Spring has Sprung

SummerGood Morning Ladies!

Well Spring has Sprung and that can only mean one thing! Summer is right around the corner and I am excited! I am extremely excited because I found out about a month after my daughter was born that I have developed an allergy to the cold…. Yes! you read that right I am allergic to a temperature and I live in good ol’ Milwaukee Wisconsin, but I am not native here. I am actually from a little valley named Antelope Valley California (AKA: Palmdale and Lancaster). It’s about an hour and a half from Los Angeles. I guess that is one reason why I was born there and slowly realizing that I was not meant to leave.  Anyway I got off topic and I will get to my personal life a little later.
🙂

So since summer is almost here and spring has allowed us to dust off the barbecue and “spring into action” and take the cooking to the outdoors! (my favorite) Plus, it will be a wonderful way to make us ladies little smarty pants and give our significant others some tips on how to keep up with their barbecue’s and you can also uses these tips while camping as well.

So I am going to start off with my first tip:

Putting Out the Fire:

SALT: Salt is a good tool to use after barbecueing (with charcoal) just sprinkle about a cup of salt (depending on how big or small your barbecue is) salt over the charcoal to help from the embers to flare up and turn into a fire. If you have an outdoor fire pit you can use this as well instead of using water. I noticed personally that when my husband uses the hose it pushes the embers out and it tends to burn our grass.

Cleaning the Grill:

We all know that cleaning the grill can be a pain in the butt, so here are some tips on how to make cleaning the barbecue a little easier.

Tip 1: You can use Arm & Hammer (or any type of baking soda) to clean the barbecue you can make a paste out of it with water  using equal parts of each ingredient (example: 1 cup water & 1 cup Baking Soda). After you have made the paste use a wire brush to apply it and then wipe clean and dry with a rag.

Tip 2: If the above tip doesn’t work or isn’t your forte you can also use dishwasher liquid, A Trash Bag, Water, and Ammonia. To clean caked on grease from your grill you can place the grill (the wire racks) in the trash bag and add one cup of ammonia, one cup of dishwasher liquid, and 2 gallons of HOT WATER and secure the bag closed. The fumes from the Ammonia help weaken the food and grease. Let it sit for 45 minutes, and hose off the wire racks and then wipe clean.

Tips 3: After you have cleaned your grill you can use PAM or any type of cooking spray to make future cleaning easy. Just spray the racks before you put the food on the grill and once the barbecue is cooled down you can just wipe clean. The cooking spray helps the grease and food slide right off.

Tip 4: If you don’t have any cooking spray you can also use alluminum foil and once you are done cooking and while it is warm you can just place a sheet of alluminum foil on the racks and press it on there. Once the racks are nice and cool peel it off and the food and grease should come off with it.

Tip 5: Keeping your pots and pans clean. This tip comes in handy if you are camping and there are not any stoves around and you have to use the pot or pan to cook things. You can cover the bottom and sides of the pot or pan with bar soap to prevent the soot from sticking to the outside of the pot and when you wash it it should rinse right off.

Tip 6: You can also use crumpled up Aluminum Foil as a scrubber and that will help take the soot off the pots and pans and keep your sponge clean.

Igniting:

Well we all know that igniting the fire can be a pain in the butt! So if you are barbecueing with charcoal here is a great tip on how to get that flame going.

Tip 1: Get a LARGE empty coffee can and use a can opener to remove the top and bottom of the can. Get a pair of tin snips or something like it and cut slits in bottom of the rim of the coffee can making little tabs. Once that is done place the can in the center of the barbecue and place one sheet of crumpled newspaper inside and then fill the rest of the can with the charcoal, and then add lighter fluid, and light the newspaper through the little tabs. Once the charcoal is glowing orange remove the hot can with tongs and set it in a safe place to allow the can to cool. This is such a great idea, because if it is windy it protects the flame from the wind.

Tip 2: To prevent grease fires from you barbecue you can cover the bottom of the grill with a 1″ layer of UNUSED and UNSCENTED cat litter. It helps keep the grease from catching on fire and overcooking your food.

Tip 3: You can apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly onto a cotton ball and place it in your grill. then light the cotton ball on fire. This allows the cotton ball to burn for a while and allow the fire to spread to the charcoal.

