Hello, friends! TGIF! I don’t usually post on Fridays, but I’m a day behind schedule due to getting into the school swing and all.
Confession: I’m just not feeling creative these days. Maybe it’s a post-vacation slump. Maybe it’s that my focus is totally on the kids right now, and getting them off on the right foot for school. Or maybe I’m just plain ol’ tired. Who knows? But I don’t have any gumption to finish up projects, let alone start new ones. I’m not in a mood or anything…just not inspired, I guess. Be that as it may be, I still want to read what all of you are up to, and share some other thoughts with you. For instance…
I’ve never professed to be a great cook; but, I’m decent. I can get a meal on the table without breaking a sweat at this point, and sometimes I don’t even need a recipe. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. 1) I usually have a stocked pantry (here’s a list of what I’ve got in there) and 2) I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
- Out of maple syrup? Heat up a little jelly or jam to use as berry syrup for your pancakes or waffles instead.
- Forgot to chill the wine? Put it in the sink and cover it with ice. Sprinkle 2 cups of salt on top of the ice, then fill the sink with water. It should be cold in just a few minutes.
- Need to reheat pizza? Avoid soggy crusts by heating it in a nonstick skillet on low.
- Got leftovers? Freeze things like spaghetti or soup in a muffin tin. Once frozen, pop out into a freezer bag for single-serving kids’ meals. Great for date night!
- Not great with a knife? If you’ve got a lot of dicing to do, use a pizza cutter instead.
- Don’t bake often? Put a small piece of bread in your brown sugar to keep it soft between uses.
- Hate making cupcakes because of the mess? Next time you finish a ketchup bottle, clean it out and save it. Now when you make cupcakes, you can just transfer the batter to the squeeze bottle to fill the cupcake cups mess-free.
- Got a lot of rapidly ripening bananas? Slice them and freeze them so you can add them to smoothies. This not only uses up your bananas, it eliminates the need for ice, too, which makes your smoothie less watered down.
- Speaking of smoothies, if you have any left over, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze for a really healthy summertime snack.
- Need to measure out honey, molasses or peanut butter? Pour hot water in your measuring cup first, then dump out the water but don’t dry the cup. Next fill it up with your ingredient and it should slide right out.
- Best way to butter a dish? Use the wax paper the butter comes in. It usually has enough butter still clinging to it to do the job.
- Making pancakes? Double the batch and wrap the extras in plastic-wrapped packets of two or three. Put all of the portions in a freezer bag and freeze for pancake breakfasts any morning. Just microwave them for about 30 seconds, flip, then zap them for another 30 seconds.
- Need lemon juice? Roll the lemon on the counter while pressing firmly with your palm. This will get the juices flowing so squeezing it isn’t as hard.
- What to do with fresh herbs? Loosely wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll keep much longer this way.
- In a hurry? Save time by using a garbage bowl. I learned this trick from years of watching Rachael Ray. Put all of your scraps and wrappers in one bowl on the counter, which will save you trips to the garbage can, keep your workspace clean, and save you cleanup time.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Until next time…