Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pin #7–2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

pinThis pin says you can have fab pumpkin muffins with just a can of pumpkin and a box of cake mix.  It also references something about “points” which I’m certain references a dieting plan that I have never used but probably should try.
IMG_7702Ok so I love pumpkin baked goods…. cake, cupcakes, muffins, pie….  LOVE.  Generally speaking I enjoy baking too, but there are those days that I just don’t really want to put in the effort.  Or maybe I am out of eggs or oil but dread the thought of hitting the store.  Either way I still wish I had the finished product of yummy baked goodness on my counter.  So this pin caught my eye.  Only 2 ingredients for yummy baked goodness???  I’m in.  All I need is cake mix, check, and a can of pumpkin, check.  Excellent.
I had different brands than the picture in the pin but I can’t imagine it matters too much.  IMG_7704
Step 1 – dump cake mix in bowl.
Step 2 – dump can of pumpkin in bowl.
Step 3 – mix together.
Step 4 – plop into muffin pan.
Seriously, that’s it.  So it’s a pretty color all mixed but definitely much thicker than a regular cake batter.  Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees and IMG_7710bake about 25 minutes.  Turns out that the plops of batter don’t change much, I mean, they don’t level and round out like most baked yumminess so what they look like post plop is pretty much what they look like post bake.  Not that I care very much.  Round or not I’m eating it..
So post bake the color is the same, not quite as pumkiny looking as I would’ve expected and mildly less appetizing but seriously like that is going to stop me.  Turns out the inside is nice and pumpkiny looking, much more appetizing that the outside.
I am not a huge fan of diet anything – especially baked goods.  I think there is something to be said for using real butter and sugar.  The changes in taste and texture when using margarine or fake sugar just totally ruin it for me.  I just won’t sacrifice yumminess.  I’d rather just limit myself to 1 serving if need be.  By the way, I said that I’d rather limit than make diet food not that I actually do limit.  Hence the collection of magic work out pins soon to be busted on the Pinterest board.  Once again I’ve digressed…  What I was trying to tell you is that even though I don’t make/like diet stuff I thought these muffins were great!  Not the best pumpkin muffins ever but definitely worth making and feeling a little less horrible about yourself since apparently they are in some way “diet”.
Bottom Line – DO IT!
Next time I would definitely add a few pumpkin pie type spices because they were a tad bland but still for such a quick and convenient recipe they were awesome.  They were super moist and soft and with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar they were yummy.  A cream cheese frosting would magically transform it into a lovely cupcake too.
So yeah, the girl that hates diet food was just sold on diet muffins.  Who knew?
I think the food pinbusting is the way to go….  much more enjoyable than cleaning the bathroom….
Keep pinning!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pin#6–Removing rust spots with lemon juice

 pinThis pin isn’t very informative but it says you can remove rust spots off your knives using lemon juice.  From what I saw it’s a basic wet cloth with lemon juice and rub sorta deal.  Here are my knives…

So I wet a paper towel with lemon juice and rubbed the silverware.  At first they just looked streaky but not rust free.  Then I turned away for a few minutes and looked back.  They looked better!
But then a few hours later they looked the same to me again.
I tried it on a chopping knife and it made no difference what-so-ever.
Bottom line – toss up
It really didn’t seem to make any permanent improvements.   It’s quick and easy so if you think you might do better it’ll be a minor waste.  Low energy today = short post….   I promise something fab next time… maybe some food??  That always cheers me up!
'Til then

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pin #5 - Cleaning pans with vinegar and baking soda

pin I saw this pin and thought “Yes!  I will no longer have pans to be embarrassed by!”.  Let’s check it out.  According to the pin, simply by boiling water and vinegar and adding baking soda will mostly clean a burnt pan with maybe a little scrubbing with a baking soda paste afterwards.  So that’s what I did.
Here’s my pan.  Horrible right?  How this happens I’m not really sure but it happens to my pans all the time and here is the proof.
So I did what the pin says:
Boil small amount of water and 1 cup vinegar, remove from heat.  Add 2 T baking soda.  After fizzing stops empty pan and scrub with baking soda/water paste as needed.
Easy enough.  I have 2 tips if you are going to do this.  Do not get too close to boiling vinegar steam – super stinky and stung my eyes a little.  Also, don’t lean over the pan when you add the baking soda.  LOTS of foaming.  Fun to watch but would not be fun to catch in the eye!!
Here is the result…

Significantly better I agree but not as awesome as hoped.  So I did it again, only this time I used less water and more vinegar.  It seemed that the pan cleaned best where the baking soda sizzled on the pan the most so I did not turn the heat off right away and tried to spread it around.  I scrubbed again.  And then…
Bottom line – worth doing
It wasn’t the magic potion I was hoping for, I still had to scrub, but my pan looks like it did a few years ago.  There was a little difference after the second treatment so maybe that will be enough for your pans which I am certain do no look like mine!
‘Til next time, pin away

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pin #4 Getting wavy hair with a flat iron

pinThis pin says you can get beautiful wavy hair by using a flat iron over braids.  The end.                                                                              So I’ve almost always had long hair.  At it’s longest to my waist with a few brief impulsive cuts to the chin….  But whenever it’s short I wish it were long, so I’ve just let it be for a while.  The annoying thing about long hair is that if you want it to look different it takes a lot of time.  To do anything just takes a lot of time.  There are some of you out there that are hair stylists or might as well be that are saying “That’s not true!  With the right tools you can look fab in no time!”.  I believe you but honestly I just don’t have the patience for it, unless I’m going to prom.  And let’s be honest,IMG_7636 I haven’t seen the prom in quite some time!

