Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 More Uses for Mineral Oil Around Your Home

As we start building our kitchen one item at a time and crawling our way along the Raw Foods pyramid at a snail’s pace, so far we only have three items in our dream home…

  • A saute pan
  • A spatula
  • A cutting board

And in the last post we saw that we should also buy some mineral oil to keep our boards in good shae,…

But sorry, as a minimalist on a budget, I am so not gonna buy mineral oil just to kee my cutting board in working condition…

There has to be way more reasons to fork over money on mineral oil, regardless of how chea it may be, than to rub on cutting boards.

So I did some research to find what else I can use mineral oil for, and was surrised to find just how useful mineral oil can be…both around the home and around to take better care of myself and my family.

First let’s take a look at how mineral oil can be used around the home, other than taking care of your cutting boards…

1.Adhesives…Mineral oil is the one thing that can be used to remove stickers, bumper stickers, adhesive tape, price tags…as well as any residue that may be left behind.

2. Essential Oil Diffuser…Mineral oil can be used as a carrier oil when using essential oils in your diffuser.

3. Knives…Before you leave your kitchen and move to other rooms in your house with your brand new bottle of mineral oil, take the time to use the mineral oil to clean and maintain your kitchen knives. This will create a barrier against any moisture in your home’s atmosphere and also help keep knives rust-free.

. Laundry…Mineral oil can be used as a pre-wash treatment for stained clothes. 

5. Leather…Mineral oil can be used to clean your leather surfaces, such as leather shoes. Before doing this, first rub a small amount of the oil onto a small area of the item to make sure that the oil doesn’t affect the color of your leather. Once you’re sure that the mineral oil will not damage the surface, rub the leather surface with the oil and wait for about thirty minutes before buffing the leather with a clean, soft cloth.

6. Linoleum…Mineral oil not only is great for wood and metal surfaces, but also for refreshing the color of your faded linoleum kitchen counters. Just let it be known that even though mineral oil does refresh the color of faded linoleum for about three weeks before fading, and that constant application of mineral oil to linoleum will make it break down…so only do this for special occasions such as holiday parties when you really need your kitchen to look extra-gorgeous.

7. Metal…In addition to wood surfaces around your home, mineral oil is also great for metal surfaces, such as your stainless steel kitchen appliances and preventing rust on metal furniture, such as your outdoor table and chairs.

8. Noises…Mineral oil can help reduce the noise around your house—such as noises from squeaking doors and creaky floors.

9. Stainless Steel…Mineral oil is great for shining your stainless-steel sinks, appliances and countertops. Pour a few drops of the oil onto a clean, soft cloth…and then wipe the surface until you have a smudge-free shine.

10. Wood…It kinda goes without saying that if mineral oil is good for your cutting boards, it’s good for other wood stuff around your house also—such as wooden handles of kitchen cooking utensils, salad bowls, and wood furniture.

In fact, mineral oil can be used instead of your normal store-bought furniture polish to help preserve and protect wooden furniture.

To make your own furniture polish, combine 2C mineral oil and the juice from a lemon.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Seasoning and Maintaining Your New Wood Cutting Board

Before using a new wood cutting board, you should take the time to properly season your cutting board.

In fact, you should oil your boards about once a month in order to keep wood cutting boards in good condition.

 

 

Seasoning your wood cutting board regularly will help prevent staining, warping, and cracking.

 

When choosing an oil to season your board, you want to look for an oil that is inexpensive, easily available, and food-grade.

Mineral oil is the oil most commonly recommended oil for seasoning your wood cutting boards…more on this later…

 

Seasoning Your Wood Cutting Board

Heat the oil slightly.

Rub the oil into the board, rubbing in the “direction of the grain.”…yeah, I hate it when I’m told that also and usually have to ask someone to show me what that means…don’t feel like you’re all alone in this…jk…

Allow the oil to soak in for about thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, then decide if you need to rub even more oil onto the board.

In fact, the very first time you season your board, you need to do this about four to six times.

 

Other Ways to Maintain the Integrity of Your New Wood Cutting Board

In addition to this, you can use a cutting board refinisher, such as this tool from  Ace Mart from time to time. This will remove the top level of wood, along with its nicks and scratches, leaving you with a smooth surface again.

