Household Hints – Part 2

Here are more household hints to add to those that I started on 15 October.

  • For a crisp crust  on chicken, rub with mayonnaise before baking.
  • Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove water spots from stainless steel.
  • Club soda will shine up stainless steel in a jiffy.
  • Add sliced green pepper to fried potatoes to give them a fine flavor.
  • To freshen left over mashed potatoes, put milk in a skillet, add the potatoes and heat; then whip them well and they will taste like fresh ones.
  • Boiled potatoes will stay white if a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar is added to the water.
  • To extinguish a grease fire on the stove, quickly sprinkle a lot of baking soda on the flames.
  • To make marshmallow creme, dissolve 10 oz. of marshmallows in 1/2 cup of milk. Makes 1 cup.
  • Use your potato peeler to shave chocolate. It makes long curled shavings, perfect for use in decorating tops of cakes, pies and puddings.
  • When baking drop cookies, try having a cup of very hot water handy to dip the spoon into. The batter will cut off easily and drop from the spoon without sticking.
  • When baking cream puffs, do not remove them from oven as soon as they are done, but let them stand in the closed oven until they are cool. This prevents them from falling.
  • Baking soda removes fish odor from hands and cooking utensils.
  • Thaw fish in milk for a fresh caught flavor.
  • To prevent edges of pies from browning too much, brush them with water before baking.
  • Household cleaner: put 1 pint rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons household ammonia and 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent into a gallon of water. A few drops of bluer coloring may be added to let you know that it is not water.
  • Try using honey instead of sugar in your fresh cucumber salads the next time you make them. It gives them a pleasant but different flavor.
  • Use a can of asparagus soup to cream your asparagus.
  • Homemade cake flour: Use 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of regular flour. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and sift together.
  • To make brown sugar: Blend 1/2 cup white sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses. This equals 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
  • To double whipped cream: Add 8 marshmallows to 1/2 pint of whipping cream the night before. Refrigerate. Next day, whip until stiff. No sugar or flavoring is needed.
  • To make bananas stay fresh looking in jello, add a teaspoon of vinegar to the jello.
  • Pour pineapple juice over fresh fruits, such as apples and bananas, to keep them from darkening.

Keep your fork

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Household Hints – Part 1

Some of these may be old hat to you while others may be new. I learned a few new tricks.

  • If the juice from a pie runs over in the oven, shake some salt on it which causes the juice to burn to a crisp so it can be removed.
  • To prevent a one crust pie shell from shrinking, make a little tuck across the middle of the crust when fitting it in the pan.
  • When an egg white is beaten, adding 1 tablespoon cold water to it will increase the bulk considerably.
  • Juice saved from cooking a sausage makes an excellent base or broth for vegetable soup.
  • Cauliflower cooked in water with a little vinegar or lemon juice will keep it snowy white.
  • Cutting marshmallows may be simplified by dipping scissors in powdered sugar after each cut.
  • Tough meat can be tenderized without affecting the flavor by the addition of several drops of vinegar while cooking.
  • Onion odor may be removed from your hands by rubbing the hands with damp salt.
  • Add a teaspoon of vinegar to frosting to prevent breaking when cut.
  • To take odor out of Tupperware, stuff with newspaper and cover for a while.
  • Potatoes soaked in salt water for 20 minutes before baking will bake more rapidly.
  • When making cake icing or candy consisting of milk or cream and sugar, add 1 teaspoon of ordinary table syrup for each cup of sugar used. Boil in the usual way. Your finished product will be much smoother and not so apt to become sugary.
  • A tablespoon of ammonia added to the final rinse water will keep most blankets fluffy after laundering.
  • When making refrigerator or rolled cookies, keep them crisp by sprinkling with crushed peanut brittle while still hot from the oven. The brittle melts slightly giving the cookies a delightful topping.
  • Dark corn syrup removes grass stains. Pour the syrup full strength on the stain and let it stand for a few minutes, then wash as usual.
  • Use leftover suntan oil as a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and smooth in cold weather.
  • To clean a canvas handbag, don’t wash it. Use dry baking soda, rubbing it on with a small brush. Soil will come off easily.
  • Spraying shaving cream directly on a wood tick will make it let go.
  • Liquid floor wax will preserve those autumn leaves that are so colorful. Pour the wax in a flat dish, dip the leaves, than hang or set them aside to dry.
  • Vinegar removes fruit stains from your hands.

