Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Keep the crunch in your lettuce!

Prep your lettuce for maximum longevity in the fridge. First, rinse and dry your lettuce. For your Romaine, you can leave the core on and the bunches in tact if small. For Iceberg, cut off the end and separate the leaves into handful size bunches. Next, tear off two paper towels for each bunch. Get them thoroughly wet with cold water and gently wring them out.

Roll each bunch in the paper towels. Stack them in a freezer sized Ziplock bag. Close the “zipper” almost all the way, leaving about an inch open. Suck the air out through the hole and close it. (I like to do this b/c squeezing the air out can bruise your lettuce.) Ta-dah! Your lettuce will stay fresh for weeks!

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August 29, 2010. Tags: , , , . Tip O' the Week. 6 comments.

Fold a Fitted Sheet

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Folding your fitted sheets nicely is a cinch!

July 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Tip O' the Week. 2 comments.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Make your own sprinkles!

*Next time your kiddos try to talk you into spending five bucks on sparkly sprinkles tell them they can make their own!

I recommend using Sugar in the Raw (or raw sugar). It is larger and sparklier! Plain white sugar works o.k. too though. Put about 3 Tbsp. of sugar in a container with a lid. Small jars or tiny tupperware containers work really well.

Add one drop of food coloring, immediately put on the lid, and give to your kiddo to shake vigorously! When you take the lid of they will be stoked! Add one drop at a time until desired color is achieved.

♥VOILA!♥

*disclaimer: Adults are totally allowed to love sprinkles and want to make them too.
(I could have sworn I did this post already but it had disappeared from my
blog so if you have been with me from the beginning, please excuse the repeat.)

May 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 3 comments.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Can you believe that you should actually be carrying
dental floss around with you everywhere?

Use it for:

A clothes line while traveling (in your vehicle, staying in hotels or camping).
Hang something when you have no wire. (It’s strong!)
Sew up a tear or sew on a button.
(It is especially good for denim, canvas, leather, etc.)
Use it when your fishing line breaks.
Truss a turkey. Wrap your roast.
Cut soft cheese and cakes while on a picnic.
and of course, keep those pearly whites shining!

April 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Tip O' the Week. Leave a comment.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Ran out of toothpicks…
or just always forget to buy them?

You can use a spaghetti noodle to test the doneness
of your cake or other baked goods!
Spaghetti noodles are also good for lighting candles,
old gas stoves, or grills when you don’t have a long lighter or your match doesn’t safely reach.

March 21, 2010. Tags: , , . Tip O' the Week. Leave a comment.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

PERFECT
cookies
EVERY
time.*

*Please see disclaimer.

This trick awesome to know, but it is even MORE awesome to know why it works…
then again, I am kind of food science nerd.

I have had customers ask me time and time again how my cookies stay so soft for so long. This is how I do it.

For soft, chewy cookies: When cookies are done, hold your cookie sheet about 1-2 feet from the counter top, very flat. Drop the cookie sheet to get a good, loud THWACK! Immediately remove cookies and let them cool on foil or parchment paper. I am serious! Drop it! Nice and flat. If you don’t hear a loud smack, you didn’t drop it flat enough. Try once more.

Why this works: You will notice your cookies sink after smacking them. You are knocking all the hot air that is trapped inside the dough, out of the cookie. This means they are no longer cooking on the inside. (Just because you take them out of the oven, does not mean they have stopped cooking.) The pan is also still cooking them slowly so by removing them, you are stopping the process almost immediately. These will stay soft for a week, sometimes longer!

For crunchy cookies: This is perfect for crunchy sugars, gingersnaps and so on. Just do the opposite as above. You want them to continue to cook slowly so they get crisp all the way through. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and gently set the pan down. Allow the cookies to cool ON the pan.

Once you know WHY this works, it makes perfect sense!

* This has never failed me…unless, of course, I over bake the cookies in the first place. This won’t save you then.

March 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 3 comments.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

VANILLA.

It’s delicious, beautiful, and aromatic.
It’s anything but plain.

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your lounge time on the porch this summer.
Mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract with a cup of warm water.
Put it in an old spray bottle or a jar and spray or use a cotton ball to lightly coat your skin.

Soak a cotton ball in vanilla and keep it in your
refrigerator or freezer overnight.
It will help deodorize!

To deodorize your microwave, put a teaspoon of vanilla in a shallow, heat proof bowl with some water and microwave for one minute.
Leave it with the door closed for 10 minutes then remove.

To freshen a home, put a drop of vanilla on your fingertip
and wipe it onto a lightbulb (when it’s off).
When the light is turned on, it will heat slowly and reveal the scent.

Put a couple drops in your paint gallon when painting indoors to reduce the latex smell.

Use your spray mixture for the carpet
30 minutes before vacuuming.

