is no harmful or irritating residue as is left over from normal detergents. The surfactants in the nuts cleans and softens your laundry in one economic and environmentally friendly swoop!

I’m waiting to hear your thoughts!

Advertisements

Calamondin Pudding Cake

Tags

, , , ,

English: I made this digital image

Image via Wikipedia

ImageWith all of my talk about low carb and keeping my blood sugar at a respectable level and what-not, one would think that I would not subject myself (or you) to yet another cake recipe.  Unfortunately, such is not the case.  At least not when this delectable little fruit is part of the picture.  I’m not a chocolate girl.  I love lemons.  I love citrus.  Lemon ice box pie.  Lemon heads.  Lemonade.  All my favorites.  When my good friend Mrs. Teresa introduced me to the calamondin, it was love at first sniff.  This small citrus fruit has an amazing unique flavor and it’s highly abundant in our area.  I have made quarts of marmalade, juiced this fruit and made cakes, scones, cookies, and muffins that highlight the peculiar tang of the calamondin.

So, about nine o’clock in the evening I suddenly had to try this recipe.  So, so glad that I did.  I followed the ingredients to the letter, which is quite unusual for me.  The next time I make it, I will drastically reduce the amount of sugar.  And, this little pudding cake is even better the next morning for breakfast!  I love the sponge-y cake texture over the creamy pudding layer.  Even though the end product is kind of fancy, the actual preparation is super simple.

Here is the recipe:

Calamondin Pudding Cake

  • 1/4 cup sifted AP flour (next time, I think I will sub unsweetened coconut flour)
  • 1 cup sugar (holy moley, this is too much sugar!  1/2 cup would be plenty!)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 cup calamondin juice, with a little peel
  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg whites stiffly beaten

Combine dry ingredients.  Add calamondin juice, egg yolks and milk.  Beat egg whites until stiff in a separate container.  Carefully fold egg whites into the calamondin mixture.  Spoon entire mixture into custard cups and bake in a shallow baking dish that has about one inch of water.

Bake at 350 until cake is browned (or about 50 minutes).  We had our pudding cake plain but the recipe suggests serving with whipped cream.

If you love a bit of creamy tang, I think you’ll really enjoy this recipe.  If you try it, let me know!  Of course, you can substitute orange or lemon juice for the calamondin but I am super partial to this most excellent tiny fruit!

Boudreaux and the Texan

#14 – Boudreaux and The Texan…

 

Boudreaux once had a job as a taxicab driver in Baton Rouge.

One day, he picked up a Texan on his way to the airport. When they passed by the LSU football stadium, the Texan said “What’s that?”

Boudreaux said, “Dat’s Tiger Stadium.”

The Texan said, “How long did it take y’all to build it?”

Boudreaux said, “Mais, about five years.”

The Texan said, “Oh, we’ve got a bigger one in Austin that only took one year.”

As they passed the state capitol, the Texan asked again, “What’s that building?”

Boudreaux said, “Dat’s the state capitol”.

“And how long did it take y’all to build that?” Boudreaux said, “About three years.”

The Texan said, “We’ve got one in Austin that only took six months.”

Boudreaux had just about enough of this, you know. Then they drove past the Mississippi River Bridge.

The Texan said, “How long did it take y’all to build that bridge?”

Boudreaux said, “I don’t know. It wasn’t there this morning.”

Boudreaux and Clarence

#8 – Boudreaux & Clarence…

Boudreaux lived across the bayou from Clarence, who Boudreaux did not like.

There was no bridge or other easy way to cross the bayou so the two would argue by yelling across the bayou.

Boudreaux would often yell across the bayou to Clarence, “Clarence, if I had a way to cross dat bayou, I would come beat you up!”.

The threats continued for many years.

One day the state built a bridge across the Bayou.

Soon after the bridge was built, Boudreaux’s wife, Clotile, says “Boudreaux, you’ve been talking about going across dat bayou to beat up Clarence all dese years. Now that they have dat bridge, what are you waiting for?”

So Boudreaux decided it was time to go see Clarence, so he started walking down to the bridge.

Just as he was getting ready to cross the bridge, he looks up at the sign on the bridge, reads it, and goes back home.

