Stretching Your Budget with Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

On June 14, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Two weeks ago, I shared with you that I am participating in the Arm and Hammer Switch and Save Challenge.  This month, I’ve been working specifically with baking soda.  I’ve shared a couple of the different ways I use baking soda around our home, but one important benefit we haven’t discussed yet, is the way […]

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Two weeks ago, I shared with you that I am participating in the Arm and Hammer Switch and Save Challenge.  This month, I’ve been working specifically with baking soda.  I’ve shared a couple of the different ways I use baking soda around our home, but one important benefit we haven’t discussed yet, is the way that Arm and Hammer Baking Soda can stretch your  budget, saving money for other things your family needs or helping to grow your savings account.

baking soda

Because we live in a “quick-fix”, convenience oriented society, we have a plethora of product options when it comes to tasks we need to complete around our homes.  There is a specialized cleanser, spray, or gel for just about any job you can name.  Many of those products are toxic for our children, pets and environment; and are available only if you are willing to pay a premium cost.  Often, we have been using a product for so many years, it never occurs to us that there may be a better, or at least equal, cleaning solution, at a more affordable price.  For many years, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has been an inexpensive alternative to chemical cleaning products, but convenience and habit compel us to pick up the same cleansers week after week, month after month without giving it a second thought.

This week, I challenged myself, and now, I want to challenge you, to think about the products you use and the money you spend on them.  How much could you save, doing your regular chores just as effectively, substituting Arm and Hammer Baking Soda for your usual cleaning products?  Remember when we discussed, here, that saving only $19.24 per week nets you $1000 cash in your savings account at the end of one year!??!!  How much of that $19.24 can you save, by switching  from your usual cleaning products to non-toxic, environmentally friendly Arm and Hammer baking soda for some of your routine household tasks?

At less than $1 per box, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has always been an exceptional value whether I’m baking or doing household chores.  The familiar orange box is always in my cupboard,  but I only recently discovered that it can be purchased in bags as large as 13.5 lbs.  We all know that buying in bulk is a great way to cut costs on products we use most often.  Plus, money-saving Arm and Hammer coupons are available at their website, so all you have to do is print them and save money at your local store!

For tips and ideas of all the ways you can use baking soda for cleaning in your home and replace expensive cleaning supplies, visit this great Arm and Hammer resource page.  You’ll be amazed at all you can save (and maybe win) taking the Switch and Save Challenge along with me!

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save 50¢ off two 2lb or 4lb boxes of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. And be sure to visit The Switch & Save Challenge to tap into more resources and enter to win $25,000.

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells: My “Secret Recipe Club” Entry for June

On June 13, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I recently discovered the Secret Recipe Club, brain-child of Amanda Formaro, of Amanda’s Cookin’, and decided to join the fun in June.  Every month, participating blogs are assigned another foodie blogger’s website.  They browse the recipes on their assigned site and select one to use as inspiration in creating a dish for that month’s secret […]

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I recently discovered the Secret Recipe Club, brain-child of Amanda Formaro, of Amanda’s Cookin’, and decided to join the fun in June.  Every month, participating blogs are assigned another foodie blogger’s website.  They browse the recipes on their assigned site and select one to use as inspiration in creating a dish for that month’s secret recipe club, putting their own creativity, flair and nuances into the mix.  At the exact same time, on the exact same day, all the recipes are posted and the secret recipe blogs are revealed.  It’s a fun way to find new recipes and meet other foodie bloggers.  For June, I was assigned Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy and Low Calorie.

So, what was the recipe post that made my tastebuds dance, just looking at the picture?  I visited Debbi’s site and the recipe on her homepage, that day, was calling my name.  I definitely created a dish that fit my own family’s personal tastes, but Debbi’s delicious photos were my inspiration for this new, sensational and easy recipe.  The post that inspired my June Secret Recipe Club submission is  Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells. I incorporated my family’s love of Mexican and southwest flavors and created my new dish — these heavenly Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells.  You’re gonna want them for dinner, tonight!

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

You could definitely cut this recipe in half, if you’re cooking for a smaller crew.  We had company for dinner and I made 38 stuffed shells.  The recipe left me with about 1 1/2 cups of extra filling, which was promptly devoured for lunch the next day in tortillas!

