Life Hacks: 10 Simple Kitchen Solutions that Every Suburban Mom Should Know About, or Dad, or Urban DINK, or Rural Single Parent Cowpoke, or . . .

Life Hacks: 10 Simple Kitchen Solutions that Every Suburban Mom Should Know About, or Dad, or Urban DINK, or Rural Single Parent Cowpoke, or . . .

Life Hacks: 10 Simple Kitchen Solutions that Every Suburban Mom Should Know About, or Dad, or Urban DINK, or Rural Single Parent Cowpoke, or . . .

 

When I worked in life insurance direct marketing eons ago, I focused a lot of energy on making sure stay-at-home moms realized their worth. I was passionate about it then, and I’m even more passionate about it now. (By the way, if you don’t have simple term life coverage, mom, you should, especially if you’re the mother of young children. It’s easy to buy, it’s affordable, and it’s important. Okay, I’ll stop.)

Without us, our families would need to hire: a shopper, a cook, a decorator, a pet sitter, a housekeeper, a babysitter, a counselor, a tutor, a nurse, a private secretary, a chauffeur, and the list goes on and on.

Have you ever thought about that?

No, we don’t all bring home a paycheck. But, yes, we all provide very valuable services for our families, dern it!

 

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Photo courtesy of: The Daily Mail

 

For me, my work starts in earnest at 5:30 a.m. when lunches are made, dishwashers are unloaded and kids are eventually sent off to school with the necessary books, backpacks, instruments and after school instructions about where to be and when. Then the insanity peaks once more at 2:30 when my youngest comes home from school, and dinner has to be made, and homework reviewed, and sax lessons attended, and dogs taken out, and dishes cleaned . . . well you get my drift.

Anything I can do during those “bewitching hours” to make my life easier is a gift from me to . . . me. 

You’ve heard of life hacks, right? They’re those simple, DIY solutions that you learn about and immediately do a face palm, wondering why you hadn’t thought of such an obvious answer before. 

Here are some handy kitchen hacks that all harried moms or dads or even DINKS should know about.   

 

Clean a gooped up blender with ease. My boys love nothing more than peanut butter, banana, and yogurt smoothies for breakfast. But, frankly, they used to be the bane of my existence. The problem was, the peanut butter would cling to the razor sharp blades like white on rice, and those saber-like blender blades would impale me like Inigo Montoya at every turn when I tried to de-goop them. Here’s a great solution: squirt a touch of liquid dish soap into the empty blender, fill it up a third of the way with hot water, and then turn it on for a few seconds while holding the lid in place. Any stuck on gunk should come right off. Rinse it out with hot water, and you’re good to go.

 

Sterilize your kitchen sponge by zapping it in the microwave for two minutes. Doing so will kill 99% of all of the germs that call it home. This method comes with a warning, though: MAKE SURE YOUR SPONGE IS WET otherwise it might get so hot, it could ignite, or at the very least make your house smell like you’re serving roasted rubber for supper. If you don’t want to risk setting your house on fire any time soon, you can even stuff your sponge in the utensil compartment of your dishwasher before a cleaning cycle.

 

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Keep apples from browning the sweet way. Use pineapple juice instead of lemon juice to stop apple and pear slices from turning brown. Pineapple has ascorbic acid like lemons, but none of that nasty sour taste. I usually have a can stashed away in the pantry, so it’s an easy solution. Use the remaining pineapple in a fruit salad or transfer it to a lidded plastic bowl and pop it in the fridge. You could also buy a bottle of pineapple juice and keep it in the fridge, if you have room that is.  You’ll be amazed what a sweet difference switching to pineapple juice makes!

 

Life Hacks - the kitchen: keep apples from turning brown with pineapple juice

 

Life Hacks - the kitchen: keep apples from turning brown with pineapple juice

 

Put plastic wrap or foil in its place. Have you ever gone to pull a roll of plastic wrap only to have the whole blasted roll come rocketing out of the box and you’re left cursing the flipping flapping manufacturer who doesn’t know how to make a reliable product?

No? It’s just me?!

Oh my.

Anyway, there’s a built-in way around this issue that I only just found out about recently. There are two perforated spots on either long side of the box. Push those tabs into the center of the roll of plastic, or foil, and your trajectory issues are no more.

How many years did we unnecessarily put up with disobedient cling wrap?!

 

Life Hacks - the kitchen: keep plastic wrap rolls and aluminum foil rolls in place

 

Exasperating eggshells – If you’ve ever cracked eggs, and a piece of the shell has fallen into the eggs in the bowl, you know just how hard it can be to try to fish it out. Well, here’s the easy answer; just use a piece of eggshell to scoop it up. For some reason, what’s nearly impossible to scoop out with your fingers or a spoon, clings to the shell and comes right out.

 

eggshellscoop

 

Sweeten it with . . . lime? – Yep.  To enhance the flavor of honeydew, squeeze a wedge of lime on it. It’ll taste sweeter than ever!  Don’t ask me how, just be a believer.

 

Life Hacks_ The Kitchen: squeeze lime on honeydew to make it taste sweeter and more flavorful

 

Peeling 101

Ginger – After you’ve cut the arm-like knobs off a fresh piece of ginger (YE-OUCH!), use the tip of a spoon to peel it. The skin will come right off.