Household Hints – Part 2 to come later.

Keep your fork

Nutrient Terms

You have probably seen fellow consumers pushing their shopping cart (down here, it’s called a ‘buggy’) up and down the isles trying to pick out the healthiest food choices. You can read all the food labels you want and every other form of ‘help’ provided and still may have to stand there scratching your head, trying to figure out which product to purchase. Let me add my 2 cents worth to the dilemma by providing these descriptive terms for you to remember.

  •  Free – a serving contains very little or no amount: 5 calories, 5 mg of sodium, 0.5 g of fat, 0.5 g of saturated fat, 2 mg of cholesterol, or 0.5 g of sugar.
  • Low – a serving contains no more than 40 calories; 140 mg of sodium; 3 g of fat; 1 g of saturated fat and 15 % of calories from saturated fat; or 20 mg of cholesterol; not defined for sugar; for “very low sodium”, no more than 35 mg of sodium.
  • High – a serving contains 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) for a particular nutrient.
  • Good Source – a serving contains 10-19% of the DV for the nutrient.
  • Less – a food contains 25% less of a nutrient or 25% fewer calories than a referenced food.
  • Light – has three descriptions: 1) an altered product contains one-third fewer calories or 50% of the fat in a referenced food;(if 50% or more of the calories come from fat, the reduction must be 50% of the fat) or 2) the sodium content of a low-calorie, low-fat food has been reduced by 50% (the claim “light in sodium” may be used or 3) the term describes such properties as texture and color, as long as the label explains the intent (e.g. “light brown sugar,” “light and fluffy”).
  • Healthy – a food is low in fat and saturated fat, and a serving contains no more than 480 mg of sodium and no more than 60 mg of cholesterol.

Keep your fork

Cake Baking Tips

  • When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead. This leaves no flour mess on the outside of the cake.
  • For perfect shaped cakes or jelly rolls, first grease the pan then line it with greased waxed paper. After baking, invert the pan and peel off the waxed paper. No more broken corners or edges! This also works great for fudges and bars.
  • When frosting cakes, always anchor the bottom cake layer to the serving plate or lazy Susan with a few drops of frosting. That way the cake won’t slide about as you frost. This also helps keep a cake from sliding on its plate during transit.
  • To prevent icing from running off your cake, try dusting the surface lightly with cornstarch before icing.
  • When filling and frosting a cake, place first layer(s) with bottom side up; place top layer with the top side up.
  • For best results in cake baking, let eggs, butter and milk reach room temperature before mixing.
  • A handy substitute for cake flour: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of an all-purpose flour equals 1 cup of cake flour.
  • To prevent nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of a cake during baking, warm them a bit in the oven and toss them with flour. Shake off excess flour before mixing them into the batter.
  • If cake flour is hard to find, you can make your own with all-purpose flour: to every cup of cake flour called for in a recipe substitute a cup of all-purpose flour but replace a tablespoon of the flour with cornstarch.

Keep your fork

Some Amazing Facts

  • If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. (Hardly seems worth it.)
  • If you passed gas consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (Now that’s more like it!)
  • The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out of the body to squirt blood 30 feet. (O.M.G.)
  • A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (I know what I want to come back as.)
  • A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy) (I’m still not over the pig.)
  • Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Don’t try this at home; maybe at work.)
  • The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. (Honey, I’m home. What the…?)
  • The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?)
  • The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)
  • Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still can’t believe that pig; quality over quantity.)
  • Butterflies taste with their feet. (Something I always wanted to know.)
  • The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmmmm….)
  • Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. (Okay, so that would be a good thing.)
  • A cat’s urine glows under a black light. (I wonder how much the government paid to figure that out.)
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.)
  • Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that, too.)
  • Polar bears are left-handed.  (I thought they had paws.)
  • Human and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about the pig? Do the dolphins know about the pig?)

Now that you’ve smiled at least once, put a smile on a friend’s face by letting them know some of these facts. And God love the pig.

Keep your fork

Kitchen Cleaning and Safety Tips

Some of these kitchen cleaning and safety tips may be old hat to you, but hopefully there are one or two hints that will make you say, “I didn’t know that.”

