Here are my top 12 homemaking hacks. These tips, shortcuts, and techniques all help to save me time in the kitchen.
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My Top 12 Homemaking Hacks to Make Your Life Easier:
1. How to Speed-Clean the Microwave: Pour 1/2 cup or so of lemon juice into a microwave-safe container. Place container into the microwave, heat for 3 minutes. Carefully remove the container and wipe the microwave down. Sparkling clean in no time!
Before! The after photo didn’t turn out very well, but trust me, it looked MUCH better when the job was done!
2. The Simple Trick to Keeping Lettuce Fresh: Wrap the Romaine head in paper towels, then place into a large zip-top bag. The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture, thereby protecting the lettuce from wilting.
3. How to Freeze Egg Whites and Yolks: Let’s say you made homemade ice cream. Rather than tossing those egg whites out, freeze them for later use! After carefully separating the yolk from the white, pour the whites into a silicone pan to freeze. The whites don’t lose much of their foaming “power” when thawed and thus can be used in meringues and such.
How to Freeze Egg Yolks: Or maybe you made an Angel Food Cake and have a dozen egg yolks left over. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into the yolk to ensure a smooth mixture when thawed. I use these in smoothies to add more protein, to brush on top of baked goods for a richer color and taste, and to make ice cream or pudding.
4. The Easy Way to Store and Reheat Pasta: Once cool, place the cooked pasta into a zip-top bag. Squeeze out all of the air and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve as leftovers, add hot water to the bag, seal it up, and place the bag into a bowl. Change the water a few times while you heat up the sauce. The pasta will be hot and ready to serve in no time!
5. How to Make Garlic Butter: Combine a stick of softened butter with 3 Tablespoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons parsley, and a dash of salt & pepper. This garlic butter stores easily in the refrigerator (or wrap tightly and freeze for longer storage.) I use this garlic butter to quickly saute shrimp or chicken, make garlic bread, or make garlic pizza.
6. How to Make Your Own Blender Bottle: Making your own salad dressing is such a great way to save money. To make it even easier and avoid pulling out measuring cups, I made my own blender bottle. Most oil & vinegar based salad dressings call for 1/2 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar. To make this simple blender bottle, you’ll need a pint-sized Mason jar, 1/2 cup of water & 1/4 cup of water, electrical tape, scissors, and a permanent marker.
First, wrap the electrical tape loosely around the jar to get a general length. I cut the electrical tape in half since it’s rather wide. Leave the tape on the cutting mat.
Pour 1/2 cup of water into the jar. Carefully wrap one-half of the electrical tape around the jar as shown.
Pour 1/4 cup of water into the jar. Repeat with the second half of the electrical tape.
Write oil and vinegar on the electrical tape. You now have a simple blender bottle and can use this to whip up a simple vinaigrette dressing.
7. Use a Wooden Spoon to Prevent a Boil-Over: How many times have you had a mess to clean up due to boil-over when cooking pasta or potatoes? If you’re like me, this has happened plenty of times! I discovered this quick tip by accident and have used it ever since!
By simply setting a wooden spoon over the pot, you’ll avoid the mess. The spoon, being wooden, does not reach the same high temperature as the boiling water. When the bubbles touch the wooden spoon, they dissipate. Do take care if you have a gas stove, as I do. Place the handle of the wooden spoon over the pot handle. Otherwise, the handle of the spoon will become very hot!
8. How to Freeze Stock for Quick Gravy: One of my favorite quick meals is to grill chicken breasts. To change things up a bit, sometimes I will then add a little rice and vegetable to make a comforting bowl of yumminess. Since the meat was grilled, there is no liquid to turn into gravy. By having frozen cubes of stock, I can make a quick gravy.
To freeze these cubes, allow the stock to cool completely. For this batch, I refrigerated it overnight in order to remove some of the excess fat. Spoon the stock into a silicone mold, place the mold on a tray, then freeze until solid. Once frozen, place the cubes into a zip-top bag that is marked with the contents and date. When ready to use, pull a few stock cubes out to proceed with a quick gravy.
9. The Quickest Way to Soften Butter: This homemaking hack is genius! How many times have you wanted to make cookies or another treat, but the butter is frozen? It happens here far too frequently. Someone will use the last stick of butter from the refrigerator and forget to pull more butter from the freezer.
Now, you could place the butter in the microwave and use the defrost setting. However, it’s far too easy to end up with melted rather than softened butter using this method. Instead, pull out a cheese grater and grate the butter! It will thaw in no time!
10. Take advantage of the shortcuts: I am a homemaker that likes to make things from scratch. But, life has gotten way too “big” on more than one occasion over the past 25 years and all things from scratch simply wasn’t possible. Give yourself permission to buy the convenience products. One of the best items that I keep on hand is Tide Pods. No mess, no cup to keep track of, just pop a pod into the washer, add your laundry, and start the load. It couldn’t be easier. Well, if someone else was to do the laundry, THAT would be easier!
11. Quickly cut an onion: Here is the easiest way to cut an onion! Be sure your knife is sharp (all kitchen knives should be sharpened regularly for safety and ease of use.) Cut the onion in half and peel. Next, make slices horizontally, then vertically, taking care to not cut all the way through the stem. Slice as shown. You’ll have chopped onions in no time!
What are your best homemaking hacks? I’d love for you to share your tips too!
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