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Household Hints



   Bettijo  Great food substitute list

http://allrecipes.com/howto/common-ingredient-substitutions/
Yesterday at 09:43 EST .

   2 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Thanks, Bettijo.
About an hour ago .




   BirdsNest  I was scanning through the posts on one of the walls here and someone mentioned catching a cold, thinking it came from the grocery store. It likely did, shopping carts are as nasty as a public restroom floor. I read an article about how a test was done on several from various stores and the germs found on the handles and the front where parents park their wet diapered children are very toxic. First rule of shopping carts, wipe them down anywhere you might touch. Then your hands. Leaving the store, wipe your hands with a new hand wipe towel. Our 2 grocery stores have the sani-hands wipes available. The ones in WalMart leave a sticky residue but that is better than a cold. I have had a cold/respiratory thingy for going on 3 weeks, right now it is not as bad but still cannot smell or taste.
January 26 at 07:56 EST .

   2 people like this.



   MeiDei  That was me Bird, I have an impaired immune system so even the wipes don't help much. Never gave a thought to those pull down cart seats & will make that an issue next time I'm out - yes, little baby bottoms can leave a residue!
January 27 at 15:04 EST .

  2 people like this.





   MeiDei  A while back someone posted the hint to defrost meats quickly by putting the item between 2 aluminum pieces ... well, I had one of those days when I had to defrost chicken breasts (ind. wrapped in Saran ) I put them on an aluminum (inverted ) cover with the pot on top & WOW, was I pleasantly surprised. They defrosted evenly & fast - better than the defrost cycle in the microwave that always seems to 'cook' the thinner end or the edges.
January 22 at 23:46 EST .

   4 people like this.



   Bettijo  Hi. That was me. So glad it worked for you. Isn't this site great for sharing tips.
January 24 at 23:06 EST .

  3 people like this.



   MeiDei  Yes it is Bettijo and I thank you for the tip. We're due to have a blizzard tomorrow night and I took a 7+ lb chicken roaster out of the freezer today, it's sitting in an aluminum high sided pot defrosting now. Tomorrow it's going to be "goosed" in a bundt pan for all around roasting - another tip from this site.
January 26 at 02:43 EST .

 1 person like this.



   MeiDei  I won't do the bundt pan as a roaster again, I am shamefully addicted to crisp skin & only the parts above the pan line crisped up. The chicken did cook beautifully though, nice & moist and quicker than expected.
January 27 at 15:00 EST .

  2 people like this.





   MeiDei  Here's a link with substitutes, cooking times, storage tips, in season fruits & veggies, knife rules, seasonings, etc. Sending to email pals - especially the young or newly married. http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/cooking-charts#.ecJgV
Kz2oR

Printed & put in a binder for a shower or housewarming gift would be nice.
January 18 at 11:09 EST .

   3 people like this.



   Balogreene  Oh my! I forwarded it to the food network at work, and then to my family! I want to print it out, and tape it to my cupboards. That has everything you might need.
January 21 at 19:54 EST .

  3 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I could not get it to load properly but I will try again later.
January 22 at 08:27 EST .


   Balogreene  Let me know Bird, I'll send it to you if necessary.
January 22 at 20:05 EST .

 1 person like this.



   BirdsNest  Thanks, Balo, that would be great.
January 23 at 08:21 EST .

  2 people like this.



   MeiDei  Our printer, scanner, fax machine is on the fritz. Sent the above link to someone who will print select pages for me - but I noticed a word left out in my last sentence above, should have read "included" with a shower or housewarming gift i.e., a selection of spices, measuring cups & funnels, a microplane, etc. - you get the idea. I'm going to laminate my pages when they arrive - spills are hard to avoid sometimes. Really crafty people could decoupage them on plaques.
January 26 at 03:29 EST .




   Escaped commieny  I bought a neat Plastic Package Opener called Pyranna from Pulse TV but their website 'simplysimon llc' doesn't seem to be working. I ruined good WISS kitchen shears on these dumb plastic packages. Apparently there is a patent pending problems, but Ebay has them. Sure saves a lot of hassle. www.pyranna.com 800-803-4001
January 17 at 16:53 EST .

   4 people like this.