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Rating: 51

30 minutes

30 minutes

12-15 servings

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Hearty, delicious chicken and pasta dish with a little southwest or Mexican kick. These are filling and comfort food at it’s best! Make them for company and you’ll be the hit of the party!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 each of red, green, yellow, & orange bell peppers (or 2 whole bell peppers of your choice), diced
  • 3 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened (not melted)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (don’t drain) (Rotel or store brand, either works)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of picante sauce
  • 38 large pasta shells, cooked al dente

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta shells in well salted, boiling water until al dente (still have a little bite to them) If you cook them too long, they will be difficult to stuff, plus they will have additional cooking time, once they are stuffed. Drain the pasta and set aside while you make the filling.
  2. Cook, drain and dice enough chicken breast to make 4 cups. I always have homemade chicken stock and pre-cooked diced chicken bagged in my freezer. You could use canned chicken broth if you prefer.
  3. To make the filling, mix diced chicken, drained black beans, green onions, diced peppers, and cumin in a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken stock and undrained tomatoes with chiles. When thoroughly combined, pour it over the chicken mixture and mix well. (If you have trouble incorporating the cream cheese and tomatoes, you can heat it slightly in the microwave.)
  5. Spread 3/4 c. picante sauce in the bottom of a large baking pan. (I used 13x18x2, but I’m guessing that two 9×13′s would also work.) Reserve the final 1/4 cup, for later.
  6. Using a spoon, or your fingers, fill each of your cooked and cooled pasta shells, setting them into the picante covered pan. Continue until all shells are filled and arranged in the pan.
  7. When the pan is full, drizzle the shells with the remaining 1/4 cup of picante and then sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  8. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
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Here’s how to make them.

  1. Boil pasta shells to al dente, then drain and cool them while you mix up the filling.

    pasta shells

    Drained and cooled shells, ready to be stuffed.

  2. Dice the chicken, peppers and green onion.  (My chicken was pulled from the freezer, pre-cooked and diced.  Freezer cooking is a great time-saving idea for recipes like this.)

    diced veggies

    Diced onions and peppers

  3. To make the filling, mix diced chicken, drained black beans, green onions, diced peppers, and cumin in a large mixing bowl.  Thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.

    chicken, beans and veggies

    Chicken, beans and veggies mixed.

  4. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken stock and undrained diced tomatoes w/chiles (Rotel).  When thoroughly combined, pour it over the chicken mixture and mix well.
    cream cheese and rotel

    Mix the softened cream cheese with the undrained diced tomatoes and chiles to create a delectable sauce for your chicken and veggie mixture.  Blend the sauce with the chicken and veggies.

    sauce

    Creamy, spicy, delicious sauce for your filling.  If you have trouble incorporating the tomatoes and cream cheese, you could heat it slightly in the microwave.

  5. Spread 3/4 cup of picante sauce in the bottom of a large baking pan.

    picante in a pan

    Spread a thin layer of the picante sauce over the bottom of your baking pan and reserve the last 1/4 cup of sauce for later.

  6. Stuff each of your cooled shells with the delicious chicken, cheese and veggie filling you just created and arrange the shells over the picante sauce in your baking pan.
  7. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup of picante sauce over filled shells.

    pasta shells

    Filled shells, drizzled with remaining 1/4 cup picante.

  8. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the entire pan of stuffed shells.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
    bakedpastashells

    Close up of baked shells.

    pan half eaten

    These were a huge hit and went quickly. We did end up with a few leftovers at the end of the meal, which heated beautifully in the microwave the next day. There was also a little of the chicken/veggie/bean filling left over, which we used in tortillas shells. Yum!

    girls

    Every new recipe needs its official taste testers. These girls are tough critics and gave a combined 4 thumbs (and two forks) up to this yummy dish!

Check out all the other delicious Secret Recipe Club entries for June.

They’re going to make you SOOOOO hungry!

,,,


Delicious Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes from Mooney Farms: a Review and Giveaway

On June 10, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I realize I am probably in the minority on this topic, but until recently, I had never eaten a sun-dried tomato.  <gasp>  I love tomatoes, fresh, juicy and succulent, right off the vine in the garden, and even canned when I’m cooking.  Somehow, the craze that has swept the nation, eating our tomatoes sun dried, […]

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I realize I am probably in the minority on this topic, but until recently, I had never eaten a sun-dried tomato.  <gasp>  I love tomatoes, fresh, juicy and succulent, right off the vine in the garden, and even canned when I’m cooking.  Somehow, the craze that has swept the nation, eating our tomatoes sun dried, had eluded me.  Fortunately, the generous folks at Mooney Farms remedied that situation, when I reviewed products from their Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes collection.  Look at the wide variety of what I received to test.

dried tomatoes
The assortment of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Products we received from Mooney Farms to test and review. There were two varieties of bagged sun-dried tomatoes, two jars of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (one halved, one julienned), a jar of sun dried tomato pesto and a jar of sun dried tomato bruschetta. All the jarred varieties contained lovely, rich olive oil from Mooney Farms.

