BLACK FRIDAY – day to clean the refrigerator out!
I could have picked on a sunny Saturday (procrastination) or a blue Monday. But, I really NEEDED TO clean up today.
What about you?? The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are peak times of refrigerator use. (Need I say more?)
I won’t go into specifics on what makes the coldest spot in my kitchen “dirty.” But here are a few possibilities that just might be universal.
- Something has spilled or leaked
- Lost leftovers are waiting to be found
- Found leftovers are waiting to be identified
- Identified leftovers are waiting to be eaten or tossed o
- Fruits/veggies are no longer “fresh”
Where to start? Gather strength, or a helper, or both! to help avoid getting sucked into doing more than “cleaning, taking inventory and tossing.” Preparing a work space and clearing out the sink could just help end that vortex. NUMBER ONE TIP: take care of that work space preparation a day or two before you take on the refrigerator. You’ll want the counter for items to be saved and returned to their place. You’ll need the sink for washing outsides of containers and soaking containers that have been emptied. Work spaces done? Attack.
- GATHER TOOLS: Liquid dish soap, small wash clothes, larger towels, BLUE sponge for scrubbing, spray bottle or commercial Kitchen Cleaner in spray bottle, razor (hardware store variety), small bucket or pot, old toothbrush
- Put on MUSIC.
- Double-line a SMALL TRASH CAN for discarded items. (Not everything is swiftly disposed of in a garbage disposal.)
- Place OLD BATH TOWELS on counter. Just toss towels in laundry when done.
- Put a BIG TOWEL on the floor in front of the appliance.
- BEGIN with your stickiest / most crowded / or most avoided shelf or drawer. Sort as you unload: keep, toss.
- If possible, REMOVE DRAWERS AND SHELVES, one at a time. Take to sink; wash down with hot, soapy water and let soak. RULE; never take out an appliance part that is stubborn. You may have difficulty getting it back in.
- IF THE DRAWER OR SHELF WILL NOT COME OUT, use a spray bottle with soapy water OR your favorite commercial kitchen cleaner and wet down surfaces you are going to wash off. You will also use this spray method to wet down the refrigerator walls.
- WAIT to return drawers and shelves until all of the interior is washed out.
- WASHING OUT THE INTERIOR: place a small pot or bucket filled with hot, soapy water at the fridge (saving back-and-forth time to the sink). After spraying down and “soaking” the interior, use a mildly abrasive BLUE SPONGE with scratchy surface on one side to scrub. Use a RAZOR (hardware store variety) to remove stubborn, stuck on food or dried up syrupy run-off on shelves or in bottom of fridge. Be very careful with the SHARP TOOL!! Use the TOOTHBRUSH to scrub cracks and edges.
- USE SMALL CLOTH to wash off shelves and drawers and other interior surfaces. Use a LARGER TOWEL to remove food particles and dry off refrigerator parts and walls.
- FINISH washing and drying any parts you have been soaking at the sink area and return to refrigerator.
- RETURN food, condiments, and other refrigerated items to your refrigerator.
- CALL FAMILY MEMBERS OR ROOMMATES to look at AND admire the results.This invites a moment of silence as they gaze at a CLEAN AND ORGANIZED refrigerator!!!!! (You can use this type of gathering any time a member of your household successfully completes a big or challenging chore😉
Oh yeah, I wish this refrigerator were available in my household size…
…not to be confused with International Chocolate Day on September 13, birthday of Milton S. Hershey. But then chocolate lovers of the country and the world don’t really care when the celebration is, just as long as there’s chocolate involved.
A few suggestions for celebrating this day:
- Find some great chocolate to consume
- Buy extra chocolate and store
- Make something chocolaty
- All of the above😉
#3. Okay, so what do I have at home??? Quick inventory (no time to waste): 1 serving of Rocky Road ice cream; 2 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips; 1 open can of hot cocoa ; 2 boxes of FUDGE brownie mix; 1 quart jar of cocoa powder; oh my goodness, 6 28-0z bottles of chocolate syrup!? The possibilities aren’t exactly endless, but I do have something to work with.
And that is the point. There is an item, a principle if you will, in food storage called the “ESSENTIALS” – items that perk up the rest of your storage life. Salt might possibly be the #1 item on many a list of essentials. Baking powder, yeast, vitamins, and a myriad of seasonings and sauces are all in the running. Non-food items are also on the ballot. For me, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil and hand lotion are essentials.
Back to chocolate. An essential? Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, oil, eggs, and even vanilla CANNOT make a chocolate cake. You NEED cocoa powder. I rest my case!!
So on National Chocolate Day, at least give some thought to this comforting, uplifting essential. And if you’re up for a new, never-fail recipe, here’s my age-old, family-approved Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake recipe for testing in your family:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 1 1/2 c. sugar (experiment with less, say 1 c.)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. light mayonnaise
- 2 c. sifted flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp baking pwd.
- 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 c. cold water
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Blend in mayonnaise. Sift dry ingredients together. Add alternately with water to egg mixture. Turn batter into lightly greased and floured 9 x 13″ – inch pan. Bake 30 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
- This product is so moist and almost crumb-less that you can enjoy it without any icing.
