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

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

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.

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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

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.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Why Being Organized in the Kitchen Matters

As with any goal, you can spend way too much time…

  • analyzing every tool offered online
  • dreaming that the job was already done
  • talking to others
  • thinking about what would be the best way to get started
  • reading every article and book in sight about your goal
  • wishing that someone else could or would do It for you 

 

All with the same result…

Never getting anything done

 

 

So even though you don’t have the perfect plan written down yet and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing….

 

 

The same can be said about organizing your kitchen.

But organizing your kitchen will give you even more time to…

  • analyze every tool offered online
  • dream that the job was already done
  • talk to others
  • think about what would be the best way to get started
  • read every article and book in sight about your goal
  • wish that someone else could or would do It for you 

 

So why get off the couch when you’re comfortably watching HGTV or DIY Network, and get into your own kitchen trash-bag-in-hand instead?

 

Several reasons…

First of all, having an organized kitchen will save you valuable time as you are cleaning and cooking.

For one thing, you will be able to find something when you need it, without having to search for items that should be readily available.

 

Another reason for organizing your kitchen is to use all of your available work space because you are not having to work around clutter and chaos. 

Having a certain designated ‘home’ for all of your kitchen ingredients and tools will also make it easier to put things away when you’re cleaning up.

Making dinner every night will be quicker and easier…meaning that you will have more quality time each evening to be with your spouse and kids.

Not only that, you will also have more time to do those things that you reallxy want to do to unwind after a long day at work.

 

 

So as we start digging our way out of kitchen clutter and chaos, I thought this would be a great time to share the following list of questions that I use when setting goals, regardless what kind of goal I may be setting… 


1.  THE WHO…Talk to other people about your goals. This will make you feel both more excited and more committed.

  • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
  • Who can help me achieve it? Who else is or should be involved?
  • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
  • Who will support me? Who probably won’t support me? 

   
2.  THE WHAT…First of all, write down specific goals that you want to achieve. Keep your list of goals in front of you. Frame them if you want.

  • What is my biggest passion and dream in life? What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
  • What do I want to accomplish? What will success look like?
  • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
  • What is the biggest obstacle hindering me from achieving my goals? 
  • What skills, tools, and resources do I need to acquire or master?
  • What is my next step? 

 

3.  THE WHEN…Focus on immediate tasks…only your tasks for today and the week ahead of you…so that you do not get discouraged or overwhelmed. Now, perhaps the most important task—get organized. Break larger goals into smaller tasks. Set up a plan or schedule. Break down the year into months, and then create specific action steps for each week. 

  • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
  • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?
  • When will there be enough information to know if and when I should set new goals?
  • When will I start working toward this goal?

 

4.  THE WHERE

  • Where do I want to be this time next year?
  • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
  • Where will my goal be accomplished? 
  • Where have I written my “chosen frozen” goals down so that they can become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis?

 

5.  THE HOW…Choose appropriate milestones and benchmarks for your particular goal. Reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone or benchmark.

  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? 
  • How will I stay focused during the process? 
  • How will the business be different one year from now?
  • How will this goal be achieved?
  • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?
  • How should I best spend my time, instead wasting time on unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities?



6.  THE WHY… Schedule a weekly check in with yourself. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Remind yourself why you set these goals in the first place. 

  • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
  • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this? 
  • Why is achieving this goal so important to me? 
  • Why is reaching this goal important? 

 

 

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”— Maya Angelou

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

Everyone seems to be studying and talking about the “Kon Mari” method of organizijng your home…and “Tidying U” has become one of the most watched things on Netflix…

But why does this matter for those who are not obsessive-comulsive…

Actually there are several reasons to take the time, thought, and effort to organize your house, mainly the kitchen.

Let’s take a look at how arranging things and keeping them into order can be beneficial, mainly in the kitchen.

Ability to Actually Get Stuff Done…Taking the time and effort to organize your kitchen will help you complete whatever needs to be done while you are in your kitchen more effectively and efficiently.

Knowing where things are will save you from having to rummage through your drawers to a certain utensil or gazing blankly in your cabinets for that one ingredient lost in the sea of glass jars and bottles.

You will be able to get dinner on the table in so much less time, and this might even make cooking dinner less of a chore and more of something that you actually look forward to. 

