Cleaning Instructions

For the “Non Cleaner”

Today I’m going to Lowe’s to try to return the stapler that never worked. First I have to find the receipt. BUT! Before any of that, I’m going to try to deep clean the bedroom. This involves getting on my hands and knees with the microfiber dust mop and getting under the bed. Not sure how motivated I’m feeling, but there’s no time like the present for unpleasant but ultimately beneficial jobs (I’ve been waking up congested and I think the dust is a factor). A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, even if it isn’t in her natural inclination.

That said, I do not get these cleaning kicks frequently, as most of you who’ve known me for a while can attest to. Here I’ve got my usual regimen, “Cleaning for the Non Cleaner.”

  • Pump up the jam. I usually just put my iPod on shuffle so I have a neverending stream of music. Including music I probably wouldn’t admit I listen to otherwise.
  • Quick top-to-bottom. I clear off surfaces (stick clutter somewhere like the couch or bed) and give them a quick dust with some furniture spray and a rub with an old t-shirt. I used to use a swiffer but noticed lots of dust resettling. This really takes less time than you think.
  • Sort through the clutter on the couch or bed, realize that half of it is old mail, and toss it. Put books away, hang clothes up, etc. If it goes back on the surfaces I just dusted, I give it a quick swipe with my sleeve or rub it on my pants to make sure I don’t put more dust back on the bedside table/shelf/whatever.
  • Sweep. I do this last so that the dust I rearranged with items 2 and 3 has settled on the floor and gets swept up with other debris. Usually I follow up the sweep with my dust mop.

You’ll notice that nowhere here did I use water or cleaning agents. That’s because it’s a lot of work and only gets done around here once a season. Which is fine, in my personal opinion, as long as the dusting/sweeping regimen gets done fairly regularly. Since I have wood floors, this method works in every single room but the bathroom. Nice.

You wanna know another one of my tricks? Get the husband to clean the bathroom on Saturdays when I’m at work and he’s home. SCORE!


Easiest Sweet and Sour

I’ve tried sweet and sour before on this blog, when the blog was just a tiny baby, making its first little peeps.

Let’s just say that meal was not one of my finer moments. I was just learning how to cook and used some weird recipe from the internet. My family graciously ate it, although I think it was decidedly more “sour” than “sweet.”

Since then I’ve found a foolproof sauce recipe!

Chicken and Veggies
1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 lb mixed veggies (frozen or fresh will do)

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp water
1 tsp soy sauce


Cook whatever meat you’re using (we used chicken in just a tiny bit of oil) in a wok or large frying pan.

When it’s cooked through or mostly cooked through, add vegetables. Today, I used “key largo blend” frozen vegetables containing green beans, red bell peppers, and orange & yellow carrots.

I put the lid on, allowing the vegetables to steam themselves. I try to never overcook veggies so they keep most of their nutrients. Plus, overcooked veggies are mushy and yucky. It’d be safe to say that I usually undercook them–I heat them through but they stay firm, fresh and crunchy.

Once the veggies are un-frozen, pour the sauce in!  Heat it until simmering and let it boil down some so it’s thicker.

Unless you bread the chicken at the start, it won’t be like restaurant sweet & sour, but it’s healthier and tastes great

How to Clean a Pot

Well folks, disaster struck. Sunday, some leftover curry lentil soup got heated up on too high of a setting, and about half of it remained on the bottom of Still Pretty New Wedding Cookware in a thick layer. I didn’t take a before shot (or an after shot for that matter) but I’ll let you get the idea from this photo of a burned-out forest. Catching my drift?

Burned forest

If this was just any old cheapo pot it may have been it’s last day. However, this was my part-of-a-set, Paula Deen copper bottom pot (the medium one, my favorite size) so lots of effort was put into cleaning this thing.

First I tried my usual, “just boil some water and it should break the debris up” trick. This almost always works. Except for this time. The layer was just too thick. So I soaked the pan overnight and tried again. No dice.

Next, I had some vinegar on hand since I was cleaning my coffee maker anyway, so I poured some vinegar into the pan and let it sit. Nothing happened. This is where Doug comes in.

Doug says, “oh, vinegar, it’s a weak acid. At work we boil acid to clean our glassware.” So commences the boiling of the vinegar. And the tearing up of the eyes. And the opening of the kitchen window even though it was freezing outside. DO NO TRY THIS AT HOME. Acid fumes are not fun. Later he tells me that they have a hood that sucks the fumes out of the lab when they’re doing that. Of course they do. We don’t. Important difference.

This brings us to the last technique, the one that worked. At this point I turned to our friend the Internet for help. The method I used was to put 2 tbsp baking soda into 1 cup water (actually I doubled this formula, to 4 and 2) and make a solution. Then boil this solution for 15 minutes.

Lo and behold, after boiling for fifteen minutes and what seemed like hours of scrubbing, the pot was cleaned.

No, this is not my photo either. But now my pot IS this clean.

So, now you know. Do not use vinegar unless you’re staging a WWI mustard gas reenactment. Too soon?