Simple laundry soap suitable for hand or machine washing

Life in quarantine.

Laundromats are closing, money is tight. So I thought I’d share a simple soap recipe that’s good for hand and machine washing. You can find the basic natural supplies in bulk online and they’ll last hopefully longer than this pandemic does…

Simple Laundry Soap suitable for hand or machine washing

Mix together
1/2 cup pure organic Soap Flakes
1/2 cup pure organic Baking Soda
1 cup pure organic Washing Soda
1 cup pure organic Borax

Store in a closed container.

To Use
measure out 2tbsp to 1/4 cup per load of laundry. 


*You do not need to dissolve the soap prior to use, but you can.

* If buying supplies in bulk, I recommend mixing up only small batches of laundry soap, as I use the ingredients in other ways in my home as well.

Eat & Drink

Hard Tack

“If the war doesn’t kill us, the hardtack certainly will” – Civil War Soldier

Hardtack (or hard tack) is a simple type of biscuit or cracker, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt. Hardtack is inexpensive and long-lasting. It is used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during long sea voyages, land migrations, and military campaigns

The name is derived from “tack”, the British sailor slang for food. It is known by other names including Brewis, cabin bread, pilot bread, sea biscuit, soda crackers, sea bread (as rations for sailors), ship’s biscuit, or pejoratively as dog biscuits, molar breakers, sheet iron, tooth dullers, and worm castles.

The recipe below makes roughly fifteen 3×3 hardtacks. They will last quite a long time (20 years or so) if you keep them in a dry, sealed area where they can’t be reached by insects.


2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon salt (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Combine flour with salt in a mixing bowl.
Add water and mix with hands until the dough comes together.
Roll out on a table to about 1/3 inch thickness.
Use a knife to cut 3×3 squares from the dough.
Place on baking sheet, and use a dowel (see note above) to make 16 evenly-spaced holes in each square.
Bake for at least four hours, turning over once half-way through baking.
Cool on a rack in a dry room.

*Recipe courtesy of

How to eat Hard Tack historically

Hardtack is meant to be a survival food when nothing better is available.

  1. soak Hard Tack in water until soft but not dissolved (several hours)
  2. soak Hard tack in hot coffee until soft but not dissolved (several hours)
  3. fry Hard tack in bacon grease for until soft (several minutes on each side)
  4. Add Hard Tack to any soup or stew recipe (as the soup/stew cooks it will soften)

* Whether your reason for making them is historical or survival, please, watch your teeth!

Eat & Drink

Summer Switchel, the Haymaker’s Punch


Switchel, also known as Haymaker’s Punch is a thirst quenching, electrolyte filled energy drink (think natural gatorade) made of ginger, molasses, and vinegar. First brought to New England from the Caribbean in the late 17th century, it was adopted by early American farmers who relied on the healing tonic to sustain them throughout the long hot workday.

14 cups of water
3/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses 
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 inch block of ginger – thinly sliced
In a gallon jug, combine ingredients, top off jug with water, cap and let sit in a cool place for 24 hours before serving. 
Many modern recipes swap ingredients or proportions. Remember that the point of Switchel is to sustain one through a long day of work or fun, and the ingredients were selected to do just that. 
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): contains potassium, amino acids, and antioxidents. Taking ACV daily for digestion and general health is recommended. 
Ginger: Reduces inflammation, helping muscles to recover after a long day of work. 
Blackstrap Molasses:  Packed with sugar which your body needs for quick energy, B6 which helps convert food to energy and produces Serotonin (a powerful mood enhancing hormone), molasses also contains high amounts of potassium (electrolytes), and magnesium which helps to repair connective tissues, bones, and aids in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates which in turn create more energy.
Blackstrap molasses contains higher concentrated amounts of iron, magnesium phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, cooper, manganese, selenium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and choline than regular molasses, and and so it is the best choice. As it is used for it’s nutritional content, honey and sugar are not an equal substitute. 
Variation: to my own Switchel I add a few pieces of fresh Turmeric, sliced thin. Turmeric has (among other health benefits) powerful anti inflammatory properties, and the taste compliments the ginger nicely. 
So, next time you have a long day ahead of you, skip the gatorade and try a homemade batch of Switchel for yourself. switchel.jpg

Naturally Tinted Lip Balm



Now in the SHOPA long lasting, smooth and silky Lip Gloss. Made of 100% pure, natural and organic ingredients. Packaged in a perfectly pocket sized 0.25oz tin with clear lid.

Available in Un-tinted, Hibiscus (for a faint berry tint, shown above), or Beet Root (for a faint reddish tint).

