Homemaking


I love my Silpat baking mat! (No, this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share.)

Cookies are easy to remove. No burning. I’ve even used it in the freezer.

 

Source

I’ve had my mat for a while now. It seems like I got it for my birthday or Mother’s Day or something like that. I also have some off-brand liners that I like as well.

My Silpat mat came in a nice little box like the one above. I used the box for storing my mats in my cupboard. I didn’t want them to get gouged by cooling racks and roasting pans.

As time went on, my nice little box wore down on one of the edges and separated completely. (Sorry, no picture of the dilapidated box.) No problem. A rubber band worked great to hold it together.

When the rubber band gave up the ghost, I knew it was time for something different. Sure, I could have used another rubber band. However, by this time, another edge was almost worthless.

Silpat

I remembered that I had an old wax paper box in one of my craft closets. Who knows what I was planning to do with it. I just know it had been sitting there, unused, for quite some time.

After removing the cutting blade, the box was the perfect size for my baking mats!

Woo Hoo!

recycled wax paper box

I did a little happy dance! A free-cycle storage solution! The wax paper box fits nicely in my cupboard, too.

Do you use silicone baking mats? How do you store them?

I’m writing this post while I’m on a break, a much-needed break!

I made cookies yesterday. I’ll share those in another post. Here is a sneak peek.

They were awesome! The caramel frosting was sooo yummy!

I wasn’t really sure how to store them with that topping on there. I decided to let them set up over night to be sure they weren’t still gooey. So, I had about 60 cookies on my counter top.

I did go ahead and was those dishes, thank goodness.

Last night’s dinner was a bit of a “fail”. I tried a beef tips recipe off of Pinterest. Bleh! It had a packet of gravy mix and onion soup mix and some other stuff. It was a crock pot recipe. It just tasted way too processed. I can do and have done better.

At least the clean up was easy, thank goodness.

I ran the dishwasher yesterday before dinner. Some of the dishes got emptied, because we used them for dinner. The rest got left until “later”.

When “later” finally arrived, at about 9:50PM, I went to hand-wash a few dishes. Much to my surprise, both sides of the sink backed up with water! This has happened before at our house. It takes two plungers to unstop our sink. Well, it was late. Chip had already headed to the bedroom. I didn’t much want to wash dishes anyway! So I left it all and went to bed.

Ugh!

This morning, fixing breakfast and packing lunches with zero counter space was a challenge. Remember the cookies? I managed. We even were able to use some of those clean dishes from the dishwasher for breakfast! Fortunately, Chip had time to plunge the sink for me. Of course, plunging the sink meant that all the dishes, clean and dirty, had to find somewhere on the counter or stove or wherever.

Cleaning the kitchen this morning started with a big sigh! Where to begin?

I dove in! Anything that was on the counters that obviously didn’t belong had to leave. Next, the dishwasher and clean dishes from the sink got put away. Dirty dishes were washed or put in the dishwasher. Cookies were neatly packed away with parchment paper between layers.

Things were starting to look pretty good. Then it happened. It seems like when there is a big cleaning project to do, it always happens. I don’t know why it does. But it did.

There is that moment when you find one really messy spot or drawer or shelf or whatever that must be cleaned. I’m not talking about squirt some Clorox on it clean. I’m talking about you can not stand to look at that mess ANY MORE.

Today, that “mess” was the hard water stains around my kitchen faucet. I’ve scrubbed before. I’ve used all kinds of products. Today I was going to beat those stains!

I used a lemon and some salt. That got most of the stain, not all of it. The stains were winning! So, I pulled out some baking soda. I made a little paste on the stains. After letting the paste sit for a while, I scrubbed with my lemon. Almost all of the remaining stain was gone–almost all. There were just a couple of rogue spots left. I pulled out the heavy artillery, the SOS pad! Oh, yea, that’s a W for me and an L for the stains! (wins and losses)

I realize a picture of a clean faucet is not really that impressive with out the “before” picture. I know how bad it looked! This is proof of the clean!

