Do I Need To Buy This? - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 277389

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Do I NEED to buy this? 
Jun. 14, 2012 10:59 am 
Updated: Jun. 20, 2012 5:18 am
My plumber got the old "grey cells" working not too long ago...  He'd been here to snake out my kitchen drain, which was running painfully slowly...  He pushed me to buy their product, a drain cleaner, that when used regularly would keep the drain clear (forever?)  I asked for some info, and said I'd call if I wanted to purchase.  Well, I did the math.  It would cost about $100 per drain, per year...  It was cheaper to have him come every 3 years to snake the drain!

This did get my brain wondering, however, so I did a little research...  I'd been buying Baking Soda, and Vinegar at the wherehouse store (both in HUGE quantities,) and began a monthly regimen.  Each month, I pour about 3/4 Cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by about 1 C up vinegar.  Without fail, I'm amazed as the mixture froths up, bubbles and sizzles, until the mixture has done it's thing.  I then let the water run for a few seconds... maybe a minute, but I doubt that long.  Does it help?  Both kitchen and bath sink drains are running as clear (or better) than when my "guy" was here last!  Do I need his expensive drain "cleaner?"  I think I'll pass!  Now, don't get me wrong, this method will not open a clogged drain, but thus far (for me,) it's kept drains clear and running freely.

No I'm seeing new products on tv that at first though, make total sense... until you think about it a bit! 

One of the makers of fabric detergent has developed a remedy for a new trend of odor control.  Now I have front loading, high efficiency, washer/dryer, but have NEVER had an odor problem in the washer - that I can tell, anyway.  I simply LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN on the washer when it's not in use, to allow the inside of the drum dry out.  I have to wonder, however, if it did begin to produce a fowl smell, wouldn't a cup of bleach run through a short cycle do the same as this new product?  (I'm seeing another for your dishwasher now, also... try a cup of Vinegar?)  Regardless, I'm thinking that if my first of say every time I wash whites, add some bleach to the wash water.  Wouldn't that do about the same thing....?

The makers of plastic "zipper" bags have had a brainstorm.  They now sell a light weight bag to use inside the zipper bag.  You simply slip the new bag over your hand, grab the raw chicken (or whatever,) pull the bag off your hand and around the meat.  Squeeze out the air, twist the bag closed tightly, and then drop into a zipper bag.  No muss, no fuss, and your hand "never" comes in contact with the actual raw meat!  What a wonderful idea!!  Yesterday, I needed to re-package some bone in chicken breasts.  Once the wrap was removed from the styrofoam tray, the breasts were swimming in juices from the meat (YUCK!)  First, I grabbed a produce bag from the grocery (after shaking out any debris from produce) pulled it over my hand, grabbed some chicken, turned the bag outside in, twisting it tight.  When this was done with all 5 breasts, I simply popped them into yet another produce bag, twist tied the open end, and shoved the whole lot into the freezer...  I will note, that for years I've never thrown away produce bags, unless they're nasty by time I get them home!  They have a number of 2nd time around uses!

Finally, I have a tip that I learned from a cooking network chef, back before I became an AllRecipes cooking "geek."  She was making Taco Salad (on one of her shows.)  Wanting tortilla bowls for serving, she demonstrated how she makes them...
What you need:  1 tortilla per serving, any size per your preference (I use "soft taco" size.)
                          1 15oz can, contents emptied out, paper removed, and washed.
                          water, olive oil, baking pan(s)
First preheat oven to 400F.  Brush both sides of each tortilla with warm water (makes them pliable, I used a spray bottle once, worked fine.)  Then brush with olive oil.  Place empty can, open end down, on baking pan.  Drape a tortilla over it (ruffling it, if needed.)  Bake in preheated oven about 5-7 minutes, remove tortillas/cans from pan (with tongs, all are hot!)  Set cans aside, place "bowls" upright on baking pans, and bake an additional 4 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Thank you to Ingrid Hoffman for these directions!  Save the cans, to re-use later!
Do I really NEED to buy those formed baking dishes to make tortilla bowls?  My kitchen is full enough, without storing a whole bunch of "stuff" that has only one use! 

