Life-Saver Window Cleaner

While I love sparkling clean windows, I have all my life been frustrated with cleaning windows.  I've always thought I must be the dumbest housewife ever, since I could never get my windows so sparkling clean  that I didn't mind if the sun was shining when guests came.
I have used every window cleaner suggested to me. The window cleaner that worked best for me had a unpleasant smell that lingered. If I could have achieved perfect results, I might have put up with the smell, but I didn't. I did the vinegar and water thing too, but wasn't happy, and I don't care for the smell of vinegar.
I followed every suggestion.  "Don't clean windows when the sun is shining on them, they dry too fast."  Right! The just cleaned window not in the sun - looks great! ~ until the sun comes round the corner with a smug smile that says ... "HA! gottcha!"  Yes, there are the streaks.

THEN ...
Last week I read a historical novel set in the mid/late 1800's.  In the story, the hotel housekeeper is trying to teach a high society girl how to clean - everything has to be spotless, including the windows.  I don't know where the author got the hint but the cleaning solution the housekeeper used was starch and water. You wipe the window with the solution, let it dry and then wipe off leaving the window streak-less and shiny! Really? and no odor?

Gotta try this one !!
So I experimented a little with proportions (of course the book never gave that -  only said so it looked right)

My solution recipe :
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  1. Stir until starch is completely dissolved. 
  2. I used toweling to dip into the solution and then wipe over the window. 
  3. Let dry completely -- can't over dry. 
  4. Using newspaper, or toweling or lint-free cloth such as  a microfiber cloth, simply wipe off the dried solution!  and THEN ...  where did the glass go ? 
  5. A little solution goes a long way. 
Below -- My before, during and after photos of the first two windows I cleaned - it is time for spring-cleaning, right?
(All photos were taken with the sun shining on the windows) 

                                                               Window below - dirty 

                                                Window with starch solution wiped on

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean ! 
Note - the star is blurred in this photo because the camera couldn't see the window to focus on it.

                                                              Window - dirty

 Window with solution wiped on 

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean  
(the outside of window needs cleaning too, I couldn't reach it - need husband with ladder!)

Bread for the Journey-God's Plan

I see him in filthy clothing and a tattered and torn blanket. At times I see that coffee has been delivered to him in the morning, and sometimes a brown bag that resembles what may hold a meal. I'm thinking that over the years others too have compassion for this man who seems so alone and helpless. This man has value and God loves him as much as he loves me.

For several years now I have been praying for this man. I pray that in moments of clarity of mind that God will speak to his heart and mind. A stranger to me, but known, loved and valued by God. I pray that He will experience God's love and that he will come to an understanding that he is valuable to God and that God has a purpose and plan for his life. I can't help but think there are others too who pray as they pass by him. His story is a mystery to me, but I can pray for this man knowing that his life is an open book to our loving Father in heaven.

 When we lose all our sense of value and self worth it can take us down hill very quickly. But there is always hope. God comes into our messy hurting lives. He is The Master helper and healer.

God's word reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God meets us right where we are. He embraces us, offering hope and healing.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When God gives us His heart of compassion, it leads us to pray for others.
God has given me personal hope, instilled in me that I'm valuable to Him, and I pray that each hurting lonely or struggling person will experience this too.

Easter is a time we celebrate God's love and power. He offers us a new life with a future and a hope. You, me, and the stranger on the street.

Buttermilk Dressed Potatoes - Flashback Friday -

This potato dish gets rave reviews and is simple to make.  
I thought it worthy of a Flashback Friday post.

  • potatoes (1-2 per person)
  • Buttermilk Dressing (recipe follows)
  • bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, fried until crisp and drained on paper towel
  • Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, grated and tossed together
  • chopped green onions
Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Bake, or boil potatoes in their skins, They should be cooked through but still firm.
  2. Meanwhile, mix Buttermilk Dressing.
  3. Place dressing ingredients in a jar or gravy shaker  and blend until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes into 2 inch cubes and place in buttered baking dish.
  5. Drizzle Buttermilk Dressing over potatoes.  Don't drench them in the dressing but be sure all the potatoes have some dressing on them.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.  
  7. Sprinkle with the green onion or you can wait until the potato dish is baked and sprinkle the green onion over the dish just before serving.
  8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly heated and dressing is bubbling.

