Saturday, April 21, 2012

Leader Enterprise - April 18, 2011 - Spring Cleaning (appliances)

It's that time of year when we tend to think more about spring cleaning.Something about all that wonderful daylight motivates us to scrub, de-clutter and rid our homes of winter dust bunnies. Doesn't it feel so good to get your house refreshened?

Here's a little 'trick' to cover up burnt toast odor or just to make your home smell great. Simmer a handful of whole cloves, 3-4 whole nutmegs, 4-5 cinnamon sticks, and/or perhaps a few orange or lemon peels in a large pot of water for an hour. But don't just pour this bubbling deodorizer down the drain! Instead, strain the cooled liquid into spray bottles and use it in the kitchen and elsewhere whenever the air could use a little freshening. Voila!


Open windows and doors when you can and 'air out' your home and invite the nice weather inside. Air out the rugs. Get a new brightly-colored dish towel to hang in your kitchen or change out your sponge or dishcloth. Little things can really help add cheer to your home.


I am very fond of practical and frugal tips. My own favorite cleaning tip is for cleaning your microwave with ease. Fill a mug or bowl with water, adding about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Turn it on high for 3-4 minutes, then allow to stand a few minutes while the steam loosens the cooked-on splatters. Wipe out with a cloth, removing turntable to wash in dishsoap. The lemon juice freshens and removes any lingering odors.


My sweet hubby received a Consumer Reports book "How to Clean Practically Anything" and right away, handed it over to me to glean from. (No,I didn't take it personally). I was intrigued by these ideas to clean up the appliances and tools in the kitchen so I decided to pass along these simple cleaning tips to you.


CHOPPING BOARDS: Whether you use a wooden or plastic cutting board, wash it as soon as possible after use in soapy water. Sprinkle some salt on it, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on it, then scrub the board with the cut lemon to rid it of stains and freshen it too. Disinfect boards frequently by wiping them down with one part bleach and 10 parts water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.


COFFEEMAKERS: Dried coffee oils can ruin the taste of the best coffee. Be sure to wash the carafe, filter in soapy water. Don't forget to rinse well and dry. To rid mineral buildups in tubes and tank, run a mixture of half white vinegar and half water through, atleast a couple of times. Then run fresh water through a few more times to thoroughly rinse.


BLENDERS: Some parts may be dishwasher safe, but the easiest way is to fill the blender partway with HOT water (not boiling), adding a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap. Place the cover on top and run on high for 20 seconds. Allow to stand 3-5 minutes; rinse with cold water and allow to air dry. Wipe base with soft cloth dampened with water or white vinegar. Dry thoroughly.

SHOWERHEADS: To unclog scaly deposits - vinegar comes to the rescue again!Simmer a metal head for 15 minutes in one part vinegar; 8 parts water, or just let it soak in straight vinegar overnight. Scrub with an old toothbrush and it'll look like new.

GARBAGE DISPOSAL: Grind citrus peels in the garbage disposal to eliminate nasty odors and freshen the drain. Keep water flowing and allow disposal to run atleast 30 seconds after grinding noises stop. Don't forget to wash the rubber gasket too.


It's the time of year for spring fruits and veggies, so I'm going to help you enjoy rhubarb and asparagus a little more with these easy and favorite recipes. Did you know that if you bend a stalk of asparagus when cleaning, it naturally breaks off at the tough part? Give it a try, it works great. We always freeze alot of asparagus in the spring to last us through the winter. Hubby is a great help with this big project, and I'm very thankful. Feel free to substitute fresh cooked asparagus in this recipe.


ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

4 Tb. butter or margarine,melted

2 (15 ozs) cans asparagus spears, drained

(or 2-3 c.fresh cooked asparagus)

1 (8 ozs) can sliced water chestnuts, optional

2-3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 c. evaporated or 2% milk

1 (10.75 ozs) can cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9"x9" baking dish. In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs with butter; place half in bottom of dish. Layer asparagus, water chestnuts and chopped eggs on top of crumbs. In small bowl, mix milk and soup; pour over top. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs on top. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. May sprinkle asparagus with shredded cheese before topping with crumbs prior to baking if desired.


RHUBARB AND MINUTE TAPIOCA

2-1/2 c. diced rhubarb

2-1/2 c. water

1-1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. minute tapioca

Cook all ingredients together in large saucepan; stir occasionally. Rhubarb breaks down when it is done. Cool. May add small can of crushed pineapple if desired. Chill and serve. Keeps well for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. I always make this recipe with Splenda and it's delicious.


We regularly enjoy fruit/yogurt smoothies for breakfast. This is a healthy and refreshing drink that makes a great breakfast or snack anytime. Very easy and quick too.Add a scoop of protein powder if you'd like.


ORANGE CREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE

1 c. skim milk

1 (6 ozs) container low/non-fat vanilla yogurt

1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

5 ice cubes, crushed


Combine milk, yogurt, oj concentrate and vanilla in blender. Blend 15 seconds to combine ingredients. Add ice cubes and blend about 20 seconds longer until frothy. Serve immediately. Serves 2. Each serving = 198 cals., 1.5 gr.fat, 10 gr. protein, 1.5 gr.fiber


Til next time, soak in some rays and Vitamin D-enjoy the sunshine!