Simply Good Tips http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com Bringing You Good Tips for an Improved Life. Wed, 17 Jun 2015 23:39:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 10 Tips For Living Without A Washer And Dryer http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/tips-living-without-washer-dryer/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/tips-living-without-washer-dryer/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 23:39:17 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3254 doing laundryLiving without a washer and dryer doesn't have to be a daily nightmare. Use these ten tips to make life easier when these crucial appliances are missing.

10 Tips For Living Without A Washer And Dryer - Simply Good Tips

]]>

doing-laundryLets just get this out of the way…

Laundromats suck, doing laundry in public sucks, sharing facilities sucks, and worrying about having a pocket full of quarters also sucks pretty hard.

It can be tough to get used to life without a laundry room, but many of us do it for short periods because of work or school, and quite a few of us do it for a lifetime because we live in apartments and other compact living quarters. Little tricks and techniques can make the most annoying chores easier to manage, and doing laundry without a washing machine or dryer at home, is no different. The absence of these crucial appliances can be a real pain, but once you get a system down, it will take less time to get everything clean, and it will have a much smaller impact on your life.

We don’t have the power to strong arm your landlord into changing the rules, or magically expand your apartment in order to fit a full size washer and dryer in there, and we certainly aren’t going to foot the bill to install some space-age, compact wonder appliance either. The advice listed below will not teach you how to trick others into doing your laundry for you, nor will it list some clever method of hand washing with some contraption you build yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you live in a condo, an apartment, or a dorm, and it doesn’t matter if your laundromat is on site, or across town. If you currently do your laundry in a location other than the one you live in, the tips below will help you spend less time and effort getting your clothes clean, and they will also help to eliminate the frustrations and annoyances commonly associated with using a laundromat.

1. Set a Schedule

Some people prefer to do a large amount of laundry all in one day, while others prefer to wash one small load on a more frequent basis. There are pros and cons with either schedule, but having a set frequency will help you stay away when you want to, and anticipate going when it’s necessary. If you have to lug your load several blocks to get it washed, multiple trips may make it easier because you can keep the weight down. However, if you are doing laundry for more than yourself, tiny loads may not be an option, and could result in you spending multiple days, each week, at the laundromat. It will come down to personality and lifestyle as to which schedule would work best for you, but if you begin to squeeze it in on your way to and from other locations, or if you save up to do a large amount all on one day, you’ll end up with a more predictable, and easier to manage laundry schedule.

2. Come Prepared

Want to waste some money? Show up without your detergent and you are guaranteed to make that happen. All locations will provide the stuff you need to get your clothes clean, but if you purchase on site, be prepared to pay a premium. Save money and leave your clothes smelling the way you like by picking up detergent and softeners before you go.

Don’t get caught without quarters either. You can be pretty sure that there will be change machine when you get there, but it takes time to use it, there could be a line, it may be out of order, or it may decide to spit your dollar out, over and over again. If trips to the laundromat are a regular thing for you, do yourself a favor and keep a good supply of quarters on hand. That way you can just grab a handful on your way out the door, and there will be no waiting or guessing when you get there.

3. Transportation Is Key

Your method of travel is not that important, but how you transport your clothing is. For those doing large loads, a cart with rolling wheels is the perfect choice. You can pile on tons of weight, but you won’t have to worry about lifting and carrying it. For those doing smaller loads, a bag might be sufficient, and it can be quite convenient to sling a load over your shoulder, and head out the door without any hassle. Mesh laundry bags are perfect for those living where space is limited because once empty, they take up very little space. Any large bag would do in a pinch, but one that closes to prevent accidents, and one with thick straps or wheels will be your best bet.

4. Pass The Time

Let’s face it. Washing clothes is boring. Nobody wants to sit there and watch shirts and pants spin around in circles, and if you did, it would make time crawl to ensure that your wait is as awful as possible. Some people like to start a load, and then head out to do some nearby errands. This can be a great idea if you know and trust the area, and also if you actually have stuff to do in the general vicinity. In some locations, you might come back to find an empty machine and that would suck worse than washing the clothes in the first place. For other people, a good book is the perfect way to pass the time. This allows you to tend to your machine and guard your clothes, but you can still escape, somewhat, in order to pass the time more quickly. Video games, browsing the internet, or watching videos on your phone can work just as well, and some people actually like, and look forward, to the solitude this chore allows because they always come prepared with a good way to kill time.

5. Find A Good Machine

A functioning machine is key when washing your laundry, so scoping out the best ones will be beneficial in the long run. Before you commit to one or the other, take some time to evaluate the condition of those available. For dryers, check for any funky smells or substances inside. Also check for any defects or broken parts on the interior that may snag your laundry as it tumbles. Once you find a clean one that’s in good shape, put in a couple of quarters in and let it run for a few minutes. Feel the front to see if it’s hot, and if not, switch to another dryer. This way you’ll never waste time or money waiting for cold air to dry your washed garments. When looking for a washer, watch out for the universal sign of a defective machine. If you see a large “x” on the front, keep moving because it’s either totally broken, or just non-functioning in some way. After you choose one that will work, check for grime on the inside because it’ll be tough to clean clothes with a dirty interior.

6. At Home Storage

Adequate storage at home will make each trip easier to manage because you’ll be better prepared to walk out the door. If you’re washing large amounts each time, you’ll want to have large laundry baskets in each bedroom or bathroom in order to collect dirty clothing until it’s time to wash. If your storage also facilitates separation, or transforms into a portable something-or-other, then it will be even more helpful. For those with small children, or babies with cloth diapers, you’ll want to have an airtight container for soaking and pre-treating stains. That way you can rinse and apply stain fighters, and then allow to soak until laundry day. With an airtight lid, you won’t smell the stinky stuff inside, and you won’t spill on the way to the laundromat. Because you let your extra-dirty clothing soak, it will come clean easier, and it will look and smell better once finished.

7. Emergency Supplies

It doesn’t matter if you’re on your last pair of undies, or if you just spilled something on your favorite shirt. We will all encounter situations where we need to wash one or more items in between laundry days. With certain supplies on hand, this will be easy to manage, so you can avoid an emergency trip across town, and still make that hot date or work meeting. A single shirt is pretty easy to wash by hand in your sink, but having a line set up in your bathtub or shower will make it a whole lot easier to get them dry. Using a blow dryer can speed up drying times, and there are detergents specific to hand washing to prevent you from making a mess by using the stuff you put in a machine. It’s impractical to think that you can rush out every time one thing needs cleaning, so prepare for the inevitable to prevent disaster, and avoid missing out on last minute plans.

8. Separation Anxiety

Separating laundry is important, but doing it at the laundromat can be a real pain. It’s in your best interest to separate before you go so you can get right down to business. You should have at least two categories when dividing your clothes, but those working with a large amount may want more than just whites and colors. You may want to do a jean load, or a sheet load, and you may want to wash delicates separate from others, or keep baby clothes away from your work clothes. If you make separate piles before you head out the door, you can have each load set up and ready to go, right when you get there. You will maximize your efficiency, and you won’t end up turning everything a dingy gray color.

9. Maximize Your Time

Nobody wants to spend the whole day washing clothes, so efficiency can be key to a good experience. When you use your time wisely, you can cut the time it takes without compromising cleanliness. If you try to go late at night, or early in the morning, you should be able to use more than one machine without forcing someone else to wait. Now you can do several loads at the same time, so you’ll be out of there quickly. By staging your dirty clothes ahead of time, you can prep each load before you leave home. When you get to your laundry location, you can get right to work instead of setting things up after you arrive. Begin folding as soon as you’re able, and while other loads are still washing or drying. If you toss everything into a basket without folding, you’ll have wrinkled clothes, and if you wait to do it all at once, before you leave, you’ll spend more time than is necessary.

10. Spend Some Money

If you’re in a pinch for time, or if you’re just sick and tired of all the manual labor, it may be time to drop some cash, and make your life easier. Fluff and Fold services can be found almost anywhere, and they’ll take your bag of dirty clothing to clean it for you. Once washed, dried, and folded, they’ll bring it back for you to use. Different locations may not offer pickup or delivery, but even when you drop it off and pick it up yourself, it can be much easier than doing all the work alone. A service like this will cost you a bit more than going to the laundromat, but if you’re fed up with your current situation, it may be a good choice, if only on a temporary basis.

If you prefer that other folks don’t see your dirty underwear, then you could still do it yourself, but without leaving your apartment. You can get a compact and portable washing machine and dryer, and stay home on laundry day, or wash individual loads while you hang around the house. These little machines don’t hold as much as standard versions do, but they also don’t need special water or electrical hook-ups either. You can get water from your kitchen sink, and you can plug them into any regular outlet. With a wide range of choices available, you can find ones that use no electricity at all, ones that offer basic automatic function, and ones that are computer controlled and require absolutely no baby sitting or effort. With a set at home you’ll be able to clean clothes whenever necessary, and you’ll be able to skip as many “laundry days” as you please. With such a low cost of ownership, it won’t be long before this type of set-up pays for itself, and it may be instantly worth while just based on the convenience it offers.

If you’re considering a mini laundry appliance to avoid washing your clothes away from home, check out the options below, or visit our laundry category to learn more, or see all of the models available.

wonderwash portable washing machineWonderWash
A hand-crank washer that uses no electricity. Perfect for apartments, but also nice for camping and RV’s. Although it has a crank at the side, the pressurized container is what actually does the cleaning. Simply add in clothing along with water and detergent, then secure the lid tightly. After a couple spins your clothes will be clean, and the dirty water will drain out into the sink. With a small footprint and with an overall weight that’s less than six pounds, this model can easily store or travel just about anywhere. Read more.

miniwash plus compact washing machineMiniWash Plus
This is a fully automatic washer with computer controls and a rinse cycle. It holds more clothing than the WonderWash above, and it also offers hands-off operation. Simply hook it up to your kitchen sink faucet, then direct the drain hose into the sink. Once you load with laundry, simply add detergent, turn on the water, and then push a button to turn it on. You’ll have your choice of cycle lengths and type. Water will pull from the faucet when needed, and dirty water will drain into the sink automatically. It has an agitator at the center, so clothing mixes back and forth and spins around just like in larger machines. Read more.

mini dryerCounter Top Spin Dryer
Compact washers don’t usually have a spin cycle, so most people use a spin dryer to pull out most of the moisture after cleaning. After a couple minutes of spinning the fabric will be barely damp and able to hang dry in minutes instead of hours. This model is extremely lightweight and able to sit on the counter, next to your kitchen sink. All the water sucked from your laundry will spill out through the drain hose, and into the drain. This machine uses very little electricity, and is incredibly efficient. Just pop in clothes, and turn the dial to set the timer. Read more.

Living without a traditional washer and dryer doesn’t have to be a disaster, and with a little work, you can easily reduce the annoyance, and speed up the process. Whether you continue to make the trek to facilities downstairs or across the street, hire a service to do it for you, or if you decide to get a counter top unit to avoid leaving home altogether, you can easily manage life without these appliances in your apartment, condo or dorm.

If you have your own tips for efficiency, or if you have an idea not mentioned above, please share in the comments section below.

Products Mentioned

 

10 Tips For Living Without A Washer And Dryer - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/tips-living-without-washer-dryer/feed/ 0
Kid Friendly Storage For Your Back Seat http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/kid-friendly-storage-back-seat/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/kid-friendly-storage-back-seat/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 21:06:51 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3243 organize back seat of carImagine a road trip without the high pitched screams coming from the back seat. Get this organizer to provide food, toys and entertainment to keep them quiet.

Kid Friendly Storage For Your Back Seat - Simply Good Tips

]]>

organize back seat of carWe know what you’re thinking, and no…It’s not a sound-proof box to keep your kids in while traveling. It’s a seat back organizer to hold all of their stuff. It will definitely keep them more quiet while you drive, but it won’t silence the screams entirely, sorry.

With this handy device on the back of your car seat, you’ll be able to provide snacks, toys and even entertainment without stopping, turning around, or spending a bunch of money. It’s also simple to install, so you won’t need any tools or skill to put it in place. Once it’s secure, it will instantly provide versatile storage for those sitting in the back seat.

What Is It

Essentially it is a durable nylon caddy designed to provide universal storage for any vehicle. It’ll work just as well in cars, trucks or vans thanks to the adaptable fit, and universal attachment method, so buy with confidence no matter what you drive. The high quality materials ensure a sturdy product that won’t fall apart or wear out, and the adjustable, dual strap connection buckles in place to remain secure on almost any seat. Once installed, it will help to eliminate clutter and make useful items more accessible. There are three sections of pouches, and with the combination, you should be able to stow anything you need for any trip you take.

The large pocket at the top has a clear front, and it’s the perfect size for holding tablets and other screens so they can be viewed while traveling. Play a movie on long journeys, allow them to listen to their own music, or put on educational videos for short trips around town, or when commuting to work or school. The expensive electronic will stay out of their hands and away from other stuff that might cause damage, but it will still be close enough to hear and provide a good view. This pocket can even be used to hold school papers and folders, library books, coloring pads and so much more. Thanks to the high quality materials, and crystal clear front, it will easily support your standard size iPod, and hold it securely without blocking the screen.

Below the large upper pocket, you’ll find a row of three smaller pouches that are pretty deep. These ones are perfect for holding drink bottles, small toys, stuffed animals, bagged snacks and other similar-size items. The thick material can handle anything that fits, and it’s totally washable if necessary. Flat bottoms and wide openings at the top ensure that stuff inside doesn’t tip over, and is easy to retrieve when desired.

At the base of this storage device, there are two more pockets that span the whole bottom. They are situated so that one is in front of the other, and each one is made from a different material. The front pocket is made from mesh so the stuff inside will be easily visible, and crumbs, sand and other debris will fall right out. Use this one to keep flip flops or damp clothes after a trip to the beach and the sand will drop out as the items dry. It also works well for general supplies, or larger items that may not fit in the smaller pockets above. Behind this mesh pouch, there is a larger one with a thick, nylon front that also spans the whole bottom. This one is a bit deeper, and not see-through so it’s great for extra diapers, a change of clothes, art supplies, reading materials and more.

How It Works

At the top there is a small strap that is solid. It’s meant to go around the support for your head rest. Down lower, there is an adjustable strap with a buckle. It’s meant to go around the base of your seat. Once the lower strap is cinched down tight and buckled in place, the whole organizer will stay snug against the back of the seat. It wont swing from side to side, and it won’t sag down to touch the ground either. As soon as you get the straps in place, the storage unit will be ready to use. When compared to similar products, you’ll find that this one is constructed better, using higher quality materials. You can load it up without any worry, and once you install it, it will remain where you put it.

When To Use It

  • To and from school
  • Trips to the store
  • Camping and hiking excursions
  • Long road trips
  • Everyday commuting
  • Back and forth to the library
  • Vacations
  • Trips to the park or beach

How To Install It

Attaching this to any seat is pretty simple, and the method will be the same no matter what vehicle you drive. You’ll be able to mount it in seconds to provide tons of storage space, almost instantly. You will not need an advanced degree to figure out how to get it in place, but if you want to make sure everything is correct, simply follow the easy steps below.

  1. First remove from packaging, lay flat, and locate the top.
  2. Raise you headrest to make room for the strap, then hang the top part over the support for your head rest.
  3. Once in place, lower the headrest to fix the top part in place.
  4. After the top is connected, align the whole thing so that it is straight against the back of the seat.
  5. Once placed properly, use the lower strap to buckle in place around the base of the seat.
  6. Once buckled, pull the adjustment to tighten the strap. Pull until secure.
  7. Your organizer is ready to use. Fill as necessary.
  8. Works on any vehicle front seat to provide storage in the back. (must be bucket style for good fit)
  9. Hand wash and hang dry when dirty.

So… you didn’t stumble upon a sound-proof cage to transport your children in, but you did find a simple way to make driving them around more bearable. When they have food and toys to keep them full and busy, any short trip can be completed without conflict or headaches. For longer trips, pop a screen in place, and let them stare silently at their favorite movie or TV show. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without it because any drive will be more pleasant, and your backseat will be clean and less cluttered. Stop threatening  to “turn this car around”, and get this to make the ride more enjoyable. When kids don’t get bored, they are less likely to get into trouble, and you are less likely to sound like your father.

Products Mentioned

Kid Friendly Storage For Your Back Seat - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/kid-friendly-storage-back-seat/feed/ 0
Ice Packs That Stay Cold For DAYS http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/ice-packs-stay-cold-days/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/ice-packs-stay-cold-days/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 23:55:09 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3226 techni ice packNeed to ship a kidney across the country? Have a life saving vaccine that needs to remain cold while traveling to the other […]

Ice Packs That Stay Cold For DAYS - Simply Good Tips

]]>

techni ice packNeed to ship a kidney across the country? Have a life saving vaccine that needs to remain cold while traveling to the other side of the world?

Probably not.

But you do most likely have some warm beers that could use some chilling, or a lunch that you would like to actually enjoy come break time. You may also want to share local foods with friends and family that live far away, take a road trip without stopping to eat every few hours, or go camping and have your supplies last as long as you do.

When faced with warm stuff that needs to stay cold, most people will open the freezer to pull out some cubes, and others will resort to some blue pack, or a plastic container that’s frozen. These work alright for short periods of time, but they won’t keep things all that cold, and there are several other down sides too. When freshness is really an issue, or when things need to be preserved for more than a few hours, many people opt for dry ice which can be pretty dangerous, difficult to get, and expensive.

No amount of cubes would be able to sustain that kidney on it’s trip cross country to your half-brother in Nebraska, and the thing would be doing the back-stroke by the time it got there thanks to the pool of water created by the melting ice.

Seriously though… If you did need to ship an organ for transplant, or send perishable items commercially, then something like the sheet in the picture above would be the perfect stuff to use. When placed in a cooler instead of frozen water, it will ensure that the stuff inside remains fresh, and maintains its temperature. Although it was designed with professionals in mind, there’s a whole host of useful applications for us regular folks too.  It works as a dry ice alternative, but you can also use it anytime you would normally use regular bags of cubes or frozen packs.

Keep reading to discover all of the ways you can use this ice alternative to improve your life, and make everyday tasks less annoying. When frozen in a normal freezer, these packs will actually get colder than ice, and once you remove them, they will stay ice cold for DAYS.

Use them to line a cooler and keep food cold, cut to size and use in a lunchbox to preserve your sandwich, or add to a regular brown box to ship food and keep it fresh on a long journey. You can also take advantage of the large flexible sheet to treat sore muscles, areas of bruising, or swollen body parts, and it will provide long-lasting therapy. Once the packs begin to warm or “melt”, there is absolutely no release of water, so you won’t get stuff soggy inside your cooler, and you won’t soak a hole right through that shipping container. Re-freeze Techni Ice over an over to continue using the same sheet time and time again.

What Are They

Each sheet has 24 cells. It has a fabric layer on one side, and a plastic layer on the other side. Inside each cell, and in between these layers, there is a non-toxic polymer refrigerant, and that’s where the magic happens. When you get the sheet, you can cut it to any size by separating any number of cells to create a sheet that fits your needs. It will be totally flat when brand new, but you will saturate it prior to freezing. Once it soaks up water it will become about an inch thick, and it will never release the water. To use it, you simply toss in the freezer and wait for it to get cold. Because it’s not just regular water, it will stay cold for way longer than anything else you’ve used, and when it finally warms up, there will be no pool of water to worry about.

Key Features

  1. Can stay frozen for DAYS.
  2. Does not turn back to water.
  3. Sheets are 11X16 inches and can be cut to size, as small as 2-inch cubes.
  4. Re-usable.
  5. Better than Dry Ice: It’s cheaper, doesn’t evaporate, and it’s non-toxic, so you can use as much of it as you want for shipping perishables. Dry Ice is limited to 5 pounds by the USPS and most carriers.
  6. You can freeze it colder than ice, and even colder than dry ice! (if you can get your freezer that cold)
  7. The longer you freeze it, the colder it gets — and the colder it makes your freezer. Put enough sheets of Techni-ICE ™ in your freezer, and it makes your freezer cold enough to be a commercial-grade freezer.
  8. Also heats in the microwave to use as a heating pack.

Recommended QTY

  • Cooler Bag: 1 to 3 Sheets
  • Small Icebox (5 Gallon):  3 Sheets
  • Large Icebox (10 Gallon): 6 Sheets or more
  • The more sheets used the more days Techni Ice will last. For Optimum Performance: Use 1 sheet of Techni Ice per 2 Gallons of icebox capacity.

Recreational Uses

  • RV’s – Use one or two sheets inside your fridge or freezer to reduce energy consumption. Use while power is off to preserve food without consuming energy.
  • Camping & Boating – Use as an ice replacement to preserve food and beverages, and keep bait fresh. More compact, lighter, and longer lasting than regular ice.
  • Picnics – Keep food fresh all day with a cooler sitting outside, or take advantage of the flexible sheet to ensure that every beverage is ice cold by wrapping one around as you drink.

Household Uses

  • Children – Cut to size to keep lunches fresh when kids go to school, or use as a boo boo bag when they fall, or get cuts and scrapes. Freeze for cold therapy, or heat for hot therapy to make children feel better without any medication.
  • Shopping – Use in your grocery bags to keep food cold, so you can stay out longer. Get several stops done without heading home, and never worry about melted ice cream.
  • Babies – Heat in the microwave to keep a bottle warm, or freeze to keep juice and milk cold.

Commercial Uses

  • Transport meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, flowers, pastries, chocolates and more and have them arrive in perfect condition.
  • Preserve catered dishes, or food for delivery.
  • Take prepared meals and deliver them while maintaining freshness.
  • Transport pathology samples.
  • Reduce swelling in emergency situations.
  • Use as a flexible wrap for injuries. Useful hot or cold depending upon injury.

Veterinary Uses

  • Post Op – Use as a flexible heat pack to keep bedding warm and animals comfortable.
  • Delivery – Transport pathology samples.
  • Horses – Works as a flexible ice pack that can attach and mold to the leg.

Hydration Instructions

  1. Place sheet in water (preferably warm) and scrunch sheet while completely submersed to release air bubbles.
  2. Allow each sheet to unfold while still submersed so as to absorb water.
  3. Techni Ice will expand to a fully hydrated pack, with each cell about 2 inches in width.
  4. Massage any lazy cells, which have not expanded.
  5. Remove them from the water and towel dry thoroughly. This ensures that any excess water does not become ice on the outside of the sheet during the freezing process.
  6. Your Techni Ice is ready to freeze or heat.

To Freeze

Place Techni Ice in the freezer for at least 24 hours for best results. Freezer can be set at the lowest possible temperature during the freezing process for even greater performance. It is recommended that Techni Ice 2 Ply is frozen with plastic facing down to avoid the textile from sticking to the freezer plate or the textile of another Ice Pack.

To Heat

Place saturated sheet in microwave and heat on medium  setting. Check after short time and adjust time as necessary. Continue heating until desired warmth is achieved. Once warmed, carefully remove from microwave to use.

Don’t settle for soggy sandwiches and lukewarm beer at your next picnic, and don’t let that perfectly viable organ go to waste either. You could keep buying bag after bag of cubes at the store, and you could keep dealing with all of the water that builds up inside your cooler afterwards, but why would you want to? These sheets are easier to deal with, they last longer, and many of the common annoyances are totally avoided. Guarantee fresh food, and a dry cooler while eliminating melted chocolate, gooey cheese, warm milk and other gross stuff.

Products Mentioned

Ice Packs That Stay Cold For DAYS - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/ice-packs-stay-cold-days/feed/ 0
Finger Fueled Fun For All Ages http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/finger-fueled-fun-ages/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/finger-fueled-fun-ages/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 21:11:35 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3224 swingy thing toyNo batteries, no cords, and no screens. Just non stop action, and brain busting challenges that make it impossible to put down. This […]

Finger Fueled Fun For All Ages - Simply Good Tips

]]>

swingy thing toyNo batteries, no cords, and no screens. Just non stop action, and brain busting challenges that make it impossible to put down. This solo-style game delivers non stop action, and it’s completely powered by the user. Despite the lack of flashing lights, or in-game power ups, this toy is incredibly fun for kids of all ages, and adults alike. Once you pick it up, the excitement begins, so you won’t want to put it down. The rotating pieces can’t help but move and spin, and it’s pretty fun to stare at the hypnotic swirling colors, but the real challenge comes in when you try to prevent certain pieces from moving, or when you try to get two pieces spinning in opposite directions. Begin by trying to spin the center flipper only, then work your way up to more advanced challenges that will have you swinging several pieces at once, while the others remain stationary.

Perfect for at home or on the go, SwingyThing is an ideal answer to idol hands, and a healthy way for anyone to waste time. Video games and other battery operated toys will often force children to interact in one way only, and the sedentary play does not really improve any skills, or exercise any brain function. This open ended game can be used “correctly” with one user following the challenges, but it can also be used in any other way imaginable. Relieve stress by spinning with no particular goal, challenge friends to see who can perform better, go cardio and get physical with it, or pretend that it’s some sort of advanced alien technology. When compared to traditional toys and games that are powered by batteries and cords, this finger-powered alternative will do more to improve concentration, develop motor skills, and advance brain function.

Because it never runs out of power, and is so compact and addicting, it’s a great toy to take with you on the go. Bring on an airplane to pass the time, take on your next road trip to prevent fights, carry with you to a doctor appointment to make the waiting room less boring, or pack on a camping trip to kill time if it rains. Kids and adults all seem to enjoy it, and with a wide variety of challenges, it can be just as fun for beginners as it is for more advanced users.

What Is It

It’s a game, a toy and a conversation piece in one. Most people can’t help but notice it, and once they do, they need to pick it up. Once in hand, the fun begins, and few have any desire to put it back down.

Six wooden pendulums are attached to a metal bar. There are three flippers in the middle, and three dippers that surround them. Each is able to rotate on it’s own, and they all move in both directions. The set includes a metal stand to hold the toy when not in use, and a fold-out poster that details 52 different challenges. Slight variations in movement will allow the user to isolate and stall certain pieces while others rotate freely. It’s intended for use as a one-person game, but it can be as much fun as a regular toy with no real goal at hand.