    Chicken Parmigiana and Tomato Sauce

    This is wonderful way to dress up chicken for a special meal.
    The tomato sauce recipe that follows is easy to make and full of flavour.

    • 4 chicken breasts or veal cutlets
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon basil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 large egg beaten with a fork
    • 1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • Greek Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
    • 4 slices Mozzerella cheese
    • grated Parmesan cheese
    1. Lay chicken breast or piece of veal between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to an even thickness.
    2. Mix flour, basil, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
    3. Dredge each piece of meat in seasoned flour.
    4. Dip floured meat into beaten egg and then Panko crumbs.
    5. Fry in 1/2 inch hot oil until nicely browned on each side, turning only once.
    6. Place meat on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until meat is done, about 20 minutes.
    7. Top each serving with a generous amount of warm tomato sauce and one piece of Mozzerella cheese, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
    8. Return to oven and broil, watching closely, until cheese begins to brown.
    Greek Tomato Sauce

    You can make this tomato sauce from ingredients
    you have in your cupboard.
    It is also great served over meatballs or shrimp or just plain as a pasta sauce.


    • 1 large onion finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup butter (no substitutes*)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
    • 1 can water
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. In a medium pot, saute` onion in butter and olive oil until golden brown.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
    3. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Veggie Burgers

    These burgers are my niece's recipe, so so good I actually would prefer these as much as a regular burger. They are baked not fried and have loads of wonderful flavor. One recipe makes about 8 patties depending on how large you make them. My niece got the recipe from a book written by Oh She Glows. 

    • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
    • 1/3 cup of warm water
    • 1 15 oz can of black beans (425g) drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup carrot or sweet potato, grated
    • 1/3 cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
    • 3/4 cup gluten free oats
    • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin Olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons tamari or gluten free soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin and dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a small bowl mix the flaxseed and water and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.
    3. In a large bowl mash the black beans into a paste leaving a few whole for texture. 
    4. Stir in the remaining seasonings and flax egg. 
    5. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
    6. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and with wet hands tightly pack the into patties. 
    7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 -20 minutes. An alternative would be to grill them for the final 15 minutes instead of baking them. 
    8. Serve on a crusty bun (gluten free if necessary, and top with your favorite conditments. Absolutely delicious. Really, trust me! 

    Pina Colada Pie

    If you can't join your friends who are vacationing in Hawaii, how about enjoying the flavours of Hawaii at home? This creamy pineapple coconut macadamia pie is a tropical delight.
    • pastry for a 9-inch pie (homemade or store-bought)
    • 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2" pieces
    • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup whole milk (or light cream) 
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted 
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Line a 9" pie plate with pastry.  Trim and crimp edges.
    2. Place pineapple pieces evenly over pastry-lined pie plate.
    3. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of coconut.
    4. Put remaining ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. 
    5. Pour the mixture carefully over the pineapple and coconut in pie plate. 
    6. Sprinkle macadamia nuts and 1/4 cup coconut on top.
    7. Bake in a 350°F degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until firm in centre and golden.
    8. Cool.  Refrigerate.
    9. Serve with whipped cream.
    Serves 8

    Slow Cooked Garlic and Rosemary Roast Beef Dinner

    This slow cooked roast with it's wonderful aromas wafting through the kitchen as it cooks, will be enjoyed long before it's served. Serve it along with roasted, cooked or mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.


