tips, tips and more tips!

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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….

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

how to get rid of those nasty stains…

Ok, I may not be the Queen of Clean, but I can certainly hire someone who is just that.

Linda Cobb, the real Queen of Clean and author of The Royal Guide to Spot and Stain Removal, tells you how to get rid of all kinds of nasty spots and stains!  You probably have some of these items in your castle!  See?  You are acting queenly already!

Let’s take a look!

Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol is great for grass stains and so much more.

Ammonia: The perspiration stain fighter.

Automatic dishwasher detergent: Keep this on hand as a bleach substitute and whitener/ brightener even if you don’t have a dishwasher. Liquid, powder, and tablet form all work well. If you choose the tablet, make sure it has dissolved before you add clothes. Pour directly on stain, or soak.

Baking soda: Removes odors.

Club soda: My favorite Oh my gosh, how did I do that? spotter. Use it on any fabric or surface that can be treated with water. A slight dabbing on dry-clean-only fabrics is also permissible, just be sure to test first! Use club soda on any spill — ask the waiter for some if you’re dining out — dab it on and blot it off. Club soda keeps spills from becoming stains and brings the offending spill to the surface so it can be easily removed. It’s totally safe. I always make sure to have a bottle on hand.

Cream of tartar: I bet you have some of this in the kitchen cupboard, but how often do you use it? Well, here’s your chance. Mix cream of tartar with lemon juice and you have a wonderful bleach for white clothes spotted with food or other stains. It’s even effective on many rust stains.

Denture-cleaning tablets: The cure-all for white table linens with food stains and white cotton with stains. Dissolve one tablet per 1/2 cup water. Pour directly on stain or spot.

Dishwashing liquid: A wonderful spotter, used undiluted on tough stains.

Glycerin: You can remove tar, tree sap (think Christmas tree), juice stains, mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

GOJO Crème Waterless Hand Cleaner®: Totally awesome for removing grease and oil, including shoe polish.

Hydrogen peroxide: 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is super for removing bloodstains, especially if they are fairly fresh. It also is a wonderful bleaching agent for stubborn stains on white clothes. Combine ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of ammonia for an unbeatable stain removal combination. Make sure to use 3 percent and not the kind you use to bleach your hair!

Lemon juice: This is nature’s bleach and disinfectant. I don’t know where we’d be without it. If you have spots on white clothes, apply some lemon juice and lay them in the sun. Apply a little more lemon juice prior to laundering, or pre-spray and launder as usual. This is really effective on baby formula stains.

Meat tenderizer: A combo of meat tenderizer (unseasoned, please, or you’ll have a whole new stain!) and cold water is just the answer to protein-based stains such as blood, milk, etc.

Salt: Sprinkling salt on spilled red wine will keep the wine from staining until you can launder it. Mixed with lemon juice, salt will remove mildew stains.

Shampoo: Any brand will do. Cheap is fine. I save the small bottles from hotel/motel stays and keep them in the laundry room. Great for treating ring-around-the-collar, mud and cosmetic stains.

Shave cream: That innocent-looking can of shave cream in your bathroom is one of the best spot and stain removers available. That’s because it’s really whipped soap! If you have a spill on your clothes (or even your carpet), moisten the spot, work in some shave cream, and then flush it with cool water. If the offending spot is on something you’re wearing, work the shave cream in and then use a clean cloth (a washcloth works fine) to blot the shave cream and the spot away. A quick touch of the blow-dryer to prevent a ring and you’re on your way. The best thing about shave cream is that even if it doesn’t work it won’t set the stain, so the spot can still be removed later. Keep a small sample can in your suitcase when you travel. It’s saved me more than once!

WD-40 Lubricant®: Check out your garage or the “fix-it” cupboard. If you don’t have any, pick up a can the next time you’re at the hardware store or home center. Why? Because we’ve all had those nasty grease stains and oil stains on clothes: Salad dressing misses the salad and gets the blouse, or grease splatters when you are cooking — or crayon/lipstick/Chap Stick® gets on your clothes! WD-40 is your answer. Spray some on, wait 10 minutes, and then work in undiluted liquid dishwashing soap and launder as usual. Works well on everything except silk!

White vinegar: A great spotter for suede — used undiluted. It’s also a wonderful fabric softener. Just put 1/4 cup white vinegar in the final rinse. (And no, you won’t smell like a salad!) It’s worthwhile to keep these things on hand. As you can see, most are inexpensive and have other uses. They’ll make you the laundry Queen — or King! — in your home.

Read more: HERE!

salt of the earth…

Who knew that I could find out some information that is so exciting?   According to the Salt Institute (Yes!  There is actually a Salt Institute) there are about 14,000 ways to use salt.

“How versatile,” you are saying……..or not saying.