A subtly seductive and oh so kissable blend of pure Vanilla and Cinnamon essential oils.

Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Natural Powder coloring (Hibiscus or Beet Root depending on tint)

Each order includes your very own DIY recipe to recreate this product at home.

Recycle & Reuse
Each order also includes simple instructions for mailing back your empty tin for a discount on your next order.

Happy Homesteader
Why the recipe and recycling program? We are dedicated to encouraging sustainable, simple living and a can do spirit. We want you to make do with less and enjoy it!

Get yours today in the SHOP!


Silky Smooth Homemade Deodorant

embod_logoFullSizeRender (1)

This smooth 100% Natural deodorant is effective, cheap, and easy to make. Some homemade deodorants use Baking Soda, which I found to be irritating to my skin. The arrowroot which has natural drying properties (I use it on it’s own for a Dry Shampoo), works very well on it’s own here.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with ingredients and scents. This is my personal blend and I love it!

Ingredients: use only pure, organic, 100% natural products. I buy mine in bulk.

  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Shea Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot
  • 1 Tbsp Beeswax
  • 1 Tbsp Jojoba Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Vitamin E
  • 20 Drops Vanilla Essential Oil


  1. In a double boiler (smaller pan set in a larger one full of water) over low heat, melt Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and Beeswax. Stir until just melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in Arrowroot, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, and Vanilla Essential Oil. Whisk until Arrowroot is completely incorporated.
  3. pour mixture into containers and let cool until hard. 

This recipe will make enough to fill a 2oz glass jar. I like this size for home and make 1oz jars to travel with. You will find that a little goes a long way.

While it will cool to a soft solid, it is not intended to be used in a stick applicator. Use a dab on your finger straight from the jar.

Note: Quickly clean off pots and spoon with soap and hot water. Because I make oil/wax based products regularly, I have a devoted set of simple cookware: 2 small pots to make a double boiler, a metal tea spoon, a set of metal measuring spoons, and a scrubber to clean up with.


Eat & Drink

Slow Cooker, Spicy Chicken Soup

eat_drink_logo8305_10153446133399608_4778267621631325528_nSlow Cooker, Spicy Chicken Soup

9 cups water
2 bullion cubes
1 whole chicken, including heart, neck, liver
2 whole carrots
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped in half
1/2 jalapeño seeded
1/2 bunch cilantro, whole
Combine Ingredients in an 8 quart slow cooker and cook on high until chicken falls off the bone. About 4 hours.
Strain stock from the slow cooker.
Return liquid to Slow cooker set on “keep warm”.
Skim fat from the top of soup with a spoon and disgard.
Separate chicken meat and return to the slow cooker.
Discard vegetables, bones, skin.
Reward a patiently begging pet with the heart and liver.
3 Carrots, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
3 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob and cob discarded
1/2 jalepeno, chopped small
Let vegetables soften in the hot liquid for 1/2 hour or so.
Tortilla Strips
6″ Flour tortillas, cut in half, then into strips
In a frying pan on high, lay tortilla strips in a thin layer of vegetable oil
fry until lightly toasted
place on a towel to dry and dust with cayenne pepper
Serve soup, topped with:
Tomato, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Lime, fresh squeezed
Salt & Pepper to taste
Tortilla Strips
Eat & Drink

Pan del Dia de los Muertos y Calabaza en Tacha


76993_452057964607_3929957_nOctober begins preparation for my favorite tradition, Dia De Los Muertos. You can’t forget the dead nor should you, and in addition you should bake for them. two simple recipes from the center of Mexico(Read about he history of the tradition HERE). Enjoy. – Corinna

Calabaza en Tacha (courtesy of Inside Mexico)


1  4 to 5 lbs Pumpkin approx.
8 Cinnamon sticks
Juice of 1 Orange
4 cups water
2 lbs Piloncillo (you can use brown sugar or raw sugar)

Cut the pumpkin into medium (2½” to 3″  squares or triangles). Remove seeds and strings.  With a sharp knife make diamond designs over the pulp

Put the sugar in a pan with the cinnamon, orange juice, and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the piloncillo has dissolved.

Place the first layer of  pieces of pumpkin upside down so they absorb as much juice as possible. The second layer should be with the pulp upwards. Cover and simmer.  When ready the top of the pumpkin pieces  should look somewhat glazed, and the pulp soft and golden brown.

Let cool and serve with the syrup. You can also add cold evaporated milk!
I prefer to have the pumpkin after it has been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.


