Since I live out in the country, when I don’t have an ingredient on hand, it’s not very handy to pop out to the store to pick up what I need. Over the years I’ve found an assortment of kitchen substitutions that have worked well for me, so I thought I would put them all together in one spot and share them with you. These won’t work *exactly* like the original ingredients, but they should do in a pinch. You may even like them better than the original.
Back when I worked catering, we were required by the health department to use plastic cutting boards because “they were more sanitary”. Like so many well-intentioned government agencies, they were wrong. This post explains why I only use wood cutting boards in my kitchen.
Why Wood Cutting Boards are Better than Plastic or Glass
As I mentioned above, we were required to use plastic cutting boards when catering. In Plastic and Wooden Cutting Boards by Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D of UC Davis, they noted that “the U.S. Department of Agriculture told us they had no scientific evidence to support their recommendation that plastic, rather than wooden cutting boards”.
Several years ago I was cleaning my kitchen and happened to glance at the label of a cleaner that I used for everything. It said “Do not use on kitchen surfaces.” I was horrified! I can’t use it on my kitchen surfaces?? I had used that particular cleaner to clean EVERYTHING, as did my Mom when I was growing up. It dawned on me in that moment that just because they kill germs it does not make them safe (which I probably should have realized sooner).
Is the cleaner you’re using to spray your counters, your fridge, your stove, or even your babies high chair safe to use? You cook on those surfaces and your kids drop food on those surfaces and then eat that food. Topical exposure isn’t the only worry though. When you spray a surface you are dispersing those chemicals into the air for everyone to inhale. They can do a lot of damage to our lungs and other organs.
Often times we think that we are using household cleaners to “clean” but take no mind of what they are leaving behind. I’m not sure which is more dangerous, the germs on the counter or the chemicals that killed the germs. Of course, we want the surfaces in our home to be clean but we want them to be clean of chemicals as well. So what do we do?
We can make our own cleaners that are very effective at killing germs while not causing harm to our family members. Let’s first understand the importance of why we don’t want to use regular cleaners.
What’s a Prairie Pin Pouch?
A Prairie Pin Pouch is a modern rendition of a classic clothespin bag. I found out about these handmade laundry helpers in a somewhat unusual fashion. We had some friends visiting from out of town one afternoon when the phone rang. On the line was Julie Pruett, creator of the Prairie Pin Pouch.
This spring (maybe because of the crazy weather), I’ve had two robins take to flying into the windows (mainly the kitchen windows). Thankfully they haven’t hurt themselves, but they are quite noisy and I didn’t want them to keep at it until they did injure themselves. I’ve put together a list of quick fixes to stop birds hitting windows. The problem is usually the worse in spring and fall during migration, but when I was a little girl I had a robin who kept it up all summer long. Every morning, bright and early, he’d thump my bedroom window – no need for an alarm clock.