Now that you’ve gotten rid of whatever it might have been making your kitchen smell terrible and taken the time to clean out the fridge and shelves from rotten food, it’s time for a more fun thing to do…enhance the odors around your home.
Here are a few ideas…
Air Freshener…Use plug-in air fresheners, stand alone air fresheners, or spray air freshenera.
Air Vents…Clip a car deodorizer to the metal slats of your air vent. As the air blows through the vent, the scent will waft throughout the room
Baking…The aroma of warm baked goods—such as cinnamon rolls or banana bread—will fill the house with a pleasant scent quickly.
Baking Soda…Leaving a box of baking soda open in your fridge actually does absorb any smells in your fridge.
Candles…Candles are almost a given in any room, right?
Charcoal....Putting a piece or two of charcoal in a bowl in your fridge will absorb smells, just as baking soda does.
Citrus…Collect any orange, lemon or lime peels. Bake them at 350 degrees for a few minutes. When you open the oven door. they will make your kitchen smell wonderful.
Cleaning…Use great smelling products, such as Dr Bronner’s,
Diffusers…Diffusers, both electric diffusers and reed diffusers, can be used along with your favorite essential oils to create a more pleasant smell.
Dryer Sheets..Tape a new dryer sheet to the back of your buffet or china cabinet. Also could stash one where you store your kitchen towels and stuff.
Floors…Soak a cotton ball with something that you really like the smell of…such as your favorite perfume or essential oil. Then drop it into the vacuum cleaner bag. As you do your regular chores, the vacuum will gently release the scent into the room.
Houseplants…Houseplants—such as geraniums, Arabian jasmine, eucalyptus, gardenias, corsage orchids, and Cuban oregano—are not only attractive but also clean the air.
Lights..Before turning your lights on, place a couple drops of vanilla extract on your light bulbs.This will gently spread the scent once you do flip the lights on and make your home smell like fresh-baked cookies.
Sachet…Use scented sachets—little fabric sacks filled with cinnamon sticks, dried lavender, dried herbs, potpourri, or scented rice—to give your drawers a more pleasant, yet natural, aroma.
Simmer…Another easy way to freshen the air would be a “simmer pot.”
To do this, fill a small pan with a cup or two of water. Next add what you are going to simmer. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Then let simmer for a few hours on your back stove eye, adding more water as needed. As the water heats, the scent will be permeated throughout your kitchen and house.
Some good ideas as to what to simmer include…
Tea…Make a pot of homemade chai tea by first boiling 3C water with 20 cardamom pods, 15 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 1Tbsp ginger. Simmer 5 min. Add 3 tea bags. Brew and then strain. Finally add milk and sugar as needed.
Vinegar… Set a small bowl of vinegar on your counter whenever you are cooking something with a definite odor, such as fish…honestly think that I’d rather smell the fish than the vinegar though right?
Wreaths….Buy or make your own kitchen wreath using fresh herbs…such as this wreath Creek Side Farms.
If I just forked over this much money for a quality knife to slice and dice veggies, I am gonna want to take the very best care of it that I can.
So how do we do that?
Here are a few tips…
After each use wash your knife in warm, soapy water and dry it well.
Never put it in the dishwater. This can dull and damage the blades.
Never soak your knife in water.
Store your knife in a certain place, not in a drawer crammed with everything else that manages to find its way into your kitchen….but more on this later…
Use a traditional knife sharpening steel to sharpen your knives. Otherwise, bring them to a knife store that will sharpen them for you. Remember that sharp knives are not only easier to use, but also safer.
So in my quest for the best knife to buy as far as veggies, which ones did I find worth considering…
Cutco Vegetable Knife #1735
Dalstrong Phantom Series 6” Nakiri Vegetable Knife
Global Cutlery USA SAI 6″ Vegetable Knife
Shun Classic 7-in. Vegetable Cleaver
The very first thing that you will need to do when sauteeing food is to chop whatever ingredients you are going to use into manageable, bite-size pieces. This will make them faster and easier only to cook, but will also make sure that the ingredients cook more evenly.
Not only do you want your ingredients to be manageable and bite-size, but you also want to cut the different ingredients similar sizes so that they will cook evenly, instead of some ingredients being overcooked and other ingredients being undercooked.
Before we move to the next thing that you will need to saute your foods—which would be drying off your food and heating your skillet to actually start cooking—let’s take a look at different cutting terms and choose which knife we are going to use.
But first, let’s find a decent knife…
There are many knife manufacturers that market knives designed just for cutting vegetables.
These knives are specifically made to slice vegetables…
These vegetable knives are usually found only in Japanese kitchen knife sets—such as those knife sets made by Shun, Global, and Zhen.
Although these knives are a good choice, they are not always the best choice. For instance, larger vegetables such as potatoes will require a paring knife in order to shape and peel them.
But is buying a vegetable knife really necessary?