Being the huge tomato fan that I am, I started searching out recipes, immediately.  There are tons of them that add sun dried tomatoes directly to a salad.  I have to tell you that I was not a fan, when they were used this way.  Something about the dry, chewy texture just doesn’t work for me, when my brain thinks “tomato”.  The flavor was fairly strong and more bitter than fresh tomatoes, which actually surprised me, since drying fruits usually concentrates the sugars.  But, no worries.  There are far more interesting recipes than salads and all I learned is that I won’t necessarily eat sun dried tomatoes, straight from the bag.

I decided to explore the recipes on the Mooney Farms website and was delighted with the selection I found there.  I decided I was going to try the Sun Dried Tomato Vermicelli, but hearty it up for my favorite carnivores.  :)  That was easy enough to do by adding browned Italian Sausage.  A few bell peppers for flavor and color, and it was a pretty and tasty one-dish meal.

tomatoes
Sun dried tomato halves in extra virgin olive oil with Italian herbs.

I cannot express strongly enough, how much I loved the jarred varieties of  Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in olive oil.  The flavors were so rich and lended themselves perfectly to cooking wonderful, savory dishes.  Just opening the jars created an aromatic sensation that made me want a bite!  Love, love, love these!  I wholeheartedly recommend that you visit the Mooney Farms website and check out all the fabulous products available — sun dried tomatoes in every imaginable form, olive oils and fantastic gift baskets.  (I think their “Dinner for Two” gift basket would be such a neat bridal shower gift! ) The site is educational, beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photography and chock-full of recipes you’ll be anxious to try.

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Rating: 31

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Hearty and delicious. This is a satisfying, Italian comfort-food supper! (Next time I make this, I will definitely need to watch the pasta closer as it browns. It got to dark for our tastes and if it burns, you will need to change out your olive oil, so you don’t send that burnt taste through your entire dish.)

Ingredients

  • 2 (8.5 oz) jars Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Pure Olive Oil & Herbs, drained and chopped (Reserve the drained oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Reserved Oil From Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 lb dry spaghetti, broken up
  • 1 small Onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 8 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese-Grated
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings, browned & drained
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers (I used 1/2 each of orange, yellow & green), diced

Instructions

  1. Brown and drain Italian sausage. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot heat reserved olive oil until it begins to smoke.
  3. Add spaghetti and sauté until golden brown, stirring constantly. DO NOT walk away from this process! Your spaghetti will burn in seconds, once it has started to brown. Also, don’t skip this step. the lightly toasted pasta has a nutty flavor that adds real depth to the dish. The dark brown, burnt pieces, not so much. :) I had to fish a few out, because I didn’t watch closely enough.
  4. Add sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the Italian sausage, diced peppers and onions and heat for 1 minute more. I love the added texture and color of the veggies when they are just heated through/tender crisp. If you like them softer, allow just a few more minutes cooking time.
  7. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve immediately.
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Here’s how I did it.

  1. Brown and drain Italian sausage and set aside.

    italian  sausage

    Browning Italian sausage.

  2. Heat reserved olive oil in a large pot until smoking.  Then break spaghetti noodles into the oil and stir constantly while browning.

    browning pasta

    Break the spaghetti into smaller pieces and brown in the olive oil. This only takes seconds.

  3. Add the sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.

    cooking

    Add tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper.

  4. Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until pasta has absorbed most of the liquid (about 15 minutes).
  5. Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed, stir in the Italian sausage, peppers and onions.  Continue cooking over low heat for one or two minutes until the veggies are heated through and tender-crisp.

    peppers and onions

    Add sausage, peppers and onions. You'll note some of my OVERLY browned pasta.

  6. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese or save on the dishes and serve it right from the pan!

    Italian dinner

    Yum! Serve with a tossed green salad and cheesy, garlic bread and it's a perfect Italian supper!