   BirdsNest  Awhile back I bought a rice cooker for the microwave from WalMart. Cost a bit over $5, their store brand. I figured it would be a waste of money but still I wanted to give it a try. It worked okay. Now that we upgraded to a 1000 watt m/w it works way better. Before in the 900 watt, the center of the rice grain was still a bit uncooked, now the rice is perfect. I cook it on high for 6 min. Let it rest in the m/w for 5 min, door unopened. Then 6 more minutes at 50% power. The instructions for the cooker say to rinse the rice. Depending on what kind of rice you use. We only like Jasmine rice, so rinsing is easy, it doesn't have much dust in it. You get a cup with the cooker to measure rice and water. I broke the little handle on the lid, but the cooker still works. I make enough rice for 2 meals, what we don't eat goes in a bag in the refrigerator and I reheat for the next meal.
January 7 at 08:52 EST .

   16 people like this.



   Bettijo  Thanks for the tip. I will look for this in WalMart next time I go. I love rice, but can't seem to make it light and fluppy.
January 8 at 19:42 EST .

  8 people like this.



   MeiDei  I never made good rice no matter how carefully I followed directions; and then one day we had company from Singapore and the wife taught me how they do it.
They put whatever amount of rice they want to cook (no measure ) in a pot and add tap water to cover - here's the unusual part: she put her finger lightly on top of the rice and the water level up to the first joint of her finger. Brought to a rolling boil for about 3 mins., cover, shut off heat & let sit for 20 mins. Fluff with fork 1/2 way through. Perfect rice every time. She also took one of my fancy fluted tea cups & scooped the cooked rice into it, packed it down lightly inverted over a plate & served the meal around it. I just put it in special rice bowls I have, but when company comes I might imitate her just to see the reaction of our guests. I don't do the palm tree garnish that she did.
January 8 at 21:32 EST .

  5 people like this.



   MeiDei  I'm thinking Bird & finger - yes, she removed her finger before boiling : ) she also added a little salt & a pat of butter, I just add a little salt - sometimes a chicken bouillon cube at the start. And I think 3/4's of mthe way through for the fork fluff.
January 8 at 21:37 EST .

  5 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I always cooked rice on top of the stove, had one certain pot to use and only that one, it was always perfect. I boiled that pot dry once and that was it, the rice never came out good. I have been using the m/w ever since but occasionally the rice water would boil out and mess up the interior of the m/w. It seemed to be a crap shoot whether the rice would be perfect or not. It seems a 1000 watt m/w is the perfect cooking instrument, at least for me. Christmas Eve my less-than-1-year-old m/w blew up and I called the manufacturer, still under warranty. They said to replace it so we decided to add another $13 and go one step up with the 1000 watt model. Glad we did. Once you get a cooking method to work for you, it seems silly to change it but I sure like the flexibility of Mei's friends technique.
January 9 at 06:44 EST .

  7 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Speaking of rice water. We used to make rice water to use with the dogs upset stomachs and even used it in hand feeding baby parrots that were newbies(day one ). Just use 4x the amount of water when cooking rice and drain the water off and use that for adding to your dogs food or just offer it as the water source til the stomach upset is gone. Feed the sticky rice to the dog too. When we had Pekes, we always cooked chicken thighs and added cooked rice and chicken to their kibble. One of the Pekes lived to be 17 yrs old. When he passed we were two pathetically sad people for a long time. It still cause me to get tears in my eyes.
January 9 at 06:49 EST .

  8 people like this.



   Gerty  Thank you, Ladies!! You have given me a reason to use the microwave container for rice I already own but never ventured to use.
January 9 at 08:26 EST .

  8 people like this.



   MeiDei  Birdie - the finger reference above was brought to mind by the cut one you offered me a while back - certainly not "the finger" some might take it for! Thanks for the rice water hint, my dog loves rice & gets the pot scrapings all the time.
January 9 at 19:53 EST .

  8 people like this.





