New Uses for Common Kitchen Items

I love reading posts with tips to make life easier with small, everyday changes – so I thought I’d try one of my own!!  Most of these are courtesy of my mother (especially the food ones), things I’ve known so long I don’t remember how I know them, or Real Simple magazine (which I LOVE).

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Bread – surprisingly helpful…

1. Hold a piece of bread in your mouth when you slice an onion.  Your eyes won’t sting!  (Serious!  This is not just a ploy to get you to look silly with a piece of bread hanging out of your mouth).

2. When storing cookies in a tupperware, put a piece of bread in with them – it will keep them moist (don’t you love that word?!).

3. Brown sugar hard as a rock?  Throw half a slice of bread in for 12 hours – the moisture in the bread will soften it right up!

Kitchen items and their unintended uses…

4. If you want to make cool designs with pancakes (numbers on birthdays, etc.) use a turkey baster – batter writing made easy!

5. A potato masher may be great for, well, pototoes…but it’s also super helpful when making guac!  Mash up your avocados with this tool instead of a fork.

6. When making the previously mentioned guac, if your avocados aren’t ripe enough, put them in a paper bag with a banana on a windowsill for a day or so.  If you need the guac right meow, blend them with a cup of peas.

7. I could never get the apple corer to go straight down, I always ended up with a few slices having the stem on them.  Then a women commented on a blog post with this wonderful tip – turn the apple upside-down.  This tip has changed my life.

8. Use an empty kleenex box to store bags.  It’s convenient, and looks nicer than the bag-stuffed-full-of-other-bags.  We have one on our fridge for lunches, and one in the front closet for doggie walking.

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9. If you can’t open a jar, and no one stronger than you is around, grab a piece of sandpaper to give you a better grip on the lid (hopefully the someone stronger than you and the someone who knows where the sandpaper is are not the same person.  Also I know that sandpaper is not a kitchen item.).

And when you’re cooking…

8. I’m a huge fan of using scissors for basically everything in the kitchen (used to drive my roommate CRAZY when I cut pizza with kitchen sheers).  But for reals – if you need to chop some herbs, put them in a measuring cup and cut them with scissors.  Easy, and all the bits stay in one spot!

9. If you need a tsp of an expired spice, and you don’t want to run to the store, add an extra 1/2 tsp.  It will make up for the loss of flavor, but not be overpowering.

10.  When baking bread, grease the loaf pan half way up.  This will give you a nice rounded top without a ridge around the top edge (this tip greatly impressed the judge in 4H when she tasted my banana bread oh, 20 years ago).

11.  Need cooked chicken for a recipe?  Grab a rotisserie chicken on your way home from work – delicious, and you don’t have to take the time to do it yourself.

12.  Line pans with tin foil – afterward you can throw the foil out, and the pan is still clean.

Other random goodies…

13.  My bff Molly gets the credit for this one – use painters bibs from Ikea (or wherever else you can find them) as your kiddo’s regular dinner bib.  God knows the food doesn’t stay only three inches below it’s intended destination.

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14. To make unloading the dishwasher faster, put all the same utensils in the same compartment in the silverware basket.  Then when it comes time to empty, grab one handful of spoons, one handful of forks, etc.  Just make sure they don’t all “spoon” each other, face some forward, some backward, some with the handle up, some with the handle down, etc.).

15. Use ice-cubes to water your hanging baskets.  They’ll melt slow enough that you won’t have a ton of water dripping all over your driveway.  If you have large potted plants, fill an empty wine bottle with water and stick it upsidedown in the plant –  it will seep into the soil as needed, so your plant has a steady supply of water for days!


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