Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Detergent Chemical Free & Vegan

My favorite natural DIY product is detergent. Perhaps because it is the first product I made or because homemade chemical free detergent has a huge positive impact on the environment and our health. For whatever the reason, I love making, using, and sharing this recipe!

You will need:

Washing Soda - 1 cup
Borax - 1 cup
5 gallon bucket with lid (I bought mine at home depot)
Bar of soap or liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s)
Cheese grater (if using bar of soap)
Measuring Cups (1 cup and 4 cup) 
Bottle of container (An old detergent bottle will do)
Wooden Spoon
Boiling pot
Tea Tree Oil
Water - 4 cups to boil & to fill a 5 gallon bucket
Essential oil (optional)

All of these products can be found at your local grocery store, health food store, or amazon.com

Grab the materials and lets go!

Step 1:
Boil 4 cups of water and fill the 5 gallon bucket half way with hot water

Step 2:
Shred a bar of vegan soap (or use a food processor)

Step 3:
Once water is boiled, slowly stir in the soap shreds until the soap has dissolved. Then add 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax stir until completely mixed
Washing soda cannot be replaced with baking soda! 

Step 4:
Poor soap mixture into a 5 gallon bucket and fill the rest with hot water. Then place lid on bucket and let cool for several hours.

Step 5:
Once the mixture cooled, add tea tree oil (~20 drops). You can also add an essential oil of your choice such as lavender for additional fragrance

Step 6: Let sit for 24 hours or until it becomes a gelatin

To use:

Stir detergent then fill a bottle (old detergent bottle) half way with hot water and half with the detergent. Shake before use and follow the instructions on your laundry machine for the amount needed and you are ready to use! 

CONGRATS! You just made TEN gallons of detergent! One bucket lasts my family of three six months - In the past two years I've made a total of 4 buckets.

The extra product will not be wasted! Save it for an upcoming easy laundry DIY that will save you money and it is chemical free!

Check back for a natural cost effective fabric softener! 

Every little change you make towards a natural lifestyle is helpful to you, your family, the environment, and is cost effective. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

"One should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world." -  Buddha

To celebrate my birthday this month I volunteered at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The Woodstock Farm is home to many rescued animals saved from the meat industry. They are rehabilitated and spend the rest of the lives on a peaceful farm, as all farm animals should.

I drove 2 hours to the Woodstock farm in NY; The drive was beautiful - A scenic view of mountains and colorful fall trees. We drove through Woodstock, NY, a hippie town full of mom and pop stores. When we pulled into the parking lot turned the car off and instantly heard roosters. We arrived on the farm!

Once we stepped out the car, we were greeted with chickens and roosters enjoying the morning, roaming the land - a privilege they were once denied. Down the pathway behind the handmade wood gate, goats, a mule, more roosters and chickens were all roaming free enjoying a peaceful life. In the barn and pastures rested pigs, cows, more sheep, and turkeys. 

Chickens welcoming us to the farm
A perfect morning for farm animals - enjoying the sun while they get ready for visitors .

I felt at peace. I felt at home.

Our first job was to clean the chicken coop. We removed the old wood chips and laid down 5 new bundles, collected warm eggs, and fed them. The eggs are not eaten by humans instead they are fed back to the chickens as a treat and a good source of calcium (which they greatly lack from their factory farm days) and also fed to the pigs and dogs as treats. Some of these chickens came from an egg factory farm in California. Now they can live out their life here on a beautiful farm laying eggs at their own leisure

After the chickens were cleaned and feed we had a vegan picnic next to a few sweet goats that loved attention and back rubs. 

Next we cleaned the rabbit coop. The two rabbits were rescued from research labs and now living out there lives on the farm. While we were cleaning the rabbit’s coop, a white goat decided he wanted to climb on top of the picnic table. He stayed there for a while then eventually jumped down. While he was on the table, Doug Abel, one of the founders, walked by, workers walked by and all said nothing. The goat was free to do whatever he wanted. All the animals are free to do what they want. That is the whole point of the Woodstock Farm – the animals are free to just be. 

If you want to meet beautiful farm animals than visit the Woodstock farm or a farm near you. Many farms give tours and almost all need volunteers all year around. It is a great way to support rescue animals. Don't visit the zoo instead bring your child to the farm to meet the animals. I promise you will leave with a changed perspective and understanding of farm animals.

If you cannot make it to the farm then you show your support online by becoming a member or adopting an animal. Most importantly show your support by adopting a vegan lifestyle!

To learn more about how the farm was created read the Lucky Ones by Jenny Brown, one of the founders of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.  I am half way through and love this book!

This experienced confirmed my life choices. 

It is time to take action - volunteer and make vegan choices!

Here are a few pictures of the day:
You can read more about each animal here 

Diane, rescued from the Grand Canyon. 
Dylan was brought to the farm as a calf

Timmy has the softest feathers
Alblie - to learn more about how she lost her foot click here

In case you wondered where the phase 'Happier than pig shit' came from

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chickpea Salad - Easy Vegan Dish

Since I became a vegetarian I've been learning how to cook with dry beans and lentils. Growing up I wasn’t a big fan of beans, but since I am Cuban my grandmother added beans to her dishes and my mom’s favorite meal is black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos or Congri). As I begin my vegan journey I’ve grown to appreciate beans and constantly learning new ways cook them. They are full of protein so they keep you full, are versatile so they go with any meal, and dry beans are 100% natural. They are also super cheap! Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are my favorite, so I added some veggies to make a wonderful chickpea salad.

In this recipe I use dry beans but you can substitute for can beans. Most people are afraid to cook dry beans, but it super easy and healthier for you than can beans - just need a little planning. The benefits of eating dry beans (fresh, no BPA, preservatives or chemicals) are well worth the time. A little bit of beans goes a long way because they grow in water. 1/3 cup of dry beans equals 1 cup of cooked beans. 

Grab your beans and veggies and lets make this chickpea dish!

You will need:
1 bag of dry Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
1 cucumber
1 tomato
1 red onion
1 green pepper
EVO oil 
Optional: Feta cheese or mozzarella cheese
You can add other veggies (corn)

Kitchen items:
Cutting knife and board
Boiling pot

Cooking dry beans is easy: rinse, soak, rinse and cook. 
If you are using can beans skip down to step 6.

1. Rinse dry beans 

2. Soak dry beans for 8-12 hours (overnight is best) in a big bowl. Fill the bowl with water and leave plenty of room because they will double in size OR for every 1 cup of dry beans add 2 cups of water
3. Once they are done soaking, rinse the beans again in cold water

4. Now they are ready to be cooked! 

Add the beans to a big pot. For 1 cup of dry beans add 2 cups of water OR Once in the beans are in water add 2 inches of water above the bean level

5. With a lid, start to cook the chic peas on high heat until it starts to boil, then let it simmer on low heat for 1.5 - 2 hours.  Beans are done once they are tender

6. In the meantime dice vegetables and add to mixing bowl 
 7. Add seasoning and olive oil - (optional: add lemon or lime juice)

8. Once beans are tender, drain and rinse in cold water.

9. Add to diced vegetables and mix

10. The finished dish!

To make the wooden serving piece/coaster checkout my DIY blog post. 

This dish makes an awesome meal, side dish, or salad topper. Beans are loaded with protein so this is a great source of protein for vegetarians/vegans. 


 What are you favorite bean recipes??