I'm not a super neat freak, but nothing bothers me more than a messy counter-top. Coffee grinds are my official pet peeve of counter top messiness, but coffee stains, red wine stains, and toast crumbles all really get my blood boiling. Did I mention that I don't even drink coffee?
I first discovered my adversion to a messy counter while in second year university. I moved into a house with 6 other lovely students, and although we had three bathrooms, we only had one kitchen. No matter how much I pestered my roommates to clean up, the kitchen mess just didn't seem to bother anyone else as much as it bothered me. In the process I was granted the nickname of "Mom". I was soon making phone calls to my own Mother asking her how she managed to keep a kitchen clean with four kids, a husband, and a dog running around. Her advice: clean it yourself. She was right.
Two years later, I was down to only 5 other roommates, and I feel like I had chilled out a little bit on the whole cleaning front. I just wiped the counter tops myself when crumbs were left behind, tried not to yell at anyone, and therefore had time for more important things. My new obsessions were the t.v. show Lost and watching hours of cooking shows with my roommate Janette. If Ina Garten(aka the Barefoot Contessa) only knew how much we wanted to be invited to have dinner with her and Stephen. It was our dream to
devour a meal made from 4 butter sticks.
During one of these Food Network marathons, I picked up a tip that has stayed with me for life, and allows me not only to keep a clean counter top, but a clean muffin pan as well! Doesn't everyone hate scraping off those little burnt bits on the pan after the muffins come out of the oven? You can soak them, but then they turn soggy and never seem to totally lift off from the pan. Really, they are a waste of delicious muffin batter and have plagued me for years.
The trick is simple. After you have made the batter, pour it from the bowl into a large measuring cup, or pitcher with a spout. The spout is key!! From there, pour the batter into the individual cups with ease (see picture above). There will be no batter leakage over the edge had you poured right from the bowl, or any splatter from a spoon. The amount of control you have will blow your mind. Your muffin pan will stay clean, your muffins will be fresh and moist, and your roommates will be happy! Just make sure you use LOTS of butter : )