Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Very Valiente Pinterest Review

I have high expectations for many things in my life; this inevitably menas that from time to time I am faced with great disappointment. This morning was one of those times.

I require that earth-friendly products work and work well, or else I don't use them. For example, rubbing plain old lemon juice into my grout as a stain remover has never produced anything but sore shoulders. Tying a bag of vinegar around my shower head only gave me a stinky bathroom. But then there was the miracle cleaner that was just wonderful. I also stopped using paper towels and doubled up on microfiber cloths- great choice, no regrets.

So when I came across the idea that baking soda and hydrogen peroxide could work wonders on all manner of greasy, hardened stains I was hopeful. I read all kinds of blog posts touting the great glory of the solution, so I tried it this morning. Just for the record, here is what I was hoping for. There is this:

And this:

For the record, I am a subscriber to "One Good Thing by Jillee" and I really like reading her posts. I saw the ideas on Pinterest first, not her blog.

 So here is where I started. I have a glass dish that I normally line with foil and spray with cooking spray anytime I cook mean or potatoes. Then I just toss the foil after dinner instead of cleaning the dish. Predictably, the cooking spray has hardened into an inpenetrable forcefield of funky chunks:

So I made a little paste, applied it to the pan, let it sit and "work" and the proceeded to scrub with a variety of instruments. I used a toothbrush, metal scrubber, Pampered Chef scraper, and a kitchen sponge. Eventually a lot of the gunk did come off, but it took a lot of work and there were still some bits left by the time I threw in the towel. It left me wondering- if I had just set about scrubbing the dickens out of the pan without the baking soda and peroxide, would I have gotten the same results?

I am totally willing to try this again. I have gas burners with some wierd food residue on them and two Corningware pans that could use some reviving. I give this cleaning solution a solid B.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Very Valiente Good Idea

Here are two of my very own original ideas.

Instead of buying curtain ties, I use the cuffs I cut off the shirts I used to make our quilt.

When I cook ground beef, I use a baster to get the fat out of the pan, instead of pouring it down the drain. Washing the baster afterwards is a first-world inconvenience thast becomes even more annoying without a dishwasher. To give myself a head start, I fill a glass with soapy water and put the baster in it when I am done, sucking soapy water in a few times. The I use a toothbrush to get the gunk out completely.

I am going to attempt to pin these and see if anyone else finds them useful. Happy Saturday everyone :)

A Very Valiente Food Rut Follow Up

Food Rut be gone! The Yankee and I are in the clear, finally eating like People again.We adjusted some budgetary allocations, which reduced our food budget and that turned out to be a great motivator for me.Does anyone elser feel like broke times, or times when you are really watching your spending, leads you to great cooking? I do. For some reason, I simply tear it up in the kitchen when I have a stricter budget. In the past month, we've only gone out to eat twice (once was a gifted meal from a dear woman) and it's been great.

I will admit to one cooking disaster. We're talking food so bad that I simply couldn't convince myself to keep eating it- food so bad it made the Yankee's eyes water! I tried marinading a pork shoulder in this great all-purpose recipes that works on steak, chicken, and pork chops. I am not sure what happened but after 8 hours in my crock pot, it tasted like pickled supper. Blech.

I brought out some of our favorites that I haven't made in awhile, embraced the love of the crock-pot and the casserole, and found some new fun recipes on Pinterest. Here are some things I've been making:

Seems like everyone is pinning these foil packets:

 I made mine with potatoes instead of stuffing and used 1 tbsp of onion and chive cream cheese instead of ranch dressing, and they turned out pretty darn well. The broccoli looked a bit overcooked and kind of brown, but it was still crunchy and tasted fine. Next time, I'll probably steam it instead.

You might also have seen this Ro-tel recipe for an enchilada skillet dinner.

This was really good. A bit soupy- the recipe calls for a small can of tomato sauce, which I will probably leave out next time. I also used tortilla chips instead of tortillas, because they were on sale. I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot on day and used the leftover for this recipe on the next.

