What is that SMELL!?

Oh. My. Gosh! What is that smell? This is like the 3rd time this week. Every time I run the dishwasher I can smell this sulfur-like smell. This is the last straw. Generally when I say “This is the last straw!”- look out! Luckily I had some free time, so I began the dishwasher investigation. Little did I know this was about to lead me on a quest to get my dishwasher clean.

Having acquired our very first dishwasher through a finance company repossession. Yes, you read that right, it was a repossession! We got it for the amazing amount of fifty dollars! That was some big money for 1994 broke, newly married, and just bought our first home newbies!

Brad installed this magnificent whirlpool dishwasher and we were off to the dish cleaning races. I seldom rinsed a dish, just scraped off the big stuff, and let the dishwasher do what a dishwasher does- WASH! Good ole piping hot water and some Cascade to keep them clean and streak-free! Never once did I get build-up, or bad smells.

This ain’t your mammas dishwasher

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Somehow, somebody decided that everything needs to be more “efficient” and “environmentally friendly”. I am of the strong opinion that the words “efficient” and “environmentally friendly” have no semblance of their meaning when it comes to home appliances.

I’m not interested in a three-hour cleaning or washing cycle that wants to use less water at a lower temperature all with less electricity, and then to think I’ll be happy with a “lower” electric bill? Umm… NOPE! Give me some hot, soapy water with some superpower sprayer that can wash and rinse my dishes CLEAN in under 30 minutes and I will be fine letting them air dry- thank you very much!

Now that you know how I really feel, you’ll understand my disdain for these “new” dishwashers. I would take back Celia’s old Whirlpool dishwasher in a heartbeat, and I won’t care it doesn’t match the rest of my kitchen appliances. Celia’s dishwasher was awesome. It never gave me trouble. The dishes were always clean and no crazy sulfur smell.

Oh my gosh!

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

So, here we are back at my dishwasher. I am on my knees, bent inside my dishwasher and I am in total inspection mode. I am looking, sniffing and then I see it… this putrid rust-colored, sulfur-smelling scum and it is EVERYWHERE scum can safely cling. It’s in every nook and cranny of this dishwasher. I mean EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY!

Gagging a bit, I managed to keep my stomach contents in my stomach. As I took out the lower rack, I noticed all the rust-colored scum on the inside of the rack’s wheels. They were full of scum, so I ran it to the bathtub for a soak and then tried to figure out what I had that would help me clean. Hmm…. what is small enough, flexible, and rugged for cleaning? Ah-ha! I reached for my set of baby bottle cleaners. YES! This will do it.

I’ll just say right here if I could have gotten my husband’s pressure washer in the house and ran it I would have. But that would have woke up my grandson, which was not an option. Slowly I began pulling the dishwasher apart. Taking pictures as I went so that I could find my way back to a fully assembled dishwasher. I knew I had to work fast because if my husband caught me doing this he’d probably get mightly anxious I’d be able to reassemble everything.

Along with my baby bottle brushes, I employed the use of a circular scrub brush, vinegar, and Dawn dish soap. I began to see some fun when huge chunks of the scum (which, by the way, is grease and food broken down) started to fall out of cracks and crannies as I brushed in and out. SO GROSS!

Okay, friends… this is going to be my cliff-hanger of sorts. Stay tuned next week to see how it all turned out!

One In the Hand

I am sometimes in awe of what God hears of all my asking and ramblings. I was saying one day it sure would be nice to hold an oriole. They have such a pretty song and are so beautiful.

I had just gotten in the house with Trey and Tucker. Trey was busy motoring around the kitchen in his walker and Tucker was laid out on the floor in the dining room. I saw Tucker jerk up his head so I looked in his direction. There on the floor was a bird! WHAT??!!

Then the bird flew into the kitchen. It was tiny and brown and it fell at my feet. Shoot! Quickly I grabbed the bird up. Goodness he was so small. As I scooped him in my hand I noticed he had a feather in his mouth. Hmm. I bet you hit something. So I walked to the front door and sure enough. I had left the front door open and he must have been flying by and WHAM-O! Dazed and confused he flew deeper into the house, till he fell at my feet.

As I held the house wren I noticed he wasn’t afraid. Usually, their heart is pounding because they are scared. I know this because I have rescued many a bird from one of my best-hunting cats. My familiar routine of holding them loosely and being quiet kicked in.

I inspected him for any wing damage or damage to his feet. Nothing! It was so neat to just look at him and see the beauty of him. Tiny, fragile and being very calm. I bent down to Trey and showed him the bird. He was wide eyed and reached his hand for the bird.

Opening the patio door, I quickly took him to the nearest tree which was my lilac. The lilac is my favorite recovery tree. The limbs are small enough for any bird to safely wrap their toes around, the foliage protects them from other birds or cats.

I found a nice branch and slowly set him on the branch. He still was very calm. His dark eyes following me and my every move. As I gently set his feet to the branch he locked on and then I let go. Slowly I back away and walked back to the house.

God loves you so much and provides you with safety when you need it. Just like that poor house wren, flying along enjoying his day and WHAM-O! Life hit him out of nowhere and he tumbled right into my kitchen.

