Recipe: Mom's Spreadable Butter (& Mom's Spreadable Garlic Butter)

Growing up there's one cookbook that everyone in the maternal side of my family had and most of them used, Laurel's Kitchen. My mother's copy is dog-eared and full of notecards and post-it's and a few years after I moved out on my own she found a battered but still usable copy on ebay that she sent to me. I've since found a paperback copy in a thrift shop that I picked up for 50¢ so I could have less clutter on my counter. It's one that I consider essential to the modern kitchen because it really is a great cookbook for anyone who enjoys good food, vegetarian, pescetarian, or otherwise. You can now get your own copy of The New Laurel's Kitchen on Kindle or as a paperback.

Since becoming a vegetarian in the 70's—before I was born—my grandmother has always been an advocate for a healthy body and more eco-savvy living. She's had a pretty big impact on in my life in respect to mind + body + world attitudes. But here we are four decades later and the vegetarian umbrella has evolved considerably. While she still calls herself a vegetarian, the fact remains that Nana is what is now known as a pescetarian. So while visits to Nana's never included bacon or chicken soup we had salmon burgers and buckwheat pancakes with butter.

When I was a teenager, my mom and I made double batches of Better Butter weekly. We were very much omnivores and any attempt at meat-free meals was met by serious drama from my step-dad, but even he enjoyed this one. It also became really popular with members of our church and I remember people asking how it was made many times. Now people ask me...

But as much as I like the original recipe in concept, I don't particularly care for the oil choices in it: safflower, soy, or corn oil. Yuck.

Mom always made hers with vegetable oil—I'm assuming that choice was because we were pretty poor and it's cheap—and I don't really care for it either. So I thought as I was recently whipping up a batch, that I'd share how I've adapted it. Since it's one that's been passed down through 3 generations of moms in my family I've dubbed it, Mom's Spreadable Butter.

Mom's Spreadable Butter

2 cups butter (4 sticks)
2 cups oil*
4 tablespoons non-fat dry milk
4 tablespoons water


1/2 teaspoon soy lecithin**
1 teaspoon salt


Review: Woolzies Dryer Balls

Something I struggle with as I journey toward finding eco-friendly ways to change my lifestyle is finding effective solutions. Sometimes what's better for the Earth isn't always what works well. I have yet to find a dishwasher detergent that I like for this reason and I hate rewashing things because it's wasteful. But trying new products can be costly and equally wasteful when they don't get the job done.
About a year and a half ago I think I saw a Woolzies review on someone's blog because I have had them on my Amazon wishlist for just under that amount of time. The trouble was I had yet to see anyone noting a similar situation to what we have here in Montana. Our climate is DRY. We're in our moistest time right now and it's barely changed the humidity. White vinegar in the rinse cycle really does a nice job of softening fabrics but just hasn't cut it for the static. Which means the dryer gets our clothes and linens dry... and shocking. It's downright painful doing laundry.
When I saw Woolzies was looking for bloggers interested in trying and reviewing their dryer balls I was at a point where I was intentionally doing less wash just to avoid the static. Desperation had set in. I just wasn't sure—until I saw the chance to try them for review—it would be worth the investment. I am pleased to report that they have surpassed my expectations!
But it's important that you know a little bit about our family's needs before I dive right in.
  1. Sensitive skin in every member of the household
  2. A desire to be gentle to our Earth
  3. Two long haired humans, one long haired dog, and two sheddy cats live here
  4. Affordability is a must for this single-income family
  5. Ease of use and time saving are essential qualities
  6. I use Biokleen Citrus Laundry Liquid and Oxiclean on occasion (Got a better option? Leave me a comment!)
Woolzies retail for around $35 for a package of 6 dryer balls. It is suggested you use at least 6 per load so it seems like a huge investment at first. That was what initially held me back. I didn't want the hubs having ammo to bemoan my (at times) costly crusade to rid our home of unhealthy chemicals.

As you can see, before use the balls are about the size of a navel orange or baseball. The packaging claims that these are noise free but let me tell you... unless you're using a specially insulated dryer that cuts noise you will hear them. With my basement laundry room door closed I can still hear them upstairs! The hubs is not a fan and complains about it, but most of the time it's only enough to be mildly annoying if you're trying to do something quiet. I imagine it'll have a lot to do with where your dryer is located and what features it has.

Woolzies are intended to soften fabrics, reduce static and drying time, as well as fighting wrinkles. I've been using them for about 30 loads now and they have done all of those things. I was actually pretty surprised at the reduction of the drying time and have had to adjust my habits accordingly. Considering I very rarely use anything other than the low heat setting that's saying something.

As far as wrinkle reduction goes... I haven't noticed a dramatic change but a big part of that is that loads are drying faster than I can get to them! It's insane. In a good way. ☺

The static reduction is what I was really after and Woolzies delivers it well. The secret to it though, is that you need to periodically stuff them in a sock and run them through the washer (as noted in the FAQ). I got about 15 loads before I noticed a need to do that. One wash and they were fine again.

It's worth noting that for the past few loads I've done I added white vinegar to the rinse cycle in the washer and then used my Woolzies in the dryer. It's a great combo. Everything has been so soft and I've noticed much less of my hair and the dog's hair clinging to everything.

(The above half was written in early May, I wanted to give them another month to see if there were any changes I noticed worth noting. ☺)

I'm really excited to finally be able to get this review finished up and finally share it with you guys!

One of the key factors to my recommending Woolzies is that they do the job I need them to do without harming the Earth or my family.

For years my husband suffered with miserable itchy skin until I started going with all fragrance and dye free products. But that only reduced it. Since moving to mostly fragrance and dye free eco-concious products it's only when winter dryness is really bad that he has trouble. On top of that, our daughter has highly reactive skin. Woolzies has given me a new tool in the fight for my family's health that I feel confident about. If you are trying to find a healthy, eco-safe fabric softener I cannot recommend them highly enough!

After 2+ months of use and about 75 loads of washing I am a fan for life. I've even used them to fluff up and freshen a pair of down pillows on a strictly air cycle. I had a much longer run with static reduction before needing to throw them in with the wash (I noticed I get the very best results with this if I am adding vinegar to the rinse cycle). About 35 loads this time!

They have started to pill a bit—I notice it more when they run with anything made of fleece like blankets—but it hasn't caused any issue with performance.

I've been so impressed with them that I did the math and decided they're actually CHEAPER in the long run. If I do 1 load of laundry a day Woolzies will last me about 3 years. Doing the math on a cheap dryer sheet (the one I used for a long time) it would cost me $87 for 3 years! Plus the dryer time reduction which saves on energy and thus more money.

So, when it's all boiled down... not only do Woolzies do a great job while being eco-friendly and great for those with sensitive skin, they SAVE ME MONEY! Could I ask for much more than that in a single product? No.

The only thing I don't love about Woolzies is that they're not sourced or made in the USA, which would be even better but isn't a deal breaker.

Think you'd like to try Woolzies? I've got to finalize the details on it but I'll be doing a Woolzies giveaway very soon, so stay tuned! (Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for more great reviews and awesome giveaways).

Disclaimer: I was provided this product to test and review by it's distributor. All opinions here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of said product. ☺

The Rhialist (Rhianna Walker) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.