Dusting it Off

dusting

By Liz

Do you like to clean? Do you look forward to getting your home ship shape? Maybe put on your favorite music and sing and dance while cleaning like no one is watching while you do so? Yeah……me neither.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, but I don’t like to do it.

Many of my family and friends know this about me and have asked why I just don’t break down and hire someone to clean my house.  Simply answered, I just can’t justify my laziness in this area. We all have things we hate to do, but sometimes you just “gotta suck it up buttercup”….right? So if there is any way I can shorten my weekly ritual, and still get clean results, you bet your bippy I am going to find it.

Let me first give you a quick synopsis of my home décor.  There is very little of it. When I was a kid living at home, my mom had so much stuff, it was like being in a museum.  I think because her parents were from the Great Depression era, that way of thinking (never throw anything away) and decorating were a part of the baby boomer generation as well. So back then, in our house, you could always be sure that there was a knick knack of some sort occupying every flat surface that was available in the house, and it was my chore to dust it all!




Needless to say, when I became an adult and moved out on my own, I took a more minimalist approach to decorating. I do have some tchotchkes of my own that I display, but they are few and far between which means, there is a lot less to clean.

The following is a list of the best tools that I have found for dusting that make this chore easy and produce the best results.

1. Microfiber cloths. This wonder material is great for surfaces that you need to dust, but don’t want to put any cleaner on. I use this cloth to knock the dust off of my T.V.s; table top glass framed pictures; and it does wonders getting all the pet hair off of our leather couch.

2. Orphaned, cotton socks. Slip one of these babies over your hand and you now have a 2 sided polishing cloth to use with your furniture polish. The great thing about this tool, is once the sock becomes to dirty and dusty, simply pull it off your hand and replace with a clean one.  Since we are a family of 7, we seem to have an abundance of these dusting cloths, if you don’t have many in your inventory, I am quite sure you can ask friends or family to start saving them for you, even though you might get some strange looks.

3. Walmart’s, Great Value, Furniture Polish. After many years of dusting and trying many different products, this furniture polish is my all time favorite because it works great! It doesn’t go on heavy so it does not leave a thick residue behind. It leaves my furniture dust free with a nice, streak free shine to it; and the answer is NO… I am not getting compensated to say this.

4. Ostrich feather duster. I love this tool, I use it every week, sometimes 2 times a week to dust the whole house (if the spirit moves me)without using my furniture polish and cotton socks. It is easy and I can glide through my entire house and dust off all surfaces in less than 15 minutes. I generally use the polish and sock method about once every 4 to 6 weeks. A helpful note: only use 100% ostrich down feathers for the best results.  Ostrich down is softer, more pliable, and more valuable than run-of-the-mill feathers. Forget cheap synthetic dusters, brightly dyed chicken-feather dusters, or even regular ostrich feathers. They don’t work.




You might be asking; what is the best way to keep these tools clean?…glad you asked.  To remove the dust from your feather duster, simply take it outside and shake it upside down vigorously. If you require a more thorough cleaning of the duster you may use warm soapy water, followed by a clean water rinse, then hang to dry.

For both your cotton socks and microfiber cloths, proper care is a snap. No fabric softener, no bleach, no heat – that’s all you have to remember! Wash in the washing machine with detergent only. Tumble them dry on low heat or no heat.

Now let me add that these aren’t all the tools I use for my deep spring cleaning, all of them make an appearance during that time, but a few more come out as well, but that is another article to be had later on and just a reminder that these products are meant to be used in this fashion for maintenance of your dusting needs. If you have neglected your dusting duties and are starting from a position with a few inches of dust on your surfaces, you will need a deep cleaning first, and then you can maintain your clean surfaces with these 4 products.




Food Subscription Boxes

mail-box

By Liz

Talk about all things trendy.  If you haven’t seen or heard about food subscription boxes yet, then you must be living under a rock. This is not a new concept, I mean, take Omaha Steaks for instance…they have been around since 1917.  But nowadays you can get just about any kind of food, delivered to your door with easy step by step instructions, with little to no waste and without the hassle of visiting your grocery store to pick up the ingredients.

Types of boxes available are fruits, vegetables, and snacks, jerky, chocolate, bacon, cheese, full meals, seasonal, regional and the list goes on and on.

Sorry to say, I think this trend, is a waste of your hard earned money!

We as a society already spend so much money on food, whether going out to eat or at our local grocery store(s), so it seems to me that this kind of service is really irrelevant.  However, like most trends, these companies are trying to convince you, that you need their product to be hip, trendy, creative, and money savvy; but do you really need their help?

I decided to do some research on these companies, because many of my fellow, “frugal” bloggers have wonderful things to say about them, (although, I personally believe that if you are calling yourself a “frugal or money saving” blogger and promote or purchase these kinds of subscriptions…..you’ve missed the mark).

There are so many companies trying to cash in on this latest trend, it is overwhelming, so I decided to just concentrate on just produce boxes, but most of this information also applies to most of the other subscription boxes and this is what I have discovered:

produce

1. Many are locally based, so they might not deliver to your zip code, or you will be paying very high shipping costs for this convenience.

2. Your going to pay for this kind of convenience, anywhere from $11 to $110 (and these are prices for produce boxes).

3. Most offer both traditional or organic products.

4. You really don’t get what you pay for. If you were to do a price comparison, you would see that in most cases, you are paying double and in some cases, triple what it would cost you at the grocery store for the same or very similar products.

