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Household Hints

   Ynaught  Lots of helpful hints here:

October 12 at 07:02 EST .

   8 people like this.

   Gram77  Guess what. I can fold a fitted sheet and have it finish up nice and square. Imagine bragging about such a silly thing. :- )
October 18 at 18:18 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Bettijo  Gram: Me too. I have taught many friends for years. Nothing new here.
October 18 at 20:42 EST .

  8 people like this.

   Balogreene  My mom tried to teach me a hundred times. I never learned. Now, I have a mattress that is too small for fitted sheets (no more than 6 inches ). I only use flat sheets. Problem solved.
October 18 at 21:54 EST .

  9 people like this.

   Bettijo  How to Choose Beef Cuts

When shopping for beef, have you ever taken pause to consider the difference between "Choice" and "Select" cuts? Or did you simply assume these were marketing terms with no meaning?

The USDA defines 8 quality levels for beef. They are stamped on the carcass, but by the time you buy your cuts at the butcher counter, the only way to know is by examining the shield shaped sticker on the package. The quality grades are awarded for 3 parameters:

Here is how the USDA ranks the beef you buy:

•Prime grade beef is produced from young, well-fed cows. It has abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking (broiling, roasting, or grilling ).

•Choice grade is still of high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks are from the loin and rib. They are very tender, juicy, and flavorful. They also do well with dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade (chuck ), can also be cooked with dry heat if not overcooked. Such cuts will be most tender if "braised", which means roasted or simmered with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
•Select grade is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades. Only the tender cuts (loin, rib, sirloin ) should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or braised to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.

•Standard & Commercial grade are frequently sold as ungraded or as "store brand" meat. Marinate or braise to avoid chewing for hours.

•Utility, Cutter, & Canner grade are seldom, if ever, sold at retail. They are used to make ground beef and other processed products.

Want to take a guess what quality grade the beef is in your fast food burger or deli meat gets?

Bottom Line

When choosing beef, its quality designation makes a difference.

Copyright 2014 Fooducate, LTD.

   October 12 at 06:14 EST .

   8 people like this.

   Bettijo  I have just become addicted to this site. It contains about 25 2-minute or less videos of the neatest cooking tips I have ever seen. I cannot wait to try some of them. I love poached eggs, and am definitely going to poach them this way in the morning. Warning, as I said, this is addictive.
   October 9 at 15:24 EST .

   8 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Darn, we don't have the bandwidth to watch videos, can you share some of the tips as you watch them?
October 9 at 19:33 EST .

  8 people like this.

   Bettijo  I poach eggs by dropping them one by one into simmering water and cook for about three minutes. Then I have to fish them out, sometimes breaking the yoke In the process. The tip I plan to try in morning is to break the egg into a small strainer over a bowl. Let the egg drain into the dish. There a little water in whites which cause them to separate when cooking. After water has drained odd, leave egg in strainer and insert, strainer and all, into simmering water. Continue cooking as usual. When done, just lift strainer with egg out, let water drain off, dump on toast and serve.
October 9 at 23:44 EST .

  8 people like this.

   MeiDei  To hull strawberries using a straw: fluff up the green leaves - on the opposite side poke a straw through which removes the core & leaf cluster.

To hull cherries using a clean wine bottle & chopstick:
Remove stem, put cherry on bottle top stem side up, push broad end of chopstick through the indent where stem was & pit will pop into bottle.

To make ice cream without an ice cream maker: Make your base as usual, put in a large freezer bag & flatten. Freeze 2 hours; remove & fold bag in various ways to break up the contents, put in food processor & pulse til smooth consistency - pour into loaf pan, flatten & place plastic wrap on top (just as you would for pudding to avoid a skim top )refreeze a few hours & serve with scoop.
Hope these three are of interest for you
October 11 at 13:13 EST .

  4 people like this.

   MeiDei  List your requests and some one of us will gladly write them up for you. The one for pancakes is neat, especially if you're making them for kids - heart shape, Mickey Mouse, Snowman - imagination rules.
October 11 at 13:18 EST .

