Tips & Tricks

Barbeque racks. Lay the rack on the lawn overnight—the dew will combine with the enzymes in the grass to loosen any burned-on grease. Works with oven racks, too.

 

Crickets. If you can’t sleep because a cricket’s come calling, put a wet washcloth in your kitchen or bathroom sink at night, and you’ll find your noisy neighbor hiding there in the morning.

 

Patent leather. Handbags and shoes can be quickly brightened with a polish of milk applied with a soft cloth and rubbed until shiny.

 

Painted porch steps.   Place nonslip strips, normally used in bathtubs, to the step edges for safety in wet weather.

 

Porch furniture. Use the caps from plastic liter soda bottles as coasters on porch furniture to protect both furniture and the porch.

 

Snow shovel. Apply a coat of floor wax to help prevent rusting and to make the snow slide off without sticking.

 

Rain gauge. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tube to make the gauge easier to read.

 

Toasters. If a plastic bread wrapper melts onto the toaster, rub some petroleum jelly on the spot, reheat the toaster, and use a paper towel to rub off the plastic and the printing.

 

Woolen rugs. Newspaper repels moths in stored woolen rugs.

 

Bee sting. Apply a slice of onion to the spot and hold it there for a minute or two.

 

Window cleaner. Add ½ cup rubbing alcohol to 1 quart of water. Either use it in a pail or pour it into an empty spray bottle.

 

Shower doors. Use a soft cloth moistened with baby oil to prevent scum build-up from dirt and soap.

 

Dogs. Dry clean the dog in winter by rubbing baking soda into the fur and brushing out with an old hairbrush.

 

Hanging pictures. Heat the nail with a flame before driving it into the wall to prevent chipping or cracking the plaster.

 

Bookmarks. Cut the corner from a used envelop and slip over the page being marked.

 

Cat hair. To reduce cat hair around the house, gently run a damp paper towel over the cat to collect hair and dirt.

 

Candle wax. To remove wax from carpeting, place a brown paper bag over the wax and gently run a warm iron over the bag.

 

Glue. If the caps are sticking to tubes of glue, rub a little petroleum jelly around the rim. It works on paint can lids too.

 

High altitude cooking alterations

 

Baking powder. At 3,000 feet, reduce each teaspoon called for in a recipe by 1/8 teaspoon. At 5,000 to 7,000 feet, reduce each teaspoon by ¼ teaspoon.

 

Sugar. At 3,000 feet, reduce each cup called for in the recipe by 1 tablespoon. At 5,000 feet, reduce each cup by 2 tablespoons. At 7,000 feet, reduce each cup by 3 tablespoons.

 

Liquids.   At 3,000 feet, increase liquid by 2 tablespoons for each cup called for in the recipe. At 5,000 to 7,000 feet, increase the liquid by 4 tablespoons for each cup called for in the recipe.

 

Rich cakes. For cakes that require 1 cup or more of fat, reduce shortening by 1 or 2 tablespoons and add an egg. For angel food and sponge cakes, beat egg whites to peaks that fall over; you don’t want them stiff.

 

Cookies. Increase baking temperature by about 20 degrees and decrease the baking time. There are no solid rules to go by, so just keep checking for doneness and note the change in time for future recipes. Cookies may improve with reduced baking powder and sugar. A slight increase in liquid may be required for pie crust recipes.

 

Packaged mixes. Look for altitude adjustments on the box. You will get better results by using a mix and following the adjustments than if you make the cake from scratch.

 

Microwave cooking. Be aware that foods that puff, rise, or foam during cooking will expand more in the microwave, so use a larger dish.

 

Barbecues and roasts. Foods that are barbecued and broiled at thigh altitudes require no changes in cooking methods. However, oven-roasting meat takes slightly longer at high altitudes. Be sure to use a meat thermometer.

 

Ice cream cones. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

 

Pancake batter. Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle-perfect shaped pancakes every time.

 

Potatoes. > To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

 

Hard boiled eggs. To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the waterbefore hard-boiling.

 

Rice Krispie Treats. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan-the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.

