Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Me and My Readers

I have been nearsighted for over twenty years, but my latest appointment with the optometrist revealed that I am in need of reading glasses.  This was not a startling revelation, but a gradual change that I had suspected. This unwelcome change is one that comes with.... AGE.   My physician suggested that I invest in progressive lenses. This would allow me to perfect my vision without the hassle of two different pairs of glasses, but I was resistant.  I have only had to wear glasses while driving, wearing them all the time would be a drastic change for me.  So I opted for the $25 readers which are +1 magnification, which I thought would let me gradually get used to wearing glasses and I could delay the expensive purchase of progressive lenses until later in the year. Let's just say that things are not going as planned.  The readers are great for reading, but I definitely need them pushed down on my nose and I have to peer over the top of the frames like an old lady when I am not reading.  The glasses definitely make life interesting.  I have had a couple of moments that make me think I am wearing beer goggles instead of readers.  You know the feeling when you look up and things are blurred, you feel a little dizzy and you can't make out faces. These glasses are bringing back memories of youth, so maybe these glasses are a good thing. All the fun of beer goggles, without the calories. That would be a great marketing campaign to help 40-something soccer Moms and Dads recapture their youth.  I am starting to see my world differently, hopefully it will be like seeing the world through rose colored glasses.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All Natural Flavored Coffee Creamer

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I guess that was the case this morning, when I discovered I was almost out of flavored creamer for my coffee. Making a trip to the grocery store was not appealling to me with the temperature outside at -18F, with the windchill.  I did a quick search and found a great recipe that is free of artificial colors and flavors and tastes amazing. In case you did not know, those flavored creamers are chocked full of partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and milk derivatives.  It may taste great in your coffee, but is not so great for your body. There are two base recipes for the creamer posted, as well as many flavor options.  This is the creamer I enjoyed this morning.

Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee Creamer

1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (do not use artificial)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk together.  Store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

 I used the first recipe, because I had skim milk and sweetened condensed milk at home.
I opted for the vanilla cinnamon flavor.

I whisked it all together.

I then poured it into my empty creamer bottle.

You could make a different flavor every week and replicate your favorite limited edition flavors any time of the year. Adding your favorite liqueur to the creamer could be an extra special treat. I may have to try that soon. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate Yum Yum Muffins

Today I am sharing the favorite treat of my daughters.  The recipe is from the Hungry Girl and is so easy and delicious .  You need a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree. Yes, two ingredients! I prefer to use the chocolate fudge cake mix to give a richer flavor. You can add a handful of chocolate chips for good measure, because everything tastes better when you add chocolate chips.

The recipe claims to make 12 muffins, but my muffin tins must be on the small side because it makes 16 for me.  I guess that means fewer calories, if I only eat one muffin. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adhesive Remover

Don't you love it when you buy a glass plate or bowl and the store has a price sticker attached with what seems to be a permanent adhesive?  Maybe your child has a teacher who asks each student to bring an empty glass jar to school with the label removed, for an art project on Friday.  You have an empty jar, but you have been trying to remove the label for a week without success. I have found an adhesive remover recipe that works and is made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.  The ingredients are vegetable oil and baking soda.

This candle jar had been scrubbed and put through the dishwasher without any success.

Place your mixture on the spot and rub until the adhesive is removed.

This is the jar after the adhesive remover.  I think it is quite impressive and was so simple

Adhesive Remover

Equal parts vegetable oil and baking soda

Mix together and rub on adhesive until it is removed.  This can be made as needed or made in advance and stored. Use this only on items that can be washed.  This will leave an oily residue that will need to be removed with soap.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jeni's Fabulous Fire Starters

My friend Jeni and her family are avid campers.  I am not a camper, but I do enjoy a good bonfire with a glass of wine and smores.  Jeni gave this recipe to me to share on my blog.  These fire starters are typically sold at campground stores for a couple of dollars a piece and Jeni was sure she could make her own with fabulous results. The fire starters will start fires easily without lighter fluid and will help start fairly wet logs.  More than likely you will have everything you need at home or you may have to start saving some things you normally throw in the trash.

Fire Starters

Toilet paper tubes or cardboard egg cartons
Dryer lint
Used candle wax (all those scraps in the bottom of your candle holders)

Melt the wax in a coffee can on the stove.

Stuff the toilet paper tubes with the dryer lint.

Tie string or twine around the toilet paper tubes. Holding the string, dip the tubes into the wax. 

Let dry on newspaper.

Store in a container until use. Set the starter under the logs, light the string or edge of tube and sit back and enjoy.

I think a canister of these fire starters would be a great gift for an avid camper or bonfire host.  If you start now you will have a stockpile by summer. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Melting An Icy Walkway With Dawn

Our home has a gutter seam that leaks so conveniently on the walkway up to the front door of our home.  Trying to be thrifty and avoid a trip to the store, I searched the Internet for a recipe to melt ice quickly and safely.  I found this post utilizing Dawn dish washing liquid . If you have read my previous posts, you are aware of the wonderful things that Dawn can do in your home.  I became skeptical of a mixture of Dawn, hot water, and rubbing alcohol melting ice, but I was also intrigued.  How could a mixture of mostly hot water melt ice on cold brick pavers in freezing conditions?  I mixed, poured, and waited. 

Guess what happened?  The entire walkway leading from the driveway to the front door turned into an ice luge fit for a bobsled team.  The excess water also trickled down the driveway.

 To make matters worse, a friend of mine arrived for a visit at my home 15 minutes after my experiment.   Let's just say the things I try for this blog do not always amuse my husband.  If you would like someone to file a Personal Injury lawsuit against you, this recipe will set you in the right direction.  Needless to say I made a trip to the store and purchased some ice melter later that day.