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Monday, June 17, 2013

Shower Cleaning Spray

There are loads of products on the market that claim to do everything from eliminate soap scum to babysit your children make your bathroom sparkle.  None of them really work all that well, at least in my experience--and all of them have such a strong chemical clean smell that they leave me with a headache and sniffles.  I've looked all over for different homemade recipes, and finally found one that works.  Unfortunately, I don't have a really gross "before" picture to show you how well this stuff works (we have one of those dish wands filled with Dawn and vinegar in the shower that I do a quick scrub down with every it never gets REALLY bad...but the soap scum still eventually builds up).  But you'll get the idea with what I have.  

So what will you need?
Dawn (the original blue stuff)

The recipe is a 1:1 ratio, so equal parts of vinegar and Dawn.  Here is the important part--you want the vinegar to be hot.  I put it in a glass Pyrex measuring cup and microwaved it for two minutes.  If you use smaller amounts, you might not need to heat it that long.  I used a cup of each, in order to spray down the whole shower.  Put the hot vinegar and Dawn in a spray bottle and flip it over a few times to mix it without shaking it too much.

 Now spray it all over the shower (or the area of the shower that you want to clean).  It won't run all that much, so you want to saturate the soap scum areas (otherwise when you wipe it down, you'll have clean areas where the gel was and soap scum surrounding it).

Okay, so I forgot to take out my hair and body stuff when I sprayed it down.  Don't do that.  It's annoying to clean up.  This part of the shower didn't have a whole lot of soap scum on the walls, so they aren't saturated as much as, say, the area under the products where all of the soap and junk collects.  Once you spray down the shower, leave it alone for two hours (or longer if you have really stubborn yuckiness).  After that time, get a sponge wet in warm water and wipe everything down.  Most of it was just gentle wiping and everything came off--there were a couple parts where I had to scrub.  Regardless, it all came off!  After wiping it down, spray it with your shower head (or if it doesn't reach, just get a bucket and dump water on it to finish rinsing it).

Voila!  All clean!  It's somewhat time consuming, but if you figure that the majority of the time was taken up with Isak napping and me watching SVU while doing laundry, it doesn't really matter, right?  Now I need to find out if this works on shower liners.  No amount of cleaning seems to work on the liner curtain!

Have fun and happy de-scumming!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Rolls

I don't know about you, but Vietnamese summer rolls are one of my favorite things to eat...all year long.  There is something so refreshing about biting into a summer roll, especially when it has just been made.  One of my favorite parts is dipping it in copious amounts of peanut sauce; however, JR is allergic to I don't make the sauce at home, I just have it at restaurants.

I was amazed to find out how easy these are to make.  Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out how long to soak the rice wraps before using them.  You can put basically whatever you want into the rolls.  Some things would be harder to wrap than others, so use your good judgment when deciding what to use.

What did I use?
Butter lettuce leaves (I used the living lettuce--I LOVE it!)
Cooked vermicelli noodles
Shredded carrots
Chopped green onions
Mint leaves (these give it the traditional summer roll taste, so don't leave them out!)
Cooked shrimp (cut in half as shown)
Rice wrappers

You'll want to cut all the vegetables first and put them in separate containers.  It's MUCH easier this way.  Although I say you can pick whatever you want to put in them, there are a few staples: mint (trust me, if you've had a summer roll before, this is what you taste), cooked vermicelli (noodles will make up about 1/2 of the contents, give or take), and lettuce leaves (this is important in order to keep vegetables from tearing the rice wrap).

Put a couple inches of water in large bowl or pie plate.  Only soak ONE wrap at a time.  Just make sure all of the wrap gets wet, soak it 10-15 seconds, and pull it out.  Do not wait until the wrap is totally pliable to pull it out of the water--it will be impossible to use.  When it comes out of the water, it will still be mostly stiff.  Don't worry, it'll continue to soften.  At this point, put it on a damp towel/paper towel/whatever on a cutting board or hard surface.

Pile your stuff on the wrap about 2-2.5 inches from the bottom of the wrap.  Lettuce on bottom, then noodles, then veggies.  Fold the bottom over the vegetables, then fold each side over snugly (think: like wrapping a'll still have a relatively wide middle part of the wrap to deal with).  Fold the vegetable part over once.  At this point I placed (right next to the filled part) a mint leaf, a shrimp half, and another mint leaf.  Then roll the rest of it up (just like a burrito).  If you want to make them vegetarian, you can put anything in other than shrimp--tofu, a peach slice, a spare tire, whatever.

This is what the finished product looks like.  It's not beautiful, but it is incredibly delicious!

Have fun and happy rolling!