Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

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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