Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Easy Way to Keep Strawberries Fresh Longer

How many times has this happened to you? You purchased some delicious looking strawberries on sale and before you can enjoy them, they are a fuzzy science experiment.  It is such a waste of money, you hesitate to even buy them at the store. I tried those Green Bags that promise to keep produce fresh longer. I didn't find they worked at all. I found a cheap and easy trick to keeping your strawberries good for up to eight (8) days! The pictures of the strawberries in this blog post are eight days old. They were delicious!
  • First, purchase quality berries. I like Driscoll berries. I have tried this trick on many brands and find that the Driscoll berries seem to last the longest.
  • Second, any water will hasten spoiling. Wash them in a vinegar and water solution. Pat the berries with a paper towel to ensure they are all dry.
  • Third, inspect each berry. If there is one with a rotten part, take it out of the carton.
  • Fourth, put a layer of paper towel at the bottom of the strawberry clamshell container you purchased your berries in. Add a layer of dry berries. Add another layer of paper towels. Add berries. Continue this process until all the berries are used up. Cover with a final layer of paper towel. The top may not close, but this doesn't seem to affect it.
That's it! Now you can enjoy your berries for a much longer period than normal.

What to do with all these delicious strawberries? Never fear... Frazzled Mom is here! OK, that was really corny! Anyway, here is an easy recipe to use up those strawberries!

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Fresh Organic Spinach
Strawberries (sliced)
Feta Cheese (small container of crumbled)
Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe below)

Arrange a handful of the spinach in a bowl. Sprinkle with sliced strawberries and then a small amount of crumbled Feta Cheese. Top with Poppy Seed Dressing! This salad is so refreshing on a hot day!

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup of white sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seed

mix sugar, mustard and salt. Add oil and vinegar, beating constantly in blender. Add onion and poppy seed last. If dressing separates after it is cold, put back in blender and beat hard. Makes one pint. Can be kept for 2 weeks in covered jar in fridge.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A small home improvement project - Painted Air Vents


OK, I'm in danger of being told I don't have enough to do. Let me assure you that is not the case. It just kept bugging me to look up and see these white vents glaring at me from the ceiling after we changed out our lighting. With the bronze fixtures, the white vents and the yellow ceiling, it was just too busy up there. I sprayed the vents down with some Rustoleum Primer that was appropriate for metal. This allows the colored latex wall paint to stick on the slick, metal surface of the vent. That was easy enough. If only it was easy to get custom color spray paint. The next part was tedious. Painting every crevice with the latex paint. I needed several coats and I had to make sure that the paint wasn't glopping up in the corners. The end result was worth it! Vents that almost disappear on the ceiling. It gives the room a more finished look.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How I get my husband to do anything I want...

The old saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is oh, so true. This is one of my favorite ways to manipulate my dearest. He's happy to be manipulated as long as there is cheesecake at the end.

This simple but delicious recipe is from one of my favorite recipe books "Talk About Good". 

BAKED CHEESECAKE

Graham Cracker Crust
7 1/2 Graham Crackers run through the food processor (makes 1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs)
1/2 c. sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
1/2 c. melted butter

Combine the above ingredients. Spread in a 9 x 9 inch pie plate. Press firmly. I use a metal 1/3 cup measuring cup to press the crumbs down into the pie plate. Do not bake until filling is inside.

Filling
2 large 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
3 eggs

Beat the cream cheese. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in the sugar, then eggs, one at a time. Beat until light and creamy. Pour in graham cracker crust. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. I like to wait until the cream cheese just starts to crack at the top.

We serve it warm. If you always eat it cold, try it warm for a wonderful change. I think you might never eat a cold cheesecake again! Spoon on your favorite topping. You can put the topping on the entire pie or just on pieces. Cherry or blueberry are our family favorites.

PS - This recipe (On page 374 of the Talk About Good cookbook) also has a recipe for a topping made with sour cream, vanilla, and more sugar. I have never made that topping. I think it might make the cheesecake too delicious and my husband might spontaneously burst with happiness. We wouldn't want that to happen, so I skip that topping and just stick with a fruit topping.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keeping your Promises, why it is important

Did you ever tell someone you would do something and then it became inconvenient? Did you call them and tell them you couldn't do it or did you just do it even though it was an inconvenience to you? The answer tells a lot about your character.

Setting a Good Example for Your Kids
Keeping your word is a silent lecture to your kids. It teaches them to value others above themselves. What a wonderful trait this is in young and old.

Being Timely Tells Your Friend They are Valuable
Being on time with your commitments is also important. I HATE for people to wait for me whether it is my fault or not. It suggests to them that their time is not as valuable as mine. That is something I never want anyone to think! I try to leave early for appointments. You just never know when you will run into traffic.

Be Careful What You Promise
Make sure you are in a position to make the promise. Do you need to discuss it with your spouse, parents or someone else before you make a commitment? If it affects them, then please do. This is something I struggled with in my early marriage. I would make plans with friends and not even think to discuss it with my husband to see if he wanted to do something different. I just *assumed* he always wanted to do what I wanted to do! Oh brother. That poor girl had a lot to learn (and still does).

Also, if your schedule is ridiculous right now, puhleeze don't make any more commitments. That sounds simple enough, but sometimes when we get on a roll we think one more thing won't make or break us. Stop, drop and pray before you say "Yes". I could be the president of "Overcommitment Anonymous"! I like this verse in Proverbs 29:20 - Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Ouch!

Guard Your Reputation
Your integrity is so important. It's what people will talk about when you are gone and the example your children will measure themselves next to. Check out these nuggets.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (NIV) Luke 16:10

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Proverbs 19:1

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, and a man is valued by what others say of him.
Proverbs 27:21

When You Keep Your Word, You are Acting Like Your Father In Heaven

I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Psalm 89:34 ESV

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18 (NLT)

Wow! God never, ever breaks his promises or change his mind. That is a high goal to shoot for! Pray and ask God to give you the wisdom and strength to keep your promises.

Saving on Shaving

Years ago a friend in the beauty biz gave me a great tip. She suggested using my hair conditioner instead of shaving cream to shave with. It worked great! I got a closer shave, saved me from purchasing shaving cream and I didn't have to have to trip over another product in my shower. I will warn you to be careful as it can cause the floor of your shower to be slippy. Use sparingly and rinse the floor of your shower well before prancing around.

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