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A New Year. A New Me.

February 24th, 2015

Wow!  2015 has been quite a year so far.    We’ve survived monstrous snowstorms, crowned a super bowl winner and celebrated 40 years of Saturday Night Live.  And that’s in just two months.

But what did YOU do during those two months?  Did you make a New Year’s resolution?  Nielsen.com compiled a list of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015 – and healthy

  1. Lose weight
  2. Enjoy life to the fullest
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Spend more time with family and friends
  5. Get organized
  6. Will not make any resolutions
  7. Learn something new / new hobby
  8. Travel more
  9. Read more

Back in December, we let the Mr. Appliance Facebook followers decide what new Pinterest board they would like to see in 2015.  Looking at the list from Nielsen, it’s no surprise that the winning board was A New Year. A New Me.

The A New Year. A New Me. board encompasses the whole you.  It takes Nielsen’s top ten list and wraps it up in one place with a pretty little Pinterest bow.  So, even if you didn’t make a new year’s resolution, we’ve got something for you on this board with great pins like…

  • Create Healthy Habits, Not Restrictions.
  • 12 Tips on Staying Inspired
  • 5 Steps to Be Ready to Make a Change
  • 30 Things You Should Do For Yourself

So, fix yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy the A New Year. A New Me. Pinterest page.

Decoding Laundry Labels

February 19th, 2015

3 Easy Steps to a Clean Fridge

February 16th, 2015

by Emile Sims

Spring is just around the corner.  And the start of a new season means it’s time to start afresh, clean and get organized!

If your family is anything like mine, your kitchen is far from clean (the refrigerator in particular). Especially if you have young boys living in your house, odds are that your refrigerator will suffer more spills than you’d like to admit.

You’ll know it’s time to clean if you find something in your fridge that you aren’t sure what it is, or if you’re looking for something but you have trouble finding it amid all the to-go boxes, empty containers and expired foods.

Even if it’s not much fun, cleaning out your refrigerator is just something that has to be done. If you are not sure where to start, here are a few tips for cleaning out your fridge.

1.  Start by taking everything out of your refrigerator give it a good all-over wipe-down to clean up all the spills and stickiness. Use a paper towel with a multi-purpose cleaning spray (such as Windex) to wipe down the shelves and the walls and use a sponge for any sticky or hardened spills.

2.  Once the inside of your refrigerator is clean and free from any caked-on messes go through your food and throw away anything that has expired or rotted. Moldy fruit? Expired yogurt? Chunky milk? Time to toss it all. On a day-to-day basis we might not notice expired foods in our refrigerators, but it’s much easier to see when we take everything out!

3.  Next take all your foods and beverages out of their boxes or containers that they come in, i.e. the cardboard boxes of soda or the small cardboard packages that hold yogurt. By throwing these boxes or containers away and simply storing the foods or drinks themselves in your refrigerator, you’ll be saving a lot of space.

Other organizational tips include lining the shelves of your refrigerator with fridge liners to minimize cleanup whenever you have big spills, and organizing your items with plastic bins or containers to prevent a disorganized jumble.

We hope these quick tips will help you get your refrigerator cleaner than ever this spring!

Roses are Red. Grass Stains are Green.

February 11th, 2015

Roses are red and grass stains are green.

To knock out stains, you just gotta get mean!

Grass stains on white baseball pants….tomato sauce on a new pink shirt…ink blob on favorite khakis…grrrrrr.  It’s common knowledge that clothes with spills and stains are automatically tossed in the trash or are recycled into cleaning rags, right?  N to the O.  No way.  You can absolutely knock those stains out with a few secret recipes, a bit of scrubbing and good old fashion elbow grease!

To help you out, Mr. Appliance came up with a list of DIY stain remover options for you.  As with any stain remover, make sure to test on a small, unseen area of fabric before going to town on the actual stain.

Option 1 – Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Mix 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid (original blue kind) and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and pour on the stain.  TIP: Mix together in a spray bottle so you can simply spray on stains.

Option 2 – Salt

Plain ol’ salt is great for absorbing fresh blood, grease and ink stains.  A mixture of 1 quart water and 4 tablespoons salt can even tackle those tough and icky perspiration stains.

Option 3 – Tenderizer

For dried protein-based stains like milk, chocolate and blood make a paste out of meat tenderizer and water and rub it on the stain.  Let it sit for about an hour and then launder as usual.

Option 4 – Vinegar & Dishwashing Liquid

Set in stains can be pretreated with a concoction of 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons liquid detergent and 1 quart of water. Rub solution on stain and blot before washing.