As far as taking care of your wood cutting boards on a routine basis, scrub the board with hot soapy water immediately after each use.  

 

 

Two more things to remember as far as taking care of wood cutting boards…

Never run your wood cutting boards through the dishwasher

Never let soak in water.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Advantages of Wood Cutting Boards

You may wonder if it is better to buy a wood cutting boards or a board made from another material.

There are several arguments in favor of using wooden cutting boards, including that they…

  • absorb less water and bacteria
  • are less porous than other materials
  • are more attractive and functional
  • fight bacteria
  • have special bacteria-fighting properties
  • keep your knives in good working condition
  • last a long time
  • self-heal

However, there are also several arguments against using wood cutting boards, including that they…

  • can be cumbersome to wash
  • cannot be washed in the dishwasher
  • harbor bacteria
  • need to be oiled regularly

Types of wood…Wood cutting boards can be made from several different woods—such as acacia, oak, beech, chestnut, cherry and black walnut. maple, and teak. Teak is a great option because it absorbs very little liquid and so it will take longer for the board to wear out.

Grains of wood…There are two choitces as far as wood grain—end-grain and edge-grain.

End grain means that the board consists of many small pieces of wood assembled in a checkerboard pattern. Advantages of end-grain cutting boards include…

  • able to use more force when cutting without damaging your board
  • allowing the knife to slide between the vertical wood fibers
  • absorb the sharp edges of your knife without dulling them
  • being a bit easier on knives
  • being more durable
  • less likely for pieces of the board to break off into splinters
  • less risk of warping
  • typically thicker than edge grain

The only major disadvantage to end grain boards is the fact that the boards are usually much more expensive than other type of cutting board.

Edge grain means that strips of wood are laid side-by-side, in a similar fashion as bowling alley flooring and most butcher block countertops.

Advantages of edge-grain cutting boards include…

  • sturdier
  • last longer
  • less risk of warping
  • thicker

As far as disadvantages, edge grain boards show scratch and knife marks more easily and over time these can become permanent. Also, these boards can dull knives faster than end-grain cutting boards.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

On the Chopping Block

The first step in sauteeing your food is to cut whatever you’re going to saute into uniform, bite-size pieces…

And unless you totally want to ruin both your countertops and your knives, it is very important to invest in a decent cutting board.

As you are shopping for your new cutting board, it is important to consider several things—such as size, maintenance, material, and cost.

Size…As far as size, I have found that it is smart to have at least two different sized cutting boards—a small one for cutting up fruit and small vegetables—such as strawberries, lemons, and limes…and a larger one for everything else.

As far as the larger cutting board, a general rule of thumb is to buy a board that measures 15″x20″. 

You should be able to lay your knife diagonally on your cutting board and have at least 1″-2″ on either side of the knife.

Buying such a large board is great for several reasons, including…

  • allowing you to better control the board as well as the knife
  • being more comfortable in general
  • giving you plenty of room to work safely and effectively
  • making cutting both easier and safer
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sources for Cooking Utensils

Quality cooking utensils are key to quality cooking results, regardless of the cooking method that you are using.

And so here I’ve highlighted a few of the sources of quality cooking utensils that you can refer to as we finish discussing the various cooking methods…

I also used this as a chance to find which one spatula to buy to go next to my brand new saute pan.

 

1. di Oro Seamless Spatula

  • Material…BPA free, US FDA and German LGFB certified silicone with 18/10 stainless steel reinforced core
  • Size: 11.2″ x 2.5″ with 3.25″ blade
  • Cost…$11
  • Awards…Chosen America’s Test Kitchen  & Cook’s Illustrated “2017 Best All-around Silicone Spatula
  • Colors…Black, Red
  • Easy to Clean…Dishwasher Safe
  • Temperature Resistance…to 600ºF
  • Warranty…Forever Guarantee…Every spatula or utensil bought from them is guaranteed. forever.
  • Weight: 3.2 oz

  • Material…BPA Free and FDA Approved Silicone
  • Colors…red, orange, purple, and blue
  • Design…one-piece design
  • Heat Resistant…to 450°F
  • Easy-to-clean…dishwasher safe…stain and odor resistant
  • Durability…will not discolor, warp, melt or chip.