I also made a tasty snack/appetizer that was so simple, it was hard to believe how delicious it was.  I love salted bagel crisps with just about anything on them.  I used the Bella Sun Luci Bruschetta and the Tomato Pesto, spread onto a bagel crisp, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese slices and broiled until the cheese was bubbly and melted.  Garnish with some fresh basil or any herbs you have on hand.  I didn’t have any fresh herbs, the day I made them, but I used some sea salt, fresh black pepper and dry Italian seasoning on top of the cheese.  They couldn’t be simpler or more delicious and my kids can’t get enough of them!  They’re like little baby cheese pizzas.

ingredients
Ingredients for a “pizzette”-style snack or appetizer.
pizzettes
Mmmmmm!!! Pizzettes!

I can’t wait for you to try your own delicious sun dried tomato products from Mooney Farms!  One of you will win an assortment for your own kitchen in our giveaway and entry is super simple!  And for the rest of us, there’s a printable $1.00 coupon at the Mooney Farms site.

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, June 19, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

In a comment below, tell me the title of a recipe from Mooney Farms you would most like to try.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Mooney Farms on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Mooney Farms on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or by entering your email in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  6. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Win a selection of healthy and delicious Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato products @busyathome @BellaSunLuci  http://ow.ly/5fbEz Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageI just entered to win a selection of healthy and delicious Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato products at Busy-at-Home!  http://ow.ly/5fbEz Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

I received the selection of Bella Sun Luci products detailed above in order to test them and conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.  Giveaway prize will be shipped directly to winner by Mooney Farms.

Yes, I Did! A Pictorial Teaser of my Weekend (Weekstart?) at King Arthur Flour

On June 9, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Did I travel from the corn fields of Nebraska, to be nestled in the peaceful, quiet woodlands of Vermont and experience the most thrilling and educational 48 hours a baker can imagine at the King Arthur Flour Baking and Education Center?  Yes, yes I did! Did I take 863 pictures and learn so much that […]

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Did I travel from the corn fields of Nebraska, to be nestled in the peaceful, quiet woodlands of Vermont and experience the most thrilling and educational 48 hours a baker can imagine at the King Arthur Flour Baking and Education Center?  Yes, yes I did!

Did I take 863 pictures and learn so much that my head is about to explode from wanting to share it with you?  You bet!

Did I decide I have to share just a taste of it with you, now, before I leave on a week-long mission trip with 5 other brave adults and 26 Jr. High youth from our church?  I sure did!

Did I meet the most fascinating and friendly food bloggers with the same fascination for food and taking pictures of it, as I have?  Yup!  (and tremendously talented instructors from King Arthur, and celebrity chef, Sara Moulton, and two delightful ladies from FLAVOR Magazine, PLUS Alison Furbish, the warm and talented web media coordinator at King Arthur who organized this educational baking extravaganza and we also got to meet and have lunch with the King Arthur flour bloggers.)

 

bloggers

Bloggers don't go anywhere without their cameras! :)

bloggers

See what I mean? I'll bet it never occurred to you that there are people out there who regularly have to clean flour or butter off their camera. lol

bloggers3

Casey, intently working to put Team Awesome on the "poolish" map!

bloggers4

It was a delight meeting, learning & laughing alongside these fun-loving, blog-writing, baking women and sharing the excitement. What a blessing to participate in this fun experience with once talented strangers, become talented friends, who "get" me and blogging, at King Arthur's first Blog and Bake!

sara moulton baking bread

Sara Moulton took the Basic Breadmaking class, right alongside us. She is kind, gracious and funny. She is exactly the kind of person you would invite to sit at your kitchen table with a glass of iced tea.

 

sara moulton

Clad in purple Converse and a polka dot apron, Sara moved efficiently from baking student to expert culinary instructor. I learned so much from her that I can't wait to share. She was a wealth of knowledge and humor and it was such a treat to meet and visit with her. Did I learn to de-bone a chicken? Yes, I did!

 

So, did I learn anything?  Yes, I did!  Volumes!

 

braided bread dough

Did I make this lovely braided bread loaf? Yes, I did!

 

bread and scones

Did I wish I had remembered to take this picture of the bread and scones I baked while I was still in class, instead of in the poor, unnatural lighting of my hotel room? Yes, I did!