   Bettijo  30 Surprising Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher
1. Your dishwasher isn't just for washing dishes! There are several other household items that can enjoy a cleaning alongside your plates. Make it easier on yourself, and add them in your dishwasher the next time you are doing a load. They will come out of the dishwasher sanitized as well as wonderfully clean.
Range fan grills: These are probably one of the greasiest spots in your home. Remove the range fan grills, and wash them in the dishwasher. It's that easy.
Keys: Toss your basic metal keys in the dishwasher for a cleaning that also leaves them sanitized. And it's safe to wash them as often as you like.
Contact case: Throw your contact case in the dishwasher once a month to keep it nice and clean.
Facial brush: If you use a facial brush with a removable brush, you can clean it monthly in your dishwasher.
Makeup brushes: Place your makeup brushes in the silverware holder once a month for a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. Allow them to fully dry before using them.
Hairbrushes and combs: Remove hair and add them to your dishwasher, which removes buildup and bacteria.
Eyebrow brush: Give it a quick cleaning and de-clumping of makeup, and add it to the silverware holder of the dishwasher once a month.
Nail clippers: A smart way to sanitize and clean your clippers. Add the clippers to your silverware holder and dry it after washing to prevent rusting.
Tweezers: Tweezers are also safe to clean in your dishwasher.
Plastic child toys: If you have a little one, you should know that plastic toys are safe to wash on the top rack of your dishwasher. It will leave them free of germs and grime.
Duster: Have a fabric removable duster head? It's safe to toss in the dishwasher. And this way, it doesn't get lost in the washing machine.
Cabinet knobs: Most ceramic and metal cabinet knobs are safe to wash in the dishwasher.
Dog toys: Toss your pup's plastic chew toys on the top rack of your dishwasher to clean off all that slobber.
Razor: Give your razor a deep cleaning, and add it to the silverware tray of your dishwasher.
Hair ties: Your hair ties will be fresh and free of buildup, ready to hold your hair with style.
Removable cup holders: Your cup holders in your car? If they're removable, they are safe to wash in the dishwasher.
Mop covers: Mop covers can also get a quick cleaning in the dishwasher, cleaning without tons of twisting and tumbling in the washing machine, which cuts its life span.
Sponges: Make your sponges last longer and toss them in the dishwasher for a sanitizing clean.
Refrigerator shelves: The shelves of your fridge are also dishwasher safe. If they fit, add them to your load.
Range knobs: Remove the knobs from your range, and give them a deep cleaning in the dishwasher.
Soap dishes: Soap dishes in the bathroom or kitchen are also safe to wash in the dishwasher. If they are plastic, they should be kept on the top rack.
Toothbrushes
January 4 at 16:45 EST .

   17 people like this.



   Bettijo  and toothbrush holders: Your toothbrush is safe to add to your next load of dishes. And ceramic or plastic holders can be washed on the top rack.
24. Light switch plates: Your light switch plates could use a good cleaning. Remove them and add them to your next load of dishes.
25. Baseball caps: Keep your baseball hats clean. Place them on the top rack of your dishwasher. They won't get bent like in the washing machine. Air-dry, and your cap is ready to wear.
26. Pet dishes: Keep your pets happy, and wash their dishes in the dishwasher.
27. Flip-flops: Place plastic flip-flops on the top rack of the dishwasher for a cleaning, but avoid washing Crocs or sandals with leather straps.
28. Mouth guards: Teeth and mouth guards are safe to clean in the dishwasher, leaving them bacteria-free.
29. Small window screens: If they fit, washing window screens in the dishwasher is an easy cleaning solution.
30. Showerhead: If you have a removable showerhead, add them to your dishwasher every three months for a deep cleaning that also breaks up hard-water buildup.
31. Desk organizers: Your metal desk organizers can also get added to your next load of dishes. Place them on the top rack and run your dishwasher.
January 4 at 16:47 EST .

  8 people like this.



   MeiDei  That's quite a list & a lot of good tips, let me just add an important hint - NEVER MIX the metals in your dishwasher - don't put sterling, stainless steel, silver plate, brass, chrome or aluminum in together or a combo of any two, a chemical reaction occurs & builds up over time = something will get ruined & possibly beyond repair. Gold/silver or platinum rimmed dishes or glassware will eventually disintegrate, they're painted on as a last step in manufacture. If you have a stainless steel dishwasher be warned. I put our soap dispensers, baseball caps & plastic wear in the top shelf & it does a good job. Read the label on the detergent. If manufacturers warned you about problems it would cut into their sales. I do all my riveted expensive knives by hand, even the best among them can have the handles ruined & I don't mean wooden handles.
January 4 at 17:38 EST .

  12 people like this.



