Dear Sara:

I have your recipe for dry laundry detergent. Would you please give the ounces for the boxes of products used? -- Ginny, email

Dear Ginny:

I've shared many laundry detergent recipes through the years. Most are a variation of the following:
Powdered Laundry Soap
2 cups finely shredded Fels-Naptha or Zote soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax
Combine ingredients and store in an airtight plastic container. Use 2 to 4 tablespoons per laundry load (depending on the size of the load and how soiled the clothing is). You can scale the recipe up or down according to how much you want to make at a time.

For scented laundry detergent:

1 large plastic cat litter tub or large bucket 76 ounces Borax
55 ounces Washing soda
4 pounds baking soda
3 bars Fels-Naptha soap (5.5-ounce), fine ground with food processor or grater
1 32-load bottle Purex scent crystals or Downy Unstopables
24 ounces Gain powder (optional)
Add some of each and stir, continuing in layers as it fills the tub and gets hard to mix. Put some in the Purex bottle and use the cap to measure out about 2 tablespoons per load.

Dear Sara:

My mom had a stroke. She's been working hard to rebuild her strength and movement. Since her stroke she can't stand the taste of meat. My concern is she's never going to build muscle if she doesn't start getting more protein! Can you recommend some inexpensive high-protein foods that aren't meat? -- H.M., Ohio

Dear H.M.:

The majority of people think of meat first when it comes to protein. But vegetarians and vegans don't eat meat, and they are able to get enough protein. If your mom's only restriction is meat, there are plenty of sources of protein for her, and you'll also discover that many of these foods will be cheaper. Try foods such as cottage cheese, cheddar or mozzarella cheese, almonds, eggs, Greek yogurt, quinoa, beans/legumes, grains (wheat germ, oatmeal), dark green vegetables, various fruits and seeds. If she doesn't like beef, she can still opt to eat fish and poultry. I would ask her doctor for a list of more specific suggestions to fit her needs.

Dear Sara:

Is it possible to make potato cakes with mashed potato but without flour? -- Dawn, Arkansas

Dear Dawn:

Yes. You can add seasoned breadcrumbs instead of flour. Add an egg to 2 cups mashed potatoes, add seasoned breadcrumbs, form into patties and fry in a pan with a little oil. You can add Parmesan cheese, meat, onion, etc., too.

photo by brittreints