Monday, July 22, 2013

Mason Jar Monday - Cupcake Liner Storage

I've reached the point on the Kitchen Remodel that I'm putting away some of the items that I don't use on a daily basis, like cupcake liners.  I used to cook cupcakes a lot and loved taking them to work.  Then the oven died, along with my cupcake dreams.  ;)

I started bringing all the packages of bits and pieces of cupcake liners into the kitchen and just piling them on the cabinet while I figured out the best spot for their storage.

There really were a lot of them and I couldn't stand the thought of throwing them out.

And then it hit me - especially after I saw the next box to unpack was filled with mason jars - that this would be PERFECT for cupcake liner storage!

I just used a wide mouth quart size jar and took all the liners out of their packaging.  They fit down in the jar beautifully!  I did experiment a bit to be certain I could get them out again when I needed them and it was no problem at all.

Crisis averted - no messy packages in my cabinets and I'm half tempted to leave this cute jar out on the counter since it makes me smile!

Deep Thoughts:  "The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for."  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Shared With:  Brag About It

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Clean Cookie Sheets

Our big Kitchen remodel is almost done - queue the choir!!  I'll be posting pictures once we get a bunch of the cleanup done, but let me just say I'm beyond thrilled with it!

One of the meals I cooked this week is an old-time favorite of ours - meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  We started using a meatloaf pan some time ago and really like it - the pan above is the bottom part and the top is a similar pan, but with holes in the bottom so that the grease drips through into the bottom pan.  But this time while the meatloaf was cooking I started smelling a rather BURNED smell and come to find out I had a nice, baked on charcoal layer in my bottom pan:

YUCK!  Sad thing is that this picture was taken after I tried several methods to get it clean, including using a spatula to try and chisel it out.

I remembered reading on Jillee's Blog - One Good Thing by Jillee (one of the best blogs ever by the way!) about a foolproof pan cleaning method and by golly it works!  I'm pretty lazy though, so the thought of making a paste and then scrubbing didn't really appeal to me.  What I did was sprinkle baking soda on half the pan (in the interest of comparison I did one side at a time) and then sprayed hydrogen peroxide (in a cute pink sprayer!) on the baking soda until it was good and drenched.

I stuck it down in the sink just in case some kind of volcanic eruption should occur.  Fortunately nothing exciting happened.  

It was at this point that the phone rang and I ended up talking about 5-10 minutes.  I came back in the kitchen and used my spatula and look how clean it is with no scrubbing at all!

This was pretty exciting to me because I had just told Keith I would probably have to throw this pan away - and now it looked like I was wrong!

I repeated the process on the other half of the pan, but this time I used a green scrubby instead of the spatula.  I only let it sit for maybe 5 minutes before scrubbing and it came right off.  Then I tilted the pan and repeated, making sure to get the soda/peroxide mixture down in the corners.  Again, very minimal scrubbing and in the end my pan looked like this: 

I'll bet the scratches are from the spatula scrubbing, so I don't recommend that method, especially since it's really not necessary.  After the baking soda/peroxide cleaning I then used my regular dish soap to clean the pan.

I am so thrilled to have found a simple pan cleaning method!!!  And really I'm not real sure what that says about me that I'm this excited......   ;)

Deep Thoughts: "You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you. - Andy Warhol"

Shared on:  Share Your Cup Thursday, All Things Thursday, Tasty Thursdays, Pinterest Party, Live Laugh Linky, Thrifty Thursday, Kitchen Fun & Crafty Friday

Monday, July 15, 2013

Movies on Monday - Despicable Me 2

I don't know if there are even enough words to describe how much we enjoyed seeing this movie!  We made plans to meet the kids at a theater (a different one that also serves meals!) to see Despicable Me 2 and I was like a kid before Christmas I was so excited!

First thing Keith and I did was plan our lunch at McD so that we could get the Happy Meal toys to give to Brooklyn at the movie.  The little whistle thingy didn't work on either toy, but really that was ok because B and I used them to have sword fights and all was good.  ;)   And when I posted this to FB one of my cousins left a comment reminding me that you can buy just the Happy Meal toy for only a dollar, so next time we'll probably do without the meal.  Although it has been many years between the time my kids were Happy Meal age and now my granddaughter is Happy Meal age and I have to say that I thought the little french fry holder was CUTE!!

I forgot to take a picture of B & I at the theater until after the movie had already started and the photo turned out really dark.  But the wonders of post-processing at least made it to where we are visible and that's a memory right there.

Just in case you're on the fence about whether or not to see this movie, my advice is get thee there as quickly as you can!  There were so many Laugh Out Loud moments for Brooklyn and of course hearing her laugh made me laugh even harder.  And now one of the family sayings just happens to be "Bee-Dough, Bee-Dough, Bee-Dough" from the movie.  Just too funny!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday's Fave Five #240

This right here is one of the things I missed the most during my break in blog posts.  It is so satisfying to end the week listing 5 of your favorite blessings.  So happy to see that Susanne is still running this!

