Here’s a series of tips I’m calling “Well, duh!” because when I heard them, I thought “Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” Some of the tips are mine and I did think of them, but most of them come from others. Shared wisdom is wonderful, isn’t it? (And by the way, please share YOUR bits of wisdom by leaving your own “well, duh!” tip in the comments.Thanks! )
Measuring in the kitchen:
When measuring things in a glass or otherwise see-through measure, turn the handle around to the left. The markings will be on the opposite side and you can easily see them from above without having to bend down, crank your neck and possibly make yourself look just a bit insane. It’s a simple way to reduce one cause of that comment, “Mommy? What are you doing?” True, your measurement might be off by a hair, but I find it doesn’t really matter. Also, if you measure a little below the line, it’s more accurate.
Credit goes to: My mommy. As a lefty, this is her normal mode of measuring and I grew up thinking this is how all people measure. Turns out, it’s just how some brilliant people measure.
Keep a measuring cup in the dry goods you use most (like flour, sugar, etc.). Half a cup seems like the easiest way to go. If you have to measure a full cup, it’s just two; if you have to measure a quarter cup, it’s easy to eyeball half the measuring cup.
Credit goes to: My mother did it. My grandmother did it. My mother-in-law did it. I read it on a blog or two. I suspect Noah’s wife started this one.
To quickly and easily level off a measuring cup/ spoon, use the back of a butter knife or the handle of some other flatware. For most things, I just don’t bother, but for leavenings, I do. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why my bread kept coming out more like a brick than like food. Turns out I was adding too much yeast. I’d measure the yeast and shake it till it looked level, but when I started scraping the top off with a knife, I found I’d been adding too much. Apparently enough to make my bread rise too high then fall. With the proper measurement, my bread started coming out right. Side tip on yeast: when a recipe calls for one packet, that’s 2 1/4 tsp of yeast. Save money by buying containers of yeast instead of packets.
Credit goes to: Mom and Betty Crocker. Mom taught me this growing up, but I’d forgotten it until Betty reminded me.
Leftovers/ reusing containers
Scribble on the containers you’re reusing. I’m one of those pack rats thrifty people who saves the sour cream, yogurt, and other miscellaneous containers. The trouble was I’d stick the evening’s leftovers in one of these reused containers and completely forget about them because they looked like a tub of sour cream or yogurt or whatever. So, I whipped out my trusty Sharpie marker and now I scribble on all those saved containers. I may not know what’s in it right off, but curiosity gets me and I open it just to find out what it is.
Credit goes to: Short-term memory loss associated with lack of sleep and young children underfoot.
Here’s a tip I haven’t actually employed yet, but want to… Put a small dry erase board on the fridge and write what leftovers are in there as you put them in. I think I’ll put how many servings there are too.
Credit goes to: Umm… I don’t remember. Some lady who commented on some blog or other. Everyday Cheapskate maybe? Dunno.
Write directly on the container what it is you’re saving. Don’t be afraid to use that Sharpie marker. A little bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball takes it right off of glass containers and plastic containers too (except the textured kind). It’s probably still best to try it on the bottom or something before going crazy just to be sure… I’ve been known to make mistakes before.
Credit goes to: my inability to remember to buy freezer tape or masking tape or apparently any other kind of tape since we’re also out of scotch tape & packing tape.
I love to reuse bottles and other containers for canisters for various things. We buy various things in bulk and I don’t want to have a zillion obnoxious bags hanging around in my pantry, so I stick the foods in reused containers. My favorites are applesauce jars and Mason jars. Sometimes I’ll even pay a little extra for something I need because it’s in a container I like (the popcorn below is in a cornstarch container I paid extra for). I write all the most important info right on the container and sometimes decorate it a bit. Not an artist, but it’s kinda fun to pretend.
Credit goes to: I’m too cheap to shell out for nicer containers.
Do you have some “well, duh!” tips to share? I’d love to hear them, so leave a comment if you would be so kind! Thanks.