Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back to Basics: Cleaning the Microwave

Awhile back, it was mentioned that we should feature some basic how-to's on the blog for beginner domestics. I don't know if that is still an interest for anyone but I purposely let my microwave get disgusting just so I could do this. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it! I did it for the blog!)

Dirty microwaves are a pet peeve of mine. I'm constantly harping on the family to cover their food when they're heating something up. But even with diligent microwave-monitoring, splatters and explosions and leaks happen. And, microwaves tend to hold on to odors for a ridiculously long time. So cleaning and deodorizing is necessary from time to time.

Start with one food-splattered microwave.

Gross, huh? Blech.

Take out the plate and the little spinner thingie. Those are easily hand-washed or tossed in the dishwasher if you have one.

Take a microwave-safe glass bowl or cup and fill it about halfway with water. Add in a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and/or lemon juice, or, if you have neither, a little squirt of dishsoap. Place it in the center of your microwave, like so:

Microwave on high for 2 or 3 minutes. Then I let it sit for another minute or two so it gets good and steamy in there.

Try not to get distracted by the various going-ons of the internet while you are waiting so that you forget you were cleaning the microwave and let all the hot, steamy vapors dry up so when you open the microwave to heat up the veggies for dinner, you're confronted with a dried-up, empty dish and the slightly unpleasant odor of cooked vinegar. Cuz then you have to start over.

Take out the dish and notice how all that splattered-on food is now wet and mushy and ready to just wipe right out.

Which is what you do next. Wipe it all out. It should all just wipe away, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. If not, make another bowl and microwave it another couple of minutes. Then it'll look like this:

Oooh. Shiny. Clean and odor-free.

This concludes today's lesson of Microwave Cleaning 101.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Favorites

Top 10 Weird Uses for Vodka - Some interesting suggestions. Some that I would like to try.

Cooking Light's Menus for Entertaining - a great variety of menus plus with recipes that are more healthy

Freezing Strawberries from - with so many wonderful looking strawberries at the grocery store right now - freezing them so that I can make some desserts all through the summer without having to run to the store sounds like a good plan to me

Emergency Preparedness Kit - a pdf put out by the Canadian government giving instructions on how to pull together an Emergency Preparedness kit. I think it has some great ideas no matter what country you live in

How to Build a Fire Pit - I have a relative that has one and loves serving dinner out there to friends and family all through the summer and even into fall

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review: Knife Skills Illustrated

Knife Skills Illustrated: A User's Manual
by Peter Hertzmann

I really enjoyed this book and one of the main reasons is that they have left-handed instructions as well as right-handed. It is very rare to see a book that gives us lefties instructions. Usually we are just left to struggle and figure it out on our own. So I really appreciated the left-handed instructions. In addition, it has amazing illustrations (by Alan Witschonke). The author, Peter Hertzmann goes through basic skills and applies them to many different vegetables, fruits, fish and meats to shows how they are executed on each of those foods. As someone who doesn't have a large knife set this book was very good also as it tells you that you don't need a large set of knives instead 2-3 are plenty for everyday kitchen use.

I really wish it had been a book that I had when I first started cooking, but even now as someone who knows my way around a kitchen fairly well, I learned new things and feel it could give me instruction to learn new knife skills.

Edit 4/28 to add:
Project Foodie - This website has an excerpt complete with illustrations.

And then the website to the book - I believe it has some downloadable chapters

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Favorites

Top 12 Fruits and Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

Vegetable Garden Glossary, Vegetable Seed Guide and Easy to Grow Vegetables

Domestic Boot Camp 101 from Subservient-husband - He is putting together a domestic 101 and I look forward to seeing how it grows. He had asked for more basics for the Domestic Servitude blog and that will happen. I know I have several things almost ready to go. And I think a couple others are going to do some also. So hopefully together we all will have some good basics.

Chocolate Orange Cardamom Muffins with Honey Citrus Glaze - Looks like a yummy weekend breakfast

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Unfortunately I am getting this out late. I apologize for that but it couldn't be helped.

These lists are very similar to the fall cleaning lists but with just a few changes for spring.

When doing spring cleaning, open the windows up to air out the house but also just let the sun in after winter. Think of placing vases of flowers throughout the house just be mindful of household member's allergies.