So, before you run right out to purchase some new gadget, gizmo, or set of widgits... take a few moments to ponder "alternatives."  Thoughts to share?  Please do!  Meanwhile,
be happy, be healthy, be (crazy) creative!  (If you missed, I posted my Y soup last night...)

Jun. 14, 2012 11:20 am
A man after my own heart! I do the same thing as you with the drain. In addition to being expensive who knows what the chemicals do to the ground water. I recycle my produce bags in a similar manner although I do put the wrapped meat in a ziplock, which I rinse and reuse. I never thought of using a can for taco shell shaping, but it is a great idea. I've always draped them over pyrex custard cups, but that always leaves a rim. Thanks for the idea!
Jun. 14, 2012 2:12 pm
BigShotsMom... dad was a "great depression" child, so guess he rubbed off on me a bit! lol... The can/tortilla trick does work, don't do it often, but it does work! Thanks for the 2nd reminder, time to do my drains! Bath sink drain smells bad... any thoughts? Hate to put precious lemon juice down it! (had a small crop this year.) I too re-use zipper bags, wrap in plastic wrap, then into zipper bag(s) Spray inside with peroxide/water mix sometimes - great antibacterial - also for cutting boards! Be well, friend, and cook crazy!
Jun. 14, 2012 2:38 pm
The only thing I pour in my drain is water, No need for a plumber, chemicals, and I have my own snake that I bought 20 years ago and use seldom. I need to snake my drain in the shower every few years because sue has long hair.
Jun. 14, 2012 6:20 pm
Stevie, the baking soda and vinegar should take care of any smell in the drain. Maybe let it sit for a few minutes before flushing with hot water. My Dad was a child of the depression too. I draw the line at washing and reusing aluminum foil LOL!
Jun. 14, 2012 6:57 pm
King, glad that you don't have issues with your plumbing! Be well!
Jun. 14, 2012 6:59 pm
BigShotsMom... dad used to cut paper napkins in half since you "don't need a whole one!" Talk about being thrifty! lol... trying to be 'kind'!! be well, and I'll try the soda thing.... not like I really need to use the sink right after "treating" the drain!
Jun. 14, 2012 9:30 pm
My FIL who grew up during the Depression saved small pieces of bar soap. His mom used to take the pieces and make a new bar of soap. So, he still had the habit of saving the soap even though he never did anything with the soap. I love vinegar-there are so many uses for cleaning. We have hard water and calcium deposits build up on my faucets. I take a small sandwich baggie and add vinegar, tie with a rubber band. Then wait about a couple of hours and the calcium dissolves.
Jun. 14, 2012 11:25 pm
Lela, lol! When I get to a "sliver" of bar soap, I use a new bar, get it all wet and sudsy, and stick the sliver to it. After a few uses, they fuse together... Waste not, want not! Be well!
Jun. 15, 2012 10:38 am
Steve those are great ideas, thank you. I too never have a problem with odors in my washer except for when I use home made laundry soap, then I get odor problems but when the teenager moves out I suspect, so too will the odor problem. I solved the homemade soap problem by mixing it with storebought Tide to get some perfume in there. I was going to make a joke about not washing your chicken in the washer to avoid getting a fowl smell lol, instead of foul.
Jun. 15, 2012 11:47 am
Stevie, one thing you can do to make your baking soda and vinegar treatment more productive is to first heat your vinegar to almost boiling before using it as a baking soda chaser. Also, and I do think that this makes a big difference, heat a large pot of boiling water before you treat your drain and after the vinegar has done its work on the baking soda for a few minutes, follow that with the boiling water. My mom taught me to do that a lifetime ago and we never have a problem with our drains.
Jun. 15, 2012 7:21 pm
Raedwulf... when I get done laughing, I'll respond... maybe! Too funny, you "bad" one! Be well, friend...
Jun. 15, 2012 7:23 pm
goodfood4ursoul, I'd thought that flushing with boiling water would be a good thought, just never bothered, but had not thought about heating the vinegar! Thanks for the input, and maybe I can keep the plumber away for a long time! Be well!
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Stevie crazycook

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Lansing, Michigan, USA
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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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