 

 

poolish

Did I learn what a poolish is and how to make it, so I can share that with you? Mmm hmmm. Yes, I did!

pie crust

Did I create the first-ever successful pie crust of my life and learn the secrets to share with you? Yes, I did!

 

tomato pie

Did I use that delicious pastry, to make a savory pie, oozing with fresh, Vermont mozzarella and tomatoes, seasoned to perfection and drizzled in olive oil? I sure did! (We'll make it together, when I'm back from my trip.)

 

 

brick fire oven

Did I bake pizza in this fabulous brick fire oven? Yes, I did!

 

inside oven

Did I singe a little hair off my arms, so I could get this shot for you of the back and inside of the brick fire oven (It's 10 feet in diameter and the temperature at this point, was around 800 degrees)? Yes, indeed! I sure did! (You can't tell with the glow, but those stone tiles on the walls of the oven are white hot.)

 

pizza1

Did I make this pizza with the fabulously, flavorful, perfect pizza crust in that extraordinary brick fire oven? Yes, I did!

 

pizza2

Did I enjoy the hot, bubbly, fresh mozzarella, basil and perfect crust with great gusto? Yes, I did!

 

There is so much more to share with you, but I’m afraid this page will take 45 years to load with all the pictures.  :)  When I get back from the mission trip, we’re going to break this down into several posts.  I’m going to share recipes and tutorials, everything I learned about flour and baking chemistry, all that Sara Moulton taught us (It’s so good!) and all that is amazing about King Arthur Flour.  You are going to love it!

Oh, and in case you were wondering….

 

baking

 

I won’t be back from my trip until late on the 17th, but no worries.  I have some great posts scheduled to publish through the week, while I’m gone; and when I get back, we will explore King Arthur Flour and the Blog and Bake together!

In the meantime, check out the views from some of my other blogging and magazine friends and get their perspectives on this fun two-day event!

King Arthur Flour Blog

Maryellen Apelquist
Weathersfield, VT
Love & Scraps
Recipes, Rantings and Ravings from a Vermont Kitchen

Kelsey Banfield
Fairfield, CT
The Naptime Chef
Fitting great food into family life

Casey Barber
Clifton, NJ
Good. Food. Stories.
A chronicle of delicious conversations

Amber Bracegirdle
Scotch Plains, NJ
Bluebonnets & Brownies
Tex-Mex and Southern comfort food

Fiona Coxe
Boston, MA
A Boston Food Diary

Donna Currie
Longmont, CO
Cookistry

Glenda Embree
Seward, NE
Busy-at-Home
Food, family and fun on a frugal budget.

Corin Hirsch
Burlington, VT
Seven Days
Vermont’s Independent Voice

Jean Kerr
Kittery Point, ME
Northeast Flavor
for all things delicious!

Jennifer Leal
Westerly, RI
Savoring the Thyme

Aimee Seavey
Boston, MA
The Apron Archives
vintage traditions in today’s homes and kitchens

When Your Oven is Way Beyond Self-Cleaning (and a $25 VISA Gift Card Giveaway)

On June 7, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Well, at least the glass is.  Actually, as someone old enough to remember pulling half my body into a cavernous oven and proceeding to scrub, scratch and scrape while my eyes watered, head got woozy and I became encrusted in toxic black sludge — self-cleaning ovens are nothing short of miraculous inventions!  I love them.  […]

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Well, at least the glass is.  Actually, as someone old enough to remember pulling half my body into a cavernous oven and proceeding to scrub, scratch and scrape while my eyes watered, head got woozy and I became encrusted in toxic black sludge — self-cleaning ovens are nothing short of miraculous inventions!  I love them.  They save me time AND brain cells.  All the stuff that used to take hours to scrub away and left the skin peeling off my hands from cleaning chemicals, now just ends up as a manageable little pile of gray dust, to be swept away, at the end of the self cleaning cycle.  That being said, it really isn’t terribly effective on the glass.  You know, that little window, that lets you drool and anticipate as things are baking, without opening the oven door?  Yah, that one.  Well, the self cleaning cycle doesn’t clean it.  Splatters and grease bake on, turning hard and brown; and when the cleaning cycle is over — the splatters and grease? — still baked on and brown.  Ummm…fail.

 

dirty oven glass

Don't judge. Maybe there's a support group?