  4 people like this.

   MeiDei  This video is shows how to cut a watermelon for easy serving, neater eating -
(Posted on Recipe Wall - seems to fit here better )
October 2 at 19:14 EST .

   5 people like this.

   Bettijo  Someone asked about getting rid of ants:

Below are 10 ways to effectively kill or deter ants naturally, provided by Mother Nature Network.

Lemon Juice - Spraying pure lemon juice in or around openings near your home can prevent the pests from entering. They dislike the sour, acidic all-natural juice.

Cinnamon - Ground cinnamon, cinnamon oil or cinnamon combined with ground cloves, both fill your home with warm, seasonal scents and deter ants if sprinkled in their paths.

Peppermint - Similar to cinnamon, peppermint either by itself, or combined with equal parts water can be mixed and poured into a water bottle and sprayed directly at the ants or along their pathways.

Coffee grounds - Some people have had luck with placing used coffee grounds in the cracks near their entryway. The coffee doesn't kill them, but deters the ants, forcing them to set up shop somewhere else.

Chalk - Drawing a line around windows or doorway entries has kept ants at bay for some. You can usually find chalk at home improvement stores, some of which come in a squeeze bottle, making application easy.

Baking soda and powdered sugar - Mixing baking soda and powdered sugar in jar lids and placing them in strategic corners can greatly reduce ant populations.

Boiling water and dish soap - Filling a spray bottle with soap and hot water can work very effectively against ants. Also, food items that attract ants, such as honey jars, can be placed on a small water-filled saucer to prevent the insects from reaching it. Pouring boiling water on ant colonies both kills the ants and is safe and nontoxic to humans.

Vinegar - Vinegar plus equal parts water isn't just great for cleaning your kitchen countertops and floors but has been known to sufficiently kill unwanted insects. Pouring the solution where the ants have their nest is key. You can also mix vinegar with peppermint for an extra kick that gets rid of them faster.

Cream of wheat - Posts on Helpful Gardener say cream of wheat takes care of ant infestations. After eating the cream of wheat, rolled oats, dry cornmeal or grits, it swells up in their guts and their stomachs explode.

Diatomaceous earth (DE ) - DE is a substance made up of fossilized remains from plankton, an off-white talc powder that effectively kills any bug with an exoskeleton; however it's safe for mammals to eat. DE is completely nontoxic to humans but works well for killing ants. Remember not to let the DE get wet, or it becomes ineffective. While this method isn't instant, you should be able to see results in about a week or so.

As you can see, there are so many effective ways to kill ants, or other insects, without using toxic chemicals. Keep this list handy next time you're dealing with an infestation.

Learn more:
September 26 at 11:41 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Bettijo  My brother had a family of raccoons that wanted to play on his roof right over his bedroom. He did not want to harm them, just encourage them to play on a different part of the roof. Solution: He sprinkled cinnamon on roof over bedroom.
September 26 at 11:44 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Bettijo  Have you ever had a ring that was so tight you could not get it off (or on ) your finger? A jeweler I know keeps a bottle of Windex under his display case. Whenever a customer has trouble getting a ring on or off, he squirts a little Windex on their finger and the ring is no longer too tight.
September 24 at 11:16 EST .

   12 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  If it's a real problem, wind string around the finger tightly starting at the fingernail. This forces fluid from the finger, and, when removed, allows the ring to slide off.
September 24 at 22:57 EST .

  10 people like this.

   Gerty  If finger turns blue for more the four hours, consult a physician or seek medical...... ;- )

Sorry, Mr.Wright--I just couldn't resist.
September 25 at 11:51 EST .

  12 people like this.

   GrannieEagle  Cheap brush saver solution for removing dried up latex paint is soaking them in a quart of Simple Green with a quarter cup of TSP added.
September 5 at 11:31 EST .

   15 people like this.

   Bettijo  WW: Is this safe?

Unclog drains without expensive chemicals. Pour a half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into a clogged drain. Once it stops foaming rinse down the sink and your drains will be clear. A cheap and environmentally friendly way to unclog a sink!
September 5 at 10:13 EST .

