Tips and Tricks: Burnt on Food

How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot

 

I think we have all done it, walked away from a pot or pan while cooking, only to return to a burnt up mess. Or I am famous for leaving the pot on low/warm while we eat dinner and then unable to remove the stuck on food when it’s time to do the dishes. They can be tricky to clean especially those that you cannot scour or use harsh chemicals on because you are afraid to ruin the finish. I did however find a trick that actually works. Add water to your burnt pot, bring to a simmer. Add 1/4 c white vinegar and 2 T baking soda. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and use a non abrasive sponge and the food lifts right off.

How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot How to Clean a Burnt Pan or Pot

 

If you have a burnt metal broiler pan or cookie sheet try using oven cleaner. Spray the pan and let it sit, the food should wipe right off with a sponge .

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How to Throw a Baby Shower, It’s as Easy as ABC

My sister is having a baby, a new nephew for me, which is very exciting. I, with a lot of help from friends,  threw her an alphabet themed baby shower. This is an easy theme and can be used for either a boy or a girl.

1st the invitations, these could be done several ways but since my printer was down at the time, I ordered mine from Vista Print, the design is called Alphabet Soup. They were very budget friendly. I blurred out a lot of the info but they come printed with envelopes and were delivered within a week.

For decorations I bought cardboard letters from a craft store and spray painted them, then I hot glued a painted wooden shape that started with that letter, A-apple, B-bee, C-car. Mom got to take these home to use in the new baby’s room.

We also made boxes out of 8×8 colored paper folded into fourths, make a vertical cut in the top fold to the center.

Fold the paper in half horizontally and criss cross the cut pieces to form a half cube.

Repeat with 2nd paper and then tape two halves together to form one cube.

Decorate with paper cutouts and letters

We also taped cut out letters to long bamboo skewers and inserted into a Styrofoam cone then cut scrapbook paper to look like a vase around it for a food table decoration.

The food place cards were also made to fit with our alphabet theme.

The table had a white table-cloth with a runner of brown craft paper adorned with alphabet stickers.

Favors were made from small chinese style boxes with puffy alphabet stickers and filled with candy

For a game we played Baby themed scatergories.

and each party guest made a page for the new baby’s “Alphabet Book”

I placed out 8×8 sheets of colored paper, each one had a different letter of the alphabet on it. I did this ahead of time with scrapbook stickers. I put out markers, crayons and alphabet flashcards for ideas, or the guests who felt they weren’t artistic could just paste the card on their page. Then each guest signed their masterpiece, and some wrote a message to the new baby.

I placed them all into an 8×8 scrapbook with plastic sleeved pages, along with a copy of the shower invite for a great keepsake for baby and mom.

The shower was a success and as easy as ABC.

What’s for Dinner: Menu Planning 101

I just don’t have time, it’s too hard to plan a menu, I never have the ingredients I need, these are several complaints I have heard from myself and friends as to why the food in the refrigerator  spoils and we end up eating out, getting take out or relying on convenience foods. The trick is to have a system in place, only buy what you need and to know your weekly schedule in advance. This will help you save time, money and your sanity. There are several ways to do this but I am going to share what works for me.

Pre planning, This can be the most time consuming of the process but is the key. I keep a spiral notebook that I use for everything that way I only have to look in one place for all I need to know. Mine has pockets which are useful to hold important papers and recipes, sale ads, coupons etc… I start a new page for each shopping week. I like to shop on Sunday nights or Mondays after the kids get home from school. This way I am guaranteed to have someone here to help put groceries away.

During the week ahead I look for recipes, I try to only use 2 sources of recipes per week to lessen the confusion. An example would be the new Food Network Magazine and My Southern Living Cookbook. I will go through these while watching TV, or  waiting to pick up the kids and use sticky tabs or post it notes to mark the recipes I want to use. Then I make my list of the ones to use and the page number or source where they came from. Other good sources besides cookbooks and magazines are Pinterest, Epicurious.com, or the Martha Stewart  Everyday Food App, for smart phones.

The next step is to make the actual grocery list. I set up my page like my grocery store is set up.

I then go through my recipes and add the ingredients that I need in the right categories, check the pantry to see what other things I need, as well as asking the rest of the household if they need anything. Then I shop. I make sure I also have my menu with me in case I need to make any substitutions if they are out of something or something else is on sale. I find with this system that now I only need to shop once a week which saves time and money.

The Menu Board: After I get home and unload all the groceries I write the weeks menu on a chalkboard in our kitchen. I try not to put any meats into the freezer because if you forget to defrost you are heading out for takeout that night and your whole meal plan is ruined. So I check the dates on the meats and try to use the ones that expire first earlier in the week. I also try to do the easier meals on the nights when we are busy, and add in take out for the nights when cooking is impossible, or on Fridays, I never cook on Fridays, but thats my own little rule.

The menu board helps me stay organized and eliminates the need for me to answer, “What’s for dinner ?”, a thousand times each week. I got mine at Ikea. And of course the last rule is be flexible, we are a family of four and things come up and emergencies happen but that is what the eraser is for.