1. Bridal Photos - Last week we did the bridal portraits and had such a fabulous time!  Lynne', her maid of honor and I met at the wedding venue for pictures, then went to a few more places around town for more photos.  It warms a mother's soul to see her beautiful daughter all dressed up in wedding finery, smiling and having a great time.  When we were finished the three of us went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner and that was great too.  The closer it gets to the date the more excited I get!

2. Bridal Dresses - As luck would have it our bridal portraits were shot on the first 100 degree day of the year.  In addition to that she was running all around and the dress was a little tired from all the excitement.  I took it in today to get cleaned and ready for the big day and I have to say that the ladies at the bridal shop are so kind and helpful every time I've been there.  I mentioned this to the lady helping me and she said that it's easy for them to be kind when we were not waiting til the last minute on everything and then expecting them to jump at our command.  Again I am impressed with my daughter doing things ahead of time and saving us from any of that stress!

3. Kitchen Remodel - It's coming right along!  A few tweaks to be done this weekend and then on Monday the granite guys arrive.  I'm so excited and so thankful to have a wonderful husband that can do all of this - and do it so well.  It's turning out gorgeous and I can't wait to cook again, especially in an all new kitchen!

4. Beau - This little dog has brought so much joy into our lives.  I sometimes look deep into his eyes and wonder if he's happy here or if he still thinks of his previous home (he was a rescue dog).  Keith just shakes his head and tells me I give this dog far more credit for thought than what he probably has, but I can't help but wonder.  I know that he's happy here and the picture above shows that.  He *adores* the water and sprinklers are absolutely the cat's pajamas for him - he goes nuts when he sees me setting it up!  He was running and leaping and barking and just the epitome of joy, though he looks a little grumpy in the photo above.  You'll just have to trust me on how much fun he was having.

5. Knitting - I'm working on a beautiful cowl, the first one I've made.  While we were watching tv last night I'm just happily knitting away and a certain little cocker spaniel decided it was time for love.  Somehow he managed to jump on my lap and under the knitting, just as happy as a clam.  Silly boy...  :)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Scripture for Home on Our Kitchen Walls

While we've been working on the kitchen remodel I thought it would be kind of neat to have some scripture for our home on the walls in the kitchen.  Keith agreed and I put on my thinking cap to decide what would be a good Bible verse for our wall.

I first wrote it on a wall that ended up being painted over and that didn't please me.  This time I leaned over the almost installed lower cabinets with my sharpie in hand and wrote it in a safer spot.  The Bible verse will actually be covered by the upper cabinets, but this was more satisfying than painting over it by far.

Having a Bible verse on the wall or not is of course never mentioned in the Bible.  But we know it's there and we like it.  

Our house was built in the 70's and I don't think it was remodeled before now.  There's a part of me that wonders if in another 40'ish years somebody will remodel again and see this and maybe pause to think about the family that wrote this.  (As I'm typing this I now wish I would've dated it, but the cabinets are up and it's too late!)  Maybe this small glimpse inside our lives will give them a hint of the happiness we have in our daily walk as it also gives us a daily reminder.

Deep Thoughts:  "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11 NIV

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

4th of July Candy Bark

I think I've mentioned - many times - that 4th of July is one of my absolute favorite holidays.  It speaks to my sense of pride in our nation and it also has always been a time that our family and friends get together to celebrate.  This year isn't going to be as big of a celebration for us as what we usually have, but that really won't slow us down.

My Pinterest feed has been filled with so many fun treats to choose from, but since we are still working on the kitchen remodel I don't have a stove/oven/sink in the kitchen and was afraid my hands were tied.  Then I started noticing all the candy bark, trail mix and popcorn and it was a light bulb moment.  I kind of pulled from all of them to come up with mine.

Easiest thing ever to make and the only appliance needed was a microwave!

I will warn you it's one of the sweetest things I have ever eaten.

And doesn't it look all festive in the Longaberger Basket??

Here's the general directions to what I did and feel free to adjust to what you want.

4th of July Candy Bark
6 Oreo Cookies
a handful of pretzels
Wilton vanilla candy melts
red and blue mini m&m's (I bought a bag and meticulously pulled out the colors I needed!)
red and blue sprinkles
optional - mini marshmallows, chex cereal, Cheerios

Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.  Crush the oreos and pretzels and spread loosely over the paper (I just crushed them in my hand).  

Place about half a bag of candy melts in a microwave safe bowl and melt about 1 minute at 70% power.  Stir, then repeat until it is all melted, but do not overmelt - it gets yucky.  Drop in generous blobs over the top of the oreos and pretzels, then lightly use the back of your spoon to smooth it out.  While the candy melts are still wet, sprinkle the top with m&m's and sprinkles.

I placed the cookie sheet in my refrigerator to help it set, probably about 15 minutes.

A tip:  the blobs need to be pretty generous.  The first half of my candy melts I tried to just use the spoon and ended up with a dirty looking batch as the candy picked up the cookie crumbs.  Tastes the same, but not nearly as pretty.