Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride

I have finished all of my A to Z posts, with the first one already scheduled for 12:01 am EDT on Wednesday.  I have all my bonus posts done, too.

I think this was the hardest of the three years I have done A to Z, even though I did not write a lot of commentary.  The hard part was labeling all the pictures and deciding which ones to use, along with finding appropriate links.  Whew.

It did not leave a lot of time to regularly blog, but I am glad I am done, since next Sunday I am cooking Easter dinner and the following week-end we are having my grandson's first birthday party.

Since I made a leg of lamb for my oldest son's visit home last month, we are having baked ham for Easter.  New this year will be cipollini and apples with bacon.  I'll let you know what I think.  The complete menu is as follows:

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dressing 
Baked Ham with Chutney 
Potato Fennel Gratin 
Fennel and Orange Salad 
Peas with Mint 
Cippolini with Apples and Bacon 
Buttermilk Biscuits w Orange Butter 
Lemon Mousse Cake

I have also discovered that I can made buttermilk biscuits with one hand while I hold a teething youngster with the other.  Neat trick.  The biscuits are now frozen and will be baked on Sunday.  I also baked my lemon chiffon cakes today and will freeze them till Saturday.

Cold has returned to Michigan, but I am looking forward to a warm-up later this week.  The last few mornings I have heard the birds chirping at sunrise.  The only thing I can hear outside right now is the wind blowing.  Pretty strong out there, but the sun is trying to break through the clouds as they move through the sky.

Hope to see you all on Wednesday and looking forward to reading your A to Z posts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An A to Z Bonus

This is my third year participating in the A to Z Challenge.  I have seven posts left to write.  I also have this nagging at the back of my mind about themes.

Ever since my first A to Z, I have thought about doing a theme around one of my favorite authors.  But, since I have no pictures of my own to use, never having traveled to Middle-Earth, I have decided that at the end of each A to Z post, I will mention either a character, event, or a place from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, rather than trying to do a full post each day with nothing but words.

I have made a list of the first thing that popped into my head for each letter.  I did not want to over think as I would never have been able to choose.

If you are a Tolkien fan you may ask why I picked what I did, but remember, I said 'the first thing'.  If you have never read Tolkien, or only seen movies about the War of the Rings and the Hobbits, then you will likely still recognize my choices.  If you are completely devoid of any knowledge on the subject, perhaps these fantasy characters will peak your interest.

There are over 20,000,000 video results for 'lord of the rings', so you should have no problem finding something to explain what I am talking about, lol.

The Dishwasher Suds Mystery

I have had a dishwasher in my home since the second year I moved here.  My husband at the time decided that not having one wasn't worth the time spent doing dishes.

I have had no problems with any of the three machines I have owned..  That is, not until the past few weeks.  And as it turns out, it is not the fault of my machine at all.

I spent a considerable amount of time online looking for answers to why I had suds in the bottom of my machine.  Now, let me say, that I almost always turn it off at the end of the rinse cycle and let the dishes air dry.  That is when I always noticed the suds in the bottom of the machine.  So, I would then run a rinse cycle again, and presto, suds were gone.  If I forgot to stop the machine and let the dishes go trough the drying cycle, the suds disappeared on their own and I never would have seen them but for my interrupting the cycle.

I know there are not supposed to be suds.  Many posts online said that was left over suds from placing sponges in the dishwasher for cleaning.  But, come on, thee was no way a sponge from weeks ago could still be leaving suds.

There was no clogged drain line.  And the suds were not so bad that they were coming out of the machine.

I tried rinsing with added vinegar and using salt to disperse the bubbles.  I was using a lot of water and time.  I could have washed the dishes faster by hand.

So last night I did a search for dishwasher detergent problems and found several people complaining about the brand I bought recently.  Cascade Complete Pacs with Dawn.

So, I devised a little experiment.

Here is the pac in an empty but very clean jar (hand washed and dried).

Here is the jar after hot tap water has been added and the detergent has dissolved (for the most part) but the liquid in the pac is still encased.

And here is the pac after being broken and shaken up to release the liquid.

See the suds?  They only get worse in the dishwasher.  And then they sit on the bottom.  I have actually seen bubbles clinging to glassware when I have ended the cycle after the last rinse.  Yuck.

I will be taking the rest of these miserable excuses for cleaning back to the store and looking for a different brand.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Meanwhile, having put my chemistry lab education to good use, I am off to try to figure out how to make sure all the bubbles are out of the system.