Unlikely tricks from the most common stuff in our homes

There are items in our homes that have other uses other than what the manufacturers originally intended them to be. Here are the unlikely uses for the most common items in our kitchen.

AMMONIA

To remove a cork from the inside of a beautiful empty wine bottle, pour some ammonia into the bottle and set in a well-ventilated spot. The cork will disintegrate in a few days.

BREAD

A slice of bread will often remove makeup smudges from dark clothes

CHILLI SAUCE

Cats hate the smell of chili sauce! If your cat is climbing and scratching woodwork, just rub the area with chili sauce, buff off thoroughly, and your cat will stay clear! (Use this only for dark woodwork.)

COKE

Along with detergent, add a bottle of coke to a load of greasy work clothes. It will help loosen serious grease stains.

Battery-terminal corrosion can be prevented by saturating each terminal with a carbonated drink.

Instead of throwing leftover coke down the kitchen drain, dump it down the toilet bowl and watch what happens. After it has soaked awhile, the toilet bowl should be sparkling clean.

FLOUR

Clean white kid gloves by rubbing plain flour into the leather and brushing the dirt away.

To clean plastic playing cards, drop the deck into a paper bag and add a few tablespoons of flour. Shake briskly, then wipe completely clean.

KARO SYRUP

Grass stains can be removed from clothing by pouring a little Karo syrup on the stain. Rub fabric lightly, toss it into the washing machine, and the grass stain should wash away.

KOOL-AID AND TANG

Clean an electric coffeepot with Kool-Aid. Run it through entire cycle, then rinse and dry it thoroughly.

Clean the inside of your dishwasher by filling the dish-washer cup with Tang (the orange drink) instead of detergent. Wash without dirty dishes and run it through a complete cycle.

LARD

If nothing else has worked to remove a grease spot from a solid-colored dress, try this- but only if you feel you have nothing to lose. Work lard through the material, covering every part of the spot evenly. Wash the garment thoroughly in hot suds and rinse well. The spot should have disappeared.

LEMON EXTRACT

Will remove black scuff marks from luggage.

MILK

Stains from ballpoint pens can be removed by sponging the area with milk until stain disappears.

Red-wine stains on linen can be removed by immediately putting the material into a pot containing enough milk to cover the stained area. Bring to a boil and remove from burner. Let stand until the stain has completely disappeared. This method should also work on older wine stains and can be used on the carpet. I learned this from a carpet cleaning company  that came to my home and made magic happen!

A simple way to remove cracks in china cups is to simmer the cup in milk for thirty to forty-five minutes, depending on the size of the crack. If the crack is not too wide, the protein in the milk will seal it.

ONIONS

Light scorch stains on linen can sometimes be removed by rubbing the cut side of an onion over the stain. Then soak material in cold water.

OVEN

Have your tennis balls lost their bounce? If so, place the can of balls with the lid off overnight in a closed oven. The heat from the pilot light will get them back into shape.

RICE

Can be used as a good emergency for glue.

SALT

A handful of salt in the washday rinse water will help keep clothes from sticking or freezing to the clothesline on damp, cold days.

SPOONS

To banish onion, garlic, and bleach odor from hands, put all five fingers on the handle of a stainless-steel spoon and run cold water over fingers.

SPAGHETTI

To light candles in tall, deep containers, use a lit uncooked piece of spaghetti.

TOMATO JUICE

Help banish the odor from a new hair permanent. Apply enough juice to saturate dry, unwashed hair. Cover hair with a plastic bag and wait fifteen minutes. Rinse hair a few times before shampooing thoroughly.

VEGETABLE-OIL SPRAY

Before cutting tall, damp grass, spray the cutting blade of the lawn mower with vegetable-oil spray and wet grass won’t stick.

MISCELLANEOUS

If you have a cast-iron skillet without wooden handles that is encrusted with hard, baked-on outside grease, clean it by putting the pan in the fire in your fireplace. Let it get red for an hour or so. When it has cooled off, wash off soot with soapy water, then dry and oil it. It will come out clean as a whistle.

To prevent drinking glasses from cracking when filled with hot liquids (coffee, hot chocolate, etc.), place new glasses in a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water so the water covers the glasses entirely. Slowly bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off and let the water cool. The glasses will never crack from hot beverages.

