Monday, December 17, 2012

Removing tomato pasta sauce stains in plasticware

I love Italian food, and I love a good red pasta sauce but I always make too much food and I like to store in Tupperware, Ziploc, whatever plasticware floats your boat so that I can enjoy it for another meal.

Unfortunately , tomato sauce leaves horrible orangey red stains, is hard to get out of your plasticware, and in my mind looks like you haven't cleaned it- which annoys the crap out of me. Also, I hate scrubbing, it is not good for the nails.

Soooo I've tried a couple of methods to see which cleans up best.

1. Bleach - this is effective and is just like soaking rags or white sheets. The biggest issue I have with this particular type of cleaning is I don't like bleach around my food. There is no harm if you rinse properly, and apparently Tupperware suggest this method.

You can use the liquid bleach, or a bleach powder and turn it into a paste.

2. Denture cleaning tablets - The clear purpose of denture tablets is to clean item meant to be used in the mouth - so I feel safe using this on my dishes/food containers. However you need to get into it quickly otherwise it doesn't work.

Remember - when you are first rinsing your Tupperware/plastic things/Ziploc don't rinse with hot water , rinse with cold water.

In my opinion the issue with tomato based pasta sauces is that the additional colouring to make them red means that the stain will be there.

I find when I make my own tomato pasta sauce this doesn't happen as much. Also a bonus to making your own pasta sauce is that it takes no time at all and you get to see exactly what you are putting into your sauce.

However, they do say that prevention is better than a cure soooo I've recently learnt that if you spray the inside of your plastic container with a little bit of oil - this works super well I don't know why but it means the sauce doesn't seem to stain the same way. I've done this numerous times now and it works a charm.

Alternatively put some plastic wrap on the inside, pour the spaghetti and sauce in , close the plastic wrap over the top and then pop the lid on  - or use a black base plastic or something that is not clear. That way you won't get annoyed when it stains because you won't see it.

If it smells like sauce after you've washed them, place a cut up lemon inside and zap it in the microwave for a minute.

Hope this helps ;-) I'm working on things to do with vinegar now. Let the experimenting and researching continue!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets

Iron skillets are the best I adore cooking with them, I even have a cast iron wok which is my pride and joy. However I hate other people using them because more often than not people simply do not know about the maintenance of cast iron.

Here's what you can do:

Clean your skillet immediately after use when it still has heat in it. (Not loads just some)

Put the skillet in clean, warm water. Use a small plastic scraper, stiff brush or sponge to remove stuck on food. You can also make a paste of salt and water, then scrub the paste on the bottom of the pan to remove stuck on food. If you have stubborn food residue that won’t come off the skillet, try boiling some water in the pan to loosen the food.

Once the skillet is clean, towel dry the inside. You can also put the skillet on a stove burner on low, but do not leave the pan unattended.

After the skillet is dry, pour a small amount of vegetable oil or melted shortening in the skillet and rub it around with a clean paper towel. This is to re-season the pan.

If you have rust in your cast iron skillet, you can use a bit of steel wool, but you will have to re-season the pan afterwards. You can also clean the rust by rubbing the cut side of a potato and a sprinkle of baking soda on the bottom of the skillet. Rinse well with warm water the re-season the pan.

Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. Do wash your cast iron skillet after use, when it is still warm.
  2. Do store your skillet in a dry place.
  3. Do re-season your cast iron skillet as needed.
  4. Don’t use dishwash liquid.
  5. Don’t soak your cast iron pan in water. (This may cause the skillet to rust.)
  6. Don’t put your cast iron skillet in the dishwasher.
  7. Don’t use steel wool as this may strip the seasoning from the skillet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Need Space?

Sometimes it seems that no matter how much storage space you have, you always more stuff than you can fit it.

It's also incredibly annoying to have to drag everything out just to get to that one thing you need at the back.

Here are a couple of my storage tips:

1. Wrapping paper

Is your wrapping paper just sitting in a cupboard up against a wall getting knocked about each time something new goes in?

Go to the top of your cupboard. Hang string from one side to the other ( or ribbon, wire or whatever you choose) - maybe 2 sections of it. Ensure it is fastened securely.

Avoid the light - give it enough space - nothing worse than a fire.

This creates a sort of open hanging shelf. Place rolls on ribbon - easy and out of the way - plus you will be able to see easily what you do and don't have in the way of wrapping paper.

2. Make up storage 

Back when I was dancing ballet we used to do a lot of performances. You always had to lug around so much make up. 

I personally like to have a selection of make up for different occasions, weather, moods. However, I absolutely hate it cluttering up my drawers or worse on the top of a cabinet or in the bathroom where I have to lug everything off and then pile it back on again.

There are a couple of options. For people with heaps and heaps of make up - you could try using a fish tackle box which is what we used for dancing. this has heaps of space, and little slots, and is easy to carry around.

The bonus is also that you can open it up and tier it so that you can see everything that you have in the way of makeup.

The second one - which I am doing while travelling is just plastic crayon / pencil boxes from the dollar store which I write on the lids what is in them and then can just stack them in my drawer - to be brought out when I need them.

For my make up brushes I look for cool champagne glasses - the one below I bought for $2 and then I put them on my dresser - its funky and means I can see all my brushes in one go.

3. Glad wrap and foil boxes

Grab a binder holder and line those bad boys up in it . This way you can store in a cupboard, see from the top which one is which AND you get a whole extra drawer!

4. Shoe Storage

I've recently thought of this one but haven't had the chance to try it out. It is akin to making towel racks - so you could go to the local hardware store and choose any sort, metallic, wooden, etc.

You could paint them any colour and technically you should be able to install them on the backs of doors.

I think if you didn't want to put holes in the doors or walls you could hang them up with the backable and removable 3 M stickers. There are some really hard core ones out there.

