Now I love cleaning my stove grates

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I admit it- I have NEVER been a fan of cleaning EVER! However when you combine minimal effort and maximum results I’m all over it. I pretty much gave up on cleaning my gas stove grates years ago. The gunk that cakes on them from years of boil overs and heat is daunting to even think it will come off.
Thank you Pinterest for introducing me to the best trick ever: ammonia and a ziplock bag. Add 1/4 cup ammonia to the ziplock bag then place one stove grate in each bag and zip closed. I did mine in stages so I could still cook. Leave them a minimum of 8 hours in a well ventilated area and put bag on a cookie sheet just incase it leaks. The liquid doesn’t need to cover the grate- its the fumes that does the work? I put mine outside for a whole day.
I had 17 years of yuck on my grates. The first set of grates I left for 8-10 hours and I had to scrub a little bit and actually put them back in the bags for another run with fresh ammonia. But I got so busy for the other set they were in the bags for two days!! When I took them out and ran them under water the gunk SLID RIGHT OFF!!
Look real close at my photo and you can see the grate on the left is black with gunk- the grate on the right is back to its original grey color and it shines no!
Check out the Pinterest post below that started my experiment and have some kitchen magic fun!

http://www.thevspotblog.com/2011/07/cleaning-stove-burners-grates-best.html

Fried Ice Cream is ridiculous goodness

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I’ve been so busy as a realtor, I haven’t had enough time to test my favorite Pinterest recipes. But last week I had to get back to the kitchen and tested this Fried Ice Cream recipe. I made it to take to our local Ronald McDonald house for dessert. That’s when I found out I had a hit on my hands!!!! The only cooking involved is caramelizing the crushed corn flakes. For the frozen part, thaw your vanilla ice cream so it is workable, mix in the whipped topping to make it creamy, add the secret cinnamon ingredient build the delectable dessert.
The recipe is easy to double if you have a big crowd. This might just be a substitute to birthday cakes in our house!!!

http://theimperfecthousewife.blogspot.com/2009/09/fried-ice-cream-dessert.html

Pioneer Woman’s potatoes awesome alternative to baked potatoes

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What an amazing change to baked potatoes. So simple and yummy all rolled into one. I used 8 red potatoes and we had lots left over. What can be more simple than boiling potatoes for about 10 minutes and the smashing them onto a generously oiled sheet pan. I was a little chicken to put the potatoes on the top shelf of my oven, the potatoes would have been a little more crispy if I had. Next time I will. Make sure you olive oil the well so they get crispy. Thank you Pioneer Woman!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/crash-hot-potatoes/

Stretch a pound of hamburger into Mexican Pizza

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Feeding my always hungry son can be a challenge. This recipe was easy to put together I made 5 pizzas and I even ended up with leftovers! One skillet and a cookie sheet is all I needed to get dinner on the table.
The recipe called for Trader Joe brand ingredients but I chose to use the Aldi comparable that were in my pantry. I also used a full pound of hamburger instead of the half pound the recipe called for. One other substitution was my cookie sheet to bake three pizzas at one time instead of a pie tin for each one.
I was totally out of fresh tomatoes and green opinion, so my pizzas had to survive with only black olives and some sour cream for garnish.
Tips was simple and effective. Give it a try

http://traderjoesrecipes.net/mexican-pizza-recipe/

Custom Cuff links TOTALLY my idea – with a little help from my Mom!

My son is a waiter and he is always in need of long sleeve white dress shirts.  I AM ALWAYS looking for a bargain!  When he requested a few more shirts I hit the Goodwill Store!  The only shirt they had that fit his criteria (in his size) had cuffs and would require cuff links.  REALLY??  I am not sending cuff links to my college aged son.  But the shirt was in great shape and only $3.99.  I needed a solution – BUTTONS!!!!

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I found these great football buttons at Hobby Lobby on clearance – $1.05 including tax for TWO!  Now to figure out how to make them into cuff links without using glue.  Enter a call to my 80 year old Momma!  She suggested elastic thread.

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I didn’t have exactly the thread she had suggested but the round thin elastic I found it my old sewing kit fit the bill.  I cut a piece of elastic about 4 inches long and fed it through another white button that I placed on the back side of the cuff.  The button was big enough that it wouldn’t slip through the button hole.  Then fed the elastic through all the button holes in the cuff and secured them to my football button with two standard knots. Then cut the excess unused elastic.

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TA-DA!!!!  A sneaky adjustable cuff link.  The elastic has enough give to allow you hand to slip though without taking the cuff link off when you dress but still is tight enough to keep the cuff closed!  The real test will be how long the knots will last before I get a phone call.  I tied them really tight!

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YAY – ME!

P.S. I texted my “waiter- first born child” with the finished product. He is a former college football player – so the theme cuff links was justified (in my mind). Although my son called me a dork for making them,  he gave them his stamp of approval (he should – the shirt is FREE to him) and can’t wait to get his latest care package.

Grout cleaner so easy….and cheap!

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I had no idea my grout had gotten so dirty. My memory had failed me and I had convinced myself that I had actually CHOSEN that grout color in the left photo when we remodeled. How wrong I was!
I saw the remedy on Pinterest and I have included the link

http://www.amumntheoven.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-07-28T05:27:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=7&by-date=false

I grabbed my bucket, scrub brush and gloves and gave it a whirl. Don’t get me wrong, I added some elbow grease. It the results were wonderful! I was reintroduced to my original grout color after everything had dried completely. I did make sure I gave the floor a few food rinses so the baking sod didn’t leave its nasty residue.

My dirty grout is in the left photo and my new clean grout on the right.

I think I found a new breakfast!!!

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This simple, simple breakfast is shockingly yummy. When I spotted it on Pinterest it was tops on my gotta try list!
I cut a Granny Smith apple into about 1/2 inch slices and cut out the core so they resemble a fruity version of a bagel. Instead of cream cheese I spread Planters creamy natural peanut butter. I dug out a package of Emerald Breakfast on the Go, but most any trail mix will do. Chop it up so the pieces are smaller. Once the peanut butter is spread on the apple, turn it over into the trail mix to see what sticks.
I got three slices out of my apple but 4 or 5 is totally possible. Enjoy! Enjoy!!