Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

The Best Laid (Quarentine) Plans

March 16, 2020

I have walked away from this space for a variety of reasons. I am not sure what the future will bring, but for today, it feels like the right medium for communication. If you stuck around and are actually reading this, thank you!

We are hunkered down here in NYC, with most places required to close for the next eight weeks or so. Gatherings with more than 50 people have been restricted, and although my gym remains open for now, I have frozen my membership to keep myself, my family and the amazing and dedicated staff there safe and healthy. All of my work commitments have been canceled and I don’t expect any new bookings until the summer if all goes well. That leaves me, as it leaves most of you: home, bored and anxious. I’m back on this platform, not for personal entertainment, but for a sense of community and accountability. How can I set some goals during this time, and help others do the same? Whether 14 of you see this, or 140,000, I am going to give myself some ground rules of quarantining, so that I emerge from this healthy, productive and sane. So let’s dust this old blog off and get going!

Indigo Jones Quarantine Plan:

Find a way to exercise without the gym or major equipment purchase

As the weather starts to get warmer, I hope to be able to run outside along the river, at a safe distance from others. Youtube has lots of exercise videos, as does many of the health and wellness sites. We own a few weights and some resistance bands, and there is no reason not to keep working on my fitness, other than complacency. I have been building back up my stamina and strength after a long period of injury and a busy work schedule, and have first-hand recent knowledge of how hard it is to get back on track. I have nothing standing in my way to prevent me from working out right now, and I am publicly committing to finding a way to do some form of exercise daily during the quarantine.

Eat healthfully and mindfully

I stocked the kitchen with healthy foods and avoided buying a bunch of junk foods to mindlessly eat out of boredom. Yes, there are snacks brought back from my daughter’s dorm room stash, and Halloween candy in the freezer. I am a baker with a fully-stocked larder filled with 50-pound bags of flour and sugar, and a deep freeze with balls of cookie dough at the ready. But that doesn’t mean that I need to spend my days baking and indulging for the sake of something to do. I also have a freezer stocked with chicken breasts, fish filets, shrimp and vegetables, as well as some soups and sauces made from an abundance of leftover vegetables from a previous job, and a few packages of tofu. I have the time to cook healthy meals with what we have, and plan to do so to keep us nourished and fulfilled.

Inbox Zero

Yesterday, I deleted thousands of unread emails in just one account and need to tackle the other one. Once they are clean, I am committing to deleting things every few hours to avoid the buildup. I hope this can become a habit, even during busy times.

Closet cleanse + Housekeeping

 

I despise cleaning out closets, and I seem to have trouble maintaining them for any period of time. If I can exit this period of isolation and lack of work with clean closets and organized storage areas, it will be a huge win.  Sidenote to the other inhabitants of this household: Please help me KEEP them clean by putting things back how you found them.

Practice kindness

Social media is filled with so much hate and animosity. I try not to get sucked in, but right now I feel like I am in the vortex of a tornado, pulling me into the fray. This is a terrible time for everyone worldwide. We don’t need to exacerbate things by treating each other disrespectfully. Can we come out of this crisis not as Democrats or Republicans, Socialists or Capitalists, but as Humanitarians?

Gear up!

No, I am not talking about buying a hazmat suit. I am looking for ways that I can utilize this time to propel my fledgling business along. Maybe it’s recipe testing, photographing things to update my website, and coming up with some marketing strategies to get back on track once this crisis passes. Marketing ideas and alternative pathway suggestions are welcomed!

What are your quarantine plans? Let’s share ideas and keep each other accountable, so we can emerge from this stronger, and healthier than ever before.

all photos: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Clean As You Go

January 12, 2016

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It is easy to make a big mess in the kitchen. Pots, pans, utensils, mixing bowls… they add up fast! Not to mention all of the ingredients spread out on the counters.  All that clutter can cause a bad case of kitchen chaos. Cooking, and especially baking is a methodical process. It becomes almost impossible to acheive perfection in a messy kitchen, and cleaning up becomes a chore that is unpleasant enough to drive you straight to Seamless. ( For non- New Yorkers, that means take-out!)

Here are my tips for dealing with the colossal mess that comes with cooking and baking for a crowd. Trust me on this one people. I just made 200 pink marshmallows. It doesn’t get much messier than that!

