Sharpening dull scissors is as easy as keeping aluminum foil in the house. When scissors start to cut with less than stellar results, fold a piece of foil into three layers and cut with the scissors ten times. You’ll be amazed by the instant result!
Category Archives: Home Keeping
Strawberry season is definitely upon us! Last weekend we headed out to Virginia for a day of pink stained fingers while picking strawberries. We came home with over 10 pounds, some of which I turned into jam and the rest were thrown in the freezer.
Freezing strawberries is simple and saves them for later when you’re running out of time before they go bad in the fridge. The only downfall is generally speaking, strawberries that have been frozen and then thawed will not retain their original shape and texture, so they are best used as an ingredient in sauces, preserves, smoothies, or in baked goods.
Here’s how I freeze ’em…
1. Wash the berries in cold water, then pat dry.
2. Remove the stems with a sharp paring knife.
3. Place the berries nice and tight in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking together in one big clump after freezing. Then put them in the freezer for about an hour.
4. Remove from freezer and transfer to freezer ziplock bags. Label and date the bags then return them to the freezer.
5. The strawberries will keep for about a year if sealed in an air-tight bag.
Bon Appetit magazine this month featured the 14th Street area in their Neighborhood News…
“Designed by city planners to be a virbarnt thoroughfare, 14th Street is once again moving into the fast ane of the District’s social life. It’s true that other Mid-City nabes, namely the U-Street Corridor and Logan Circle, have been revitalized in recent years. But a new explosion of a condo and commerical developemnt and small business openings is making 14th Street one of the coolest destinations in town. Here are some of our favorite places to eat, sip and shop on 14th Street.”
I also like Garden Rule, which they left off the list…
5. – The Boston Globe Renewed Faith in Sprouted Bread “In recent years bread has found itself in an increasingly contentious relationship with the general public. Sales have flat-lined, and to dieters everywhere the staff of life has come to equal unwanted carbs – otherwise known as poison. In an effort to resuscitate the market, breadmakers have festooned just about every package with the words “whole” or “multi-grain,” which usually ranslates to a little or even a lot of whole-wheat flour, plus some seeds.”
4. – The Chicago Tribune Stocking Up “Perhaps you consider yourself an exception in a nation in which eating has become a national pastime and cooking a competitive sport. Perhaps you eat broccoli the way other people breathe air and go to the greenmarket the way others go to Walgreens. We do. But when we made the mistake of trying to confirm our exemplary habits, we stumbled onto the Food and Drug Administration’s MyPyramid Tracker (mypyramind.gov) and eatright.org, and discovered we had been living on about 800 calories more than recommended for our height/weight—while still not getting nearly enough dark green vegetables and whole grains, and eating a lot of empty calories in the mix.”
3. – The LA Times Kitchen String Theory “You gotta love any kitchen tool that you can get at Home Depot. At the top of my list of must-have hardware-store cooking gear — along with an inexpensive Microplane and a blowtorch — is a simple ball of string. Or at least it’s my favorite until Thomas Keller figures out how to sous-vide with duct tape.”
2. – The NY Times It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer? “The plants in Texas and Georgia that were sending out contaminated peanut butter and ground peanut products had something else besides rodent infestation, mold and bird droppings. They also had federal organic certification.”
1. – The Washington Post Dining Moguls on the Go “Besides their attention to detail, the owners have another thing in common: They run multiple units, each of which can benefit the others, creating advantages in staff training and management, stronger buying power and a leg up in real estate transactions. They need all the advantages they can get. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2009 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released in December, one in three people nationally report not going out to restaurants as often as they would like. So far, Washington doesn’t seem to be part of that trajectory. Lynn Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, calls the local industry “amazingly resilient” despite closings in the suburbs.”
I thought it my domestic duty to inform you that you’ll be needing to update your stamp stash in your desk drawer soon. Yes, the good old Postal Service has decided that it’s again time for a raise in rates. Starting May 11th the new rates will be in effect…
1 oz. or less $0.44
2 oz. or less (most wedding invitations) $0.61
Here are some of the new stamps they’re releasing…
And brides, I’m sorry to say you’ll be stuck with these unless you go for personalized stamps; they’re getting rid of the heart stamps.
“Whether it’s for business or personal correspondence, the way you send your mail sends a message. Make an impression with this new Forever personalized stamped envelope. You can include your name, your company’s name, address, and even a short message or slogan as part of the personalization. There’s lots of extra convenience with personalized stamped envelopes, and no need to affix postage or type in your name and return address. This envelope is available only through the Personalized Stamped Envelope Program. Call 1 800-STAMP-24 to order.”
I recently joined Craftster and am having a blast finding new crafting projects. Yesterday I came across this Suet Feeder and couldn’t resist sharing it. I haven’t attempted one myself yet, but as a child my sisters and I would use the remaining half of the grapefruit after we had breakfast and fill it with the bacon grease, peanut butter and sunflower seeds and the birds seemed to love it.
This is much prettier than the versions we made, and would be a great hostess gift. For complete directions, keep reading…
One of my pet peeves is having a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers that look beautiful upon arrival and like crap the next day. It makes you wonder if the roses were in a refrigerator so cold they froze or if the grocery store pealed off the brown petals to make them look fresh.
Here are my tips for prolonging the life of cut flowers…
- Use a sharp knife to trim flower stems on a diagonal as soon as possible – don’t use scissors, they pinch together too many of the vascular tubes the flowers use to drink water and nutrients.
- Fill your kitchen sink with tepid water and put in one pack of Floralife (or a similar commercial floral preservative). Float the flowers in the sink for 30 minutes to hydrate the stems, leaves and blossoms.
- Remove all but the upper leaves from each stem. Foliage left in the water deteriorates quickly and will not only cause the flowers to reek, but pollutes the drinking water for the flowers.
- Fill a vase with water and put in more of the floral preservative.
- Arrange blossoms in the vase. Cut off any dead or tightly closed buds – they leach nutrients from healthy blooms.
- Change the water mixture daily.
- Enjoy your beautiful blooms!