Read more about hacks here!

Cookware BEWARE AGAIN!

You thought you were safe! But I am back with more tales of warning for you. Don’t worry, its for your own good.

COPPER

Copper conducts heat well, making it easy to control cooking temperatures. Brass, made from copper and zinc, is less commonly used for cookware.

Small amounts of copper are good for everyday health. However, large amounts in a single dose or over a short period can be poisonous. It is not certain how much can be safely taken each day.

Because of this, copper and brass pans sold are coated with another metal that prevents the copper from coming into contact with food. Small amounts of the coating can be dissolved by food, especially acidic food, when cooked or stored for long periods.

Coated copper cookware can lose its protective layer if scoured.

STAINLESS STEEL AND IRON COOKWARE

Stainless steel, made from iron and other metals, is strong and resists wear and tear. It is inexpensive, long-lasting and the most popular cookware. The metals used in stainless steel or iron cookware which may produce health effects are iron, nickel and chromium.

Iron is essential to produce red blood cells. Large amounts can be poisonous, but we are more likely to lack iron than have too much. Iron cookware provides less than 20% of total daily iron intake – well within safe levels.

Nickel is not poisonous in small quantities but it can provoke a reaction in people allergic to nickel. The average adult consumes between 150 to 250 micrograms of nickel per day. Using corrosion-resistant nickel containing stainless steel cookware, even for cooking acidic foods such as rhubarb, apricots or tomatoes, will not add significant amounts of nickel to the diet.

Small doses of chromium and iron are good for your health, but they can be harmful in higher amounts. One meal prepared with stainless steel equipment gives you about 45 micrograms of chromium, not enough to cause concern.

CERAMIC, ENAMEL AND GLASS

Ceramic (pottery), enamel or glass cookware is easily cleaned and can be heated to fairly high temperatures. Ceramic cookware is glazed; similar glazes are applied to metals to make enamelware. These glazes, a form of glass, resist wear and corrosion.

The only health concern about using glassware or enamelware comes from minor components used in making, glazing, or decorating them, such as pigments, lead, or cadmium. These materials are harmful when taken into the body, so the risk of them entering food is controlled during the manufacturing process.

PLASTICS AND NONSTICK COATINGS

For cooking and storing food, plastic is lightweight other than their original purpose can cause health problems. With wrap, the concern is that food may absorb some of the plasticiser, the material that helps make it flexible. This is most likely to happen at high temperatures, when microwaving, or with fatty or oily foods such as cheese and meat.

Non-stick coatings are applied to metal utensils to prevent food from sticking and to protect cookware surfaces. An independent science review panel in the US has recommended that perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts (PFOA) be considered “likely to be carcinogenic” based on laboratory studies in rats. The U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) has also determined that PFOA is “likely” to cause cancer in rats.

However, this does not necessarily mean that PFOA causes cancer in humans. PFOA is widely used in the manufacture of non-stick coatings. PFOA does not remain in cookware or other products after manufacture, but it has spread throughout the natural environment worldwide.

In 2006, the chemical industry voluntarily agreed to a U.S. EPA plan to reduce and eventually eliminate the release of PFOA into the environment and to reduce and eliminate PFOA content in products. There is no risk of exposure to PFOA from using cooking utensils and equipment with non-stick coatings.

Non-stick coatings are a risk if they are heated to temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius or 650 degrees Fahrenheit. This might happen if an empty pan is left on a burner. In this case, the coatings can give off irritating or poisonous fumes.

SILICONE COOKWARE

Silicone is a synthetic rubber which contains bonded silicon (a natural element which is very abundant in sand and rock) and oxygen.

Cookware made from food grade silicone has become popular in recent years because it is colourful, non-stick, stain-resistant, hard-wearing, cools quickly, and tolerates extremes of temperature. There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware.

Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.

MINIMIZING YOUR RISK

Do not cook or store food for long periods of time in aluminium cookware.

Do not use badly scratched or un-coated copper cookware to cook or store food. If you do have some older tin or nickel-coated cookware, use it for decorative purposes only. Do not scour coated copper cookware.

If you know you are allergic to nickel, do not use nickel-plated cookware.

