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


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

Stroke Signs? Remember F A S T

It’s not just us old codgers that may experience a stroke. Strokes can happen to people of all ages. If you, a loved one or even someone who you just tolerate think they may be suffering a stroke, remember FAST.

  • F – Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Have the person smile. Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
  • A – Arm Weakness – Ask if one arm is weak or numb. Have the person raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty – Is the speech slurred? Listen to see if they are hard to understand or are unable to speak. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The grass is green.” Can the person repeat the words correctly?
  • T – If the person shows any of these signs, even if they go away, call 911 immediately. Tell them that you think this is a stroke and the person needs to get to the ER right away. Time is important, don’t delay. Note the time that symptoms first appeared as the emergency responders will want to know.

Unsure? Don’t wait, call anyway!

Keep your fork

Homemade BB/Pellet/Air/22 Target

If you are like I am, you might figure ‘Why buy something when I can make one.’ I’ve looked at some spinning/turning type targets but have hated to put out the hard-earned bucks to buy one. Here’s a solution.

The first thing you may need is some No.9 wire. If you grew up on a farm or in the era when a clothes line was common, you know what No.9 is. For those who are not familiar with this wire gauge, it’s the wire that you see holding up these cheap looking political signs all over the country. (If fact, if you have some of these signs, you can save some time in making your targets.) You want to make what looks like a croquet wire hoop with a flattened top. You want it to look like a big staple. If you want to shoot prone, you need a shorter piece of wire. If you want to sit or stand, you’ll need one the size of a campaign sign holder.

The second item you need are a few bamboo clothes pins with a heavy-duty spring. Insert the wire through the hole in the coil of the spring and move the clothes pin  to the flattened top of the hoop/holder. It should spin on the wire. Depending on the length of the hoop/holder top, you may put on more than one clothes pin.

The third item needed will be used canning jar flats, jar lids or tops taken off pork and bean or canned veggie ‘tin cans’. Clip these onto the clothes pins so they hang down into the center of the holder. You may change these as often as desired or needed.

The last and the most important item is a safe backstop and background behind your target. Always practice safe gun handling and be sure of your target.

Keep your fork

Sunlight’s Health Benefits

I think we all realize that too much exposure to the sun can damage our skin which could lead to skin cancer although a moderate amount of sunlight has health benefits. Here are some of those benefits.

  • 30 minutes of sun while wearing a bathing suit causes our skin to produce a significant amount of vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and a healthy immune system. If you’re not into sunbathing, 15 minutes of sun on your hands, arms and face two or three days per week provides some vitamin D benefits.
  • Sunlight also gives a boost to our levels of serotonin, a mood- and energy- enhancing hormone produced in our brain.
  • Exposure to sunlight supports your body’s production of nitric oxide, a substance that helps lower blood pressure as well as chronic inflammation, which may have a role in the development of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
  • Remember, ‘moderation’ is the word when it comes to sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their peak. If you are out in the sun for 15 minutes or longer, wear a sunscreen with a (SPF) sun protection factor, of at least 15.

Keep your fork

Minor Burn Treatment At Home

I’d be willing to bet that there aren’t many people out there who haven’t had a minor burn of some kind and treated it themselves or had a loved one treat it. For a minor (second degree) burn to heal by itself, all you generally have to do is the following:

  • Cool the burned area as soon as possible. Run cold tap water over the burned area for 10 to 20 minutes. If the burned area is on the face or body, gently apply cool compresses on the area.
  • Don’t do as my mother always suggested. Do not apply butter, ice or ice water to the burn as these items can cause further tissue damage.
  • If there is a chance of swelling, remove jewelry or clothing from the affected area. It’s a good idea to remove these items even if swelling isn’t a possibility.
  • Wash your hands before treating the affected area and do not touch the burned skin directly to avoid infecting the burned area.
  • If needed, clean the area by gently washing the area with cool water and patting dry. Do not rub.
  • If blisters form, DO NOT break them open.
  • If a blister does not break open, no bandage is needed. If a blister does break open, place a loose bandage over the area and change the dressing if it becomes soiled.
  • Heaven forbid that a bandage becomes stuck to the burned area. If it does, soak the bandage in lukewarm water to help loosen it.
  • See your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about the severity of the burn or if it becomes infected.

Keep your fork

Basic Vehicle Emergency Kit

According to AAA, 4 out of 10 American drivers would be unprepared if a breakdown should occur. They also state that two-thirds of drivers have never had their battery tested, 1 in 5 do not know how to change a tire and 4 in 10 do not carry an emergency kit. With the heat we’re having this summer and families getting ready to take their annual summer vacation, here are a few things to consider.

Remember that more batteries fail due to extreme heat than to cold. If you haven’t had your battery tested lately or if it has some age to it, now is the time to have your battery checked by a professional. Tires are the same. If you haven’t noticed, you see more pieces of tire rubber laying alongside, if not on, the road during the summer than the winter. I’ve never seen anyone throw pieces of tire out their car window like they do cigarette butts or garbage. Have your tires checked. To avoid the engine overheating, have the engine coolant checked when you have the battery tested and tires checked.

If you do not have a basic emergency kit in your vehicle, here is what it should include as a minimum:

Mobile phone and charger
Warning devices such as flares/reflective triangles
First-aid kit
Jumper cables
Tarp/trash bag
Basic toolkit
Pencil and paper
Duct tape and plastic wire/cable ties
Rags/towels/pre-moistened wipes
Windshield washer solution
Nonperishable food/treats
Drinking water
Toilet paper/napkins

I’m sure there are other items as well. If you can think of other needed items, add them to your kit. For your piece of mind and safety if a breakdown/emergency should occur, having the basics on hand is a necessity.

Keep your fork