If you are attaching to a wall you could do this in your bedroom behind the bedroom door, or in the garage, or hall cupboard.

Anyway I'm sorry I don't have a photo as I've not done it - but as soon as I am able I will do this and let you know how it goes.

5. Towel Storage

I personally like having my towels in the bathroom with me so that I can grab a new one whenever I like. however they do take up space.

Get some awesome flax baskets (or any type of baskets) and put them up on the wall like you would with images.

You could also put shelfing brackets up underneath the edges so that the baskets don't go all suicidal and drop all the towels off.

I also always roll my towels, they just seem to sit and store better this way.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pucker Up Baby

Not my lips FYI!
I know you guys in NZ are heading into summer, but the rest of us are facing a long cold winter. Either way, your lips may get dry.

I suffer from this malady and to make matters worse when I get stressed I have a terrible habit of peeling the skin on my lips.

Now, did you know that the skin on your lips is WAAYYYYY thinner than the rest of the skin on your body. In fact the rest of your skin has about 16 cellular layers where as your lips only have 3 -5 so its really important that they get a little bit more TLC.

Things that can hurt lips and irritate them can range from the harsh winter weather, too much heating in doors, licking lips, allergies and skin conditions. Pile onto that cold sores, bacterial infections and other problems which are more likely to surface if you lips are already chapped and sore.

The Golden Rules for Lip Maintenance:

1. Don't lick or peel your lips. It may make them feel better temporarily but in the end you are only doing more damage. Licking has the same drying effect as washing your hands, the repeated exposure to water STEALS moisture rather than adds it. And peeling just takes off one of the very few layers of skin that is already there.

2. Use a lip balm. Be aware of the type of lip balm that you use - some lip balms can actually make things worse - well in my experience anyway. I've tended to stay away from brands like Blistex, and Nivea as I find they actually make me feel more dry. I think they may contain sulphates although I don't have a pack on hand to read the labels.

I have recently discovered Clinique Chubby Sticks - which are a blend of a lip balm and lip stick - this is not a gloss and doesn't have a sticky feeling, but rather a balm feeling which is a nice change as sometimes if my lips are dry I really don't feel like putting sticky gloss on them.

However this is mainly for the ladies... I'm just saying. Boys if you wanna wear it I don't judge. I mean I do, but go ahead anyway.

The chubby stick has mango and uses shea butter which is always a treat and comes in heaps of easy matching colours.

If you are on a tight budget go for the Vaseline weapon of lip horridness destruction is Lucas' Paw Paw ointment. In fact this amazing product can be used to soften cuticles, help with psoriasis, heal wounds ( even 3rd degree burns from boiling water), burns in general, blisters and itchy bites (and wasp stings). It comes in three container sizes : a handy travel tube for the purse and a tub for the bathroom.

I cannot go enough about how awesome this product is - I can't believe more people don't know about it!!! In NZD it is about $20 for a 75g tub and the tube is about $12, not sure what the large tub is.

Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment Website

3. Wear sunscreen. Like any skin the lips can be sunburnt so be aware of this when you go out. Try to get a balm with sunscreen but you can also just pop a little sunscreen on when you put it on your face in the mornings - which you Kiwis should definitely be doing given the lack of ozone layer over the country. More often in summer I carry a travel tube of sunscreen around and just pop it on every now and again.
4. Toothpaste. I know - bizarre right? But think about it, unless you are one of those picture perfect people in the toothpaste commercials you tend to get the foamy stuff on your lips as you brush. Lets hope you brush twice a day - that's a bit for the tender lip skin and as we move to more whitening products, etc and think about the toothpaste that is right for our teeth we've probably never considered what is right for our lips too. 
It might be that you have an allergy to your toothpaste or mouthwash which could be giving you the rough, red skin your lips - men - just an FYI here , as women we would like to kiss nice lips too so pay attention -  your dry arse flakey something somethings just won't cut it.
Red Seal do a really good natural toothpaste and a bonus is that they are a NZ company!
So try switching brands, most supermarkets will also have natural toothpaste alternatives, which also come in whitening and maybe skip the mouthwash for a few days to see if it clears up. Also remember to rinse well after brushing to clear up anything left over.
5. Watch what you put in your mouth. No dirty jokes please! But you will all know that when your lips are chapped or burnt they are definitely more sensitive. Try staying away from foods like pepper, mustard, BBQ sauce or ketchup, orange juice and alcohol.
OK maybe not the last one - *giggles* - as if any of you would by-pass the booze (that's why I love you!), but perhaps try a straw. When you drink through a straw though be aware that you may get a bit tipsier faster as the straw helps the alcohol more directly into the blood stream.
Go forth and don't get the big kiss off from that special someone you want to puck around with.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Travel tips

When travelling steal every hotel shower cap that you can find. These come in really handy for storing shoes in your suitcase, they fit well, they are see through so you can see what shoes you are getting and they are easy to put the shoe in and out of.

If you are travelling long haul try to ensure that you keep your hydration levels up. You can use things like Nestle Resorb, or even Gastrolyte (I don't recommend Powerade or things like that). I take one every couple of hours. Also, definitely avoid alcohol as it will dehydrate you and one drink in the air is apparently like 3 on the ground.

For my skin I like to carry BioOil on board with me and every hour or so I just re moisturise my face and my hands.

Love your suitcase but it doesn't have a divider? A piece of cardboard makes an excellent divider and helps keep your clothes organized and neat as you are able to lay them out flat on the cardboard. It also makes airport inspections a lot less of a hassle as you can lift out your divider with clothes on top easily.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Useful things on lemons

Lemons moonlight as a nontoxic bleach and disinfectant, antiseptic, stain-lifter, and odor-eater.

Lemon juice prevents cut fruit from turning brown, it is very good on avocado.

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.