I also had several friends leave me some suggestions on my Facebook wall, which I'll be trying in June. Happy eating everyone.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Kinda Valiente Dream

The Yankee and I do not agree about the amount of "things" we should own. I am constantly getting the itch to downsize, downgrade, purge, declutter, donate- whatever you call it, I just want to get rid of my stuff. I think it stresses the Yankee out when I purge too often or too much at once. I know it drives my mother batty. I think I'd be happy if we owned a total of 7 pieces of furniture (I count bedside tables as one, since it would be lame not to have a pair). I think our little family would function most efficiently if we owned:

  • A Captain's Bed
  • Bedside Tables
  • Couch
  • Storage Ottoman
  • Entertainment Stand
  • One bookcase
  • Dining Set (this also counts as one "piece")

Think about how open and wonderful our itty-bitty-NYC apartment would look!

Alas... we own books and a small collection of memorabilia, which necessitates more than one bookcase.

The Yankee loves media of all kinds, so we need a place to store 3 game consoles, all of rock band, a video game chair, various video games, and tons of DVDs (I confess, one whole binder is full of holiday movies).

So maybe my home won't look like this anytime soon ever:


But a lady can dream, right?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Very Valiente-est Quilt

So, y'all know I am sentimental (don't you?). I am a scrapper, a photo taker, and a memory keeper. I catalog all sorts of memories in my brain.

I have been saving the shirts that the Yankee and I were wearing during our DTR in 2009 for three years, always intending to do something with them. Either make a cover of a scrapbook or quilt with them, or some other craft. I didn't want them to just sit it a box for a hundred years, but I also didn't want to get rid of them because the memory of the evening is so special to me.

 I found this pattern online:
It's a pattern for frugal quilters with lots of fabric scraps leftover and decided to use it for out DTR shirts. Each one of those strips is 2 inches by 5 inches, which means I had to cut hundreds of little pieces. Then they had to be sewn together into squares, and the squares made into bigger squares.
Here is the progressing of the project:


Quilt squares:

Finished product:

The finished quilt is the size of a normal couch throw blanket. I just couldn't sew any more strips or squares, so when it got to 5 x 7, I threw in the towel. This was not an easy project by any means and I don't recommend it for anyone who doesn't already sew well, for anyone with little kids (because it took about 10 weekends, doing nothing else), or anyone who doesn't really really really want to make a quilt like this.

Every time I use this blanket, I am a happy girl.

A Very Valiente Clean Up

I take great pride in our home. The Yankee and I both take care to keep things neat and tidy, and clean. You are always welcome to check behind my toilet; I assure you, it's clean. I also enjoy being "grean," trying to reduce first, reuse second, and recycle third. I don't use bleach to clean, unless I am cleaning up a bodily fluid of some kind (chicken goo, normally). I don't even use bleach in the toilet, just a pump of dish soap and a daily swish of the bowl.

I used to replace my shower curtain monthly because it would always get so grimy and gross. I've since reduced that to annually, to try to save the earth a lil. I try to clean it periodically, but it never really looked that great.

I'm sure if you're on Pinterest, you've seen the magic cleaning combination of vinegar and Dawn. I am always happy to use green cleaners, as long as they work! So many times I've tried concoctions with mediocre results, only to reach for the CLR to finish the job. So when I saw the combo, I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try after I kept reading how miraculous it is.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please try this cleaning solution as soon as humanly possible. Try it today if you can because it was no less than amazing. This solution is half hot vinegar and half Dawn, in a spray bottle. You don't have to reheat it the next time you use it, just swirl the bottle a bit.

Here are some before and after photos (do you know how difficult it is to photograph soap scum on a clear or white background?):

Tub- kinda dingy:

Shower curtain- how embarassing

I will admit that when you microwave the vinegar, it will stink to high heaven in your kitchen. When you open the microwave door, your eyes will water and your nose may run. But once you spray it on, give it a minute to work, wipe down with a rag and rinse, the vingar smell dissapates and your bathroom is all clean. The proof is here:

Nice, shiny tub

Completely clean and clear shower curtain:

Again- stinky? Yes.

Spray it on, let it work, wipe it off and rinse. And then write a blog about how great it is.

Happy Girl :)