- Use less sugar and have a cake with a richer, fuller chocolate flavor.
- Bake in a cupcake tin; tuck unfrosted cupcakes into a Ziploc freezer bag (from your pantry essentials!) and stretch the treat into a week’s worth of fresh happiness.
Have a favorite, successful chocolate creation? Please feel free to post it in the comments below! Thanks.
New products!!! Well, updated products…
NON-FAT DRY MILK used to come in the #10 cans, like all of the other dehydrated products. But no more. It is now packaged in a Mylar pouch similar to the Hot Cocoa packaging. You may or may not be aware that the dry milk is not rated for a longer-term shelf life. The recommendation for use is within two years of purchase. This packaging serves as a reminder of shorter shelf life. The current product yields 29 one-cup servings.
And speaking of HOT COCOA, the Home Storage Center now offers a new (and may I say, IMPROVED) hot cocoa mix. It is, reportedly, the recipe used by the Marriot .Hotels. According to the Spokane folks, Mr. Marriot himself said that the recipe would be a well-received improvement over what many of us thought was a pretty good hot chocolate mix. In case you feel like you can’t keep track, check out the picture of the old packaging and the latest variety of Hot Cocoa standing side by side. I can say, after tasting it myself, that the new version is an amazing improvement. It quickly dissolved with none stuck to the sides of the mug; tasted smoother and creamier; and left no cocoa in the bottom of the mug when I finished. This package of hot cocoa mix yields 27 one-cup servings.
The final addition/upgrade to Home Storage Center products is the BERRY DRINK MIX. It replaces the “orange” drink mix available for so many years. The ingredients do include sugar, but in defense of progress, there is no artificial food coloring – only dehydrated grape juice. There is a smattering of minerals and vitamins in the mix and artificial flavoring – mixed berry flavor, maltodextrin, and modified food starch. There are 41 one-cup servings in this product.
A link to the order form and prices on these products can be found on the http://www.providentliving.org website under Food Storage. Address and directions to the Storage Center are given on the website.
The Spokane Home Storage Center is open on Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.
The month of September has brought us a new price list* from the Spokane Home Storage Center. Please check it out. The only price change is the cost of the hard red and hard white wheat: an increase of $3.00 per 25# bag. This increase is in keeping with the hike in wheat prices generally. AND remember, the bulk beans, carrots and onions are not available at the Spokane Home Storage Center.
On the Palouse, Winco Store bulk foods presently has only Hard Red Wheat “Berries.” 25#/$10.65.
Walmart has 25# buckets of red and white wheat. The price is $15, but you do get the sealed bucket.
If anyone, locally, knows of a wholesale source for wheat here, please let us know.
*www.providentliving.org > food storage (you will find the link to the newest order form in the right-hand column.
(Sorry, the hyperlink feature on WordPress doesn’t seem to be working for this link)
The word is accurately out: the Spokane Home Storage Center is NO LONGER STOCKING five items listed on the Home Storage Order Form.
DRIED ONIONS ~ CARROTS ~ REFRIED BEANS ~ BLACK BEANS ~ WHITE BEANS
It hurts my heart, but it’s a fact. Look for those items in #10 cans as listed, on the order form, at the same facility.
And I won’t blame you at all for not “Like-ing” this post.
I love citrus fruit. This time of year, I can still buy oranges and grapefruit that taste fairly decent. I think of shopping for citrus in “season” as use it before I lose it. I say “season” because international markets provide some citrus all year round. But I find the biggest bang for my buck with the US grown citrus.
#1 Grapefruit can be sliced in half and eaten by scooping out sections with a spoon. There are nifty grapefruit spoons with a serrated edge on Amazon for cheap. But check your most local culinary supply store as well. On the Palouse, that would be Tri State.
#2. BUT Grapefruit can be peeled and cut it into sections or slices and served just like you would an orange. Keep in mind, the bitter pith on oranges and grapefruit, often avoided, provides up to 4 times the nutrition as citrus that doesn’t have the pith.
As far as cost goes, oranges could be close in cost comparison with bananas. The banana can often have a slightly higher peel-to-fruit weight ratio than an orange does. (Do I sense a great science fair project for some kid?)
Bottom line on this post – eat and enjoy fresh fruit, whatever the variety!
Let me tell you what to expect in 2016 and how to avoid any unsettling events that may be coming your way…
Hold on a minute. None of us can know just how this next year will unfold; what the personal emergencies will be; when and where the unexpected disasters will sweep through. But we can take counsel from the voices of 2015.
The voice of WILDFIRE
Last August, many in the Western US were affected by the drought and ensuing wildfires that raged. Some fared well. Some fared poorly. Some lost everything. Mitigating circumstances were not the same in all areas, but three principle actions contributed to a more successful outcome for property owners and their loved ones.
Protect Property – create a defensible space.
Create a plan – review the guidelines for wildfire season preparation
Prepare to evacuate – build an emergency Go Kit
But it’s cold outside now and summer is a long way away. Never mind!!! It is similar to planning your garden and ordering your seeds; OR calendaring your vacation and setting aside funds for the trip. You can study out and counsel with family what you can do now to prepare.
The voice of WIND AND POWER OUTAGES