Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

I started making my own buns about a year ago — we have used them for hamburgers, sloppy joes, shredded chicken sandwiches, hot ham & cheese, and other sandwiches. It’s a great all-around bun! They are SO fast too! You don’t have to let them rise forever, or do a bunch of fancy stuff that only professional bakers know how to do… Here’s the recipe!

Gather your ingredients:

2.5 cups warm water
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons oil
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together the wet ingredients. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to look frothy on top.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Then stir in the dry ingredients. Mix well, and knead a little bit.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Roll into a long loaf on a floured surface.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

And cut it into 16 disks. (I like this nice even number, because I can just keep cutting in 1/2, and 1/2 again, and again, until I have 16.)

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Put each disk on a baking sheet.

Homemade Hamburger Buns from Our Cozy Den

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425°F.

When they come out, they will be soft and fluffy and delicious! You’ll want to wait a few minutes for them to cool before you slice them in half. You can also freeze them (either before baking or after) to use later!

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Homemade Dishwasher Tablets

Homemade Dishwasher Tablets ~ Our Cozy Den

I’ve been making my own laundry soap for YEARS, but for some reason I kept on buying dishwasher tabs in the store. They were just so easy – grab one, pop it in the dishwasher, press start. I had seen recipes for DIY dishwasher soap in powder form, but I didn’t want to deal with measuring out a powder (and probably spilling it all over my kitchen, because I’m clumsy like that).

So, after a little trial-and-error, I mixed up several online recipes and came up with my own dishwasher soap recipe – in tablet form. I’ve been using it for a week now (which, in our house, means about 12 loads of dishes). It works just like the store-bought kind I had been using before! Silverware comes out clean, glassware is shiny, and plasticware is not filmy. Score!

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt

I did look online to price check these ingredients, but my local Walmart ended up being the cheapest place to find them. The washing soda and borax are in the laundry soap aisle, and you can find epsom salt by the pharmacy (look near the foot baths).

Instructions:

  1. Put the lemon in the blender (the whole thing, peel and all). Add a little water, but not too much — you want it to look thick and gloppy.
  2. Stir in the other 3 ingredients. It will be really thick now, and a little hard to stir.

    Homemade Dishwasher Tablets ~ Our Cozy Den

    After I stirred all the ingredients together.

  3. Use a small (1 tbsp) cookie scoop (or a spoon that size if you don’t have a scoop) to drop spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Make sure that the size/shape of the drops will fit in your dishwasher soap spot in your dishwasher.

    Homemade Dishwasher Tablets ~ Our Cozy Den

    This step went really fast with a scoop!

  4. Wait 1-2 hours, and it should harden completely. Pop them off the cookie sheet, and store them in an airtight container.

That’s it! Easy right? I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. It smells great too: lemony-fresh!

 

Here’s my price comparison breakdown:

At Walmart, I was paying $9.97 for 85 tabs of the cheap Great Value brand dishwasher soap. That’s 12¢ a load.

For this recipe, my ingredients cost about $1.83 for 42 tabs. That’s 4¢ a load! And it took me less than 10 minutes to make it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever made homemade dishwasher detergent? If not, why not?

Homemade Orange-Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

Homemade Orange-Scented All-Purpose Cleaner ~ Our Cozy Den

For a while now, I have loved cleaning with vinegar. It’s natural, it’s healthy, it’s cheap… but boy is it stinky! My husband hates the smell, and it lingers in the house. So I came up with a way to make it smell nicer!

This recipe is SO easy. All you need is:

  • vinegar
  • orange peels
  • a jar (reuse an old jelly jar)
  • a spray bottle (reuse an old cleaner bottle or get one at Walmart for 96 cents)

It takes both a long time to make and also only a few minutes. Let me explain.

  1. Peel some oranges, and eat the good stuff. Then put the peels in a jar. The more peels you stuff in there, the better your cleaner will smell. Cover it with vinegar and close the jar tightly. Let sit for a month. Seriously, a month. I left the jar on my windowsill, and in that time the vinegar will steep all the orangey-ness out of the peels. That’s the “long time” part.
  2. When you are ready to make the cleaner, simply pour the vinegar out of the jar and into a spray bottle (use a funnel to avoid spills).
  3. Then fill the rest of the way with water.
  4. Lastly, label the bottle. I have several homemade cleaners, and I don’t want to get them mixed up!

Super easy, right? I use this cleaner all over my house – in bathrooms, the kitchen, wiping down toys and furniture… pretty much anywhere you’d use an all-purpose cleaner. The vinegar smell is only faintly there, but mostly I just smell the oranges!

To do some math here, this bottle of cleaner costs roughly 19 cents. A commercially-sold bottle of cleaner ranges from $2-$5, depending on what kind you get. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the harsh chemicals. So, I much prefer this way!

Happy cleaning!

Homemade Deodorant

Homemade Deodorant ~ Our Cozy Den

This is how I make homemade deodorant! Or, as I like to call it Stench Stopping Underarm Lotion.

Let’s start by asking WHY?

There are several reasons I make my own deodorant:

1. It’s healthier. There are hundreds, if not more, studies that have shown the dangers of ingredients in commercially sold antiperspirants and deodorants. Google it to fact check me 🙂 (This link talks about each ingredient in detail.)

2. It’s cost effective. In the store, I would pay about $3 for a stick of deodorant. Sometimes I could get it for $2 with sales & coupons. With this recipe, I get four times the deodorant for a under a dollar. Worth it? Definitely.

3. It’s easy. There are some things I don’t make homemade because it just takes too much of my time. Like tortillas. I’m not spending an hour rolling out those things to save $2. But I digress. This recipe is easy. Start to finish, it takes about 5 minutes to make.

