Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vinegar the virtues of

I like the idea of using "green" cleaners.  I'm not sure if it's more for the money saving factor, or the fact that I've lessened the disturbance to my environment.   But I just became a big, no make that huge, fan of vinegar.  What won me over was the ability to clean!    I had a stubborn mess on one of the shelves on my refrigerator door.  Now, before I show you the picture (and I can't believe I'm sharing this with you), I feel compelled to tell you that, despite what it looks like, we're not pigs.   Ok, that being said, here's the (gasp) picture...
Remember... don't judge

You see, there's some "sticky substance" to the left.  Probably from spilled tea.  Sweet tea, of course. and scuffed areas (i have no idea how that happened).  Scuffed, or scratched, areas on plastic just hold on to dirt and it's near impossible to get totally clean.   I used vinegar, full strength, and just plain old paper towels.  I didn't even have to use a scrubbie, and I'm happy to say this is the result:

Don't worry about any special kind of vinegar. The white vinegar.  Actually it's clear.  Just not the apple cider vinegar.  In fact, get the cheap kind and that's the white vinegar.   I have now started buying it by the gallon jugs.     Also, you know that drip tray thingie on the door for the water and ice?   Well, I tried everything on that.  I used bleach, other commercial cleaners, and nothing happened.   I soaked the grate in plain white vinegar, and the little place it fits in and Viola!  It's a miracle!    If you don't like the smell, don't worry.  It disappears in about 30 minutes or so.  

I'm curious, do you have a favorite cleaning remedy?   How about other uses for vinegar?   Would love to hear!  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red Velvet Cheesecake cookies with white chocolate drizzle

I want to share a new recipe I tried out this past week for the Real Women Eat's Christmas Tea.  We were doing a gift exchange, but with a twist.  The "gift" had to be a baked item, and it was supposed to be something we have never made before.  So, my collection of recipes just wouldn't do this time. Off to Pinterest I go.  I found Two Peas and Their Pod's site where these beauties were.  She had me at "red velvet" and when I saw these were cookies, all the better!  (I'm such a cookie monster!) These cookies should come with a warning... they are very rich.  LOL.   They're not hard, but they do take a little bit of time investment, but oh, so worth it!   So here goes....

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies


Cookies:
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White chocolate drizzle:

  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

To make cookies, combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear before placing in mixing bowl. Mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily.  And I really mean oily!   The recipe said to refrigerate for 2 hours.  I had running around to do, so they stayed in there a lot longer than the two hours (and were fine)

To make the cheesecake filling, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 10. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours. Again, more than two hours didn't hurt. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper-  or a silicone baking mat if you have one.  I don't. 

To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands.(I used one of those ice-cream-looking scoops that I use for cupcake batter)   Place a teaspoon of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Scoop onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Only bake 3 cookies at a time. The cookies are large and will spread.  Trust me, she knows what she's talking about.  So, really, only three at a time.  Ya, hear??

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens. 

Note: I bought the white chocolate chips, but ended up using the white candy coating wafers instead thinking it would harden quicker.  I didn't see where I saved any time using the wafers so go ahead and use the white chocolate chips!  



These cookies are really rich and I doubt you'll be finishing them in a day, so store in the frige.  My husband ate one and said he felt like he had eaten half a dozen...THAT rich. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Re-Use that Ketchup Bottle

I love honey.  My sister gave me a gallon of honey recently.  The gallon jug isn't easy to handle, so I wanted to pour it into something more "user friendly".  I tried those cute bear bottles, but those don't hold enough, and I end up collapsing the flimsy plastic bottle after several fill-ups.  What to do...   enter the ketchup bottle!

This is probably not a new idea, but it's new to me, so allow me to live in my fantasy world and think that I, alone, had this wonderful idea.  At least for a little bit.  

I just washed out the ketchup bottle (thank goodness there were no lingering smells.  As much as I love ketchup, I don't like to co-mingle it with honey)  and viola!  My new honey dispenser.   Since it's a no-drip cap, it's perfect for the honey too!

So, tell me, what have you repurposed?  I'd love to hear.  Please share in the comments, or if you have done a blog post, leave a link there so we can all come visit!

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