Friday, November 14, 2008

Household Hints - Cleaning - Cleaning Plastic Toys

Plastic toys can seem incredibly hard to clean, but using a paste of baking soda and water is a natural way to scrub those toys clean. Just use the baking soda/water paste on the toy, dipping a damp clean cloth into the paste and then using the baking soda as a natural abrasive. If a little extra cleaning power is needed, add a small squirt of natural liquid soap to the baking soda before adding a little water to create the paste.

A nice, natural way to clean plastic toys!

Household Hints: Lampe Berger Lamps Remove Stubborn Household Odors

Lingering, stubborn household odors such as cooking odors, pet odors or smoke can really be frustrating to remove with any success. My favorite way to remove these types of odors is by using a Lampe Berger fragrance lamp. This lamp, complete with a catalytic burner is briefly lit and then left to 'eat up' odor molecules in your home! It was originally developed for hospitals in France, and along with bad odors also kills 67% of airborne bacteria.

I have one, and my current scent is a wonderful Spiced Pumpkin oil. You can get lots of different scented fuels for the lamps (and you must use one of the Lampe Berger oils - not just any alcohol blend will do). Some of the most popular scents are:

- Neutral - if you don't want to add scent at all, just want to take bad odors out
- Eucalyptus - a fresh, green scent, perfect for bathrooms and nurseries
- Creme Brulee - a rich, warm vanilla scent (perfect for the kitchen or any other room!)
- Grapefruit Passion - very light, grapefruit citrus scent. One of my favorites.
- Green Apple - another light fruity scent that is very popular
- Lavender Fields - a really pretty lavender scent, smells like real lavender essential oil

and many more!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Natural Way to Keep Drains Running Smoothly

A great way to prevent nasty clogs in drains is to pour a kettle full of boiling hot water down the drain about once or twice a month. This natural alternative will help keep your drains running smoothly - and thus prevent nasty old clogs!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Get Rid of Stinky Onion and Garlic Odors - Rub Your Hands on Stainless Steel!

Did you know that by rubbing your hands after cooking with garlic and/or onions, you can remove the odors? You can invest in a cute little stainless steel 'bar of soap' like the one below: can rub your hands on the inside of a stainless sink, or even a stainless steel spoon for the same effect! Just wet your hands first under clean water, and then let the stainless steel get rid of the lingering odors. Works like a charm!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Household Hints - Knife Sharpening - the Difference Between Honing and Sharpening Knives

There is a big difference between honing and sharpening your knives. Good knives (some of my favorites are Wusthof and Henckels) only need to be sharpened once or twice a year. But honing is an entirely different thing! You should hone your knife on a honing steel every single time you use your knife. (On large chopping or slicing jobs, you might even want to hone once in between all the knife work!)

Honing your knife basically realigns the edge of the knife - making a ragged edge smoother again, but not removing any metal (as sharpening does.)

To properly hone your knife, invest in a decent honing steel. (I love )

You'll be amazed by how much this will help the efficiency of your knives - AND make them last for years and years. Enjoy, home cooks!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Household Hints - Easy Way to Perfect Boiled Eggs

I've finally found the easiest way to get perfectly boiled eggs every time! (I love boiled eggs - from using them to make deviled eggs or to use in egg salad sandwiches OR just to eat on their own for a big boost of protein!)

Here's the way to make perfect hard cooked eggs:

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water.
  2. Add a splash of white vinegar to the water. (This prevents the eggs from leaking out of the shell in case the shell cracks.) I also add a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Bring the water up to the boil - JUST to the boil.
  4. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and allow to sit on the burner for 14 minutes. (Make sure to use a kitchen timer to time this properly.)
  5. Place the saucepan in the sink, pour out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs until they're cool enough to handle and peel.

Voila - perfect hard cooked eggs!

Household Hints - How to Clean Brass

Clean brass with fresh or bottled lemon juice - just apply with a soft cloth and polish and it will sparkle!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Household Hints - Pets - Making Cat Litter Cleaning Easier

Here are some helpful household hints to make cleaning the cat litter easier!

  1. Clean the litter everyday. It's far easier (and a less yucky) job if you clean the litter on a regular, consistent basis.
  2. Use scoopable litter - it makes your job simpler AND it seems that most cats prefer the feel of the softer scoopable litter on their paws than the old-fashioned gravel type litter.
  3. Sprinkle soda - baking soda that is! After you've completed the cat litter box cleaning, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into the litter to absorb odors. It's a natural air freshener.
  4. Lampe Berger to the rescue! I use my Lampe Berger to clean the air everytime I've cleaned the cat's litter box. It works unbelievably well and completely soaks up odors and leaves things smelling pleasant. Love it!!