If you are sensitive to nickel and are having difficulty managing your allergy, discuss options with your doctor. Foods known to contain higher levels of nickel include oats and oat products, peas, beans, lentils and cocoa products, such as chocolate, particularly dark chocolate.

Do not store foods that are highly acidic, such as stewed rhubarb or stewed tomatoes, in stainless steel containers.

If you bring in grazed ceramic cookware from abroad be aware that it may not meet permitted levels for lead and cadmium. Do not use it to serve or store food. Use it for decoration only.

Do not use plastic bowls or wrap in the microwave unless they are labelled as microwave safe.

If you reuse plastic items for storage, such as dairy product containers, let the food cool before storing, and then refrigerate it immediately. Avoid visibly damaged, stained or unpleasant smelling plastics and containers. Never heat or store food in plastic containers that were not intended for food.

Do not use silicone cookware at temperatures above 220 degrees Celsius or 428 degrees Fahrenheit as it will melt if exposed to high temperature. You should also be careful when removing hot foods from flexible silicone cookware, as the food may slide out very quickly.

Tune in for more useful info soon!

Cookware… Beware

In an era of food and entertaining explosion, a gamut of kitchen tools have been flooding the market today. Leading the throng is the cookware family. Most of them are safe to use for daily meal preparation, as long as we maintain it well and use it as intended.

Pots, pans and other cookware are made from a variety of materials. These materials can enter the food that we cook in them. Most of the time, this is harmless. However, we should be aware of what these cookware are made of and their potential risks to our health.

BENEFITS AND RISKS OF COOKWARE MATERIALS

ALUMINUM

Aluminium is lightweight, conducts heat well and is fairly inexpensive, making it a popular choice for cooking.

We normally take in about 10 milligrams of aluminium daily, mostly from food. Aluminium pots and pans provide only one or two milligrams of the total. While aluminium has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, there is no definite link proven. The World Health Organization estimates that adults can consume more than 50 milligrams of aluminium daily without harm.

During cooking, aluminium dissolves most easily from worn or pitted pots and pans. The longer food is cooked or stored in aluminium, the greater the amount that gets into food. Leafy vegetables and acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus products, absorb the most aluminium.

ANODIZED ALUMINUM COOKWARE

When aluminium is place in an acid solution and exposed to an electric current, a layer of aluminium oxide is deposited on the surface of the aluminium. This process is called anodization.

Anodized aluminium cookware conducts heat as well as ordinary aluminium, but has a hard, non-stick surface which makes it scratch-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. Anodization also reduces leaching of aluminium from cookware into foods, particularly acidic foods like tomatoes and rhubarb.

Wondering about who I am? Find out more!

A pound of cure: Kitchen Hacks

Sometimes, no matter how we try to do it right, still, something goes wrong. In those cases, “a pound of cure” is still the best answer. Here are some helpful tips to save your day during those inevitable moments:

HACK 1: TOO MUCH OF SALTINESS:

To soup or stew, add cut raw potatoes and discard once they’ve cooked and absorbed the salt.

Add sugar.

Desalt anchovies by soaking them in cool water for fifteen minutes. Remove and pat dry with a paper towel.

HACK 2: TOO MUCH OF SWEETNESS:

Add salt

Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar

HACK 3: TOO MUCH GARLIC

Place parsley flakes in a tea ball and set it in the stew or soup pot until it soaks up the excess garlic.

HACK 4: TOO SOUR-KRAUT

When sauerkraut is too sour, drain and soak it in a large pot of cold water for ten minutes. Stir a little and drain.

HACK 5: TOO MUCH MAYO

If you slip and put in too much mayonnaise when making tuna salad and don’t have another can of tuna to add to it, add some bread crumbs.

HACK 6: BURNED FOOD:

Remove the pan from the stove immediately and set it in cold water for fifteen minutes to stop the cooking process. Then, with a wooden spoon, carefully remove the unburned food to another pan. Don’t scrape, and don’t include any pieces with burned spots unless they have been trimmed.

For burned meats, soak a towel in hot water and wring it out. Cover meat with it and let stand for five minutes before scraping off burned crust with a knife.

If you burned your cake, let it cool before scraping off the burned layer with a knife. Frost with a thin coating of very soft frosting to set crumbs. Then cover with another thicker layer.

