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How To Dust A Ceiling Fan

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My last post The BEST Dusting Tip was such a popular entry, that I decided to follow up with another great dusting tip. Those with asthma and allergies might really appreciate these dusting tips.

How To Dust a Ceiling Fan:

Use a pillowcase! This way, the dust is caught in the case instead of dropping to the floor or scattering through the air. 

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How Do I Make My Cookies Softer?

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Are your cookies hard and slightly burnt on the bottom? Worse yet, they don’t seem to taste much better, even after dunking them into a glass of milk. It’s almost as if they can’t soak up any of the milk. Are you asking yourself, what did I do wrong? Don’t worry, I have the answer.Make sure to check out all of my tips and tricks to help you in the kitchen here.

I want big, soft, gourmet style cookies, but mine always turn out too hard. How do I make my cookies softer?

Use more brown sugar. That’s it. Brown sugar will make your cookie a little more crumbly after it bakes. For example, take my recipe for chocolate chip cookies here. It calls for only ½ cup of granulated white sugar, compared to, 2 cups of brown sugar. That is a full 4 to 1 ratio of brown sugar to white. The result is a softer, more granular cookie. It breaks apart easily and readily soaks up milk upon dunking it. Just be careful, it might just fall in! Now that is what I call a soft cookie!

Try experimenting with some of your existing cookie recipes. If your recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sugar, try 1/4 cup brown sugar to 1/2 cup white. If your recipe calls for 1 cup, try half white sugar and half brown sugar. You can have a lot of fun trying out different combinations. Put your own spin on your favorite recipes. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. I went through at least a half dozen different recipes before I found the one that I liked best. If all else fails, throw your failed cookies in some ice cream and call it a day.

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The BEST Dusting Tip

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I don’t know about you, but I hate dusting and I am willing to try just about anything to keep from having to dust every other day. So here is a little trick I heard from a friend and I have been doing it ever since: I use a dryer sheet to dust with! I have found it works well for shelves, windowsills and baseboards. 

The method I have found that works best is:

First, go over the area with a cloth designed to “catch” dust, not simply spread it around. I found my duster at the dollar store. It has a removable cloth that can be washed in the laundry.

Next, I spray a little water on a dryer sheet (just a little, you don’t want it dripping). Then, I simply wipe everything down with a dryer sheet.

Think about it. Dryer sheets repel static on clothes, right? It does a pretty good job on windowsills and baseboards too.

Here is a comparison of two windowsills in my house after TWO WEEKS without dusting. The first one is a picture before I started using dryer sheets in my weekly dusting routine, the other picture is after using dryer sheets. I had to wait two weeks, because there wasn’t even enough dust on the windowsill after the first week to warrant a picture. Take a look for yourself.

windowsill 500

 

So what do you think? Are you going to try this?

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Salted vs Unsalted Butter

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Did you know, that when a recipe states “butter” as an ingredient, it really means “unsalted butter.” WHY was this not explained to me earlier!? Bakers just assume that everyone knows this. You could be sabotaging your baking and not even know it! 

So what is the deal? Should you use salted or unsalted butter? Here is an easy guide to understanding the pros and cons of each.

 

Salted Butter:

Pros: tastes yummy, excellent for buttering savory items like warm corn on the cob and it is easy to find in the grocery store.

Cons: Every company is different and there is no “standard” amount of salt per stick of butter. So you don’t know exactly how much salt is in the butter, which makes it hard to calculate the impact of the salt in a given recipe.

 

Unsalted Butter:

Pros: Most recipes are written with unsalted butter in mind and ingredients reflect this. So if your recipe requires salt and you are using salted butter, then you are already starting with too much salt.  The pro to this is that it is much easier to control the amount of salt in your recipe if you start off by using unsalted butter and just add salt from there.

Cons: There are times when salted butter simply tastes better. For instance, when I make Chicken Marsala, I notice a distinct difference in the flavor of my sauce when I use unsalted butter instead of salted butter. In this case, I prefer using salted butter.

 

What to do if you only have salted butter on hand:

A general rule of thumb is to decrease the amount of salt your recipe calls for by 1/4 teaspoon for every 1/2 cup (that’s one stick) of butter. Of course, my recommendation is to use unsalted butter whenever possible, but at least now you have a handy guide to help you be the best baker you can be. 

 

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