5. Packaging can sometimes be environmentally unfriendly. Some of the organic products being purchased, come packaged so as they are not bruised or damaged; all well and good, but many of the materials used for packaging, are not good for mother earth. (Ironic…..huh?)

6. Some of the produce subscription services are selling “recovered”, produce, meaning fruits and vegetables that are perfectly fine to eat, but would have otherwise been thrown away. It’s often discarded because of aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies. They don’t try to hide this; in fact, for some it is on the main page of their website.




So it has been pointed out to me is that these kinds of services  are helping local farmers and business owners  not to mention the convenience it brings to the consumer of not having to go the store to pick these items out for themselves.  My argument is this….you have to go to the grocery store anyway, right? So while you are there picking up the myriad of other items on your list, why aren’t you taking a few extra minutes to purchase fresh, traditional or organic produce from the same place you shop in the first place?

farmers-market

It has also been argued that these kinds of services offer more natural choices, help many with diet restrictions due to health, and offer step by step instructions with just the right amount of ingredients to make a gourmet meal at home.  My argument for this is the following:  just about everyone owns or has access to a cookbook, (these resources also come with step by step instructions) or the internet, which offers an endless supply of recipes.  Natural and organic produce can be found not only at your local grocery store(s), but also at specialty stores and especially local farmer’s markets.

No matter how old I get, I am always looking for ways to save money, as much money as I can, because my dream is to retire with my husband somewhere close to the ocean and be able to travel, volunteer, relax, and really to just wake up on any given day and do whatever we want, when we want.  We don’t want to realize one day that we don’t have enough for our retirement, and we have to keep working until we are 75 or 80 years old, or that any one medical condition that myself or my husband might encounter down the road, will wipe us out financially.  So we are all about saving as many pennies as we can for as long as we can. My husband and I are both foodies, and we both enjoy cooking, but we also know that, throwing money away on the latest band wagon of what is hip and trendy today, will not help us achieve our goals for tomorrow.

couple

If you too are financially conscience, and not only want to eat healthy, but well; I suggest that rather than subscribe to one of these, trendy, overpriced and under stocked box services, you should take a little time each week, plan out a few meals, list your ingredients, purchase only what you need for these dishes and keep the money you have saved in your wallet.




Open Faced Portabella Salmon Burgers

 

salmon

by Liz
This is one of my new favorites and is a quick and healthy lunch. As usual, the idea of this recipe came to me while looking around my fridge, thinking I really had to use up some of the stuff in there.

I use salmon burger patties for this recipe, but you could easily swap this out for a veggie, black bean or a regular beef burger….whatever your preference.

salmon

Ingredients:

2 frozen salmon burger patties

2 large portabella mushroom caps

2 slices of cheese (I used Muenster and Pepper Jack)

Fresh Spinach leaves (optional)

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven) to 325 degrees.

2. Wipe mushrooms clean of debris or dirt (never rinse a mushroom, it will make it soggy).  With a spoon gently scrape off as much of the mushroom gills without digging into the meat of the mushroom, on the underside of the cap and level out any protruding stem pieces.

salmon

3. Place cap topside down on your lined baking sheet and lightly spray the gill side up with an oil, non stick spray.  Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Bake portabellas until slightly soft about 7 to 10 minutes.  Set baking sheet aside and let cool momentarily.

salmon

4. Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, over medium to high heat, cook the salmon patties thoroughly on each side, and season each side lightly with salt and pepper. Salmon patties should cook at least 6 to 7 minutes on each side to ensure proper doneness.

salmon

5. Place 3 to 4 spinach leaves on each, cooled mushroom cap. Then slide a burger patty on to each portabella.  Top with cheese slices (any kind will do). Place back into the oven for another 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

6. Serve immediately and enjoy by itself, or with a side salad.

salmon

This lunch is oddly satisfying, because of the protein of the burger patty and the “meatiness” taste and texture of the portabella.  This recipe is not only good for lunch, but makes for a really good dinner option as well.

Enjoy the printable recipe card below.



Open Faced Portabella Salmon Burgers
Serves 2
A healthy twist for a burger.
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359 calories
24 g
52 g
20 g
25 g
7 g
370 g
541 g
3 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
370g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359
Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
31%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 52mg
17%
Sodium 541mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 24g
8%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 3g
Protein 25g
Vitamin A
325%
Vitamin C
80%
Calcium
39%
Iron
35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 frozen salmon burger patties
  2. 2 large portabella mushroom caps
  3. 2 slices of cheese (I used Muenster and Pepper Jack)
  4. Fresh Spinach leaves (optional)
  5. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven) to 325 degrees.
  2. Wipe mushrooms clean of debris or dirt (never rinse a mushroom, it will make it soggy). With a spoon gently scrape off as much of the mushroom gills without digging into the meat of the mushroom, on the underside of the cap and level out any protruding stem pieces.
  3. Place cap topside down on your lined baking sheet and lightly spray the gill side up with an oil, non stick spray. Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake portabellas until slightly soft about 7 to 10 minutes. Set baking sheet aside and let cool momentarily.
  4. Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, over medium to high heat, cook the salmon patties thoroughly on each side, and season each side lightly with salt and pepper. Salmon patties should cook at least 6 to 7 minutes on each side to ensure proper doneness.
  5. Place 3 to 4 spinach leaves on each, cooled mushroom cap. Then slide a burger patty on to each portabella. Top with cheese slices (any kind will do). Place back into the oven for another 3 minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy by itself, or with a side salad.
Notes
  1. Can also be made with a beef, tofu, veggie or black bean burgers.
beta
calories
359
fat
20g
protein
25g
carbs
24g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/