Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helpful Hints

I thought I'd do something different and drop a few helpful hints, tip of the day, my favorite type of a post. Was that clear as mud?

How about we start with some favorites. Do you have a favorite kitchen item? I do, several in fact. My Vita Mix is a key ingredient in my kitchen, so are my spatulas :) and my Pampered Chef tools. I have them all. Well, almost all. Here are a few of my favorites!

My Pampered Chef mix n'chop, love love love this tool. It works great on ground beef even when frozen! You can even chop cooked boneless chicken with it, mash potatoes, rutabagas or any number foods.

Pampered Chef mix n' mash. This whips, stirs, mashes and is a great too and strong! Easy clean up.

No I don't sell PC. I just love their products. Now I mentioned my Vita Mix, if you are not familiar it is a SUPER strong blender. It will turn ice into powdered snow, turn vegetables into juice and frozen fruits into delicious smoothies. A powerhouse is what it is. 

Now how about a money saving tip or two?

How many times have you bought a half gallon of buttermilk only to use 1/2 cup? Did you know you can freeze it to use later? It’s true. Measure it out into ice cube trays and freeze, then place in a freezer bag with the date on it. When you are ready just pop a few out to use.
You can do this with broth, tomato paste, eggs or gravy. Another great thing to freeze is fresh herbs in olive oil.
I have saved a lot of money by freezing these items and not buying them every time I need just a dab.
For the eggs, crack them and whisk, place one egg in each ice cube section of the tray. You can defrost these in the fridge and they work perfectly in baking or scrambling.
How about tomato paste? You buy the smallest can and still only need a tablespoon. Freeze it for about 20 minutes, then take it out and slice it into tsp size servings and freeze. No waste!
When those expensive bell peppers you bought start to look sad and you haven't used them yet, don't throw them out. Dice them up and toss them into a freezer bag. Next time you fix an omelet, toss in a few, or you chili and even spaghetti  Toss in a few. No muss no fuss AND you saved money by not throwing out more food.
Hope this helps you save on waste of food and money.
A helpful hint or tip if you have a garbage disposal...oh yes, you can save money here as well. Ladies do you know the proper way to use your disposal, clean it, repair it, and keep it in top-notch condition? You may not need to, you either don’t have one or you have a handyman for a husband, but let’s say he’s out-of-town with work, maybe he’s military and protecting our country. If so, THANK YOU. Been there. What do you do if it breaks, gets jammed or stuck? Do you call a plumber, at $65 an hour for something you could fix yourself? I say NO. WAIT for just a few minutes and maybe no money at all, you can trouble shoot your disposal and possibly fix it. Would your husband be proud of you to see you saved him money AND did it yourself!
Here are a few tips, first, once a month, clean it really well. You can buy a cleaner but you have all you need right there in your kitchen cabinet. Yes, trust me, you do. Pull out the box of baking soda and pour a cup full down the drain, now flush it with hot water for about a minute while the disposal is running. Also you can add DAWN dish detergent, this is the best one for the job. Gotta love the name too, right? ;) It is the grease fighting agent that makes it work so well. Now, to sharpen those blades, drop in a cup full of ice cubes , turn on the disposal and let’er rip. It will sound horrid, but will sharpen the blades. Now to keep it smelling fresh-cut a few lemons into quarters, shove them in the disposal, turn on the hot water and let those puppies become lemonade in the drain. This is especially nice after a few heavy days of use. These simple things once a month will keep your disposal clean and in better working order. They will save you money and keep your kitchen smelling nicer. The plumber may not be happy because he will have fewer jobs but maybe you will only need him for the ‘big’ jobs.
Also, I am sure you know, don't put banana peels, bones or grease down the disposal.
If your disposal becomes jammed, turn it off! Do NOT stick your hand inside, use a pair of long tongs to remove what debris you can. Once the item has been removed if the disposal still does not work, you may need to hit the reset button. Open your cabinet and see the disposal, on the bottom is a tiny red button. That is the reset. Push it. This should get you up and running again. No need for the plumber to come out when you can do it. Also, in older models a broom handle is a great tool. Seriously, stick the broom handle into the disposal, with it turned OFF of course, now rotate around. Sometimes in older models the gears will get jammed up, moving them gently with the handle will dislodge them and it will go again. IF none of these things work, hopefully your husband can fix it and if all else fails, call the plumber.
If you enjoyed this post, then you will love our magazine!  has great tips , recipes, crafts and other articles are posted each day at 3,6 and 9 a.m. , noon, 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Check it out! Love to see you there!