Stains be gone! If you have another successful way to remove stains, we would love to hear from you.

Keeping Your Whites White

January 27th, 2015

Graphic of white laundry on clothesline

You know the rule…no wearing white after Labor Day.  But let’s get real.  Who really follows that rule these days anyway?  Bustle.com has an interesting listing of the 5 times you shouldn’t wear white:

  1. Weddings
  2. Funerals
  3. Hot Dog Eating Contests
  4. Ice Bucket Challenges
  5. Apple Picking

There’s no mention at all about post-Labor Day wardrobe choices.  When asked about the wearing white after Labor Day rules, fashion and style guru Tim Gunn says, “All those rules need to go away.”  So, now that Tim has spoken and it’s officially OK to wear white after the first Monday in September, how do you keep your now year-round whites white?

Have no fear.  Your friends at Mr. Appliance® can not only keep your washing machine in tip-top shape, but we can also help you keep those whites…well, white.  So, here are three tips from Mr. Appliance to help you maintain white whites.

Divide and Conquer

Washing your whites with colored clothes will cause unsightly dinginess.  Make sure to always wash your whites separately.  You should also discriminate between the types of whites as well.  You certainly don’t want to wash dirty athletic socks with your nice white, cotton button-up.

Sleuth out Stains

Did you know that stains can actually set in during the washing process?  So, it’s super important to give all whites a quick look-over before tossing into the washing machine.  Always check fabric labels first, but in most cases you can use around-the-house items to pretreat stains.  Maids.com

Give Detergent an Oomph

Baking soda is a fabulous color-safe bleach alternative that will remove odors and help your laundry detergent work better.  Add 1 cup of baking soda to the load and voilà…whiter whites!

So, there you have it.  Three easy steps to keep your whites white.  If you’re bold enough to wear white after Labor Day, you certainly don’t want to be dingy!  That would be an out-right fashion faux pas.

For the Love of Pumpkin: Pumpkin Recipes

January 16th, 2015

Graphic about the For the Love of Pumpkin Mr. Appliance blog post.

The first day of fall is almost synonymous with pumpkin.  Pumpkin this…pumpkin that. Pumpkin seems to bring out inner obsessions.  Well, maybe obsession is too strong of a word.  Let’s call it pumpkin mania.  Think about it.  People line up at the local coffee shop waiting, drooling, and practically panting for their beloved pumpkin spice latte.  Restaurants serve seasonal pumpkin flavored menu items.  Even the local yogurt and ice cream parlors get in on the action with pumpkin flavored frozen sweets.

But who’s to say that pumpkin should be limited only to fall and the holiday season?  Why can’t we enjoy this delectable, orange fruit all year?  That’s precisely why we created the For the Love of Pumpkin board on the Mr. Appliance® Pinterest page.

We’re going to celebrate our love for pumpkin 365 days a year.  So, get your taste buds ready.  To get you started, here are a few of the most popular pumpkin recipe pins from the For the Love of Pumpkin board.  2015 may just end up being the year of the pumpkin mania!

Pumpkin Protein Shake

Ingredients List:

  • 1 cup Silk unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 6 ice cubes

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and process until well combined.
  • Taste and adjust sweetener, if desired.

Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal

Ingredients List:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup half & half or milk
  • 1 ½ cups steel cut oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½-1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Stir all ingredients together in slow cooker and cook on low overnight, about 8 hours.
  • When it’s done, it will still look runny.  Stir.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator or freezer.

S’mores: A Favorite Fireplace Snack

December 30th, 2014

Graphic about favorite fireplace snacks

Baby, it’s cold outside…

Even if it’s cold and gloomy outside, you just can’t beat the warm fuzzies from a crackling fire in the fireplace.  But what can make the enchanting moment even better?  A fireplace snack!  And there’s no snack that can beat a good ol’ fireplace s’more.  The ooeyness, the gooeyness, the messiness and the yumminess make a fireplace s’more the best winter snack – ever!

S’mores are something fun to eat.

They’re such an ooey gooey treat.


It all begins with marshmallows.

And a cozy fire that sparkles and glows.


After the ‘mallow is toasted just right.

You’ll top it with chocolate delight.


It’s the sweetest goodness known to man.

Sandwiched between two squares of graham.


With a smile on your lips and ‘mallow on your chin

You’ll start the whole process all over again.


And just in case you need a little help getting started with your fireplace, s’more extravaganza, here are a few tips.  Sit back, eat a fireplace s’more and enjoy the moment!

