Teach Me – New Ways to Use your Old Favorites

Here it is… Thursday again.  And that means I should share some new tips and tricks that you may or may not already be aware of!  YAY!!!

Last week, we talked about little known features of the iPhone.

Today, let’s talk about something a bit lower on the technology scale.

Have you ever watched Alton Brown’s Good Eats?  One of the key ideas he drilled into me as I watched and learned the “why” behind so many of the things we do in the kitchen was that there should only be ONE item in your kitchen that has single purpose functionality – and THAT should be a fire extinguisher.  Everything else should be a multi-tasker.   As a born multi-tasker myself, this always resonated with me.  Honestly, I’m sad that the series came to an end for MANY reasons, but alas, I digress.

Today, let’s talk a bit about some un-common uses for some pretty common household finds!

Just like last week, some of these may be old hat to you… some may be brand new.  I hope either way something strikes a chord and you have one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments. (Clicking on the images will take you to the original sources for these gems of wisdom but don’t worry… it will open a new window so you won’t lose your spot here)

Courtesy of Real Simple

First of all, I have no idea why this never occured to me before… but why NOT use your Bundt Pan as a roaster?  Or using a straw in the ketchup bottle as a way to help get things moving… or using an egg slicer as a mushroom chopper.  Brilliant I say.  Over at Real Simple, they have over 700 various tips and new uses for common items around your house – tips like these and so much more broken down into categories – Cooking, decorating, etc.  Seriously, I could get completely LOST over there…. ok, so I HAVE gotten completely lost over there but it’s good stuff I say.

Next up…

Dryer sheets have gotten a bit of a bad wrap in some circles.  Something about the chemicals and it’s coating power and a potential fire hazard… or something.  I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of dryer sheets here because I really like my lavender and vanilla laundry as I pull it out of the dryer so I’ll go ahead and live dangerously m’kay?  BUT – did you know that there’s an alternate use for dryer sheets you may not have considered? (I mean aside from the obvious – smoth down hair fly-aways on the really static-y days so you don’t look like you’ve got your hand on a Van de Graaff generator when all you are trying to do is have a good hair day for your interview/date/chance meeting you run into someone important- oh – that’s just me? never mind then.)

Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

That’s right – keep your baseboards clean!  Apparently it helps repel pet hair, dust, etc.  WOO HOO!  Multi-tasker.

Another tip I adore is perfect for planning a birthday party… and it was definitely one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments I was talking about.

If you’ve ever planned a child’s birthday party and were serving cake and ice cream and didn’t buy the ridiculously overpriced individual ice cream cups then you know first hand what a mess that can be.  Scooping the ice cream whil impatient kids are waiting… The first scoop is the hardest to get out because the ice cream is still frozen fairly solid but by the time you get to the last child, it’s a goopy mess… and then there’s the arguments about how the first child got less than the last because well, melted ice cream just scoops better… (have I mentioned how glad I am that we are past the children’s birthday ages and now celebrate with just family) What if there was a way to avoid all of that?  Are you ready?

Courtesy of Real Simple

Yep – scoop out ice cream into paper lined cupcake pan and then freeze ahead of time.  No muss… no fuss… and by the time the party starts, it’s one last thing you have to worry about.  And let’s face it… kid’s birthday parties can be a lot like wrangling cats even with the best of prep done ahead of time.

and last but not least, We are coming upon what I like to call “salad season”.  Here in Texas, we really don’t have seasons – it’s hot, hotter, OMG I’m MELTING and Christmas… but when summer hits, the LAST thing I want to do is fire up the stove to make dinner.  So we have salads.  A Lot of salads.  (luckily, my kids love their veggies)

Sometimes though, after a long day, the prep work for a deluxe salad can be overwhelming… until now

Courtesy of the Art of Doing Stuff

A veggie peeler is the PERFECT tool to quickly get very thin and uniform-ish slices of veggies making it the PERFECT salad prep tool (although, I wouldn’t recommend it on tomatoes… that would just be messy).  Onions… Carrots… whatever.

Any of these new to you?  What are some of the uncommon uses for common items that YOU love and adore?


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