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Recipe for A Clean Kitchen

Recipe for a Clean KitchenMy number one cooking rule is to always have a clean kitchen! In my opinion, cleanliness is the most important ingredient in any recipe I may be preparing.

But there are so many cleaning products on the market these days and most of them are quite pricey. With our current national economic crisis, it is more important than ever to save in as many ways as possible.

One area in which I have found a way to save a considerable amount of spending, is in the cleaning of my kitchen. You may ask, ” Is there an inexpensive product that will keep my kitchen clean and sanitized”? The answer to that question is a great big YES!

All you need to keep your kitchen squeaky clean is vinegar and baking soda. Yes, you read that right; plain old everyday inexpensive vinegar and baking soda. Read on and learn how to start saving money today with this recipe of simple ways to clean with vinegar and baking soda.

1. Drain Cleaner

Simply pour 1/2 of a box of baking soda down the drain; pour vinegar into the drain on top of the baking soda, creating a foaming action. Allow the foam to settle, pour some more vinegar in the drain and repeat this action until all of the baking soda is gone. Allow the drain to sit for about 1 hour after cleaning. Flush the drain with hot water before using, to help remove any dirt or debris left behind.

2. Oven Cleaner

Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the bottom of a completely cooled oven; spray the baking soda with water using a spray bottle. This will help break down the food particles stuck to the oven surface. Every few hours, spray the baking soda with water to keep it moist. Continue this process over several hours, spraying water as the baking soda begins to dry. Scrape the baking soda out of the oven; food residue will be scraped out along with the baking soda. Rinse the oven thoroughly. The next time you use your oven, your food won’t have an oven cleaner taste added to it’s flavor!

3. Microwave Cleaner

Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water. Run the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Dip a sponge in the vinegar solution and wipe the food off the walls of the microwave. No hard scrubbing is required; the food will literally fall off.

How does this work? Heating the vinegar and water steams the food off and the acetic acid in the vinegar sanitizes and deodorizes your microwave.

4. Dishwasher Rinse Agent

Make the switch from expensive dishwasher rinse agents (such as Jet Dry) to vinegar. Your dishes will be dry and spot free without using harsh chemicals. First, finish using any commercial rinse agent that remains in your dishwasher. Unscrew the cap from the rinse agent dispenser and fill the well with vinegar. Replace the cap and run the dishwasher as usual. Refill the dispenser as needed.

Tip:

To clean the inside of your dishwasher, fill the detergent dispenser with vinegar (no detergent) and run the dishwasher through a wash cycle. This will clean the wash tub, racks and even the heating elements.

5. Sanitizing Cleaning Sponges

Pour white vinegar, full strength, into a small bowl. Soak sponges in vinegar overnight. Squeeze out and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Your sponges will be refreshed and ready for use. The acetic acid in the vinegar kills bacteria and eliminates odors. This will also extend the life of your sponges.

6. Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Fill a spray bottle with full strength vinegar. Spray on all your stainless steel surfaces then wipe dry with a soft cleaning cloth. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through the oil left behind by fingerprints, rather than smearing it around like most other cleaning agents do.

7. Fruit and Vegetable Wash

For Hard Skinned Fruits and Vegetables:

Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray the solution onto the fruits or vegetables. Rub in or use a soft brush to work the solution into the skins.  Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

For Soft Skinned Fruits and Vegetables:

Fill a bowl with equal parts white vinegar and water. Soak the fruits or vegetables in the solution for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the solution and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

The acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and helps dissolve the wax and pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables.

8. Grease Remover

Fill a spray bottle with full strength white vinegar. Spray on stove tops, range hoods, counter tops; basically any surface in your kitchen that collects grease. Wipe dry with a soft clean cloth. The acetic acid in the vinegar cuts right through the grease and leaves a streak free surface. However, DO NOT use vinegar on marble or other stone surfaces. The acidic nature will damage the surface and permanently etch and dissolve the marble surface.

Tips:

Always store the vinegar solution out of the reach of children.

Label the contents of your spray bottles.

Avoid all contact of vinegar with the eyes and prolonged contact with the skin.

