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Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner And How To Clean Smarter Not Harder

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner and tips for cleaning the toughest jobs!
It's that time of year, the sunshine's out, birds are singing, and Colt's been working on cleaning up the patio so we can enjoy sometime outside! 

My secret weapons for cleaning our outdoor living space is my Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner, and Viva® Vantage® paper towels with it's scrubby texture like terry cloth. Viva® Vantage® holds up to the tough jobs like cloth and can even be rinsed a few times as needed without falling apart! Homemade-All-Purpose-Cleaner.jpg
My Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner is super easy to make. To a clean unused spray bottle add: 10 ounces White Vinegar, 6 drops Lemon Grass Essential Oil, 4 drops Orange Essential Oil, 2 Drops Liquid Dish Soap, and fill to the top with water. Gentle shake to combined.

We use this Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner just about everywhere in our house including the bathrooms, on glass, stainless steel, and tough stuck on jobs.
How to clean the toughest jobs!
The easiest way to cut through tough built up grime is to spray the areas to be cleaned and allow 5 minutes for the cleaner to break up the dirt. We use this trick on anything with hard to remove built up grime like bathrooms, windows, glass, countertops, and outdoor living spaces. I find allowing the cleaner to do it's job is the most important step to working smarter, not harder.
Viva Vantage Papertowels put to the test!
Then we put the Viva® Vantage® paper towels and Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner to the ultimate dirty test on our patio furniture.  Viva® Vantage® cut through the dirt and grime with ease! 
It definitely was one of the dirtiest jobs around our house to test out the paper towels! 
Shiny Glass
Check out the shine on that glass with minimal effort! 
Cleaning Stainless Steel!
Then Colt decided to test it out on the stainless steel barbecue. Sure enough it with held the ultimate test leaving the stainless steel shiny and clean. The scrubby texture of Viva® Vantage® makes shining stainless easier then ever. 

Our outdoor living area is sparkling clean and ready for company! My two must have products for cleaning, no matter how tough the job! 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Angel Food Cake is looks impressive and  tastes amazing!
Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Angel Food Cake is a heavenly dessert that combines two of my favorite summertime treats into one! It's so very good!  This recipe came about because I've been participating in a 30 Day Recipe Challenge with a group of other bloggers, and this months theme just happens to be strawberries.

The light Angel Food Cake actually makes the perfect vessel for stuffing with Strawberry Cheesecake. As if the Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Angel Food Cake wasn't enough, I used lightly sweetened whip cream to cover the cake for the perfect finish.  The Angel Food Cake can be made the day before for easy assembly. The hardest part for me was cutting a straight line across the top.. Ha..Ha.. I always fail at cutting a cake perfectly in half except for this time when I only wanted to cut about a 1/3 of the way down, but I still think it's pretty even if it's not perfect! Besides taste is what really matters and I promise you it's d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! 

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake with easy to follow step by step instructions make for a perfectly sweetened crumb every time.
I can't believe it's taken me this long to update my favorite Angel Food Cake recipe with new pictures!
The crumb on this Angel Food Cake turns out perfect every time and is perfectly sweetened with plenty of vanilla.
I actually made this Angel Food Cake yesterday to make a Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Angel Food Cake I will be sharing next Thursday but Colt didn't realize I had any plans for the cake and sliced into it early! Luckily he volunteered to help me make another one this weekend.
I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!
Old Post originally published June 23rd, 2012: I love angel food cake, it always brings back fond memories of my Granny and it was a staple dessert in our house growing up! Her angel food cake  had a perfect texture never too spongy and always light and fluffy! It took me years to come up with something with a similar texture. I never was able to get a picture of the cake it's self, if I'm not on my game the foods gone before I can take a picture and this was the case with the cake. I was however lucky enough to have the Hubby take a picture of the strawberry shortcake he had created for himself before it was eaten! 
Truth be told I  had a little kitchen conundrum while baking this cake. My sweet hubby had set the top gas element on the oven the night before at 350 degrees so when I went to bake my cake it had saved the setting, I had no idea it would remember the setting so about 5-10 minutes into baking I smelt the top of the cake browning before it was done.. At first I thought I must usually place the rack at the bottom of the oven and forgotten. My recipes are all  rough notes I have scribbled down as I go for my baking but this wasn't the case. After careful examination I realized my poor cake was being broiled and with a quick fix of the stove the cake turned out fabulous! I wasn't going to even share the recipe until I remade it with a cake that was perfect but Colt insisted that the picture of the shortcake will be enough! In my mind I needed a picture of the cake it's self with a perfectly brown sugary crust, not an overly dark crust.. Even with the broiler mistake this cake turned out fabulous! 
Even I have kitchen mistakes at times! Especially when it comes to trying to figure out my oven. It's been a year and I still have no clue of it's total capabilities! All you foodies out there no judgement please! 
I am who I am and I hope you like me for who I am, mistakes and all! 
Place sugar and powdered sugar in a food process or blender and blend until sugar is fine. Remove a 1/3 cup sugar mixture and set aside.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add egg whites, sea salt and cream of tartar.
Whisk on high until medium peaks form.
Add vanilla and continue to beat on medium.
While beating on medium slowly add remaining 1 2/3 cup sugar mixture. 
Beat until thick and glossy stiff peaks form.
Add cake flour and remaining 1/3 cup sugar mixture to food processor or blender and pulse until blended.
Fold 1/3 of the flour mixture into the egg whites until almost blended. Repeat adding 1/3 of mixture at a time. For the last 1/3 of the flour added fold well until fully incorporated.
Place batter into an ungreased 10 inch spring tube cake pan. Smooth top to the edges. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Angel Food Cake with easy to follow step by step instructions for an ultra light perfectly sweetened Angel Food Cake!
Once cake is cooked turn upside down and cool on a cooling rack until cool.
Perfectly sweetened and ultra light Angel Food Cake with a perfect crumb!
To release cake from pan run a sharp knife between pan and cake. Once released from pan run a knife  along bottom of pan if needed to release cake.

