Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Part 1 - The Kitchen - 101 New Uses for Everyday Items

In every part of your house, everyday items — from clothespins to cotton swabs — are simply waiting to do surprising new things.

The Kitchen
  • Shoo flies. Invert the colander and use it as a bug tent over burgers and buns during a cookout.

  • Create a casual luminaria. Place tea lights or votives inside a metal version.

  • Wash your delicates. Don’t throw lingerie into the sink for hand washing. Peroxide from some toothpastes and caustic agents from other cleansers can bleach, stain, degrade, and even disintegrate delicate fabrics. Instead, put the colander in the sink and wash the garments inside it.

  • Make a kid’s Halloween costume. A stainless-steel colander is a perfect Martian helmet. Attach ribbons to the handles and tie them under the chin.

  • Sift flour in a pinch. Pour flour into a colander and shake it back and forth over a larger bowl. (Use a wooden spoon to break up lumps, if necessary.)

  • Wine Bottle or Cork
  • Use as bookends. A pair of bottles, with or without the contents, can hold a small library together.

  • Organize jewelry. Poke stud earrings into a cork and toss it in your travel bag.

  • Replace a rolling pin. Roll piecrust or pizza dough flat with a wine bottle.

  • Keep your boots up. Slide bottles into boots when storing them so they keep their shape and stand up straight.

  • Pack party favors. Send dinner guests home with some of your special sauce or cocktail mix in rinsed-out bottles; replace the labels with decals if you like.

  • Cap an X-Acto knife with a wine cork.

  • Stop scratches. Slice corks into disks and glue them to the bottoms of furniture or heavy pottery to protect delicate floors.

  • Ice Cube Tray

  • Display dessert toppings. Use an ice-cube tray to offer up ice cream embellishments, such as sprinkles, cherries, and chopped nuts.

  • Cut cookie dough. Roll the dough flat, then press an upside-down ice-cube tray into it for a dozen or more identical treats. Use trays with different shapes (stars, hearts) for miniature holiday cookies. Tip: This works best with trays with outer rims that don’t extend higher than the inner dividers.

  • Organize desk supplies, like thumbtacks and paper clips, or sewing notions, like buttons, beads, hooks, and eyes.

  • Inspire creativity. Mix paints for the kids’ art projects in a tray’s compartments.

  • Freeze extra pesto, leftover cooking wine, broth, and sauces for cooking. Then store the cubes in plastic freezer bags until you’re ready to use them.

  • Uncooked Spaghetti

  • Keep cakes intact. Push a piece of spaghetti into the top of a cake to keep plastic wrap or a soft box lid from smudging the frosting.

  • Mark your page in a cookbook with a single slender stick.

  • Spear hors d’oeuvres on party platters. Hot foods might soften the noodles, so this works best for cold fare, like cherry tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella and basil.

  • Light candles. When you don’t have long matches but you do have plenty of candles, use a piece of spaghetti to fire them all up in one go. Also handy for lighting a candle in a deep holder.

  • Test baked goods to see if they’re done. Poke a piece of spaghetti into the center; if it comes out clean, your treat is ready to eat.
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