Tuesday, December 29, 2009

removing stains from white/clear plastic

I stained a white plastic bowl lid with pumpkin. I took Cascade dishwasher liquid and rubbed a blob on it, let it set on it for an hour or so. Its gone!
If you stain your white plastic cutting board, do that. Its a great texture for stain removal because its not real runny like bleach.
CAUTION do not mix it with hand dishwashing liquid. Its a poison together, there is bleach in the cascade.
PS I have also used cascade to remove tough stains in the laundry (from whites). AGAIN...careful what you mix it with! It contains bleach!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Homemade gifts this year...and the 12 Days of Christmas, what it really means

I guess I can publish this today. I highly doubt my family will get online this morning to see their homemade gifts on my blog. If so, oh well...shame on you all for peeking!

We've always heard of the 12 days of Christmas but rarely have we honored that tradition in the United States.

From Christmas Day until January 6, the Epiphany, make up the 12 days of Christmas. The Epiphany marks the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem, and it is claimed that on this occasion Christ was first revealed as divine to the Wise Men.

In some countries, January 6 is the day that gifts are given to commemorate the Wise Men's gifts to the Christ Child.

Twelfth Night Party:

Theme: Jan 6 is the day that the Wise Men presented gifts to the Christ Child. Since in our culture, we have given gifts on Dec 25, the Twelfth Night could be honored with a quiet celebration of family and friends, a closing ceremony of the holiday season.

Invitation Ideas: A manger scene with the Wise Men bearing gifts.

Table Setting: Gold stars symbolizing the star the Wise Men followed. Possibly a bowl of potpourri left over from holiday decorations, or recycle greens from your Christmas trees that you dried out.

Favors: Though the gift season is over, consider wrapping a small piece of wood or a gift box in tapestry fabric; attach with a glue gun. Tie a bow using gold wired, ribbon. Attach the following poem and use at each place setting.

This is a very special gift
That you can never see.
The reason it's so special is
It's filled with love from me.

Whenever you are lonely
Or if you are feeling blue.
Hold this gift close to your heart
And know I am thinking of you.

Please don't ever unwrap it,
Always leave the ribbon tied.
Hold the box next to your heart
It's filled with love inside.
Here are some pics of my homemade gift making...
My "Love Gifts" start out with some simple scrap blocks of wood..having a hubby in construction is always a plus....

I printed out a snowman with a gift for front of card, printed poem...and used those dots stickies for scrapbooking to assemble them. I had these material scraps from past projects..I have tons of fabric scraps.

I used hot glue to "wrap" the gifts, and let me tell ya, they are filled with love, I burnt my darn fingers so many times. lol.

attached a bow and bell.

(notice the Victoria Secret Catalog..see, that junk mail they send me 5 times a week is useful..when the hot glue gets it all goey, turn the page. lol)

They are all a bit different, as I said, I used scraps.
These are cute for decoration each year. I kept one for me just to have to put out and remember my making them.

tuck the card in on bottom of ribbon for easy reading and replacing.

I also made these quick wreathes with tri-beads.
Note: That is NOT MY eagles snowman in the background, its my youngest son, Brian's, but that IS MY John Elway ornament though! lol. I also have a Steelers ornament somewhere on that tree (Alex's) and a Joe Montana. (poor Allen, he needs a Patriot ornament I guess).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Almond and dried fruit biscotti *UPDATE*

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I keep my biscotti in a cracker jar like this (only larger). This little jar is perfect size for my Father in Law and his wife. We will see them on Wed and I wanted to give him some for his birthday.

I have totally revised the biscotti recipe.

Its basically the same as before, only I changed the cooking time and cooling time. I was always having to be so gentle with it while warm, the cooking times were all wrong on Annes recipe..maybe a typo on foodnetwork part or maybe that is just how she rolls lol

I now cook at 350 and cool 10 mins then move to wire rack and cool 10-15 mins more before slicing. They don't fall apart now, and I don't have to be gentle..the slice also looks much crisper.

I also changed the extract and zests etc. This is how I make it and it just works so much better.

Almond and Cranberry Biscotti
by Shannon Dillman


1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 orange or lemon, zested 2 eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries or blueberries
1 tablespoon anise seeds
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat, with a whisk or hand mixer, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides periodically. Add the orange zest and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Stir in the vanilla.

Gently mix in the baking powder, salt and flour. Once the flour is incorporated fold in the almonds, raisins and anise.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. If the dough is sticky dust your hands with a little flour. Roll the dough into 2 logs the length of the sheet tray. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the dough logs with the egg white and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until slightly golden

Let rest about 5 or 10 minutes then move to wire rack about 10 mins to cool slightly, and then move to a cutting board and slice on the bias with a serrated knife.

Lay the biscotti back on the sheet tray(s), cut sides down, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes This will harden the biscotti but not make them like rocks .

Remove from the oven to a serving platter and serve with coffee or Vin Santo for dipping.