4. I just plain works better. My hormones went a little nuts after I started popping out babies. No matter what deodorant I used, I still could smell my pits a few hours after application. My friend Christina gave me some of this homemade stuff and it is the BEST working and best smelling deodorant I’ve ever used. It smells natural, not flowery. It’s a good scent that works for both men and women.

The Recipe

Here’s how to make it:

Gather up the following ingredients (click the links to see where I bought mine)

IMG_5472

In a saucepan over low heat, combine 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of beeswax pellets. It will melt very quickly.

IMG_5473

Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, and 20 drops of each essential oil. Stir together until it’s mixed well.

IMG_5476

Pour it into a container. I love these little Rubbermaid containers. (That link is for a 12-pack, but you can probably find a two-pack in your local Walmart.) They are the perfect size for this recipe, and they seal up nice and tightly. Put it in the fridge for about an hour to help it set up, but then you can keep it on your dresser or in your bathroom or wherever.

To Use:

Apply it kind of like a lotion. Scoop up a little bit with your fingertips, and rub it under your arms. It will be more solid than a lotion, but not quite as solid as regular deodorant. You can put it in smaller containers for travel, or any size or type that works for you. Once it is set, you could even scoop it into an old deodorant container if you wanted to do that. But I think it’s easier to apply like a lotion, so that’s what I do!

Let me know if you like this recipe! I’m in love with it, so I hope it works well for you all too!!

 

 

DIY Train Table

train table

My littlest guy Finn is almost 2 and a half – and he loves things that move: planes, trains, & automobiles. We have a train set from when Connor was younger that has been put away, and I am going to get it out for Christmas for Finn. New to him, cheap for me! I wanted to get him one of those fun train tables to go with it, but I was flabbergasted at the price. Like this one and this one! Yikes!!! My Christmas budget is $40 a kid for ALL of their gifts, so obviously I can’t spend hundreds on just one gift. Even buying them used is usually $75 or so. On top of that, those tables are really small. FAR too small for all of our train pieces.

So the wheels started turning. I knew I could come up with a better and cheaper table, like when I made Connor’s Lego table several years ago.

We have an extra twin bed in Finn’s room right now. When we moved, we didn’t really have anywhere else to put it, as his room was the only one with any extra space. So I decided that I thought we could turn that into a train table for a few years, since it is just sitting there unused until Finn gets older.

I sent my husband to Lowe’s to get a piece of wood for the base. It cost about $12.

First, Byron cut the board to fit the size of the bed.

First, Byron cut the board to fit the size of the bed. (See Finn in the background? Oblivious that this is for him!)

Then, I painted the board green with leftover paint we had sitting around.

Then, I painted the board green with leftover paint we had sitting around.

Next, I painted on details: a river, desert, road, forest, and some fun little animals and signs.  I also scored the end and shoved it in nice and tight, to both cover up an opening by the headboard and make sure the board was very snug!

Next, I painted on details: a river, desert, road, forest, and some fun little animals and signs.
I also scored the end and shoved it in nice and tight, to both cover up an opening by the headboard and make sure the board was very snug!

A sign pointing to "Finnville". He won't get it now, but he'll think it's neat once he can read!

A sign pointing to “Finnville”. He won’t get it now, but he’ll think it’s neat once he can read!

The finished result! This is only about 1/3 of our trains, but I was trying to snap a pic very quickly so the surprise wasn't ruined before Christmas.

The finished result! This is only about 1/3 of our tracks, but I was trying to snap a picture very quickly so the surprise wasn’t ruined before Christmas.

He’s going to love it! I almost can’t wait to give it to him!

Total cost: $12!

DIY Lego Table

lego table

My son’s 5th birthday is in 2 weeks. I was able to get a ton of Legos for him for a steal at Christmastime during amazon.com‘s Black Friday deals. I really wanted a Lego table to go with them, but finding the average price range to be over $100, I wanted to find another solution.

I decided to make him a Lego table, instead!

First I started with an old Diego table that he had outgrown. (He didn’t really fit under it anymore while sitting down.)

Then, I discovered that an old under the bed bin I had fit perfectly between the rails that hold the legs to the table.

With a little ledge on the side that could slide into tracks…

So I took an old picture frame out of the Goodwill pile, measured the space between the table legs, and cut the long sides to make “tracks” for the drawer.

Then I predrilled the holes in the frame, and attached it to the table with regular old wood screws that I had lying around.

Next, I painted the whole thing with 4 coats of my Valspar free paint sample (the color is cracked pepper). Then I went over it with 3 coats of polyurethane, which I also found in my garage. (I had never seen it before, I’m pretty sure the previous owners must have left it here.)

I wasn’t too concerned with the top, because that was about to get covered up anyway.

I was able to get four 10″x10″ Lego base plates for free at Toys R Us, because the grandparents swiped my Toys R Us rewards card while they were Christmas shopping, and I had $50 in rewards bucks to spend as I pleased. These base plates were only $6 each. I connected them with Legos, to make sure that they would be lined up properly while they were being glued on.

Next, we picked up some Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive from Lowe’s ($1.70).

And applied that to the back of the connected Lego bases with a caulk gun.

Then, we carefully turned the bases over and applied it to the table.

Lastly, I slid the drawer into the tracks, and dumped in all the Legos.
The final result: a Lego table that cost me $1.70!
I’m so excited to give this to him! I think I’ll probably play with it as much as he will!
UPDATE: Just wanted to say that it has been 3 years since I made this table, and the Liquid Nails is STILL holding strong. Not a single corner is peeking up, and it has been undergoing heavy daily use. I’m talking 2-3 hours of use per day. I even made a second pink Lego table for my daughter. Hope that helps some of you!