"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." --Titus 2:3-5

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

Here is the baby wipes recipe that I use:

1/2 roll paper towels (cloth-like towels like Bounty or Viva--don't use the cheap ones!)

2 tbsp unscented castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's baby mild)

1-2 tbsp sweet almond oil (sometimes I use a combination of sweet almond and castor oil)

2 drops lavender essential oil

1-2 drops tea tree essential oil

1 1/2 cups distilled or boiled (and cooled) water

Stir water, oil, soap, and essential oils together and pour over paper towels. The lavender and tea tree oils will help prevent mold/mildew growth on the paper towels. If you don't want to use paper towels, you can store the solution in a spray bottle and spray a clean cloth before wiping baby's bottom. You could also spray on a paper towel instead of soaking them. You can either store the roll of paper towels upright in a plastic container if you have one that will fit, or you can fold the towels accordion style and store in rectangle container. I use ziploc watermelon containers and can fit 1/4 roll folded in each container. I pour 1/2 the solution in each container. You may have to adjust how you pour the solution to make sure that the towels are evenly saturated. Adjust water amount as needed. If you're storing the paper towel roll upright, after soaking towels, remove the cardboard tube (it will slide out easily if you wait until after you've poured in the solution and the tube is wet).

Here is a picture of the watermelon container that I use. I have two containers, which is perfect for us because I can keep one upstairs and one downstairs.

Mac-n-Cheese Victory!

Ok, I have a confession to make...I love "blue box" mac-n-cheese! I am not particularly fond of homemade mac-n-cheese and have yet to find a recipe that is close to my beloved "blue box," until today! My oldest daughter, Emily, wanted mac-n-cheese for lunch, and to my dismay, we had no boxes in the pantry. I admit that I am trying to feed my children less processed foods, but the mac-n-cheese has not changed much except for occasionally swapping the traditional for an organic variety. The times that I do slave over homemade, my children do not eat it, and I end up frustrated. Well, today, I decided I would try again. They had eaten peanut butter and jelly for dinner last night, and I didn't think it was a good option for lunch today (I feel they might turn into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches one of these days). I cracked open one of my cookbooks and found a lovely recipe for mac-n-cheese. Unfortunately, it called for Gruyere, which I do not have. It was also a very large recipe and suggested a 30 minute baking time which I also did not have. I cut the recipe in half, reconstructed it to fit my needs, and voila!! This is the closest I have come to "blue box" mac-n-cheese, and Emily ate 2 servings! This recipe is yummy and creamy and wonderful (at least Emily and I think so), so I wanted to share it with you in case you would like to try it. I used traditional boxed mac-n-cheese pasta because I have lots of it leftover from my sister. She lives in Africa and when she comes home to visit, she buys lots of boxed mac-n-cheese. She only takes the packets of sauce mix with her and I end up with all the pasta (it cuts down on the weight added to her suitcase). You could use whatever pasta you want. Here we go:

Easy, Creamy Mac-n-Cheese

1/2 pound macaroni

2 cups milk (I recommend whole milk but I used 1 1/2 cups 1% milk and a 1/2 cup half and half because that's what I had)

3 tbsp butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese (you could use 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup Gruyere, or whatever you want to use)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground pepper

pinch to 1/4 tsp nutmeg (you can leave it out if you don't have it...no big deal)

In large pot of salted, boiling water, boil pasta until al dente. In saucepan over medium to medium low heat, melt butter and then whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in milk and bring mixture to a simmer, whisking continuously until sauce has thickened. Off the heat, stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. Stir in pasta. At this point I fed my girls because I didn't have time to bake the mac-n-cheese. If you want to bake the mixture, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour mixture into greased 2 quart casserole dish. Top with sliced fresh tomatoes (2 small). Melt 1 tbsp butter and combine with 1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs. Sprinkle mixture over top of mac-n-cheese and tomatoes. Bake 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and macaroni is browned on the top.

Creamy cheese sauce!

Finished product!

Recipe adapted from "Mac & Cheese" in Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style