Category: Tips, Tricks & Ideas

Jun272012

Crockpot Greek Yogurt, Redux

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

Several months ago I wrote about making my own Greek yogurt in the crockpot. Since then, I’ve made a batch weekly, and have adapted things a bit to work better for me.

I’m reposting with my streamlined method both as a reference for myself (so I can get rid of my ratty notes) and because Mike’s coworkers have demanded to know where he’s getting the yogurt he eats every morning, and he wants to send them here (hi guys!).

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Apr12012

Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Ugh, we’ve been spring cleaning. I love it once it’s over, but the process of setting aside an entire day to just clean is about the least appealing thing I can think to do when we’re having such beautiful weather. But good weather means we can have all the windows open while we clean the carpets, so today was the day.

While Mike dealt with the carpet cleaning, I tackled the kitchen (and yes, I do clean more than once a year. /snark).

One of my most-hated chores is cleaning the outside of the microwave and the stove top. I used to really dread it because it meant a tired, sore arm after what seemed like hours of scrubbing, only to have it back to messy again within days. And our microwave is one of those above-stove-vent combinations, which I think are great in theory but really suck when it comes to messes, because whatever is on the stove ends up all over the front of the microwave, too.

In the past we’ve tried just about everything to make the chore easier. We’ve used Soft Scrub, Magic Erasers, 409 and Windex to no avail. But last week I dug out a container of Barkeeper’s Friend that I forgot I had under the sink and decided I’d give it a shot.

(No, this is not a sponsored post 😀 )

Now, I have to preface this by saying that probably everyone already knew about this, but I didn’t. And I was so excited about how well it worked that it was the first thing I told Mike about when he walked in the door that day. (It was a slow news day on the home front.)

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Since you can’t exactly sprinkle a dry powder on the front of a micrwave, I put some of the powder in a bowl and just added water to make a slurry. I then dipped a wadded up paper towel into it and seriously, you don’t even have to scrub. One swipe and I could feel the gunk come off the microwave.

Here’s a before shot. I kept myself from cleaning this off for a week so I could get some of that nasty, sticky build-up to show you (don’t bother thanking me):

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

I recommend wearing gloves to do this (fancy purple or not); my hands got really dry and annoying when I tried it without. When you’re done scrubbing (or really, wiping) just use a clean, wet cloth or paper towel to wipe the cleanser off.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

It works really well on the stove top, too.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

I also took care of the dishwasher while I was at it. You do not need stupid expensive cleaners to run through your dishwasher. Get a 20 cent packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid (not the pre-sugared kind) and stick it in the detergent dispenser. Run a regular cycle and voila, you have a sparkly, fresh-smelling dishwasher again.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

And the sink. I scrub it down with Ajax first (or hey, Barkeeper’s Friend!). Then I get a bowlful of ice and dump it into the disposal, with the disposal on. I read years ago that doing this helps knock any gunk off the blades, and while I can’t say for sure whether or not it does (I’m not getting down in there to look), I do it anyway. Then I follow that up with a cut-up lemon. Just cut it into wedges and toss it down into the disposal.

What tricks have you found to make cleaning the kitchen easier?

Apr12012

Easter Table Jar

Easter Table Decor

I’ve posted before about my new favorite holiday decoration, my “table jar.” It’s a large glass jar I picked up at Walmart for $4 along with a cheap candle. I fill it with something holiday- or season-specific each month and stick it on my dining table.

For Valentine’s Day I found some cute pink and white candy corn, and for St. Patrick’s Day this month I used split peas.

For Easter I didn’t strain my brain too much and just used some jellybeans.

Unfortunately, I used jellybeans that I love (Starburst, argh). I did look for cheap, off-brand jellybeans at the store, but Starburst was all I found.

This month’s decoration might involve an exercise in self-control.

[originally posted at pinspired.org]