3. OXO Silicone Sauté Paddle

Silicone Saute Paddle 3647
  • Cost…$9.99
  • Colors…available in black or red
  • Easy to Clean…dishwasher safe

Vremi

West

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Choose the Right Spatulas to Saute Food

Now that we’ve learned how to choose the right saute pan, let’s move on to the next tool that you will need in order to saute food—the spatula.

Using a good spatula as you saute food in your new an is important because you don’t wants to scratch your pan or shorten its lifespan.

Don’t settle for using the metal spatula that you’ve been using for the last thirty years or a metal spoon to stir your food. This will definitely damage the surface.

Not only does having a good spatula keep your new pan looking like new, it also makes it easier to turn your meat, as well as softer foods—such as egg, pancakes, or tender fish—smoothly without disrupting their shape.

Although it’s always a good idea to have several different types and sizes of spatulas on hand to handle various cooking jobs, right now we’re only talking about one method—sauteeing…so we’re only going to choose the right ones for this job.

There are several factors to consider as you shop for your new spatula. These include…

  • Design
  • Durability
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Heat resistance
  • Long lasting
  • Materials used
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Style

Design...

One-piece design…Choose one that is only one unit, that does not have both a handle and body because these always tend to…

  • be difficult to clean
  • breed bacteria
  • detach from one another
  • get food stuck at the joint
  • Slotted…f the food you are cooking typically has a lot of grease, using a slotted spatula will allow the grease to pour off before you put it on the plate or serving platter

Handle…Three factors to look for as far as the handle are…

  • Flexible…they should be flexible enough to help you scrape out your pans
  • Heat-Resistant…will not turn hot when exposed to hot materials
  • Sturdy…they should be sturdy enough to handle meat

Hanging loop…Look for a hole at the end of the spatula that will allow you to hang it as you finish organizing your kitchen, should you choose not to stash it in a drawer or cram it into some sort of jar with every other utensil in your kitchen.

Materials…As far as materials, there are at least three different choices, including…

Plastic...Don’t even bother getting one of these to saute your food. They tend to curl at the ends and melt easily when used on heated pans and cookware, are very flimsy, and cannot handle much if any weight.

Silicone

  • Durability…extremely durable…will not melt or become misshapen…made to last decades…will look the same year after year unless they are purposely destroyed…won’t flake, peel, break, crack or even fade
  • Easy to Clean…can be washed in the dishwashee
  • Health Factor…bacteria resistant
  • Heat Resistant…able to withstand high heat…handles are cool to the touch so there is no fear of the user getting burned, even if it is left on the stovetop or somewhere else that is hot
  • Use…great for using on any kind of cookware, designed to handle high heat such as when stirring hot sauces on the stove

Wood

  • Easy to Clean…not dishwasher safe …also require conditioning from time to time so that they will not wear out.
  • Heat Resistance…poor conductora of heat…so you can comfortably hold it without getting burned
  • Use…great for scraping the browned bits of food off the bottom of the pan…can also be good for stirring….not very efficient for scraping since they do not have any flexibility

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Flat Bottomed Girls

Let’s start our look at the different cooking methods by first looking at sautéing, the method used to brown or sear food, especially vegetables such as bok choy.

Sautéing, unlike other cooking methods, involves quickly cooking food—such as onions and  green peppers—at relatively high temperatures in only a small amount of fat. This allows you to quickly brown the food without burning the food or steaming it.

The term sauté comes from the French term “sauter” which means “to jump.

First let’s see what utensils and tools you need for sautéing….starting with an…

8-10″ Stainless steel frying pan with a lid

It is better to invest in a few really good pans made from high quality materials if you would like to “kick it u a notch,” as Emeril says. Better cooking tools will help you get better results.

Choosing a high quality pan is one of the most important choices that you will make as far as buying cookware because you will be using this pan probably more often than any other pan in your kitchen.

The characteristics that you should be looking at whenever you are looking for the perfect saute pan include…

  • Cost and Value
  • Manufacturer Reputation
  • Materials
  • Size
  • Style

Here is a guideline to use whenever you are looking for the perfect sauté pan.

