Since I’ve been too busy to actually finish the amazing book I’m currently reading (I’ll get there eventually, don’t you worry!), this post is going to center on the ‘being mommy’ part of my blog–although really, laundry is for everyone. Right? Who doesn’t have stains that spray and wash doesn’t touch? Stains, for example, that might stem (ha! unintentional pun!) from your children playing with dandelions, or from your children (or your spouse, or, you know, YOU) wearing your food? Worry not! One of my (7) sisters-in-law told me about her stain fighting method years ago, and I’ve never seen its equal. (Brief pause to savor the “Princess Bride” reference.) I’ve seen this demolish stains on clothes that had already been through the dryer; it works wonders on stubborn grease spots. (It won’t get you anywhere with rust, though. Sorry. As far as I know, you’re out of luck there.) It’s also easy. Here’s what you do:
You buy a bottle of Clorox 2, the stuff that comes in blue bottles and has no actual bleach in it, when it’s on coupon at Costco. You buy a box of Oxi-Clean, the powder detergent kind, when it’s on coupon at Costco. You take your stained article of clothing–dry–and pour Clorox 2 on the offending spot. You add Oxi-Clean on top of that and make a paste with it. And then you soak it in warm-ish water, preferably overnight, and wash away! (I tend to let my ‘clothes to be treated’ build up, treat them, stick them in the washing machine, and turn it on just long enough to cover them with water. The next morning you can add the rest of your wash, fill the machine the rest of the way, and go to town! If you have just one or two things that you need in a timely fashion, however, you can always use a bucket or a bowl. I once used my gallon water pitcher, it being the closest receptacle upon which I could lay my hands…)
There you have it, folks! Lifestyle secrets of the not-at-all-rich and (fairly) obsessive. It is, I confess, a chore I find tedious, but it’s enormously satisfying to know that the pile of clothes that’s been bugging me for, well, longer than I’m going to admit, is even now soaking its way to a cleaner, happier, and more purposeful existence.
As for my second topic of the night? Last week I was looking for a simple meal that my teething boy would reliably eat, and I decided to try this Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce. (With penne, since that tends to be my go-to pasta for toddlers. I LOVE spaghetti, but the boy has not dealt as well with the mess of eating it at a young age as his sisters did.) I did NOT, of course, use actual heavy cream; straight heavy dairy fat is not nearly as enticing to me in savory dishes as in sweet, and I find I prefer the taste of evaporated milk. It’s a worthy substitute. I also didn’t have fresh basil, which would have been lovely, but I have Italian parsley growing in my front flower bed, and that worked just fine for me. Other than that, I followed the recipe, and although I was a little skeptical about such simple ingredients producing something special (canned tomato sauce, for Pete’s sake!), I was amazed at the end result. It had a lovely, creamy, tomato-y flavor, rich-tasting without being heavy. The most amazing thing about it was–and here’s where those of you who know me will be looking for flocks of flying pigs and reports of lightning striking my corner of Utah–I actually liked it better before I added the cheese.
No, I am not joking.
It was good with the cheese, don’t get me wrong. And it would have been better with more expensive Parmesan (I confess to feeling poor that day and using the canned stuff). The thing is, once you add salty Parmesan flavor to a sauce, it becomes a serious contender for most dominant flavor, and in this case, the simple and subtle loveliness of the other flavors involved could no longer shine when the cheese arrived at the party. I would recommend leaving the sauce without it and topping off your individual platefuls with the good stuff. (If you care. I would also recommend sticking with the canned stuff for a toddler and anyone else who doesn’t care about the difference.) Either way, it’s easy and delicious and all of my children devoured it happily, both as dinner that night and as leftovers. I highly recommend giving it a try!