Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Old Fashioned Laundry and Cookies

I did too much yesterday.  What forced me out of the work force was having Fibromyalgia.  The fun of this insidious illness is that you can feel perfectly fine but if you push yourself too hard you can end up in bed, in pain, with fatigue for days.  Between 3 hours grocery shopping, 4 hours of prepping dinners, making bread and all the clean up required plus the normal housekeeping I do, it left me feeling completely in shambles today.  We needed to get some laundry done but barely have enough energy to walk down the stairs, much less the 2 blocks to the laundry mat.  Ghetto laundry it is!

Old fashioned/ghetto laundry:
Being of limited energy and limited finances frequently, I have resorted to doing what I refer to as "ghetto laundry".  There was really no pride lost when I thought about all the generation before me who washed their clothes by hand or the people in other parts of the world washing their clothes a river.  Our apartment here is very small, thusly so is our bathroom.  Way back when I lived in an apartment in Mass. I use to use my bathtub.  Not having a bathtub, only a small stall shower, I had to become inventive.  I put my clothes in a milk crate, put the crate into a storage bin, the storage bin goes into the shower.  I use whatever laundry soap I would use for that amount of clothes then fill the bin with hot water.  Usually, I'll let it set/soak for a little while, then I'll go in, elbow deep in hot soapy water, and use myself as an agitator.  I'll lift the crate out then empty the bin of dirty water.  How many times I refill the crate/bin, agitate, then empty just depends on how dirty my clothes are.  I keep doing it until the water is clear.  I'll then take the crate out, set the bin aside, letting the clothes drip dry for an hour or so.  Long ago, I had picked up, rather cheaply at Walmart, a adjustable plastic curtain rod.  I hang that in my shower, put my clothes on hanger to let them dry more in the shower with the fan on.
Word of warning: NEVER wash your husbands socks in the crate with your shirts... or really with anything else that you dont want smelling like dirty feet.  I have made this mistake and had to rewash everything at the laundry mat to get rid of the feet smell.

Old fashioned cookies:
Today, Upstate NY was its usual dreary, rainy, self.  Last night, while cleaning up, I noticed I had not only a large tub of old fashioned oats but a large tub of quick oats AND a medium ziplock full of quick oats we had been given but was cut too small to make a decent oatmeal with.  Whats better on a dreary day then a batch of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies?  There was only one catch in the plan; my brown sugar looked like a pile of dark brown rocks and was about as soft.  Interwebs (and husband) to the rescue!
To soften up hard, dried brown sugar:
Put sugar into a microwave safe bowl
Fill a small bowl of water
Place both bowls into the microwave for 1 minute.
If your sugar is large clumps like mine was, break up the clumps a bit (its easier to do this after microwaving then before)
Continue microwaving at 15 second intervals until sugar is soft enough to work with
Brown sugar problem solved, I was able to throw together a super easy batch of oatmeal raisin cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 1/4 cup Butter/Margarine softened (2 & 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 cup Oats (can use quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup Raisin 

Pre-heat oven to 375*.  Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.  Spoon onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes for chewy, 10-11 minutes for crispy.

Our kitchen is incredibly small, Ive had to learn some ingenious tricks.  My baking, cooling racks double as wall racks to hold my pot lids.

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