Freshen up after being in a hot kitchen.
Spritz a bit on before serving dinner and no one will know
you broke a sweat.
(Vanilla has been used in perfumes for ages.)

March 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Cleaning tips, Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 2 comments.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

 

O.K. This one is part of my “you need to know but no one ever showed you” which may also be “you need to know but are too embarrassed to ask” tips. Everyone has to start somewhere and you only learn with experience and I really like to include things that may be helpful for people of ALL skill levels.

I remember when I was trying to teach myself to cook my using recipes from cookbooks and I realized I had no idea what dicing, chopping, folding and whisking TECHNICALLY were. I have seen more than a handful of cooks slice themselves open before figuring out the best way to cut a certain veggie and I had to slice myself up a bit before I learned knife techniques so I’m just hoping to save you a few stitches.

The safe technique for cutting an entire onion:

Press the palm of your hand firmly against the root of the onion.

Slide the first inch of your knife into the onion using a forward motion so it will slide in from tip to inch from tip. The moisture in the onion will create a suction with your blade and your blade with come to a stop. This is a good thing.

Flip your onion onto it’s side now and place your palm firmly over the bridge of your blade. This helps to insure that you don’t have any digits in the path of your blade!

 

Now you can gently press your knife through the rest of your onion! You can get really fast at it if you practice and that makes you look neat.

So here are 2 quick live examples. In the first, you can see with the first cut, I am slicing as I normally would and then I switch to this other method because the onion body has become smaller. Then I show how you should NOT hold the root of the onion while slicing down into it. You may notice, it looks a little too easy to slip and lose the tips of your fingers. Then the third cut through I show holding the bridge of the blade.

The second one is if you are more comfortable holding the root end and want more precise slices.

 

February 28, 2010. Tags: , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week, Too Embarassed to Ask. Leave a comment.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

O.K. So sometimes, some of us get a bit ahead of ourselves and when that craving for chocolate cake turns into the making of the chocolate cake, we may realize we used the last of the baking powder on those cookies last week or we are short just 2 tablespoons of butter!

Instead of feeling like a jerk, feel like a genius by subbing.
Here are a few of the most common

Emergency ingredient substitutions!

*horns sound*

BAKING POWDER 1 tsp
SUB 1/4 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

FRESH HERBS 1 Tbsp
SUB  1 tsp dried herb

MILK (WHOLE OR LOW FAT) 1 cup
SUB 1/2 cup evaporated milk & 1/2 cup water

UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE 1 oz.
SUB 3 Tbsp cocoa & 1 Tbsp fat (vegetable oil or melted shortening, margarine, oleo)

SEMI-SWEET BAKING CHOCOLATE 1 oz.
SUB 1 oz unsweetened plus 1 Tbsp sugar

SEMI-SWEET CHIPS 1 cup
SUB 6 oz. (semi-sweet baking chocolate) chopped

*write them on a little card and put it in your recipe box* Hooray!

February 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 1 comment.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Keep your kitchen shears and craft scissors sharp!

Cut through a very fine grain sandpaper
a few times.
Not the best, but it does work in a pinch.

Cut one of your old steel wool pads
in pieces before replacing it.

Fold aluminum foil over 5 or 6 times and cut through.
This one works very well!

Never put your knives or scissors in the dishwasher
as the detergent will dull them.

Always wash with dish soap and warm water
immediately after using on anything acidic.

February 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Cleaning tips, Tip O' the Week. 1 comment.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Never store your potatoes with your onions. The alliinases will rot the potatoes faster.
(Alliinases will be in my “Tip o’ the Week” next week!)

Slice a potato in disks and put one or two in each houseplant plagued with gnats. Every 2 days, throw away potato slices and replace with new ones. Do this for about a week and you will rid your pretty little plants and house of those pesky gnats.
(This works because they will lay their eggs [hundreds] on the potato. They will find a better spot to raise their little ones.)

Throw large chunks of potato in a soup that’s over salted. They work like a sponge. Remove potato before it’s soft.

January 24, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Cleaning tips, Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 2 comments.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*


Microwave your lemon for 5-8 seconds before juicing or roll it on the counter several times, pressing it against your palm.
It makes it easier to squeeze and you’ll get more juice from it!

Zesting is best and easiest when your lemon is VERY chill.

When squeezing the juice from a lemon half directly into a recipe,
squeeze with the cut end against your palm and facing up to avoid dropping seeds into it.


It’s o.k. to get the juice all over your nails. In fact, it brightens them!

Fresh cut fruit will keep looking fresh longer if lightly coated in lemon juice.

Add lemon juice to your vinegar for cleaning to neutralize the smell.

Lemon juice is a degreaser!
Put lemon slices in a bowl with water and microwave it until very hot.
This will make cleaning your microwave easier.

Use lemon juice to remove lime from faucets and taps.


January 17, 2010. Tags: , , . Cleaning tips, Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 1 comment.

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