For years, I have been a collector of handy hints. I thought that I would pass on a few of my favorites that can be used everyone, including innkeepers who are running our countries bed and breakfasts.
Instead of trying to use your fingers, or the egg shell, to separate the egg yolk from the egg white, use a slotted spoon. Gently crack an egg over a slotted spoon which has been set on top of a bowl. The white will flow through the openings, leaving the yolk intact.
Fresh flowers are wonderful to look at, but getting rid of the leftover gunk in the flower containers afterward is a pain. Once I have disposed of the old arrangement, I fill the vase with water and then drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. You can watch the bubbles get rid of the green grime. This is really great for narrow vases especially when you don't want to get your bottle brush full of grime.
At this time of year, it seems that the leaves on my plants get dusty. To clean the leaves of dust and dirt, I use an envelope moistener which has been filled with water. The small sponge gets into places where a big cloth or large sponge can't go.
If you have a lot of chives or scallions to chop, use a rubber band to hold them together about two inches from the bottom You can then just keep moving the rubber band up as your chopping gets closer. It will keep the chives or scallions closely held together and makes for faster and crisper cuts.
I love to recycle things and have found that old pillow cases can have a second life as garment bags for my finer clothes. These cases are breathable unlike the plastic dry cleaning bags. All you need to do is cut a small slit in the folded top edge of the pillow case so that the hanger can go through.
If you are in an area that has to dig up your bulbs and tubers to store for the winter, here is a way to ensure that you know what you will be replanting next year. Using a permanent marker, write the variety or color of the plant directly onto each bulb. Then you can store your bulbs in peat moss or newspaper in a cool dark place. When you go to plant them in the spring, you will have an easier time replanting them in just the right location.
Howard loves using Dijon or other fancy mustard's. When there is just a tiny bit of mustard in the bottom and sides of the jar, add some crushed garlic, or minced shallots along with some tarragon or rosemary. Add some balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Put the lid back on and shake real well. Then add some olive oil (3 parts of oil to 1 part of vinegar). Shake again so that the dressing is emulsified. Use over salads or as a marinade. If kept tightly stored in the refrigerator it should keep for about a week.
My least favorite pest inside of the house are ants. Winter cold will drive them inside. You can make a nontoxic repellent by using equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake then spray in areas when ants are commonly found such as kitchen floors or the crevices in painted baseboards. You can also use the spray on patios and porches. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly.
Finally, I love eating fresh corn, but hate getting all of the silk off. Once you think you have as much off as you can, take an unused tooth brush and use the bristles to get off any stray silk threads suck between the kernels.
Hope you all have had a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Lynda and Howard Lerner