tips, tips and more tips!


I freaking LOVE those tips that make me wonder if I lived under a rock all these years!

These were gathered from some old  Farmers Almanac publications.  Let’s jump in….


  • Before peeling an orange or juicing a lemon or lime, grate the peel (zest) into a small container and freeze for later use
  • Stale bread?  Cut into 1 inch cubes to make croutons.  Toss with seasonings and oil and bake in a 325 degree oven until crisp
  • OR use Chex cereal instead of croutons on salads
  • Add a pinch of baking powder when mashing potatoes to make them fluffier.
  • Mix in broken chips in the bottom of a nearly empty potato chip bag with bread crumbs to coat chicken and fish
  • Substitute club soda for milk in pancakes to make them lighter and fluffier
  • When slow cooking pinto beans, add a carrot.  When the beans are half cooked, rinse the beans and discard the carrot.  Add more water and a new carrot.  Finish cooking
  • Keep a slice of white bread in the cookie jar to keep cookies moist
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the water when boiling pasta
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to chili to help to smooth out the flavors and round out the heat
  • Add shredded carrots to spaghetti sauce to cut acidity
  • If soup or stew is too salty, add one cut up potato
  • Place hot hard boiled eggs into ice cold water or add 1 Tbs.vinegar to the boiling water and the shells will come off easily


  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil and place in refrigerator to increase from spoiling quickly.
  • Dip the cut end of banana in sugar to prevent browning
  • Store yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream containers upside down in the fridge
  • OR add a pinch of ginger when cooking pinto beans
  • Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays for use later in cold ‘iced’ coffees
  • Put a wet paper towel into a sealed plastic bag with lettuce to keep it from turning brown


  • Gather old ‘net’ onion bags together with a rubber band and use as a scrubby when washing dishes
  • To removed baked on food from a frying pan, put a dryer sheet and warm water into the an.  Soak overnight and then wash the pan
  • Spray a dirty cast iron pan generously with oven cleaner and put into a plastic bag large enough to completely contain it.  Close the bag securely and set it aside for 24 hours.  Remove the pan, discard the bag and thoroughly wash and re-season the pan
  • Spray a spoon or measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before measuring honey or molasses
  • Use a baggie on your hand when greasing baking pans

homemade stuff…i saved the best for last…

Ok….I’ll be honest.  I believe it is easier for me to drive to the grocery store and just BUY these products.  HOWEVER, in a pinch….these might come in handy……..except for the recipe for glue….that I will probably just buy…

FABRIC SOFTENER:  6 cups water,  3 cups vinegar,  2 cups any brand hair conditioner.   Mix conditioner and water together until conditioner is completely  dissolved. Add vinegar.  *Makes about 1 1/2 gallons

LAUNDRY SOAP:  4 cups water,  1 bar grated soap,  1 cup washing soda,  1/2 cup borax,  3 gallons water,   Place  1/2 grated soap in boiling water (6 cups) once it’s melted add the other 1/2 soap. While it’s melting put 3 gallons water in a 5 gallon bucket or something large enough to hold it all. Stir in the borax and washing soda and when soap is melted, pour it into the 3 gallons of water and stir.   *Makes about 4 gallons

GLUE:  1 cup Flour  1/2 cup Sugar  1 1/2 Water  1 tsp White vinegar    Combine flour and sugar in a saucepan. Add cold water to make a paste and beat out any lumps. Then stir constantly over a medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add one teaspoon of vinegar. (Yeah, won’t be making this…)

HOMEMADE FEBREZE:   1/8 cup of your favorite laundry softener, 2 Tblsp. baking soda, Hot tap water to fill the bottle.  Shake the bottle and spray away nasty scents!

HOMEMADE ICE PACK:   2 cups of water, 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol, ziploc bag.  Combine water and alcohol in a zipper-top bag. Seal top and freeze. The alcohol keeps it from freezing solid and creates a gel-like ice pack. You can add food colouring to the water to your liking for something different.  Be sure to label your bag so you know what it is. Contents are not to be swallowed.

SPRAY STARCH:  1 cup distilled water,  1-3 tsps. cornstarch (depending on how stiff you like your shirts!) Funnel into spray bottle, give a little shaky and iron away!

HOMEMADE BUBBLES:   4 cups water, 1 cup dishwashing liquid (i.e. Palmolive) 1/4 cup light corn syrup.  Pour into container and shake, then let sit for a couple of hours.  That’s it!  Pour into bowl for the little bubble wands and into a larger container for the larger bubble wands! Blow away!

HOMEMADE OXI-CLEAN:  1 cup water, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup *washing soda (some recipes call for baking soda, but this one calls for washing soda i.e. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda) Mix and pour into a dark spray bottle.  Spray on soiled laundry and let it sit overnight. Or, if you have a number of clothes that are soiled, you make up a batch of this and soak them in it overnight. Then, launder away!

Now here is something I would like to make.  I love Nutella, but there is just too much sugar in the original.  Let’s make a homemade version!  (Adapted from the Encyclopédie du Chocolat, by way of David Lebovitz.)

Homemade Nutella

The original recipe instructs to strain the spread at the very end, but I don’t mind a little nut texture in mine. Adapted from the Encyclopédie du Chocolat, by way of David Lebovitz.

1 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts 1 1/2 cups whole milk 3/4 cup powdered milk 1 Tbsp. mild-flavored honey pinch salt 1 heaping cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, or chips 1 scant cup chopped milk chocolate, or chips

On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the nuts in a 400ºF for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and their skins begin to pop. Transfer to a tea towel, gather into a bundle and rub together to remove as much of their skins as possible. While warm, transfer to the bowl of a food processor and blend until they go from finely ground to pasty and thick, like natural peanut butter.

Meanwhile, warm the milk, powdered milk, honey and salt in a small saucepan just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat. In a glass or stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt the chocolates, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Add the melted chocolate to the ground nuts and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well blended and as smooth as you can get it. Makes about 2 cups.