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!

Advertisements

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!!

 

 

My Awesome Homemade Pizza Recipe

homemade pizza

I’m almost afraid to share this, because it’s like a secret weapon stored away in my arsenal. For many years it’s been mine. All mine.

We are big pizza aficionados in this house. It’s my favorite food, by a landslide. Once, I even ate pizza for 27 meals straight — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — on a dare (I know it’s not healthy, I was in high school). I started with a simple recipe from a book that was basically flour and oil and water, but over the years I have perfected it into my very own homemade awesomeness. My family begs for this pizza. They are disappointed when I want to order out, because they like this kind better! I still order out sometimes, because I get lazy. haha.

So here’s the recipe!

Start with:

2 to 2.5 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

1.5 tsp oregano

1.5 tsp rosemary

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

IMG_5069

Mix together in a bowl. I start with 2 cups of flour, and add more after the wet ingredients if it looks too sticky.

IMG_5070

Add 1 cup of water and  1/4 cup of oil. Stir, and add more flour if needed.

IMG_5071

Dump the mixture onto a floured pizza pan.

IMG_5073

IMG_5074

Flour your hands and start flattening and pressing the dough outward. Keep your hands floured, and keep pressing it all the way to the edges.

IMG_5075

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Add marinara sauce, cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings.

IMG_5080

Put a heavy coat of butter-flavored cooking spray along the edges of the crust. Then sprinkle with garlic powder. This turns the crusts into delectable garlic-breadsticks!

IMG_5081 IMG_5082

Return to the oven for 10-12 additional minutes, until the cheese is melted.

That’s it! Slice and serve!

I know this isn’t the healthiest recipe! Everything in moderation, right? It is much cheaper than delivery pizza too. I did the math once, and this pizza costs about $2 to make, give or take. I make 2 for my family, so dinner costs $4. Score!

homemade pizza

Homemade Protein Bars & Bites

PCOS bars & bites

Since being diagnosed with PCOS a few months ago, I’ve been really stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to new recipes and trying new things. Cutting all sugar and most carbs out of my diet was no easy task. One thing that I really needed was a grab-and-go snack, since most of my actual meals took a lot of prep time.

Companies do sell bars that I could have, but they are crazy expensive, like $3 a bar… no thank you! The homemade granola bars that I usually made for the kids, though healthy, did have added sweeteners (honey) that I could no longer have. So this is my adjusted protein bar recipe, now friendly to those with PCOS and/or diabetes.

The ingredients:

ingredients

Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or whatever else you like

A SMALL amount of whole grain oatmeal

Unsweetened coconut flakes

Natural peanut butter

Sugar free chocolate chips
*(make sure these are sweetened with sugar alcohols. They usually end in -itol, like xylitol and maltitol. Sugar alcohols have almost no impact on insulin/blood sugar levels, which is our main issue. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners that end in -ose, like sucralose and dextrose. Those are 0 calorie and often in “sugar free” things, but they cause the same insulin spikes as sugar, so we PCOSers need avoid these.) 

The instructions:

1. Chop your nuts and seeds really small. I usually chop until I have about 2 cups.

chopper

2. Stir in 1 1/2 cups coconut and 1/2 cup oats.

mix

3. Add 1/2 the bag of chocolate chips.

4. Stir in about a cup of peanut butter. This step is a little tricky. Too much and they get too sticky. Too little and they fall apart. Experiment, and add more if needed. I stir until mine looks clumpy, like this.

done

5. If you’re making bars, spray a cookie sheet, and press the mix into the cookie sheet. Refrigerate for a few hours, then cut apart with a pizza cutter. Then you can transfer bars to a container with a lid (put waxed paper in between layers). It will keep several weeks in the fridge.

6. If you’re making protein bites, roll the mix into balls, and put on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they are frozen, put them in a ziploc bag and take them out as needed. You can thaw them on the counter for a while, or eat them frozen.

I hope this makes your snacking a little easier!

Homemade Cream Soup Recipe

cream soup recipe

I do my best to make most of our food from scratch. Almost nothing comes from a box or a package. This is mostly for financial reasons, because you guys know I’m ALLLLL about saving money. But also, it’s because I want to know what goes into our bodies. I’m also very passionate about using healthy, natural products, and things that are not packed with chemicals and preservatives.

One of the products that I love making homemade is cream soup. Any recipe that calls for “cream of chicken” or “cream of mushroom” or anything similar, I use this recipe instead. I make the mix ahead of time, store it in a canister, then make up a can’s worth whenever I need it.

Here are the ingredients - only FOUR! Have you looked at a label of store-bought soup lately? There are well over a dozen, most of which I have no idea what they are or what they mean.

Here are the ingredients – only FOUR! Have you looked at a label of store-bought soup lately? There are well over a dozen, most of which I have no idea what they are or what they mean.

Here is the recipe ~ it is SO simple. I mix it right in my canister so there are no dirty dishes, no mess. I just pour in the ingredients, snap on the lid, and shake it up to mix.

2 cups of dry milk + 3/4 cup of cornstarch + 1/4 cup of chicken bouillon + 2 tablespoons of onion flakes

You can use healthier options of the ingredients I have pictured here. There are organic, non-GMO, etc alternatives. I don’t personally get those, because my focus is more on A) saving money and B) whole ingredients. It’s all about baby steps in the right direction, and that’s just where I am right now.

To actually prepare the soup when you need it, here are the directions:

For EACH “can” of soup you need to replace, combine 1/3 cup of the mix with 1 and 1/4 cups water in a LARGE bowl. Stir with a whisk.

IMG_4904

Microwave it for 3 minutes, stir with the whisk, 3 more minutes, stir again, and another 3 minutes for 9 minutes total. The soup bubbles up a lot, which is why you need a big bowl. Don’t even ask about the mess I made whilst learning this lesson…

9 minutes is usually just right for me, but you may need a little more or less time. Basically, you just want it to be thick and creamy when it is done. Most of my recipes call for adding the soup with other ingredients, so I tend to just throw them all in the big bowl and continue with my dinner prep.

That’s it! I hope this helps you make your dinners a little more cheap and healthy!