    • 2 pound boneless rump, top sirloin or round roast
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • pepper
    • 2 - 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 cup red wine or water
    • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
    • 1 sprig fresh sage
    side dishes
    • 4 yellow or red potatoes
    • 4 carrots
    • 4 cups green beans, frozen or fresh
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Tuck peeled garlic cloves under twine.
    2. Place in slow cooker.
    3. Add cream of mushroom soup, splash of wine, rosemary and sage.  
    4. Cook on high for 5 - 6 hours or on low for 7 - 8 hours
    5. Half hour before serving, cook quartered potatoes. Cook chopped carrots in a separate small pot for 5 minutes. Stir together carrots, green beans, olive oil and 1 crushed garlic clove. Roast at 400° F for 30 minutes in foil lined pan.
    6. When ready to serve, remove roast to serving plate and cover. 
    7. To make gravy, shake 1 tablespoon flour with 1/2 cup water in a jar, and add to roast beef juices, stirring until thick. If you like, you can pour the juices into a pot through a sieve and do the same.  There will be lots of gravy. Add some rolls to sop it up. Serves 4 ( use a 3 - 4 pound roast to serve 6 - 8) 

    Bread for the Journey - Bev

    I love this picture that my husband took recently of a seemingly angry bird!
    He looks mad, he's obviously being very vocal and there's no doubt his feathers are ruffled!

    In our church ladies' Bible Study we've been studying the Sermon on the Mount 
    and there are a few verses there that speak to how we should respond when
     our feathers get ruffled!

    Matthew 5:21, 22, 

    "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

    I don't think I've taken this instruction seriously enough.
     Jesus is not contradicting the law that Moses gave but is calling his followers
     to a higher standard than the letter of the law sets out.

    Everyone, Christian or non Christian, agrees that murder is a sin and is deserving of punishment.
    But we feel justified in calling someone a fool (or worse) when we feel their actions deserve it.
    However we as followers of Christ, are called to treat everyone with grace and mercy as He did.
    That includes the person who cut you off on the highway,
      the fellow church member who offended you,
    your spouse when they've done something you thought was was ill-advised,
     or your child for a thoughtless or rebellious act.
    According to this passage, when we react in anger or derision,
    we too are deserving of judgment.

    This passage challenged me and with God's grace I will be thinking twice
     before reacting in anger or calling someone a fool.
    My prayer is that all of us as Christians will be known for the grace and mercy we show to others
    especially when our feathers are ruffled!

    Flash Back Friday ~ Coconut Scones and Rhubarb Jam

    These scones are so light and delightful and especially so when paired up with fresh rhubarb jam. I still have rhubarb jam from last summer so it was time to make these scones again. This time I changed the recipe a wee bit by reducing the sugar. I reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup and it was sweet enough. Unsweetened or sweetened coconut both work in this recipe but if you're using sweetened you can reduce the sugar further to 1/4 cup.
    Great to serve for breakfast or brunch and don't forget to gift a few to someone in need of a blessing.
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup finely shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled, then ground up in food processor (coffee grinder works too)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspooons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut in 1/2" cubes
    • 1 1/4 cups cold whipping cream (I have used half whipping cream and half buttermilk)
    • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Combine dry ingredients including coconut, add butter pieces and pulse a few times if you're using a food processor and if not cut in with a pastry blender until no large butter pieces are visible.
    2. Combine cream and extracts and add to the dry ingredients and pulse a few more times till dough comes together. You may need to add a bit more flour at this time, just enough to handle the dough.
    3. Pat dough on baking sheet 1/2 " thick, form into a circle and cut into 10 wedges.
    4. Brush with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. I like coarse sugar best but granulated works.
    5. Bake at 425º F for 15 - 18 minutes, they will be golden in color.
    Rhubarb Jam:
    • 4 cups rhubarb
    • 3 cups sugar
    1. Mix the rhubarb and sugar together in a large saucepan and bring to boil on high. Then lower the heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Pour in jars and seal. 
    2. Yield: approx 4 jelly jars.

    Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/3 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 1/3 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups grated carrots
    • 2 teaspoons water
    • 1/3 cup chopped dates
    1. Cream together sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and salt.
    2. Add dry ingredients and mix to incorporate.
    3. Add vanilla and grated carrots. Mix well.
    4. Finely chop dates into a small microwave bowl and add the water. Heat for 45 seconds. Remove and mash with a fork. You may need to heat just a few more seconds if they are not soft. 
    5. Add softened dates to the carrot mixture. 
    6. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake in 300ºF oven for 1 hour. 
    Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Beat all ingredients together very well until you have a whipped smooth frosting. 
    2. Frost completely cooled cake. 
    This cake keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and freezes very well. A great dessert to have on hand in the freezer.