  • To keep steel wool pads from rusting in humid climate, store them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer after using. The next time you have to use it, just run it under hot water and it is “thawed” out and ready to use. The pads will wear out before they ever rust.
  • Easily remove burnt on food from a skillet by adding a drop or two of liquid dish soap and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and bring it to a boil on the stove top. Allow to cool and cleaning should be a breeze.
  • Spray plasticware with nonstick cooking spray before putting into tomato-based sauces. No more stains!
  • To aid in washing dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your soapy water. It softens hands while cutting through grease.
  • To remove the odor of garlic from your hands, wet your hands with water and then rub them with a spoonful of salt and rinse. Repeat, if needed.
  • When stacking non-stick skillets on cupboard shelves, place a paper plate between each to prevent scratches. This will prolong the life of the skillet.
  • Never put a cover on anything that is cooked in milk, unless you want to spend time cleaning up the stove when it boils over.
  • After chopping garlic or onions, rub a fresh lemon wedge over both the knife blade and the cutting board to help remove the odor.
  • For quick wipe-ups of small spills, keep a box of plain white tissues near the stove and use them instead of paper towels.
  • Never wash a rolling-pin, or it may warp, and never let dough dry on it. Immediately after rolling out dough, wipe the rolling-pin clean with a towel.
  • To safely clean coffee makers, enameled cast-iron pots and similar equipment, put 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda in the pot and pour boiling water over it. A baking powder solution is also great for scrubbing butcher blocks.
  • After zesting and juicing an orange, lemon or lime, grind the remains in your garbage disposal for their refreshing scent.
  • For easy cleanup, fill your blender container with warm water, add a few drops of liquid detergent and blend for 30 seconds; rinse well.
  • To deodorize plastic storage containers in which onions or garlic were stored, wash thoroughly, then stuff a crumpled piece of newspaper in the container and snap on the lid. In a few days, the smell will disappear.
  • Never pour water on flaming fat or oil — you’ll spread the fire. If the fire’s inside the pan, slap on the lid. If outside, turn off the heat and douse the flames by tossing on a handful of baking soda or salt.
  • It is easier to clean a grill right after you’ve used it. While still hot, scrape off food bits with a metal bristle brush to keep them from hardening and charring the next time you cook out. A little work ahead of time saves a lot of work later.

Keep your fork

Why Drink Water?

With all the choices of ‘liquids’ we could be consuming, the best bet is still ‘water’. Water plays an important part in our body’s functions. Every system in our body depends on water. Here are some things water does:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Moistens tissues – keeps the skin looking young and healthy
  • Lubricates joints
  • Helps flush wastes
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects organs
  • Energizes the muscles

Many drinks we consume contains too much sugar. Water has 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Added sugars should not exceed 10% of daily calories which is approximately 50 g/day. Here are some comparisons:

  • Orange juice: 8 oz = 21 grams of sugar and 110 calories
  • Sweetened iced tea: 16 oz = 36 grams of sugar and 140 calories
  • 2% milk: 8 oz = 12 grams of sugar
  • 100% juice smoothie: 15.2 oz = 60 grams of sugar and 300 calories
  • Lemon-lime soda: 20 oz = 77 grams of sugar and 285 calories
  • Orange soda: 20 oz = 85 grams of sugar and 325 calories
  • Cola: 44 oz = 128 grams of sugar and 510 calories; (38 oz cola & 6 oz ice)
  • Iced coffee (mocha flavor): 9.5 oz = 31 grams of sugar and 180 calories
  • Sports drink: 20 oz = 35 grams of sugar and 125 calories
  • Energy drink: 15 oz = 54 grams of sugar and 200 calories
  • Chocolate skim milk: 8 oz = 23 grams of sugar and 145 calories
  • 100% apple juice: 27 grams of sugar and 115 calories
  • Cranberry juice cocktail: 8 oz glass = 30 grams of sugar and 120 calories
  • Coffee: 8 oz = 0 grams of sugar and 0 calories
  • Vegetable juice: 8 oz = 8 grams of sugar and 50 calories
  • Plain soy milk: 8 oz = 8 grams of sugar and 120 calories
  • Skim milk: 8 oz = 12 grams of sugar and 90 calories

Keep your fork