11 Kitchen Cleaning Tips - Read Mine, Share Yours

Like everyone else, I clean year-round. But with spring just 7 days away, I'm getting into a Spring Cleaning mood. I want to scrub off the winter doldrums, open the windows, and let the fresh air in. Here are some of my favorite cleaning tips for those pesky jobs.

Burned food in the bottom of a pot: Add a squirt of liquid dish detergent and half an inch of water to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the water cool to room temperature. The burned food should clean up quickly.

Accumulated grease on cookie sheets: In a GLASS bowl, mix ¼ cup baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Smear mixture on cookie sheet and scrub with small, circular motions, pressing firmly. Rinse and repeat until cookie sheet is clean and shiny. Wash sheet with soapy water and rinse well before using. Don't get the cleaning mixture on your clothes. It could remove the color from fabric.

For sluggish drains: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. Cover and let bubble for a few minutes. Then flush with a couple quarts of boiling water.

To freshen up your garbage disposal: Run water into drain, full hot. Turn on garbage disposal and pour in about a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. Let water and disposal run until the suds are rinsed away. Or grind up slices of lime or lemon peels while flooding the drain with hot water.

For a stale-smelling microwave: Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the mixture boils. The steam given off will cling to the walls. Wipe down for a fresh, clean microwave.

Coffee-maker Maintenance: Mix 2 cups white vinegar with 2 cups water in the coffee pot. Pour into the water reservoir and press the "brew" button. The vinegar mixture will remove the mineral deposits from the heating element. You might even see bits of it in the "brewed" mixture. If you do, mix a new batch of vinegar/water solution and brew again. Brew plain water several times to rinse the inside of the coffee-maker.

Wood Floor Cleaner: An 85-year-old friend recommended white vinegar to keep wood floors sparkling clean. Add 1 cup vinegar to a gallon of warm water and sponge mop.

Narrow-necked Vases: If you can't get your hand down the neck of your flower vases, use Alka-Seltzer. Fill the vase half full with water. Drop in 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets and let the fizz do the dirty work for you.

Range Hood Filters: Once a month or so, soak hood filters in hot, hot soapy water. Rinse before replacing. This will keep them grease-free and in good working order.  

Clean Cutting Boards: For wood cutting boards, sprinkle with course salt and rub with ½ a lemon. Plastic cutting boards can be run through the dishwasher. Once a month or so, soak plastic cutting boards in a mild bleach solution (2 tablespoons bleach to 2 quarts of water).

Garbage Can: At least once a week, wipe the inside and outside of the can with a soap solution (1 teaspoon dish soap to 1 quart warm water). This will get rid of any lingering odors.

I'm always looking for tips to make cleaning faster and easier. What tips do you have to offer?

Learn about what might be lurking in your cleaning supply closet here: What's Hiding in Your Cleaning Products at MilaKunst.com.

Starlight Cupcakes to the Rescue! #Recipe for #Foodies

I’m waiting for spring. I’m impatient. I need a reason to smile. What’s a woman to do?

Bake cupcakes! Yes! One of my favorite recipes for cupcakes comes from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook. I have the one I was given as a gift when I married my husband. I also have my grandmother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook which has her notes and hand-written recipes tucked inside. It’s a treasure!

Starlight Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk (substitute almond milk, if you wish)
2 teaspoons vanilla (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon)

1.     Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until ingredients are well incorporated.
2.     Add flour, baking powder, salt, milk, and vanilla. Stir just until batter comes together and no flour is visible. (Too much mixing at this stage will develop the gluten in the flour and make the cupcakes tough.)
3.     Line 36 medium, greased muffin cups with cupcake liners. Fill each liner half full with batter. Bake in a pre-heated 350ยบ F oven until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 18 min. Allow cupcakes to cool to room temperature.

I like my cupcakes sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, but you can use a tub of any flavored frosting you like. Enjoy!

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As you can imagine, I’ve been antsy lately. So I took on the task of creating a new cover for my book TAKING LOVE IN STRIDE. Here’s what I came up with. What do you think? The story is about a stiletto-loving school teacher who gets into a battle of wills with a do-it-my-way businessman. It’s a fun, sweet contemporary romance.

Hurry, Spring! Hurry!

Reaching Out To My Readers - @DonnaFaz #Quotes

I haven't reached out to my blog followers for a whole month! I can't believe it. Time just seems to slip through my fingers. 

My family experienced a tragedy recently; my brother-in-law passed away due to complications from pneumonia. He was young, just 59 years old, and he left behind two beautiful children. It's very sad. 

We never know what tomorrow will bring. I want you to know I appreciate you. I wish you happiness, love, and peace.

A request: If you have read and enjoyed my latest book, Second Chance Valentine (available for Kindle and in paperback), I would love for you to leave a review. The publishing date was February 1st and the book has sold around 100 copies, but it doesn't have any reviews yet. Could you help? :) It would mean a lot to me. Thank you!