Biscotti tastes great the next day or even better two days later. It’s Biscolicious!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Homemade Caramel Sauce & a Delish Ice Cream Pie

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This is great for gift giving. Put a cute tag on the jar.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
1-1/4 C sugar
1/3 C water
3/4 C whipping Cream
1/3 C butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine water and sugar in large saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium-high, and boil gently, without stirring, until syrup turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down the sides of an with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan (about 8 minutes). (Swirling pan, instead of stirring promotes even cooking)
Gradually add cream (sauce will boil vigorously)
Add butter, stir gently until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Yield: 1-3/4 Cups
Mile-High Turtle Ice Cream Pie
2 cups chocolate chip cookie crumbs (about 40 cookies)
1/4 C butter melted and cooled
2 pints dulce de leche ice cream, softened and divided (Haagen Daz)
1 C homemade caramel sauce
1-1/2 C chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1 pint chocolate ice cream softened
1-7 ounce can sweetened whipped cream (redi whip)
3/4 C homemade caramel sauce
Combine crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press crumbs into bottom of a 9 x 3 spring form pan. Bake at 325 for 10 mins. Cool completely.
Spoon 1 pint of dulce de leche ice cream onto cooled crust, and spread evenly. Drizzle 1/3 c homemade caramel sauce over ice cream and sprinkle with 3/4 c chopped pecans. Freeze 15 minutes or until ice cream is almost firm.
Repeat procedure with chocolate ice cream, 1/3 c caramel sauce, and remaining pecans, freeze until almos firm.
Top with remaining dulce de leche ice cream and 1/3 cup caramel sauce. Cover and freeze 6 hours or up to 2 weeks in advance.
Before serving, remov sides and bottom of pan and transfer pie to a serving platter. Top with sweetened whipped cream.
Place 3/4 c homemade caramel sauce in mocrowave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1-minute or until warm.
Drizzle 1 T sauce over each serving.
Yield: 12 servings

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gingerbread Biscotti and Lemon Cheesecake

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These are great for gift giving, but save some to use as the crust for the Lemon Cheesecake recipe that follows.

Gingerbread Biscotti

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c molasses
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t salt
1/2 c sliced almonds

Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl at medium speed wih an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well; beat in molasses.

Combine flour and next seven ingredients; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in almonds.

Divide dough in half; using floured hands, shape each portion into 9" X 2" log on lightly floured baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 28 minutes, or until firm. Cool on baking sheet five minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool 10 mins. Reduce oven temp to 300°

Cut each log diagonally into 3/4" thick slices with serrated knife, using a gentle saw motion. Place slices on ungreased baking sheet(s). Bake 8-10 mins, turn cookies over, and bake 8-10 more minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
Makes 2 dozen

Lemon Cheesecake

2 C finely crushed gingerbread biscotti
1/4 c butter, melted
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 (8 ounce) container of sour cream
1 T cornstarch
4 large eggs
1 T grated lemon rind
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract

Combine crushed biscotti and melted butter in a bowl. Press cookie crumb mixture into bottom and 1" up sides of an ungreased 9" springform pan.
Bake at 325° for 10 mins, let cool.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add sour cream and corn starch beating just until combined.
Add eggs, 1 at at time, beating just until yellow disappers. Stir in lemon rind and remaining ingredients. DO NOT OVER BEAT.
Pour batter into baked crust.
Bake at 325° for 50 mins or until set. Turn off oven. Immediately rn a knife around the edge of pan, releasing sides.
Close oven door and let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour.
Remove from oven; cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Cover and chill 8 hours.
Yield: 12 servings

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As I was my dishes by hand, I have plent of time to think about my 3 year old Whirlpool dishwasher that just broke..and how it costs more for the part, than it does to buy a new one. Same goes for my one thousand dollar, 14 month old front load Whirlpool washing machine that cost 600.00 to fix.

Just how energy efficient is an appliance that you have to throw away and buy new every couple of years? You will save 10.00 a year on your electric bill, but you will pay in the end for a new one every couple of years, and lets not even think about the landfills having to hold all of these things...sure, we are giving people jobs making them...but is it in America?

What happened to the appliances from the 1980's and prior, that were built to last?

My old stove was totally made of enamel. It was built in the 1950s and was a Kenmore..not to be compared with the kenmore's of today, that's for sure. My new one, is plastic, sure the rim around the glass top is enamel and the door is made of two layers of glass, that everything drips down between the glass and you can't clean it..but the rest is plastic, and when I ran the self clean feature, it turned the plastic around the door on top brown...its a white stove! I am so mad at myself for letting my trashman take my old 1950s stove and crushing it, and in its place I bought this piece of crap, disposable Frigidaire stove that has a glass top that is the biggest pain in my butt to clean, because when you boil a pot of water on top, just water mind you, somehow when you lift the pot off, there is a nice burn mark that takes more time to clean, than my old stop top did, even with taking the burners off.

The most I did with that 1950s stove was replace a burner element. It cost 20.00 for the element and was something I could do myself. Now they make everything with computer boards...what did they do before computer boards? How did the appliances work, and work better and last longer, before the computer board was installed in everything?

So I ask again, what is so energy efficient about the new disposable appliances of today, compared to the one's built to last? You can bet, I will replace my stove with a used appliance from an appliance store, and a requirement to take up real estate in my kitchen will be, it has to be built before 1980...built to last!

Okay, I am coming off my soapbox, sorry to bitch and moan lol.

Sorry, I could not resist, a friend sent this to me, her and I run a huge group on yahoo and have alot of members who do nothing but complain that we have to deal with.