I started to throw away my SOS pad when I spied the burner pans on the stove. I remembered that the pasta pot had overflown last night. Lovely, starchy pasta water everywhere. I figured I’d give that one burner a scrub.

It would look weird to have one clean pan and the rest filthy! So I figured I better scrub them all. The first one still has some spots that just didn’t want to come off. What a work out! See why I needed the break?!

As I’m scrubbing my little heart out, my brain gets to wandering.

I thought…If only I had cleaned these things right after the spills had happened. After stuff gets baked on there, they are much harder to deal with! This was not a new revelation to me. I have scrubbed these pans in the past.

Aren’t we just like that with God? We let sin in our lives. Maybe it is just a little spill. “No biggie, God knows I didn’t mean to do it.” We should confess our sins as soon as we are aware of them. Don’t let them get “baked on”.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

To read more about why we need forgiveness click here.

I’ve got more pans to scrub. Thanks for the break!

Well, I’ve done it. I let my friend, who will remain nameless, you know who you are, convince me to join Pinterest. (Clicking this link will take you directly to my page.)

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest, according to their website…

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is virtual crack!

Here is what my page looks like.

I’m just getting started. I’ve really tried to show some restraint, unlike SOME people I know-ahem.

There are just so many great ideas out there. I see some things and think-hey, I did that 15 years ago.

Then I see something else and think-hey, I tore that out of a magazine 15 years ago.

Mostly I think-Wow! there are a lot of really cool ideas floatin’ around out there. When will I have time to do them all?

Anyway, it is great fun!

It is like all those little things I rip out of magazines because I love them. The only difference is I can find them here!

I am a bit concerned that I will do the same thing with my pinned items that I have done for years with my magazine scraps. Admire them from time to time, think about how cool it would be to do the projects, then never do it.

Ugh! Thus the blog.

I’m working on getting a “pin it” button for Pork Chop Tuesday, in case you are interested. If you have a Pinterest page, you already know how to pin things. If you would like to join Pinterest, let me know. I’ll send you an invitation. However, consider yourself warned! It is addictive!

Are you a Pinterest addict? Leave me a comment, we’ll form a support group!

A few weeks ago Chip and I decided to clean out the garage. One of those things you never want to have to do. Our garage is really like a storage shed. No cars are ever parked there. It is full of some old furniture that belonged to my grandparents, Christmas decorations, a riding mower, washer & dryer, various other junk! Yikes! Among the tubs full of “various other junk” was a hot plate from my college days and some old some pots and pans. “No, we can’t get rid of that. Those are good pots!” (Why are they not in the kitchen being used if they are so great!) “Leave that box where I can get to it. I will use some of those things. I promise.”

In a previous clean-out session with the craft closet, I found some old candles. Not wanting them to clutter up my nice neat craft closet, I stuck them in the garage.

You can guess what we came across in the garage clean out-yup-the candles. “Do we really need these old candles?” he asked. “I’m going to melt them down into one new candle,” she said matter-of-factly.

Now, I got these candles when we lived in Indiana. I don’t really remember where. They smelled good, and I had a new candle holder. However, they burned down in the middle and left the sides tall. I decided at that time to melt them down into one candle. Two moves and about 10 years later…I’m gonna do it!

Afraid that the candles and hot plate would not make it through another garage clean out, I decided to go for it!

I wish you could smell them. I think it is a pear fragrance. Not sure, don't care. I like it.

This was a new venture for me. Obviously, or I would have done it 10 years ago! I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. It was a learning process. I did, however, know what to use as the “new” candle container. My mother-in-law brought me a couple of cleaned out Yankee Candle jars not too long ago. At the time I had no clue what I was going to do with them. I always feel bad about throwing away the used candle jar. My community does not have a recycling program. I’m no tree hugger, but I don’t like to waste things. My Dad’s favorite saying was and maybe still is Use it  up. Wear it out. Make it do, or Do Without!

