Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Domestic Confessions

Confession:  I can probably count on one hand how many times in my life I have cleaned an oven.

Last week I did not have a choice - if I wanted to get any more use out of the thing, I had to get rid of the charred mess on the bottom from the apple pie overflow.  Yes, apple pie.  Domestic me.  At least we got one meal of ordered-in pizza after I turned the oven on for dinner and almost smoked us out of the house because I forgot about the mess on the oven floor from the night before.  So off to the internet I went, and low and behold, baking soda was the winner in the battle against the oven grime.  Did you know this?  Of course you did.  No spray on chemicals, no toxic self-cleaner.

First, I sprinkled it all over the bottom, spritzed it with water, and left it for a few hours.  Awesome results just like that, except for the worst of it, and except for the sides...  The next step was to make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, and smear that on the sides and bottom.  That got it all, including the grates, except for the door window.  Have to do a little more research for that bit, I guess.  And I didn't take before and after pictures.  Just know that I impressed myself.

Confession:  I just learned what a crumb coat was.

I was looking around online to get cake ideas for Nolan's birthday, and came across a post that walked you through decorating a cake, including the 'indispensable' crumb coat.  The crumb coat is a layer of thinned icing (add a bit of water to it), which, when dry, protects the cake from crumbling while you are icing it, making a mess of your nice clean icing.

It mostly worked.  I think it needs to stay chilled; the second car was rather room temperature when I finally got to it, so did get a bit messy.  I don't claim to be a big cake decorator, but I sure got a kick out of how these turned out.

I am not completely domestically challenged, really.  Sometimes I even come up with winners on my own.  Like this one, which got a "I would totally pin that!"  That's some high praise right there.

This tip comes courtesy of simple problem solving skills.  The situation was this:  My Mom had picked me up some Silpat baking sheets (read: no more burnt cookies).  The problem was that they were bigger than my cookie sheets, and aren't effective unless they are laying flat.  I also have some stoneware for the same purpose, so while they are bigger pans, it's kind of redundant.  I had a brainwave the other day, flipped my cookie sheets over, and look at that:

Perfect.  Feel free to pin that baby up.

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