What It’s Good For

  • Stress Relief
  • Building Motor Skills
  • Improving Concentration
  • Developing Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Making People Smile
  • Wasting Time
  • Having Fun

Who Loves It

  • Boys
  • Girls
  • Parents
  • Teenagers
  • Executives
  • College Students
  • Teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Martians

Where To Use It

  • At Home
  • At School
  • At the office
  • On the playground
  • In the waiting room
  • while traveling
  • Cars
  • Offices
  • Boats
  • Tree-houses
  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchens

How To Use It

When at rest, this fun little toy almost looks like a work of art. It comes complete with a metal stand to display and store when not in use, and to begin playing with it, you simply pick it up. Once in your hands, the six pendulums will begin to twirl. Enjoy the hypnotic spinning in a freestyle way, or use the included guide to master certain challenges. Anyone can get the flippers and dippers to rotate, but few will be able to master every single challenge. Extreme concentration, and hand-eye coordination will be required to dominate the most difficult challenge where all six pieces are twirling at once, and every other one is rotating in opposite directions.

  1. To handle SwingyThing, use two hands, and grab the ends of the metal bar at the top.
  2. When not in use, store on the wire stand by resting the metal bar in the grooves at the top.
  3. To move the flippers in the middle, use and up and down motion.
  4. To move the dippers that surround the flippers, use a side to side motion.
  5. Each piece moves independently, and can rotate in either direction.
  6. Follow the included guide to work through 52 challenges, then go back to ones that are “slam”-able to spin pendulums in opposite directions for up to 98 challenges in all.

Products Mentioned

Finger Fueled Fun For All Ages - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/finger-fueled-fun-ages/feed/ 0
BBQ Chicken Without The Sticken http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/bbq-chicken-without-the-sticken/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/bbq-chicken-without-the-sticken/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:19:08 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3205 BBQ Chicken Without The StickenSaucy meat is notorious for sticking to the grill. Learn how to eliminate the possibility while improving flavor, and making clean up a snap.

BBQ Chicken Without The Sticken - Simply Good Tips

]]>

BBQ Chicken Without The StickenThere’s nothing that can spoil a perfect backyard gathering quicker than charred meat that glues itself to your grill. Don’t you just hate it when all that flavorful, sauce smothered skin sticks to the grate? It makes the chicken tear apart when you lift it off, it makes the sauce caramelize and burn, and because much of it will remain in place, it removes all of the delicious flavor that you were attempting to slow cook on there in the first place.

If you don’t want to sit there trying to explain away your incompetence, or if you’re sick of hiding the ruined side of each piece by placing perfectly onto the platter, then you’ll need to figure out how to prevent the meat from sticking in the first place. BBQ chicken and other sauce covered meats are notorious for getting stuck while cooking, but so are delicate fish fillets, kabobs and other foods. There are a few go to techniques that most people use to help prevent sticking, and we will list those below. What follows will be a simply good way to prepare mouthwatering barbecue chicken without any worry that it will burn, or get stuck to the grate. As an added bonus, your food will look and taste better, and your grill will stay clean despite the use of ample amounts of gooey sauce.

Techniques To Prevent Sticking

Keep It Clean

A Clean grill is a happy grill. It’s also one that releases food better. If your grate is all covered with black stuff, there is a good chance that things will bond to whatever that stuff is. If your grate looks shiny and new, you will have much less to worry about. For a less frustrating grilling session, be sure to clean the grate before and after you cook. A wire brush works well for this job, and all of that yucky stuff will scrub off easier if you wait until the surface is hot. Give a quick brush in the direction of the grates to clear off cooked food, and reveal the metal underneath.

The Hotter The Better

You still need to pay attention to the food you are cooking, and grill at the correct temperature for the bulk of the time, but making sure that it is fully heated before you put your meat down will help prevent sticking. Cold food placed onto a cold metal grate will always get stuck. Cold meat placed onto a hot surface is far less likely to bond with said surface.

Patience Is A Virtue

Flipping is fun. You know you love it, but it’s important to restrain yourself long enough so that you don’t ruin your food. If the meat is still raw and cold on the bottom, and you try to turn it over, it will almost certainly glue in place, and resist turning. If that same meat is allowed to cook just a little bit longer, it probably won’t stick at all.

Oil It Up

Oddly enough, one way to prevent food from sticking, is to make the surface non-stick. Duh. If you add oil to the grilling surface, or to the food prior to placing it down, it can greatly reduce the risk of sticking. You should avoid spray on solutions unless you like large flames bursting into your face, but brushing or smearing on some cooking oil seems to work well. Completely cover the metal in order to season it, and over time you will never have to worry about stuck food. Be careful to avoid touching hot surfaces with your bare hands, and lightly coat the metal. You can rub it on with a rag or paper towel, you can brush it on with a basting brush, or you can get creative, and skewer an onion half covered in olive oil to make your own tool that also delivers extra flavor.

All of the above techniques will help to eliminate sticking when cooking regular food like hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks, but fish and saucy meats are still likely to glue, no matter how clean or oiled up your grate is. Use the technique below to fully eliminate any possibility of sticking, no matter what you have on the grill.

The Simply Good Way

Using one of our grill mats will ensure flavorful results, effortless cooking, simple clean up, and also food that doesn’t stick. You can use it any time you grill in order to protect the grate, improve flavor, and eliminate the need for extensive clean up afterward. Despite being a solid sheet, it allows for heat to transfer so effectively that you still get grill marks. Because absolutely nothing sticks to the surface, you can slather on the sauce, grill delicate fillets, cook small vegetables and more while still achieving that great grilled taste and look. Once you’re finished cooking, they wash up easily, and are totally reusable.

To make mouth watering BBQ chicken that any guest or family member will enjoy, just follow the simple instructions below. We used a charcoal grill, but with a slightly modified technique, you could easily get the same results with your gas powered model.

1. Prep Your Meat

Way before you go outside to build a fire, you should get your chicken ready to go. In this case, we used only drumsticks, but you could use any other cut with the same method. Quality does play a role in the finished product, so we opted for organic meat, seasonings and sauce. You could go conventional, but improved taste is only one of many reasons to choose organic instead.

  1. All pieces were brought to room temperature and placed into a container with a lid.
  2. The skin was left on, and each piece was coated with plenty of sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Once the dry rub was in place, we poured loads of barbecue sauce over the top.
  4. Once the sauce was on, we stirred everything around to ensure the meat was fully covered.
  5. It was then left to sit and marinate. You could do this for a couple hours or overnight. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor it will absorb. To speed things up, you might want to try our instant marinater to flavor your meat in less than five minutes.

2. Prepare The Grill

Looking under grill matStep two is to set up your grill. Because we will be slow cooking at a lower temperature, you’ll want to arrange your coals in a certain way to allow for indirect heating. If cooking on a gas grill, just turn the knob to low, or use select burners only.

  1. Start your fire like you normally do.
  2. Allow coals to gray, or gas burners to heat fully.
  3. Once your fire is ready, prepare for cooking by separating the coals so that they are only on the sides, and the center is clear. For gas units, just turn to low, or cut off one or more burners.
  4. Secure the grate in place, then put a grill mat directly on top.
  5. For smaller grills, you can cut it to fit, and for larger ones, you can use more than one.
  6. For charcoal grills, slightly close the bottom vent to help keep the temp low.
  7. Once the mat is in place, allow to pre-heat. Your barbecue should look similar to the photo below.

Grill mat on grate

3. Drop It Like It’s Hot

bbq chicken on grill matOnce you’re all set up, and you’ve given the fire time to pre-heat the grill,  it’ll be time to drop your chicken down onto the hot surface.

  1. Use your bare hands, or use a pair of tongs to arrange the pieces on the mat. Be careful, it’s hot.
  2. Space them out evenly, and be sure that all parts are touching the mat, and not the grate.
  3. Once on the mat, use a basting brush to take leftover sauce from the container, and brush it on top of each piece.
  4. After covering with sauce, close the lid on your barbecue to let them cook.

4. Regular Check-Ups

Cooking BBQ ChickenYou will need to keep the lid closed as much as possible so heat remains inside, but you’ll also need to check the chicken to add more sauce, and flip each piece occasionally. When doing so, be as quick as possible in order to ensure good results. Check out the picture above to see the chicken in process. Notice the grill lines that form, right through the mat!

  1. Turn each piece as needed, and then re-position.
  2. If you notice that one side of the grill is hotter than the other, rotate chicken to make sure each piece cooks evenly, and at the same rate as the others.
  3. Once you have flipped and moved, add more sauce to cover each piece, then re-cover the grill to continue cooking.

bbq chicken no stickenWhile cooking, don’t be afraid to add as much sauce as you like. Unlike normal conditions that would have it drip down to ruin your grill, or put out the fire, the mat holds it all under the meat in order to cook in flavor. It won’t burn onto the chicken, and any that chars on the surface of the mat will wipe right off after you finish. Thanks to this improved cooking surface, you get chicken that is more moist, more flavorful, and way easier to cook. You will not give up any of the flavor or browning you are used to, but you will avoid drumsticks that are stuck in place, or breasts that have burnt sauce on the outside and under-cooked meat on the inside.

5. One More Time

bbq chickenThe more frequently you baste, the more BBQ flavor you will enjoy. Because you are using leftover sauce from marinating, you’ll want to discontinue basting before the chicken is done, so any yucky stuff from the raw meat has time to cook off. You should check the meat every 5-10 minutes, but exact cooking time will depend on exact temperature, proximity to the heat source, amount of flipping, ambient temps, type of grill and much more. Essentially, you’ll want to keep checking it and basting until it feels done. Raw chicken feels squishy when you poke it, and it will firm up and brown as it finishes. When you think you are on your last 5-10 minute session, give each piece one last coating of sauce, and then cover until finished.

6. Done-zo

Finished product. BBQ ChickenEasy peasy. After another little bit, your chicken will be perfectly grilled, and there won’t be one piece stuck to the grate, or glued in place due to the sticky sauce. Because you were able to cook it with an improved method, the inside will be tender and juicy, and the outside will be nicely crispy. Thanks to the fact that it cooked in sauce as you slathered sauce over the top, you will taste intense BBQ flavor with each and every bite. In our case, we scooted all of the drumsticks to the side at the last minute in order to heat up some hot dogs for the kids. All of the sauce that was covering the mat, wiped off easily in order to provide a clean, sauce-free surface for the dogs, so no there was no complaining afterward.

These mats are easily adaptable to any type of food, and you can easily cook more than one type, all at the same time. It doesn’t matter what you put on top because it will never stick, and your grill will always be protected. A simple mat will eliminate messy clean up, allow you to enjoy a greater variety of grilled foods, and eliminate the annoyance of destroyed meat that gets stuck to the metal.

Added Benefits

These mats are perfect for saucy meats, but you can use them for other stuff too. Easily grill any type of fish without trouble, no matter how delicate or flaky it is. Cook vegetables for added nutrition, or grill some potato slices for the perfect side. You can saute shrimp along side a nice steak, or you can cook shish kabobs without worry about rotating them, or loosing pieces through the grate. Take one camping to cook eggs, bacon and pancakes at breakfast time, or use one in your kitchen to prevent cookies from sticking to the pan while baking. It makes the perfect drip mat for inside your oven, and can even act as a splatter guard in your microwave.

Get these mats to solve the problem of BBQ chicken that sticks to your grill, but then continue using them for all sorts of other stuff too. They are guaranteed to improve your cooking experience, and because they are totally washable and reusable, they make economic sense when compared to other options too.

Products Mentioned

 

BBQ Chicken Without The Sticken - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/bbq-chicken-without-the-sticken/feed/ 0
10 Best Ways To Loosen Stuck Jar Lids http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/10-best-ways-to-loosen-stuck-jar-lids/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/10-best-ways-to-loosen-stuck-jar-lids/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 23:34:17 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3176 jarsYelling at a stubborn jar never seems to have the effect you want it to, but breaking out a  sledge hammer is probably not the […]

10 Best Ways To Loosen Stuck Jar Lids - Simply Good Tips

]]>

jars

Yelling at a stubborn jar never seems to have the effect you want it to, but breaking out a  sledge hammer is probably not the best idea either. Before you upset your jam with foul language, or smash the container into oblivion, you may want to try some of the easy methods listed below to get that lid off without any sweat or swearing necessary. We’ve all encountered a stuck lid at one time or another, and some can be extremely difficult to remove. In most cases it’s just the seal that is preventing you from opening the jar, but in other cases, sticky or gooey substances may be gluing it shut. It doesn’t matter if you are a male or a female, weak or strong, at some point you will encounter a lid that just won’t budge. If you have small hands, strength problems, or arthritis the situation will be more frequent, but everyone can benefit from a fool-proof method to loosen jar lids that don’t want to turn.

In most cases, the majority of us can apply minimal pressure to twist the top off any glass or plastic jar, but when you don’t hear that “pop”, and the lid won’t turn, it’s time to resort to one of the tricks and techniques below. A strong vacuum seal keeps food inside the jar fresh, but it can also prevent you from getting at it when you’re hungry. Once the seal is broken, you’ll hear a popping noise, and the top will twist off easily. If the seal isn’t the problem, then the lid may just be on too tight, and in that case, a little extra muscle may get it to turn.  If you can rule out the seal and over-tightening, then you can be pretty sure that food residue is preventing you from getting inside, especially if it’s an already-opened container. Lucky for you, we have compiled the top ten tips for loosening lids, so continue reading to easily remove any lid from any jar.

1. Bang It On The Counter

This technique employs brute force to try to pop the seal. The impact should be enough to break the vaccuum, and cause the lid to turn easily. Some caution should be used to avoid damage to counters or broken containers.

  1. For this technique, lay out a towel on the counter for protection, and to make the surface a little bit softer.
  2. Turn your jar upside-down and bang it flat on the counter, lid first.
  3. When you pound down with enough force, it should release the seal.
  4. Once the seal has been broken, turn the jar over and twist the lid off with ease.
  5. NOTE: Using enough force is essential, but using too much will result in trouble. Bang down too hard and you’ll be cleaning up a mess and picking glass shards out of your food.

2. Use Hot Water

When submerged or held under running water, the lid will expand temporarily to break the seal. This is not the fastest method, but it also doesn’t require extra muscle or any amount of pounding. After enough time has passed, you should hear the lid “pop” loose to let you know it can be twisted off without effort. Submerging in a small dish or bowl works well, but you can also hold under the faucet. Take caution to use water that is hot enough to do the job, but not so hot that you risk injury.

  1. To apply hot water with a faucet, turn water on, and set to the correct temp.
  2. Hold the jar at an angle so the water is able to touch the underside of the top where the threading meets the lid.
  3. Hold under running water at an angle, and turn to expose all areas.
  4. To speed the process, tap the outer rim with the back side of a butter knife at the same time.
  5. To submerge in water, heat until almost boiling, then place water into a shallow bowl.
  6. Fill bowl so that only the lid will submerge.
  7. Place the jar in upside-down.
  8. Let it sit until the seal pops.
  9. Once the seal has been broken with either technique, grab the lid and turn it easily to remove it.

3. Pry It Loose

If you use the pointy end of a bottle opener, the handle of a spoon or something similar, you may be able to poke and pry the seal away. Some people use a knife when attempting this technique, but that seems overly dangerous. Any tool that is slim enough to fit under the rim of the lid should do the trick.

  1. Tilt your jar so you have access to the underside of the lid.
  2. Slip your tool into the gap between the lid and the jar.
  3. Either pry upwards, or twist to slightly expand the lid.
  4. Move positions and repeat until you hear it pop loose.
  5. Once you have applied enough force, in enough positions, the seal will break, and the lid will twist without effort.
  6. NOTE: Too much force could break the jar, and the wrong tool may lead to injury. This technique may be too rough for plastic, but glass jars with metal lids are the perfect candidate.

4. Use Something Rubbery

A layer of rubber can provide just enough extra grip to allow you to apply the force necessary to remove a stuck lid. Rubber gloves are a great option when trying this method, but you could also use shelf liner, rubber bands, inner tube and other stuff that’s similar. You want to apply a rubber layer to the lid itself, or to your hands in order to improve traction, and prevent slipping. You will still need a bit of muscle to do the turning and grab on tight enough, but for many people, a simple layer of rubber will allow them to open almost any lid.

  1. When using rubber gloves, just slip them on. Use on both hands so you have a good grip with both hands for increased leverage.
  2. To try rubber bands, select some that are as wide as possible. Stretch them around the lid, and secure them in place. Use enough to cover the majority of the rim. Add another layer lower to give yourself a secure place to hold on with your other hand.
  3. Scraps of inner tube or sheets of shelf liner can be used as is, just grab in your hand, and then use to grip the jar.
  4. Once you have your rubbery stuff in place, grab with both hands and twist. The rubber will help you apply force without slipping.
  5. Give it a good twist to pop loose the seal, and then continue turning to remove the top.

5. Apply Direct Heat

As previously discussed, heat can lead to temporary expansion that will break the vacuum. Using water as mentioned above is the safest way to heat a lid, but you could also try a more direct way of heating as a last resort. You probably want to avoid this method if your jar is plastic, and fire is dangerous, so make sure to proceed with extreme caution. A blow dryer works well when trying this technique, but you could also use a burner on your stove. Make sure to avoid direct contact with any flame or heating element, and realize that the heat could melt or damage the food inside.

  1. Use a hair dryer on a high hot setting, or hold over a stove burner.
  2. Move the heat source or rotate the jar to ensure even coverage, but also to make sure no area gets heated too much.
  3. You want to heat the underside of the lid where it meets the jar, and you want to do so as evenly as possible.
  4. Once the lid expands, the seal will pop and allow you to open the jar.
  5. NOTE: glass and metal conduct heat, so prolonged exposure could result in damage to the contents, or injury to you. Do not heat one area too long, and avoid touching heated areas with bare hands. Do not try with a plastic lid because it will melt and become even more stuck.

6. Beat It With A butter Knife

This method is a favorite of many because it seems to work pretty well, and does not require extra force or dangerous techniques. You can get the same effect if you bang the lid at and angle against something hard, but using a butter knife is safer and easier in most cases. When you pound like a drum around the circumference of the top edge, you will break the seal so that the lid will no longer be stuck in place.

  1. To use this method, grab a butter knife and hold it by the blade so that the fat side is pointing up.
  2. Hold the jar in your other hand, and give the top edge a few taps.
  3. Rotate and tap again, then rotate and tap again.
  4. Use a decent amount of force, but don’t pound so hard that you risk breaking the jar, or denting the lid.
  5. Once you tap hard enough and in enough spots, the seal will be broken.
  6. Grab the lid with your hand and twist off with ease.

7. Slap The Base

A quick spanking will often be enough to make any jar act right. When you pound on the bottom of a jar with the right force, you can easily pop the seal to get inside without trouble. This technique is similar to the counter top method, but in this case you are slapping the back side instead of dropping it on its head.

  1. Take the jar in your non-dominant hand and hold on tight.
  2. Take your dominant hand with an open palm and give the bottom of the jar a nice deliberate beating with the heel of your hand.
  3. Repeat and slap several times if necessary.
  4. Once you dole out enough corporal punishment, the jar should fall in line and open as ordered.

8. Use a Damp Towel

Not quite as good as rubber at providing gription, a wet towel can work in a pinch. When dampened, you can wrap it around the lid to prevent slipping and allow you to apply the force necessary to loosen the lid.

  1. Take any dish towel or washcloth and wet under the faucet.
  2. Wring out until no longer dripping, then use in your hand to grip the lid.
  3. Apply pressure and twist off.

9. Un-Sticky It

If none of the methods above worked, and your jar is not fresh from the store, it may just be stuck due to food gumming up the works. When sticky, gooey or crusty stuff is allowed onto the threading, it can glue a lid in place once it’s screwed back on. No amount of seal breaking attempts will budge a lid like this because it’s the food holding it in place. Once you soften or remove this food, the lid should twist off like normal. Once you get it off, clean the exterior of the jar, and the interior of the lid to prevent it from happening again.

  1. To attempt to soften or remove food, soak in a shallow bath, or hold under running water.
  2. Allow to soak until softened.
  3. If necessary, use a tool to trace the circumference of the lid on the bottom to pick and scrape out anything possible.
  4. Once food has been softened or removed as much as possible, use something grippy to help you twist the lid off.

10. Buy Something

If all else fails, or if you just don’t want to waste your time with techniques that may or may not work, try getting a tool made for this task specifically. A high quality jar opener is a nice addition to any kitchen, but for those with arthritis and other issues, they can be invaluable. Instead of trying 3 or 4 different techniques on each lid that gives you trouble, you could go straight to the drawer and finish the job in seconds. A jar opener is the perfect backup for tough guys that never need them, and also the perfect everyday tool for other folks that do.

When you improve your grip, and increase the force applied at the same time, no lid will be any match for you. You won’t need hardly any strength or gripping power because the tool will handle that for you, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not it will work, because it will. When searching for the perfect tool, you’ll have lots of options available to you, but actual performance will vary widely. The two listed below are a couple of the best options available, and we have tested them for you so you can be sure that either option will get the job done easily, and last for several years of service.

Beyond a good jar opener, you could also get creative by using stuff from the hardware or auto parts store like one of those adjustable rubber wrenches.

Kuhn Rikon Gripper Jar Opener

gripperAvailable in a regular and deluxe model, this tool is able to open any jar from 1″ – 3.5″ in diameter. It’s a Swiss designed kitchen gadget with a long handle and three metallic grippers on the underside. A large knob at the top allows you to adjust the size to fit any container you are opening, and once in place, it provides and incredibly secure grip that won’t slip off. Once you have it in place, the long handle allows you to rotate the lid with an increased amount of force, so any seal breaks without effort, and any lid twists off with ease. You can use it on smooth or grooved lids, and it doesn’t matter if the are plastic or metal. The standard version is all plastic, and the deluxe version comes with a stainless steel handle. More Info.

Easy Twist Jar Opener

easytwistThis opener is a bit more economical when compared to the Kuhn Rikon option, so it may appeal to folks on a budget. The performance is impressive, although it will be less effective for some users, when compared to the Gripper above. This opener works with any lid up to 4″ in diameter, and it uses a rubberized interior instead of metal to do the gripping. Four different inner rings give you quick and simple adjustment on the fly, but it will require your strength to squeeze it securely in place. Once on the lid, the rubber part will give you a slip-proof grip, and the long handle will give you a comfortable way to twist the lid off while applying more force than you can with your bare hand. This one is also compatible with any lid type or material, so it’s easily adaptable to any stuck lid you are dealing with. More Info.

Other Tips To Consider

  • Temperature plays a role. When cold, the seal will be stronger. Allow refrigerated jars to warm to room temperature, or open lids before you chill the contents.
  • If you don’t need to put the lid back on, you can easily puncture the lid to pop the seal. Just stab with a knife through the top. You could still screw the top back on, but it would have no ability to retain freshness.
  • If dealing with a sticky food induced stuck lid, try the butter knife method if soaking shows no results. Sometime whacking in the right spot will free up the food and allow the lid to move.

There is no lid you can not open. Only ones that want to give you a hard time. The next time some jar wants to give you trouble, try out a tip from the list above to put it in it’s place. We all have plenty of stuff around the house to attempt a home remedy as explained above, but some would be better of to just get a tool designed for the task. Once you have a technique that works for you, or the right tool on hand, you’ll never worry about removing the top from any food container, and you’ll never have to sweat or swear to get the job done. Don’t scare the kids, or frighten your neighbors by taking a hammer to a jar in your backyard, and stop with the futile yelling because the jar’s not listening. Use one of the best methods available, or try a high quality opener to loosen the lid without effort.

Products Mentioned

Image credit: [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Best Ways To Loosen Stuck Jar Lids - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/10-best-ways-to-loosen-stuck-jar-lids/feed/ 0
Cut Food, Not Your Fingers http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cut-food-not-fingers/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cut-food-not-fingers/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 23:34:47 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3025 cut food safelyKnives are dangerous, especially when used by you. Get the Safe Slice to protect your fingers against accidental injury when preparing food.

Cut Food, Not Your Fingers - Simply Good Tips

]]>

cut food safelyYour fingers look nice still attached to your hand. Let’s keep them that way.

Professional chef-ing can be an intimidating activity, and it’s one that many of us avoid due to the inherent risk of injury. You know that all of those scary knives are just waiting for the chance to “accidentally” slice you when you’re not looking, so you avoid using one altogether. You may be inexperienced,  out of practice, extra clumsy, or just especially accident prone, and as a result, those razor sharp blades can pose a real risk to your health. Before you give up hope, or start prepping all of your food with an electric processor, you may want to try a little protection so you no longer have to fear the blade. With a knife guard in place, the dangerous edge is unable to touch your skin, so you never have to worry about unexpected abrasions or severed digits.

What Is It

Our Safe Slice Knife Guard is a simple and clever device that slips over your fingers to create a protective barrier between your delicate skin and the knife you’re using. The back portion is made from a silicone-like material so it flexes with your hand, and adapts to any user. The finger and thumb hole will stretch to conform to any hand, and the grip can adjust to any size fruit or vegetable. Added bumps will increase gripping power and ensure that the food you are cutting does not roll or slip loose. Two separate plates made from a durable plastic material will act like shields to guard you from the onslaught and make slicing any type of food safe and easy. Wearing this guard when slicing food will give any novice the confidence of a pro because accidents will be virtually impossible.

How To Use It

Slip it on anytime you prepare food for piece of mind. The extra layer of safety it provides will help you increase speed, improve accuracy, and attempt techniques that are more risky. Your food prep will take less time, the results will be better, and you’ll never have to worry about running to the emergency room, or dashing to get a box of band-aids. You may have to explain to others what the heck is on your hand, but after you explain it, they’ll be asking where you got it.