 

Life Hacks_ The Kitchen: easily peel ginger with the back of a spoon

 

Kiwi – To easily peel a kiwi, cut off the top and bottom, then work a spoon just under the skin all the way around, and it will pop out peeled. Slice it or dice it, and you’re in business.

 

Life Hacks_ The Kitchen: how to easily peel a kiwi with a spoon

 

Life Hacks_ The Kitchen: how to easily peel a kiwi with a spoon

 

Life Hacks_ The Kitchen: how to easily peel a kiwi with a spoon

 

Squash – If you love homemade squash soup, but feel as if you’re going to harpoon yourself cutting off the tough skin, then don’t. Either buy squash already peeled and cubed, or cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it until it’s tender enough to scoop out of the shell. 

 

Mango – I never peel mangos anymore. I simply cut off the two fleshy sections on either side of the pit, cut cross hatches in them, invert the skins, and slice off the mango into ready-made cubes.  If you want slices, only cut the flesh one way. If you want to do the same with the little not-so-fleshy remaining sides, be my guest.

 

Life Hacks - in the kitchen: how to easily peel an mango

 

Life Hacks - in the kitchen: how to easily peel an mango

 

Life Hacks - in the kitchen: how to easily peel an mango

 

As an aside, look what resulted from all of that fruit peeling: tropical fruit salad – YUM!

 

Life Hacks - the kitchen: Tropical fruit salad

 

Got a jar that won’t open? Never fear. To get more traction, place a thick rubber band around the edge of the lid, and you should be able to unscrew it without a hitch.

 

Hey, why is that in the fridge? If your fridge is anything like mine and is stuffed to the gills with, you know, stuff, then you might benefit from this tip. There are many foods that we might think need refrigeration, but don’t. Some actually suffer from the cold temps. Here are things you might be cramming into your fridge but belong on the counter or in a cabinet: 

Peanut butter

Potatoes

Onions

Garlic

Apples

Melon

Grapefruit

Tomatoes

Basil (stick it in a glass with water, like flowers)

Bananas

Avocados

Oh, and honey 

 

Remove corn from the cob without also removing your finger.  And for our final nifty kitchen hack, here’s a sweet way to remove corn from the cob.  If you’ve ever done this before, you know that it can be a daring balancing act involving a sharp knife, a cob and your digits. Skip the drama, and do it the easy and safe way. Stick it in the middle tube-thingy of either a bundt or angel food pan. The tube-thingy holds the cob still, and the corn falls into the pan instead of on your counter and floor.  Sweet!

 

Life Hacks - in the kitchen: how to easily cut corn from a cob

 

Life Hacks - in the kitchen: how to easily cut corn from a cob

 

Are you using any of these time-saving hacks?

What’s that? . . .  You already use ALL of them?

Well then, for crying out loud, why haven’t you told ME about them before?

Geez!

Written by Becky


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7 Comments
  • Catherine says:

    Good tips! I actually learned the pineapple-juice-for-apples trick many years ago from you at your house one evening. You were serving sliced apples as part of the appetizers and I marveled how they didn’t turn brown. I’ve used that combo many times since, including just a couple of days ago, and have thought of you each time. 🙂 Can’t wait to try the lime on the honeydew.

    • Becky says:

      Aw, I love that you think of me every time you dunk your apples, Catherine! But then again, I bet you hear that from everyone. Were you duly impressed with my PicMonkey experimental editing on the honeydew photo? Love that new tool!

  • Heather says:

    I didn’t know about a lot of these things. Thanks!

    • Becky says:

      Yeah, we weren’t really raised on hacks. We weren’t homeless or reckless or hapless, but we definitely were hack-less. But then again, there was that jerry-rigged toilet handle/foot lever thing Dad created that was a borderline genius hack.

      • delbert gerdes says:

        Lots of good tips or hacks. I love reading your posts Becky! One thing I got Donna for Christmas which we both love is a hand held blender by cuisinart (about $40) for making smoothies (from Best Buy). Easy to use and clean. It comes with a small plastic container for personal or maybe two person smoothies. One can hide all kinds of good things in a smoothie to confuse the grandkids or whomever. You just have to be a little dishonest, but the evidence is hidden pretty well. I saw a friend from the Phillipines do the mango trick. I am so strong that I don’t need the rubber band trick cause I am a man!! The hand held blender probably would not be as good for a crowd if they all want the same thing. I’m back playing tennis and looking forward to a trip to Florida to visit Disney World with Sarah, Donna, the Grandkids and then on to your aunti Doris for five days or so with Sarah. No overseas trips for awhile though! Hi to the family.

        • Becky says:

          Uncle Del! What a nice surprise to see you on here! I’m tickled you’re enjoying reading my nonsense.

          Also? You’ve gotta love the healthy stealthy fun you can have with a smoothie maker! Spinach, beets – throw them on in. As long as you add enough good tasting berries and the like, they’ll never know.

          And finally, I’m so impressed by your manly brute strength that you wouldn’t even consider reaching for a rubber band to open a jar . . . even at your somewhat advanced age. 😉


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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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