For burned biscuits or cookies, use a grater rather than a knife to scrape the bottom of burned biscuits. If you use a knife, you may end up holding a handful of crumbs.

If you burned your rice, remove the burned flavor from rice by placing a piece of fresh white bread, preferably the heel, on top of the rice and cover the pot. In minutes the bad taste should disappear.

For burned gravy, add a teaspoon of peanut butter to cover up the burned flavour.

For burned butter or margarine, pour it over vegetables the way the French do, or use it for drying eggs.

For burned milk:

Remove the burned taste from scorched milk by putting the pan in cold water and adding a pinch (one-eight teaspoon) of salt.

A small amount of sugar added but not stirred will help prevent milk from scorching.

For easier cleaning, always rinse a pan in cold water before scalding milk in it.

HACK 7: STUCK FOOD:

If you stuck gelatine, unmold it by soaking a towel in hot water, wring it out, and wrap it around the mold for about fifteen seconds. Then, with both hands, unmold with a quick downward snap of the wrists.

For stuck pasta: If drained pasta is glued together, reboil it another minute or so.

Stuck fried foods: When fried foods such as hash browns stick, place the pan on the cold surface of the bottom of the sink or in a large pan of cold water. Slide a spatula under the contents of the pan and everything slides right out. You even save the crusty bottoms this way.

Pastry dough: If it sticks to the rolling pin, slip a child’s sock (with the foot cut off) over it and sprinkle with flour. Or place the rolling pin in the freezer until chilled before flouring.

Cakes and cookies: When a cake has cooled and is stuck to the pan, reheat cake in oven briefly. Still not loose? Place a damp towel on pan and let stand awhile.

HACK 8: FOR FOOD THAT HAS CURDLED:

Mayonnaise: Start over with another egg yolk and add the curdled mayonnaise drop by drop.

Hollandaise:

Remove sauce from heat and beat in one teaspoon of hot water, a few drops at a time. Do not return to heat. Serve warm or at a room temperature.

Put hollandaise in saucepan over hot water in a double boiler. Add sour cream by the teaspoonful until the sauce is smooth.

Butter sauce: If butter sauce is ruined by curdled yolks, keep heating it until the yolks release most of the butter. Strain out the butter and start over with fresh yolks, using the same butter.

Egg custard: Slightly curdled egg custard can be restored by putting it into a jar and shaking hard.

This is especially good served with lox made with… drumroll please… wild alaskan salmon.

YUM.

First Things First

There’s this saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That is so true to busy Moms like us. It does not only prevent mishaps, but it also saves us a lot of time, money and wrinkles if we do things the right and safety way. Here are some kitchen hacks that I gathered from my aunt’s kitchen journal.

HACK 1: When frying or sautéing, don’t let oil heat to the smoking point. It may ignite. It also makes food taste bitter and irritates your eyes.

HACK 2: Sharp knives should be kept in plain view in wooden holders- but out of the reach of young children- instead of keeping them among other utensils in the drawer.

HACK 3: Keep cold water running in the sink while pouring hot water from a pot of vegetables. It prevents the steam from scalding your hands.

HACK 4: When broiling meat, place a few pieces of dry bread in the broiler pan to soak up dripping fat. This does not only eliminate smoking fat but also reduces the chance that the fat will catch fire.

HACK 5: In case of burns, here are some helpful hacks:

To help relieve pain from minor burns and reduce swelling of minor bumps and bruises, keep clean, damp sponges in your freezer. When you burn or bruise yourself, apply a frozen sponge to the affected area.

To relieve painful burns on hands, dissolve a few aspirin tablets in a bowl of cool water and soak.

Soothe a minor kitchen burn by rubbing it gently with the cut surface of a cold raw potato or tomato.

Or dissolve baking powder in cold water to make a paste. Apply to burn and cover with clean gauze.

HACK 6: In case of fire, here are a few hacks:

Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over grease flare-up or blazing broiler. If fire is snuffed out quickly, a partially burned steak may still be edible after the soda is rinsed off.

Never use flour as an extinguisher

If fire is in oven, immediately turn off heat and close the oven door. Shutting off the air supply will smother the fire.

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