Things Your Mother Should Have Told You

October 30, 2013

Taken from the Clean Food Living Community on Facebook:

1. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

2. Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!…

3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

4. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

5. To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

6. For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

7. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

8. Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

9. Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

10. Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

11. Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

12. Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

13. Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

14. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.

15. No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

16. Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.

17. Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

18. Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and … guess what! … static is gone.

19. Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out. (Or spray the measuring cup or spoon with Pam before using)

20. Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

21. Re-opening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

22. Conditioner
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair.

23. Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2′ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

24. Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

25. Dryer Filter
Even if you are very diligent about cleaning the lint filter in your dryer it still may be causing you a problem. If you use dryer sheets a waxy build up could be accumulating on the filter causing your dryer to over heat. The solution to this is to clean your filter with with a toothbrush and hot soapy water every 6 months.

My crisis of confidence in Sheepa’s crematory

October 19, 2013

imageRecently, a certain information source – which I will not mention because I’m increasingly finding them unworthy of my recommendation or attention or patronage – brought the topic of the ethics (or lack thereof) of today’s pet crematoriums to the forefront.

The net-net is that in the pet cremation industry, there’s apparently extremely few regulations and like any other business, drives out competition by cutting costs. 

The problem is that the way they cut costs is very often by NOT RETURNING YOUR DECEASED PET’S ASHES TO YOU but instead providing a random animal’s ashes in an urn, knowing you’ll never likely suspect otherwise… much less be able to prove otherwise.

My best friend Sheepa passed away two years ago.  I still talk to him often on our mantle & I still get inconsolably upset when I think about his passing for too long.  So you’ll understand why the mere thought that someone potentially SCREWED ME & MY OL’ PAL  during such a vulnerable time had me going through a spectrum of uncontrolled, unrelenting emotions:

  1. Horror.  Sheer fear & unadulterated terror.  What if?  OMG.  WTF… what if?
  2. Depression.  A vast emptiness enveloped me with tears streaming down my face.  The absolute worst sadness one can feel.  How could anyone be so cruel?
  3. Rage.  Unholy, blinding anger.  Throwing objects.  Blood boiling.  As in, I’m-gonna-go-fuckin’-take-someone-down.
  4. Focus.  Sudden extremely clarity in what I needed to do.

I simply couldn’t escape the thought that the crematory that I had Sheepa cremated at “wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be”… purely because of one report I heard.  Irrational as it sounds, it’s such a meaningful thing for me that I needed something to help me calm down.

This was REALLY important to me for whatever reason – having personal confidence in knowing that Sheepa’s remains hadn’t been mishandled.  My question simply came down to, “How reputable were these folks that I used?”  I admittedly was so destroyed by Sheepa’s passing that I left the entire process to our veterinarian – who I assure you has never steered us wrong, however given the information I’d heard about the reported corruption in the pet cremation business, I started to doubt even his strong recommendation.

I pulled out my old records and I dug into the outfit that did Sheepa’s cremation.  And after some digging & referencing, it turns out… that it sounds like these folks are on the up-and-up, i.e. they’re honest & trustworthy – thank God. 

Here’s why I think so:

    I clearly remembered that I never, ever, EVER got contacted by the crematory about anything at all, much less for an upsell, despite their having all my information.  They took all the details I provided my vet, I paid them, they delivered his ashes.  That’s it.
    This was interesting:  I didn’t realize that the company I went through did ONLY private cremations.  They never do multiple cremations at the same time in a single unit like many do.  There’s no possibility of ever “mixing up” your animal’s ashes since it’s the only one in the cremation unit.  One in – one out.  That’s it.
    They permit the deceased’s caretakers to observe the entire process end-to-end:  You can bring your pet to the crematory & have the body cremated in front of you to guarantee with your own eyes that it’s your animal’s remains throughout the entire process.  They schedule appointments for this throughout the week just to provide confidence & comfort to those in mourning.

It’s this LAST bullet that made me feel a lot better.  I didn’t know that this was possible, although there’s a part of me that thinks that our vet might have brought this up but I was too much of a blubbering mess to consider it as an option.

In any case, I feel confident now that the service I used here in Los Angeles was trustworthy.  If you’re interested in the name of the business, post a comment or ping me on Twitter at @kurtsh.