First off, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s or Anti-Valentine’s, whichever you celebrate. *grin* While most people were dwelling in the land of love, roses, and mushy stuff (not that there’s anything wrong with that, Larry just doesn’t care for this holiday), I was testing a couple of things from the internet and they turned out so well that I’ve written this post a few times in my head.
Up first is a beef recipe that I hope you’ll try. I ran across it on Pinterest, but here’s the link. It’s for a Three Envelope Pot Roast. It took me 10.5 hours for a 4.5 LB bottom round roast to be fork tender. The big thing is the incredible flavor of the juices! Please, please make a gravy from these juices if you try this recipe. I just ladled out the juices into a saucepan and warmed it on the stove, then added a water and cornstarch roux to the mixture, and stirred until the gravy was the consistency that we like. I’m not a huge gravy fan just because the flavor doesn’t usually add much in my opinion to the food, but as you can tell in the first picture it was lip smacking, smothering everything in it, good. *grin*
You can barely see the mashed potatoes. LOL I ended up saving all of the juices to make more gravy and tomorrow night we’re having egg noodles with this gravy for dinner. I may just freeze any extra too. *grin*
Next I wanted to let you in on a super easy and handy tip. If you’ve been following for a while you’ll remember that I did a few experiments with removing labels and residue from glass and plastic jars, so that I can reuse them or go all crafty on them. I’ve done the soaking in vinegar mixture, lathering up in oil in two ways, and even the lather in mayo version, but none were super easy and pretty quick. I was reading online on a blog about reusing jars and about fifty comments in someone wrote that they didn’t remember where they’d heard it, but that peanut butter is a great way to remove labels and residue (“plus it’s fun to play with your food” *laugh*). I decided to give that a try. A few months back we had bought some PB at Sam’s Club and forgot to remove it from the grocery list, so we got another double pack on the next trip. Even with Bo, the PB fiend dog, and holiday baking, we couldn’t go through four big jars of it before the expiration date, so I had been trying to figure out what to use it on or suck it up and toss it. What perfect timing to find this little comment buried on a random blog. First, proof positive that it actually works. I lathered both jars up and after cleaning the first one off I took a picture.
Now, here comes the helpful info from my experiences, since you ought to expect it from me by now. *teasing smile* It will help remove labels for you, but the PB is a one trick pony, so either you remove labels or you remove residue. I recommend trying to get the label off as much as possible before you trowel the PB on, but if you have a stubborn one (a Minute Maid jug and a marinara jar come to mind), then put the PB on it and after it has soaked into the label, you’ll be able to push that label off. Just lather the residue up and give it another rest.
On a glass jar with just the residue put the PB on somewhat thick (I just used the side of a butter knife) and let sit overnight. I took a pan scraper and scraped the PB off the next day, and then using a little water and my knit scrubber (picture to follow) I rubbed in a circular pattern with no muscle behind it. There will be a residue left behind, since really this is a play on the oil concept (instead of having to try to soak rags in oil you’re using an oil based product that likes to stick where it lands, if you think about it), so just use a little degreasing dish soap like Dawn and you have a fresh jar.
If you don’t have one (or five) of these, get one. I buy handfuls at every craft fair I go to and use them all of the time. They hold up for a long time, they don’t scratch most surfaces, and they can go in the wash (I just set them on top of the dryer to dry instead of putting them inside, so it’ll last longer) so you can keep them sanitized. It’s the most frugal sponge and scrubber that I’ve found that actually works. I use certain colors to designate for business use (since I don’t want any bath oils transferring to a food pan if the scrubber is drying on the side of the sink while I’m trying to cook and clean up my latest business experiment), kitchen, and bathroom.
Back to the jars…if you’re doing a stubborn glass jar put a thick layer of PB over the label and let sit overnight. Scrape a bit off that next day (I kept it on the scraper, since sometimes the labels haven’t released and I don’t see a point in using new PB when what I scraped off will still work) and see if you can remove the label. I found that I often had to use the scraper or my nail to get the labels off, but on glass usually my nail would work just fine. Just keep letting the PB work some magic if the label is holding firm. Once the label comes off you can try to do the whole soap and scrubber bit, but so far it never worked for me on that first round if I was also removing labels. *smile* I always had to reapply PB (you can definitely use the PB you just scraped off from the label unless it has label bits and adhesive in it) and let it sit around 12 hours or so. I tried a few different methods, just because I’m that annoying kind of person that has to test everything, and rubbing the scrubber in a circular motion seriously worked the best on the residue. If you get a little bit of residue that’s being stubborn and you’ve removed it everywhere else, just put a little of the scraped off PB on your scrubber and use it like a paste. Works perfectly!
Now, plastic jars and jugs require more umph usually, especially if the labels are completely glued down, as most of mine were. These were the only containers that I had to use some actual muscle on. If the label can peel off for the most part, then use the same trick for glass. (Amusingly enough the peanut butter jar was the easiest plastic to remove everything from.) I found that most plastic, especially the bigger containers, glued the entire labels down and the straight PB soak did squat. If you run into this and you stubbornly want that gallon jug (you all ready paid for the stupid jug, not just the ingredients, you know, so you should definitely reuse it if you want to, IMO!), then fill your sink with a mixture of blue (Original) Dawn, the hottest water from your tap, and enough plain white vinegar to make your nose wrinkle. I didn’t measure the vinegar, so I’d say for a sink full I used about half a cup or so. Then fill your container to the tippy top with that hot top water and immerse in the hot bath. Let the containers soak for an hour or so (as long as the water stays warm) and while everything is still warm, but no longer hot, you should be able to work on those labels. I found my dollar square plastic pan scraper worked great at getting the edges up so I could peel the labels off. If this doesn’t work, I’d give it another bath. I was able to remove the labels off of ALL of my plastic containers after this bath and hope you’ll have the same results. Lather the residue with some PB and let sit, and use the same technique as before.
One container, a Minute Maid OJ jug, is relaxing under a second PB treatment right now, but otherwise all of my containers are now done. Look at all of these lovely little jars waiting to be used to hold a new batch of homemade simple syrup for tea (yeah, Apple Juice jug, I’ve assigned you a new position in this house little soldier), just waiting to get dyed or painted, or get all glittered up (*squealing with delight now that I’ve accepted that I’ve become a complete glitter whore*). Luminaries, hardware jars, vases, and hair clip holders galore. I suddenly have the urge to start singing “Part of your World” from The Little Mermaid…
*shaking head to clear it* Anyway, hopefully I’ve addressed any problems you might run across and you’ve found this post useful. I’m so tickled to have found techniques that work on both types and don’t gross me out, either. Bo wasn’t overly happy since he kept smelling the PB and looking for his favorite Kong to be filled and waiting in his treat spot (I have no idea why, but Bo picked a specific spot to take all of his treats to, so now I save him the effort, and the carpet any accidental drops, and just take his goodies to his spot. LOL). Poor Bo got a little new PB, but seemed pretty let down that I was slinging so much of the good stuff into the trash. *grin* Btw, sorry about the pictures distorting a bit in this post. After six adjustments and saves I figure they’re probably good enough. *smile*
I hope you get to sleep in and enjoy your holiday if you have tomorrow off. I never got it off when I was working, so if you don’t, I feel your pain and hope it’s a light day for you. I’m off to snuggle with Bo and a few heating pads and watch some Ballykissangel. Happy pampering. 🙂