Size…As far as size, there are many different sizes available, but I find that I use my 12″ pan most frequently.

Bottom…The bottom should be thick and wide and flat…thick so that heat will be transmitted evenly without developing hot spots, wide so that food is not overcrowded, and flat so that the heat will be evenly distributed.

Sides…The sides of a sauté pan should be straight and low…straight so that liquids do not spil over the sides, low so that air circulates more freely around the pan and helps prevent food from getting soggy.

Handle…The handle of a saute an should be long enough to make it easy to shake the food back and forth while you are browning it.

You also need the handle to be sturdy and durable,…securely attached to the an securely by rivetes or long, sturdy screws. 

You need to be confident that the handle won’t fall off when working with it.

Look for handles that are “cool touch.” This allows you to hold onto the handle without getting burned, even though you should still always use oven mitts when using any pots with metal handles.

Lid…Your lid should fit tight.

Materials…When buying a sauté an, erhas the most imortant factor to consider is the “vonducivirtyy” of the material that it is made from.

Conducivity refers to how responsive the an is to the heat…

Does it get hot quickly?

Does it cool off just as fast?

Does it easily transmit heat from the heat source to the food easily, evenly, and efficiently?

Copper…The best choice as far as conductivity is copper, but copper can be super expensive and they’re a pain to keep shiny.

Anodized Aluminum…A much better choice, at least for most of us, would be anodized aluminum.  

These are great because they are easy to clean, have good heat transmission, and do not react negatively with certain foods—not to mention the fact that they cost a heck of lot less than copper.

Two other materials to consider are cast iron and stainless steel.

Usability…Always look for cookware that can be used on the stove, in the oven, in the freezer and can be washed in the dishwasher.

Because I am slowly adding or clearing out my collection of pots and other cookware based on cooking method, at this point the only thing that I need at this stage of building my “dream kitchen” is a 5-quart saute pan.

  • —————————————————————————————[
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Back to Bok

Okay, the last few articles have been an attempt to start writing about home organization, but lately I have been thinking more about this and have decided that the one thing I want to accomplish as I write is to teach, if only to myself, better cooking methods and the raw foods….especially now that my beloved souse has been diagnosed with diabetes this year.

So I am now back to bok…bok choy.

 

I thought that this would also be a great time to start talking about the various cooking methods and how to make each of these methods more healthy before moving higher on the Raw Foods ladder.

 

There are basically three categories of cooking methods. These are..,

  1. Dry-Heat Cooking Method
  2. Moist-Heat Cooking Methods
  3. Combination Cooking Methoda

 

 

Dry heat cooking methods involve applying either direct or indirect heat to the food, and include…

Baking and Roasting

  • Broiling
  • Deep-frying
  • Grilling
  • Pan-frying
  • Sautéing

Moist heat cooking methods involve submerging food directly into a hot liquid or exposing it to steam, and include…

  • Boiling
  • Poaching
  • Simmering
  • Steaming

Combination cooking methods involve using a combination of both dry-heat and moist-heat cooking techniques, and include…

  • Braising
  • Stewing

 

In this next series, I would like to go into detail about each of the cooking methods and the tools needed or that are useful for each method.

Then having this list in hand of the different tools needed for each method, I am going to share my efforts on organizing my own kitchen.

Join me for the journey…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

And to All a Good Night

January 1

  • *A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3
    Across the Universe
    Babel
    Black Hawk Down
    City of God
    *COMEDIANS of the world
    Definitely, Maybe
    Godzilla
    Happy Feet
    Hell or High Water
    I Know What You Did Last Summer
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    It Takes Two
    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
    Jersey Boys
    Mona Lisa Smile
    Mr. Bean’s Holiday
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    *Pinky Malinky
    Pulp Fiction
    Swingers
    Tears of the Sun
    The Addams Family
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
    The Dark Knight
    The Departed
    The Mummy
    The Mummy Returns
    The Strangers
    *Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
    Watchmen
    XXX: State of the Union

January 2 …Monty Python and the Holy Grail

January 4

  • …*And Breathe Normally
    *Call My Agent!, Season 3
    *El Potro: Unstoppable
    *Lionheart

