Sunday, June 22, 2008

How to Remove Stains From Anything!

I don't believe in "treating" stains. Ever. No exceptions. I know, it's harsh.

"But Heather," you say, "All you have to do is use a dab of 'Granny's Magical Elixir' As Seen On TV, and it'll take out everything from grape juice to crayons!"

Ah-ha. I don't drink grape juice or eat crayons.

But even if I did, I'm not going to slave over a shirt to get out a stain. Here's why:

1. Clothes are cheap. If the stain doesn't come out it the wash, I'll just buy Child #2 another used polo shirt at the local Ye Olde Thrifty Shoppe. If it's stained beyond recognition, into the ye olde trashe it goes.

2. Most stains come out in the wash without Granny's Magical Elixir. It's true. Even if it doesn't come out in the first wash, it lightens with subsequent washes.

3. The shirt will get stained again. So don't even bother. And by the way, where do these children come from who have never soiled an article of clothing? I know they're out there because they donate all their old stain-free clothes to Ye Olde Thrifty Shoppe where I buy them for my kids. Thank you!

4. You have more important things to do. I watched my sweet Nana iron underwear because "the iron's still hot--might as well!" Look at your priorities and look at what you're doing. Are your actions consistent with your priorities? (Can you tell that I don't iron either?)

5. Stained clothing activates the "retract claws" feature on Supermoms. If a Supermom sees my kids wearing a shirt with a salsa splotch, she's much more likely to leave me alone rather that spark a lively (yawn) debate on which salon does the best job on toddler manicures.

In closing, I leave you with on old Irish blessing: May your shirt be clean enough to work in, but dirty enough to live in.


Friday, June 13, 2008

It's a Laura Petrie Day

Today I put my hair in hot rollers, let 'em cook, and styled my hair into a perfect copy of Laura Petrie's classic flip. Wow.

For those of you who are old enough to remember the Nick-at-Night Dick van Dyke Show re-runs, Laura Petrie is the talented, funny, confident, size zero-and-a-half wife of comedy writer Rob Petrie. Laura Petrie outclassed contemporaries such as Donna Reed, June Cleaver, and your mom with the power of her 'do.

Yes, the secret to her success--and quite possibly ours as well--is in the hairdo. Bouncy and sassy. In place, but not stiff. This 'do can transform your average domesticus vulgaris into a domesticus fantastica.

So, ladies, no matter what day of the week it is, get out the hot rollers and let 'em cook. While we may not be a size zero-and-a-half wife of comedy writer, we can still go forth with confidence, beauty and humor.

It's going to be a great day.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Writing a Book

I met with an LDS publisher this weekend at a writing conference. He's interested in my work and wants me to have a manuscript ready by the end of July 2008. Those are all the details I have...

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Secret Ingredient in Homemade Ravioli

When meal preparation requires more than a sharp can opener or awesome paper-ripping skills, then I always add my favorite secret ingredient. Love. Yeah, I know, it's odorless, tasteless and makes some teenagers sick, but trust me on this.

Love. The world's perfect secret ingredient. I add it to most of our family meals. And tonight I added lots of it. I made ravioli. From scratch.

I know about half of you are like, "Oh my heck, I could totally never do that!" And the other half of you are like, "Get me started, girlfriend!"

1. Buy a ravioli press that makes large ravioli (2" across or larger). If you buy a ravioli press that makes tiny ravioli you'll be scooping itsy-bitsy fillings with a Sea Monkey food scoop. I bought a 10 square ravioli press from (For those of you who haven't been there, it's like heaven, but much more expensive...) This large press makes manly-man ravioli.

2. Buy a pasta machine. Don't let the word "machine" fool you. It's hand crank and makes a perfect sheet of pasta to lay on top of the ravioli press. I bought mine at a garage sale when I lived in Seattle. Don't fly to Seattle looking for garage sales. Scour your thrift stores or borrow one from your mom (assuming she's a classy lassie).

3. Make the filling. I mixed ricotta (splurge), an egg, a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic (if you use bottled garlic, the garlic fairy won't come!), a shakey-shake of dried basil, sauteed spinach and a grind of pepper. Oh, and a generous grating of asiago (which spell-check does not recognize).

4. Roll out pasta sheets. Your pasta can be made of white or whole wheat. Roll out the sheets to the next to thinnest setting. Lay the first pasta sheet on top of the ravioli press, fill it up with a tsp. of filling, brush water around edges of ravioli and lay top pasta sheet over the bottom filled pasta sheet. Roll a rolling pin over the press to seal and cut your little pasta pillows.

5. Pop those babies out. Either boil immediately or freeze on a cookie sheet then store in a freezer zippie bag.

6. Improve your method. This is my way of saying, "I left a bunch of really helpful instructions out, so try it on your own, and you'll learn the hard way to dust the pasta sheets with flour so they won't stick to the press."

So...where's the love? Well, you can add it to the filling. Or to the pasta dough. Or the boiling water. Or to the melted butter you drizzle over the top of the ravioli.

It makes all the difference.