Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lemon Cleaner

It's true, for the most part, I like to clean. But then there are some things that I just HATE doing. One is taking out the cat box... I mean, no one likes doing that. And another thing is cleaning the microwave. They have self cleaning ovens, why not self cleaning microwaves? That should probably be my next invention.

I stumbled upon a simple technique online on how to easily clean a microwave. To be quite disgustingly honest, I'm not sure when the last time we cleaned our microwave was. So it was time.

Here's what I did:
First, I cut a lemon into several pieces.
Then I filled a bowl up with water and dropped the lemon slices in.
I placed the bowl in the microwave and microwaved for about 3-5 minutes or until the water is boiling.
After it's done boiling, I let the bowl sit for a few minutes and when it's cool enough to remove, I took it out.
Finally, I took a damp wash cloth and ran it over the entire microwave. Not only will it be (literally) squeaky clean, it now smells delightful!

It was quick, easy, painless and green!

After I cleaned, I put the lemon rinds down the garbage disposal for a fresh scent! I also do this with orange peels too.

Anyone else have any green tips to clean appliances or things around the home?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

8th Grade Pizza

8th grade pizza? Yes, that is my fancy name for these little delicacies. Small? Yes. Delicious? Double yes!

For Troy's 30th birthday bash in December, I made an array of goodies but wanted something a little bit more substantial so I thought of these. They are so simple to make... in fact, I first made them in 8th grade in my home economics class. I forget what else we made in that class but we learned about nutrition and fun phrases like, "When in doubt, throw it out!" 8th grade was a great year and now that I can look back and remember this recipe from way back in the day, makes my 8th grade year seem even greater.

Although these mini pizzas don't look any different than the ones that I made in 8th grade, I've jazzed them up with some spices and different ingredients to make them a little more grown up.

Package of English muffins (6 in a package)
Marinara sauce
Cheese (Any kind that you fancy. We usually use a mozzarella or pizza cheese and top with some parm.)
Garlic salt
Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Halve each muffin.
2. Get a cookie sheet ready by putting some parchment paper on top of it (or skip the paper and spray the pan with PAM). Lay each halved English muffin on the cookie sheet. I usually fit about 12 halved muffins on a sheet at a time.
3. Scoop out sauce with a spoon and spread on evenly to each English muffin.
4. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and some garlic salt on each muffin.
5. Add some pepperonis (3-4 per muffin).
6. Add the mozzarella cheese (or choice cheese) and top with a little parm.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese gets hot, bubbly and starts to brown the edges.

These guys are delish and a great alternative for frozen pizza. I've taken these to many church functions and they've always been a hit! Thank you, public school system, for teaching me to be such a great, complex cook! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upcycled Garden Tags

Summer is almost here! I have been anxious to get my plants growing. Last year, I attempted my first garden. I was very excited to try one this year but we decided to sell our house so I didn't want try it again. Instead, I have about 20 pots of varying sizes on our back patio. Most I grew from seeds and some others I haven't. And since I am growing most of my plants from seeds, I wanted little plant markers so I could remember what they are. Basically so I'm not eating a big salad of basil because I thought it was spinach.

I found a cool idea online to make garden tags out of broken mini blinds. We have a window above our bed and our cat, Homie, loves to sit there and we tried to train him to stay off of it but we gave up. Since we gave up, he has broken many of blinds. But it's a good thing I don't like to waste so I put the broken blinds to work!

All I did was take the broken blind and cut it to the length I wanted it. Then I used a sharpie to write what plant it was and stuck it in the plant.
They look simple and unified.
Grow watermelon, grow!

I'm hoping to use this lavender to make some homemade laundry detergent some day. 

I hope this little trick helps in your organization of plants!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Upcycled Wicker Chairs

Upcycle: to reuse an object or materials to create a product of higher value or quality than the original object or materials (from

I'm not going to lie, upcycle is my new favorite word. Basically you take something that could be thrown away and add to it to make it better or more functional. We got the great idea to take these ugly white wicker chairs and spray paint them black. I bought about 7 cans of spray paint for $1.25 each at Family Dollar so we didn't spend much and it looks fantastic! Here is the before picture:

And now I use the old cushion as a knee pad for my when I'm thinning or weeding my plants. Win, win!
It was a little time consuming and your fingers will definitely hate you after it's over but it's pretty simple. I would recommend spraying the chairs over grass that needs cutting and not over cement like the previous owners of our house did! They turned out pretty spectacular if I do say so myself and we might actually use them now!

Have you upcycled anything recently? Or ever?

It's addicting... as is spray paint... I first spray painted our ugly mail box black and had some paint left over so I thought, what else? Hence our newly painted wicker chairs. I can't wait to have another project where I'm using some spray paint!