- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 5 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.It's a funny recipe because at first the powdered sugar and the shortening start to bead up, like you're making a pie crust or something, and you're thinking, "Oh crap, what did I do??" so you go back and read the directions, and you think, "Geez, how did I screw up two ingredients?" and you start to feel really stupid. Then, you beat it some more and you think, "Has anyone ever tried baking frosting? What would happen?" and you put that thought aside because now is not the time to experiment! Then you figure, "Oh, what the hell, I have 4 different bottles of vanilla open right now, what's one teaspoon?" so you toss that in (oh yes I do, I have Pure Vanilla Extract, artificial vanilla, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and oops, that fourth one was coconut extract... Anyway...) And the vanilla seems to perk things up a little bit. It doesn't stop looking like a pie crust, per se, but it sort of improves in a non-descript kind of a way. So you get kind of ballsy, and you dispense with recipe entirely, and you throw in some milk, and BAM! Suddenly it's frosting (because you didn't think to turn off the mixer before splashing in the milk, which is why the cabinets have tiny white splotches, but it makes it much more dramatic). You get a little drunk with your own cooking prowess, so you splash in a little more, and it looks even more like frosting! Then you think about putting in a bit more, but you decide not to push your luck, because you never know when your frosting is going to stop being frosting and start being the least healthy flavored milk ever. And there you have it.
We have been worrying a lot about phthalates (say that three times fast!) and hormones in food and other cancer causing/not-sufficiently-tested/gonna make the PB's all sickly and funky type things. I checked some of the products we've been using on the kids at Skin Deep and was a little put out to find that they ranked in the "moderately nasty" category (as opposed to the "not all that nasty" category and the "OMG you put that on your kid?" category).
We decided to switch to California Baby because all of their products had low "hazard scores" and because I do not have enough neurons still firing to remember that we use Brand A lotion, Brand 2 shampoo, Brand X conditioner, and Brand 7 detangler. I read somewhere once, too, probably on the back of a box of Proactive (which totally didn't work so don't waste your money) that products are designed to be used together, so you don't want to use soap from one line and lotion from another. I agree, that sounds like total B.S. to me, too, but then we're back to the whole memory issue, and the complimentary smell issue (I don't want their shampoo to smell like lavender and their lotion to smell like feet, for example. If they're going to smell like feet, at least they should be feet feet and not lavender feet). Also, California Baby products are readily available at Target and do not contain label rants, unlike some other soaps that I considered.
$30 later we have a bathroom full of Organic Free Range Baby Bath Products which were not tested on Animals and are Guaranteed Not to Cause Polar Bear Homelessness, Global Warming, or Eczema (assuming that you can actually spell Eczema, which I can't). Both of the PBs have beautiful skin, so my prediction is that they'll both break out in major hives of some kind when we start using this stuff, and we'll be back to the Toxic, yet Wholesome, Gerber Giggles and Grins Sweet Pea and Feet scented Body Wash/Shampoo and Lotion by the end of the week.
I also switched to Organic Milk because BJ heard something on NPR about kids going into early puberty because of all the hormones in their food, and I said, "Yeah, especially the milk," and he said, "Well, what should we be doing about that?" and I said, "I don't know, drinking organic milk, but it's like twice the price!" and he gave me that look that says, "Are you really going to let $3 a gallon stand between our precious babies and normal puberty?" so I bought the organic milk.
Next week they're going to come out with some study that says organic milk causes warts. I guarantee it.
All of this clean living, and I'm still sick as hell, which SUCKS because I'm missing my sister Jill's birthday party in St. Louis tomorrow. I have this horrible barky cough, though, and I can not attempt a road trip with the PBs unless I am in peak condition. Therefore, I will be home, "sick in bed on two chairs" as Dad would say, and BJ is going to take MG to see her Grandpa Ben and some of her cousins.
Claire and I will nap. More updates as they become available. If I can type with all the hives and the eczema, that is...