Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Maraschino Cherry Bars

I had every intention of sharing this recipe for Maraschino Cherry Bars before Valentines day.  The pretty pink colors just make it perfect for that holiday.  Although I missed that deadline, I still want to share these yummy little bars.  It seems like when I bake I am always looking for something chocolate or citrus-y, so these are a nice little change from my norm.

I have to give credit where credit is due.  I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, and I haven't changed a thing.  However, as I have gotten older, my tolerance for really sweet things has diminished a bit, and as I was eating these I was thinking that next time I make these I will maybe try to tone down the sweetness factor by topping these with some sort of cherry glaze rather than the frosting.  If I do, I will let you know.  In the meantime, enjoy these cherry bars just as they are!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Maraschino Cherry Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (reserve juice)
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tbsp. butter
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp reserved cherry juice
3 tbsp flaked coconut

Combine crust ingredients.  Press into 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine filling ingredients and mix well.  Pour over hot crust.  Bake an additional 20-25 minutes.  Allow to Cool.
To make frosting:  Combine butter, powdered sugar and enough reserved juice to make a spreadable consistency.  Spread frosting over cooled bars.  Sprinkle with coconut.  Once frosting has set, cut into bars.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Money Saving Laundry Tips

Today I am sharing a few of the things that I do to save money on laundry.  I have hesitated to write this post, because I know there are so many people out there who hate commercial laundry products, and my tips include them.  So, if you are one of the haters out there, just skip this post.  If, however, you are like me and have tried all of the homemade options of laundry detergent and fabric softener, but just find that after awhile they are not getting the job done, then you might find something useful in this post.

I am always looking for a way to trim my household expenses, but, as I mentioned above, the inexpensive homemade solutions, didn't seem to work for my household.  In addition, the bargain detergents didn't get the job done either.  The only real success I had in getting my clothes looking and smelling clean was to use more expensive detergents and fabric softeners.  (Well, that, and my new washer.  I will write a post about how I love my new old-school washer soon.)

Since it was a little hard on my budget to be going through so much of the laundry products that were more costly, I decided to split the difference, and mix the more expensive products with the homemade recipe, or a bargain commercial brand.  I will show you what I do here.

First for detergent...

I take one of my favorite detergents (in this case it is All, but there are a few different detergents that I like. I always buy the one that is the best price.)  I pour half of it into an empty detergent container.  I don't get out the scale or anything, I just go by feel.  Second, I take a bottle of inexpensive bargain detergent, and pour half of it into each container.  I then give each of them a good shake and I am good to go.  I do usually try to pick detergents that don't have competing scents if possible.

I have also used powdered detergents with this method and it works just as well.  In fact, that was how I discovered that this method works.  I had made a batch of homemade powdered detergent, and after awhile it just wasn't giving me the results I wanted, but I didn't want to waste all of those good ingredients, so I bought a box of my favorite powdered detergent, and mixed them together, and found that my clothes were clean and smelling good again, and my more expensive detergent lasted twice as long.

Now, onto fabric softener. . .

For awhile, I was using this recipe for homemade fabric softener that I found on Pinterest.

I mixed a batch of it, and added it to my commercial fabric softener.  (Again, I am not being paid by these companies, and these are just a few of several brands that I like.)  I poured half of a new bottle of softener into an empty container, and then added half of the homemade softener to each container.  I then gave them a good shake and I felt like this mixture made my clothes soft and fresh smelling.

I will say that I have stopped using the homemade version and have started adding a bargain brand softener to the mixture.  Even though I felt like it worked well, my youngest child started getting a weird rash underneath his arms.  When I stopped using the homemade softener, the rash went away.  However, that was not a problem for anyone else in my family.

Finally, I want to talk Oxi-Clean.  I love this stuff.  It keeps my whites white, and my colors bright, and is great for stain removal.  However,  it is expensive, so this is what I do to extend a box of it.

I purchase a large box of Oxi Clean from Sam's Club, and then purchase two boxes of Purex 2 from my local WalMart.  The box of Oxi Clean is generally around $15.00, and the boxes of Purex 2 are generally around $2.00, so you can see there is a big price difference.

I get two tubs and pour a box of Purex 2 into each one.  I then split the box of Oxi-Clean between the two tubs and mix them together thoroughly.

Finally, I dump each tub into some empty ice cream containers, This amount of product, perfectly fits two tubs that hold one gallon + 1 pint. 

These tips have helped me stretch my laundry budget a little further, and I have been happy with the results.
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