Saturday, November 25, 2006

Easy Dough Roll

I find rolling dough on a floured surface annoying. The flour gets on me and the floor. I constantly have to re-flour or the rolling pin sticks to the dough. Not pleasant. My super-easy solution is olive oil. Just pour a tablespoon or so on a cloth or paper towel. Wipe down the surface you'll be rolling on as well as the rolling pin. You shouldn't have any problems rolling out the dough and you might have enough olive oil left on the towel to grease whatever pan you might be using!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Data CDs

I don't have a floppy drive so I save data from my computer on CDs. I don't like to write on the CDs because I rewrite them sometimes. I came up with a numbering system - I assign each CD a number. The numbers are listed in a database on my computer. I type in the files that are on each CD. This way I can look up files by name and find which numbered CD they're saved on. It might seem tedious, but looking up a file in a database is so much faster than searching through a pile of disks and reading each one!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Do You Tofurky?

I am constantly amused by the number of relatives who worry that my vegetarian family will have "nothing to eat on Thanksgiving." I'm sorry, does everyone just eat a plate of turkey smothered in gravy? A typical Thanksgiving table is full of vegetarian friendly options. In fact, Thanksgiving dinner probably has more vegetables than most of my relatives are used to eating on a regular basis.

That doesn't stop me from cooking a Tofurky.

Tofurky seems to be a hot topic in the online vegetarian community this time of year. Is it really necessary to serve a soy replica of a dead bird? Definitely not. In fact, before I tried a tofurky I would cook a vegetarian Thanksgiving with no meat substitute at all. Ever since we tried the tofurky feast my husband and I have looked forward to it every year. I don't know if it really tastes like turkey - I haven't eaten the real stuff in years. What matters to me is that it tastes good.

I would recommend trying tofurky if you're a recent convert to vegetarianism and you don't want to feel left out on turkey day. As for me I'll be eating veggies at the relatives' and cooking a tofurky at home tomorrow. Just because it tastes so good.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Easy Shredded Cheese

I do not enjoy shredding cheese. I also can't bring myself to spend extra money on the pre-shredded stuff. I discovered this little tip by accident one day, when the block of cheese I wanted was still frozen. Take a frozen chunk of cheese and thaw it just enough to cut through it with a knife. If you cut through the partially-frozen cheese it will crumble, creating cheese crumbles in seconds! I can't remember the last time I pulled out my shredder...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Craft Storage

I do a lot of knitting and sewing. And the occasional needlepoint. Or wood craft. Or bead work. Okay, let's face it, I'm a craft junkie. I primarily knit and sew, though, and usually have a multitude of projects going at once. I've found that a great way to store ongoing projects is by using the plastic bags that curtains come in. Some have zipper closures and some have snaps, and most of them have hooks. I stick projects in them along with any notes I have and hang them on hangers. Usually I can fit four or five bags on a hanger, depending on the size of each one. The great thing for me is that the bags are clear so I can always see what's inside them! Now, ironically, I usually sew things like curtains and rarely end up buying the bags. Luckily I have friends and relatives who are happy to part with their packaging!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Moving Tip: Packing the Kitchen Part 3

Okay, your kitchen is packed, minus essentials, and your new kitchen is ready. Now what do you do with the food?
  • Scale down your grocery shopping. If you usually stockpile groceries, stop. Save your grocery money until after you move and enjoy having less groceries to move and unpack!
  • Use up perishables. Cook your frozen meals, eat your leftovers, and only buy enough fresh food to last until you move. Even if you're moving locally it can be a pain to transport refrigerated and frozen foods.
  • Keep coolers ready. You'll most likely have some perishables to move so make sure you keep your coolers at you current house until you move the groceries.
  • Turn on your new fridge. If possible, turn your new fridge on before you actually move. This way your perishables can go directly from coolers to fridge without changing temperature too much.
  • Pack nonperishables in boxes. If your extra cereals, baking products, etc aren't essential to meals during moving week pack them up in boxes and move them with your furniture. This is particularly helpful if you've hired movers.
  • Find a local food pantry. There are tons of organizations that can use nonperishables. If you're cleaning out your pantry, or moving long-distance, consider donating unopened containers. No need to waste the food!
  • If you are unable to move your perishable food and have decent fresh food left, check with your friends and neighbors. Most likely someone will be happy to finish up your milk or head of lettuce. Save them some money and the food won't be wasted.
An added tip is to plan meals involving all nonperishables for a day or two before moving. This will give you a chance to unplug and defrost your old fridge and clean it out.

Stay tuned for Part 4!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Quick Cookie Fix

This is a tip I borrowed from a friend who was trying to limit her cookie intake each time she baked a batch! I find it useful for cookie fixes. My husband loves chocolate chip cookies. I rarely bake them and he doesn't enjoy baking. He started buying packages of refrigerated pull-apart cookies whenever they were on sale. I found the ingredient list disturbing and the taste too sweet. Now I occasionally make the dough for a double batch of cookies. Instead of baking them all I bake a few and freeze the rest. Instead of freezing a container of dough I spoon the dough as I would for baking and freeze it that way. Once the balls are all frozen I put them in a Ziplock until the next cookie craving. This works well in warmer weather because you can bake a few cookies in the toaster oven instead of heating up the whole house!