Gunk Gone

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I love learning new things in the kitchen.

I have been cooking since I was six years old, so I have over a half-century of culinary learning under my belt (wow, that makes me feel old).

Most of the time I’m inventing new recipes, so I learn things about the ingredients and the processes related to cooking all the time. I find new ways to do things with similar ingredients. One day I’ll cook a French chicken dish and the next I’ll do a Cajun one. Or one day I’ll use a roasting application that I’ve never done before and then I might switch it up and poach something. I’ve been learning a lot in the last few years about low carb baking. That’s a whole different animal. It’s like going back to Home Ec again.

But there’s one thing I’ve never learned. And that’s how to get that gunk off of cookie sheets. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that brown-to-black gooey film that forms on cookie sheets. We know where it comes from. It’s that cooking spray. It’s usually fairly easy to scrub it off of the middle of the sheets where the cookies laid. But it’s the corners that get all gross. You can scrub and scrub. You can use steel wool or any new-fangled scrubbie pad, but it just doesn’t want to come off. I suppose if I had all day, the steel wool would eventually work but I also get frustrated when my cookie sheets get all scratched in the process.

So in steps Heloise. I’ve read her household hint column “Ask Heloise” for years. I read her mother’s column before her and maybe even her grandmother’s version. The name Heloise has been synonymous with household hints for more decades than I’ve been cooking in my kitchen. I’d just never seen a write-up on how Heloise suggests you clean that insidious gunk off of a cookie sheet…until now.

So here she comes to the rescue of those of us who no longer want to get so frustrated with that filth that we resort of tossing out our cookie sheets only to buy new ones and start the build-up process all over again.

And it’s easy.

Place paper towels across the surface of the offended cookie sheet. Mix 1 tsp. of ammonia with one cup of water. Pour that over the paper towels so it soaks in. Cover the cookie sheets with aluminum foil or plastic so the water doesn’t evaporate. Set the soaking cookie sheets aside, away from pets and children. Come back the next day and remove the layer of paper towels and scrub the gunk away with relative ease. A little brushing with soap and water, and voila. A clean cookie sheet.

So as you go into the baking season you’ve got another tool in your arsenal of cooking prowess and clean up. Here’s a low carb cookie recipe, too. My husband’s childhood favorite.

Low carb snickerdoodles.


How to Buy Stevia

The number of sweeteners designed to replace sugar is growing by the day.  It can make you dizzy standing in the grocery store in front of the sweetener options.  At last count one sugar blogger counted over 160.  I can’t even keep up.

I keep it simple and use just a few but I am always on the lookout for any that might be a major improvement. When you shop for your sweetener options it can be a scary and overwhelming decision-making process.  Here are a few hints. 

The “Hummers”

The hummingbirds visiting my balcony have been the highlight of my summer. Then “POOF”. They are gone!