Photo by Yogi
I just received an email from one of my friends who listed numerous tips about using household ingredients to help around the house written or sent by “Evelyn.” Some of these suggestions I have never heard of, but I thought it would be fun to discuss. If any of you know if these suggestions work for the stated intended purpose, let me know. Here goes:
“1. Reheat Pizza: Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.”
(Green Talk’s note: My kids hate reheated pizza via the microwave. We usually use the toaster oven or oven to heat up the pizza. Since I have been doing this, I have thrown less pizza away. Just think, less leftovers going to a landfill.)
“2. Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.”
(Green Talk’s note: If anyone knows how to accomplish this without using a plastic bag, let me know. I wonder if you can use a canvas pastry tool? Just in case you can’t substitute, when you are done, wash the zip lock bag, let it air dry, cut off the zip lock part, and then recycle it where your grocery bags are recycled. Also, don’t forget to either compost your egg shells, or use them in your planting holes. Egg shells are a great source of calcium for plants.)
“3. Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.”
(Green Talk’s note: Look for a cake frosting that does not contain any Trans fats, if there is such a product. Anyone have a suggestion of store bought healthier frosting?)
“4. Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.”
(Green Talk’s Note: for those of you who dislike using microwaves for health reasons, do you have a trick for heating up bread in the oven to keep it moist? I use an oven to reheat my rice with a cup or more of water added to the rice depending on the amount of rice I am reheating. Nothing is worse than dried out rice.)
“5. Newspaper weeds away: Start putting in your plants, [sic] and work the nutrients [sic] into your soil. Wet newspapers [sic] and put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.”
(Green Talk’s Note: I have done this and it absolutely works. I do not use the colored sections of the paper. Make sure your newspaper publisher uses soy based ink. I overlap about four sheets of paper with another four sheets. It may be overkill but I hate weeding. I do not use use newspaper in my raised vegetable beds since I am afraid of the dioxins from the bleaching process of the papers. I am curious as to how people feel about using newspaper for weed control around vegetables?)
“6. Broken Glass: Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.”
“7. No More Mosquitoes: Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.”
(Green Talk’s Note: I actually heard of putting a dryer sheet in shot glasses on your outdoor tables to keep mosquitoes away. I personally do not use dryer sheets because of the chemicals in them. If you have any sort of skin issue such as eczema, I was told by my pediatrician years ago that the dryer sheets will make it worse. The dryer sheets coat your clothes with the chemical contained in the sheets. How does everyone feel about using them for the mosquito removal? Better yet, do you think the nontoxic dryer sheets would do the same trick?)
“8. Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.
(Green Talk’s note: I heard ants don’t like this either. Would you have to sprinkle after every rain storm?)
9. Flexible vacuum: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
(Green Talk’s note: I love this suggestion since instead of recycling your paper towel rolls, just reuse it for this purpose. Tiffany at the Nature Moms Blog mentioned to reuse toilet paper rolls as seedling containers. See her article here.)
“10. Reducing Static Cling: Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and — ta da! — static is gone.”
(Green Talk’s note: Out of curiosity, what would happen if you washed and dried you clothes with the safety pin? Would it melt?)
“11. Measuring Cups: Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.”
(Green Talk’s note: Way to save water by not spending time getting the sticky solution out of the cup!)
“12. Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!”
“13. Reopening envelope: If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.”
(Green Talk’s note: No more wasted envelopes, and less trees cut down!)
14. Conditioner: Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair…
(Green Talk’s note: Again, another great reuse tip.)
“15. Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies , take a small glass fill it with ½ [sic] cup [sic] of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid , mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!”
(Green Talk’s note: Put this mixture near your inside compost bucket. I get fruit flies in the summer near my bucket.)
“16. Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home’, can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!”
“17. INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS: The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink, ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material – I’m sure you know what your dryer’s lint filter looks like. WELL…the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn’t go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film, but it’s there. It’s what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free – t hat nice fragrance too, you know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box, well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out & wash it with hot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!”
(Green Talk’s Note: I actually use a 1/2 of cup of vinegar in my wash to avoid using dryer sheets all together. Some people use the laundry detergents with soy based softeners in them. I can’t use these products because they make me itch. I may be on the unusual side about this phenomenon. Another suggestion is to hang clothes that are made of nylon, polyester, or other synthetic materials to dry since I find those are the ones that retain the static cling. Another suggestion I saw was shorten your dryer time by 10 minutes and let the clothes air dry the rest of the way.
As I stated above, dryer sheets are full of chemicals and should not be used. Does anyone else have any ideas of what to use in lieu of dryer sheets? In addition, take your lint (if you don’t use dryer sheets) and put it in your composter.)
At the bottom of the email was the name “Evelyn.” I could not find out who Evelyn was, so if any of you knows who the correct author of the above suggestions, I would like give her credit.
Let me know if you have tried any of the above suggestions, and add to these as well.