There is one other issue with oven glass — that vent that runs across the top of the oven door.  Now, if I was in a contest, and to win, I had to splatter something off the top of my range, into the narrow louvered slots of that horizontal vent and allow it to drip down in between the two panes of glass that comprise my oven window — forGET about it!  There is no way I could pull that off.  However, in some mysterious miracle of physics and irony, there is ALWAYS something splattered and dripping between those panes of glass.  It makes me crazy!  How on earth do I do that?

 

oven vent

How on earth do we manage to drip things inside there?

drips between glass

It's a mystery.

So, every so often, I have to do something to get that glass sparkling, again.  Fortunately, it doesn’t require any awkward sort of stuffing myself into an appliance or asphyxiating with toxic fumes.  It costs only pennies, doesn’t damage the glass and isn’t difficult to do.  You won’t be needing any of that blue stuff in the spray bottle.  It’s no match for this cleaning job.  You need something tough, but that won’t scratch your glass while you’re scrubbing — Arm and Hammer baking soda.  My sister-in-law, Elaine, suggested baking soda to me, years ago, for cleaning the film off of windshields.  It worked like a dream and I have used it for tough glass cleaning jobs, ever since.

 

cleaning cloth

I love baking soda for cleaning tough glass stains.

 

It really is as simple as sprinkling some baking soda on a damp cloth and scrubbing the glass.  Use just enough water to keep the wash cloth moist.  You don’t want a lot of dripping and the soda works best when it’s more paste-like on the cloth.  See how quickly it starts to come clean?  Look at the difference in that one small area!

 

cleaning glass

See the difference in the area I have cleaned?

 

Rinse your wash cloth, as needed, and apply more baking soda.  Once you have finished scrubbing the glass, rinse it with cool water and wipe away any remaining soda residue.  It really is that easy.

 

clean glass

Spic and span. Now for those pesky drips between the panes.

 

Now to tackle the drips between the panes.  You’ll need a screwdriver, because you will take out the two screws at the top inside corners of your oven door.  Yes, that handy-dandy tool bag, as well as the screwdriver, is pink.  My tools used to disappear on a regular basis, never to be seen, again.  I’ve noticed that pink ones are almost always right where I left them.  :)

screwdriver

Loosen the screws at the top inside of your oven door. (They probably are designed not to come all the way out. Just unscrew them and let them hang in the other half of the door until you're finished.)

 

Here are a couple of “before shots”, once I got the screws out and the door sections separated.  There is usually a pane of glass in each section; and this being the first time I have disassembled my new oven door, I discovered that this model actually has three!  Just check your owner’s manual, if you’re not sure about your specific oven.

 

oven door

We'll call this the bottom section. Baking soda is perfect in here, too.

 

dirty oven door

This is the top section and yes, baking soda cleans this right up, as well.

 

Use the same method, scrubbing both pieces of glass with a damp cloth and baking soda, then rinsing with cool water.  For my oven, the glass in this top section has space behind it, as well.  Leaving no path unexplored, my mystery drips have even gotten on the back side.  I am able to slide it out of the metal track that holds it in place, clean it thoroughly, and slide it back into place.

 

sliding glass into place

I slid the pane of glass right back into the track.

 

Replace the two screws that hold your oven door sections together and you will have successfully polished your oven door window to perfection!  See how pretty mine turned out?  You’ve gotta love how easy and budget-friendly that job was, using nothing but a damp cloth and a few pennies-worth of Arm and Hammer baking soda.  Check out these other great tips for cleaning with Arm and Hammer baking soda.

clean glass

Now, I won't miss a minute of watching delicious things baking!

 

Next thing on the to-do list?  It’s time to make a little pile of gray dust!  Think I’ll enjoy a glass of iced tea and watch a little Food Network while I “work”.  Self-cleaning is an amazing concept!  :)

 

dirty oven

Soon, this will all be burnt to ashes and just a faint, gray memory in my dust pan! :)

Giveaway:

Do you have a self-cleaning oven?  How do you keep the glass clean in yours?  One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will win a $25 Visa gift card for sharing how they tackle their toughest kitchen cleaning challenge!  In a comment below, just share your tip for conquering a tough kitchen cleaning challenge and you’re entered.  It doesn’t get easier than that!

 

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, June 19, 2011.

 

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save 50¢ off two 2lb or 4lb boxes of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. And be sure to visit The Switch & Save Challenge to tap into more resources and enter to win $25,000.

 

I’m Going to a Blog and Bake at King Arthur Flour!