January 9

  • *GODZILLA The Planet Eater
    Solo: A Star Wars Story

January 10 …*When Heroes Fly

January 11

  • *Friends From College, Season 2
    *ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium
    *Sex Education
    *Solo
    *The Last Laugh

January 15

  • *Revenger
    *Sebastain Maniscalo: Stay Hungry

January 16 …American Gangster

January 17 …American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

January 18

  • *Carmen Sandiego
    *Close
    *FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
    *GIRL
    *Grace and Frankie, Season 5
    *IO
    *Soni
    *The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, Season 2 Part B
    *Trigger Warning with Killer Mike
    *Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, Season 5

January 21 …Justic

January 24

  • *Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
    Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

January 25

  • *Animas
    *Black Earth Rising
    *Club de Cuervos, Season 4
    *Kingdom
    *Medici: The Magnificent
    *Polar
    *Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4 Part 2

January 27 …Z Nation, Season 5
January 29 ..*Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All

January 30 …The Incredibles 2

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Drop Your Drawers

Although you keep your kitchen drawers closed until you need something out of there…and although no guest in their right mind would ever rummage through them, it is still worth the time and effort to organize your drawers.

Taking the time to organize your kitchen drawers will allow you to…

  • maximize your space
  • no longer have kitchen drawers that are so messy and crammed that you have to take everything out of the drawer in order to find anything
  • simplify your cooking routine.
  • squeeze the most out of the space you do have available.

First Things First

Empty your drawers.

Throw away or give away anything that you don’t actually use or that you have too many of or that is broken or with missing parts or

Move things that could be stored in a more convenient spot.

Take the time to wash every utensil, at least ;in the dishwasher.

Group like items together…more on this later…

Take the time to scrub down your drawers with a clean rag and antibacterial cleaning spray.

Use a drawer liner. This will brighten the drawers and inspire you to keep things neat and organized.

This is also a good time to make sure that the drawers have quality sliding hardware and secure handles.

Zoning

But before you do this, take the time to decide what zones you want to use.

  • Here are some suggestions…
  • Baking Drawer
  • Cooking Utensil Drawer
  • Dish Drawer
  • Grilling Drawer
  • Junk Drawer
  • Linen Drawer
  • Meat Drawer
  • Silverware Drawer
  • Utensil Drawer

Decide where you would like to store each zone.

Now start grouping similar items according to these different zones..

Let’s take a closer look at what should or cculd be set into whivh zone…

Baking

  • beaters
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons,
  • rolling pins
  • rubber spatulas
  • silicone spatulas
  • whisks
  • wooden spoons

Cooking Utensils…any utensils that do not belong in any of the other categories

Grilling…grilling tools such as grilling tongs, a basting brush, and a meat thermometer

Junk

This is the drawer for all your “extra” items.

Some of the items that you might want to have in this drawer include…

  • bandages
  • batteries
  • cords and chargers 
  • flashlights
  • paper clips
  • rubberbands
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • tape
  • twine or string
  • twist ties

Place smaller items in small plastic containers with lids I have found maraschino cherries jars to be awesome. Stick only one thing into each jar.

Taking the time to label each jar, telling what’s inside the jar, is very useful.

Other things that you could use to organize your drawers include cardboard boxes, store-bought drawer dividers, or empty Tupperware containers.

it is a good idea to go back through these drawers about four times a year so that they don’t become “junk drawers,” but “miscellaneous storage drawers” instead.

Linen Drawer…Designate a drawer for kitchen linens, such as…

  • kitchen towels
  • napkins
  • oven mitts
  • placemats
  • table runners
  • tablecloths

Meat Drawer…Things that you ight want to store in this drawer include…

  • basting tool
  • meat thermometer
  • seasoning brush
  • tenderizer

Silverware Drawer

Using Drawer Dividers

As far as dividers, be sure to measure the height, width, and length of yout drawers before you waste money buying dividers that will not fit into the drawer.

Using clear acrylic dividers allows you to see the drawer liner that you just installed and makes it easier to see things.

Another great idea is using expandable or pegboard drawer dividers that will allow you to adjust the size of the divider to fit the dimensions of your drawer.