Saturday, August 30, 2014

Listerine Feet and Pennies--Oh, You Won't Want to Miss These Gems of Wisdom!

With the Internet ever present, ideas fly around the ether like greased lightning (think Facebook and Pinterest). I'm not immune, and I love to poke around on different websites and blogs to see if there might be something cool to try. My tendency in life is to find ideas that are easy, inexpensive, and relatively low-tech. As my sons like to remind me, I was born a hundred years too late, so the simple ideas are the ones I gravitate toward naturally.

Still and all, the Internet can be somewhat addicting--all that information at your fingertips! I get excited just thinking about it! But we all know (or at least we should all know) that all ideas are not created equal. So if you find something that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Still, it can't hurt to try new things. Within reason, of course.

Today I'll share with you two tips, and my opinion of the results.

The first tip has to do with this:

And this:
Summertime means someone is more than likely going to get stung by a yellow jacket or bee. Yellow jacket stings seem to be especially painful and they often swell up and cause great discomfort to the poor person unlucky enough to get stung.
But if you have a penny and a Band-Aid or some scotch or masking tape, you've got an easy, quick, and effective fix for the discomfort and swelling.
When someone gets stung, immediately wash and dry a penny (although if there's no place to clean a penny, I'd probably either spit on it and rub it dry on my clothes or just use it as is). Place the penny on the sting and tape it in place with the Band-Aid. Voila! That's all there is to it. Keep the penny taped on for several hours or overnight if possible, and when you take it off you'll notice there's no swelling. Several people in my little part of the world have used it successfully this summer (it's a dry year and we've had an extra mean yellow jacket population this summer), including my one-year-old granddaughter and a child who usually swells up pretty badly. Both of these wee ones were none the worse for wear by the next day after having worn the penny. Can't beat that for a success story.
But now we'll move on to the dark side of the Internet and it's fancy ideas. But first a bit of back story.

I pretty much spend my summer months either barefoot or in flip flops. The result is calloused feet that are hideous. While it's true that I don't much care what my feet look like (hey, I've reached "a certain age" and feet are the least of my worries!) I thought I'd try an idea for effortless soft feet that use ingredients I actually had around the house. And "everybody" seems to be ballyhooing this magic tonic, so what did I have to lose?
Here's the "recipe":
1 part white vinegar
1 part Listerine
2 parts warm water
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl large enough to get your feet inside and then soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. Wipe dry "and the tough skin will practically fall off!" according to one perky blogger.
Oh, boy, I thought! Dainty soft feet! Skin as smooth as a baby's bottom! This I've got to try!
Yeah, right.
Now to be fair, I got back on the Internet after my dismal failure and noticed that some acolytes were extolling using a pumice stone after the skin softening soak, but others said a brisk rub with a towel was all you needed to get that tough old skin to slough off. I decided to use the towel (no pumice handy)...And I had absolutely no luck. Well actually, that's not exactly correct.
When I was finished soaking my feet I rubbed them so long and so hard that they started feeling a bit tender, but when I took a good look and feel I still had crocodile skin. I finally gave up in disgust and put my flip flops back on. And only then did I notice.
My feet--and especially my toes--had turned a hideous shade of blue. Oh good grief! For one wild moment I thought I'd have to wear shoes and socks no matter how hot the days gets. But then I came to my senses: You win some and you lose some, and if having blue feet isthe price to pay for my sweet little granddaughter having an easy time with her yellow jacket sting, I'll take blue feet any day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Old-Fashioned Amish Made Egg Beater

I recently purchased an old-fashioned egg beater. Called the Country Beater, it's made by King's Manufacturing in Leola, PA by an Amish manufacturer. The Amish use many hand-operated kitchen tools and I figured they would turn out a great product. I wasn't disappointed.

The Country Beater has stainless steel beaters and die cast gears and has a one-year warranty. If you know anything about antique egg beaters, you'll be pleased to know that it's built on the design of the old Dazee egg beaters. This is a workhorse!

I wanted to put it through its paces, so I promptly started beating things. I beat eggs and whipping cream and they both worked up incredibly easily. No surprise there.

The whipped cream took about three times longer than if I used electric hand beaters, but it was easy work and I probably could have gotten the cream whipped sooner if I had turned the beater handle faster. But I was in no hurry and took my time so I could watch the beating action. It was rather mesmerizing.

Next I decided to whip up a batch of buttermilk pancakes and they were easy-peasy as well:

Flush with easy success I decided to make mashed potatoes and use the egg beater. Ha! I did manage to mash the potatoes but what price glory! I first had to sort of smash the potatoes so they would go through the beaters. This, in my mind at least, somewhat negated the need for the beaters in the first place. I think I would have been better off using my old-fashioned potato rice/masher (which I love), and I plan on doing that in the future.

But all in all, I love my new egg beater. It's very well made and sturdy and I love that it's stainless steel and not aluminum. The beater portion is deep so you can process a large amount of food at one time, and the gear works are smooth. Although it's dishwasher safe, I've washed mine by hand and it's no problem at all to get the blades totally clean.

Would I recommend one? Yes--without hesitation I'd recommend the Country Beater. However, the price is steep so you'd best really want one before you plunk down the money. At $69.95 it's not something you'd purchase on a whim.

There are cheap egg beaters on the market and they will probably do just fine if you only plan to whip up a few scrambled eggs every once in a while. But if you want a serious manual egg beater, go with the Country Beater. You won't be sorry.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go whip up a cake.


UPDATE: Here's a photo that better shows the heavy0duty metal gears. This egg beater has held up so well!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Latest Book!

Hello, all! And a good morning to you.

It's hot here in the Pacific Northwest...well, at least we think so! We've been in the 90s for several weeks now, and that's considered hot, hot, hot. But with all this sunshine and warmth, the gardens are abundant (if we remember to water regularly) and harvest and canning season are upon us in earnest. I love this time of year, although I could do without quite so much heat.

I'm happy to announce that my latest cookbook is due out in just a few weeks--September 1, to be exact. I've written this book with  friend and fellow baker, Kathleen Kerr, and I'm confident you'll find lots of great recipes inside, no matter what your need or tastes might be. And with more than 300 recipes included, you'll be sure to find just the right goodie for any occasion.

Now isn't that a great-looking cover? Makes me want to stop right now and bake something! You can order the book at any of the usual online "book stores," such as,,, and in stores all across the country.

And don't forget to pick up a copy of my canning cookbook. Because after all--it's the season!

May you and your loved ones be blessed.