Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Favorite Experiment. Ever.

Let me preface this with: I love cream soda. I love it. Mucho. My sweet D loves cream soda as well. I am a MAJOR fan of Henry Weinhard's Root Beer, so I figured I'd be a fan of their cream soda.


It tastes like bubblegum. It smells like bubblegum. I like bubblegum, but not in my cream soda.

I was at the store last night and decided to conduct a little experiment when I got home.

WalMart sells IBC.
Winco sells Henry's and Stewart's.

 We begin with Henry Weinhard's -

As you can see this beauty is sportin' a lot of foam. That doesn't necessarily mean that it has more carbonation, however. It looks good; a nice golden color. But, alas, it smells like bubblegum.

And it tastes like bubblegum. Yuck.

Carbonation was pretty good though. It had a moderate bite, which I feel is important.

I want a big bite in my Sprite, but not in my cream soda. It needs to slide down the throat.


 Next in line: IBC. A little darker color, no foam at all. I was worried about the carbonation level, but my worries turned out to be un-warranted. The carbonation level was slightly higher than the Henry's, but it was perfect! The taste was better than Henry's as well, but it still wasn't on the money. It had a slight chemical-mixed-with-wintergreen taste. Not as bad as it sounds, but not ideal either.

 And last, but definitely not least, we have Stewart's. I'd never tried Stewart's before. I was skeptical.

I. Was an idiot.

Stewart's was like liquid gold. The taste was perfect, the smell was perfect, the carbonation level was perfect.

The taste almost reminds me of honey. Smooth. Subtle.

Bliss in a bottle.

No chemical taste, no bubblegum taste, just sweet goodness.

Money. Big money.

You want some now, don't you?

I can't blame you.

Miscellaneous Remarks: There were several things I found interesting while I was perusing the list of ingredients on each bottle.

1. Henry's and Stewart's have  identical ingredients except for one: their flavoring agent. Henry's flavors with "pure vanilla bean extract" (surprising!) while Stewart's flavors with Quillaia Extract.

2. Henry's and Stewart's both have a preserving agent. Necessary. Understood. However, IBC has THREE preserving agents. Yuck.

So there's the tale of the cream soda folks. My personal favorite is - BY FAR - Stewart's!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look Ma, no Tide!

So, Jon's brother was here when I made this.  Later when they were off together, Daniel asked, "Why would you WANT to make laundry soap?"

This is a reasonable question, and one that others have asked.  Jon responded pretty much in the way I would have.  1.) So we know how. 2.) So we can save a few bucks. 3.) Because it's COOL!

OK, so our definition of cool has changed since we were 17, but this is what ranks as cool in our household these days.  Don't judge us.

First, grate two bars of ivory soap into a big pot.  I used an enamel stock pot.

Add 3 quarts of water and heat slowly on medium for about 30 minutes or until the soap is all dissolved.  The instructions say try not to boil, but, well, I went outside to garden and it boiled.  It didn't seem to hurt it though.

Take the pot off of the stove and add 1.5 cups of washing soda (not baking soda) and Borax. Mix until dissolved.  Both of these can be found in the laundry section of the supermarket.  Our Wal-mart doesn't carry the soda, but our local Western Family grocer does, and it's cheaper there than we found it online.

Once it is dissolved, add two more quarts of hot water and stir.  Transfer it to your five gallon bucket and add three gallons of cool water.  This will gel up to an egg flour soup consistency, or a bit firmer, and it takes a cup per load.  I keep a wire whisk down in the laundry room to stir it up once in a while. I love it because it doesn't have a scent, and I'm pretty sensitive to perfumes.  When we do whites, I add a scoop of oxyclean and it seems to be working well.

And look at us! We saved $9.50.  How cool is that?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Here's the thing...

Just thought I would juxtapose Laura's and Mom's surroundings with mine.

OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit.  The point is, it has been a long, dark, cold (-20 for a week!) winter and I am more than ready to complain about the heat and wasps and lack of water.

I planted tomato starts, among other things, yesterday, though, so things are starting to look up...