Finances…The other day when I was making out my grocery list, I found twelve canisters of breadcrumbs and five bottles on Blue Cheese Salad Dressing. Sad but true..,

By taking the time to organize my kitchen, I should be able to money by knowing what ingredients I already have on hand and not buying duplicates of the same thing,

Home Design/Decorating…How many times have you thought as you cook how much bigger you wish your kitchen were, when all the time your current kitchen would be just the right size if it were only decluttered and well arranged. Taking the time to declutter and rearrange will give you more space as you cook.

The kitchen is the “hub of the home” and the one room that is used most often by friends and family…Organizing this “hub” will be a great first move to creating a more attractive and inviting home altogether.

Also if you take the time to clean and organize your kitchen, other family members will know where things should go and be able to put them where they belong.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Share the Challenge

As this new year begins, I have decided to get serious about getting our house in order

Recently I stumbled upon this challenge on organizing one section of your house each week.

This first week we were challenged to clear our counters and sinks.

Honestly this has never been that much of a trouble to keep organized…clean, no…organized, yes…

It drives me crazy to see a bunch of junk on my kitchen counters.

If there is only one area of my house that gets cleaned on a given day, it would definitely be my kitchen counters.

As far as the rest of my kitchen goes, it depends on how the rest of my day is going.

The first few weeks of this challenge revolve entirely around the kitchen…figuring out how best to organize our kitchens for…

  • Cooking (also including food preparation)
  • Eating
  • Family and friends hang out area
  • Family calendar and control central
  • Food storage (both cold storage and pantry)
  • Home office, bill paying center, and/or home mail organizer center
  • Home recycling center
  • Homework area
  • Recipe and cookbooks

My hope is to share my before and after pictures with you as I begin this challenge, and to find other like-minded people to hold me accountable throughout the year.

Join me on this journey…

Getting Dressed

Dressing Without Stressing……There’s An App for That 

  

  

I have also learned that there are many fashion apps and online shopping platforms that can help you keep track of what you own, teach me what to wear and what not to wear, and actually plan your outfits. these include…

1.  ClosetSpace…After adding the items that you already own to your profile and then tagging these items as to the brand, fabric, size, color, price paid, and where you purchased the item…

2.  Fab.com..The Fab shopping app, winner of the 2016 Webby Award for best mobile app in fashion and beauty, featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, New York Magazine, Huffington Post and more and allows you and the over 1 million people who already shoarly sp on Fab to…access a curated selection of vibrant and unexpected men’s, women’s, home, art and tech accessories from the world’s most exciting designers…browse products by designer, category, color, price, and more…discover 500+ emerging designers, artists and brands…discover the most unique accessories and decor to express your individuality…find design inspiration ideas…save on great deals…shop accents for your brilliant, modern life.  

3.   Hautelook is a member-only shopping website that offers flash-sales and limited-time sale events….and features top brands in women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, beauty, kids’ apparel and toys, and home décor. Items are typically discounted from 50% to 75 percent off retail prices with new sale events every morning at 10 AM CST.  

4.  The Hunt..The Hunt is a community of 4 million people who help each other find the fashion advice and inspiration that they are looking for. Members post a photo of anything they’re looking for and the community then helps each other find more affordable options. Members ask which trend to wear or which item to buy and the community give their two cents worth.

5.   Keep…Keep.com allows you to add the “Keep” button to your computer, similar to the “Pin It” button, and then “keep” any item that is for sale on the Internet into one great big wish list. Keep can also allows you to follow big name bloggers, magazines, and Instagram users to see what items they are “keeping.”

6.  Polyvore…Polyvore is a virtual mood board that allows you to collect images of home decoration, beauty, and fashion into collages…share these collages with friends, and browse other users’ sets for inspiration. 

7.   Stylebook...Stylebook allows you to add every article of clothing you own into your “virtual closet” and then plan out outfits in the calendar. 

8.  Stylicious...Using pictures of your taken earlier and from the shopping section of Stylicious, you can mix, match, play, and create your own lookbook. Stylicious also offers awesome looks and style tips created by stylists and alerts so that you can see when your favorite fashion brands go on sale. 

9.  Trendstop TrendTracker presents you with daily trends, fashion news, instant coverage from the catwalks during fashion weeks…and can be upgraded to access the latest seasonal trend forecasts, Pantone® colour palettes, street style trends, and retail analysis.   

10.  WEAR
… WEAR is the number one fashion app for finding new trends as they’re breaking and for discovering brands you’ll love. Follow top global fashion influencers, and shop your favorite looks in one place. Enter your outfits into style challenges with Refinery29, Vogue, T Magazine and Teen Vogue.