Spring Cleaning Lists
Living Areas
Dining Room
Closets and Laundry Room
Basement, Attic and Garage

I also found this link helpful for just getting motivated to start.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Favorites

This time of year is one of my favorites because in the northeast where I live the winter dulldrums are quickly leaving and everything smells of spring. So with Spring in the air, I always start to make the plans for my gardens come to life. Of course I also always wind up with more plans than ever get implemented from year to year, but it is a ton of fun to plan things out and then start to make them a reality.

Here are some links that I have found useful when planning out my flower and vegetable gardens, as well as landscaping in general around the yard.'s gardening site is amazing because it breaks things down by type and simplifies even the most daunting of tasks. So if you are a novice gardener, or even a expert, you can find something of use and of interest on this site when it comes to how to do something new and different with your garden. I have found this site to be full of great ideas when I am looking for something new to plant. In addition I have found that there is a lot of good information on here for those who wish to have an organic garden.

The National Gardening Association The National Gardening Association has some wonderful "how to" videos. There is a wealth of information on this site, but admittedly so far have only used them for their how to videos and I have found those to be fantastic.

Better Homes and Gardens Again another site with a ton of information. The feature that I seemed to use the most on this site this year was for the gardner's notebook. It allowed me to do a lot of planning during the cold snowy months. It is a feature that will come in handy all year long. I know I plan to go back and use this site for other bits of information as well once I have more time to explore.

Backyard Gardener I came across this site last year when I was searching for ways to make a raised vegetable garden bed in the hopes of keeping out the variety of animals that like to use my yard like a salad bar. While it did help prevent some of the salad bar action, we still have a ways to go. It seems in our yard, the deer are the biggest culprits, followed up by the ground hogs, and the occasional bear. Last year nothing kept the bears away for good.

I hope that even if you only plant a few flowers in a windowsill box that you find yourself wanting to try and garden if you never have, or if you are an experienced gardener I hope you find some new and useful information among the above.

Happy Planting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easy Spanish Rice

This is something I do when I am very short of time and need a side dish for tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, burritos or some other Mexican meal.

(pictures are really bad because of course I decided to take pictures at the last moment when I was short on time)

Ingredients - salsa, cheese and cooked instant rice

And it just depends on how many you need to serve on how much. We have 2 people so I just cook 1 cup of instant rice in the microwave. Follow directions on box.

Mix in salsa just to coat it well. Usually 1/2 cup to 3/4 of cup for 1 cup of rice.

Add some cheese on top. The rice is usually still warm so will melt the cheese but if not just microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. And serve.

* Many times I also add a heaping tablespoon of taco seasoning to rice before I cook it to give it just a little more flavor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review of: Wine Intro with Lisa Shea

I am not at all a wine guru. I like what I like, and that's about it. It doesn't have to be pricey, it doesn't have to be a specific type or color, and it doesn't really matter much to me if it is the "appropriate" wine for a specific food. That said, I do very much believe that when you find a good wine and are able to pair it with some great food, you then have a fantastic meal. So in the interest of creating, serving, and completing many a fantastic meal, I have spent time researching the subject of wine.

In doing this I came across a great website that I have found to be an extremely useful tool in learning about wines, in selecting just the appropriate wine for the approriate meal etc. I hope that you all come to enjoy this site as much as I do.

Lisa Shea manages to make you feel at home with her site and doesn't make you feel stupid or uneducated when it comes to wine. She doesn't give you the feel that she is putting down your choices and gives you so much valuable information that you can't help but learn alot even when you set out to only learn a little.

Her site has so much knowledge and information on it that I find I am still learning and exploring her site even after many months of using it as a valuable resource. It's broken down into various bits and you don't feel that you need to spend hours researching to find your answers. You can spend as little as 5 minutes or as long as you desire learning about wines.

I would love to hear back from any of you who start to use her site on what you think of it as well. May you have many a wonderful wine with a great meal!

Wine Intro with Lisa Shea

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Favorites

Homemade Sugar Scrub for Gardeners - A homemade, all natural scrub, perfect for getting those hands grime free after a day spent digging in the dirt.

Homemade Frozen Calzones - I'm always looking for ways to keep things on hand for those unplanned, hectic nights when you just want something quick to eat. These sound just about perfect.

Kind & Free Printables - Free printable labels, cards, art, and much more. Lots of great ideas, too, including one for water bottle lablels - imagine sticking that in someone's lunch box!

Transforming an Old Lamp - I'm not sure that I would have thought of silver-leafing an old lamp, but the results look great. It looks like a relatively easy process and frugal too.

Hot Cross Buns - The kind you eat - it is Easter after all. Although does anyone really need an excuse to make or eat homemade rolls?


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin