Orange Vinegar Cleaning Mix

Orange Grapefruit Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Here is an easy All-Purpose cleaning solution using the peels from oranges and grapefruits and vinegar.

In a wide mouth jar, fill with peels from oranges and/or grapefruits. I packed them in, so there were a lot, but not so tight there wasn’t room to move a bit. In the picture, I used a canning jar. I also used an empty juice bottle. It wasn’t easy to get the left over peels out.. but it worked well too.

Once the peels are in place, cover to the top with white vinegar.

I let mine sit for almost a month before I used some. I poured straight into a spray bottle and used neat. But it smelled really strong of vinegar.

The second bottle I filled, I fill about half way, and then topped off with water. Distilled would be best for cleaning glass, but even tap is works.

You can also buy orange essential oil. A few drops would scent your mixture more of oranges, but may cause streaking – I haven’t tried it, yet.

Happy cleaning! (Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one!)

Banana Orange filling for Crepes

This is my all-time favorite recipe for Orange Banana crepes.

I use this Dessert Crepes recipe. I make a lot of crepes to store in the fridge for quick snacks (or meals). I also store extra of this orange sauce in the fridge too.

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (I do pulp free)
4 teaspoons grated orange peel (I rarely use this much, usually more like 2 teaspoons)

Orange Sauce for Crepes
Orange Sauce for Crepes

In a sauce pan, combine butter, sugar, orange juice and grated orange peel and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat.

Add banana – sliced long-way or in round bites. Let bananas warm through.

Pile onto your crepes with some orange sauce and eat up..

I usually eat with a fork and finish with a spoon.. mmmm

Store leftover in fridge – this will separate, and the butter on top will harden.  Melts in microwave easily enough.

Dessert Crepes Recipe

My mom used to make me crepes with bananas and orange sauce.. and it was

Here’s the crepe recipe she gave me, and I’ve been using like mad lately.

Dessert Crepes

1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter (some extra for the pan)

I mix all ingredients except the flour, with a hand mixer. Once everything is well blended, I add the flour, gently.

Put in fridge for a couple hours – I usually make the mix the night before and then cook in the morning, or make the mix in the morning and cook up in the evening. The batter usually separates – so when you get ready to cook, just stir it up.

Stack Crepes - layer on paper towel

I have been doubling the batch with no problem.

To make, melt butter in a metal pan (I use stainless steel) and get hot – I have found I start out with my stove on 2-ish, but then have to lower to simmer so I don’t burn them.

I use a metal spatula, but whatever your favorite utensil for the job. 🙂

I use a big spoon and pour into center of the pan – then lift the pan and gently roll, so the batter spreads and thins out. Let cook until the top looks almost dry and the edges look slightly browned. Flip. Let cook about 20-30 seconds on this side.

Set on a wire cookie rack to cool. I let one cool, as I cook the next, then I stack with paper towels between the layers. The paper towels don’t stick to the crepes. You can also use wax paper. I was out, so just used paper towels and since it didn’t stick and was just so easy, that is what I always use.

I stack them up to cool and then put them in a big baggie in the fridge to eat whenever.

Crepes don’t have to be about fruits or sweets. You can load with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon; lunch meat (might want to cut back on the sugar). When I really lazy, or all out of fruit, I warm in the microwave with butter, powdered sugar and a bit of cinnamon, roll and eat.

Banana Orange Crepe Filler – it’s soo good.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

I think I called this Caramel Apple Oatmeal when I took my picture, because I used so much brown sugar and butter… mmm.. it was sooo yummmy.

I am a member of Pinterest. If you aren’t, and you like stuff, you ought to be. No, really. Etsy used to be my favorite site, because of all the cool stuff. Since Pinterest, Etsy has had to take a step back (maybe two or three, because I like Pinterest just that much). But that is all beside the point.

Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and oatmeal are spot on the point. I found this pin at pinterest for Apple Pie Oatmeal. It looked so tasty (and I was really hungry, but oatmeal is one of my favorites), I re-pinned it and actually got up right that minute and made my own.

It’s easy peasy, even still I made a few adjustments of my own, out of preference and necessity.

1 c. of water (I use 1/2 water and 1/2 milk – I like my oatmeal creamy)
1/2 c. oatmeal (minute oats – the quick cook kind)
1 TBS butter (real stuff.. mmm good)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced*
brown sugar – your preference

Put liquid and butter on stove and bring to light boil. Add Oats, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg, turn heat down to simmer – and stir for 2-3 minutes. Top with brown sugar, milk/cream and more butter if you want.

* I was trying to be quick and I diced my apples. I started out slicing thinly and once cooked, I really liked those, but was running out of time (I’d already put my liquid on to boil) so I diced the rest quickly. I didn’t care for the tartness of diced apples (I used granny smith), but the thin slices were perfect. Next time I’ll slice the apple thinly, like I do for Apple Crisp.

I made it for a mid-afternoon meal, on a chilly winter day.. it was perfect.

Oil Cleansing Method – OCM

The Oil Cleansing Method of facial wash, is a healthy and natural alternative to washing with soaps or facial cleansers.

There is already a lot of information out there on this method of washing your face, so maybe you’ve already read about and are just looking for more support.  I like to read several articles on something before I try it, because everyone has their own reasons, their own method and process.

This year, 2012, brings with it my 42nd birthday.  And while I hit my 40’s happy, I can say I’ve never been happy with my skin.  I’ve always battled breakout and redness.  I’m now noticing my skin is getting thin, and fine lines.  I’ve used my own handmade soap on my skin for years, but I think it’s time to change my routine for my face.  Here’s where OCM comes in to play.

This method calls for simple ingredients which you should be able to easily find at your grocery or drug store.

  • Olive Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Essential Oil

Olive Oil, it’s good for all skin types, but don’t feel limited to this one oil.  There are plenty of other oils that are easy to get, but will help target problems, like dry or oily skin.

Castor Oil – this helps clean and dissolve dirty oils on your skin – but can be drying so you’ll want to use more or less, depending on your skin type ( oily skin = use up to 30%, dry skin = use 10% or less).

Essential Oil – this isn’t necessary, but I had Lavender oil and Patchouli oil on hand, so I made two small bottles 1 of each eo.

Bottle it up: I had plastic bottles from my days of lotion making, but any jar or small container with a lid will work.

  • 3/4 Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Castor Oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon EO

How to Wash your face with Oils:  You need a nice washcloth and hot water (running, so it’s clean).  I wet my face out of habit, then pour the mixed oils in my palm to equal the size of a quarter or so (more or less, no big deal).  Rub the oils together between your hands to warm the oils, then rub on your face.

Pay attention to any problem areas, rubbing and rubbing.

Side note:  This is a great time to get in a pep talk to your body.  While I’ve always sort of done this, I had it put into words when my sister came home from France recently.  On her long trip on the plane, she did some knitting, but most inspirational to me is her writing in her journal – she wrote to her body, telling it she was sorry for all the things she done wrong, and what she plans to do better.  So, get in a chat with your face.. you’ve likely put some nasty stuff on your face over the years.

Once this is done, turn your hot water back on and get your cloth wet.  First thing I did was lay the cloth against my face and let the hot moisture open my pores.  Then I rinsed the cloth again and gently rubbed away the oils – and I visualized wiping away the dirty oils.

Rinse a few times with water as hot as you can stand it (this helps break up the dirties and wipe them away), until you feel you’ve gotten most of the oils off your skin.  Pat dry, gently.  You may or may not need extra moisturizer.  Today, I chose not to use any – I’m mostly curious how my skin will respond to the oils only.  It’s winter, as I write this, so my feelings on this may change depending on the weather.

One down side to this method is your skin might go into a panic the first few weeks, much like it does when you stop using store-bought shampoo.  It’s ok.  Give it a couple of weeks to get use to this new gentle method.. but in the meantime, you may be faced with more breakouts than usual – they should clear up after a few weeks.   No fun, I know, but all things good usually come with a little discomfort to start out.

How the Oil Cleansing Method works:  Well, others have explained it sooo well (Crunchy Betty and Simple Mom), that I don’t think I could do better, but essentially, Oils clean oils.. the Oils in this mixture, are warmed on your skin and cleanse away the dirty oils, leaving soft clean skin behind.   Simple Mom does a good job explaining the hows and whys it works, while Crunchy Betty gives a list of oils to use, ratios and some why’s as well.

Bean and Rice Salad

One of my favorite dishes is simple and cheap… black beans and rice salad.  Rice and beans are a staple I keep on hand, and we almost always have cheese and sour cream.. so when I get in the mood for this, it’s not very costly (just pick up a tomato and avocado).  This isn’t one my kids are fond of though.  Usually just me & Em.

Ingredients – and layer in bowl in this order:

Shredded Lettuce
Cooked Rice (I like it when it’s still warm off the stove)
Black Beans (I use canned and drain/rinse)
Salsa or Diced Tomatoes
Sour Cream
Mashed Avocado
Top with Shredded Cheese (your choice)

For seasonings, I just use salt (or the No-Salt Salt, since I need to watch my sodium because of my crohn’s disease and presdnisone issues). I also like a seasoning called Nature’s Seasons..

Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

The past few times I’ve picked up the box of large shells in the pasta isle at the grocery, I couldn’t find the recipe I liked to use. Going through all my recipes, I realize I’ve had it all along posted on my other site. So I’m condensing and moving this recipe here to MommaMuse. This is my favorite Cheese stuffed shells recipe.

While this may seem like a time consuming meal to prepare (for some reason it always does to me), it really isn’t bad at all.

Periodically, I’ll buy ground beef in bulk. I’ll brown and drain it all, then separate it into baggies marked with the date made. Either freeze or plan to use in the next couple of days. Doing this makes this recipe run much smoother during preparations… while the pasta shells are cooking on the stove, I prepare the meat and cheese stuffing.. it takes me almost as long to make the stuffing mix, while cleaning up after myself as it does for the shells to cook.
The cheese stuffing
1 package of jumbo pasta shells
1 jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (I actually use tomato sauce usually)
1 lb browned ground beef, drained
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheese (mixed or mozzarella)
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs parsley (I used dried, but fresh would be best)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta shells as package directs.

While pasta is cooking, add together all ingredients EXCEPT the spaghetti sauce and a little extra shredded cheese to use for a topper.

In a large casserole dish, spread some of your pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish.

Once the pasta shells are done cooking, I drain and rinse under cold water so handling the shells is easy to do – not hot.
Ready to Bake - Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Using a large spoon, scoop the cheese and meet mixture into each shell, then placing it into the casserole dish.

Pour more sauce on top of the stuffed shells and place in over for about 45 minutes. In the last 10 minutes or so, top with the remaining shredded cheese. Once melted, remove from oven and enjoy!
Baked Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Serve with salad and bread.

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