Friday, February 29, 2008

Life Without Hot Water

Two weeks ago, our hot water heater quit working. My husband and I decided to wait until our next payday to pay cash for a new one rather than put the purchase on a credit card. So, I have had an interesting two weeks without the luxury of hot water.

At first, it was kind of fun having to heat water on the stove to wash the dishes. I poured the hot water into the sink and then rinsed with cold water. I soon found this combination didn't work well, as it didn't take long for the rinse water to cool down the soapy water in the sink. Next, I used a large plastic bowl in the sink for the hot water and rinsed with the cold next to the bowl. That worked well, except for washing the pots and pans. Our alternative method to wash our skillet was to boil water in it, wipe clean, and rinse. It wasn't perfect, but it did get the job done.

Laundry wasn't too much of a challenge. Most detergents nowadays work well in cold- water washes. The worst part of no hot water was when it came to bathing. Luckily, my mother doesn't live too far away and going to her house for a quick shower made a hard task work out well. My husband did experiment with heating water on the stove for an actual bath. That turned out to be a trial and error endeavor. I thought the bath water would cool off before he could get a second pot of hot water in there. I was wrong. He said it turned out that his bath water was too hot and he had to add more cold.

Tomorrow, we plan on heading to Home Depot to purchase our new water heater, I can't say the last two weeks have been easy, but we did manage. I still have dirty dishes piled high in the kitchen. There's only so many dishes you can wash at a time in a plastic bowl. So, by tomorrow night we will be back in business with hot water again. No more trips to mom's to shower. No more mornings where I have to pour cold water over my head to wet my hair down, and no more rinsing my mouth with cold water after brushing my teeth. I don't think I will ever complain about water being too hot again.

I gave a lot of thought about what kind of recipe I should put with an article about not having hot water. I came up with my recipe for my favorite coffee at Starbucks where it's only served at Christmas time. I get my craving for it at other times and had to come up with a recipe so I could enjoy it anytime.

Peppermint Mocha Cappuccino

1 small peppermint patty -- unwrapped and quartered
2 t. milk
1 C. hot brewed coffee
Whipped cream

In large microwave-safe mug place peppermint patty pieces and milk. Microwave on High for 30 seconds or until candy is melted. Stir in hot coffee until mug is almost full. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with red sugar crystals. Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


"Mom, will you make me a sandwich?" How many times have we heard that around the house? Sandwiches are usually a quick fix when we're hungry, but don't want a full meal. Most people think of sandwiches as something you have for lunch, but they can be served at any meal, even for breakfast.

If prepared properly, sandwiches can also be healthy, too. Multi-grain whole wheat bread is the best and can add flavor. Instead of regular mayonnaise, using low-fat or light can reduce calories and fat intake.

Just about any ordinary sandwich can be fancied-up by removing the crust, cutting them in smaller pieces, or making them smaller like finger sandwiches.

What kind of sandwiches can be served for supper, the heartiest meal of the day? It should be something that will fill you up and not leave you still hungry when you leave the table. I've included one of my favorites below. The second recipe is my version of a vegetable sandwich that is served at a restaurant where I usually eat for lunch during business tips.

Pizza Pita

4 Pita bread rounds
1 C. pizza sauce
4 oz. pepperoni slices
1 1/2 C. Mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped onions
any other pizza toppings to your liking

Preheat oven to 400 f. Spread pizza sauce inside of the pita pockets. Add remaining ingredients and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Vegetable Sandwich

Swiss cheese
sliced tomatoes
sliced cucumbers
green pepper rings
shredded carrot
Honey Mustard dipping sauce

Assemble vegetables on the Croissant and add a little of the dipping sauce. Serve with fresh fruit and flavored iced tea and you can't beat this for a wonderful lunch.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Be Sinful With Chocolate

     Ah, Valentine's Day, the holiday of love, greeting cards, and sweets. You walk through the stores and see all the wonderful food and candy displayed right under you nose. Remember, as a child how excited you got when you received one of those boxes of candy hearts with the messages on them, and who can forget the valentine Day parties at elementary school? But, when you got older your idea of a perfect Valentine's Day changed. Jewelry, flowers, and chocolates were not your hopes.
     After the Christmas holiday period, most of us find ourselves trying to stick to a diet and chocolate desserts in February are the last things we need. However, this year for Valentine's Day, why not take a break fro the diet and indulge in a wonderfully sinful chocolate dessert made in a crock pot. Yes, that's right, in a crock pot.
     When people think of cooking in a slow cooker, they usually think of dinner. But, a crock pot can be used for any meal, even dessert.
     So, plan that romantic evening with your partner by getting the crock pot going, take a bubble bath, and afterward enjoy your chocolate dessert with the person you love.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Turtle Cake

1 box brownie mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
10 unwrapped caramel candies

Wad up some aluminum foil and form into a ring. Place it in the bottom of 5-quart crock pot. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the crock and turn to high heat.

In a bowl, combine brownie mix, water, oil and egg. Beat until blended well. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Stir.

Butter the inside of a 2 1/2 quart soufflé dish that will fit inside of crock. Dust the bottom and sides of the dish with sugar. Pour the brownie mixture into the dish. Partially push caramels into the batter, leaving at least 1/4 of it above the batter. Completely wrap the dish with aluminum foil and tie with a string to make a handle to lift it with. Place on top of aluminum foil ring in bottom of cooker. Place lid on and cook on high for 4 1/2 hours. When done, remove dish, string, and foil and let cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or warmed chocolate sauce.