  1. Always wash fruits and vegetables prior to slicing.
  2. Once clean, place atop a cutting board or another safe surface.
  3. Take your non-dominant hand and slip on the Safe Slice. Ensure that your finger and thumb are securely inside.
  4. Grip the food you are cutting with the knife guard.
  5. Take your knife in your dominant hand, and proceed to slice like normal.
  6. Cut all the way up to the guard without worry, and slowly move back to reveal more uncut food.
  7. Dishwasher safe when finished.

Your kids like carrot sticks, and whole tomatoes just aren’t the same on top of a cheeseburger. It’s perfectly sane to fear large blades that are incredibly sharp, especially when questionable people like ourselves are wielding them. Get this simple little gadget and never say no at snack time again, or embarrass yourself trying to cut veggies with a butter knife. Use it to give yourself the confidence that comes with knowing that you will never cut your finger, no matter how many potatoes and onions you chop.

Products Mentioned

  • Safe Slice Knife Guard – Get One

Cut Food, Not Your Fingers - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cut-food-not-fingers/feed/ 0
A Clean Grill Without Any Effort http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/a-clean-grill-without-any-effort/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/a-clean-grill-without-any-effort/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:28:25 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3108 Keep your grill cleanBackyard barbecues are awesome. Cleaning up…. Not so much. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just get someone else to clean up […]

A Clean Grill Without Any Effort - Simply Good Tips

]]>

Keep your grill cleanBackyard barbecues are awesome. Cleaning up…. Not so much.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just get someone else to clean up the huge mess you make after you finish cooking on the grill? Of course it would. But if you had that kind of scratch on hand, you would probably cater the party, or order out for dinner instead. It seems like no matter what precautions you take, or what food you cook, you will always have to deal with the tedious torture that is cleaning up afterward. Or will you?

We all have a collection of tools that includes pokers, scrapers, sponges, brushes and other stuff, but all of those are for tackling the build up once it’s cooked on there. The key to simple clean up is never getting the food, sauce and oil on the grill in the first place. The easiest way to accomplish this would be to skip the barbecue altogether, but then you’ll miss out on the fresh air and delicious flavor. The next easiest way would be to protect the surface by putting a barrier between the food and the grate.

Plenty of people use tin foil for this purpose, and others use some sort of stainless steel tray or something similar. These are pretty bad choices, but also widely used by folks that don’t know any better. The stainless steel options are kinda nice because you can use them more than once, but they will be impossible to clean, and they will also affect the cooking process. There will be no grill marks on your food, and it may take more or less time to finish, depending on what is being grilled. Also, forget about cooking fish or anything delicate because it’s pretty much guaranteed to stick. Foil is questionable as far as how healthy it may or may not be to cook on, but cleaning it up is as easy as tossing it out. It will almost certainly cause problems that reduce quality depending on what you cook, and there is no possibility of reusing it. Once again, you will not get any grill marks, and some stuff will stick like glue to the surface.

A Better Way

Our grill mats provide one of the best non-stick surfaces for any barbecue, and they’re also totally reusable, and incredibly easy to clean. When compared to foil and other options, they will save you money, reduce effort, improve results, and allow you to prepare food that makes you look like a professional chef. Because nothing sticks to the surface, it will wipe clean with little effort, and notoriously tough substances like BBQ sauce will be simple to clean off. Thanks to the versatile surface, you can easily grill fish and veggies, and everything will still look like it came from the grill because you will still get grill marks. Because it’s higher quality and thicker than most alternatives out there, you can expect a safe surface that will work as advertised for hundreds of backyard cooking sessions.

grilling on non-stick, washable surfaceTake a look at the picture above. We literally loaded down the mat with food, and we didn’t keep it safe by just doing hot dogs and hamburgers either. You can barely see the mat in the photo, but it was positioned under the chicken and franks for the entire cooking cycle. The drumsticks were slow cooked, and basted several times over with a sweet and sticky sauce, and the hot dogs were left to cook like normal on a clean section of the mat. Under normal conditions, this process would have resulted in most of the sauce dripping down onto the coals to put out the fire, while the rest of it caramelized onto the grate. Very little would be left to flavor the chicken, or keep it moist. Because we had the mat in place, the chicken was able to grill in it’s own sauce for an incredibly flavorful coating and a nice moist interior.

clean grillOnce the food was removed from the grill, the mat looked pretty worked over. You can see little bits of grease, food chunks, burnt sauce and other gross leftovers covering the entire surface. Without the mat, all of this stuff would have been cooked onto the grate, or left to fall down into the interior of the grill. Over time, these little bits would build up to make the whole thing pretty yucky, and in the short term, it would force extensive cleaning to prepare for the next grilled meal. Because we had the mat in place, our grill is no more dirty than when we started, so the only thing left to do is clean the mat, and lucky for us, this can be accomplished in a matter of seconds.

washing your grill matTo clean a grill mat, you could just wipe it off with a rag and leave it in place, but you could also bring it inside for a more thorough cleaning, and storage in your kitchen.

  1. To prepare for washing, allow it to cool completely.
  2. Once cool, bring inside and position inside your kitchen sink.
  3. Use dish soap and water to clean like any non-stick cooking surface.
  4. Be sure to avoid sharp utensils, or abrasive materials as they may harm it.
  5. Most substances will glide right off the mat when wiped, but some may require a short soaking period.
  6. After a few seconds, your mat will look like the one in the picture below, and it will be totally ready to use all over again.

Washed and ready to reuse - grill mat.Stop sweating to get the grate clean, and don’t cook on dirty surfaces or questionable materials again. Our BBQ mats will improve your ability to cook, and also save you time and reduce effort when it’s time to clean up. If you always lay down a mat before putting your food on the grill, you’ll never have to use a wire brush or scraper again. A quick wipe with a damp rag, or a momentary soak in the sink will be all it takes to get your grill ready to go again. Save your effort for more enjoyable outdoor activities, and cook on a mat that practically cleans itself.

Versatile

Because they’re heat safe and non-stick, there are plenty of uses for these mats off the grill too. They’re guaranteed to make grill clean up a snap, but in winter, you can use them in your oven to prevent baked goods from sticking, or to catch drips at the bottom. You can also cover food that you microwave to prevent splatters, or roll dough on your counter without putting down flour first.

Sanitary

Take with you when traveling to protect yourself and others from grilling surfaces that are already dirty or rusted. When picnicking at the park, or camping in the wilderness, these can provide an easily portable cooking surface that you can use over and over again. Simply place over what’s there to avoid cooking on other people’s food, or contaminating your own with whatever is there that can’t be cleaned off. You will instantly transform any questionable public grill into one that is totally safe and ready to go in seconds.

Top Quality

You can now find similar products sold elsewhere, (Of course you can. They’re awesome.) but you should be wary of the quality offered. Cheaper versions of this item can be unsafe in some cases, and lower quality in most. The competition is thinner, and the coating is a lower quality material. This results in uneven cooking, rapid deterioration, tough clean up, warped mats and all sorts of other trouble. Ours have been thoroughly tested and proven to work well. They hold up for hundreds of washes, and they will help you cook amazing food with less effort. Do yourself a favor, and stick with a proven time and money saver that won’t just be the cause of new problems. Get our grill mat and take pride a grill that’s always clean, without any effort on your part.

Products Mentioned

 

A Clean Grill Without Any Effort - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/a-clean-grill-without-any-effort/feed/ 0
Chop Chop. Use Your V-Power Mandoline Like A Pro http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/chop-chop-use-your-v-power-mandoline-like-a-pro/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/chop-chop-use-your-v-power-mandoline-like-a-pro/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 23:40:47 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3056 v-power step by step how toSlice, dice, chop and shred like a professional chef. Read these easy to follow instructions, and learn how to properly use your Borner V-Power Mandoline Slicer.

Chop Chop. Use Your V-Power Mandoline Like A Pro - Simply Good Tips

]]>

v-power step by step how toThe V-Power Mandoline slicer from Borner is a high quality tool manufactured in Germany, and it allows you to slice, dice, chop, and shred with incredible accuracy, and amazing speed. It’s the newest version from the makers of the original V-Slicer, and it has the same razor sharp, v-shaped blade, but it also has a number of upgrades and changes that set it apart from the classic model. The complete set comes with everything you need, and together it will allow you to perform 10 different types of cuts. Basic slicing is pretty straight forward, but making sticks or cubes from fruits and vegetables can be a little more difficult. With proper technique and a little bit of practice, anyone can use this slicer to prepare food with professional looking results. Continue reading to learn about every part included in the set, and also to discover the correct way to use this tool. Once you get to the bottom, you’ll be an expert on it’s function, and you’ll be fully prepared to slice tomatoes, dice onions, or julienne zucchini.

What’s Included

  • (1) Mandoline V-Slicer
  • (2) Blade Inserts (3.5mm & 7mm)
  • (1) Thickness Insert
  • (1) Safety Food Holder
  • (1) Insert Storage Caddy
  • (1) Instruction Booklet

Important Safety Information

CAUTION: The metal blades are extremely sharp! Take great care each time you use your V-Power. Prior to your first use, it is essential to read the instructions in full. Never touch the metal blades with your bare hands. Only touch the plastic parts. Use extra caution when children are present, and never allow them to touch or play with the slicer. Whenever possible, store the slicer in a safe place that is out of the reach of children.

Safety Food Holder

V-Power Safety Food Holder
CAUTION: Never hold the food you are cutting with your hands. Always use the safety holder!

The holder that comes with this set is fully compatible with any other Borner slicer, as well as other models by other manufacturers. It’s clever design will allow you to safely process fruits and vegetables with virtually no waste, and no risk of injury. It holds any type of food securely, and allows you to press out more as you slice. The large size keep fingers away from the blade, and easily accommodates anything you are trying to cut.

If necessary, peel fruits prior to slicing. For vegetables like cabbage and onions, put the core or root end into the holder first so that the knob on top is pushed up. For larger fruits and vegetables, just halve or quarter before you add them to the holder. To use it, simply slide the holder continuously with light pressure in a back and forth motion. When working, ensure that the direction you are moving matches the direction of the arrows on either side of the holder. IMPORTANT: You do not need to press down, or apply pressure. Let the precision German blades do all of the work for you.

When you reach the point when there is nothing more being sliced, gently push down the top knob to cut the remainder of your fruit or vegetable. CAUTION: Incorrect use of the safety holder may result in injury, and will damage the blades of your VPower.

Thickness Insert

V-Power Thickness Insert
This plastic insert will be the one installed in your slicer when it arrives. It has no additional blades on it like the other two inserts do, and it will allow you to adjust the thickness of your slices. Simply set it to one of five positions to achieve the exact thickness you want. When brand new, it will be in position 5 or the “safe” setting where the plastic sits flush with the blade to prevent accidents. You should always store your V-Power in “safe” mode as well. This will make it childproof, but also prevent accidental injury of adults that are not paying close enough attention.

To unlock the insert from the childproof lock, just press the colored button on the side of the frame. Use your index finger or thumb on one hand while holding the slicer steady with your other hand. Release the insert using light pressure as in the photo above. Once the arrows on the frame match up with the arrows on the insert, you should be able to lift it out easily. CAUTION: Never touch the insert close to the blades.

Installing The Thickness Insert:

V-Power Thickness Settings

  1. Locate the arrows on both sidebars of the frame, and also on top of the insert.
  2. Slide the insert into the frame when the arrows on both sides match. The insert is now automatically in position 1.
  3. Your slicer is ready to use, but if you want thinner pieces, simply slide the insert forward, one or more levels. You will hear a click as it locks into place.
  4. When finished, or to activate the childproof lock, slide the insert all the way forward and into position 5. In this position, the blades are protected, and they will not cut.

3.5mm And 7mm Blade Inserts

V-Power Blade Inserts
Both of the julienne inserts are adjustable in height, and they can be used in one of two positions. One slot is marked with long sticks, and the other with smaller cubes. The stick slot will be the thickest, and the cube slot will be slightly thinner. The width of your cut will be determined by which blade insert you have installed.

Installing The Blade Inserts:

  1. To install, locate the arrows on the frame, and match up with the arrow on the insert you intend to use.
  2. Once lined up, lightly press the insert into the frame and it will automatically be installed at position one, the thickest setting. In this position you can cut thick strips.
  3. If you want to cut thinner strips or cubes, push the insert forward until it clicks into position 2.
  4. To cut strips, use light pressure and a continuous up and down motion.
  5. To dice fruits and vegetables, turn the food holder and position at a 45 degree angle before the first cut. Slide down to cut, then rotate 90 degrees in the opposite direction and slice again. Continue rocking back and forth to chop a pile of cubes. See the picture below.

Dicing food with the V-Power

Cleaning

  1. To clean, set the thickness insert to position 5, the safe setting.
  2. Rinse the V-Power and the inserts under warm or cold running water. Use caution and avoid touching the metal blades.
  3. Rinse the safety holder as well.
  4. Place wet blade inserts into the storage box and then attach storage box to the back of the slicer.
  5. The unit is now free standing and able to dry thoroughly.
  6. CAUTION: Never leave parts in soapy water to avoid accidental touching.
  7. CAUTION: Always store out of reach of children.
  8. Dishwasher not recommended as high temps and strong detergents may damage or reduce effectiveness over time.

Guarantee

Every V-Power comes with a full 2-year guarantee to protect you against material and production faults. This guarantee does not cover problems that occur due to improper use, but it will cover you against a faulty unit, and ensure that you have a tool that will last for many years of regular use.

Products Mentioned

  • Borner V-Power Mandoline Slicer – Buy One

Tip Contents

Chop Chop. Use Your V-Power Mandoline Like A Pro - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/chop-chop-use-your-v-power-mandoline-like-a-pro/feed/ 2
Party On. How To Use Your Raclette Grill http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/party-on-how-to-use-your-raclette-grill/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/party-on-how-to-use-your-raclette-grill/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:57:47 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=3026 How to use a raclette grillCook like a pro and impress friends and family. Find step by step instructions for use, and a list of recipes to get you started.

Party On. How To Use Your Raclette Grill - Simply Good Tips

]]>

How to use a raclette grill

Reinvented for the modern era, a Raclette Grill is the perfect addition to your next dinner party or social gathering. Designed for several people to cook at once, these indoor party grills offer unique tabletop entertainment, healthy preparation, and mouth watering results. The cooking surface at the top offers tons of room for grilling meat, fish, vegetables and more, and eight dishes underneath will allow you to melt cheese or warm other sauces. Combine top and bottom ingredients to enjoy unique combinations that anyone would love. You can make traditional Swiss recipes, or you can get creative to come up with your own. Thanks to the reversible grill plate, you will have two types of cooking surfaces, one smooth, and one with raised ridges.

Using one of these appliances is pretty simple, but continue reading to learn everything about your model, and also find out how to maximize potential, and ensure longevity.

Models Covered

Any raclette will be pretty similar, but these instructions are specific to the Swissmar brand, and covers the following model numbers:

  • KF-77071
  • KF-77070
  • KF-77040
  • KF-77041
  • KF-77045
  • KF-77043
  • KF-77081
  • KF-77080

NOTE: All of the above models are functionally similar. Size, power, and most features will be the same. The main difference will be the cooking surface it comes with, and the other difference will be the color or finish of the main appliance.

Raclette History

Popular for centuries in Switzerland, traditional raclette is a delectable cheese dish that originated in the Swiss farming community hundreds of years ago. During the warm summer months, shepherds would travel with their herds, high into the mountains where grazing conditions were better. Because they were required to carry any supplies they brought, they would keep it limited, and only bring basics like flour, potatoes, pickles, and a round of cheese produced by their own cows. Long evenings in front of the fire were improved by this new way of eating, sharing and socializing. The cheese was cut in two, and one half would be placed on a rock, close to the fire. As the cheese slowly heated, it would begin to bubble and liquefy. Just before it dripped down into the flames, it would be removed from the hot stone, and the scraped onto a plate of potatoes and pickles. The extended preparation encouraged conversation, and helped to pass the time, and the delicious combination of melted cheese and anything else, easily improved the simple ingredients they brought with them.

The word “Raclette” comes from the French word “racler” meaning “to scrape off”. From these humble beginnings, the Raclette tradition was born.

Technical Data

  • Basic appliance for electrical outlet: 120V / 60Hz / 1200W
  • CUL Approved
  • Reversible cast aluminum nonstick grill plate, enameled cast iron grill plate or hot stone (model dependent)
  • Variable temperature control

Parts Diagram

raclette grill partsWARNING: Do not operate your grill if the cord or plug is damaged. If you notice any malfunction or defect, immediately disconnect the cord from the electrical outlet and contact the manufacturer. If repair is necessary, do not attempt yourself. Any repairs should be performed by a qualified person. This product comes with a one year warranty, and is completely protected against any manufacturing defects.

Important Safety Precautions

  • READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO USE
  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Always turn off before you unplug it.
  • Unplug when not in use, and prior to any cleaning.
  • If switching, flipping or removing the grill plate, allow to cool completely first.
  • Keep cord away from any heat source.
  • Do not immerse grill or cord in water or other liquids.
  • Do not touch any hot surfaces. Always use knobs and handles provided.
  • Never carry it when it’s still hot. Use extreme caution when moving while it’s still holding hot oil or other liquids.
  • Never place a cloth or other flammable objects near it while it’s still hot.
  • When placing raclette dishes in their spot, ensure that the handles are facing away from the heating element.
  • Only use heat resistant spatulas when removing food from the grill.
  • Place hot raclette dishes on a heat resistant surface, or a compatible dish holder.
  • Do not use it for anything but its intended use.
  • Do not use outside.
  • Do not let cord hang over the edge of your table or counter.
  • Do not place near hot gas, electric burner, or inside your oven.
  • Connect to properly grounded outlet to prevent possibility of shock.
  • Only cook on the removable plate, and make sure it is installed properly first.

Set Up And Starting

  1. To prepare for setup, remove all parts from the box, and ensure that all pieces, 1-6 are included. See diagram for parts  list. PLEASE NOTE: Different models will come with different cooking surfaces. Each set will include ONE, and it will be cast aluminum, cast iron, or granite depending on which model you purchase.
  2. Thoroughly wash grill plate or hot stone, the raclette dishes and the spatulas prior to use. Wipe dry once clean.
  3. To set it up, simply align the grill plate or stone with the side supports, then secure into position.
  4. Once grilling surface is installed, place the raclette dishes onto the tray surface underneath.
  5. Plug the electrical cord into any standard outlet.
  6. If cooking food that is marinated, lightly oil or grease the grill plate.
  7. Never use non-stick cooking spray because it will burn onto the surface.
  8. Preheat Cast aluminum grill plate for 8-10 minutes at the highest setting, then turn down to your required level for the dish you are making.
  9. Preheat cast iron grill plate for 15 minutes at the highest setting, then reduce to cooking temperature.
  10. Preheat hot stone for 20 minutes at the highest setting, or preheat in your oven to finish faster. If transferring from oven, be sure to use oven mitts.

Cleaning

  1. Unplug an allow to cool prior to cleaning.
  2. Wipe down with damp cloth. Do not submerge in water.
  3. Wash grill plate, hot stone, dishes and spatulas in warm water, using a mild detergent. If grill plate is cast iron, dry immediately after washing.
  4. Do not use steel wool, wire brushes or abrasive cleansers. If stubborn grime is encountered, leave to soak.
  5. When cleaning the hot stone, a stainless steel scraper or scouring pad work well.

Recipes And Suggestions

Continue reading for general cooking tips and recipe ideas. Experiment with these to become familiar with the cooking techniques that work well, then get creative to discover food combinations that your friends and family will enjoy even more. As with any type of cooking, fresh, high quality ingredients will always result in great tasting food with ideal consistency.

Traditional Swiss Raclette

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. small new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs Swiss raclette cheese, cut into slices

Serves: 8

Side Dishes:

A selection or dried meats, proscuitto, parma ham, baguettes, gherkins, pickled onions and fresh pepper.

Directions:

  1. Wash the potatoes, and boil them with skin on until cooked.
  2. Place the potatoes, cheese and other side dishes on the table.
  3. Place a slice of cheese into the raclette dish for each person, then position under the grill to melt.
  4. Once cheese melts, scrape onto each person’s plate of potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions.
  5. Grin fresh pepper over the top, and enjoy with dried meats and baguette.
  6. Serve with a light white whine or your preferred beverage of choice.
  7. Tip: Try with other cheeses like Tilsit, Grey Alp, Appenzeller or Emmental.

Appetizer & Side Dish Ideas

Cheese Toast

  1. Lightly toast slices of french bread on top of the grill plate.
  2. Make sure the slices are no thicker than 3/4″ thick.
  3. Once toasted, place into a raclette dish.
  4. If desired, sprinkle with white wine.
  5. Cover toast with a slice of cheese, then slide the dish under the grill.
  6. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
  7. Tip: Add thin slices of bacon, ham, sliced mushrooms or onion rings to the grill top and cook at the same time to serve on top of your toast.

Grilled Potatoes

  1. Pre-boil potatoes, then slice lengthwise.
  2. Grill on high for a few minutes on each side, then add to a raclette dish.
  3. Place a piece of cheese over the top, then slide under the grill to melt.
  4. Once cheese turns to liquid, remove and serve.
  5. Tip: Add your favorite spices under the cheese for added flavor.

Quesadillas

  1. Grill red and green peppers, mushrooms and onions on the grill plate.
  2. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese in a raclette dish and slide under the grill until it melts.
  3. Place a tortilla on the grill top, then fill with grilled veggies.
  4. Scrape melted cheese over the top.
  5. Fold tortilla over and then flip so both sides get browned.
  6. Cut into triangles to serve.
  7. Tip: If desired add in your favorite meat or spices. Experiment with different cheeses for a variety of flavors.

Main Dish Ideas

Meat

  1. Cut meats into bite-size pieces.
  2. Depending on the thickness, grill for about 2-4 minutes on each side.
  3. For a variety, try marinating prior to cooking.
  4. When cooking larger pieces, timing will be about 15 minutes for each side.

Fish and Seafood

  1. Because they are more sensitive to heat, fish and seafood should not be cooked over heat that is too high.
  2. When cooking thick fillets, lightly oil the surface and grill at a medium heat setting.

Shish Kabobs

  1. Cut meat and veggies into bite-size pieces.
  2. Add to wooden skewers and grill for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Use beef or chicken with vegetables like cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and peppers.
  4. For an alternative, try ham with peppers and pineapple, or substitute shrimp or salmon instead of traditional meats.

Desserts

Savoy-Style Pears

  1. Peel, halve and core the pears, then slice into thin pieces.
  2. Melt butter in a raclette dish and arrange the pears in a fan shape on top.
  3. Sprinkle with sugar and cook on the top of the grill until the fruit is soft. Pour some cream over them, then slide the pans under the grill and cook until the sauce caramelizes.
  4. Tip: You can use apples instead, and you can add cinnamon for added flavor.

Orange Cake

  1. Lightly toast both sides of a slice of sponge cake on top of the grill.
  2. Place into a raclette dish and sprinkle with orange liqueur.
  3. Slice an orange thinly, remove the pith, cut in half, then arrange overlapping on top of the cake slice.
  4. Sprinkle with course, raw sugar, and bake under grill for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Tip: substitute peaches instead off oranges for a fresh summer treat.

Crepes

Prepare the batter ahead of time, and store until ready for fast and effortless results.

Yield: ~20 crepes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 45 minutes.
  2. Heat up the crêpe top(reverse side of grill plate) to medium high.
  3. Pour batter and allow to spread until crêpe cavity is filled.
  4. Fry for about 30 seconds, then flip using a heat-resistant, and nonabrasive spatula.
  5. Fry for another 30 seconds, then remove.

Savory Crepes

  1. Serve as a main course. Use the batter recipe above, but eliminate the sugar.
  2. Add fresh herbs to the batter and cook as detailed above.
  3. Fill with mushrooms, chicken or baby shrimp an scallops cooked in sauce.
  4. Fold and serve warm.

Dessert Crepes

Crepes Wilhelmina

  1. Drizzle each crêpe with some cherry brandy and fill with two teaspoons of vanilla ice cream.
  2. Fold over to serve.

Crepes Garbo

  1. Drizzle brandy over canned peach slices and use as a filling.
  2. Fold crêpe over and serve with hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream on top.

Tip: The crepe side of the grill plate can also be used for omelets, tacos or flat bread too.

Products Mentioned

  • Classic Raclette Party Grill – Buy One
  • Cast Iron Raclette Grill – Buy One

Tip Contents

 

Party On. How To Use Your Raclette Grill - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/party-on-how-to-use-your-raclette-grill/feed/ 0
Shredding Cabbage The Easy Way http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/shredding-cabbage-easy-way/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/shredding-cabbage-easy-way/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 23:25:06 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2996 shred-cabbage-1You don't have to be a professional chef to shred cabbage by hand. Stop wasting money on pre-bagged garbage, and eat fresh stuff instead.

Shredding Cabbage The Easy Way - Simply Good Tips

]]>

shred-cabbage-1Stop wasting money on pre-shredded bags, but don’t stop preparing your favorite salads, slaws, soups, krauts and stir fries. Shredded cabbage is a vital and tasty ingredient when making these and other dishes, and many of us opt for expensive bags at the store instead of preparing it ourselves. Taking the time to do it at home will not only save you money, it will also improve any dish you prepare thanks to the fresh flavor and improved texture. You can always use a knife, and do it by hand, but the results won’t be perfect, and it may take you a long time depending on your skill level. If you want to avoid wasting time, but also savor the delicious flavor that fresh ingredients provide, continue reading to discover a fast and easy way to shred your own cabbage.

Traditional methods only require you to have a knife and a cutting board on hand, and most people do. This can be a fun way to prep if you have time, but if you need to speed things up, a high quality mandolin slicer can make this job simple to accomplish, and it will take seconds instead of minutes to shred a whole pile of cabbage. You can get long strips or short, and you can vary the width to get the exact thickness you desire. As you slice, each piece will be uniform in width, so it will cook more evenly, and the texture will be consistent across the entire dish. When shredding on the spot instead of dumping out a package, you will save money and time, but you will also enjoy more flavorful dishes thanks to the fresh ingredients.

