Whole30 prep: Ghee

I’ll be honest: I was supposed to do a Whole30 as soon as I got back from Christmas break. Quite the opposite I’ve been eating a lot of stuff I shouldn’t, including sugar. The horror! It’s not like I’ve been going back to an SAD, but since work has been eating my time away I haven’t had time to prep for it. Because it does take a lot of prep – mostly hounding for sugar-free condiments, and the fish sauce that I just bought is not like that, so I will have to wait.
That has not stopped me from doing one of the things I was most excited to do during this journey (that is still happening!): ghee. To render the fat from the butter, filter it and have a much more gentler fat to cook was an appealing idea that I had for a while now. I had even done my research, and while the idea of using the stove or the oven scared me (I didn’t want to burn it up!) I did use the crockpot.

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Getting so much butter meant going to a place where so much butter would be cheap. Costco! I still don’t understand why this butter is in the cheese aisle, and not with the butter. Also, I couldn’t find non-salted, so I won’t be using this ghee on baking (good! Whole30, remember?)

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So I dumped everything in the crockpot, turned it on low without a cover and walked away. Six hours, two recipes, three rounds of dishes, four episodes of Friday Night Lights and a huge amount of ironing later, most of the solids were at the bottom while the golden liquid was on top.

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And I took out the colander, nut milk bag, cheesecloth and got into filtering it.

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I was not capable of removing ALL of the solids. I would have needed a coffee filter for that, I believe. I’ll get one at some point. What I need to do is to control myself when it comes to buying stuff at Costco – I spent so much! I’ll have stock for MONTHS now.

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A day with Bree Van de Camp

Well, this is a cooking blog, but one of the reasons that got me into cooking was the fact that I needed to save money – I tend to buy gadgets, so I really need to save it. Therefore I became intrigued with the idea of making my own cleaning products so I could save a couple bucks. Does it work?
Well, it depends.
Making your own household products does have a bit of a strong initial investment, particularly in the area of essential oils. I mean, who has peppermint tree oil in their pantry? Or rosemary essential oil? And while it is true that one of their bottles will last you a lifetime (or at least a good deal of time), it does feel bad in the wallet when you add ten bucks to your weekly budget in order to afford the oils.
So I was completely surprised when I realized I had all the ingredients for a homemade laundry soap.

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The idea is quite simple: soap, borax and washing soda. The idea is to use castille soap – which has no additives, except for scent, though I used the baby unscented one – in order to not have all those additives; borax, which is a powerful boron compound that helps cleaning – though some people have reported having skin problems with it. Not me, though, so I’m happy to use it. And washing soda, or sodium carbonate.
Wait, washing soda, or baking soda?
Washing soda is actually a relative of baking soda. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a hydrated carbonate salt (NaHCO3) used in baking due to its leavening properties: as a base, it will react with whatever is acidic in your batter releasing CO2, puffing your breads, cakes and cookies. Washing soda, on the other hand, is the carbonate salt (Na2CO3 – see how the middle H became another Na?) and its used to remove the hardness of water (minerals in water) and to remove grease and oil stains, as long as their molecules have an ionic portion.
So, washing soda. And they do sell it at some big box stores. However, I had baking soda, and since the little chemical engineer in me knows that they are related, I decided to look for a procedure to transform it in the house. It’s not that complicated – you just have to bake it!
And with all the ingredients, I mixed them together and now I have a shit ton of laundry detergent, for virtually the cost of nothing since I already had all the stuff needed.

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And it works marvels, though I won’t deny I did have to do some extra work on my white pants. But then again, they are white so I always have to work extra on them.

Cooking with scraps

So after turning a pound of almonds into almond milk, I had almost a pound of almond pulp. What to do, what to do? I wasn’t gonna throw it away, not with the price of almonds!

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Thankfully Elana offers a solution: turn them into crackers! I mixed some of the pulp with flaxseed meal, thyme and salt, and some grapeseed oil to add consistency, and pressed it!

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It’s round because that’s the shape of my roommate’s dehydrator. A day later at 105F I ended up with these beauties:

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And I haven’t even used a quarter of the pulp I have. Boy I’m gonna have so many crackers!