   MeiDei  Oh shoot, I'm sure you know your dishes & glassware won't disintegrate - the painted-on metal will : ) I should go back to school for a refresher course. While I'm here, I like how you find all this info Bettijo & take the time to share it with us.
January 4 at 17:42 EST .

  8 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Hagar's aunt used to blanch her corn on the cob in the dishwasher.
January 4 at 19:59 EST .

  8 people like this.



   Bettijo  MeiDei: Thanks for the reminder about mixing metals. I had forgotten and put a sterling spoon in with everything else the other day. Wondered why it is dull now??? Hope I can polish it. Do you mean if the lining of the dishwasher is stainless, you should never put any other metal in it?

I bought a new rather expensive chef knife the other day (on sale at Tuesday Morning ) and the instructions with it said, "Do not put in dishwasher." My daughter never puts her good knives in dishwasher.

BirdsNest: How do you blanch corn in the dishwasher?

I also run my dish sponges and vegetable brush through a dishwashing cycle about once a week. It sterilizes them while it cleans them.
January 6 at 07:01 EST .

  8 people like this.



   MeiDei  Bettijo - you can restore the sterling, if regular polish doesn't work (don't use dips, they gradually dissolve the silver - a very soft metal ) try a jeweler's rouge product. I have a tube of Hagerty's rouge that works wonders, but it's costly so it's used as a last resort. I've wondered about a stainless steel tub also - mine is enamel/ceramic lined but will need replacing soon & will hesitate to get SS.
January 6 at 11:36 EST .

  8 people like this.



   Balogreene  One more, rather odd one. You can put your keyboard (in two parts ), on the top shelf, wash in cold water, no detergent, when you spill something like cola or milk on it. Also, don't dry it, let it air dry.
January 6 at 18:28 EST .

  7 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Bettijo, the only thing I know about the blanching corn thing is to use rinse cycle only and if you can adjust, hottest water. Since I have never had a dishwasher, the cycles and heat settings are foreign to me. It also seems to me that you would want to run an empty rinse cycle to rid the machine of any leftover soaps or rinse agents left behind.
January 7 at 08:26 EST .

  9 people like this.





   MeiDei  When going through chemo I bought a few frozen Cafe Steamers for quick meals that must be consumed. Saved the bowls & colander-like inserts & use them to reheat in microwave meats with fat or sausages - the fat drips down & stays in the lower bowl. A patent is pending on these containers, they clean up beautifully by hand or in the top of dishwasher and are reusable, unlike many from competitors. Can also be reused with water or sauce in the bottom bowl & veggies in the insert -- they're 'freebies' to me.
January 3 at 12:31 EST .

   17 people like this.



   Escaped commieny  DH bought me 4 of these, but I didn't know the name, but saved the bowls and colander inserts, just says Patent Pending on the bottom. I was afraid fat from meat would melt them, used for peas, green beans, etc.
January 4 at 11:36 EST .

  13 people like this.



   MeiDei  3-4 mins. on high/reheat won't ruin them. I slide them out onto a plate to bring to table. If it's bacon fat I save that in fridge for when I saute cabbage.
January 4 at 14:04 EST .

  14 people like this.





   Bettijo  Five ways to put yogurt to good use

Yogurt has graduated from the confines of breakfast and evolved into a vital and beloved ingredient for dishes both sweet and savory. But wait: In the immortal words of Ron Popeil, there's more! Here are five other ways to put yogurt to good use.

Tenderize meat: Make tough cuts of meat like lamb shoulder more forgiving with a yogurt marinade. Whereas many acids in the classic oil + acid + seasoning = marinade formula can actually backfire, making the meat tougher because they denature (or "cook" ) the proteins, yogurt works in gentler ways. The acid in yogurt is milder than that of, say, lemon juice or vinegar, and the calcium activates enzymes in the meat, which helps break down muscle fibers. Buttermilk, yogurt's tangy cousin, also works well for this purpose. Use full- or low-fat Greek or regular yogurt in marinades—fat-free versions are too thin to cling well, and they're often made with added sugars and stabilizers to replace the flavor and thickness of lost fat.