The first set of instructions below will walk you through the steps required to break down a cabbage by hand. This will be a traditional technique, and it does require moderate skill to get good results. If you like to chop stuff by hand, then get out your cutting board and a big sharp knife, then continue reading to learn how to shred any red, green, savoy or napa cabbage like a knife wielding pro. If you would prefer to use a faster method that requires no skill, or if you’d just like to know another way to accomplish this task, continue reading to discover a simply good way to prep your cabbage. You can achieve similar results with either method, but there’s no way you can use a regular knife at the same speed as a mandoline, and the shreds will never be as uniform in comparison.

The Traditional Way To Shred Cabbage

Stuff You’ll Need:

  • (1) Head of Cabbage
  • (1) Chef’s Knife (large)
  • (1) Cutting Board

How To Do It

  1. First, begin by washing the head thoroughly, and then remove any yucky leaves. Use cold water, and then gently pat dry after washing.
  2. After washing, you will want to quarter the cabbage to make it more manageable, and to remove the core.
  3. Place vertically on your cutting board with the core side down. Cut straight down to divide in half.
  4. Once you have to halves, cut again vertically to give yourself four wedges to work with.
  5. Take each wedge, and place so that the core is facing down. Using your knife, cut at an angle to remove the core from each wedge.
  6. Once you have four pieces that no longer have cores, you can proceed to shred.
  7. Carefully slice along the vertical edge to slice into long shreds, or slice in the other direction to make shorter shreds. Continue chopping until the entire wedge is reduced making sure to keep a uniform width with each slice.
  8. Continue to finish the other three pieces.

The Easy Way To Shred Cabbage

shred-cabbage-2

Stuff You’ll Need

  • (1) Borner Mandoline Slicer
  • (1) Knife
  • (1) Bowl or Cutting Board for Collection

How To Do It

Depending on cabbage size and type, you may NOT want to core it first, but as far as recommendations go, we always suggest that you do. In the pictures, you’ll notice that we did not. The reason was two-fold in this case, but the circumstances were pretty unique, so most of you will probably want to remove the core on your head. Ours was a small, homegrown head with very little core. We wanted to maximize yield in order to satisfy our recipe, so we chose to skip the removal step until the last little bit was left. We also had trouble finding our safety food holder that day, so the stumpy core at the end made a nice handle to guide the head while keeping our fingers safe.

You’ll also notice in the pictures that we used the slicer with a julienne insert in place. This is optional, and it will result in shorter shreds. We were making coleslaw, and we wanted shorter shreds, so we had the 7mm julienne blade in place while cutting. If you remove the insert and rely only on the v-shaped blade, you will get long pieces instead of short ones.
shred-cabbage-3

  1. To begin, wash your cabbage in cold water, then dry. Remove any wilted leaves or damaged parts from the exterior.
  2. Place onto your cutting board, and cut in half vertically. Cut again to end up with four equal wedges.
  3. Take each wedge, and cut diagonally across the front to remove the core.
  4. Select one quarter, and pierce with your safety food holder to secure it in place.
  5. Set up your mandoline by selecting the thickness of your shred.
  6. Insert a julienne blade if you want short shreds, leave out if you want longer ones.
  7. Secure slicer to bowl, or place over cutting board to collect.
  8. Take your cabbage wedge in your food holder, and glide down the face of the slicer.
  9. Continue with an up and down motion until every piece is shredded. Use the plunger at the top to reveal more food as needed.
  10. Repeat with other three wedges until shredding is complete.
  11. The shred thickness you need will depend on what you are making. Most soups call for a thick shred (1/4″ to 1/2″) while krauts and slaws usually have finer pieces that are closer to 1/8″.

With this method, each shred will be just as thick as the next, and you can easily power through the whole head in a matter of minutes. The sharp blade allows you to glide effortlessly as you cut, and the food holder keeps fingers safe while allowing you to cut every last bit. You can easily adjust thickness and length, and you are guaranteed professional looking results no matter what your skill level is. Although you will have to core it by hand, the blazing speed at which you can finish the rest of the job will certainly make up for the initial effort required. Once your cabbage is shredded, it’s best to use it right away, but you can certainly store for a few days if needed, just make sure to seal in an airtight container or bag.
shred-cabbage-last

Why Shred It By Hand?

  • Buying a head is cheap. Why pay 4 or more dollars for one little bag when you could procure a whole head at like 60 cents a pound? Start breaking down that single head , and you’ll quickly realize that you can make way more than a bag full at a fraction of the price.
  • Bagged Produce Is Pretty Awful. Nothing like a flavorless bag full of mushy shreds to make you want to slice up your own crispy batch from a fresh head. Pre-bagged stuff is far from fresh, and it is often flavorless, limp and light in comparison.
  • Food Processors Are Too Hard Core. You don’t need a fancy machine to do this job, and if you use one, it may just pulverize your veg into something you don’t want to eat. You certainly won’t get long pieces with perfect thickness, and you may get a pile of mush you can’t even work with. The waste is pretty high with these machines too, and clean up can be a real pain. Why spend more time cleaning your tool than it takes you to do the job in the first place?

Products Mentioned

Shredding Cabbage The Easy Way - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/shredding-cabbage-easy-way/feed/ 0
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake In Your Microwave http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/pineapple-upside-cake-microwave/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/pineapple-upside-cake-microwave/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 22:11:57 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2994 pineapple upside-down cakeMake a fancy & flavorful dessert in under 15 minutes. Microwave cake can taste just as good as the traditionally baked variety when you follow these steps.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake In Your Microwave - Simply Good Tips

]]>

pineapple upside-down cakeWant to make a homemade cake that friends and family will enjoy? OK. No problem. Want to do it without using your oven? Good luck. Unless you enjoy awful tasting food with a rubbery texture, you probably won’t like the results you end up with. It’s incredibly tough to duplicate the look, feel and taste of cake that is actually baked, but with the right stuff, you can come pretty darn close. When you lock in moisture, heat and flavor as you cook, you can make a delicious dessert that is just as moist and flavorful as anything you bake the traditional way. As an added benefit, the microwave version will require a fraction of the time and effort in comparison.

Bottom line? Microwave baking can be a last minute time saver, or an everyday convenience, and most people devouring the goodness will not even be able to tell the difference.

Anyone can mix up a box from the store and then slap some frosting on it, but few dare to tackle more exotic pastries because it seems way too difficult. When you serve an upside-down cake instead of something that looks Birthday related, everyone will still be satisfied with their sweet treat, but they will also be asking “how did you do that”. Although the results will look pretty amazing, if you use the easy recipe below, you will be serving your gourmet dessert in less than 15 minutes, and with hardly any effort on your part.

Upon looking at it, it will look like one that’s been baked, and upon tasting it, it will taste the same too. The texture will not be ruined, and it will not be dry, or rock hard in any area. The MicroBuddy Dishes are key to outstanding results with this recipe, and regular dishes will never work as well. More than just for cakes though, you’ll be able to prepare all sorts of meals and desserts in your microwave using the same dishes, and the results will be just as fast and flavorful.

What’s An Upside-Down Cake

It’s not a clever way to conceal the side that you accidentally ruined, upside-down cakes are actually prepared and cooked in reverse, and then flipped for serving. You layer all of your ingredients in one pan, top stuff first, and then bake until done. Once cooled, you turn it over onto a dish so that the base faces up, and then cut and serve, upside-down. In most cases, there will be butter, sugar and fruit at the bottom of the pan, so that once flipped, it acts as a decoration and a topping. One of the most widely recognized members of the upside-down confection family is the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, but there are a few others such as the French Tarte Tatin, and the Brazilian Bolo de banana.

How To Make Pineapple Upside-Down Cake In Your Microwave

Items Needed

1 Micro Buddy Container (Large)

1 or 2 microwave safe dishes that fit inside.

Servings

1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 9oz box yellow cake mix. (about 2 cups) prepared according to box instructions
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Pineapple rings
  • 2 Maraschino Cherries
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (take from ring container)

Directions

  1. Rub softened butter evenly across the bottom of the container(s).
  2. Place pineapple rings onto the buttered surface.
  3. Place a cherry at the center of each ring.
  4. Sprinkle with brown sugar to create an even coating.
  5. Fill with cake batter.
  6. Pour pineapple juice into the base of your large Micro Buddy container and then secure the rack on top.
  7. Place your filled containers onto the rack, and then cover with the lid.
  8. Cook for 10 minutes at a medium high setting. (NOTE: times and temps will vary based on machine. Adjust as necessary.)
  9. Once cooked, turn over onto plate and serve warm, or at room temperature.

That’s all there is to it. A fancy dessert that tastes delicious can be prepared, start to finish, in a matter of minutes. No preheating an oven, no cake tins to wash by hand, and no waiting. Quickly whip up this after meal treat by using microwave, and you will have a finished cake after only cooking for ten minutes. Thanks to the MicroBuddy container, your quick and easy version will be strikingly similar to others that are baked with traditional techniques and appliances.

How Does It Work?

Glad you asked. When you attempt to cook at high speeds, you normally plan on mediocre dishes as a result. When you surround food in the advanced chamber provided by the Micro Buddy, the results improve drastically. Increased airflow around the food ensures more even cooking, and a sealed chamber locks in heat to cause food to finish sooner, and with better results. Added moisture in the bottom of the tray causes steam to form which flavors food, and keeps it moist at the same time. Taking the simple step of using one of these containers will improve the taste and texture for  anything you cook in your microwave, and traditionally baked desserts like cake, are no different. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.

What About Regular Cake?

Well…You can do a regular old chocolate cake too, and guess what? It’ll only need five minutes to cook. Similar to the pineapple one, it will end up remarkably similar to baked versions, but you won’t have to wait so long. Just mix up your batter according to the instructions, add to a microwave safe dish that fits, and then place into your cooking container to cook for five minutes. Silicone bake ware is ideal for this use, but any microwave safe plastic or glass dish will work well too. Once cooled, slather with frosting, or add a different topping like chocolate sauce and nuts.

Have your own microwave baking technique? Share in the comments section below. Want to brag about how tasty your creation was using our technique? Everyone is dying to find out, so share that as well.

Products Mentioned

  • Micro Buddy Microwave Cooking Set – Buy One

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake In Your Microwave - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/pineapple-upside-cake-microwave/feed/ 0
Cleaning a Marker Stain on Carpeting http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-marker-stain-carpeting/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-marker-stain-carpeting/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 23:07:36 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2974 Artwork by children is great, except when it's on your rug. Discover a fast & effective way to clean marker lines off your carpet without any risk of damage

Cleaning a Marker Stain on Carpeting - Simply Good Tips

]]>
marker on carpetGotta love kids. Especially the creative, artistic type. Their colorful pictures are always impressive, but if they would stick to paper instead of household objects, everyone would be a whole lot happier. Thanks to curiosity, devious behavior, and accidents, if you have children, markers and carpet together in the same house, sooner or later, they will all combine to create an awful mess.

Marker lines on rugs and carpets are difficult to remove no matter what type it is, and spot removers you find at the store can be dangerous and ineffective. Home remedies and all purpose sprays are pretty laughable for this type of grime, so most people are left scratching their heads, or thinking about rearranging the furniture. If you want to go back to admiring their work instead of scolding them for the damage, you’ll need a fool proof method to get that color out of your carpeting. When you don’t have to worry about permanent staining, then you won’t get so mad the next time you see a big blue line on your lovely, cream colored carpet. You may have a spot to remove now, or you may just want to be prepared for the next time disaster strikes, but if you continue reading, you will discover a quick and effective way to make that marker disappear.

What You Will Need

The supply list is short, and the steps that follow are incredibly simple and fool proof. Gather your ingredients from the list below, then continue to read step by step instructions for tackling this job.

  1. Quick N Brite Paste
  2. 2 Cloths or Rags
  3. Water

You might not have any Quick n Brite on hand, but before you get all “I’m not buying another piece of crap cleaner” on us, take a look at the pictures that follow. The results speak for themselves. Unlike the other garbage you have wasted your money on in the past, this stuff actually works. Complete with a money back guarantee, you are sure to remove the stain when you use it, and it’s totally safe for any carpet, no matter the color or material. What’s even better is that it also works well as a tub and tile cleaner, a degreaser, a stain fighter for clothing and so much more. Totally biodegradable and environmentally friendly, this cleaner is safe for use just about anywhere, and highly effective. Get it to make quick work of any stain on your carpet, but then keep it around to save time, money and effort when cleaning other stuff too.

cleaning marker on carpet step 1Step One. To begin, take one cloth, rag or towel, and get it wet with warm or hot water. Soak it down, and then ring out so it’s not dripping wet. This cloth will be your applicator. Scoop up a generous amount of the pink stuff, and then apply to the stain. Work it in with an up and down, or back and forth motion. You want to make sure that the cleaner penetrates the fibers as much as the pigment from the marker did. There is no scrubbing necessary, just work it in, and make sure you cover the area.

cleaning marker on carpet step 2Step Two. Once you get the cleaner on there, it will look something like the picture above. What seemed like a very faint line was actually a much larger mess than anticipated. After getting started, we could really begin to see just how much color was there, and it was not something that anyone would consider faint.

You will notice that the blue color has loosened in the image above, and it is trying to spread around. This is because the QUick N Brite is working to release the bond the stain has with the carpet, and then causing it to float up off the surface. This makes it easy to remove, but it can also allow for spreading, so be careful, and don’t work too hard. Once the cleaner is in place, just let it sit there for about five minutes. It will continue to break down the stain and release it from the fibers. Not waiting will only make your job harder, so be sure that you don’t skip this step.

leaning marker on carpet step 3Step Three. Once it sits, take your other cloth rag or towel, and buff the stain out. This second cloth will be your removal tool, and you’ll want to keep it dry. The stain will transfer onto this remover, so make sure it’s not one of your favorite towels. Take a look at the picture above. We have just rubbed the area to remove most of the stain. You can see a faint hint of blue still on the carpeting at the top center and left, and you can also see a large grayish-blue area on the cloth. The discoloration of the rag is due to the fact that the marker has lifted off the rug(along with some other grime), and is now on the rag. As you rub, continue switching to a clean section of the towel. Once no more color is lifting out, move on to the next step.

cleaning marker on carpet step 4Step Four. Because the stain was not all the way gone after a single application, we grabbed the damp rag, and reapplied some more cleaner. This second application was lighter in comparison to the first, but it was worked in the same way, and we let it sit for another five minutes before doing anything further. As the cleaner sat, the last little bits of blue were loosened up, so a final round of buffing was sure to remove the remainder of the marker.

cleaning marker on carpet step 5Step Five. After rubbing again, all of the cleaner was removed, and no signs of blue were left on the beige carpet. This close up view shows the area after cleaning, and the marker has completely disappeared. A small residue of cleaner was left over, so we took a clean section of the removal towel, and got it slightly damp. After buffing with the damp, clean surface, all of the residual soap was lifted off too. Nothing was left except a shockingly clean surface that was soft, and free of any toxic fumes.

cleaning marker on carpet step 6Step Six. Here is a close up from a slightly different angle. It was taken after the damp cloth was used to remove any extra cleaner left behind. No blue remains at all, and every bit of cleaner is gone too. The carpet looks rejuvenated, and completely clean. Every spec of blue has been lifted out, and no damage or lasting effects have been inflicted on the carpet.

cleaning marker on carpet step 7Step Seven. The job is now complete, and the picture above shows the end result. After only about ten minutes of barely trying, the blue line has been completely eliminated. There was never any risk of bleaching or ruining the material, and the surface is soft and clean instead of stiff and sticky.

In this case, the stain was created by a child’s marker. It could also be regular dirt, food, pen, crayon, paint or just about anything else. The same technique will remove just about any spot from your rug because this is probably the best carpet cleaning solution available. You never risk any harm to the material, and the ingredients are totally non-toxic and safe for use around children and pets. The steps above are ideal for any spot or line you encounter, but for larger areas, full rooms, or whole area rugs, add some Quick N Brite to your steam cleaner. You can use less than you would when using the normal soap, and it will work way better. For spot cleaning, the paste will always be the best, but when adding to a carpet shampooer, the liquid is far more convenient. Just pour some in, and you are good to go.

Other Options

Maybe you’re cheap, or maybe you just like a challenge. The steps above are pretty much fool proof, and guaranteed to work, but if you like to torture yourself, continue reading to discover a couple of the common recommendations for this type of stain. Because marker is tough to remove, the following methods may not work at all, despite the fact that they are often the go-to options for people that don’t know any better. You probably have the stuff on hand to try the techniques below, so if you’re still arguing with your computer screen, and saying stuff like “I’m not buying some tree hugging green cleaner”, then you may want to give one of them a try. Although our method will work with little effort, hardly any time, and at a very low cost, some of you will want to break out the hair spray to give it a go. We can’t guarantee that either method below will work at all, and you may even make the mess bigger, but if you ask someone else, or continue to search, these are the words of wisdom you will encounter.

Traditional Method #1

The hair spray method.

There’s nothing like using a sticky liquid full of perfumes and other hazardous ingredients to remove a stain. It probably won’t work, but you will make it smell nice, and as an added bonus, you can style the carpet fibers after you finish.

The type of hairspray is important if you want it to work, so make sure it is oil free. The idea here is that the stuff in the liquid will loosen the stain, and allow you to remove it.

  1. To begin add a generous amount of hairspray to a clean white cloth.
  2. Use the cloth to dab the marker stain. Color should now lift and transfer to the rag.
  3. When working, use a firm and deliberate motion, and avoid wiping to prevent any chance of spreading.
  4. Repeat as necessary util the stain is gone.
  5. For best results, and to avoid damage, test a hidden area of carpet first to see how it reacts.

Traditional Method # 2

The hurry up and pray method.

This method is all about speed. Those who recommend it believe that if you move quick enough, you can get the stain out before it locks itself in. There is some truth to this, but we don’t always have the luxury of tackling each stain right away, and many go unnoticed for hours, days or weeks. If you have your track shoes on, and you’re hovering like a helicopter over your children, you may be able to act fast enough to clean the stain with regular old soap and water. This method requires both luck and speed to eliminate the grime, so only attempt it with fresh messes on your carpet.

  1. To begin, take a clean cloth and press down to lift up any marker that you can. If still wet, you should be able to get some up before continuing.
  2. Once blotted, any loose pigment should be removed. To tackle the set in portion, use a wet rag with dish soap.
  3. Use your soapy cloth to continue blotting.
  4. Do not rub. Use a firm and deliberate blot to avoid any smearing.
  5. If one area becomes saturated with color, switch to a new spot, and continue working.
  6. Continue cleaning until all color has faded, or lifted away.

Don’t get mad the next time you see a stain on your carpet. Get busy cleaning it, and make it disappear in a matter of minutes. This type of mess is incredibly difficult when using stuff under the sink, or even special products from the store. When you choose Quick N Brite instead, the task will be incredibly simple, and you are sure to get the spot out. With such a powerful tool at your disposal, you won’t have steam pouring out of your ears the next time your child spills something on the carpet.

Products Mentioned

  • Quick N Brite Cleaner – Buy It

Tip Highlights

Cleaning a Marker Stain on Carpeting - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-marker-stain-carpeting/feed/ 0
Remove Blue Paint From A White Shirt http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/remove-blue-paint-white-shirt/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/remove-blue-paint-white-shirt/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:56:12 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2953 Oh No! Blue Paint on a white shirt creates a pretty wicked stain. Follow these easy steps to completely remove a paint stain from any type of clothing.

Remove Blue Paint From A White Shirt - Simply Good Tips

]]>
Blue paint. White shirt.Home improvement projects are great. Forgetting to change into your work clothes? Not so great.

When clumsy people and wet paint are in the same vicinity, accidents are almost guaranteed. It’s almost like there is some sort of invisible attraction between super stain-y things and clothing, especially white clothing. This being the case, and because someone was too impulsive or cool to change prior to starting work, that someone ended up with a good amount of fresh paint on their favorite shirt.

Most people would probably consider the shirt ruined at this point. Others may attempt a cleaning only to spread and smear the paint, making things worse. This particular paint is no joke, so either result would make perfect sense. Thick, dark, and intended for commercial applications, most cleaners and techniques would not even begin to work. It was very far from a child’s art supply, or something that would wash off easily, so if left on there, it would have created a permanent stain that would be impossible to get clean. Because we ran to the sink within a few minutes of noticing it, the paint was easy to remove, and we were able to clean it completely, with no trace left after finishing.

We did not use a stain stick, or some colorful liquid spot remover. We also didn’t waste any money or effort trying to find something at the store that would do the job. No off-the-shelf cleaner will never remove a paint stain from clothing without intense effort and luck, and most would probably bleach or otherwise ruin the fabric in the process.

The method detailed below can be used on any type of stain, and on any type of fabric. You may not be able to remove permanent inks and paints if they’re allowed to cure, but when attempted right away, it can be quite easy to make up for your accident, and cause your clothing look like new again. More simple stains can be cleaned no matter how long they have been there, or what you have used on them in the past, but for a nasty one like this, attacking it quickly can save your garment, but also save you time and effort in the process. Once dried in place, you’ll probably still get the stain out with enough work, but if you do it right away, the results are pretty much guaranteed, and fool-proof to achieve.

How To Clean A Paint Stain On Clothing

It could be on a white shirt like in the pictures here, or it could be on any other color or type of material. You could remove paint like we have, or you could remove pen, grease, dirt, food, blood, grass, or just about anything else with the same simple process. The only thing required that you may not already have is some Quick N Brite Paste. This means that you might have to spend some money, but if you save one shirt, it will pay for itself, and once you discover the hundreds of other jobs it works on,  you will quickly realize the incredible value offered by this amazing cleaner.

It’s completely safe for any material, and it will remove just about any stain you may encounter. It’s probably the best stain remover available for clothing, but it also works incredibly well as a degreaser, tub and tile cleaner, window cleaner, carpet shampoo and much more. Get some to fix your ruined shirt, but then keep it around to remove soap scum or clean your kitchen cabinets with a safe and effective product.

The process is pretty simple, but follow the steps below to ensure you get the stain out on your first try.

Step one. Cleaning a paint stain on a shirt.Step One.

When the paint spot was discovered, it was a thick blob. Still wet at the top, but starting to dry at the bottom. In order to minimize the mess, and remove as much loose pigment as possible, we first took a paper towel to quickly lift away anything we were able to. A blotting technique is best. As you can see, we did a slight wiping technique that did cause the color to spread a little bit. Once all of the wet and gooey stuff is removed with a paper towel, you can concentrate on the actual stain left over. The picture above shows what the shirt looked like after wiping.

Step two. Cleaning a paint stain on a shirt.Step Two.

After wiping, we added a little bit of hot water in order to dampen the sleeve in the area where the paint was. Once damp, an initial application of the cleaner was smeared in place. As you can see, we used a liberal amount in order to cover the entire stain, and get down into the little gaps in the material. The cleaner was gathered with bare fingers, and then worked into the material using a scratching motion. The completely non-toxic solution is totally safe for skin, so you don’t need gloves or anything else. As an option, you can apply it with a sponge, a rag, or a small brush if you prefer.

Once on there, we let it sit for a couple minutes. After sitting, we took a clean, terry cloth towel, and buffed the area to lift up the cleaner and most of the blue paint. As you buff, you’ll notice that the color will transfer from the shirt you want to save, and onto the towel you are holding.

Step. Three. Remove a paint stain from clothing.Step Three.

After the first application the stain was reduced significantly, but still very much there. The pigment that soaked down deep is all that remains, but it was always going to be the toughest to remove. The texture of this particular fabric didn’t help matters either. If cleaning a smoother material, you may be able to get away with a single attempt, but with dark blue paint ground down into this white thermal fabric, a second application was pretty much guaranteed.

Step Four. Remove a paint stain from clothing.Step Four.

The next step is to reapply the cleaner the same way you did the first time. Make sure to get it wet it again first in order to apply heat, and flush out any loose material. Once the cleaner is on there you will, once again, let it sit for a few minutes. When you let the cleaner sit without touching, it will break down the stain, and float it off the surface. For tougher stains you will want to let it sit longer, but for any type of cleaning, at least 30 seconds will make all the difference. Because this was a second application to a very tough stain, we increased the wait time to more like five minute instead of just a couple. If we would have let it sit for longer the first time around, the results may have improved, but this cleaner will only ever remove one layer at a time, so for wicked stains like this one, it will usually take a couple of attempts to make everything disappear.

Once it sits, grab your towel like the first time, and buff the stain away.

Step five. Cleaning a paint stain on a shirt.Step Five.

The second application almost did the trick, but a faint bit of blue was still left over after finishing. This little bit probably would have just washed of in the laundry if we had applied a pre-treating layer and then washed as normal, but we wanted to ensure that it was totally clean, and show everyone that perfect results can be achieved by hand, with very little time and effort. Once again, the stuff left over is the deepest down in the material, and it is more location than anything that is causing the multiple applications in this case. Any material that is smoother will certainly come clean easier, and with less steps.

When compared to multiple steps with another cleaner though, this stuff is like magic. Another spray cleaner, used two times in the same area is more likely to create a bleach spot, ruined fabric, or a larger blue smudge instead of the pretty amazing results you see in the picture above.

Step six. Cleaning a paint stain on a shirt.Step Six.

Third time was a charm! As you can see above, after applying it a third time, the stain is basically gone. Most people won’t be able to see in the photo, but there was a faint discoloration that could still be detected if you tried hard enough. Most of you would not even notice it, and to the naked eye, the stain was pretty much removed. The third application went the same as the second one. We let the cleaner sit five minutes before rubbing it off, and after this last attempt, no blue paint remained on the white fabric.

Step seven. Cleaning a paint stain on a shirt.Step Seven.

Because we are clean freaks and perfectionists around here, we took this one step further to ensure no signs of the paint remained, no matter how close you inspect. This last step involved us adding one last application of the cleaner. This time though, we did not rub it off, we just let it sit on there. Once in place, the shirt was tossed into the laundry basket for washing later. Although it was essentially clean after the third application, adding this last layer prior to washing it will eliminate anything else left when it goes through the wash.

