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?


Cupboard Magnet Recipe Holder

Cupboard Magnet Recipe Holder

One of my bigger annoyances in the kitchen is my recipes getting messed up because I have nowhere to put them while I’m cooking. I usually just lay them on the counter, and they end up covered or splattered in whatever it is I’m trying to make. Yuck.

I came up with this idea after working on a particularly involved recipe that required a ton of ingredients which ended up burying the recipe itself, making it difficult to keep track of.

I needed to get the recipe up and out of the way, and though my original idea was to just Scotch tape it to the cupboard, I knew I had to come up with something a little less wasteful and a little more permanent.

Enter the magnet!

Cupboard Magnet Recipe Holder

I used some regular packing tape (Scotch tape wasn’t strong enough) to stick a fairly powerful magnet to the inside of the cupboard door. You’re going to need a magnet that can shoot its magical magnet vibes through the thickness of your door, so you might need to experiment with what you’ve got.

I used packing tape because it’ll keep the magnet in place but I didn’t want to damage the door with anything too permanent like glue (the tape comes right off when I need it to).

Cupboard Magnet Recipe Holder

You’ll need a second magnet for the outside of the door to hold the recipe up. I got these cute push pin magnets from Think Geek.

Cupboard Magnet Recipe Holder

When the magnet isn’t in use holding up a recipe, simply stick it on the magnet inside the cupboard, close the door, and no one’s the wiser.

[originally posted at pinspired.org]


Meatloaf in the Crockpot

Crockpot Meatloaf

I love trying to adapt regular recipes for use in my crockpot, and one of my favorites is meatloaf. Though really it’s just as easy to do it in the oven, I like the easier clean up of using my slow cooker, along with the fact that I can get everything going in the morning (when I prefer cooking), and have it be done and ready to go by dinner.

Any meatloaf recipe should work. I like to use one pound of ground beef with one pound of ground turkey along with whatever else I feel like tossing in. Meatloaf is very forgiving. When I bake it in the oven I use actual diced onion, which helps keep it moist. In a crockpot that’s not really an issue so I take the lazy route and just use powder. Read More