(Sidenote:  ok….I checked out their website and …it seems that they need our online comments to defend our “salt freedom”.  Hmmm… They even have a Facebook page! Ha!!  Check out their video with the Salt Guru…..this is almost as sad as the pillowcase fiasco)

Where were we?  Oh……

The use of salt to preserve food (especially for traveling long distances) was one of the first uses.  But nowadays there have been many uses of salt in the area of cleaning and also for nifty little tricks around the house.

“How versatile,” you find yourself repeating.  Yes, it is…..and here are some tips for you…

CLEANING

Salt works as an effective, yet gentle, scouring agent.  For a basic salt scrub, make a paste with lots of salt, baking soda and dish soap and use on appliances, enamel, porcelain, etc.

Clean sink drains:  Pour salt mixed with hot water down the kitchen sink regularly to deodorize and keep grease from building up.

Remove water rings:  Gently rub a thin paste of salt and vegetable oil on the white marks caused by beverage glasses and hot dishes, on wooden tables.

Clean greasy pans:  Cast iron skillets can be cleaned with a good sprinkling of salt and paper towels.

Clean stained cups:  Mix salt with a dab of dish soap to make a soft scrub for stubborn coffee and tea stains.

Clean refrigerators:  A mix of salt and soda water can be used to wipe out and deodorize the inside of your refrigerator, which is a very nice way to keep chemical cleaners away from your food.

Clean rust:  Mix salt and cream of tartar with just enough water to make a paste.  Rub on rust, let dry, brush off and then buff with a dry,  soft cloth.  I say get one of your kids to do it, because it sounds like a good punishment exercise.

Clean a glass coffee pot:  Add salt and ice cubes to a coffee pot, swirl around vigorously and rinse.

Remove perspiration stains:  Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains fade…..oh, and take off the shirt first.

Tomorrow we will discover how to use it all around the house!

Naaah…too boring…… Salt is so over

the nasties…

(Here is an article found on the Good Morning America website)  By ANGELA ELLIS

May 13, 2010

We’ve all been there – you see an eye shadow or blush compact in your makeup bag but you’re not quite sure how long you’ve had it. No harm in using it one more time, right? Not so fast.

It turns out that all it takes are a few cells from an unwashed hand or a blistered lip and a mascara wand or lip gloss could become a haven for contagious bacteria.

Hundreds of people use makeup counter testers every day, but unfortunately not everyone uses the disposable applicators provided. Dirty fingers dipped in makeup can spread everything from herpes to pink eye.

“You can find staphylococcus, you can find micrococcus…and if you’re very unlucky…E. coli, which is obviously from fecal matter,” Dermatologist Jeanine Downie said.

That same bacteria might be hiding in your own makeup stash, especially in older products. Antibacterial agents start to break down after about six months.

Former makeup artist Syama Meagher said she still uses products that are months, years and even decades old, like her favorite high school eye shadow from the early ’90s.

“If I put it on my finger or my hand and it looks okay I figure, why can’t I use it?” Meagher said.

GMA” wanted to find out just how unhealthy it is to use makeup past its prime, so we collected a few samples to send to a lab: lip gloss from Meagher, liquid eyeliner from our own Juju Chang and mascara and eyeliner pencil from some “GMA” staffers.

News correspondent Andrea Canning had face powder, which was at least a year old, months-old mascara, concealer and worn down lipstick and sent them off to be tested.

Andrea said “it might not be pretty” and she was right — the results were shocking.  Of the 25 samples tested, 11 came back positive for different types of bacteria such as staphylococcus, commonly found on the skin but still potentially harmful.

“This is a bacterium that can cause pink eye…and also skin lesions and rashes,” microbiologist Connie Morbach said.

We discovered streptococcus, which is usually found in saliva or mucous, and Morbach said is a bacterium that can cause strep throat.

Contaminated Makeup Can Cause Breakouts, Boils and Even Abscesses

The other bacteria we detected, micrococcus and bacillus, come from household dust and dirty surfaces. But the worst bacteria we found are called gram negative rods.

“These are organisms that originate in our intestinal system, but also can be found in decayed food,” Morbach said.

The amount of bacteria discovered in just one tiny swab was also startling.

“They are actually 100 times more concentrated than what you visually can see on the plate,” Morbach said.

The bacteria can not only make you sick, it can also wreak havoc on your skin.

“When you’re using contaminated makeup…you can get mild breakouts, all the way to boils and even abscesses on your face,” Downie said.

When these women found out exactly what was in their makeup their reactions varied from “gross” to “scary” — but all of them agreed they should either clean the makeup or throw them out.

Tips to Help Keep Your Makeup Clean:

Sharpen your eye and lip pencils to remove the bacteria on the outer layers. Also use diluted bleach and makeup remover to clean your sharpener.

Wipe down your lipstick, or shave off the top of it with a blade especially if you have shared it with someone else.

Keep the lids and caps tightly closed. If you lost them, throw it out.

Use disposable applicators or wash your brushes every few weeks.