More Random Tips for the Kitchen

mmmm... Lard!!

Yet another recycled post while we're away galavanting around Europe. This one originally published in November 2010. More random tips for the kitchen: (1) Forget the salad spinner. It just takes up space in your cabinets.  Rinse the greens in a regular colander, then place them on a clean kitchen towel.  Take it outside and vigorously spin it around, or "whip it" up and down.   Centrifugal force will do its job and get all the water off.   If you have any guests outside, or your spouse standing guard in front of the BBQ, try to get them with the spray arc.  General hilarity and/or food fights will ensue. (2) A small 6" cast iron skillet is best for making a quick frittata.  In sequence:  set the oven to broil "lo", whip … [Read more...]

Random Tips: Pullups and Pushups, Zip Ties and Knives for Christmas

Once in a while my idea notebook overflows with little mini-topics.  Here's a few tips and ideas. On Cable Ties... How empty and resource-less was life before these little wonders of the fastening world? Big ones, medium ones, little bitty ones, in all kinds of shapes and colors. I have three zip ties on my black luggage (in red, white and green, Viva L'Italia!) instead of one of those sissy ribbons.  I use a little ones as a key ring.  I keep a handful in the outside pocket of my suitcase. I use one to tie the zipper handles together, for a modicum of security.  I also keep a small pocket knife there to cut it off once I get to my hotel room.  Nail clippers will also work, but half them time I forget them, the other half they're … [Read more...]

Random Notes: Camping and Focaccia

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Time has come to clean up the blogging notebook. All those snippets and cliplets of ideas and topics that will never morph into a full-fledged article or post, but might be of interest in any case. Camping Camping season is well under way, and chances are good many readers will be venturing out into the great outdoors to hunker down in a tent, make smores and sing campfire songs. But first, you gotta have a fire, and some of the best firestarter materials  are dryer lint and tortilla chips.  We keep a couple of baggies of fuzzy lint collected from the dryer mixed in with semi-crumbled potato or tortilla chips, and even with flint and steel, it’s an eezy-peezy way to get a fire going (we cheat and use Strike-Anywhere … [Read more...]

Random Tips and Notes

Gnats fly up to the lights, die, and fall into the seed beds. The circle of life.

Time to clean out the blog idea notebook.  Lots of little snippets and thought clouds. In the Garden The germinating station is going great guns. As you can see from the picture, I’ve got three flats of seedlings going, tomatoes, ground cherries, peppers, basil and swiss chard. I gave to temptation and set a few tomato plants out just to see how they’d do, and promptly got them whacked by a couple of hard freezes.  Curses! Good Eats: Baked Oatmeal Sound good? It is, it’s screaming good.  3 cups regular oatmeal, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and cinnamon, 1 cup of whole milk, half a cup of applesauce (or veg oil for a richer taste), and two eggs, beaten.   Mix it all together in a bowl, put into an 8 … [Read more...]

Random Thoughts on Money

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was thinking a lot about money today, the nature of it, the regulation, the issue of it.  How Wall Street manipulates it, and how none of those scuzzy banksters went to jail following the collapse of 2008.  How I need to get and read Niall Ferguson's "the Ascent of Money", so I can sound real spiffy smart when I talk about money.  None of the following is about any of that. Making Extra Money I’ve seen several articles about extra ways of making money with side gigs. The latest list I saw was on Frugal Dad (“10 Side Hustles to Keep the Wolf from the Door”), with one WTF? item that caught my attention: lawn painter. Yes, there are folks out there that make beer and golf money by going around painting brown lawns green for … [Read more...]

Career Tip #2 – Be Polite

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Continuing on with advice to young folks just starting out in their careers. Manners. Be polite, say thank you and please.  Seems almost too basic to point out, doesn’t it?   It’s not an original concept, but seeing the bloom if ill-mannered louts that manage to elbow their way into the workforce, it bears repeating. Manners in general get short shrift these days.  Not specifically with regards to situational business etiquette, like gift giving and when to bow to Asians, which really could be a topic all by itself, but the very basic, everyday interaction with your fellow workers, and specifically those who are or are perceived to be beneath your rank. Would you like to that this said about you? "Why, she's such a refined … [Read more...]

Plastic Bags and Winter Driving

cold car

A recent post and the comments on Len Penzo's site ("Come On, People. Quit Maligning the Plastic Grocery Bag!") got me thinkin a little about winter driving, and the useful items that I keep in both cars in the event things go sideways (sometimes literally). The lowly plastic bag from your grocery store is almost perfect ice-screen for side mirrors. I keep a couple in a backpack in the back of the truck, wadded up with two or three large rubber bands. In the morning, if the weather forecast calls for freezing temperatures and precipitation, either light snow or rain, I know that when I come back in the afternoon ice-scraping will be what everyone will be dealing with .  I wrap the two bags around the side mirrors with the rubber bands, … [Read more...]

Seven Random Tips for the Kitchen

Image via Wikipedia More random tips for the kitchen: (1) Forget the salad spinner. It just takes up space in your cabinets.  Rinse the greens in a regular colander, then place them on a clean kitchen towel.  Take it outside and vigorously spin it around, or "whip it" up and down.   Centrifugal force will do its job and get all the water off.   If you have any guests outside, or your spouse standing guard in front of the BBQ, try to get them with the spray arc.  General hilarity and/or food fights will ensue. (2) A small 6" cast iron skillet is best for making a quick frittata.  In sequence:  set the oven to broil "lo", whip up 4 eggs with a little water (not milk), heat up the skillet, drop in some butter, drop in the … [Read more...]

How To Save over $4,000/year – Tips That May Not Be for Everyone

One more post on how to save money. Go Rural Have you had it up to here with paying exorbitant property taxes on that suburban house?   Move out to the country.  Chances are that place of a few acres out in the sticks has a tax bill that's a fraction of the dough you shell out in town for that generic 2-1/2 car garage 1/2 brick.  Your kids will enjoy a bucolic small town school while you get to commute hours back and forth from a real farm to a cubicle farm. Less money:  save at least $2,500/year net-net in property taxes for moving from a 2,500 sf house to a 1,200 sf house on 5 acres 60 miles out of town. Less storage:  bring your junk, your boat, and your motor home out of storage, and park them in your acre-sized … [Read more...]

Random House and Garden Tips

Here's a few good things to remember: (1)  Bad idea to put eggshells down the food disposal, according to our $102-per-visit plumber.  The crushed-up shells are "sticky" enough to gum up the works and require a visit from Plumber Joe. (2) Got an old piece of furniture and needs rejuvenating?  Try a 50/50 mix of liquid WD-40 and Minwax, in an old spray bottle.  Spray it on, wipe it off with a soft old rag, and you'll be amazed at the results. (3)  Use cardboard instead of landscape cloth in your flower or vegetable beds.  Large sheets of cardboard are usually free for the asking at big stores like Lowe's or Home Depot.  A double layer of cardboard under a 2-3" layer of mulch will keep weeds down, and will eventually decompose, … [Read more...]