   15 people like this.

   MeiDei  Must be safe Bettijo, I've been using this method for years! Sometimes I've had to repeat the process & a few times the plunger came in handy.
September 5 at 22:24 EST .

  13 people like this.

   Gerty  For an ounce of prevention: ALWAYS have a wire mesh placed in the drain. Works wonders--saves clogs and money.
September 6 at 12:25 EST .

  15 people like this.

   MeiDei  Yes, the wire mesh inserts work well but don't protect the drains from men's shaving leavings, or some soaps & some oily substances that pass through easily. I always put any grease/fats in a container for the trash & wipe down my pans with paper towels before washing but still there can be clogs built up over the years. We were told you should put some baking soda & vinegar in each of your drains 2x a year - when you check the batteries in smoke detectors - just as a preventative. This was advice from our plumber while he was replacing a faucet 30+ years ago.
September 18 at 10:10 EST .

  16 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  The vinegar is a really mild acid... 5% acetic acid...which is safe to drink. The baking soda is sodium hydrogen carbonate. The mixture will cause the evolution of a large volume of carbon dioxide. It gets a little warm, but nothing like the Drano would be. It won't harm pipes to any real extent especially plastic pipes. Keep your face away when you poor it in, and allow adequate ventilation, and you should have no problem.
September 21 at 19:34 EST .

  15 people like this.

   Gerty  Here we go again---putting stuff in zip lock bags, that is.

Snack bags are great. But, I have a hard time keeping the outside of the bag free from what I want to put into the bag. This time it was it was easy to solve. I used chop sticks! I could pick smaller amounts up, pin-point the exact place I wanted it to go and that was it!
September 3 at 19:36 EST .

   14 people like this.

   Bettijo  Haven’t tried this myself, but sounds interesting

How to Defrost Meat in Just 5 Minutes
No special equipment necessary!
How to Defrost Meat in Just 5 Minutes No special equipment necessary!

Let's say you have a frozen chunk of meat you want to defrost before dinner, but (whoops! ) you forgot to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge last night. Who hasn't been there?
Now, you don't have to risk overcooking the meat in your microwave if you want to have dinner before 11 p.m. Instead, just grab two metal pots, and flip one upside down with the meat on top. Then, fill the other with water, and place it on top of the meat. Wait five to 10 minutes (depending on how thick your meat is ), and BOOM—your dinner-to-be is defrosted. Here's a video that details the trick, courtesy of CTi, a Taiwanese cable TV network (the video's in Chinese, but it still provides helpful visuals ):

How does this work? Metal conducts heat, and aluminum in particular is a great conductor of ambient heat—which is actually enough to thaw a steak quickly. The weight from the water also presses the metal on top of the meat, increasing its surface area so it can conduct more heat from the air—all of which results in a faster thaw time.
...And now you'll never have to stress about deciding which meat you want to defrost hours ahead of time ever again.
August 1 at 17:12 EST .

   14 people like this.

   MeiDei  There's bound to be a day when this will come in handy. That gorgeous steak in the video - that's $15 per pound now here.
August 1 at 18:10 EST .

  15 people like this.

   NotaBene  Thank Bettijo for posting this video. I will try this.
August 3 at 00:13 EST .

  13 people like this.

   NotaBene  Thank Bettijo for posting this video. I will try this.
August 3 at 00:15 EST .

  16 people like this.

   Gerty  Miss Bettijo--both pots have to have aluminum bases, right?

If this works, it will be the best thing to happen to me in a few weeks! I always forget to defrost in the summer.
August 4 at 17:55 EST .

  12 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  Aluminum transmits heat very well indeed. For an experiment, put an ice cube on the counter and a another one on an aluminum pan. Watch what happens!
August 4 at 21:50 EST .

  13 people like this.

   Balogreene  We have a NuWave oven, you can cook from frozen relatively quickly, and the meat is still tender (I don't know, I don't eat meat, but my mom compliments my sister ). The NuWave is BOGO, for about $100.
August 14 at 18:58 EST .

  7 people like this.

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