what do you want to do?

cleaning (5) craft (26) DIY food (7) niftyman (4) nondairy (18) vegan (11)

Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Remove Label from a Jar

I read about some crazy methods for removing labels from jars involving peanut butter and WD-40. The idea of slathering my jar with peanut butter seemed not only wasteful but also messy. And WD-40 has a strong chemical smell. I decided to try good old-fashioned soaking and elbow grease.

Step 1: Soak jar in warm soapy water.

Step 2: Scratch off glue with pot scraper
or credit card. Repeat scraping
and soaking as necessary.

Step 3: Clean with rubbing alcohol.

Step 4: Take out medium-grain sandpaper.

Step 5: Sand off paint from jar lid.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last-Minute Valentine

OK, I bought my husband a bag of chocolates from See's candies and thought, I'll spruce it up later. Well, today is Valentine's Day so here's what I came up with from things around the house.

Foil-wrapped chocolates
Grey Poupon jar
Pinking shears
Paper lunch bag
Rubber band
Kitchen twine
gift tag

Step1: Gather supplies.

Step 2: Write personal
messages on foil.

Step 3: Cover jar.
Step 4: Cut out square of paper bag.
Use jar lid as guide.

Step 5: Secure with rubber band.

Step 6: Add kitchen twine
and gift tag.

If you don't have a tag, use the ones that
hold extra yarn on the sweaters you buy.

Pretty cute! You can make this for your sweetie, your kids, your BFF. It's fun to customize the message and make it personal, but in a pinch you can even just give the jar of hearts.

The hardest part of this project was getting my Grey Poupon jar in gift-ready mode. Here's the step-by step:


Monday, February 13, 2012

Soyatoo Rice Whip Review

After messing around with whipping soy creamer (did not whip), cashew cream (too gritty and heavy, not whipped), and coconut milk (coconut--yuck!), I found the holy grail of non-dairy whipped cream: Soyatoo Rice Whip. Unlike the Soyatoo Soy Whip, it doesn't have a heavy coconut taste. As you can see, it's Phoebe-approved and no fuss.

  • At over $5, it's expensive.
  • I've only seen it at Whole Foods.
  • Follow extensive directions on the can precisely! Because we were impatient, we found out the hard way that not allowing the can to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, resulted in slowly letting out too much of the air in the can. This ended up ruining the whole thing. We still have soft whipped cream, but it's not as nice as our last can which produced beautifully piped stiff cream.
  • You need to clean the nozzle each time you use it.
  • Packaging can't be good for the environment.

Angel Food Cake

Desperate to use up some old eggs, I decided to try making angel food cake. The only problem: no tube cake pan. I debated between using a bundt cake pan or halving the recipe and using a muffin tin. After reading that you have to bake angel food cake in an unlined pan so that the fat-free cake can cling to the side of the pan and achieve maximum rise, I imagined myself trying to unmold from the ridges of the bundt pan and decided to go with the muffin tin. Good choice! Because the muffins are so small, they cooked quickly and evenly. No fuss with the tube pan and confusing upside-down cooling method. Last night, I went to bed thinking, If we have any left over, we'll toast them up for our Valentine's Day chocolate fondue. Is it wrong to plan dessert two days in advance?

Adapted from joyofbaking.com

6 egg whites
1/8 t salt
1/2 T lemon juice
3/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate egg whites into bowl of an electric mixer while they are still cold.  Reserve yolks for another use, such as homemade pudding. Leave whites at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners.

Using whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium speed until they are foamy. Add salt and lemon juice. Beat on high speed until you get stiff peaks. By hand, gently whisk in flour, sugar, and vanilla. Fill muffin cups with an ice cream scoop. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

We served ours with strawberries and Soyatoo rice whip.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Nondairy Lemon Thyme Cornbread

My husband always knows something is up with the dinner when he comes home and smells baked goods. Whenever I'm insecure about my dinner, I bolster it with dessert or, in this case, a baked good that also works as a side for my split pea soup. This bread combines savory and sweet. Many recipes combine olive oil, lemon, and thyme. I found that most of them use an appalling amount of oil. After years of baking with oil, I've found that you usually need less of it than butter. Maybe my lemon juice reacted with the almond milk and created a buttermilk that helped make the bread tender. In any case, the bread disappeared without any complaints about dryness.

1 c flour
3/4 c corn meal (fine ground)
1/2 c sugar
2t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon
fresh thyme
1/4 olive oil
1 egg
1/2 c almond milk
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. I used about a dozen sprigs of thyme but you can add more if you like. Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and combine. Mixture should be lumpy. Resist the urge to over-mix. Pour into parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.