Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to clean Stovetop Grates for gas stoves

Okay....after soaking and scrubbing my stovetop grates, I have decided that there MUST be a better solution to cleaning them.
In the past, I have used baking soda and a sponge to scrub all of the 'nasty' off of the stovetop. It works great, but it is a pain.
I usually use a steel wool pad and put all of my strength into it, but I'm taking a different approach today.
Right now I have the grates soaking in a sink of hot water and oxyclean. I'm going to let them sit for at least an hour and see how the baked on grease and gunk comes off. I'll update the post and let you know how it worked.

I have read about using ammonia to clean grates as well.
If the oxyclean doesn't work I'll try this method.

Here's how to do it:

1. Put a grate in a gallon size freezer bag.
2. Put about 1/4 C of ammonia into the bag and seal.
3. In an hour, the fumes and ammonia liquid should have completely removed all of the 'stick' so that the gunk will wipe right off.
After letting the grates sit in the oxyclean water for about an hour, I still needed to use the scrub pad, but EVERYTHING came off easier than without the oxyclean soak.

My conclusion:
Soak grates overnight in oxyclean water and wipe clean in the morning.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to make an herbal tincture

Okay, I'll be talking alot about herbs from here on out, so you'll want to know how to do this.

The reason I make my own tinctures is that it saves me ALOT of money. Here an example:
I use Red Raspberry leaf tincture every day. I would spend approx $320 per year if I bought the tinctures to making them myself, I spend approx $7.00. Totally worth it! I've got the leaves in the backyard!

Step 1: Determine how much tincture you are going to need per year.
Tinctures last indefinitely if make with alcohol, but if you are like me, try to stick to a stash that you'll use in about a year. Anymore than that will just take up space in your medicine cabinet.
Here's some info you might need to know.

1 dropperful is usually a dose. If you use more than that, figure accordingly.

There are approx 40 dropperfuls in 1 oz.
There are 8 oz in 1 cup
There are 16 oz in a pint
There are 32 oz in a quart
There are 128 oz in a gallon

Step 2: Determine your extracting source.
A tincture is simply an herb that is extracted by alcohol, vinegar or glycerin.
Vinegar does not extract all substances of the herb and glycerin is worse, so I use only alcohol as it extracts everything from oils to minerals.
Start by choosing the right alcohol. You'll want 80-100 proof vodka or rum. Rum has a naturally sweet taste, and it's easier to go down, but it's harder to find a high alcohol content unless you want to pay big bucks. I usually use an 80 proof vodka which is easily available and cheap.

Step 3: Herb source
When I am going to make a tincture, I find that most of the herbs that I need are in my backyard. Red raspberry leaves, black berry leaves, mullein leaves, dandelion roots, st john's wort, echanatia....look for them outside or find someone who has an herb garden. Fresh is better.
However if you can't find a fresh source, you can order almost any herb by the pound by going to They are the best prices that I have ever found and I use them for all of my bulk herbs and spices.

Step 4: Gather your herbs
Once you have determined how much tincture you need, you will need to find a bottle that is big enough for that amount. Fill the bottle half full of the herb. lightly bruise and/or crush the herb to make it easier for extracting. and replace back into the bottle.

Step 5. Poor Alcohol
Poor the exact amount of alcohol needed for your tincture requirement over the herb. Make sure that it is completely covering the herb, but make sure that there is headspace in the jar.

Step 6. Shaking
For the next 2-6 weeks (the longer the herb steeps, the more potent the tincture will be), shake your herb bottle everyday and put it in a dark place. Shaking is very important. If you miss a day, don't worry - just give it a good swirl the next day to compensate.

Step 7. Herb removal
once your herbs are done steeping, strain out and reserve all of the liquid. Put your herbs in a cheesecloth and squeeze every last drop out of them into the reserved liquid. Discard the herb.
Your tincture should have taken on the smell and color of the herb.

Kind of a lengthy process, but it is worth it. I try to do alot of herbs at one time. I determine the end date on my calendar and mark it so that I don't have to guess when to remove the herbs.

Mamma Can Do it Intro

Hello World!
After months of thinking of starting a blogsite, I am finally going at it! I wanted a blog that I can share my ideas and new things that I figure out as well as talk about family stuff.
Be watching for some great money saving ideas as well as 'down home fun'!