Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow, Cranberries, and Shampoo

So, I guess it was our turn for a big snow. Miraculously, throughout these past few storms that have pummeled the east coast, our area of Maryland got away with only a skiff of snow. But last night we totally got dumped on! I'd say we got between 4-6". In some places the drifts are a foot deep. Snowmen, here we come!

In a week from now, I'm going to be teaching a group of women how to can cranberry sauce! I'm really excited. It's a group of ladies from my church and they all want to learn how to can. I just love being able to share my knowledge and love of cooking and preserving food. I just got a new water bath canner for Christmas from my in-laws (I've been using my humongous pressure canner this whole time.), so I am really thrilled to try it out for the first time. It's my first time canning my own cranberry sauce too. I've got a big bag of cranberries in the freezer and my mouth is already watering for that whole berry sauce. It's so simple - simpler than jam even because no pectin is required. Just cranberries, sugar, and water. I might try the jellied cranberry sauce too which requires an extra step of pureeing everything in a food processor. I hope it turns out! I'll take pictures and let you know.

Oh, and I have to tell you about a new homemade shampoo I'm trying out from a friend. Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup Dr. Bronner's castille soap (I'm using the Almond  kind because I love the smell)
1/4 cup distilled water
1 tsp. grapeseed or jojoba oil (optional - for dry or curly hair)

Pour everything into a recycled shampoo bottle. Shake before using.

That's it! I tripled the recipe to fill up my shampoo bottle. However, I should have only added 1/2 or 1 tsp. of the oil total. I've got 2 tsp. in there now. I'd say my hair is on the normal to oily side, so the extra oil isn't really needed. Also, I found that since it's so runny - it's essentially the consistancy of water, instead of pouring some into my hand, I just use the bottle to squirt it on my head where it needs to go. It soaps up great!

Just a note: when using homemade shampoos, how your hair will feel after washing will be a lot different from using those regular store-bought shampoos. It takes some getting used to, but after awhile you won't even notice. Store-bought shampoos have a lot of additives, but homemade shampoos are just clean and simple. I hope you give it a try! And at $8.99 for a large bottle of Dr. Bronner's, 99 cents for distilled water and $5 for the grapeseed oil, I have the materials to make a whole lot of shampoo really inexpensively. Woohoo!

Also, I made a discovery on accident. I had been using this interesting citrus organic shampoo. It didn't soap up a lot, but it seemed to clean my hair pretty well.  I had to use a lot of it, though, as my hair's on the thick side. Well, after I ran out I gave in and bought an old favorite shampoo of mine - Shikai Highlighting Henna Shampoo. After using it just once my hair was greasy and oily very quickly and I had to wash my hair every other day instead of the 3-4 days using the organic shampoo. I remember hearing something about sulfates not being good for your hair. So, I looked on my organic shampoo bottle and it said Sulfate Free. I looked on the Shikai bottle and one of the main ingredients was a sulfate. I'm not a chemist, but I think there's something about the sulfates that strips your hair of its natural oils and balance. All along the organic shampoo had helped my hair recover its balance and I hadn't even known it! I'm hoping my new shampoo recipe will help my hair get back to its natural self. :-)


Beanie's Mama said...

Haha! We've both been up early! (Alina woke at 5:06am, wanting to start the day, but is now taking a looong nap). I miss my Shikai (must re-stock), but I think I have very different hair from you (mine is very thin). My problem right now is that I shed sooo much (I believe that is the norm after giving birth). Sulfates, I think, are what make the suds in shampoo (and they seem to be in all store-bought cleaners).

We have a lot of snow down here in Philly. Frank's work closed two hours early yesterday, and the site isn't open until 10am today. Nice to see plows and shovels (the English didn't clear the roads, just declared emergency and shut everything down-- no exaggeration).

Sarah Rachelle said...

I think you're right about that sulfate thing. I remember reading that even your laundry soap isn't a "detergent" unless it has sulfates in it. Not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but oh well! I like my homemade stuff. :-)

Cecilia said...

let me know how the shampoo goes. i have the dr. bronners and it hadn't been doing that well for me. but maybe i need the jojoba oil (think olive or coconut would work?) and distilled water. my hair was tangly. and i need the same for my curly-haired little girl... thanks for all your hints here!

Sarah Rachelle said...

So far it seems to be working nicely. I think the oil would help a lot. I got the recipe from a lady with really curly hair and she said the 1 tsp. oil makes a huge difference. Once my hair was dry, my hair felt really soft too. I didn't even feel that I needed to do the apple cider rinse. Have you tried that? I think that helped a lot with the tangly hair too.

Sarah Rachelle said...

oops, I mean apple cider vinegar rinse. (1 Tbsp. to 1 or 2 cups water)

Anonymous said...

Please read "The Green Beauty Guide" by Julie Gabriel for lots more info on the chemicals in your shampoos, soaps and other beauty (and baby!) products. I just read it and it has really caused me to re-evaluate my usage. The book is filled with alternative suggestions for safer store bought products and lots of inexpensive and easy homemade recipes. The book is a fantastic investment.

Anonymous said...

Also, I went shopping tonight in my grocery store and bought some of Dr Bronner's (I like the Almond one, too)and some other ingredients for some homemade products. I plan to try out your recipe for the shampoo first, thanks. I also bought some organic olive oil for some of the other recipes and some Milk of Magnesia (did you know it was good for your face?) I can't wait to get started on some of the recipes in the book.

I will have get some of the things in the local health store and maybe some online.

Anonymous said...

Just to update on this, I tried the recipe using Dr. Bronner's castile soap and I am very happy with it. I doubled it, also, and paid attention to what you said about not needing to double the oil and it is perfect for me. My hair is VERY short and I wash it often, and the little bit of oil keeps it from being too dry. My husband ran out of his favorite shampoo and tried this one and he liked it, too! this is a real winner for us. Cheap, safe and natural. You can't beat that. I don't ever plan to buy regular shampoo again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Sarah Rachelle said...

chickadee- That's great! I am really excited that you and your husband love the recipe so much. shampoo is usually pretty expensive, so having a natural shampoo you can make yourself inexpensively is great.

One thing I noticed with my thick, longer hair is that I need to use something else every so often because the castille soap tends to build up on my scalp over time. I don't know why my hair has to be so complicated! :-)

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