I don’t think so…
So let’s take a look at all of the other kitchen knife choices that could be used instead as you slice and dice your veggies, or whatever you may be cooking, that do not require forking over money that could be used to buy better quality ingredients instead.
—Boning Knife…Boning knives have a very thin blade and are used mainly for removing meat from the bone because the thin blade allows you to remove as much meat from the bone as you can.
—Chef’s Knife…Chef’s knives are designed with a blade that makes it easy to learn how to do the fancy “rocking” motion that most of us only can wish for when watching such shows as Iron Chef…more on this later…
They also help when you’re cutting vegetables over a long period of time because they have some weight behind them.
—Chinese Chef’s Knife…The Chinese chef’s knife is a lightweight, all-purpose knife that looks like a meat cleaver.
—Paring Knife…Because this knife is so small, it is great for cutting vegetables and fruits, but if you’re going to be cutting a lot of vegetables and it will take you a lot of time, this knife will make your hand more fatigued more quickly. Save this knife for those times when you are just slicing a carrot or peeling a few potatoes.
But regardless which knife you choose to dice and slice your veggies, there are some important things to consider, including…
Blade…The perfect blade should be strong and sturdy enough to cut meats and bones. If you will be slicing meat, you also need your blade to be thick. The blade of the knife should meet surgical grade or 18/10 grade.
Handle…The handle is an important part of the knife, just as important as the blade. The handle should not be slippery. For this reason, it is usually better to buy knives with wood handles. You also want the handle to be substantial, but not so heavy that you can hardly lift it. The handle must fit well and balanced in your hand.
Material…Always choose high-carbon steel or high-carbon stainless steel knives.
Tip…There are a few advantages of choosing knives with pointed or rounded blades, such as serving meat with bones directly onto a guest’s plate.
Weight…Technically there is no “correct” weight when it comes to knives, This is a matter of personal preference. But you do want to make sure that the knives you choose allow you to maintain control over the whole knife.
If you don’t want to fork over the money for a good wood cutting board, or you like other surfaces instead of wood, there are many choices available.
The main second choice would be plastic.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of these boards.
Ultimately, the choice between these two surfaces is your own…but there are a few things to remember when choosing a new plastic cutting boards, such as…
Cleaning…Sanitize your board every so often, even if you do run it through the dishwasher, using a solution of 5% white vinegar with 4 parts water.
Other Surfaces—Besides these two materials, cutting boards can also be made from other things—such as bamboo, marble, granite, ceramic and glass.
Be careful when choosing one of these, because they can quickly dull your knives.
Bamboo boards have many advantages. One of these is the fact that bamboo boards are one of the best choices for cutting fruits and vegetables. Other advantages include…
Glass cutting boards may be cute to decorate with in your kitchen, but as far as actually using glass cutting boards as you cook, don’t even bother. They’re terrible.
Why are they so “terrible?”
Becsuse they can dull the brand new knives that we are fixing to buy as the final tool to saute with in as little as ten strokes.
Other Materials—such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite
The same holds true to any other material out there that cutting boards may be made from-such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite—can do similar damage to your knives, and should be avoided.
The Bottom Line…So just stick to wood and plastic boards….such as the boards that we will be highlighting in the next article…
In addition to the various uses for mineral oil around the home that we just got through talking about, there are several uses for mineral oil for your own use also.
So a bottle of mineral oil is well worth the investment.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses for yourself..
1.Arthritis...Mineral oil can decrease the stiffness and reduce the pain of arthritis.
2. Babies…Mineral oil can be used to treat cradle cap, diaper rash, and many other types of skin irritation. In fact, baby oil as marketed to new mothers is mineral oil with added fragrance…and costs much less,
3. Constipation...Mineral oil can be used as a laxative to treat constipation and hemorrhoids. Mineral oil creates a film around the stools that makes passage of the stools through the colon much easier.
Cosmetics...Mineral oil is a common ingredients in many ointments and cold lotions, in addition to baby oil.
5. Ears…Mineral oil can also be used to treat earaches and to remove ear wax, Drop a few drops of warm mineral oil into your ears at night to melt any ear wax. Be sure to rinse your ear with warm water in the morning.
6. Eyes…Mineral oil can be used to remove any oil which has settled on your eyes and to help maintain the your eyelashes from busting and cracking.
7. Face…Mineral oil can be used for about ten minutes before using mineral oil makeup. The oil does not cause acne or blackheads, but works as a great moisturizer
8. Feet…Mineral oil can make your heels crack-free. Rub your feet with the oil and wear socks.
9. Hands,,, Mineral oil can be used to treat dry hands if you apply it throughout the day.
10. Paint…Mineral oil can be used to remove paint spots from your skin.
11. RadIation…Mineral oil can hhelp treat radiation skin burns,
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…
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.
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.
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
3. OXO Silicone Sauté Paddle