Start with a clean slate. Put away the clean dishes, wipe down the counters and empty the sink before you begin. Starting clean makes it easier to find things, and to have ample room for the task at hand.

Take out all of your ingredients. Rummaging through the cupboards with sticky hands is not the way to go. Suddenly, everything is sticky and will require you to wipe down things you wouldn’t normally have to. It also helps make sure that you have everything you need before you get started.

Wash the dishes as you go. When you are done with something, put it right into the sink to soak. Once you finish that part of the project, wash them or put them into the dishwasher. Don’t leave the mixing bowls from the cake in the sink, only to find you don’t have room to wash the lettuce for salad. It will also help you keep tabs on where things are. If you need to reuse a bowl or utensil for something else, it will be clean and ready for you.

Keep up with the wiping up! If something spills, wipe it up as soon as you can. Not only will it keep your workspace tidy, it will avoid cross contamination of foods. It is also easier to wipe up something fresh, than to try to clean it up later when it becomes dry and crusted onto things.  Been there. Done that. Not fun.

For me, cooking and baking should be a calm experience. When all hell breaks loose in the kitchen, it takes the joy out of the process. It almost always shows in the end result too. Do your self a favor, and clean as you go. Its worth it!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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The Kitchen is Cured!

October 9, 2013
Sparkling in the moonlight

Sparkling in the moonlight

It is 8pm Sunday night, and I have to say the kitchen is absolutely GLEAMING! Every surface, every cupboard, every appliance, has been scrubbed into submission. I even went to the store and purchased some food to put into my sparkling refrigerator and lemon oiled cupboards.

Look at that oven shine!

Look at that oven shine!

Gleaming!!

Gleaming!!

Everything in it's place

Everything in it’s place

It's not just a pretty ( and clean!) face

It’s not just a pretty ( and clean!) face

I don’t know what the Kitchn people have planned for next week, but I say “bring it!”

Note to family: Please do not even think about messing this up! There will be consequences…serious consequences…

Follow the #kitchncure here, or on their site.

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The Kitchen Cure: The Refrigerator

October 7, 2013

I love a good challenge, and if it involves cooking or fitness, I am all in.

When I saw that one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, was having a 2-week “kitchn cure” you know I was intrigued.

Each weekday for two weeks, the Kitchn folks email you with a project, and let me just say, these are not for the feint of heart, or those short on time. The goal is to get your kitchen into the best shape it can possibly be in, to entice you to use it more.

I don’t need much help to inspire me get me cooking, and I thought I was pretty clean and organized.  I take apart the stove each week, scrub down the counters and try to stay current on spills. We all know I am fanatic about freshness, so there isn’t a lot of old expired condiments or science projects growing in the fridge. I smugly thought this would be “easy, peasy lemon squeezy,” and boy was I wrong.

My first email arrived Monday, requesting that I purge the contents of the refrigerator and freezer, scrub it down, and replace everything in an organized manner. Right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be an after work, after dinner, after tomorrow’s blog post is written kind of project. I decided to take it on over the weekend, and plow through 5 days worth in (hopefully) one.
I only bought the food we were going to consume during the week, so that the contents of my refrigerator were lean. I let B eat all the remaining Trader Joe’s specials for dinner to make sure there was little left in the freezer.

I think it's (gasp) mold! Eww!

I think it’s (gasp) mold! Eww!

After a Pilates class as a warm up, I set about scrubbing the refrigerator. What you are about to see is not for the weak. While I can proudly attest to the fact that there were not sticky, gooey or caked on spots, there was, (gasp) mold growing in the corners. Full disclosure: I knew this was a problem and had cleaned it before, but this time, I was determined to do more than just wipe it off.

I have been trying to be greener in the kitchen, and many of my Kitchen Tips Tuesday posts have been about baking soda and vinegar type stuff for cleaning.  That’s all well and good, but for this job, it was time for something a bit stronger. Something toxic enough to kill this brownish green goo, once and for all. It was time for chemical warfare!

I removed all of the drawers and shelves, and sprayed everything down with Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover with bleach. Short of a nuclear holocaust, that is probably the most toxic thing around, and most likely to get the job done.