Enjoy it plain or with berries and whip cream! Either way you can't go wrong! 

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Angel Food Cake

Recipe by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Angel Food Cake recipe from scratch with step by step instructions and photos.
Prep time: PT18M
Cook time: PT40M
Total time: PT58M
Yield: 12 Servings
Calories per serving: 165
Fat per serving: 3
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 12 whole Egg Whites, Room Temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3 cup Cake Flour or 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a blender or food processor add granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Process until sugar is fine and well blended. Set 1/3 cup sugar aside to be mixed with flour.
  3. In mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add egg whites, cream of tartar and sea salt. Mix on high speed until medium peaks form. Add vanilla and turn mixer to medium. Slowly add sugar/ powdered sugar mixture to the egg whites while beating on medium. Beat until egg whites become thick and glossy stiff peaks form.
  4. In blender or food processor add cake flour and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Pulse until blended.
  5. Fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time until almost blended. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture. For the last 1/3 of flour mixture fold until fully incorporated and flour is no longer visible.
  6. Place batter into an ungreased 10 inch spring tube pan. Smooth top to the edge.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle rack of the oven until a tooth pick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack and invert until cool.
  8. Once cool remove from the pan and enjoy!
Perfectly Light Angel Food Cake. Perfect with berries and whip cream!


Grilled Romaine Hearts Tomatoes & Shrimp With A Basil Vinaigrette

Grilled Romaine Hearts, Tomatoes, & Shrimp with Basil Vinaigrette makes an easy, healthy meal on the grill!
I decided to reshare my recipes for Grilled Romaine Hearts, Tomatoes, & Shrimp with a Basil Vinaigrette  I originally published in 2012 since grilling seasons almost upon us! It's a family favorite when the weather is hot and fairly easy to make! I'm kinda hoping by re-sharing the recipe mother nature might get the hint we're done with the cold rainy days for at least a few months and ready for some more long term sunshine!

Speaking of sunshine, A Sunshiny Day made Grilled Romaine Hearts, Tomatoes, & Shrimp with a Basil Vinaigrette and called it a killer! I totally have to agree with her!


Roasted Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Hot Wings

Roasted Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Hot Wings are perfect for summer bbq's!
If you've never roasted strawberries before your missing out! The strawberries become super sweet with a concentrated flavor in a thick sweet syrup and your house will smell amazing! Roasted Strawberries are wonderful for breakfast in your oatmeal, over ice cream for dessert, and served savory like these Roasted Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Hot Wings.

The Roasted Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is a favorite in our house during the bbq season! It's delicious over anything that usually pairs well with a sweet and spicy sauce. It's delicious on Fried Hot Wings instead of traditional hot wing sauce but we really love the additional smokiness of grilling the wings.

Roasted Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Hot Wings will be a favorite this summer for entertaining. They are perfect to enjoy on the patio on a warm day with a cold beer, glass of wine, or even Pink Grapefruit Lime Margaritas, and a large veggie tray for an easy meal or appetizers! 

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler is easy to make from scratch. Perfect for summertime barbecues, picnics, and potlucks!
I've been craving blueberries lately, and had some frozen blueberries in the freezer calling to be made into dessert, so I decided to whip up a Blueberry Cobbler last night. Blueberry Cobbler is one of those desserts that everyone loves but is super simple to make from scratch. It takes around 10 minutes to assemble, which is always a win in my book, and never lasts long!

Whenever I enjoy anything with blueberries it instantly takes me back to childhood, and Granny's kitchen. She had blueberry bushes in the backyard, and usually an ample supply of frozen blueberries in the freezer. In the summer we would go to the blueberry farm to stock the freezer for the year. Granny was always making something with blueberries, and her supply seemed endless. If she was still here today I would have taken her over Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream last night, because I know she would have loved it as much as we do!

This Blueberry Cobbler is based on the Blackberry Cobbler Recipe my friend Rachelle shared with me! By far one of my favorite desserts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream,  and perfect for summertime barbecues, picnics, and potlucks!

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