Pan De Muerte (courtesy of


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1/2 ounce (2 packets) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling the bowl
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water


  1. Combine the sugar, salt, anise seed, and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Heat the milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is just melted; do not allow it to boil. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture and beat well with a wire whisk.
  2. Stir in the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of the flour and beat well. Add the remaining flour, little by little, stirring well with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead it until it’s smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky, about 9 to 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm area until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 pieces. Cut 3 small (about 1-ounce) balls from each half and mold them into skull-and-bones shapes. Shape the large pieces of dough into round loafs and place the skull-and-bones on top. Place the breads on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise another hour.
  5. Brush the loaves with the egg yolk mixture and bake. Halfway through baking, about 20 minutes, remove the loaves from the oven and brush again with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Return to the oven and bake until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about another 20 minutes.
Eat & Drink

Spicy Chicken Soup


10403267_10152538419329608_2108543551505726221_nNothing better on fall day than a hot bowl of spicy chicken soup. My tiny, ex-pat American abuela living in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico used to make a soup similar to this for me when i was a kid. Of course the limes came from our back yard and we ate it then as a family on a patio overlooking most of the country…but hey, it’s pretty good even in an apartment in Brooklyn.


2 tablespoons Olive Oil

4 tablespoons Coconut Oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 Bay leaf

2 Carrots, chopped

1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped

1 Whole chicken

8 Cups home made chicken stock

3 Ears of corn, shucked, slice 2 ears into 1/2″ disks and cut the kernals off a third.

1 Bunch fresh cilantro.

1 Lime, sliced

1 Tomato, chopped

1 avocado, cubed

2 Corn Tortillas, cut into strips about 1″ thick

Spices: Chipotle, Salt,  Pepper, Cayenne


1. In a large pot on high heat: combine Olive Oil, onions and saute until just brown.

2. add bay leaf, 2-3 full sprigs of cilantro, jalapeno, whole chicken (no need to cut it up), and 8 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered.

3. When chicken is cooked through (no longer pink…test by cutting into the flesh. about 20-30 minutes), remove chicken from pot and let cool for a few minutes. When cool, remove the meat from the bones/skin with your hands. Set bones and skin aside to make stock with later.

4. Add to the simmering pot: chicken meat,  carrots, and corn. Using a spoon, skim excess grease from the top of the soup while it simmers.

5. Let soup cook for another 15 minutes or so, until vegetables are soft but not mushy, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

Corn Tortilla Chips

6. In a large skillet: heat Coconut Oil (it handles heat better for frying then Olive Oil). Add Corn Tortilla strips and fry until light brown.

7. Remove strips from oil (draining off as much oil as possible) and place on a clean cloth (or paper towel). sprinkle with chipotle powder, Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and toss until covered in the spice.


Spoon hot soup into bowls and top with fresh tomato, avocado, cilantro leaves, lime wedges and at the very last second, the crispy tortilla chips so that they don’t get soggy.



To Make Stock for next time

1. In a large pot, Combine:

Chicken bones and skin

1 Onion, chopped

2 Carrots, chopped

2 Bay Leaves

9 cups of water

optional: Add any other veggies you have getting a wee bit soft in the fridge. Stock isn’t a set recipe, it’s perfect for veggies past their prime.

2. On High heat, bring the stock to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes to an hour, until flavorful. I use 9 cups of water to make stock as some will evaporate, leaving closer to 8 cups to make the next batch of soup with.

3. turn heat off and strain the liquid from the bones and vegetables. The point is to KEEP the liquid stock.

4. Toss the bones/veggies, and freeze the stock for use later.







Eat & Drink



happy homesteader hummus

This fresh, yummy hummus takes 5 minutes to make and will keep in the fridge for several weeks if properly stored. Perfect as a quick and healthy snack.


1 16oz can Chickpeas

1/8 cup tahini

1/8 cup Olive Oil

3 Cloves Garlic

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 tblsp Cold Water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

When serving, top with anything you like. Olive oil, pine nuts, chopped olives, etc. The picture above is topped with a sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper.

To store, simple place in a clean glass jar and keep in the fridge.

– Corinna

Eat & Drink

Spicy Chipotle Two Bean Vegetarian Chili

eat & drink logo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalk celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chipotles in adobo
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
3 cups cooked red kidney beans, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1. In a large pot, combine: oil, onion, carrots, celery, and peppers and ook until soft (about 10 minutes)
3. Stir in chipotles, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt
4. Add tomatoes and 4 cups water
5. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
6. Add beans and simmer another 45 minutes.
7. Top with shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese if desired