Tip 4: All Men LOVE WD-40… If doomsday came the first thing my husband would grab is duct tape and his WD-40 (Amongst other things) HaHa! If you are out of lighter fluid you can always use WD-40, but before you place the food on the grill MAKE SURE THE WD-40 BURN OFF THE CHARCOAL, or else your food might have a WD-40 taste to it. 🙂

INSECTS:

We all love to eat outside on our back porches or at a park for a picnic or whatever the case may be and what is one thing that irritates us the most that mother nature likes to send our way once food is involved…. You got it….BUGS!!!! That is one thing I HATE when there is food involved with the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help deter our unwanted guests (sorry I am talking about the bugs anything other than that I can’t help ya).

Tip 1: Syrup… You can lure insects away from a barbecue by coating a few small pieces of cardboard with syrup (I am talking about pancake and waffle syrup like Log Cabing or Aunt Jamima). You can place it in the perimeter of the yard (or wherever you are at) and the insects like ants, wasps and bees will be attracted to that instead of what is on your table.

Tip 2: Beer… Beer actually attracts bees and wasps from your barbecue and your guests. I know it is sad to let a beer go to waste, but drink half of it and donate the rest for a good cause. Place the beer cans around the yard and since bees and wasps LOVE beer they fly in the can and get drunk, and drown- if you are a wasp or a bee it can’t be a bad way to go… right?

Tip 3: You can also use Apple Cider Vinegar to keep bees and wasps away om your barbecue fill a large bowl of the Apple Cider Vinegar near the table of food and by the end of the barbecue you will have a bowl of floating flies, mosquitos, and moths.

 

Well I hope you enjoyed reading my useful tips and tricks to make life a little easier and I plan to add more often. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what you think!

 

Kristin

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Fruit Pizza

Prep Time: 40 mins (To prep and cut the Fruit, Prepare the Frosting/Glaze, Roll out the Sugar Cookie Dough)

Bake Time: 18-22 mins

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INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:

  • 1 ROLL of Pillsbury sugar cookie Dough for the crust
  • Granulated Sugar

FOR THE FROSTING/GLAZE:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened / Room Temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

TOPPINGS:

  • Assorted fresh fruit cut into slices (I used whatever is in season like strawberries, grapes, blueberries, mandarin oranges and bananas, but you can use whatever fruit you would like)

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350.

  • Sprinkle the baking stone with enough sugar to cover the Stone then Roll the chilled dough into a big cookie and place on a round baking stone.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes. Then Let cool;
  • Mix frosting ingredients together and spread on the cookie. put it back in the fridge again to set and allow the frosting to thicken.
  • Slice the Fruit (depending on fruit you choose) and top the Cookie with the fruit  and serve!

I PROMISE this is FANTASTIC! The frosting/Glaze tastes like cheesecake and it is simply Divine!

If you like what you see please check out my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CustomSweetsbyKristin
Please be sure to “LIKE” it and stick around to see the other cakes and treats.

Mommy Hood!

Meet my son Aidyn :

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As a mother of 2 (one 4 month old daughter and one 3 yr. old son) I have come to realize that I have motherhood has got to be the most rewarding, funny, and stressful things that a woman can possibly put herself through. Each day is different and yet my son is the star of my story (so far, I am sure my daughter will take the crown eventually). I never have a dull moment as a mother and each day I learn something new. Aidyn is such a happy kid and quite the little firecracker and a VERY quick learner as well as a sponge because he soaks up everything.

The lesson my son taught me today was you are never too young to do the smell my finger trick. We are at the tail end of potty training and (my son just turned 3 on february 2nd) he told me he had to go poop, so I told him “go use the potty I will be there in a minute to clean you up.” Well in the meantime my daughter started to cry so I naturally got her out of her swing and sat on the couch with her to help calm her down. Well my son comes running in the livingroom half naked and says “Mommy smell my finger” so I look at him puzzled and realized what is on his finger…. Yes, it is a finger FULL of poop! (No, I did not smell his finger to realize what it was) Talk about emotional rollercoaster I did not know whether to laugh or discipline him. Although it was funny I had to put my serious Mom face on, and I took him in the bathroom and explained that we don’t do that and it is nasty to touch our poop. Of course I told my husband what happened and we both got to laugh about it together… Being a mommy blesses me with moments like this and they are PRICELESS!