When you receive chocolate as a gift, you may not, as unlikely as this seems, want to eat it all up at one time. Chocolate can be affected negatively by heat, light or other strong odors. Here’s what to do to extend the shelf life:
1. Wrap chocolate well and put into a sealed plastic bag. You should store it in a cool, dry place, not near the stove.
2. You can put chocolate into the refrigerator or freezer. It should last about a year. But if you notice a white coating or a texture change, it probably should be tossed out.
After checking in, when you first go into your room, take these steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay:
1. First, get out alcohol wipes or anti-germ gel and wipe down the TV remote, phone, door handles and other surfaces. Germs from previous guests can linger on surfaces for hours.
2. Put valuables and your wallet in the same place every time you re-enter the room. You will know exactly where they are and not leave them behind.
3. Request extra towels or pillows as you as you are in the room. You will be prepared for the evening.
4. Always put the chain on the door and keep it locked during the day and evening.
This cabinet gets so much daily use and consequently so much dirt, debris, grime and spilled liquids. Here’s how to clear out and reorganize:
1. First, lay down newspaper on the kitchen floor. Then remove everything and put onto the newspaper.
2. Toss all bottles that have just a tad of remaining liquid inside, about ¼ inch or so.
3. Examine all dated containers and get rid of anything that is a couple of years old or if the contents look bad.
4. Wipe down the whole inside, including pipes and remove all spills.
5. Put down peel-and-stick tiles on the bottom or line just with heavy-duty aluminum foil to contain spills.
6. Corral cleaning bottles in plastic bins.
When you are baking and mixing the ingredients, here are some hints on how to do this the right way with the mixer or hand mixing:
1. If you have large nut pieces or chocolate chips, they can be chopped up into smaller pieces with the mixer, which you may not want.
2. So instead, hand mix the chips and nuts into the batter to retain their size/shape for the recipes you are making. Also, do this for chunks of dried fruit and dates.
If you have to freeze a cake, it’s better to freeze without filling or frosting because they make the cake soggy. Here are the steps to take:
1. Wrap the cake in a couple of layers of plastic after it is completely cooled and then put into a container, so it doesn’t get crushed. Note: Cakes don’t freeze totally solid.
2. To thaw the cake, don’t take the wrapping right off, but allow it to thaw at room temperature, which may take an hour or so.
NOTE: Unfrosted cakes freeze well for up to 3 months, but frosted ones do okay for only about 1 month.
If you want to jazz up your daily coffee, but don’t want to buy expensive flavored coffees, here’s what you can use right out of your kitchen cabinets to add some flavorings to that cup of Joe:
1. To flavor coffee, add a sprinkle of cinnamon to ground coffee before brewing.
2. Check the extracts you have and you can put a drop or two of vanilla or almond to the ground coffee.
3. If you want a mocha taste, put cocoa mix or chocolate syrup into the brewed coffee.
Oh, this is so easy to happen when you are eating at your dining room table—hot paper plates placed right on top of the wood. Here’s what you can do to remove that unsightly marks:
1. Make this mixture to use on the marks if the table wood is finished (not on raw wood): Combine equal parts of regular, white, non-gel toothpaste and baking soda. Lightly dampen a white cloth with water and dip it into the paste.
2. Rub the marks carefully with a circular motion. Then wipe with a clean cloth, buff until the surface shines. If the marks just can’t be removed, they may have gone through the wood and the table might have to be refinished.
If your children take piano lessons and practice, practice, those keys can get sticky and grungy. Here are hints to clean the keys:
1. If the keys are plastic, mix a small amount of vinegar with warm water and then dip a chamois cloth into it and rub over the keys to remove the dirt. Don’t let liquid drip down the sides.
2. If the keys are really ivory, use just a light damp cloth with a little bit of gentle soap. Wipe off each key, but never allow any of the water to leak down the sides of the keys. Dry the keys ASAP.
3. Get another damp cloth to clean the black keys. Then buff with a lint-free cloth.
NOTE: Do NOT use chemicals like rubbing alcohol or scrub the ivory keys. If the keys have turned yellow, they can be cleaned, but probably will not return to the original white.
Jets in spa tubs do need to be cleaned often because they do accumulate lots of debris and dirt. Here’s how to eliminate it:
1. Fill the tub with hot water to cover the jets with several inches over them.
2. Then, depending on the tub size, pour in 1 to 2 cups of household chlorine bleach along with ¼ to ½ cup of powdered dishwasher detergent.
3.Turn on the spa for about 20 minutes and let the water sit for 20 to 30 minutes and then drain.
4. Fill again with cold water and turn the jets on for a couple of minutes and drain.
5. During the process, make certain you have ventilation and don’t let pets or children come in the area.
If they are valuable family antique china, it’s best not to take the chance. Also, if you have old dishes with metal, silver or gold trim, do not use in the microwave. But you can test other older dishes and here’s how:
Use this easy test to see if the dishes you have are safe for use in your microwave: Pour water into an 8-ounce microwave-safe measuring cup and put in on top of a plate you are testing and turn the microwave on for just 30 seconds. Then stop. The water should be hot, but NOT the plate. If it is, do not put it into the microwave.