Sunday, May 25, 2008

my favorite cleaners

Maybe it seems silly to blog about my favorite cleaners, but as much as I dislike cleaning, and the fact that it must be done to have a happy home, these products at least make it bearable. In case you don't like cleaning either, I thought I should let you know about them!
Method products are so great. I've tried a number of them and here is why I like them, and particularly the Pink Grapefruit All-Purpose Cleaner.
  • the design is very pleasing, simple and clean
  • the fragrances are refreshing and are the kinds of smells you want to have around your house, and especially your kitchen
  • they are biodegradable! need I say more?
  • they are a nice, non-toxic-looking item to have sitting on my kitchen windowsill
  • I can even use it on my wooden dining room table with out worrying about the finish... the table looks better using this than a damp washcloth
  • you can get them at Target

    Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products are a recent discovery and just as great. I love that these are also biodegradable and the fragrances are wonderful. They have scents like lavendar, lemon verbena, geranium and rhubarb. I've been using the geranium dish soap and every time I wash the dishes, it just makes me feel happy and clean (and I am NOT a floral-scent person). I also just started using the dishwasher soap. Same great smell while the dishwasher is running...

    This last favorite is not on the eco-friendly list, so if you have ever used Bar Keeper's Friend as well as a biodegradable equivalent, and like the latter as well or better, please let me know! I'm happy to try something new. The reason why I always have this cleaner under the sink is because it is the only product I have found to get every mark off my kitchen sink, counter tops and stainless steel pans. It makes the kitchen look sparkly clean when everything is finished. It is amazing! And it only costs 2.50 at Safeway and Williams-Sonoma.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

a match made in heaven

Is there much better than chocolate and peanut butter, together?

As long as I can remember my mom had a friend who make her a dish of these chocolate peanut butter bars every year on her birthday. My mom would hoard them, eat only half a bar at a time, and be very selective as to when and who could have some. They were very decadent (when you see the recipe you'll undertstand why you can't be making these babies any old day you please, without turning into a blimp).

Once in a while I make these to take somewhere to share. We never just make a batch to sit in the fridge for obvious reasons. They would never sit!

Anyway, next time you have a craving for that perfect match, try this recipe out. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1 plastic wrapped package graham crackers, crushed fine
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter, melted

Mix, press into a 9x13 pan.

Topping: Melt 12 ounces chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 1/2-3 tablespoons milk. Pour on top of peanut butter mixture. Store in refrigerator.

one of my favorite drinks

This is one of my favorite drinks. It is grape juice made from pinot noir grapes (the same used for wine) by a winery up near Mendocino. You can buy it here and there are a few restaurants in San Francisco who serve it. It is a delicious treat with a nice dinner, or for celebrations. The flavor is so rich and complex; it is not a juice you can drink glass after glass of. Mmmmm... At a restaurant we recently went to they served it over ice with a lime on the side. It was good. The vineyard also recommends drinking it as a spritzer mixed with sparkling water. I usually drink it as is, at room temperature.

Navarro Vineyards also makes a Gewutstraminer juice which is made from green grapes, and sweet. Since I don't drink wine it is hard to compare and explain the flavors from that point of view, but from what I understand Gewutstraminer is a dessert wine and is described as having flavors of lychee, peach and lime. It is sweeter than the pinot noir.

I only know of one wine store in Berkeley that carries it, if you don't want to buy it online. At the website it is $11 and you get 10% off if you buy a case. Split a case with a friend! Maybe I will go in on one with you... Yum.