Now that I’ve totally derailed here let’s get back to business.  Here is a gorgeous shot of the back of my head and my mop of hair, clean and blown dry but not styled (typical… actually I don’t even bother drying it most of the time).
And here is a ridiculous photo of my head  once I’ve completed sectioning and braiding x6.  Perty huh?
So I took my flat iron and ironed the braids.  To try to be consistent I waited 10 seconds each time before moving the iron down the braid.  Easy peasy so far.  So here is that mop of mine after braids were totally cool and undid but not combed or anything. 
Yeah, that’s what I said, “whaaaat???”.  It’s like some areas just didn’t get wavy at all.  I really did try to be consistent with the heat so it must have been something else…  Needless to say I turned that flat iron right back on and straightened my hair back to normal.
Bottom Line – Eh.  Don’t bother.
It just wasn’t worth it.  I’ve definitely gotten better results by braiding my hair wet and letting it dry overnight.  I think that if I had done more braids it might have been more even but that would’ve taken more time and effort.  The whole process took about 20 minutes, especially to make sure it was cold before taking it out.  I don’t know about you but 20 minutes for ‘eh’ is no good.
I’m sure you all look fabulous without waves anyways :)
‘til next time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pin#3 “Polishing” Silver with salt, baking soda, and water bath in aluminum foil

silverThis pin says you can remove the tarnish from your silver just by leaving it in a sink lined with aluminum foil filled with water and a half cup each baking soda and salt for 30 minutes.   The tarnish is supposed to magically leave your silver and stick to the aluminum foil.
I’m lucky enough to have acquired a few silver (ok silver plate) items over the years which I LOVE.  I love the classic traditional feel.  I HATE polishing it!  It’s like you know you have to do it when you buy these things but you think “eh whatever it’s so pretty!”.  Then those pretty things start looking sorta goldish and you ignore it because you can somehow justify it looks cool and unexpected or some other nonsense.  And then your silver stuff looks like this and there is no denying what you need to do.IMG_7570IMG_7571
So polishing sucks.  It’s smelly and messy and time consuming, so wouldn’t it be amazing if this one worked?  So after 30 minutes of soaking, my cake knife and server from my wedding looked the same…IMG_7576
BUT all I needed to do was wipe off all the tarnish with a cloth or paper towel and it was gone!  Small effort, no mess and no chemical!  Woohoo!
So then it was suggested to me (by my engineer Dad) to leave it soaking overnight and that he was sure it would work as claimed.  So seeing that I didn’t have anything else tarnished to do, my mom offered her candlesticks.
Wow right?  She said it’s only IMG_7591been since Thanksgiving since the last polish so I’m guessing these are way higher quality silver than my knife and server which hadn’t been polished, eh ehm, ever.  Anyways, so in a new bath they went. 

After 2 hours they looked like this!
And in the morning they looked like this.
So not much difference between 2 hours and 12 hours even though the lighting might make you think different.  But check out the foil!
I still dried these with a paper towel and got a little tarnish that was settled in the crevices of details but not much. 
Bottom line – awesome shortcut!
It’s not 100% foolproof.  Your piece needs to be submersible, which my frames were not.  The quality of your silver plays a role too.  I’m assuming this is because of the reactions needed to lift the tarnish to the foil.  And the more details and crevices it has the more rubbing you’ll have to do in the end but over all 2 hours soaking and 2 minutes drying it infinitely better than 2 hours washing, polishing and washing again!
Yay for shortcuts!
Keep Pinning!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pin #2– Preventing water spots with wax paper

waxpaperSo I’ve seen this pin many many times… It promises to prevent water spots on your bath fixtures by buffing them with wax paper after they are clean. 

So here we go…
 Here are my chrome fixtures before cleaning pictures, I am embarrassed to say, but for the sake of full disclosure you need the baseline idea of how bad the watermarks get around here…

faucet beforemirror beforeshower dial beforeshower faucet beforesink 4sink before3
wax paperI cleaned my bathroom per usual water and vinegar combo and dried completely.  I took a piece of wax paper and buffed each piece:  sink faucet and handles and shower dial, spout, toggle thingy, and even the shower mirror.  I tried not to overuse any particular piece of wax paper, using 1 section per fixture.  And that’s it. 

waxy residueImmediately, I noticed the wax paper left a hazy sort of smudgy nonsense.  The average person going into your bathroom probably would not notice I think but since I was examining it it was quite obvious. 

And so what was left was to admire the cleanliness that a few hours and use the bathroom as usual until next cleaning… 

clean mirrorsink faucet cleantub faucet cleanshower dial cleansink clean

A week later (ok let’s just pretend together that I manage to clean the bathrooms every Thursday like I plan!) here is the result…


So basically I see no difference what-so-ever.  And while wax paper is cheap and always stashed in my pantry this was a waste of money (albeit counted in cents) and more importantly my time this go round.

Bottom Line – Don’t Bother!
Maybe one day I will find a magic potion for this problem but for now I guess I just have to keep cleaning it every Thursday… or so.

Happy Pinning!