Emily

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Baked Apple French Toast

baked-apple-french-toastA delicious French toast recipe that’s great for breakfast, brunch or even as  dessert! And just in time for apple harvest!

1/2 (of a 16 oz.) loaf French bread
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large apples, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. With a serrated knife, slice the French bread into 1-1/2-inch slices. Place in a single layer in a lightly greased 11×7-inch baking dish.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract; whisk until well blended. Pour 1/2 of the milk mixture over the bread slices.

3. Arrange apple slices evenly over the bread; pour remaining egg mixture over the apples. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Dot with the butter or margarine.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the apples are tender. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with maple syrup. Makes 6 servings.

Emily

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The Beneficial Grape

Beneficial GrapesSince I have always enjoyed the unique taste of grapes, it is great to know that they not only taste good but are very health beneficial as well.

After you read all these great benefits of grapes, I am sure you will run right out to the grocery and pick some up!

One cup of grapes has almost as much fiber as a slice of whole wheat bread, a good amount of potassium, just a trace of fat and little more than 100 calories.

But their most potent benefits lie in their phytonutrients, particularly in the compound resveratrol, (found within the skin of grapes of all colors), which may help prevent several kinds of cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol may also fight breast, skin and colon cancers.

Although scientists don’t completely understand it’s protective effects, part of it’s magic lies in it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Resveratrol protects the grape from fungal infections, so similar mechanisms may be what protect us from cancer. Grapes are also packed with other flavenoids that may help prevent cancer and heart disease.

The best sources of resveratrol, besides unpeeled grapes themselves, are red wine and raisins (dried whole grapes).

Now that you know how good they are for you, be sure to eat them often for your health’s sake!!

Emily

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate chips add a delicious flair to this traditional pecan pie!

1-9-inch pie crust, unbaked
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter and corn syrup until well blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.

Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

Emily

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Honey Dijon Chicken & Rice

Tender chicken in a delightful sauce served over hot cooked rice. A marvelously easy and delicious dinner!

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubedHoney Dijon Chicken & Rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups hot cooked rice

In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cubed chicken, chopped onion and garlic; cook until the meat is no longer pink.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the rice; cover and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.

Emily

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Spicy Pork Loin Chops

spicy-pork-loin-chopsMy  hubby said these were some of the best chops he had ever eaten. They are simple and quick-to-fix, so you can have dinner on the table in a hurry!

4 (4 oz each) boneless pork loin chops
1 tablespoon spicy Montreal steak seasoning
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons calorie free sweetener (Splenda)

Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with the steak seasoning. Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot; add oil. Place chops in hot oil, reduce heat to medium-high and cook chops 4 minutes on each side or just until done, (do not over-cook or the meat may be tough). Remove chops from the skillet; set aside and keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add to the drippings in the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup, scraping bottom and sides of skillet to loosen brown bits. Serve over pork chops. Makes 4 servings each containing 1.9 grams carbohydrate.*

* I have included the carbohydrate count for all you low-carb dieters but the carb-eaters in your family will also enjoy these delicious chops.

Emily

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Marvelous Meat Loaf

Marvelous Meat LoafSimple, easy and delicious! Serve with “Best Ever Baked Beans” and Mom’s Awesome Cheesy Potatoes for a mouth watering meal your family is sure to enjoy!

1 envelope onion soup mix
2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup tomato ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients until well blended. Place mixture in a 13×9-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf.

Bake for 1 hour or until meat is no longer pink. Tilt pan and remove drippings with a spoon. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Emily

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THANK YOU

Thank YouToday, I would like to say a great big THANK YOU to all my new blogger friends for your very welcome comments and faithful visits to my blog!! It has been a wonderful experience meeting all of you and finding so many really neat blogs to visit. It is so refreshing to find so many marvelous cooks out there who are willing to share their recipes and cooking skills.

I try to find the time to visit each of you on a regular basis, in order to keep up with all the new things going on! I may not make it to your blog every day but I do visit each of you as often as I have time. Thanks to all of you for your many words of encouragement and for allowing me to link up with your blogs!!

I wish each and every one of you much success with your blogs and I look forward to sharing many more happy and helpful experiences with you! 🙂

Emily

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