The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






The Windowbox

Something Different

by Susie Lofton

I recently compiled a cookbook for my local church. During my research for information and fillers. I came across some helpful hints from a variety of sources and thought the readers of The People News might find some of these as interesting as I did. Some of the hints below were included in the cookbook I put together, but not all. Hope you enjoy reading these. As with any suggestion, use caution as these suggestions may not be fool-proof.

Every mother should have this on hand: Cold compresses- Cut an old wash cloth into four squares or fold a paper towel in half then half again. Wet thoroughly with water. Place in a zip-lock sandwich bag, lay flat in freezer. Use as needed, can refreeze many times over. Great for emergencies! This one I personally use.

Can't find your pot scrubber: Crumple some aluminum foil into a small ball. It works great!

If you over salt the beans or soup, add a couple raw quartered potatoes. The potatoes will absorb some of the salt and you can easily remove them or leave them in if you want to.

Remove excess grease from soup by dropping ice cubes into it for a minute. The ice

Susie Lofton

cubes causes the grease to solidify. Dip out ice and grease.
Add a capful of bleach to your dishwasher. Using bleach helps kill harmful bacteria. It is also good to clean your drains when you let the water out. I use this one often.

Do you have a lot of green tomatoes at the end of the summer? Wrap in brown paper bag and store in a cool dark place (like a garage), they will ripen slowly. Check at least once a week. We did this one year and were still eating garden tomatoes at Thanksgiving.

Don't throw away lemon rinds that have been squeezed or juiced out. Put them in your dishwasher for lemony smelling dishwater. Citrus fruits will yield one-third more juice if immersed in hot water for a minute or two.

For juicy hamburgers, put 1/4 cup of ketchup plus 1/4 cup of water in skillet when you begin frying the patties. The ketchup/water concoction helps keep your burgers moist and also helps rid the meat of excessive fat. I cook hamburgers no other way!

Bananas are especially bad for turning brown after cutting. If you do not have Fruit Fresh on hand, you may pour Sprite or Sierra Mist over sliced fruit. Works just as well if not better!

Reuse those empty spice shakers. These are handy for keeping salt in your vehicle, take on picnics or to use at the cook stove. These are also great to put powdered sugar in for sprinkling on cakes and cookies. Remove the old label and use a permanent marker to re-label it's contents.

Add a tablespoon of oil to water before adding macaroni or spaghetti. It helps prevent sticking.

A bay leaf is not only a spice for cooking spaghetti, it is a weevil deterrent. Place one or more bayleaf(ves) in your canisters of flour and corn meal and you will not see weevils. I have done this for over thirty years. It works!

Corn starch makes a good baby powder. It's unscented and will not clash with your favorite perfume.

To determine if an egg is fresh, immerse the egg in a pan of cool salted water. If it sinks to the bottom, it is fresh. If it rises to the top, toss that thing out!

To shine copper pots, rub with Worcestershire sauce or catsup. The tarnish will disappear.

One lady I know stores valuable papers such as birth certificates and health records in a plastic bag inside her deep freezer for protection in case of fire.

When traveling with your pet, take along a 20 oz. Coke bottle rinsed and refilled with water, and a plastic margarine tub for drinking. Fill an extra tub with dry food. It doesn't take up much room and your pet will appreciate it I'm sure, mine does.

Also when traveling, wet a wash cloth and put it in a zip-lock bag. You never know when you might need it.

Use filtered water if possible when making teas or Kool-Aid. It tastes much better. If adding sugar, heat one cup of water to dissolve the sugar in; it makes for a lot less stirring.

When heating items such as frozen burritos in the microwave, wrap in a paper towel. The floured tortilla will not get so tough and rubbery. Plus it helps keep the contents inside the tortilla.

To prevent lint from clinging to blue jeans and corduroy, add one-half cup vinegar to each wash load. Remove lingering lint from dark cottons by rubbing material lightly with sticky side of Scotch tape.

Lint or dust on your computer monitor? Keep a once used dryer sheet handy to clear the screen with and reduce static electricity on your monitor.

Run iron over wax paper to prevent starch from sticking to it.

When traveling, especially on an airplane, put liquid cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, etc., in zip-lock bags. Pack in the center of your suitcase for protection from rough handling baggage personnel or gorillas.

If you have a garbage disposal, flush the drain with one part bleach to three parts hot boiling water. I do this on occasion, more like once every two to three weeks.

I'm told this works - summer solar cooking - The night before, wash and rinse a bag of pinto beans and soak overnight. The first thing the next morning, pour off water. Place beans in a pot that has a glass lid to it. Cover with hot water from the tap. Set outside where beans will have full sunlight all day long. When you come home in the evening, season them and you may have to cook them a few minutes, but they should be about done. This is a great solution if you have only one crock pot and need it for something else.

: Using a glass lid is what makes this work.

All right, curiosity has gotten the best of me. Even as I write this paragraph, I am trying the above cooking method to see if it works. I soaked the beans overnight and right now they are in a glass covered corningware dish on my front porch. About five o' clock this afternoon I will bring them in and see how far they have come to being servable. Stay tuned....

...Well, it did not work so well, but I think it would have, IF, the conditions had been more ideal. When I took them in at 4:30 p.m. they had progressed as if I had cooked them stovetop with the setting on low. For about one hour this afternoon there was some cloud coverage, plus the temperature for the day never topped 85 degrees. Before I could serve them I had to cook them on high for about an hour. Not to be outdone, I will try this method again when the expected temperature is at least 95. Next time,  I think I will set them on the dash of my van. The key will be to get the temperature higher.

Well now, this article is a break from the normal. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. That's the beauty of my column. "The Windowbox." Just as a windowbox can have an assortment of things from flowers to ivy, or herbs to artificial, etc; my column is wide-open to a variety of subjects. I wonder what the "Windowbox" will produce next time?