When we are struggling or have something hit us out of the blue, God provides us with help. Sometimes it is help in ways we would never imagine, from people we would never have dreamed of.

Though I didn’t get the Oriel… I did get to hold what needed to be held, the House Wren.

– Grateful for my landings and recovery places when I am hurting. Honored to serve those who land in my kitchen. AMEN!

Kitchen Sanctuary

I often find that my kitchen easily transforms into a sanctuary. It’s a place of worship, confessions, and thanksgiving. I feed my family and friends, but I also feed their souls.

Soapy hands reach to cleanse dirty dishes, scrub pots and wipe a little face. Pausing for a moment but sometimes minutes. Slowing to rhythms of peacefulness- watching birds feed, mourning doves fly, traffic moving into town, and joggers going by.

Lots of prayers come from my kitchen. Prayers for friends, and family. Prayers to ease suffering, prayers for the healing of our nation, prayers for a new focus, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers to forgive, for more energy to do things I feel inadequate for or lack of energy.

Busy hands can still pray while kneading dough, baking cakes, making coffee, or scrubbing floors. Busy hands guide little fingers prodding and poking in drawers and cupboards keeping them from hurts.

My kitchen sanctuary has a beautiful view. Sunrises are the best, but evening sunset color gently plays off the clouds, making a beautiful canvas for the day’s end. A time to sit out on the patio and reflect, sometimes a time for tears.

My kitchen is a sanctuary.

-Joining you all in your daily sanctuary, where ever they might be. Amen

Great Kitchen Gadgets You Shouldn’t Be Without- Part 2

Friends! I have saved the best for last. The last four kitchen gadgets you shouldn’t be without. [Click if you missed Part 1 ] We’ve got some ground to cover today, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in. These gadgets are well worth the investment and reward you with simplicity and ease. Enjoy!

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Last four kitchen gadgets

I received my KitchenAid stand mixer 18 years ago. I love its versatility, ease of clean up, nearly indestructible bowl and attachments. When you add your KitchenAid stand mixer to a soft close mixer lift, you’ll never want to go back having it sit on your countertop.

KitchenAid has many attachments (more gadgets) that can be purchased for your stand mixer. Pasta makers, grinder, food prep items, ice cream maker, sifter scale, grain mill, sausage stuffer, fruit and vegetable strainer and food processor.

It is worth the time so see it in action at QVC https://www.qvc.com/KitchenAid-5-qt-325W-Artisan-Stand-Mixer-with-Flex-Edge.product.K46570.html?sc=SRCH with Tina Verrilli https://www.epicuricloud.com/. Tina is most notable for being the Grand Prize winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, as well as being runner up in the Food Networks America’s Best Cook. I love to listen to Tina. She is a down-home type of gal, talks to you not down to you. Her enthusiasm for the KitchenAid products makes her fun to watch.

When we moved to our new home in Minnesota, the house contained a mixer lift. It was broke at the time, so I simply “stored” the mixer on the shelf, but a couple of months later it was fixed and I could officially use it to its full capacity.

When we remodeled our kitchen two years ago I made sure that there was going to be a soft close mixer lift in the kitchen cupboard configuration. I really love the ease of pulling it up, locking it in place, making a recipe, and then the easy cleanup, unlock, and back into the cupboard. If you have an extra cupboard you can easily install a soft close mixer lift gadget.

From across the pond

  • Spurtle

I know you are probably wondering what in the world is a spurtle? I was watching QVC with David Venable and he announced the next item was a “spurtle”. Never having heard of a spurtle before, I was immediately intrigued.

By the end of the demonstration, I was wanting a spurtle. A spurtle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spurtle is a wooden Scottish kitchen tool, having its beginnings in the fifteenth century. A spurtle was made for the stirring of porridge, soups, stews, and broths. Its unique long spatula-like curved bottom makes getting around the bottom of bowls and pots very handy.

I use my spurtle for making scrambled eggs, pudding, and hot fudge. It gets down and round the sides well and prevents the sugar from burning to the side. I also like it for making oatmeal.

Zojuriushi Website

This is an awesome bread maker! I have had four bread makers throughout my married life and this one is the best by far! I make homemade bread weekly as well as pizza dough.

This bread machine makes a 2lb, rectangular loaf. I like the quick loaf feature, taking only 2 hours and 18 minutes, as well as a quick dough feature which is done in 45 minutes.

If you’re in need of extra bread machine recipes, check out the Breadmachine Diva. She has some great recipes and uses a Zojuriushi as well.

I have used my Zojuriushi so much, I wore the non-stick coating off the pan, so I had to replace it. The paddles have been replaced a few times as well- not resting or collecting dust in this house. In addition to a variety of bread and doughs, it will also make jams and meatloaf.

Save your fingers

  • Zester

As my baking skills have increased, it became apparent I was coming up short in some handy kitchen gadgets. One of these gadgets was a zester. The above zester was the first zester I bought, now that I have used it a great deal I would be willing to upgrade to a longer narrower version.

It grates everything from lemons, limes to garlic, ginger, chocolate, parmesan, etc. Saves me from grating my knuckles off on the old grater. Always a plus!

Well, we made it! I hope this two part kitchen gadgets review was helpful. Until next time, here is to good friends, good food and and good life!

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