Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kitchen Tips and Tricks

For anyone who knows me, I am a bit of an insomniac so I will be posting stuff off and on, once I get an idea I just get going.

Tonight, I was super gluing a broken vase together and some of the glue got on my fingers. Once I started the tedious process of trying to peel it off, I remembered that nail polish remover takes the slime and grit off of your hands due to it's strong alcohol content. *Ding*-Idea!

So...I decided to write my next blog about USEFUL household facts. I these are tips and tricks that I use in my everyday, not from a magazine but wish I was life. I think a lot of these you might already know (you know crazy aunts and moms always giving advice), but some of these were really new to me. So enjoy and keep these filed away for when you might need them next.

Apples-Apply lemon juice to the cut surface to avoid browning (good for pies/crisps too for that fresh look!)

Brown Sugar- More apples! Next time you eat an apple, save your sugar a slice and keep it in the container to keep it fresh longer.

Burns- Apply a slather of mustard or mashed bananas to a minor burn to give a cooling effect and in some cases, prevent scarring!

Burnt Food- (I love this one for those "talk on the phone for too long" moments) Place about 1/2c of chopped onions in the container and pour BOILING water over it. Let sit for 5 mins and then clean.

Cakes- Hate the crumbs when icing? Cover layers with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 3o mins (after it cools completely).

Celery- wrap in foil and keep in the fridge to keep fresh, longer.

Cleaning- The drain is slow: 1/2 c baking soda and 1 c salt. Mix will foam and run hot water for 5 minutes.
  • The Blender: drop in some detergent and fill 1/3 with water. Pop on the lid and let run a few seconds. Rinse and let dry.
  • Boiled over fruit pie: shake on some salt and let it burn (baby burn), scrap it up easily once the oven has cooled.

Cutting Board- As an Alton Brown fan, I switched to always using a wooden cutting board. Wood boards will not dull your knife blades or harbor small pieces of food that can cross contaminate your meals. Simply remember to rub a small amount of baking soda on the board and scrub once a month to keep the board at its optimum shape.

Eggs- Forgot how long ago you bought those eggs? Immerse the egg in some cold, salted water. if the egg sinks, it's fresh; if it floats, it's old.

Frying- Best advice I received when learning to make omelets for a busy buffet. Hot pan, cold oil: food won't stick. Make that your mantra next time when you pull out that pan for making pancakes or stir fry. Of course, a little wine added to the meal will also work. Add the wine 5 mins before your done cooking, it will add more complex flavors to your meal and grab all those bits and pieces of food that stick to the bottom of the pan.

Lemon- If you're in the mood for lemonade and that lemon is giving you "lemons," put it in some warm water for 5-10 mins to make it easier to squeeze...mmm, lemonade ;)

Onions- No more crying! Put on your big girl panties, I have the answer. Cut onions into two parts and put them in water for 10 mins before chopping. I usually store mine in the fridge because onions are used fairly quickly at my house, work just the same (but don't keep them there for more then a week or their flavor weakens).

Oil- If painting (oil or water based), and it gets a lil' messy, wash your hands with a teaspoon of olive oil to remove the paint from the skin. Follow up with skin friendly dish soap (that cuts through oily messes!)

Popcorn- I will never in my life buy pre-manufactured bags of popcorn. Making it at home is the best. For those who pop from seeds, keep them in the freezer and pop while still frozen. It give better and fluffier pops!

Sugar- Keep 2-3 cloves in your sugar bowl to keep ants away.

Windex- cures everything! J/K, just a flashback to one of my movies: "My Big-Fat-Greek Wedding." Windex is good for cleaning up stains like milk and vomit, just spray generously and wait 5 mins, then blot up. I like to kill the flies around my house with it, they drop like...well you know...

Yogurt- If yogurt has become sour, put it in a muslin cloth and drain all the water. Add milk to make it as good as fresh in taste. To keep your yogurt fresh (any flavor of the big economy saver cartons), fill the container of yogurt to the brim with water and refrigerate. Change the water daily!

This isn't everything, but all I can think of right now.

One great book I took *ahem* from my mom's house: Joey Green's Amazing Kitchen Cures: 1,150 Ways to prevent and Cure Common Ailments with Brand-Name Products. It has interesting ways to: clean, calm, fix, sooth, prevent, stop, polish, you're loved ones, and the things you love. I flip through it once in awhile and I have tried ALOT of them out, and to the ones I have tested, they stand true to their boasts: "Clean your furniture with panty-hoes, paint your house with powered milk, or clean your teeth with food coloring!"

Hope this blog was useful to you, and if you know of any Kitchen tips and tricks (need to keep with the theme), go ahead and add a comment to share with everyone else. Unless it's a secret ;)

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