So, I had me a jar. I got a package of wicks at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 plus I used my 40% off coupon. This project was very inexpensive. Woo Hoo!

First, I chopped the candles up into chunks. Sorry, no picture. I couldn’t wield a knife and take pictures at the same time.  I used two of my “good pots” to make a double boiler. Please notice the use of the hot plate as well.

You may have noticed that I am doing this project on the porch. I did not want to risk a fire on the stove in the kitchen. Paper sacks were used to prevent wax all over the porch. Please, if you attempt this project at home, use safety precautions. Make sure nothing is near your hot plate. Do NOT walk away from this project. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

The wax was starting to melt-hooray! It didn't take very long.

Once the wax is all melted, you need to strain out the gunk. I tried to get all the wick debris out, but there was still a little left. I think most of the gunk was dust from sitting around for 10 years! All I knew was I did not want that stuff in my new candle.

All ready to pour. The instructions on the back of the wicks package said to use hot glue or a little dab of hot wax to hold the wick clip in place. I used the hot wax.

Unfortunately, as soon as I started to pour the wax into the jar, the neatly positioned clip let go of the jar! My wick was floating all over the place! Ahhhh! I yelled for one of the girls to get me a pencil. I used the pencil to try to hold the wick in place. Then the clip came off all together. So, I have a candle clip floating around in my new candle.

Isn’t she lovely?! Ok, you can do your best Stevie Wonder at this point.

I may try this again sometime. I have more old candles and candle jars.

As the candle cooled, the center sank down really low. Strange. That was what happened to begin with with these candles. At least this time the wax will be contained by the jar! Maybe it will even out as it burns.

Well, I have finally started. Last year my husband told me I should have a blog. He is a blogger. See his blog here. I think he just wanted me to join in the “fun.” He is a very intelligent man. He is also a writer and photographer. Please see the Who I’m Not section.

So, he took some pictures, made a banner, and set me up a blog. Again, see Who I’m Not. He is having to hold my hand every step of the way getting this thing started-more than a year later! I loved the movie Julie and Julia. Notice Julie, the blogger, is a writer! This whole thing is a bit intimidating to me.

The movie did inspire me to search through my recipes. I am a cookbook junkie. I love the ones that have pictures of what the dish is supposed to actually look like. I do not have Julia Child’s cookbook, nor do I have any desire to make an aspic. I do have a ton of cookbooks and an overflowing recipe box. I am also really bad about ripping recipes, craft or decorating ideas out of magazines. I quit for a while. I started buying Southern Living Annual Recipe Collections. The problem with that was then I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted.

Nowadays you can find just about anything on the internet. As a matter of fact, I frequently do recipe searches for whatever I have on hand. I usually end up with a Southern Living recipe that I probably already had. I try to write in my cookbooks when I tried something to record whether or not we liked it. The problem with that is remembering which book has which recipe!

Some I do remember. The chicken and dumplings recipe is in the Prairie Harvest cookbook. Cajun Chicken is in the recipe box. Then, I do a lot of just general cooking that doesn’t require a recipe — throw a pork chop in the skillet with some salt and lots of pepper, wrap some sweet potatoes in foil and toss them in the oven, open up a bagged Caesar salad and, Viola! Dinner is served!

This blog is more for me than it is for you. I do, however, hope people read and enjoy it. Having my own recipes out there on the the internet to search through will be great! No more fumbling through scraps of worn out magazines. The plan is to test out new recipes here — and to actually go to those dogeared pages in the cookbooks. I can make no promises concerning how often I will post. I can’t promise that this blog will only be about recipes and cooking. I do have other interests that I might want to share with you, I tend to get a little distracted from time…

Squirrel!!! (Watch the movie Up! to get the reference.)

Well, that is the plan. And it only took a year to get it going.