When Boudreaux gets home, Clotile asks “Mais, Boudreaux, did you go beat up Clarence?”

Boudreaux said, “Mais no Clotile, dat sign on dat bridge says ‘Clearance 13 feet 3 inches’. Mais, Clotile, Clarence don’t look dat big from across de bayou!”

Little Bit O’ Sunshine Cake

Tags

, , , , , , ,

This is how I chose to combat lack of sunshine today: with a calamondin marmalade cake topped and filled with calamondin curd.  This calamondin fruit is simply amazing.  I’ve made marmalade, juice and zest with this tiny mouth-puckering fruit.  It’s a thousand times better than a plain lemon or orange.  I’ve heard it described as a sour orange but it’s not quite that either!

This cake is such a special treat.

I used one of the many lemon-yogurt cake recipes that you’ll find floating around the internet.  Do reduce the sugar though.  Sometimes, I completely cut out the sugar and replace it with my homemade calamondin marmalade!

For the filling, I turned to my trusty Betty Crocker red and white cookbook…such a simple recipe!

3/4 cup sugar

2 T corn starch

1/2 cup water

3 T calamondin juice

1-2 T calamondin marmalade

2 egg yolks, beaten

Combine all ingredients, cook and stir until bubbly.  Cook and stir for two minutes longer.  Add:

1 T butter

Melt butter into mixture.

A sunshine girl in a cold gray world

Tags

,

Day #3 of gray chill.  Supplies of Vitamin D appear to be depleted.  Complete lethargy settling in.  Need for hot beverages and foods becoming overwhelming. 

I need to check my bees!  So many things that aren’t quite suited to these cold wet days we’re having.  This weather is so strange to me.  Granted, it’s really not all that cold.  But it is gray.  And it’s wet.  The fog is so thick that it’s absolutely falling like rain.  The roads are slick as though rain has fallen but it’s just the dew/fog/whatever it’s called!

Days like these remind me that I do, in fact, love the sunshine.  I’ve never lived any place where gray days are the norm.  How do you all manage when you don’t see a bit of sunshine for days and days on end??

 

Aside

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Tags

, , , , , ,

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean- rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud  glade.

I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of of the morning to where the cricket sing;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

W.B. Yeats

Aside

Well, I can see…

Tags

, , ,

Well, I can see that I didn’t blog yesterday, even though I had thought I would!  Usually, I just throw a picture up for Wordless Wednesday and call it done.  Maybe the fact that I had trouble remembering what day yesterday was had something to do with it!

I stayed busy yesterday doing lots and lots of yard work.  Of course, I’m always happiest when I’m doing work outside, so it was a good day for me!  We have crazy algae growing on our white vinyl siding (the result of 90% humidity throughout most of the year)  I love the green shade of the algae.  Now, if only it would get together and cover the entire surface…it would be the prettiest shade imaginable!

The second task was opening up the beehive again.  I opened it up on Tuesday and examined it frame by frame.  I am so inordinately proud of these honeybees.  They are gentle, hard workers and they keep a clean hive.  Our queen is very strong, obviously, and she’s raising a good crop of daughters to do good pollination work!  On Tuesday, I examined the brood frames and was thrilled to see one frame almost completely filled with tiny eggs.  For me, one of my most valued accomplishments has been learning to keep bees. 

The fish pond also came due for a cleaning yesterday.  Situated as it is, right beneath a lush cherry laurel, the surface of the pond has been covered with blossoms and leaves for the past month.  This necessitated BOTH filters being cleaned and the tubing replaced!  The fish are ever so much happier with this arrangement.  Speaking of fish, we lost our koi this season.  I’m not sure what happened, I just visited the pond one day and he was gone.  Disturbing as well, one of the other fish was injured (are you thinking what I’m thinking??)  We lost the koi and the largest comet (8-10 inches).  The giant catfish was growing too large for our pond so we returned him to the nursery and he is now living happily in one of their giant outdoor ponds!

Unfortunately, I’ve also been watching lots of television on hulu.  The newest show we’re watching is Raines, with Jeff Goldblum.  Have any of you seen it?  We really like his acting.

Well, that’s it for today.  Hope