A few weeks ago Chip and I decided to clean out the garage. One of those things you never want to have to do. Our garage is really like a storage shed. No cars are ever parked there. It is full of some old furniture that belonged to my grandparents, Christmas decorations, a riding mower, washer & dryer, various other junk! Yikes! Among the tubs full of “various other junk” was a hot plate from my college days and some old some pots and pans. “No, we can’t get rid of that. Those are good pots!” (Why are they not in the kitchen being used if they are so great!) “Leave that box where I can get to it. I will use some of those things. I promise.”

In a previous clean-out session with the craft closet, I found some old candles. Not wanting them to clutter up my nice neat craft closet, I stuck them in the garage.

You can guess what we came across in the garage clean out-yup-the candles. “Do we really need these old candles?” he asked. “I’m going to melt them down into one new candle,” she said matter-of-factly.

Now, I got these candles when we lived in Indiana. I don’t really remember where. They smelled good, and I had a new candle holder. However, they burned down in the middle and left the sides tall. I decided at that time to melt them down into one candle. Two moves and about 10 years later…I’m gonna do it!

Afraid that the candles and hot plate would not make it through another garage clean out, I decided to go for it!

I wish you could smell them. I think it is a pear fragrance. Not sure, don't care. I like it.

This was a new venture for me. Obviously, or I would have done it 10 years ago! I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. It was a learning process. I did, however, know what to use as the “new” candle container. My mother-in-law brought me a couple of cleaned out Yankee Candle jars not too long ago. At the time I had no clue what I was going to do with them. I always feel bad about throwing away the used candle jar. My community does not have a recycling program. I’m no tree hugger, but I don’t like to waste things. My Dad’s favorite saying was and maybe still is Use it  up. Wear it out. Make it do, or Do Without!

So, I had me a jar. I got a package of wicks at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 plus I used my 40% off coupon. This project was very inexpensive. Woo Hoo!

First, I chopped the candles up into chunks. Sorry, no picture. I couldn’t wield a knife and take pictures at the same time.  I used two of my “good pots” to make a double boiler. Please notice the use of the hot plate as well.

You may have noticed that I am doing this project on the porch. I did not want to risk a fire on the stove in the kitchen. Paper sacks were used to prevent wax all over the porch. Please, if you attempt this project at home, use safety precautions. Make sure nothing is near your hot plate. Do NOT walk away from this project. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

The wax was starting to melt-hooray! It didn't take very long.

Once the wax is all melted, you need to strain out the gunk. I tried to get all the wick debris out, but there was still a little left. I think most of the gunk was dust from sitting around for 10 years! All I knew was I did not want that stuff in my new candle.

All ready to pour. The instructions on the back of the wicks package said to use hot glue or a little dab of hot wax to hold the wick clip in place. I used the hot wax.

Unfortunately, as soon as I started to pour the wax into the jar, the neatly positioned clip let go of the jar! My wick was floating all over the place! Ahhhh! I yelled for one of the girls to get me a pencil. I used the pencil to try to hold the wick in place. Then the clip came off all together. So, I have a candle clip floating around in my new candle.

Isn’t she lovely?! Ok, you can do your best Stevie Wonder at this point.

I may try this again sometime. I have more old candles and candle jars.

As the candle cooled, the center sank down really low. Strange. That was what happened to begin with with these candles. At least this time the wax will be contained by the jar! Maybe it will even out as it burns.

Well I just had to brag share. I was a Walmart yesterday, my home away from home. My first stop is almost always the Clearance aisle. I guess it was my lucky day. They had a whole shelf of two-pack Ziploc sandwich bags on clearance! I guess they were left over back-to-school supplies. I can’t imagine why else they would be bundled like that. The sign said 75¢, original price $4.50. I could totally see the original price being $4.50, Ziploc bags are kinda’ pricey. Were they really 75¢?! I loaded a bunch in my buggy and headed over to the price scanner thingy. Sure enough, they were 75¢! I loaded some more in my cart. People were starting to stare, so I did show some restraint.