For basic dirt and staining, this last step alone will work to remove many things that other products don’t work on. Just rub some on, and let it sit for hours or days before washing. Use your regular detergent, and wash like normal, but then notice how much cleaner your garments get.

In this case, after washing, the favorite shirt was able to go back into rotation as not one spec of blue was left on it. Success!

Don’t toss out clothes just because they have a stain, and don’t avoid painting projects just because you are accident prone. You could use the useless product you have in your laundry room the next time you run into some wet paint, but you could also use this instead, and actually get the fabric clean. Other products are loaded with harsh chemicals and bleaching agents because they try to burn through, or dissolve stains instead of removing them. This product is different. It is totally biodegradable and environmentally friendly. You can safely use it around children, pets and food, and you never need ventilation or rubber gloves when you clean with it. Despite how gentle the formula is, it is incredibly powerful when cleaning any type of stain. Instead of trying to pulverize whats there, it will naturally break it down, and float it above the surface so that you can remove it without effort.

Complete with a money back guarantee, this stuff comes with proven performance. Why guess with other products when you could get this one and guarantee the outcome? Use it with confidence to remove paint and other tough stains from your clothes, and never worry that it won’t work, or what possible damage may occur. The technique above is fool proof, and when cleaning with Quick N Brite, your results are guaranteed.

Tips For Sucess

  1. Use the paste version. Liquid Quick N Brite is great for other jobs, and extremely convenient, but for tough stains like this, you really need the paste.
  2. Wet with HOT water. Heat helps the cleaner work, and a damp surface will allow the stain to lift easier. Prior to each application of cleaner, make sure to wet the area with warm or hot water.
  3. Patience is a virtue. Letting the cleaner sit is key to removing stubborn grime like we did here. Make sure you let each application sit for a period of time, and don’t be surprised if the stain takes more than one attempt to clean.

Products Mentioned:

Remove Blue Paint From A White Shirt - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/remove-blue-paint-white-shirt/feed/ 0
Never Lose Your Lighter Again! http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/never-lose-lighter/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/never-lose-lighter/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:10:41 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2945 lighter holderGotta light? Of course you do. You’re super smart so you have one always at the ready thanks to your Lighter Holder. Lighter […]

Never Lose Your Lighter Again! - Simply Good Tips

]]>

lighter holderGotta light? Of course you do.

You’re super smart so you have one always at the ready thanks to your Lighter Holder.

Lighter Holder?! What the what?!

Yeah that’s right. All the cool kids are sporting Lighter Holders these days. Why you ask? Because they all know about the wicked buzz kill created by an endless search for a lost lighter. No longer will they be like other suckers out there that dig through pockets, or dump out purses just to find the tiny lighter at the bottom. If someone says “hey bro, you gotta light?” they are able to whip one out within seconds, instead of minutes later, or not at all. When clipped to a set of keys, dangling from a bag, or connected right to a belt loop, these young champions of ingenuity can produce the needed flame without any effort or investigation necessary. Within seconds, the lighter can be located, retrieved, and then used without all of the typical hassle. A Lighter Holder is a simple device that solves an ages old problem, and it may even score you some cool points, or create a new friendship in the process.

How Does It Work?

Glad you asked. The clever design allows for simple operation, and a fail-proof grip on your lighter. It’s made from a solid piece of high quality stainless steel, and it’s also manufactured in the USA so you know the quality is good. The durable device will never wear out, bend or break, and the lightweight, yet sturdy material ensures that it doesn’t add bulk either. It has a carabiner clip at the end to allow for attachment, and it has a tension holster on the other side for your lighter. It’s specifically designed for use with mini Bic lighters so use those for best results, and don’t complain to us if you can’t get it to work with other ones. You were warned. When paired with the intended flame-makers, the fit will be snug, and slipping and falling out will be impossible. The low profile holder will easily connect to your key chain by using the clip and hook, but you can also hang it on just about anything else. Try it on zippers, straps, hooks, rings and more to always have a lighter in a location convenient to you.

When To Use It

Perfect for the youngsters that frequent clubs and concerts, but also great for us older folks too. It’s the perfect accessory for anyone that smokes on a regular basis, but it’s also nice to add to camping, hiking or survival gear. As an outdoors-y style tool it can become indispensable as you always have fire at the ready, and you can easily keep it in a dry and convenient location. Connect to a backpack when you go hiking, clip onto your BBQ scraper for lighting fires prior to cooking, attach to your camp stove to fire it up first thing in the morning, or secure inside a boat or vehicle to use in an emergency. This product was probably designed with the cool kids in mind, but there are many uses relevant to us boring old people too. Get one to make fun times less frustrating, but don’t forget about the more responsible activities it can facilitate as well.

Double Duty

Because a super convenient lighter holder wouldn’t be good enough for some of you hard-to-please folks out there, this one also does something else quite useful. When the clip is open, you can crack open a cold brew with ease because it acts as a bottle opener. Just line it up and flip off the cap to any beer or soda bottle without any effort required. This one tool can get the party started by lifting the cap off the first round of beers, and it can keep the party going by providing a light to anyone on board once the buzz kicks in.

How To Use It

Honestly, a monkey could use this thing, but we’ll provide instructions and tips below for anyone saying to themselves right now “hey monkeys are pretty smart”, and also for those that want to maximize longevity and value for this device.

  1. The most important thing is to use a compatible lighter. Others may work just fine, but this is designed for use with Bic Mini lighters.
  2. The connection method works on tension. To install your lighter, you need to slide it under the tension bar, and then push it all the way in.
  3. Once in place, it will remain securely held until you pull it out. Removal works the same, but in an opposite direction, so pull out to remove.
  4. Pressing upward on the tension bar as you slide the lighter in or out can make it easier.
  5. To attach holder to other objects just use the hook. Press with your thumb to open the hook, then connect. Press back until you hear it click to close shut.
  6. Operating the lighter does not require removal from the holster.
  7. To use as a bottle opener, just flip open the clip, and press onto the cap of your bottle. Rotate upwards to remove.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t fumble around in your pants only to discover that you, in fact, do not have a lighter. Don’t stack the wood for your fire only to discover that your matches are soggy, and no other option is available for miles. Don’t get stranded on your next hike without the essential life saving ability of fire. And don’t waste money on inferior alternatives that are more gimmicky, more breakable, or more prone to wearing out. This amazing little contraption will secure your lighter without fail, and allow you to keep it right where you need it.

Products Mentioned

Never Lose Your Lighter Again! - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/never-lose-lighter/feed/ 0
5 Killer Baked Potato Recipes http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/5-killer-baked-potato-recipes/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/5-killer-baked-potato-recipes/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 23:48:50 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2915 Tired of the same old side dish. Kick it up a notch to impress friends and family, or just enjoy something delicious. These five baked potato recipes are sure to please.

5 Killer Baked Potato Recipes - Simply Good Tips

]]>
killer baked potatoWho doesn’t enjoy a freshly baked potato with all the toppings? Loading on the stuff at the end can make a boring side a whole lot more appealing, but if you’re tired of the same old stuff, try one of the awesome recipes listed below. They won’t transform your spuds into warriors like the ones above, but they will add mouth watering flavor to this versatile root vegetable. Don’t worry about coming under attack by blood thirsty potato people, but do experiment with the recipes below the next time you need a snack, or want to make the perfect side dish. Each one offers it’s own unique flavor, but everyone is sure to find one that is appealing. Just follow the easy step-by-step instructions, and you’ll be looking like a pro as you enjoy your delicious creation.

1. South Of The Border

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Potatoes
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1/3 Cup Salsa
  • 10 Ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 Scallions chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 Tbsp Sour Cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes and poke with a fork to prepare for cooking.
  3. Place potatoes into oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  4. While your spuds bake, take a large, nonstick pan and add in your ground beef.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and garlic, then cook until browned.
  6. Drain any fat that has pooled, then add in your salsa, and continue cooking on low for about five minutes.
  7. Set aside once finished.
  8. Once the potatoes are finished cooking, reduce oven temp to 350, and remove all four spuds.
  9. Cut open the skin, and remove the inner white stuff form each potato.
  10. Add all of the innards into a bowl, and then mash. Set skins aside.
  11. Add in your beef mixture, cheese and scallions and stir until blended.
  12. Spoon the mixture back into the skins, then pack tightly into a casserole dish.
  13. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven, then dress with one scoop of sour cream before serving.

2. Vegetable Lover’s

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large potatoes
  • 4 small yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, steamed
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup tomato, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450
  2. Wash potatoes, and poke with a fork multiple times.
  3. Place all four into the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  4. Take a large frying pan and preheat at medium-high, then add in olive oil.
  5. Saute your squash, mushrooms, garlic and onions until tender, stirring regularly.
  6. At the same time, steam or microwave cauliflower until tender.
  7. Once cooked, set both aside.
  8. Cut open potatoes, and scoop out the insides. Collect the white part of all four spuds in a bowl, and set the skins aside.
  9. Add milk, butter and salt to the bowl, then mash or whip until blended.
  10. Stir in cheese, and mix lightly.
  11. Refill the shells with your mashed insides, then cover with sauteed veggies.
  12. Add a single scoop of sour cream to each potato.
  13. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes, then serve right away.

3. Sunrise Special

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 6 Strips of bacon
  • 10 Tbsp Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Wash and poke potatoes, then place in the oven.
  3. Cook potatoes for 50-60 minutes, or until done.
  4. While your spuds are baking, take a frying pan and cook your bacon.
  5. Once crispy, place bacon on paper towels to cool, then chop or crumble into small pieces.
  6. After the taters are finished, remove from the oven, turn it down to 350, and then use a knife to cut off the top of each spud.
  7. You will now create four bowls by scooping out some of the middle.
  8. Once your bowls are ready, place 1/2 Tbsp of butter into each one.
  9. Carefully break an egg into each bowl, making sure to leave the yolk intact.
  10. Once the egg is in place, top with bacon cheese and parsley.
  11. Transfer to a baking sheet or dish, then cook at 350 for about 20 minutes.
  12. Once egg whites are set, the dish is complete.
  13. Remove from oven and serve.

4. Texas Chili

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Potatoes
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can (8 oz) Tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz) Tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) Kidney beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 Pinch garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Wash and pierce potatoes, then place in oven for 50-60 minutes.
  3. While your taters cook, get a large saucepan, then place it on the stove at medium heat.
  4. Place in beef, and season with salt, pepper, garlic and pepper flakes.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in onion.
  6. Cook until browned.
  7. Mix in chili powder, then cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to medium low, then pour in tomato paste, sauce, and beans without draining them.
  9. Cover and simmer until potatoes are done. 20-50 minutes.
  10. Remove potatoes from oven, then slice open.
  11. Top with large scoop of chili, and then sprinkle cheese over the top.
  12. Serve immediately.

5. Creamy Goodness

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Potatoes
  • 1 Onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/8 Cup cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Whole milk
  • 1 pinch garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven. 450 Degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes, and pierce with a fork.
  3. Place prepped spuds into oven, and cook for about an hour.
  4. While they cook, take a frying pan, and heat to medium-high.
  5. Cook bacon until crispy, then reduce heat and set strips aside.
  6. Using the same pan, pour in onion, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Take a clean bowl and mix cream cheese, milk, onion, and bacon together.
  8. Mix or whip until creamy, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  9. Stir to mix.
  10. Remove potatoes from oven, then cut an x in the top.
  11. Press open slightly, then top with your creamy goodness.
  12. Serve immediately.

 Other Classic Combinations:

  • Just cheese – Shred your favorite, and sprinkle on top.
  • Sour Cream & Chives – Scoop a dollop of cream on top, then sprinkle finely chopped chives over the top.
  • Bacon & Cheese – Cook crispy strips, and chop into bits. Add to the top, then sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  • Ham & Cheese – Use deli meat or baked ham. Cut into small pieces then add to potato. Top with shredded cheese.
  • Baked Beans – Heat some straight from the can, and add a scoop to the top of your cooked potato.

5 Killer Baked Potato Recipes - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/5-killer-baked-potato-recipes/feed/ 0
Complete Registration Sticker Removal In 5 Easy Steps http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/complete-registration-sticker-removal-5-easy-steps/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/complete-registration-sticker-removal-5-easy-steps/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 21:17:24 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2913 Remove registration or inpection stickerIt's annoying enough to have to register your car, but changing out the sticker only makes it worse. Discover an easy way to clean it off completely.

Complete Registration Sticker Removal In 5 Easy Steps - Simply Good Tips

]]>

Remove registration or inpection sticker
You know how it goes. It’s time to put your new registration or inspection sticker in place, so you pull off the old one, only to have a good portion of it remain in place. Even if you do get most of it off, a sticky residue will remain to collect dirt, and make your windshield look awful. Unless you’re lazy, don’t care about appearance, or you want your new sticker to roll up at the corners, and peel off right away, you’ll want to clean the glass, and remove every last bit before applying the new one. Most of us will begin scrubbing with a pad, picking with our fingers, or spraying blindly with blue liquid and other useless cleaners. These methods may eventually work, but the amount of effort required will verge on ridiculous. If you would prefer to save the sweat for the gym, and completely remove any sticker from your windshield easily, then continue reading for our simple, 5 step process. Just for giggles, we’ll also include some of the commonly passed around techniques for this job for anyone that needs a laugh, or wants to struggle with removal.

The Stuff You’ll Need

You only need two things to complete this job. You may have one or the other already, but they are both powerful and versatile, so if you get them for just this job, they’ll pay for themselves in the convenience they offer. Once finished, you’ll be able to continue using them for hundreds of other tasks and they will be amazing at those jobs too.

  • Quick n Brite. You can get it here. It’s available in multiple sizes, and in two different versions. You only need a very small amount to create the diluted spray used for this job. You could literally find the change necessary to cover the cost of the spray you will create by looking under your seats. Using the liquid will be easiest, but you can also melt the paste. Take about three tablespoons, and mix it into one quart of hot water to create an all-purpose cleaner. This spray will be awesome for stains on clothes, greasy counters in your kitchen, cleaning the dashboard in your car, and much more, but it’s also the perfect substance for melting away that registration sticker so it slides right off the glass.
  • Good cleaning cloth. Find them here. You ‘ll also need a microfiber cloth to complete the job. You may have one already, but keep in mind, quality does matter with these. If you don’t already have one, or if you want a better one, we have a wide selection available. The one we used in the demonstration that follows, is our multipurpose cloth. After the Quick N Brite does it’s job, it makes the perfect tool to wipe the windshield clean and leave no spots, dirt or lint behind. After this job is complete, continue to use it for windows, mirrors, walls, counters, stainless steel appliances and more. It can clean all sorts of stuff with only water as a detergent.

How To Do It

Before you get started, you’ll want to gather your supplies. If you had old residue on there that’s been baked in by the sun, you may want to use the paste version of Quick n Brite. For most people just cleaning the single layer of gooey sticker left by one that’s been on there for a year or two, the liquid mixture mentioned above will work just fine. Paste is also a great option if you’re concerned about dripping, but you could also just lay your rag down when you spray on the liquid. Quick n Brite is the key to this technique, so if you’re just gonna try what you already have, you may as well continue searching the internet, and attempt method after method using vinegar and other stuff you do have at home. For those of you not messing around, and those that just want guaranteed results, our technique that follows will have your new sticker on the window in a matter of minutes. Once you have your cleaner, and dry cloth ready, you’re all set to proceed to step one.

Step 1

The first step is to peel off your old sticker. Don’t work too hard, but do try to take off as much as possible. Once your windshield looks like the one in the picture above, you will be ready to move on to step number two. This same method will work fro inspection stickers, bumper stickers, decals, and any other window sticker you have on your car. The four steps that follow will take your back window or windshield from sticky mess to sparkling clean in less than ten minutes, and with absolutely no scrubbing, or risk of damage.

Step 2 Spraying on the cleaner

Step 2

Once most of the paper has been peeled away, you’ll be left with the outside frame, or some portion left stuck in place. Sometimes it’s just that annoying white layer, and sometimes it’s almost invisible, but still incredibly sticky. If you neglect to take it off, dirt and dust would stick like glue, and your new sticker would have trouble staying in place. To begin the removal process, just take your spray bottle, and coat liberally with your heavy solution. To prevent moisture from getting into vents and other areas that might be underneath, just spread out your cloth first, and it will absorb anything that falls. If you’re applying the paste instead, use a damp cloth, or your finger to scoop some up, and then wipe it all over where the residue is. Once you finish, it should look something like the picture above. As soon as you have this done, proceed to the next step.

Step 3

After applying the cleaner, you need to let it sit. Just let it soak in for  a few minutes. If you don’t let it sit, then it will not have time to work, and the sticky stuff will still be tough to get off, just like when you use other cleaning products. If you do let it sit for 1-5 minutes, the cleaner will begin to break apart the goo, and it will then lift it up, slightly off the surface. At this point, if you take your finger, and just press against it, it will begin to slide around. If it’s not quite slippery enough, allow it to sit for longer, or apply a bit more cleaner. Once you do achieve the slippery surface, it’s time to move on, and get that decal off.

Step 3 Let it sit

Step 4

Once the cleaner has time to work, the surface will not longer feel sticky. It will feel slippery as you touch it, and the stuff that used to be glued in place, will be totally movable in most places. Proceed to use your finger to pull off the larger chunks, and continue until the surface is mostly clean. This should only take you a few seconds, and you don’t really have to worry about being thorough. Just get most of it off to prepare for wiping with your cloth.

Step 4 begin removal

Step 5

Now that you have it mostly clean, use your microfiber cloth to wipe down your windshield, and completely remove every last spec of registration sticker. A single, back and forth swipe is usually sufficient to complete this last step, and after you do, the glass should be completely free of grime, and totally streak free and polished. Once dry, it will look like the picture above, and you will be all set to proceed with putting the new one in place.

Totally clean windshield
Now that your windshield is sparkling, and there’s not one sign of anything sticky, you can apply your new registration, without worry that it will peel up, or fall off prematurely. The cleaner used is totally safe and non-toxic, so you don’t run any risk of damage. It will not discolor any material or harm the glass in any way. It does not employ harsh chemicals to burn and fry the sticker, instead, it utilizes natural ingredients to gently and effectively break down the grime and then float it off the surface. Allowing it time to work eliminates the need for scrubbing, or straining due to inadequate products.

Now, just for fun, lets review some of the ridiculous recommendations you can find if you continue searching the internet. It’s at least good for a nice laugh, but it will also give you some ideas of what other people are using to attempt this job. We would obviously recommend that you avoid the razor blades and baby oil listed below, but hey, some people like a challenge.

Commonly recommended tools for this job.

  1. Knife – Whether plastic or metal, this tool is mentioned as a good one for picking away at the glued on sticker. It will allow you to get underneath, but you may be risking damage, and who the heck would want to work that hard anyway.
  2. Razor Blade – These are better used for opening boxes, but lots of folks will tell you to use a plastic or metal one to get up as much sticker as possible. You could scratch away, and pick of sticky goo all afternoon, but that sounds silly in contrast to our method above.
  3. Credit Card – Used as another tool for peeling stuff away, it would honestly be faster if you just pulled it out to place your order for some Quick N Brite. Instead of picking away for the next three days, you could just wait for your package to arrive, and then finish the job in as little as five minutes.
  4. Rubbing Alcohol – A commonly recommended supply, this stuff is tough to use properly for this job. If we lived in zero gravity, it would work way better, but in order to dissolve the goo as intended, you really have to saturate the material, and intense picking or scrubbing will still be necessary.
  5. Vinegar – Similar to the rubbing alcohol, this stuff is widely mentioned, but if you don’t apply and let it sit, then re-apply, then let it sit, and then re-apply again, and again, and again, it’s not going to work. It’s nice because most people already have it, but without a good amount of effort, it will be tough to completely clean the surface.
  6. Baby Oil – Intended as a tool to loosen the really stuck stuff, this and other oils are recommended as a way to loosen stubborn goo after you have picked for a while. It can help some, but it’s certainly not fool-proof.
  7. Soap and Water – Not sure why anyone would try regular soap and water. If that worked, none of you would be reading this page. Skip this one unless you are a glutton for punishment.
  8. Methylated spirits – Have some of this at home? We didn’t think so. Who does? IF you did have some, you could try it as a solvent to dissolve the residue.
  9. Heat – Simple, but surprisingly effective, a hot day, or running the defroster can actually soften the goo, and make it easier to pick off. You’ll still be picking, but heat we can all come up with, and it should ease the chore if you give it a try.
  10. Peanut Butter – Yep. People actually recommend this, and even smarter people actually try it. Just like the baby oil, it should loosen the residue, but who wants to slather food all over their car just to take a sticker off. Why not just make a sandwich while you let the Quick N Brite sit and do the work for you?

Have your own tip or fool proof method for completing this job? We would love to hear about it, and it may help others too. Use the comments section below to add your method here, or use the submit a tip link above to send it directly.

These same tools will work with similar cleaning techniques to remove sticky stuff, old stickers, and yucky residues from almost any surface. For more information about how to do it, and clean more than just your windshield, click here.

Products Mentioned

  • Quick N Brite Cleaner – Buy It
  • Multipurpose Microfiber Cloth – Buy It

Complete Registration Sticker Removal In 5 Easy Steps - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/complete-registration-sticker-removal-5-easy-steps/feed/ 0
Creativity And Exercise Combined http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/creativity-exercise-combined/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/creativity-exercise-combined/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:27:55 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2840 Looking for a way to encourage kids to get outside and play? Want to increase enjoyment when they ride bikes, or use a […]

Creativity And Exercise Combined - Simply Good Tips

]]>
chalktrail in actionLooking for a way to encourage kids to get outside and play? Want to increase enjoyment when they ride bikes, or use a scooter? Then check out the Chalktrail. It comes in two versions, and it quickly attaches to existing equipment in order to add an artistic flare to your child’s bike or scooter. Once in place, it will transform the ride on toy, and turn it into a giant instrument for making art. As an added bonus, your child will need to get their blood pumping, and body moving in order to draw and create. It’s awesome when used solo by a single child, but craziness, and complicated designs will result when several kids play together. All they have to do is ride or scoot like normal, and a bold, colorful line will follow them wherever they go. By turning and twisting as they ride, geometric designs and colorful pathways will begin to emerge. Once they master the technique, the possibilities will be endless, and they’ll begin to create games, or improve output as drawings and enjoyment improve with use.

How Does It Work?

You won’t need any tools to install it, and there’s no permanent hardware to attach. Either version can pop on and off in a matter of seconds, but they stay securely in place while being used. The clever attachment method allows kids to take them on or off whenever they feel like it, and it makes it easy to share or move to new bikes as children grow. The main frame of the toy is like a wishbone clamp. At the end there will be little cylinders that attach to the rear wheel at the center. At the other end of the Chalktrail, you can see the actual chalk holder part. A simple tab system grips by tension, so chalk pieces are held secure, but they’re also easy to replace. Once installed on the bike or scooter, and after chalk is in place, the holder will cause it to press against the ground at all times. The curving shape, and exacting angles provide the perfect amount of pressure and support to ensure that frustration is eliminated, and chalk lines will follow, every inch of the way.

How To Install It

  1. Parental guidance is not required, but children should be made familiar before left to do it themselves.
  2. To attach it, simply pull the arms apart to separate, and then line up with the rear hub.
  3. Once it position, release the arms to clamp the holder in place.
  4. Double check alignment to make sure each side is correctly aligned and secure.
  5. Once it’s on, install a piece of chalk by squeezing the tabs to open the tension holder.
  6. Insert a piece of chalk, and then release the tabs to hold it in place.
  7. For the bike version, adjust the angle of the end piece to account for tire size.
  8. After it’s installed, double check to make sure it’s touching the road, and then ride like normal to draw and exercise at the same time.

ChalkTrail For Bikes

This version is compatible with nearly any bicycle out there. It works with beginner bikes and larger adult, mountain bikes all the same. It doesn’t matter what the wheel size is, and you can even use it with training wheels installed. In order to account for differing wheel sizes, this one has an adjustable chalk holder at the end that rotates to provide the perfect angle. When you attach it, it will connect to the rear hub, over the nut that holds the wheel in place.

ChalkTrail For Scooters

Use this one on almost any scooter that kids ride. It works with any razor style scooter, and clamps onto the back wheel in much the same way the bike one does. Because wheel size is pretty consistent with scooters, no angle adjustment is present on this model.

What’s Included

You don’t need any hardware, and there is no assembly required. The actual toy is a single piece, and the standard package for either version comes complete with the holder and one piece of chalk to get you started. Extra chalk can be purchased separately, or combined as a combo to save you money. A single piece will last for 1.5 miles of colorful drawings, but children never seem to have enough, so to keep the fun going longer, stock up ahead of time.

Riding bikes is fun, but when you can prove where you’ve been, create paths and trails to follow, or draw amazing designs as you swerve down the street, the fun level increases quickly. Children will be so focused on what they are making, they won’t realize how much exercise they are getting. Instead of sitting around playing video games, or whining about how bored they are, you can give them something to do that will promote creative thinking, and a healthy lifestyle. Once they’re so tired out from pushing the limits of what this toy can do, you will notice improved attitudes, decreased laziness, and an improved desire to get outside and think for themselves. Get one to encourage outdoor play, or get one to make other kids in the neighborhood jealous. It’s guaranteed to please, and it won’t take long before little Jimmy is riding down the street, laying down chalk every inch of the way.

Products Mentioned

Creativity And Exercise Combined - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/creativity-exercise-combined/feed/ 0
Cleaning A Sandstone Surround http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-sandstone-surround/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-sandstone-surround/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:45:45 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2865 cleaning sandstoneAlthough sandstone is a porous material, it can be quite easy to clean. Even with tough stains caused by soot. Discover a safe method that's highly effective.

Cleaning A Sandstone Surround - Simply Good Tips

]]>

cleaning sandstoneThe black grime created by burning fires can be pretty difficult to remove, and that’s probably why our article on cleaning fireplace soot is so popular. It provides a generalized method to clean any mantle or hearth material, but it doesn’t go into specifics with regard to slight variations in technique for certain surfaces. Sandstone is one of the more delicate materials used in fireplace construction, so it’s not surprising that we received an email from Carol wondering how to clean it. Lucky for her, and anyone else reading this now, it is possible to thoroughly clean it without any risk to the surface, and without resorting to dangerously toxic chemicals. If you have a similar surface in your home, whether it is a surround or a counter in your kitchen, it can be safely and effectively cleaned with Quick N Brite.