Soothe a cooking burn: You learned the hard way that your oven mitt has a hole in it. Reach for yogurt, which helps draw out the heat and reduce inflammation. Simply spread the probiotic-rich dairy onto the scorched area (the thick Greek kind works best ), let sit until tepid (about 10 minutes ) and then rinse. It's a pretty flavorful way to treat tongue burns, too.

RELATED Smoky Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint »

Ferment veggies: The "lacto" in lacto-fermentation doesn't refer to dairy but to lactobacillus, the bacteria that produces lactic acid. It occurs naturally in yogurt—and on the surface of raw vegetables. You can preserve nearly any vegetable by placing it in a very clean, airtight jar and covering it with (non-iodized ) salted, distilled water. Add a little whey (the lactobacillus-filled watery substance you see at the top of your yogurt container; use full- or low-fat yogurt ) to the water to kick-start the fermentation. See a detailed explanation of the process here.

Make cheese: Give bread the spread it deserves. Turn yogurt into labneh, a thick, tangy spreadable cheese popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, simply by straining out its additional moisture. Put regular plain full-fat yogurt (or Greek, if you're a boss ) in a fine mesh strainer lined with a thin, loose-weave towel (like flour sack ) or several layers of cheesecloth. Place over a bowl in the refrigerator and let the yogurt drain overnight or until it's as thick and tangy as you like it. So long, cream cheese.

Soften hands: To help slough, soften and hydrate skin, many upscale beauty products contain lactic acid. Guess what else does? It's no Crème de la Mer, but yogurt does a fine job of softening those dishpan hands, especially during prep, when you don't want to season your food with the taste of lotion. Simply rub a bit of plain yogurt over your hands then rinse.

Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/18470/5_Un
expected_Uses_for_Yogurt.htm#ixzz3NQYViPo4
December 30 at 18:35 EST .

   16 people like this.



   NotaBene  Thank you for posting this. Very interesting. My hands are very dry, I will try yogurt.
December 31 at 11:56 EST .

  7 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  I make Greek style yogurt , and strain a lot of it to make yogurt cheese. Mix with with herbs or favorite seasonings for a spread, I especially like yogurt mixed with ranch dressing type seasonings as dip for veggies, bread sticks, or even my finger :- ) That stuff is good. Add coconut and drained crushed pineapple to yogurt,sweeten with a little honey if you want--YUM
January 3 at 14:53 EST .

  13 people like this.





   Bettijo  Bianca Borges' top three tips for perfect vegetables:

1. How to properly store raw vegetables: Vegetables such as celery, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, zucchini and yellow squash can all be served raw. To keep them fresh, wash the vegetables well, peel if necessary and cut to desired sizes. Wrap in damp paper towels and store in a large, sealed zip-top baggie with the air pressed out. The vegetables can be prepped up to two days in advance.

2. How to blanch vegetables: Some vegetables, such as asparagus and green beans, benefit from brief cooking — or blanching — to make them more tender and to preserve their bright colors. Other veggies, like carrots, can be served raw but will look fresher if you blanch them. Here's how: Clean and cut vegetables to the desired size. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt as if making pasta, about one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water. (Use kosher salt if available — it has a clean, non-metallic taste. ) Then add one type of vegetable at a time to the boiling water. Cook until half-tender, from one to three minutes, depending on vegetable (for instance, carrots take the longest and asparagus the shortest, with green beans somewhere in the middle ).

3. How to prevent blanched vegetables from overcooking: After you've removed each type of vegetable from the water, you'll want to stop it from cooking. There are two easy methods for doing this. The first is to "shock" the vegetables: Fill a large bowl 1/3 with ice, then add cold water until the bowl is half full. Once vegetables are in the boiling water, begin testing at about one minute — remove a vegetable, take a bite and see how firm it is. When vegetables are as tender as you want them to be, scoop them out of the water with tongs or a large strainer scoop and drop into the ice water. (You can use the same boiling water for remaining vegetables. ) Let them stay in the water until cooled, about two minutes, then store as for raw vegetables. If you don’t have access to enough ice, the second way is to put a few layers of paper towel on a large sheet pan; when vegetables have blanched enough, transfer to the sheet pan and spread out so they cool down quickly. Once cool, wrap them in the same paper towels and store in baggies as for the raw vegetables. Like the raw veggies, the blanched vegetables can be prepped up to two days in advance.
December 19 at 09:07 EST .

   17 people like this.


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