 

Lemons. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

 

Burnt food on skillet. To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove-top-skillet will be much easier to clean now.

 

Stains on plastic food containers. Spray your plastic food containers with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces-no more stains.

 

Cakes. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead-no white mess on the outside of the cake.

 

Salting food. If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato-it absorbs the excess salt for an instant “fix me up”.

 

Celery. Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator-it will keep for weeks.

 

Pie crust. Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful, glossy finish.

 

Brown sugar. Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up.

 

Corn on the cob. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corns natural sweetness.

 

Eggs. To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh-if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

 

Headaches. Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go.

 

Wine. Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

 

Opening jars. If you have problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

 

Stains. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

 

Mosquito bites. To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area – instant relief.

 

Ants. Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march.

 

Window cleaner. Use air-freshener to clean mirrors: It does a good job and better still, leave a lovely smell to the shine.

 

Splinters. When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

 

Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.

 

Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets.

 

Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

 

Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary)

 

Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

 

VCR. If your VCR has a year setting on it, which most do, you will not be able to use the programmed recording feature after 12/31/99. Don’t throw it away. Instead set it for the year 1972 as the days are the same as the year 2000. The manufacturers won’t tell you. They want you to buy a new Y2K VCR.

 

Ice Cream Cones. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

 

Pancake batter. Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle -perfect shaped pancakes every time.

 

Potatoes. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

 

Eggs. To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

 

Rice Krispy Treats. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan – the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.

 

Lemons. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

 

Burnt food in pans. To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil > on stove-top – skillet will be much easier to clean.

 

Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces – no more stains.

 

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead – no white mess on the outside of the cake.

 

If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato – it absorbs the excess salt for an instant “fix me up”.

 

Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator – it will keep for weeks.

 

Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up.

 

When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.

 

To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh – if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

 

Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

 

Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

 

If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

 

Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

 

To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area, instant relief.

 

Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march – see for yourself.

 

Use air-freshener to clean mirrors: It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.

 

When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

 

NOW Look what you can do with Alka-Seltzer:

Clean a toilet – drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.

– Clean a vase – to remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. Polish jewelry – drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

– Clean a thermos bottle – fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

– Unclog a drain – clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

 

If your VCR has a year setting on it, which most do, you will not be able to use the programmed recording feature after 12/31/99. Don’t throw it away. Instead, set it for the year 1972 as the days are the same as the year 2000. The manufacturers won’t tell you. They want you to buy a new Y2K VCR.

 

Beach toys from the kitchen

Forget about buying toy shovels and pails for building sand castles at the beach. Stop by the dollar store and pick up kitchen utensils. Measuring cups. bowls, and even slotted spoons make great tools for building sand castles, or even playing in the backyard sandbox.

 

Handy camera

Carry a disposable camera in the glove compartment of each of your cars. In the unfortunate event that you’re ever in an accident, you’ll be able to take pictures of the scene and document the damage for your insurance carrier.

 

Shop drawings

Paint several lines one foot apart on the floor of your workshop or garage. When you need to measure lumber, you can use the lines instead of hunting for a tape measure.

 

Handy oilcan

Next time you’re doing a lot of work with a chain saw, carry along a squeeze bottle filled with chain oil. You’ll save yourself trips back to the house when you need a refill, and the bottle won’t drip or spill.

 

New life for rubber gloves.

Cut the fingers off an old rubber glove and slip them over the handles of brooms and sponge mops. When the rubber-clad handles lean against the wall of your broom closet, they won’t slide around and fall.

 

Rubber glove lives again.

What good is a glove with no fingers? Cut ½ inch wide strips from the wrist area to make large rubber band. You can use the bands for everything from bundling newspapers to securing cellophane on wide mouth jars.

 

Scuff cleanup.

Small scuffs from shoes can be removed from laminate flooring with cooking oil. Apply a small amount to a rag or paper towel and gently rub the scuff.

 

Scratch stopper

Protect your home’s exterior paint from ladder scratches by sliding golf club head covers over the ends of your extension ladder.