Here is what I ended up bringing home…

But wait, it gets even better. I had a $1.00 off 2 coupon and a $1.25 off 2 coupon. I ended up getting nine for the price of one! I was a bit giddy. I found myself wishing I had more coupons.

Since I pack three lunches every day, these will be quite handy. Besides, don’t you use baggies for EVERYTHING?!

Don’t know if there are any left. You might want to check your store!

Ok, that may be a little extreme. Let me explain myself.

A couple of years ago our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

I was able to convince my husband to take the classes with me. Dave encourages couples to take the class together. It’s a team effort!

Dave’s big push is getting out of debt. This is a very good thing. However, we didn’t have any debt.

Dave’s other biggie is budgeting. Ooops-we were not good at this-at all! So, we have been learning. We also learned that I should be the one to keep the books. For one reason, I’m home and have more time to spend on paying bills, etc. Secondly, it bugs me more if the checkbook is not kept just so.

I know, what does all of this have to do with tortillas??

One month our food budget was all gone. There was money in the bank. There just wasn’t any left on that budget line. It’s a game of sorts. So we were doing some adventure eating. You know, getting creative with what you have in the pantry and freezer without zipping to the store.

We were going to have fajitas for supper. The chicken had marinated. The cheese was grated. The tortillas…were at the store. We did not have tortillas! How could I have overlooked this important detail?! You kinda need tortillas with fajitas.

Then I remembered a recipe in my recipe box.

How would I ever find it in that mess?

Victory!!!

I have had this recipe for a long time. In one of my college home ec. classes we had to keep a recipe box for the semester with so many recipes for each category-breads, salads, main dishes, etc. We also shared recipes for dishes we fixed in class. One girl made caudillo and flour tortillas. Seems like the caudillo was a Mexican meat of some sort. I can’t remember the girl’s name, sad. Anyway, she made these tortillas. They were really good. I had made them once upon a time when hubby and I were first married. They did not turn out too great.  This time I was desperate! They HAD to turn out edible.

Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients for the tortillas. They were easy to make. They turned out super yummy, especially with the fajitas. See, no need to run to the store. Dave would have been proud.

Now, any time we are having fajitas the kids beg for homemade tortillas. They really do taste better.

Last night I had a little helper.

First things first!

Thank you Vanna.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

approx. 1/2 cup tepid water

oil

1. Place flour and salt in a bowl; combine briefly. With your fingers work in the shortening until it is mixed through evenly.

 

 

 

 

2. While stirring, add enough water to make a soft dough. The recipe calls for about 1/2 cup. This time it took a bit more than that.

I don’t know that my helper really liked this part. This is what her hands ended up looking like:

I did scrape her hands and let her go wash them.

3. Divide the dough into 12-18 equal pieces and roll each piece into a round ball.

4. Coat each ball with oil and allow them to stand for about 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie really liked this part. She tried to grease the dough faster than I rolled it! We also incorporated a little math vocabulary and skills. She knew that she had made and array of dough balls, 3 x 6 = 18!

5. Set an ungreased griddle or large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat.

6. With your palm, press each ball into a flat, round cake and sprinkle both sides with flour. Roll each cake of dough on a lightly floured surface to an 8″ round (for 18 tortillas).

7. Lay one tortilla on the preheated griddle and cook until bubbles form on the top side and the bottom is flecked with brown.

OOooooo, bubbles!

Flip the tortilla, pressing down on the bubbles with a spatula, and cook until second side begins to color.

Yes, I did intend for a picture of a heating pad to be in a post about tortillas.

This ideas comes straight from one of my faves, Alton Brown. He uses a heating pad covered with a tea towel on high to keep his tortillas warm! Genius! Hey, if he can do it, I can too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awwwwe, look at my little tortilla runner on her way to the tortilla warmer! So cute!

 

 

So, I guess I shouldn’t blame Dave Ramsey. I guess I should thank him. Thanks, Dave, for making me inspiring me to make homemade tortillas! I’m livin’ like no one else!

 

Critics’ Corner:

Well, to be honest, I didn’t ask them this time. Their mouths were too full of delicious tortillas to give me a response.

Mmmmmmm is good enough for me.

Megan did say she doesn’t even like store bought tortillas.