Question:

I have a new sandstone fireplace surround that has some soot in a section above the opening. Although it is a gas burning fireplace, we think one of the grandchildren threw papers into it, thus creating the soot. I have read about the Quick n Brite method, but don’t know which of the products I should use——spray on liquid, or paste or ?? I am ready to give it a try so would appreciate an quick response. Thank you, Carol

Answer:

We’re glad that Carol submitted this question, and we’re sure that the answer below will provide the detail necessary to complete the job. The quick answer would be yes, use Quick n Brite to achieve amazing results.  The longer answer that follows, will detail when and/or why you would chose the paste or the liquid, along with how you would apply each version to complete the cleaning process. Anyone else will be able to use the same techniques to clean counter tops, flooring, surrounds and other things made from the same material. To understand why sandstone can be a difficult material to clean, its important to understand what it is, and how it’s different from other common stones used in construction.

What Is Sandstone

Sandstone is a relatively soft stone that’s also referred to as arenit in some cases. It’s a sedimentary rock that’s composed of mostly sand, but you’ll also find similar size rocks and mineral bits mixed in. It is formed when quartzite stones erode as a result of wind and water breaking it down over a long period of time. The tiny pieces will then build up slowly in order to form a solid mass. Sandstone is mostly made up of feldspar and quartz particles. It comes in many colors, but it’s most commonly found in shades of tan, brown, pink and gray. Sandstone has been a popular building material since ancient times because it’s pretty soft, so carving it to shape is easy, even with primitive tools. Some versions are resistant to weathering, but others will require sealing in order to provide long lasting durability. Because it’s naturally porous, it can absorb stains more so than other stones, and the delicate nature can make it difficult to clean without causing harm.

How To Clean It

Although it’s pretty delicate, and incompatible with many harsh cleaners and abrasive tools, sandstone can be quite simple to clean. By choosing Quick N Brite, you can be confident that you won’t change the color, erode the surface, or contaminate the air, and because you don’t need to scrub like crazy, you can be sure that you won’t scratch or mark the surface either. It will be effective on all types of dirt and stains, but for the purpose of the directions below, we will talk about removing the black soot stain that Carol is concerned about. Because soot is one of the toughest types of grime you will ever encounter, any technique mentioned for smoke damage will certainly work with regular dirt and greasy build up too. If anything, you would just modify to a more diluted application if the dirt is not so stubborn or prone to staining.

Before you begin, you’ll want to determine the severity of the job, in order to decide which version, or technique you will use. For light staining, a completely liquid application should work fine. For really tough build up, the paste will give the best results with the least amount of effort. A combination technique is optional, but it may speed the process, improve results, and allow for fewer applications to achieve a spotless surface.

Liquid

When using this version for periodic maintenance or light cleaning of new or small black stains, you’ll want to mix it up and dilute it into water. To make a heavy solution that will work perfect for this job, pour 3-6 tablespoons into a quart spray bottle, fill the rest of the way with hot water, and then shake to mix it together. Once you have your cleaner mixed, follow the steps below to clean the surface.

  1. To prepare the surface, use a vacuum, or a dry cloth to dust and/or vacuum the area in order to eliminate any loose chunks of dirt that will only compound the problem once you add liquid.
  2. Once the dry debris has been cleared away, spray on your cleaner making sure to cover the whole area.
  3. When applying the cleaner, be sure to use a liberal amount, and cover all parts of the stain.
  4. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. After it sits, take a damp terry cloth towel, and gently blot and buff the area in order to lift the stain.
  6. The black color will lift off the sandstone, and transfer to the towel. If any remains, reapply the cleaner, and then buff again until gone.
  7. If more than two applications are required, you should have used a stronger formulation, so continue to the paste method below.

Paste

The paste offers full strength cleaning power, but it’s not any more harsh on the surface you are working with. When you use this version, you will apply it full strength using a damp terry cloth towel. Because the stain is probably tough, you’ll also let it sit longer in order to let it work. When it sits on the grime for a long period, it does not affect the material, but it does break down the organic material causing the stain, release it’s bond with the surface, and then gently float it to make it easy to wipe away.

  1. For this method, or any other, it’s important to vacuum away or wipe any loose dirt. This makes your job easier.
  2. Once the surface is ready, take a damp cloth, and then dip it into your tub of paste to collect a good amount on the towel.
  3. Use a circular motion to apply the paste to the stained area like you are waxing a car.
  4. No scrubbing is required, but use an up and down, or circular motion to cover all areas and ensure proper penetration of the grime.
  5. Once applied allow to sit for up to 50 minutes.
  6. After sitting, take another clean towel, and get it damp.
  7. Use a similar motion to remove the cleaner, and all of the loosened stain.
  8. The dark color will lift off the surface, and transfer to the towel.
  9. If more stain remains, use a second application to completely remove it.
  10. Once the cleaning is finished, lightly spray with water and wipe with a dry towel, or take another clean damp towel to buff the surface and make sure all the residual cleaner is removed.

Combo Method

Using a combination of liquid and paste can cut down on your effort, but also make the job take less time. For this technique, you will spray the area first, then apply the paste. This ensures maximum coverage and thorough penetration. It also speeds up the break down, and makes the stain lift a little bit easier. It will require you to have both versions on hand, but you can always make liquid form paste if you only have the one version. Simply melt on a low setting on the stove, or in your microwave, and then add to water as instructed above. Just be careful because it melts quickly and holds heat well. For ease of use, and thoroughness of cleaning, this technique is tough to beat. For really stubborn grime, it may also help you avoid a second application due to the increased efficiency.

  1. Prep area to remove loose dirt.
  2. Spray on liquid like in technique one.
  3. Use a damp towel to apply a good amount of paste on top.
  4. Work the cleaner in.
  5. Let it sit for 30-50 minutes.
  6. Take a clean towel and buff out the stain.

Prevention

In order to protect against staining over time, it is highly recommended that you seal the sandstone surface. The material is very porous, so it can absorb liquids and other materials in order to create long lasting discoloration to make it look dirty. Not only will a proper seal prevent stains from settling in the first place, it will also make them easier to remove when they do occur. There are many different products on the market that are able to seal the surface, so consult with the manufacturer of your tile or stone in order to determine which one might be best.

For a safe and gentle cleaner that will remove nearly any stain from sandstone, Quick N Brite is a great choice. It contains no harsh chemicals or harmful abrasives, and it doesn’t even smell bad. It works by naturally breaking down the staining, and then surrounding it so it lifts off the surface easily. You run absolutely no risk to your fireplace when you clean with it, and it quickly takes out stains that other cleaners don’t work on. Because you don’t even have to scrub, you never have to worry about marks or other damage on the surface. If you’ve tried other stuff in the past that didn’t work, or if you are just wondering what works best, you will not be disappointed. It’s totally safe for use around food, children and pets, and it comes with a full money back guarantee because it works so well. For a fool proof method that has proven to eliminate tough stains, stop searching the internet, and try this amazing natural cleaner.

Please Note

If you don’t’ take our advise, it won’t hurt our feelings, but please make sure to avoid products that contain alkaline, acid, ammonia or bleach if you choose to use a cleaner you already have. Any of these substances can break down the sealant layer, and make the job more difficult. Even if you don’t choose Quick N Brite, you should select a neutral cleaner that is formulated to handle natural surfaces like sandstone.

Products Mentioned

Cleaning A Sandstone Surround - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-sandstone-surround/feed/ 0
Relieve Pain Naturally http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/relieve-pain-naturally/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/relieve-pain-naturally/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 03:38:36 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2873 Pain pills are dangerous and unhealthy, but there are alternatives you may not know about. Natural options are just as effective without any side effects.

Relieve Pain Naturally - Simply Good Tips

]]>
Are you sick of the pain? How about the endless pills and the damage they do to your body? Nobody should have to live their lives popping medicine all day, and it turns out there are many things you can do to get rid of the pain in a more natural way. Chronic joint discomfort, or back problems can make simple everyday tasks a complete chore due to agonizing pain. The good news is that most of the hurting is caused by inflammation, and there are many ways to eliminate it, and make yourself feel better without reaching into your medicine cabinet. Although your typical NSAID does seem to work, they also come with a whole host of side effects you may not be aware of.

It doesn’t matter if your pills are off the shelf or via the pharmacy, they all come with a certain level of risk, and a known amount of side effects. Once you swallow any of them, you open yourself to the risk of gastrointestinal problems, kidney trouble, liver damage, delays in muscle regeneration, and the reduction in healing of ligaments, tendons and cartilage. When you try anything else instead, you can get the same level of relief without much of the risk, but it’s tough to know which alternative to try when discomfort builds. There are two main categories of treatments when looking at natural alternatives, so the first thing to decide is whether you should ingest something, rub something on, or do both. Once you decide the delivery method, relief should quickly follow.

Below you will find a list of commonly used alternatives that are proven to work. Variations, combinations or things not listed may be more effective in some cases, depending on the exact problem you’re trying to fix, but keep reading to find out what works for most people when treating common problems.

Ingestible

Foods, herbs and dietary supplements are all ingestible remedies that can reduce inflammation, heal muscles and take away pain. These will not offer the fastest fix, but they will offer more long term benefits. It’s always recommended to consult with a doctor or other professional prior to using any new pain reliever because even natural options can react and interfere with medications you may be already taking. A change in diet, a one time treatment, or a life-long vitamin habit have all been proven to reduce pain in joints, and chronic pain in other areas.

Vitamin C

The perfect vitamin for combating the common cold, Vitamin C is also useful for reducing inflammation and helping to promote collagen production. One of the easiest ways to benefit from this nutrient is to increase your consumption of foods like oranges, broccoli, peppers and other fresh produce, but you can also take it in supplement form. Because high levels tend to increase the benefits, even people with perfect diets may want to take a pill on a regular basis too. When optimal levels are achieved, and maintained, swelling should decrease, and your body should begin to produce more cartilage. Once this takes place, friction will lessen, and you will feel less pain when moving around.

Vitamin D

This nutrient is tough to consume naturally, but fortified foods like milk and cereal are a couple viable sources. Several studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with increased levels of chronic pain, so consuming more may help to eliminate sensations that other options fail to remedy. When consumed at high levels, vitamin D has all sorts of benefits, but specific to pain, it can reduce chronic pain, joint pain, and symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Ginger Root

Not just for baking, this medicinal root can also cure upset stomachs and fight pain all over your body. For headaches, joint discomfort, cramps and other minor problems, this could be the natural option you’re looking for. When consumed, it will trigger endorphin production, and that’s how your body naturally reduces painful sensations, so it really just augments, and initiates your own intrinsic abilities. It’s available in supplement form, but you can also find chews and lozenges that offer adequate delivery methods. As with anything else, eating foods that contain it will be one of the best ways to consume it, so try some tea, or add a honey ginger coating to your favorite fish.

Omega 3’s

Commonly found in fish oil, plants like algae, seeds like chia and flax, or nuts, this special oil can be administered to reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain. It can be consumed in supplement form, or by upping your intake of foods that contain it. Real food sources are always the best, but gel caps of the right quality may be easier for some. This option is good for nerve pain, headaches, back aches, and even arthritis. Fresh fish like salmon and sardines offer some of the best sources for this oil.

Curcumin

This remedy goes back a long way, and has been used for centuries in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It’s derived from turmeric, and it’s widely employed as an anti-inflammatory agent. Research is pretty clear on it’s benefits for those with arthritis, but it can also help with other chronic and neurodegenerative conditions. One easy way to consume more of this nutrient is to eat more Indian food because it’s heavily used in most curries.

Topical

Topical treatments are those that you rub on, or apply directly to your skin in some other way. These can offer some of the quickest routes to relief, but the effects may be more temporary when compared to other techniques that work more internally. One thing is for sure, when joints are swollen, or muscles ache, using one of the natural methods below will definitely make you feel better. Because the material is pretty powerful, you’ll want to make sure that your skin is not broken in any way before you apply it. You’ll also want to avoid the use of a heating pad or any bandage over the top, and you should definitely wash your hands right when you finish. If you neglect to clean up after the treatment, you may end up irritating your eyes or areas of sensitive skin if it transfers from your hands.

Hot and/or Cold Packs

One of the most simple remedies, can also offer some of the fastest relief. When you apply one or the other, or alternate between the two, you may be able to quickly reduce pain in sore joints and muscles. Although you may think to grab a tube of gel or cream from the medicine cabinet, it’s best to stick with actual ice or a heating pad for this type of therapy. Try cold to reduce swelling, or try hot to soothe stressed out muscles.

Arnica

This is a pretty standard homeopathic remedy for life’s bumps and bruises. It has been used for centuries to soothe muscle aches due to it’s special ability to heal soft tissues quickly. Just rub some on in cream form instead of popping ibuprofen,. It can eliminate muscle pain, heal bruises, reduce swelling and more. Never apply to broken skin, but do apply liberally whenever pain becomes unbearable, or accidents happen.

Comfrey

This medicinal plant has been used for ever to help older people treat the symptoms of arthritis. Once applied, it can reduce swelling in joints, and that has shown to decrease pain significantly. For this reason, it’s also useful for sprains and strains, and is known to help sports injuries heal faster. A light coating right to the area that is hurting or swollen will quickly make a difference, and help promote a faster recovery.

Capsaicin

The perfect ingredient for any salsa or taco dish, this fiery compound is more than just a heat component. It is the main thing that makes a chili pepper a chili pepper, and it may feel hot when first applied, but afterward, it will begin to reduce pain in any area you place it. Rub on right where it hurts to treat muscle aches, sore backs and other common problems.

Support

In some cases, painful sensations are due to weak muscle groups, or prolonged periods in the same position. Once your body gets tired of holding up a part, it lets you know by delivering a message to the area. If you know you have a weak back, or if you will be sitting for a long time, using a back support on your chair can eliminate the pain that usually builds over time. Instead of being tired and strained, it will be stretched and supported to maintain alignment, and help make up for any strength issues in the area.

Natural remedies can be just as effective as store bought medicines, and in some cases they work even better without any introduction of harsh side effects. Instead of destroying your liver with more pain pills, try one of the simple and effective methods above, and help your body to heal in a more natural way. You may be surprised at how effective they are, and how simple they are to administer. Once you become less dependent on ibuprofen and acetamedaphin, your body will begin to repair itself and the occurrence of pain and swelling will decrease.

Have your own natural methods? The list above is good, but it could never be complete. There are many ways to eliminate pain without turning to drugs, and our list includes some of the best, but not every one in existence. If you use a food, supplement or topical trestment that we didn’t mention, please use the comments section below to share your secret.

Products Mentioned

Relieve Pain Naturally - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/relieve-pain-naturally/feed/ 0
Do Carpet Rakes Really Work? http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/carpet-rakes-really-work/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/carpet-rakes-really-work/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:16:34 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2866 Thinking about getting this tool to solve your pet fur problems. Find out how well it works, and if there are other tools that are better.

Do Carpet Rakes Really Work? - Simply Good Tips

]]>
carpet rakeThis question comes to us from Ilene. She’s clearly a pet owner, and it sounds like she may be up to her eyeballs in shedding fur. Like anyone else in this situation, she’s searching for answers, and on the quest for the perfect tool. Many of the traditional products we use for cleaning our homes, don’t work well if you want to eliminate pet hair from rugs and carpets, so pet lovers often employ specialized tools in order to remain best friends with Fido, and keep a clean house, free of flying fur and pesky allergens. On her search, Ilene stumbled upon a certain device, and then sent us the following question:

Question:

I heard about this carpet cleaning brush (rug rake) that lifts pet hair from the carpet. Do you recommend it? I didn’t see anything listed, but it’s suppose to be “the best” cleaning tool especially for pet hair. It’s called the universal rug rake. Maybe you should post it on this sight. Thank you

Answer:

In a word, yes. Rug rakes do actually work, and pet owners of all kinds seem to get good results when using them to pull hair from carpeting. The one you mention is similar to others, but there are some variations in material and design, and that can affect performance, or limit the types of material you can use them on. As with anything, there will be pluses and minuses to consider, so continue reading to learn more about carpet rakes than you ever cared to. This may be the tool for you, or you may decide that an alternative is a better fit once you know more about them.

What Is a Carpet Rake?

Similar in appearance to a broom, or a large pet brush, these so-called rakes don’t really look like the tool you use in your backyard to collect leaves. They will all have long handles so you can use them standing up, but that is where the similarities end. The specialized heads on these tools are usually made from thin metal needles, or some sort of plastic. Many are not really made for pet hair, so pet owners will want to be careful which one they choose. Some are designed for revitalizing long pile carpeting more than lifting up fur, so it’s important to select the style more suited for cleaning. The Universal Rug Rake that Ilene is curious about is designed for hair, and it looks like an oversize cat brush on a long stick. The tiny “bristles” are positioned closely together, and they are moderately long. When used on a rug or carpet, the metal pins will dig down deep, lift up fur, and collect it right on the head.

How To Use It

The operation of this tool is pretty simple, and obvious based on appearance.

  1. To prepare, ensure the head is clean, and screwed on securely.
  2. Extend handle to desired length, then tighten in place.
  3. Press the head against your rug, and apply light pressure.
  4. To clean, pull back using short strokes.
  5. For best results, use firm pressure, and press down harder for deeper carpet.
  6. Work in one area at a time, and move systematically across the floor.
  7. Fur will collect in the bristles, so use your hands or a comb to remove hair, and empty into  the trash.

Benefits

The following list will include the main benefits of using a carpet rake, and for the benefit of Ilene, we have kept it specific to the model she is interested in. Many of these will be true for other versions as well, but some will be unique to this particular product.

  • Works on carpets and rugs inside, but also on upholstery in your home or vehicle.
  • Pulls out fur that vacuums and other tools leave behind.
  • Tin plated bristles are reinforced and secured in a plastic frame for extra durability.
  • Lightweight and easy to operate.
  • Compacts for storage, and handle telescopes for convenience while cleaning.
  • Fast and effective.
  • Holds onto fur. (This may be a downside for some)
  • Quiet, and non-electric.

Drawbacks

Although this tool does work well, there are some clear downsides to the purchase that you should be aware of in order to make a decision you’ll be comfortable with. Most folks that use them are generally happy, but it can be a costly, and limited tool when compared to others. Take a look at the list of drawbacks to follow, and then continue reading to learn about an alternative that may give you more bang for your buck, while still getting your rugs cleaner than ever.

  • Expensive. This tool can cost as much as 30 or 40 dollars.
  • Limited. Great at the job it was designed for, but useless for anything else. This tool is a one trick pony.
  • Short. It does have an extension pole, but it’s only four feet long. Many people would be annoyed by the hunched over cleaning that will be required.
  • Low Pile. It will produce good results with shorter nap, but for shag and other high pile options it may get stuck or cause damage.
  • Loose. This model in particular seems to have a pretty cheap handle, so many users have trouble keeping it extended. With added force, the head can even come loose to cause further annoyance.

The Alternative

A rubber broom is a low cost alternative to this tool, and it works in much the same way. It will also pull hair from deep down, and remove fur that your vacuum leaves behind. But unlike the rug rake, you can also use it on other flooring to collect fur, and it doubles as a scrub brush and squeegee for even more functionality. Instead of holding onto all of the hair you sweep up, it will form a neat little pile that you can easily move to a dust pan without touching. It’s extremely gentle on any material, and it will work with all lengths of carpeting. The sturdy handle telescopes for optimal sizing, or working in tight spaces, but instead of the short length the rake offers, it has a longer, full-length handle. Because the head is made from rubber, the correct technique will build a static charge to prevent fur from flying, and pull in pieces that the bristles don’t touch.

Why Use One?

  • Commercial grade quality.
  • Multi-job versatility.
  • Long lasting performance.
  • Ability to clean carpets, hardwood, linoleum and any other surface.
  • Sturdy parts that don’t come loose, or wear out.
  • Fast and efficient. Allows you to eliminate shedding fur.

Want to know more? Read more about removing pet hair from carpets using a rubber broom.

Have your own question? Ask us for help.

Products Mentioned

Do Carpet Rakes Really Work? - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/carpet-rakes-really-work/feed/ 2
Mango Salsa Recipe http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mango-salsa-recipe/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mango-salsa-recipe/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 22:47:08 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2838 Spicy is awesome, but sometimes a nice hint of sweetness will create the perfect blend of flavors, and allow you to make a […]

Mango Salsa Recipe - Simply Good Tips

]]>
mango-salsaSpicy is awesome, but sometimes a nice hint of sweetness will create the perfect blend of flavors, and allow you to make a more appropriate sauce or dip. You might not want to chomp down on fruit when enjoying a taco or burrito, but when scooping with a chip, or adding to entrees like fish, the sweet and hot combination can provide the perfect complimentary flavor. The tropical yumminess of the mango blends well with the strong bite of the jalapeno, and together they will enhance exotic dishes, or just give a new flavor to stuff you already love. The simple recipe below is easy to make at home, and anyone can prepare it by hand to impress friends and family. Use one of our spin top choppers to speed up the process and improve the results, or cut everything by hand if you don’t mind taking the time. Electronic food processors can also be employed, but be careful to leave chunks, and avoid turning the ingredients into a messy, red soup.

Ingredients

  1. 2 medium size ripe tomatoes (quartered)
  2. 1/4 medium size onion
  3. 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  4. 2 cloves fresh garlic
  5. 1 tsp. garlic salt
  6. 1 tsp pepper
  7. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  8. 1 jalapeno (hot), 1/3 jalapeno (mild),  2/3 jalapeno (medium)
  9. 1 medium size ripe mango

Directions

  1. If chopping by hand, cut all ingredients into tiny cubes separately, and then combine together.
  2. If using a chopper, place all ingredients inside, and then apply the lid. Spin to chop and mix at the same time. More rotations will result in finer pieces.
  3. Once blended to the ideal size and consistency, add in the mango, replace the lid, and spin again.
  4. Once finished, remove from the container to serve. Use as a dip for chips, topping for meats, etc.

Most people avoid making salsa at home because it seems impossible to chop by hand with a knife, and electric food processors produce a pureed paste that’s just not the same. If you like a perfectly chunky salsa filled with fresh ingredients, one of our choppers will quickly become your new best friend. You can see into the container as you chop, so you can easily get the perfect consistency to suit your tastes. Anything from large chunks to smaller pico-style pieces are possible when you use this tool, and it could not be faster or more fool-proof to operate. You can even make a liquid mush if you prefer, just keep on spinning until it looks the way you want. Not only will a spin top chopper allow you to make restaurant quality salsa at home, it will also reduce the effort it takes, and eliminate the number of dishes required. You will be able to enjoy this popular condiment, and it will be easy to alter the recipe to please your taste buds, or create your own special recipe.

Products Mentioned

Mango Salsa Recipe - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mango-salsa-recipe/feed/ 0
Five Ways To Cook A Baked Potato http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/five-ways-cook-baked-potato/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/five-ways-cook-baked-potato/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 21:18:03 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2824 Don't avoid baked potatoes because you think it's too hard, or too time consuming. Read about five different ways to prepare them quickly and easily.

Five Ways To Cook A Baked Potato - Simply Good Tips

]]>
five ways to bake a potato Rich in potassium and vitamin C, but also utterly delicious as a meal or side dish. Baked potatoes often get a bad wrap because they take so long to cook, and they are relatively high in the oft vilified carbohydrates. Despite the perceived difficulty, and misguided avoidance, they can actually be quite easy to prepare, and in a lot of ways, they rival some of the healthiest vegetables when you tally up all of the vitamins and nutrients, especially when you eat the skin. If you’re looking for the perfect pair for that steak on the grill, or if you just want a hearty snack late at night, cooking a potato, and slathering on your favorite toppings, may be just what the doctor ordered. It doesn’t matter if you plan to melt some cheese on top, pour on homemade chili, or just keep it simple with a thick slice of butter, the initial cooking process will be the same. Once prepared to perfection, you can continue to add on whatever ingredients you prefer in order to create a delicious side or main course to enjoy.

Speed and technique will vary depending upon which method you choose below. They will all result in a similar texture, and level of doneness on the inside, but the outside will only be crispy if you use the oven for some portion of the cooking process. No matter which method you select, the most important step is the one at the beginning where you poke holes in the skin. If you skip this step, heat and pressure will build up inside the spud until it causes an explosion to let the steam out. Unless you want to clean up a mess, and start all over, be sure to puncture your potatoes with a fork after you wash them. Continue reading to find out about five different ways to bake a potato and have it turn out perfect.

1. In The Oven

The most traditional way, and the method that offers the best finished product, but also one of the most time consuming ways to do it. When using a conventional oven, you will have to wait about an hour to enjoy your russets, but if you wait it out, and do it right, you  are pretty much guaranteed to have a finished potato that is crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside.

  1. To begin, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Gather your potatoes, and wash them thoroughly. Larger ones will work best, and if cooking several, try to choose some that are similar in size.
  3. Once clean, use a fork to puncture the skin several times on each one.
  4. Leave them plain, or add extra flavor by rubbing with olive oil, and then sprinkling with some salt and pepper.
  5. Once prepped to your liking, place them into the oven on a baking sheet, or directly on the rack.
  6. Continue cooking for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Check them to see if their done by testing the skin, and poking with a fork. When finished, the outside should be crispy, and your fork should poke in without any effort.
  8. Once done, carefully remove from your oven using tongs, pot holders or something similar.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then split open, dress, and serve.

2. In A Slow Cooker

With the right technique, you can use a crock pot to cook potatoes and have them turn out like they came from the oven. The skin won’t be quite as crispy, but the inside will be almost identical. This method takes even longer than using a conventional oven, but it doesn’t produce as much heat, and you can let them cook unattended. Many people like this way of preparing baked potatoes because they can set it up in the morning, let it cook all day, and then enjoy a mouth watering dinner with very little effort.