I placed all the innards into the bathtub, removed the curtain, and sprayed away. I let it all sit for a while and attacked the refrigerator itself. I wiped it down, and got into every nook and cranny using rags, Q-tips and toothpicks. Yes, I mean EVERY cranny. Then I wiped it again with a little baking soda and water to remove as much of the chemicals as possible, and then carefully dried it.

Goo be gone!

Goo be gone!

I took a brush and scrubbed down all of the shelves and drawers and used Q-tips to get around the little wheels and crevices. I sprayed them with the shower, and dried them as well. Everything is back in place now, and it looks great! The chemical smell has abated, and will let it continue to air out for the rest of the day before placing the food back in it. There is just one little problem…I seem to have an extra part that won’t fit back in. Fellow Sub Zero owners: Does anyone know where the plain white plastic shelf goes?

Clean as a whistle! Do I have to put food in it now?

Clean as a whistle! Do I have to put food in it now?

The oven has been festering in oven cleaner for a few hours…guess what’s next?

If you want to do your own “kitchn cure” you can follow along on their website, or join us here.

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Hot Tips Tuesday: Folding a Tee Shirt

July 9, 2013

Laundry being tipped out of basket

My closet and drawers are often a mess. Don’t get me started about B’s. She has pushed her bed up against the closet door and pretends it doesn’t exist, since it is so packed with junk, it really doesn’t. Tomorrow, we have committed to cleaning up her room and organizing her clothes. I live in fear of taking on the task, but it must be done. Seeing this video on the best way to fold a tee shirt, makes me feel like the task will be ever so slightly less daunting. Check this out; it’s genius!!!

  1. Lay the tee shirt flat on the bed, front side up.
  2. Visualize where the fold will be on one side. (Usually a few inches in from the side seam.)
  3. Grab the hem of the tee shirt at the imaginary fold line, and pinch it lightly about ½ way up the “line.”
  4. Fold the bottom part up to the shoulder of the top (still along the imaginary line,) hold it in place and pull the pinched part, resulting in the shirt flipping into a perfectly folded one, on 3 sides.
  5. Shake it gently, and tuck the remaining side in, and “viola!” A perfectly folded tee shirt every time.

Now, if someone can come up with a method for the cleaning and organizing part of the task, that would be priceless!! If we don’t come out of her room in a day or so, send help!

photo: glasshouse images

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Hidden Havens (for bacteria)

April 29, 2013

A recent report looks at the places and appliances in your kitchen, which are the most likely to harbor harmful bacteria. The results may surprise you.

The study by NSF, a nonprofit public health group, hopes to provide some insight on how food borne illnesses spread in even the cleanest of kitchens.

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Researchers took swabs from kitchens in suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and asked participants to rate where they thought the highest contamination might occur.

While the participants all guessed that the microwave keypad would be the dirtiest, the researchers found that other areas were much more contaminated.

Refrigerator ice and water dispensers are a breeding ground for yeast and mold. The vegetable and meat compartments of refrigerators were often found to harbor salmonella, and listeria. Most shockingly, rubber spatulas, and the rubber gasket that prevents leaks in the blender, were also found to contain yeast, mold and E coli and salmonella.

Proper cleaning of these items is pivotal in preventing food borne illness.

The blender should be fully disassembled and washed in hot soapy water, before drying and storing. Just washing the jar and lid does not seem to be effective enough. Be sure to remove the rubber ring and wash each component thoroughly.

Rubber spatulas are made in 2 pieces, and the handle should be detached from the rubber head, and cleaned separately.

NSF also suggests that the vegetable bins be washed regularly with soap and water, and dried with a clean towel. Unwashed produce should be kept separated, and away from other foods to prevent cross contamination.

The meat drawers should also be cleaned regularly. The meat should be stored at the bottom of the refrigerator, to avoid juices dripping onto other items.

Water and ice dispensers should be cleaned with a solution of vinegar and water. It is recommended that the water source be turned off, and 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar be run through the system. Use a tiny brush to clean the waterspout weekly. Be sure to run the water and discard the next batch of ice, to avoid the vinegar taste.

While it was not found to be the ultimate harbinger of germs, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down that microwave keypad with a disinfectant on a regular basis.


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