On June 5, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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In about three hours, I’ll be boarding a plane for Norwich, Vermont, to visit the King Arthur Flour Baking and Education Center and tour their facility.  I get to spend the next two days baking with 14 fabulous foodie bloggers, working and eating with a celebrity chef and learning all kinds of terrific new tips […]

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In about three hours, I’ll be boarding a plane for Norwich, Vermont, to visit the King Arthur Flour Baking and Education Center and tour their facility.  I get to spend the next two days baking with 14 fabulous foodie bloggers, working and eating with a celebrity chef and learning all kinds of terrific new tips and techniques to share with all of you.  I can’t wait to share everything that I learn.  Anyone know how to build a brick fire oven?  lol  Maybe that should be part of my Backyard Makeover series.  :)  I’ll be using one on my trip and I’ll take lots of pictures.  Talk to you soon!  King Arthur Flour rocks!

brick fire oven

I'll be learning this and so much more! Can't wait to get started!

Giveaway Winners: Mastermind and Bodycology

On June 1, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Congratulations to our three latest giveaway winners!   Mastermind:  #110   Karen M Mastermind Towers:  #139 Rosey Bodycology Gift Basket:  #275 Raven in a Blue Room Emails have been sent to each of you.  Please reply to them with the requested shipping information, within 48 hours, so your prizes can be shipped.

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Congratulations to our three latest giveaway winners!

 

Mastermind:  #110   Karen M

Mastermind Towers:  #139 Rosey

Bodycology Gift Basket:  #275 Raven in a Blue Room


Emails have been sent to each of you.  Please reply to them with the requested

shipping information, within 48 hours, so your prizes can be shipped.

 

King Arthur Flour Launches Video Series Featuring Kansas and Colorado Wheat Farmers

On June 1, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I leave on Sunday for a fabulous visit to King Arthur Flour’s Baking and Education Center in Vermont!  I can’t wait to share all the fun things I learn there!  In the meantime, I wanted to share this press release & video series about the farmers who work with them.  I ♥ King Arthur Flour. […]

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I leave on Sunday for a fabulous visit to King Arthur Flour’s Baking and Education Center in Vermont!  I can’t wait to share all the fun things I learn there!  In the meantime, I wanted to share this press release & video series about the farmers who work with them.  I ♥ King Arthur Flour.

 

Employee-owned Company Highlights Farmers Who Grow Its Wheat in Videos Exploring Contemporary American Agriculture

 

 

May 24, 2011 – Norwich, Vt. – King Arthur Flour this week launched a compelling series of online videos featuring the farmers who grow wheat for the company telling their stories of family farming, stewardship of the land, and the challenges and rewards of wheat farming in America today.

“When we went to Kansas in the summer of 2009 to meet some of the family farmers who grow wheat for us, I knew we had to go back with a camera crew. I wanted to get to know them better, find out why they do what they do and what keeps them at it. I wanted to hear their stories. And I wanted our customers and business partners to hear it all straight from them, too,” says King Arthur Flour Marketing Director Tom Payne, who writes about the experience on the company’s Baking Banter blog. “In 2010, we visited these farmers again, conducting on-camera interviews that led to a documentary-quality presentation exploring contemporary American agriculture. We’re thrilled to be able to share our farmers’ stories and to consumers gain a better understanding of where their food comes from.”

Thirty-two short videos are grouped around four themes: Families Growing Wheat, The Life of a Farmer, Preserving the Land, and the King Arthur Flour Connection with Farmers. Each topic includes an overview video, plus a selection of more in-depth interviews with individuals.

Visit kingarthurflour.com/ourfarmers to watch all the videos in the series.

America’s oldest flour company, King Arthur Flour has grown from a regional staple to a brand known nationwide not only for its high-quality flours but for its passion in sharing the joy of baking; from a small mail-order business with five employees in 1990 to the premier baking resource with more than 250 employees today; from a family-owned operation for five generations to a 100 percent employee-owned business. King Arthur Flour offers more than 1,000 professional-grade baking tools and ingredients through its catalogue, online at kingarthurflour.com, and at The Baker’s Store in Norwich, Vt. Its on-site and traveling baking education programs reach thousands of home and professional bakers annually. Through all of these activities, the company strives toward its mission: to support and expand all aspects of baking by being the highest quality product, information, and education resource for, and inspiration to, bakers worldwide.

(This press release was supplied by King Arthur Flour.)

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