  1. Wash your potatoes and pierce the outside with a fork.
  2. Leave them all natural, or add some additional flavor by coating with olive oil, and then dusting with salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap each one individually in tin foil and then place them into your slow cooker.
  4. Make sure you only have a single layer on the bottom for best results.
  5. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  6. Test to see if they’re finished by poking with a fork. If it slides in easily, they are ready to eat.
  7. Once all the way cooked, split open, add additional ingredients, and enjoy.

3. In A Pot

That’s right, you can even achieve an oven baked finish by cooking your spuds in a pot of boiling water. This method is often used by restaurants because it offers a quick way to finish the job. You won’t get crispy skins like you do in the oven, but you will be able to plate the finished product in less than half the time. This method will take about 20 minutes depending upon the size and qty you are cooking, but if you don’t want to use the oven, and you don’t have a slow cooker, it’s either this or the microwave method that follows.  Don’t confuse this with traditional boiling because with this method the water will not soak in as much, so it will end up similar to what baking provides.

  1. Wash potatoes with water, dry and then puncture with a fork.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  3. Wrap potatoes individually with foil.
  4. Place into water carefully, and cook for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Test to see if their finished by removing one and poking it. If your fork enters easily, they are finished.
  6. Use tongs to fish out your finished product, and be sure to allow any excess water to drip down safely.
  7. Unwrap, cut open and add your favorite toppings.

4. In Your Microwave

Some people don’t like the inconsistent results that a microwave offers, but few can argue with the fact that it’s one of the fastest ways possible to prepare a baked potato. From start to finish, you could be eating your food in less than ten minutes if you choose this method of cooking. You won’t get a crispy exterior, but you should be able to achieve a delicious and fluffy center if you do it the right way. With this method there is no advanced planning necessary, so it’s perfect for last minute meal ideas, or impulsive cravings, and many people choose it as their method of choice because time and effort are most important to them. If you would like to improve results when cooking a potato in the microwave, a specially designed pouch can be used to eliminate guess work, enhance the quality, reduce time, maintain consistency, and guarantee results.

Regular Method

  1. Wash your potatoes and poke them to prepare for cooking.
  2. Keep them plain, or rub with oil and sprinkle with salt for added flavor.
  3. Place them into a microwave safe dish, and then stick it into the microwave.
  4. Cook on high for five minutes, then remove and flip over.
  5. Stick in again, and then heat on high for another five minutes or less.
  6. Check by poking them with a fork. If not finished continue microwaving for as long as necessary, one minute at a time.
  7. Once finished, remove, cut open and enjoy.

With a Microwave Potato Cooker Pouch

  1. Wash spuds and leave slightly wet.
  2. Poke with fork to vent.
  3. Wrap in wax paper if desired, and add oil and salt and pepper if you wish.
  4. Place one or two potatoes inside the bag, and place into the microwave.
  5. Heat on high for four minutes for a single potato, and heat for six minutes for two.
  6. Remove from microwave and test for doneness.
  7. If not quite finished, cook for another minute and test again. repeat until finished.
  8. Once done, cut open, add toppings and eat.

5. The Hybrid Method

Some people resort to a combination technique to get the perfect results, but still save time. If you reduce cooking times for the microwave or boiling technique above, and then finish the process in the oven, you can have the best of both worlds. You will save a bunch of time, but you will still get the crispy exterior you prefer. Just pre-heat your oven while you’re washing and cooking for the first few minutes, and then toss them into the oven to complete the process. Your microwave or the boiling water will do most of the work in a short amount of time, so 10-15 minutes in the oven should be plenty to complete cooking. If you choose to try this method, wash, poke and season like outlined above, and then microwave for 3-4 minutes, or boil for 5-10 minutes. After that, use the oven to crisp up the outside, and cook until done. This usually takes another 10 minutes. You can save tons of time when compared to traditional baking, and the results will be almost identical.

Most people probably never knew there were five different ways to bake a potato, but there are probably even more methods out there that we left out. If you have your own method that works well, and you don’t see it in the list above, please share with others by using the comments box below.

Products Mentioned

Five Ways To Cook A Baked Potato - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/five-ways-cook-baked-potato/feed/ 0
Grilling Fish On A Cedar Plank http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/grilling-fish-on-a-cedar-plank/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/grilling-fish-on-a-cedar-plank/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:00:30 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2790 For perfect results when grilling salmon and other seafood, try placing it on some wood. A cedar plank can improve results, and ensure smoky and tender fish.

Grilling Fish On A Cedar Plank - Simply Good Tips

]]>
art of plankingFish is incredibly delicate, so it can be difficult to cook, and for this reason, many of us avoid this healthy fare, and opt for something more simple. Most folks don’t realize it, but cooking a salmon steak can be just as easy as cooking a hot dog if you do it the right way. One of the best methods for guaranteed flavor, and fillets that aren’t dried out or overcooked, is to use your grill. When done properly, the finished product is tough to match thanks to the tender texture, and smoky flavor you can achieve. However; when you go about it the wrong way, the results can be disastrous. To avoid pieces that get stuck, or cooking to a crispy, flavorless jerky, follow the instructions below, and look like a pro. It doesn’t matter if you are preparing salmon, sole, tuna or mahi mahi because any type of fish can be cooked with a similar technique.

What Is It

A cedar grilling plank is nothing more than regular wood, cut down to size. Natives in the North West have used them as a tool for preparing salmon and other fish for ages, and because of the wonderful results, it is also popular today. Sourced straight from the forest, this ordinary board will help you use the same ancient technique to prepare your seafood. Depending upon where you get it, the thickness and size will vary to accommodate more or less food, but the cooking method will be pretty much the same.

When using this technique it’s more like smoking than it is like grilling because the fish will be indirectly heated with the lid on as moisture steams out of the wood. The fillet will never touch the metal grate, and there will be no lines on your finished product, but the result will be amazingly delicious, restaurant quality food. Placing the board on dry would be a bad idea, and it does need to be fully saturated prior to cooking. Once on the grill, the soaked wood will steam in flavor and smoke your fish to perfection. The added flavor resulting from the natural wood further enhances the grilled taste usually achieved when barbecuing, and the indirect heat allows the fish to cook at the perfect speed for maximum flavor, without compromising tenderness.

To Soak Or Not To Soak

If you have several hours or a day to plan, you can certainly soak your own boards with little trouble, but for anyone that is bad at planning, or pressed for time, a pre-soaked plank might be the way to go. These come with the water already added, so all you need to do, is rip open the package and head to the grill. A dry board will need to be submerged in water for two or more hours, but using one already prepared can save you this time, and eliminate the main hassle from this cooking technique.

Preparing Your Plank

If not using one that’s pre-soaked, you will have to do it yourself. This can be advantageous for anyone that wants to experiment with other flavors, but it will take 2-6 hours at a minimum, and most would agree that best results are achieved when the wood soaks overnight. When prepping your own, you can stray from straight water, and mix it up with flavored liquids like beer, wine, fruit juice, herbal tea and more.

  1. To get your plank ready, first cut down to size if desired.
  2. Fill your kitchen sink, baking pan or bucket with water or other ingredients for flavor.
  3. Place one or more boards into the water.
  4. Use a soup can or something heavy to weigh them down, and keep them under water.
  5. Allow to sit for several hours.
  6. Once fully saturated, and you are ready to cook, pull the plank(s) from the water.
  7. Take them straight to the grill and preheat by cooking with the lid closed for one minute on each side.
  8. As an option, rub with sea salt, garlic or olive oil to add flavor before you head outside.
  9. To prepare extras for later use, just get a big freezer bag and pop them inside after soaking. Freeze until later, and then a quick ten minute bath in warm water will get them ready for action.

Cooking Instructions

In the demonstration below we will show how easy it is to make mouth watering fish right in your own backyard. Salmon is a popular fish to plank, and you could use the same technique, but we opted for Mahi Mahi in this case. If you do choose seafood with skin on it, just make sure to place your pieces with the skin side down. With this technique, you will not flip or rotate the meat, but it will cook all the way through. You can check by temperature if you are concerned about doneness, but look and feel are usually good indicators too. Anything in the 140 range will be considered well done, and something in the range of 120 will be rare in comparison. It should take anywhere from 12-25 minutes to finish cooking, and you should leave the lid closed for as much of the time as possible.

Stuff You’ll Need

  • Fish – We used mahi mahi.
  • Seasoning – We use salt, pepper and garlic.
  • Marinade – Optional. We chose a garlic ginger sauce formulated for fish.
  • Cedar Plank
  • Grill – Charcoal is best in our opinion, but any will do.
  • Water to soak the wood. – You can also use other flavored liquids.

Basic Steps

  1. Prep the plank.
  2. Fire up the grill.
  3. Season you fish.
  4. Pre-heat the wood.
  5. Place your fish.
  6. Cook for 12-25 minutes.
  7. Remove and serve.

Those are the basic steps, for detailed instructions with pictures, scroll down to keep reading.

STEP 1: how to grill fish on a cedar plankStep 1: We chose Mahi Mahi pieces as our fish of choice. Each little chunk is a bit smaller than a standard fillet, and everything combined was about enough to feed a family of 4-5. The fish was prepared by first adding a sprinkling of salt, pepper and garlic. It was then completely covered in a garlic ginger marinade. We allowed it to sit for about 30 minutes, and because it will cook right in the juice, longer marinade time is probably not necessary. For the plank, we opted for a pre-soaked board, so it was ready to go as soon as we took it out of the wrapper. You could easily substitute any other fish, and any other seasoning. Also, the size of each piece doesn’t matter either, so grill up some little nuggets like we did, or stick to one large fillet if that’s what you prefer.STEP 2: how to grill fish on a cedar plankStep 2: To get your board ready, you will want to preheat it. This will warm it up to improve cooking, but it will also enhance the smoky flavor, and cause the wood to resist warping. Simply preheat your grill, toss it on, and you will be good to go. For gas grills, use a medium setting, and for others, try to maintain a temperature of about 350-400 degrees. Once heated, add the wood right onto the grate and then close the lid for about a minute. After the time is up, flip it over and do the same to the other side. Some crackling is normal, and it will let you know that it is warming up like you want it to. Over heating can dry the wood, and release too much moisture, so be sure not to pre-heat for too long. When done properly, the dark coloration of the wet wood will lighten as it becomes less saturated on the outer layers. Some grill marks on the wood is normal, and nothing to worry about.
STEP 3: how to grill fish on a cedar plankStep 3: Once the grill is hot, and your plank is ready, it’s time to add on the raw fish. You don’t want any portion hanging over the edge, and if cooking small pieces like we did, you don’t really want them touching. As you position your food, make sure nothing overlaps, and there is a bit of space between each chunk. The plank can be positioned right over the coals or burner, or it can be off to the side for more indirect heating. If not directly over fire, the meat will cook more slowly, so the flavors will be more intense. It’s difficult to tell from the photos, but ours was sort of half on and half off. Once in position with food on top, quickly close the lid and leave it shut. This style of grilling is not like traditional methods, and is more like smoking or steaming. Without retaining the heat and moisture inside the closed chamber, your finished food will not be as tender or flavorful.STEP 4: how to grill fish on a cedar plankStep 4: After about five minutes, open the lid to take a look. Make sure there are no flare ups, and lightly spray with water if there is. It’s normal for the wood to char, and some bubbling moisture would be considered OK as well. You will not need to rotate the board or touch any individual piece. There will be no flipping or turning from start to finish. If everything looks fine inside, replace the lid and continue to cook. Water from the board will evaporate and mix with the intense heat trapped inside your BBQ, and the combination will gently smoke your fish until it’s done perfectly.STEP 5: how to grill fish on a cedar plankStep 5: After about 12 minutes, you should check again. It may take more time depending upon the cut you are cooking, but when it starts to look like the picture above, your fish will be ready to eat. You can use a spatula to test for firmness, or you can take the temperature of one the the thicker portions if you want to make sure. Once it begins to have a mouth watering appearance like ours above, it will be time to remove it, and dig in. You’ll notice that despite the lack of flipping and turning, all sides are golden brown, and cooked to perfection. We like our fish a little well done, so if you prefer a more raw texture, take them off before it looks like this. For us, the caramelized and slightly crispy outside pairs nicely with the tender and juicy interior.

After Cooking

Once finished, you will need to remove your food, and then serve it. The easiest way to take it off, is to leave it right on the wood. Get a large platter or tray, and then use a spatula to transfer the board from the grill  to your tray. Be careful because the wood will be hot, and parts may still be smoldering. Use a spray bottle if necessary, but be careful not to wet the fish. Once on the tray, transport inside, and serve portions right on the board, or plate them for a more sophisticated presentation.

What If It’s Salmon

For whatever reason, it’s probably the most common fish that gets cooked this way, but you can pretty much grill any seafood with the same technique. It even works for chicken, beef, vegetables and other stuff too. The only variation from the method above would be placement and seasoning, but cooking technique would be basically the same. Salmon steaks will often have the skin still on, so remember to season both sides, and then place the skin side down when grilling. When finished, you can use a spatula to sort of peel the salmon up to serve it, while leaving the skin still on the wood.

Instead of a wet marinade like we used above, most people with go with a more dry approach with salmon. A light sprinkling of salt and pepper may be all that you need, but you can certainly kick it up a notch by adding other herbs and spices too. You can even spread out fruit slices or vegetables to act as a bed for the fish, and it will add moisture and flavor to the end result. Because salmon is often quite thick, it may finish cooking without cooking enough on the outside to suit your tastes. If this is the case, just pop it in the broiler for the finishing touches. The resulting fillets are just so moist, so tender and so deliciously fragrant, all infused with that delicate sweet and smoky aroma.

Reuse The Plank

Most can be used at least twice, and you can usually get three or four uses from a single board if you try, and you cook off the flame. If it’s not too charred on the bottom, just wash it to clean off any food, and then dry and store for later use. Once it becomes useless, you can recycle the wood for use in your BBQ or fireplace, and if broken into smaller pieces it can even be used as mulch. If you do decide to toss the plank after cooking, make sure it is totally extinguished prior to throwing it in the garbage.  If you submerge it in water, or hold it under the faucet, you can be pretty confident it won’t cause trouble.

Other Options

If you don’t care about the smoky taste caused by the wood, but you just want to stop fish from sticking and improve results when grilling delicate foods, you may want to check out our BBQ Grilling Mats. They are basically a non-stick sheet that you can place over the metal grate to give yourself a large flat surface to cook on. Nothing will ever stick to it, and it will retain juices and marinades right next to the food, so increased flavor, and improved results are easy to achieve. It can be used over and over again, so you won’t have to replace it like you do with wood. Just hand wash, or place it in the dishwasher for cleaning. They come in a a large thin sheet, but they can be cut to size for smaller grills, or used in tandem for larger operations. They are great for grilling seafood, and you actually still get grill marks through the material. Because they turn your barbecue into a big skillet, you can also cook weird stuff like eggs, pancakes and stir fry, and have it take on a robust, off-the-grill taste.

Often considered impossible, or only for professionals, cooking fish on a cedar plank is actually quite easy. It’s almost impossible to ruin the results, and the incredible flavor is unmatched by any other cooking method. Don’t head out to a restaurant the next time you’re craving a gourmet fish dinner. Use the same technique that’s been used for generations to ensure tender meat and bold flavor. It will still look fancy and impossible to friends and family, so impress them with your new found knowledge, or just treat yourself to the best tasting fish you’ve had in a while.

Products Mentioned

Grilling Fish On A Cedar Plank - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/grilling-fish-on-a-cedar-plank/feed/ 0
A Mini Wrench And Multi-Tool That’s Also A Keychain http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mini-wrench-multi-tool-thats-also-keychain/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mini-wrench-multi-tool-thats-also-keychain/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:41:29 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2745 Make your keys more useful than ever. Attach this little tool to provide 7-in-1 functionality. It's a wrench, scraper, screwdriver, bottle opener and more.

A Mini Wrench And Multi-Tool That’s Also A Keychain - Simply Good Tips

]]>
mini wrench multi-toolLooking for a teeny tiny set of wrenches? How about a dangerously awesome looking key chain? The Pocket Wrench is all that and more, so your search may be over. Cut from a solid piece of metal, this multi-tool has no moving parts, but it will help you tackle several key jobs right when they pop up. It can attach easily to any key ring, but you can also strap it to backpacks and purses, clip it to carabiners, or stow it conveniently in a glove boxes or desk drawer. It’s made in the USA with top quality raw materials, and it’s way thicker and more sturdy than similar tools sold elsewhere. It comes in your choice of metric or SAE sizing, so you’ll need two for a full set, but you can also just choose the one you use most often. It’s perfect for anyone  that wants to improve preparedness, but tinkerers, carpenters, mechanics and others will have a hard time leaving home without it.

Why Choose This One

A set of wrenches takes up a lot of room, and each one will usually remain separate, so keeping them together can be a real chore. You could certainly drag a large bag or box with you, but storage may be a problem, and speed will not be on your side when you go to retrieve them. Fancy, do-everything, multi tools are great to pack power into a small package, but they can be expensive, and most do not include any size of wrench or socket. If you can find a product with similar functionality, it will probably be thin and flimsy, and it will most likely be double the size without adding any benefit. This one offers loads of functionality, and it’s small enough to fit almost anywhere, but not so small that it’s difficult to use. The rugged design guarantees a long life, and is extremely resistant to any kind of damage. With such a low price tag, you will easily get your money’s worth, and it just might save the day. No more running to the tool box, and no more getting caught without the right tool.

What Can It Do

A valuable addition to any pocket, bag or purse, this little tool is packed with functionality. It’s actually seven tools in one, so get it to have several wrenches in the palm of your hands at all times, but keep it around for all of the other jobs it can handle too. The front part looks like a beak from some prehistoric bird, and it could probably be employed as a self defense weapon, but it also makes the perfect can and bottle opener. Flip any kind of lid with little effort thanks to the design and strength offered, and just rotate to switch between cans and bottles. The same pointy part also makes a really good scraper or pry bar thanks to the incredible strength, and exacting angle. Quickly remove old paint, or flip open a sealed lid.

Move to the very tip of the beak, and you will notice that it is flat like a screwdriver. This part makes the perfect #2 flat head screwdriver in a pinch, and the comfortable grip allows for easy use, and ample torque. The smaller hole near the front of the tool can accept any standard size bit, so use it to transform this little guy into a manual drill, or ratchet with any size socket. The larger hole provides four or five different wrench sizes depending upon version, so you will be able to remove or put in place any number of nuts and bolts. To round out the list of duties, the outer edge can also be used as a ruler. Each little notch adds grip to facilitate use, but it’s also exactly 1/8″ away from the one next to it, and the group is exactly one inch from side to side.

  • A scraper.
  • A bottle and can opener.
  • A pry bar.
  • A wrench with multiple sizes.
  • A flat screwdriver.
  • A drill or socket wrench when bits are added.
  • A one inch ruler.

With an overall size that’s just slightly bigger than your house key, this tool packs tons of power into a little package. It may save the day if your car breaks down, or a key piece of equipment fails, but you will find it useful for regular work too. It’s nice to have a high quality tool in your pocket so you can save a trip to the garage, and this compact wrench will be able to slip into any tight spot to tackle some jobs that your larger stuff can’t even handle. The small price tag is nothing compared to the piece of mind and utility it will provide, so enhance your pocket, beef up your key chain, or add the finishing touch to your hiking bag with this tool.

Products Mentioned

A Mini Wrench And Multi-Tool That’s Also A Keychain - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/mini-wrench-multi-tool-thats-also-keychain/feed/ 0
How To Compost And Make Compost Tea http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/compost-make-compost-tea/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/compost-make-compost-tea/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:46:00 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2777 Beneficial for you and the environment, compost is an ideal fertilizer and soil amendment. Learn how to make it, what it is, and why you should start producing it.

How To Compost And Make Compost Tea - Simply Good Tips

]]>
how to compostWhat Is Compost

Comprised of decayed organic material, the dark, nutrient-rich substance resembles mulch, and is used as a fertilizer for plants, or conditioner for soil. It can be sprinkled on top, or mixed in to improve soil quality, and promote plant growth. In order to make it, you need to pile green waste, mix it with equal parts of brown waste, and then keep it warm and moist. Regular turning will aerate the mixture to promote even decomposition. When environmental conditions are ideal, microorganisms will consume the organic matter and make it decompose. Worms and fungi will aid in this process. Stuff will degrade naturally anyway, but the composting process speeds it up, and improves the end result.

Why It’s Good

There are many benefits to composting that go way beyond feeding plants, or throwing less stuff in the trash. Both those things are great, but the long list of other benefits below, only add to the appeal.

  • It is a biologically active soil amendment, and the bacteria, insects and fungi contained in it will make plants healthy in a natural way.
  • When added to the dirt in your yard, it will improve the soil structure. Sandy soil will be able to retain more moisture, and soil that is dense with clay will be easier to work with, and more conducive to root growth.
  • When you use it, the pH level of your soil will balance. It doesn’t matter if it is acidic or alkaline because the compost will neutralize it, and make the perfect amount of nutrients available to your plants.
  • Not only is it more complete as a fertilizer, it is also slow to release the nutrients, so it lasts longer too.
  • Because it’s so delicious, it attracts earthworms and microorganisms to further enhance the surrounding soil.
  • It can help to prevent and control erosion.
  • It reduces waste in your trashcan and landfills.
  • Saves you money and the trip to the store to buy commercial products.
  • Reduces your exposure to harsh chemicals found in of the shelf brands.
  • Reduces weed growth, and insulates during cold weather when used as mulch.
  • Saves on watering because it will hold more moisture, and promote healthier root growth.

What To Put In

There’s a wide range of ingredients you can use, but certain things should be avoided. You basically want an equal mix of green and brown organic matter. The green stuff is going to be wet and full of nitrogen, and the brown stuff will be dry and full of carbon. When combined under ideal conditions, the two will create a balanced mix that decomposes evenly, and creates a high quality mixture often referred to as black gold.

Greens – Commonly used green stuff will include: Fruit skins, vegetable peels, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, garden scraps, plant trimmings, table scraps and leftovers.

Browns – Commonly used brown stuff includes:  Dry leaves, grass clippings, straw, sawdust, shredded newspaper, shredded cardboard, and shredded egg cartons.

DO NOT Put In – Avoid adding stuff like those in the following list: Meat and fish, dairy products, sauces and dressings, oil and fat, pet waste, diseased plants, seeding weeds, bones, and cigarette butts.

Basic Instructions

Below we will detail the basic process of composting in your yard. Anyone can use the following directions along with a few basic tools to make their own fertilizer and soil amendment. If you want to ease the process, and speed up results, continue reading to learn about how to use our Deluxe Tumbling Composter.

  1. Choose a location. Building a box or bin can help keep things neat, but you can also just pile it up.
  2. When adding materials, make sure they’re not too big. Reduce size to about an inch for fast and even decomposition.
  3. Add your ingredients to create the pile. Choose equal parts green and brown matter for an ideal level of nitrogen and carbon.
  4. Moisture and heat are required for it to work. It will insulate itself to create heat, and moisture should be at a damp level, and not too wet. A hot pile will degrade quickly, but a cool one will take twice the amount of time in some cases.
  5. Aeration is also necessary to aid in the process. Mix your compost a few times each week so air can get to all ingredients.
  6. After several months your mixture should be ready to use. The smell should not be rotten are stinky. It should smell rich and earthy.

Using The Deluxe Tumbling Composter

An advanced tool can speed up results, improve nutrient levels, and make it way easier and less stinky to compost in your yard. The spinning action will allow you to keep your pitchfork in the garage, and reduce effort to almost nothing. A few rotations a week is all that’s required to maintain it, and everything will be ready to use in way less time than any traditional method. Because it’s totally enclosed, odor will be reduced to make it more pleasant, and heat will increase to speed up the process. An added benefit of this deluxe version is the collection of liquid fertilizer under the rotating bin. You will be able to produce 52 gallons of dry compost, and a bonus, 3.5 gallons of liquid fertilizer at the same time. To use it, just follow the easy steps below.

Step 1: Getting Started

  • Use a container inside to collect waste in your kitchen. Remember, smaller pieces will break down faster.
  • Combine indoor waste, with brown waste collected from your garden and elsewhere.
  • A 50/50 mix will always be best. Once collected, open the latching door, and add to the inside of the drum.
  • As an option, add a small amount of good soil to activate your first batch.
  • Once loaded, close the lid and then secure the latch to keep it shut.
  • Add more ingredients over time as they are collected.
  • Once shut and filled, rotate the bin to mix the stuff inside.
  • Eight rollers underneath and large grooves around the outside make spinning it easy.

Step 2: During The Cycle

  • To ensure air circulation and a good mix, make sure to rotate the bin at least three times each week.
  • As the drum fills to capacity, it may become too heavy for some people to rotate. In this case, a rocking motion will work just fine.
  • For best results, don’t fill the container more than 3/4 full.
  • Keep the stuff inside wet, but not too wet. A low level of dampness is ideal, but if there’s too much water, it may begin to stink. If this should occur, just add more brown material to soak it up.
  • The finished product will take 4-6 weeks to produce. If you want to speed things up, just rotate the drum more often.

Step 3: Using Your Finished Product

  • To use your compost, separate the drum from the base, and roll it close to the spot where you want to use it.
  • Unlatch the door, and open it up, then roll the bin forward to make it easy to take the contents out.
  • As an option, leave a small amount inside to activate your next batch.
  • For use on indoor plants, let the compost air out in a bin, or on your lawn to reduce moisture. This will take 1-2 days.
  • Make a potting mix by mixing one part compost along with equal amounts of peat moss, sand and ground bark.
  • Mix it into flower beds and vegetable gardens to improve the soil and feed the plants. If it;s the first time, mix in a 3-4 inch layer. If it is a repeat application, use as little as one inch.
  • Use like a mulch by spreading in and around flowers in a 1-4 inch layer.
  • Surround trees and shrubs in a thick layer to feed roots, and retain moisture.
  • Feed your lawn by sprinkling a thin layer all over.

