Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cleaning a Stove with Baking Soda

This afternoon I am a very happy housewife. I feel like someone came and installed a brand new stove in my kitchen!

Out of all of the rooms in my house, my kitchen gets deep-cleaned the most regularly. I spend a lot of time in it, so I keep it clean. When we moved in, I noticed how dirty the stove was. However, nothing I did seemed to get rid of the nasty black and brown stains around the burners from grease and food particles. I hated looking at that stovetop! I felt like a horrible housekeeper. Not even a magic eraser took it off, and that's when I gave up! I figured it was hopeless.

Today I decided I'd try again. I had tried using baking soda on it one other time, but I didn't do it right because it didn't seem to do anything. I figured I'd try one more time though, because I'd read all over the blogosphere about people working magic with baking soda.

I took 1/2 cup of baking soda and added 1/2 cup of water. Then I dipped a microfiber sponge in it and started scrubbing. I used a toothbrush too. To my amazement, stains were coming up! That's when I grabbed my camera, because any good cleaning project needs before, during, and after photos. ;-)

This is one side of the stove. Gross, huh?? I had already started scrubbing the other side, and it looked much worse!

The whole stove after I was done scrubbing. This wasn't a quick project, btw. It definitely took some elbow grease and my arms are tired! But like I said, it was this dirty when we moved in so I have no idea how many years' worth of gunk had piled up.

Holy cow.

This is the same side that was pictured earlier. Also note how clean the burner caps are too!

 I need to tackle the grates next--they are rather awkward to handle and I just didn't have time today. But I did work a little on the middle one and could tell that all that black stuff was going to come off too.

If you've got a stove covered with built-up stains, give baking soda a try! =)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


When I was growing up, I hated salads. Or at least I thought I did. We usually only had iceberg lettuce with a little tomato, and whoever decided iceberg lettuce should be cultivated as a human food item deserves to be slapped. I don't think I realized all a salad could be until the first time I visited a Ruby Tuesdays and tried their salad bar. Baby spinach, broccoli, carrot, bacon bits, hard-boiled egg, etc.? Yes, please!

But despite enjoying salad bars at restaurants, I still rarely made them at home and rarely had anything good to put in them when I did. I also thought Andrew didn't like them. So I was surprised when we visited the huge buffet for the first time on our cruise back in December and he came back with a giant salad. I asked him why, and he informed me he really likes salads "when there's good stuff to put in them!" Soon after it dawned on me how easy it would be to keep my own "salad bar" in the fridge. Unlike a lot of fruits, sliced/chopped veggies keep very well in the fridge.

It only takes about 20 minutes to chop veggies (we like broccoli, carrot, radishes, and mushrooms) and hard-boiled egg, grate cheese, open a can of chickpeas, and put everything in little containers. Spinach and cherry tomatoes are already in easy containers, so it takes all of two minutes to put together a fantastic salad.

I've also decided to make my own salad dressings from now on. All of the salad dressings at stores either contain unhealthy ingredients or are too expensive. I haven't found a single salad dressing that isn't easy to make yourself! Here's my current favorite:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of garlic
teaspoon of parsley


If you haven't already thought of having your own permanent salad bar in your fridge, I hope this inspires you. =)