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • A good ol’ hot fire in the fireplace
  • Skewers with a long handle
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate bars
  • Graham crackers

Instructions

  • Add a marshmallow to each skewer.
  • Roast marshmallow over flame. Make sure to flip frequently so marshmallow will brown evenly and not char or catch on fire.
  • When marshmallow is browned just right, place it on a graham cracker.
  • Top with piece of chocolate.
  • Add another square of graham cracker for the perfect sandwich.

Easy Holiday Cookies

December 18th, 2014

Graphic for baking easy holiday cookies

Sandra Lee is known for her “Semi-Homemade” cooking show on the Food Network.  She once said, “Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food.  They are very bite-sized and personal.”

We think Sandra hit a homerun with this statement.  There’s just something about a cookie – especially a Christmas cookie – that can bring out the inner cookie monster in anyone.   Keeping this in mind, we’ve pinned a fabulous recipe for cut-out sugar cookies that we just have to share with you.

Give it a try and be creative while decorating.  Make sure to send us a picture of your personal, bite-sized creations too.  We would love to see your smiling; cookie monster faces enjoying a festive Christmas cookie!

Perfect Sugar Cookies Cut-Outs

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ¼ cup sugar

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

3 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Colored sugars for decorating

BAKING DIRECTIONS

  1. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add in egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Make sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife to ensure accurate measurements.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until completely combined.
  3. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator.  Chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with colored sugars and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 40-50 cookies.

TIPS

  • Dough only needs to chill 20-30 minutes in refrigerator since it’s already rolled out.
  • Using parchment paper to roll dough eliminates the need to add extra flour to prevent sticking.
  • 9 minutes seems to be the perfect cooking time.
  • Make sure to let cookies cool on baking sheet for only 5 minutes – any longer will cause the cookies to dry out.

This recipe, along with tons of others, is pinned on our Mr. Appliance® Pinterest page under the Holiday Treats board.  Happy cooking!

Child Safety in The Kitchen

December 11th, 2014

Child Safety in the Kitchen

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home.  It’s a place where memories and masterpieces are created and cherished.  From the recreation of Aunt B’s apple pie that turned out beautifully or the hot mess that should have been Grandma’s creamy mashed potatoes but turned out to be a yellow glob with a near-rubber consistency – memories.

Whether you’re handing down secret recipes or starting new traditions, our kiddos and grand kids have a huge role in these special culinary memories.  Cooking with kiddos can definitely be fun, but it’s so important that we remember that these little ones are often curious, clumsy and inexperienced in the kitchen.  That’s a dangerous combination that could certainly lead to injuries if we aren’t careful.

So, here are some basic dos ad don’ts to help us keep the kiddos safe as we make wonderful memories in the kitchen.

DO

…use back burners if younger children are in the kitchen.

…take your time an not rush around.

…use hot pads and oven mitts.

…remove lids so steam goes away from your face.

…keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

DON’T

…hold or carry children while cooking.

…wear baggy clothes that can get caught in mixers or beaters.

…set anything that can catch fire near or on the stove.

…leave the kitchen while using the stove top.

…place dirty sharp knives in a sink full of water.

Guy Fieri once said, “Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking.  It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.”

Creativity in the kitchen can absolutely lead to life-long memories, but let’s make sure to keep safety on the front burner during the fun.

Happy Cooking!

Beef Wellington: A Christmas Tradition

December 9th, 2014

graphic for From Our Kitchen to Yours

By Elisa Voland

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.  And in my home, it’s a time when the kitchen is always stirring. My mom loves when everyone comes home for the holidays and she really enjoys cooking our favorite dishes for every meal. One of her favorite dishes to make for Christmas dinner is beef wellington. I’m not sure why this particular meal was originally chosen, but no one in our family has ever complained. Even our dog gets his own serving of it!

My mom prefers to prepare individual beef wellingtons for the family and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

  • 1 lb.  Fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 48 oz. beef tenderloin
  • 17 1/2 oz.  frozen pastry puff sheets  (thawed)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the mushrooms, onion, sherry, butter or margarine and parsley and sauté until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture resembles a paste. Cover the top of each steak with the mixture.

3. Partially thaw the puff pastry sheets and roll out pieces thin enough to cover the top, sides and bottom of each steak. Place the steaks on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until serving time.

4. Bake steaks uncovered in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. They will be rare but will continue cooking while dish is sitting.

Tips and Tricks:

  • This dish pairs perfectly with twice-baked potatoes.
  • Heat your baking pan or cookie sheet before putting the wellingtons on to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  • Use the leftover pastry and cut out Christmas shapes using a cookie cutter to top the wellingtons.