Step 4: Using Your Compost Tea

  • With the drum removed, the liquid collected in the base will be easy to access.
  • When new, there will be four plugs installed. Two in the composter, and two in the base. To collect the tea, place all four into the center holes in the base.
  • Be sure to keep the holes at the ends open and free of blockage.
  • To empty the base, attach a garden hose to the threaded opening, or just dump everything into a bucket.
  • To use it as fertilizer, mix one part compost tea with ten parts water.
  • This highly concentrated liquid is an extremely potent food for all plants.

Use 12 Months A year

Unlike other techniques and solutions, this one can be used all year long. As long as it gets cold enough in your area to freeze, you can easily compost in the winter. To make access easy, you should relocate the bin to a spot close to your home. Continue to add waste throughout the cold months, but don’t spin it at all. The freezing process will break down the fibers in organic material, and will accelerate decomposition in the spring.

Why use This Tumbler Over Other Options

Traditional techniques are slow, and they require manual labor that some want to avoid. Also, you only get a dry mulch with regular bins and piles, so you lose out on the liquid fertilizer referred to as tea. Other tumbling options are often made with cheaper materials, smaller capacities, and drums that are difficult to spin. Some may be as large and easy to use, but they won’t collect liquid or last as long in most cases. If you are looking for a top of the line model that will make the process fool-proof, then look no further. This one could not be more easy to use, and the results are amazing. Your yard will look better than ever, and you will be able to do it without expensive purchases, dangerous chemicals, or loads of extra effort.

Products Mentioned

How To Compost And Make Compost Tea - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/compost-make-compost-tea/feed/ 0
No Dustpan. No Problem. http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/dustpan-problem/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/dustpan-problem/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 22:38:57 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2657 A cleaning tip to end the annoyance when you don't have a dustpan, or the one you do have stinks. A simple household item could save the day.

No Dustpan. No Problem. - Simply Good Tips

]]>
The following is a user submitted tip from Sandra Hogan. We thought it was useful enough to save people some time, so we are sharing it below. We love to spread the word about new tips that reduce effort and eliminate frustration, so if you have your own, please submit it to us to share with others.

Cleaning Tip

When you don’t have a dust pan, use a paper towel by wetting only one end with water and sweep dirt over wet end then use dry part of towel to wipe up.

Our Take

So, if you are without a pan, or the one you are using is giving you trouble, replace it, or improve it, with a simple paper towel. If we understand it correctly, the wet side will cling to the floor and allow you to push all of the dirt up and onto the paper towel. Once up there, you can sort of fold it over, and grab it to lift up, and throw it all into the trash. This technique would quickly solve the problem of a missing tool, but it may also become your preferred method because it’s so fast and easy. You don’t have to search, and you don’t have to worry about pushing everything in to eliminate it because instead of a fat edge, you will have a paper-thin ramp.

Not only would this work as a replacement for a dustpan, it would also work to improve one by adding a ramp. When you drape it over the front end of a metal or plastic pan, the paper will make up for thick edges that cause problems with fine particles. Once the towel is in place, the front edge will basically be flush with the floor, so it will even outperform products with rubber edges. The super thin entry ramp will allow you to sweep everything into the pan, instead of pushing it across the floor without picking it up. By using this technique, light dust and minute particles will not slip underneath, or brush up to the edge without going in. Once the pan is full, flip the wet edge back, and proceed to empty into the garbage.

It’s not exactly the most eco-friendly way to move swept dirt from the floor to the trash, but it is effective. If you are trying to go green, you may not like the whole disposable aspect of this tip, but as far as universal replacements go, it is hard to beat. If you are at the point of annoyance, or if you just can’t find what you need, try this tip to finish the job and move onto something better. Almost everyone will have this item on hand, so it’s a quick, go-to solution that can allow you to finish cleaning your floor without running out to the store.

How To Do It

  1. Begin by sweeping your floor. A good rubber broom can make it easy.
  2. Use a systematic sweeping motion, and collect everything into one or more piles.
  3. Once your piles are set, get a paper towel and get the front third damp.
  4. Lay the towel down next to your pile so that the wet edge is just barely touching.
  5. Once in place, use your broom to push the dirt over the wet part, and onto the the dry potion.
  6. After your pile is transferred to the paper towel, use your hand to wad it up and lift it off the floor.
  7. Dispose in trash can.
  8. To enhance an existing dustpan, simply place the dampened towel into the pan with the wet edge hanging out the front.
  9. Align next to your pile in the same way, and the wet ramp will make it easier to get everything in with one try.

Have your own cleaning tip? We would love to hear about it, and share it with everyone else. If you have other cleaning suggestions or handy tricks that you consider good, please submit them to us and help others save time and money too.

Products Mentioned

No Dustpan. No Problem. - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/dustpan-problem/feed/ 0
Sweep And Mop At The Same Time http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/sweep-mop-time/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/sweep-mop-time/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:37:27 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2727 Sweeping and mopping go hand in hand. Most of us use two tools to complete the two step process, but this tool will do both jobs at the same time.

Sweep And Mop At The Same Time - Simply Good Tips

]]>
sweep and mopAsk anybody how to mop a floor the correct way, and they will probably tell you how important it is to sweep first. In most cases this is very true, and good advise to follow. The problem is that none of us have extra time on our hands, so none of us really care to spend the little time we do have, going over a floor twice. If you’ve ever tried to skip the sweeping, and then proceed to clean with a regular mop, you know what a mess it can make. Regular sponge mops, string versions, and even microfiber flat ones, can’t handle loose debris, so if you don’t pick it up first, you will end up pushing it around, or saturating it to create mud. There is a tool that can do both jobs at once, so continue reading to learn about a powerful tool that will save you time and effort without compromising cleanliness.

Why Sweep

It seems obvious, but some of you novices may not get it yet. Kitchens and bathrooms get coated with crumbs, hair, pet fur, regular dirt and unknown grime. If you don’t sweep it up before you mop, then it can cause real problems that will make your job more difficult, and could end up damaging your floors. Course particles can be pushed across the surface to make marks or cause scratching. Softer ones can turn to mud with added moisture, and then smear from one side of the floor to the other. Human and pet hair will usually just glue in place and stay there to annoy you, and make it seem like you never even cleaned your floors. If you go over tile, linoleum, hardwood and other surfaces with a broom first, you eliminate the debris, and allow the mop to clean only the stuff it’s designed for. Surface grime and light staining can be easily mopped up when there’s nothing in the way, so if you use a broom first, good results are much easier to come by.

A Better Way

If you’re super lazy, or just crunched for time like everyone else, you may want to try our PVA  Mop. With this tool, you can literally skip the sweeping, and still get outstanding results on any type of floor. The special design will allow you to pick up loose debris and scrub the surface clean at the same time. That means going over the floor once, and finishing the job in half the time. No dust pans to worry about, no bristles to annoy you, and no trips back and forth to retrieve, and put away a series of tools. This one tool can thoroughly clean any type of hard floor in one quick and efficient step. Use it on tile, linoleum, cement, wood, marble, stone or anything else and the results will be the same. Quick results, easy operation, and outstanding cleaning power.

How It Works

It may look like a regular squeeze action sponge mop, but it’s far from ordinary. It does have a built in wringer to eliminate moisture, and rinse out dirt easily, but the head isn’t made from a regular cellulose sponge. Take a look at the picture above, and notice the ridges that run down the length of the head. Those integrated ridges aid in scrubbing, but they also sweep up debris as you move across the floor. Once the dirt is released from your floor, it’s sort of sucked up, and held within the groove until you rinse or wring to dispose of it. Because it’s lifted up off the surface, you don’t have any of the problems that are common with other tools that just push it around. Push and pull over the surface, and the soft sponge will wash every inch, and when you encounter hair, crumbs or other dirt, you can move right through it to lift it up, and wash underneath.

PVA Material

The mop head on this tool is technically a sponge, but it’s probably way different than what you’re used to. It doesn’t have little holes in it, and it has way more cleaning power, but that’s just the beginning. When wet, the material is smooth and squishy, but when it dries, it becomes rock hard. If you compare it to traditional versions, it will be more absorbent and more sanitary overall. Soak up tons of  liquid to dry floors quickly, or hold more cleaning solution to mop a larger area in less time. Because it won’t stay wet, or lock in bacteria and other yucky stuff after you’re done, it won’t stink or grow mildew like regular tools do. The added ridges create a gentle scrubbing ability, and they also lock in any loose debris you mop over. Because the material won’t deteriorate, or rip with regular use, each head will last longer, and clean better with each use. It easily conforms to uneven surfaces, and dips down into cracks and crevices, so surfaces like tile and stone come clean with little effort. The material is compatible with any type of soap or chemical, so you can use whatever you like best.

How To Use It

Cleaning a floor is pretty simple when you have this tool, and you will use it like any other mop that’s similar. It has a built in wringer on the handle, and you just press it forward to contract the rollers, and squeeze out everything being stored. The main difference is in the head material because it will be more durable, and it will act like a broom and mop in one. When used correctly, it can save you time and energy while getting your linoleum cleaner than ever. For best results, follow the step by step instructions below.

  1. Before you begin, make sure the sponge is wet. If not properly soaked, it will not squeeze, and attempting to do so may break the handle.
  2. Soak for 2-3 minutes to get it ready for cleaning.
  3. Fill a bucket or sink with hot water and your cleaning solution of choice.
  4. To mop, dip the head into your soap to saturate. Wring out more or less depending upon floor type, preference and other factors.
  5. Clean floors by using a back and forth motion where you are pushing the tool away from you, and then pulling it back.
  6. As you move it will pick up crumbs and other loose dirt, and also wash the surface at the same time.
  7. Once the sponge is dirty, or full of debris, wring out by pressing down on the handle to release the dirty water and grime.
  8. Dip into clean soapy water, and repeat steps above to continue cleaning.
  9. Hang when not in use, and allow head to dry.

Stop spending more time than you need to, but don’t settle for gross looking floors either. Try this tool instead of the mop and broom combo you’re using now, and you might be surprised by how quickly and easily you can clean your floors. It’s not magical, so if your bathroom or kitchen is completely covered with dirt and hair, you will want to use a broom first, but for regular use on most people’s floors, it can be used to sweep and mop at the same time. Thanks to the powerful cleaning head, and the simple squeeze action wringer built into the handle, anyone will be able to use it for a simple and effective way to remove any kind of dirt from tile, stone, cement, linoleum and more.

Products Mentioned

Sweep And Mop At The Same Time - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/sweep-mop-time/feed/ 0
Fabric Softeners And Absorbency http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/fabric-softeners-absorbency/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/fabric-softeners-absorbency/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:35:27 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2721 Adding liquid softener to your laundry, or drying with dryer sheets can reduce absorbency in towels and cloths. Find out why, and learn about other options.

Fabric Softeners And Absorbency - Simply Good Tips

]]>
Question:

I washed my shammy and forgot and used fabric softener. Did I ruin it ?

Answer:

Good question. We always recommend against using traditional fabric softeners with shammys and other cleaning cloths because it will affect ability over time. For those unfamiliar, a shammy is a non-woven, synthetic cloth known for its incredible ability to absorb moisture and lock it in. The main side effect to using dryer sheets or liquid softeners on towels and other items is a decrease in absorbency. The good news in this case, is that a single exposure will not render the cloth ineffective, but with continued use, it definitely will not work as well. Don’t go tossing it in the trash just yet, because that shammy should still be able to suck up incredible amounts of water.

Why This Happens

Traditional fabric softeners contain a mix of chemical compounds and perfumes, along with other ingredients. When added to your laundry they will completely coat the fabrics, in order to soften them and add that familiar pleasant scent. Much will be eliminated by rinsing, but some will always remain. For materials like microfiber and viscose shammys, this action will result in clogged pores, blunted ends, and residues that linger. When the material can’t function as intended, you end up with a tool that is less absorbent, or less able to pick up dirt. As previously stated, a single dose will not cause much harm, but build up over time is guaranteed to make your shammy, bath towel or cleaning cloth noticeably less effective.

What’s In It

More that your ability to soak spills, or dry your body, you should be concerned with the ingredients you are exposing yourself to on a regular basis. The substances in liquid softeners and dryer sheets can absorb into your skin, or be inhaled into your lungs. Because there is some pretty dangerous stuff in there, you should think twice about adding it to any load, not just towels. Safe and natural alternatives such as dryer balls or vinegar, can soften fabric just as well, but they will not effect absorbency ever. You won’t get any of the perfume scent, but for many people that is another benefit.

If you take a look at the list of stuff inside that bottle or infused into those sheets, you will discover a list of timer release chemicals, and many have been linked to different forms of cancer. It smells really nice, but you may want to limit exposure for health reasons. Formaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, chloroform and other nasty stuff is lurking within the fresh mountain scent that you are adding to your laundry. These are known irritants and carcinogens, and have been linked to various diseases in study after study. Less serious side effects are often the first to arise, and prolonged exposure can lead to more serious complications. If you have unexplained headaches, disorientation, mod swings, numbness, memory loss or irritability, it could be from your fabric softener.

What’s The Alternative

There are a handful of legitimate alternatives out there, and they will allow you to soften fabrics without exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals, or worrying about side effects like decreased absorbency.  Regular white distilled vinegar is a good choice to add to your washing machine, and dryer balls are ideal for softening stuff in the dryer. Neither has any fragrance, but they also lack toxic ingredients that can lead to trouble. As far as how the fabrics feel, both will offer similar results when compared to regular products, minus the flowery scent.

Vinegar

Most people have this around the house already, but few realize that it can be poured in as an alternative to liquid softener during the rinse cycle. It has a similar effect, but it rinses off completely, and will not leave any sort of residue. You may think that it will cause your clothes to stink, but they actually come out smelling just like your detergent, not the vinegar. To use it, simply add in a 1/4-1/2 cup when the rinse cycle starts, or add to the dispenser labeled fabric softener. It costs less that traditional products, it’s made from renewable resources, it is totally safe to touch your skin or inhale, and it will not coat fabrics to reduce absorbency.

Dryer Balls

Don’t want the hassle of running to the washing machine at the exact right time? toss a set of these into your dryer, and never worry about fabric softeners again. These little balls will tumble around as your clothes dry to separate and massage fabrics. Clothing will be softer, static will be reduced, and drying will take less time because the air will flow between garments more effectively. This method is by far the least expensive, and it is totally hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Your laundry will feel as good or better than it did with regular products, but you won’t have to worry about affecting performance of cleaning cloths, or adding dangerous residues to clothing and bed sheets.

Why Go With An Alternative

  • No side effects. – One of the most obvious reasons is that it will solve your absorbency problem. No chemical residue means towels, shammys and other cloths will continue to work just like new.
  • Healthier. – Who wants to increase exposure to carcinogens and other dangerous stuff? Not many people. We sleep in or wear laundry all day long, so if you are addicted to that sunshine scent,l and also wondering why you always have headaches, maybe take a look at what you are putting into your laundry.
  • Eco-Friendly. – Vinegar is renewable, and dryer balls never wear out. You could continue buying the product you use now, but the production and ingredients involved are resource intensive, and the introduction to ground water is questionable
  • Cheaper. – With dryer balls it is a single purchase, and with vinegar it is still several, but each one costs way less. You are guaranteed to save money when you choose one of the alternatives mentioned above.

Products Mentioned

Have your own question? Ask it here.

Fabric Softeners And Absorbency - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/fabric-softeners-absorbency/feed/ 0
Cleaning Tile Grout http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-tile-grout/ http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-tile-grout/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:45:03 +0000 http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/?p=2685 Keep tile looking its best, and maintain a healthy environment. Clean grout lines regularly with one of these 4 proven methods, and step by step instructions.

Cleaning Tile Grout - Simply Good Tips

]]>
cleaning grout

Those little lines do more than just collect dirt. They also seal and fill joints between flooring and wall tiles in order to create a solid surface, and secure the pieces in place. It’s sort of like cement, and it comes in many different colors. It will go on thick and liquidy, and then set over time to end up completely hard. Once dry, it becomes a permanent fixture in your bathroom or kitchen, and depending upon style and tile type, the lines can be thick or thin. The area between each tile will be completely filled with grout, and it’s always lower, so it’s ideal for collecting grime, and also making it impossible to remove. In order to keep your tiled surface looking it’s best, you will probably have to resort to specialized tools or techniques because it can be pretty difficult to get good results with a simple spray and wipe system. A gleaming surface is much nicer to look at, but it’s also way safer. Use the tips and techniques below to improve appearance and create a healthier environment at the same time.

Why Clean It

It’s pretty easy to mop the tops of each tile, but getting down into the cracks can pose a real problem. Most regular tools will slide right over the top, and will completely miss the grout. You may even find more dirt and grime deposited after cleaning, than you did before you started. The material is very porous so it holds onto stuff well, and makes it difficult to remove. When soap scum, mildew and other yucky stuff are allowed to stay in the lines, it will discolor over time, and then become unhealthy as it’s allowed to cake and build up. Getting the lines clean will make the whole room look better, but it will also eliminate hidden dangers at the same time. You may need a better tool to make the job easier, but you may also be able to combine stuff you already have in order to save a few bucks. Unless you like to bathe or cook in a grimey germ hole, it is very important to clean each tile and the grout that surrounds it.

Health Risks

If ignored, and left alone, all of that dirt may start to affect the people that encounter it. Asthma and allergies can be triggered. Skin, eyes and lungs may be irritated, and in some rare situations, serious diseases can be found lurking within the mold and mildew. It is well documented that mold is bad for you, and the longer it’s allowed to sit, the more potential for danger, and the more difficult it will be to get off. Some varieties are more dangerous than others, but they all look bad, and even the most benign can be irritating to some people.

For those allergic to the grime encountered in this area, it is common to see runny noses, itchy eyes, coughs, sneezes and throat irritation as a response. In some cases, it will manifest in a more chronic  and severe manner to become asthma or some other long term condition. When substances in the grout lines don’t cause full blown allergic reactions, they may just irritate in an annoying way. This can lead to unexplained headaches, fatigue, trouble catching your breath, concentration problems, nausea and more. The most rare problems caused by dirty grout lines are the ones brought about by invasive diseases. This is not at all common, but it is a risk in some extreme cases. Typically these powerful germs can only compromise those with already lowered immune systems.

Cases of asthma have skyrocketed all over the country, and one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and your family is to keep things clean, but also stick with products that don’t add to the problem. If you use harsh chemicals to fry the dirt, you may be doing as much harm as good due to the harsh, toxic ingredients. The tips and cleaning methods below will help you to do a good job without resorting to dangerous products that may cause even more irritation that the stuff you’re trying to remove. Keep reading to learn about several proven ways to accomplish this task, and feel free to add your own in the comments section if there is anything we missed.

4 Ways To Clean Grout

 

Use Chlorine Bleach

This is one of the most harsh methods we will list, so best to get it out of the way. We would recommend trying the other techniques first, and then resorting to this if necessary. Bleach can be an irritant to some, and should not be on your skin for any amount of time, but many people swear by it, and prefer it for this job. If you choose to try this method, be sure to use proper precaution with the chlorine bleach. Because it will distort colored grout, you should only use this stuff on white or lighter colored lines, or those that you do not mind changing colors.

  1. To prepare your cleaning solution, get a bucket, and add in 2 cups of baking soda.
  2. Measure out 1 cup of bleach and add to the baking soda.
  3. Use a stick or ruler to mix the two ingredients together, and continue until you have a paste.
  4. Grab a toothbrush and dip into your paste to apply some to the bristles. A larger, more powerful brush may make the job easier.
  5. Use an up and down, back and forth action to scrub along the lines.
  6. Do one section at a time and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Once it has set, use a mop and some water to rinse clean and remove any residue.
  8. Repeat if needed to get the results you want.

Use Oxygen Bleach

Similar to chlorine, but safer, and generally more effective on grout. It works on all sorts of stains, and will usually provide better results than professional steam machines. It’s a general purpose cleaning product made from a combination of soda ash and hydrogen peroxide. When mixed with warm water, it becomes activated and offers a powerful cleaning solution that works well with added scrubbing. The oxygen will break down organic build up to make it easy to release it from the surface and lift it away. Although it is a bleach, it will not harm color like the chlorine stuff does. It’s also less toxic and therefore safer for you and your pets.

  1. To prepare for cleaning, mix an amount with warm water according to the instructions on the package. It will totally dissolve once mixed in.
  2. Pour the solution you made directly onto the floor.
  3. Continue pouring until all grout line are flooded.
  4. Once the floor is saturated, let sit for 15-30 minutes. As it sits, it will do the work for you by breaking down the grime.
  5. If your cleaning solution absorbs or sinks in, add more. The area should remain wet.
  6. After 30 minutes, use a scrub brush to clean the lines.
  7. Add more solution as you scrub to make the job easy.
  8. For best results, use a nylon brush, and work in sections.
  9. In a grid, work from top to bottom, and left to right.
  10. Rinse the floor with water and wipe clean with a mop or rag.
  11. Repeat if necessary to get the results you want.
  12. For maintenance after you get it clean, add a smaller amount of oxygen bleach to your water every time you mop.

Use A Homemade Cleaning Solution

Want to make a similar substance with stuff you already have? A simple home remedy can do a pretty good job if you also have a good tool. It will be pretty tough to get grout clean without any effort, no matter which method you go with, but skipping a trip to the store will at least reduce the time it takes. When you use a simple list of ingredients you already have at home, you can be sure it is safe and non-toxic, and you can mix the exact amount you need at a very affordable price. When applied with a good scrub brush, the following solution has been proven to remove soap scum, mold and other stuff without much trouble.

  1. To get ready, mix your solution in a sink or bucket.
  2. Begin with warm water and then add in 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar.
  3. Mix in some lemon juice for scent and acidity. 1/3 cup.
  4. Combine this liquid with about 1/2 cup of baking soda.
  5. The ingredients will immediately react and bubble. Wait until it settles.
  6. Once calm, add to a spray bottle for walls, leave in a bucket or apply right to the tile for floors.
  7. Once applied, let it sit for 5 or more minutes.
  8. Use a scrub brush to clean grout lines and remove grime.
  9. Clean one section at a time, and move from one location to the next in a methodical manner.
  10. Once finished, rinse clear with water, and use a mop or rag to remove any residue left over.

Use A Steam Cleaner

This method is probably the most expensive, but it also might be the easiest. For regular build up these machines can be quite effective, but when the grime is caked or on there for long periods, they may not provide the scrubbing power necessary to get the floor clean. No t many people could justify a outright purchase, but a one day rental may help you improve the look of your grout. Most home improvement stores offer rental machines that you can get your hands on locally. It won’t do you much good for tile on the wall, and it would be pretty silly to use in a small room. This method is best used for large sections of tiled flooring.

  1. Once you get the machine home, be sure to set up according to the instructions.
  2. Fill the machine with water, and then turn the power on.
  3. Allow it time to reach the proper temperature.
  4. Begin at one side of the room, and move toward the other. As you move make sure the brush makes contact and continue in a forward motion.
  5. As you reach the other side, turn directly around, and continue in a line parallel to the one you just made.
  6. Keep steaming until you get the results you want. It may be necessary to go over certain areas more than once.
  7. Use a mop or cloth to soak up any residual moisture and wipe clean any residue or debris.
  8. Turn off machine and allow to cool.

Extra Tips

  • Choose your tool based upon the durability of the tile.
  • Always use a good scrubber for fast and easy results.
  • Fresh dirt is easier to clean than old stuff. Clean regularly, and tackle tough stains right away to make the job easier.
  • Grout sealer can be applied to keep it clean longer. Put on according to direction once fully cleaned.
  • If using chlorine bleach, ensure that you open a window, turn on an exhaust fan or ventilate in some way.
  • Gloves should also be worn when handling chlorine bleach.
  • Using a steam machine on grout that is cracking or broken may cause problems. Avoid this.

Good Tool = Easy Cleaning

Using a better grout brush will save time, reduce effort, and make the job easier. It’s nearly impossible to thoroughly clean the lines between each tile without a brush of some sort, and all of them are not created equal. Shape, size, material and durability all play a role in making one tool better or worse than another. For the quickest job with the best results, you will want a tough scrubber that doesn’t wear out. A brush that works as a hand tool or one with a long pole will increase convenience and allow you to reach areas that are high up, or far away. You also make it possible to switch to floors or tiles without using something different, or resorting to awkward stretching or straining. We carry some of the best grout cleaning tools available, but anything similar will also work. Be careful when shopping elsewhere though because most other tools are flimsy and prone to bending or smashing to become ineffective.

Shark Grout And Tile BrushThe Shark Grout And Tile Brush

This red, gray and blue brush has some of the stiffest bristles you will find. It’s a commercial grade tool that features unique bristles angles to make it easy to use, and also allow it to clean the top of each tile as it removes everything from the lines. It points outward at each end, so you can scrub right up to the edges, and it has a triangular shape underneath to dig deep down into any size grout line. A swivel attachment at the top can be used to connect a mop or broom pole for added reach, but it folds flat for comfortable use when gripped with a single hand. Quickly lift up tough grime with a simple back and forth motion and almost no pressure. It’s safe for any cleaning solution, but it does most of the work for you, so the cleaner used is less important.

Demon Pro Grout BrushDemon Pro Grout Brush

Similar to the shark, but with more advanced bristles at the center, and longer bristles overall. Get professional looking results with little effort, and use a tool that doesn’t wear out. This brush is red, gray and black and features the same angles and shaping as the one mentioned above. This means that it will also clean tile and grout with one motion, and allow you to scrub right up to baseboards without extra effort. You can attach it to a pole in the same way also, so high sections of walls are easy to reach, and doing a whole floor does not require to get down on your hands and knees. Nylo-Grit bristles at the center are more durable and more flexible than regular nylon, and they have more cutting power thanks to the silicon carbide extruded throughout. Bend and flex to get every crack and crevice, and power through dirt with the high performance bristles.

Products Mentioned

Cleaning Tile Grout - Simply Good Tips

]]>
http://tips.simplygoodstuff.com/cleaning-tile-grout/feed/ 0