Goo Gone is a commercial degreaser we like because it makes removing sticker or tape residue a breeze. But if you’re looking to save money or you enjoy making your own cleaning agents you can make it yourself with gasoline and citrus oil.
Frugal living weblog The Simple Dollar author Trent Hamm reports that he has success making homemade Goo Gone using one part gasoline to four parts citrus oil mixed in a spray bottle. You can make citrus oil by putting the rinds of three oranges in a closed gallon of water for ten days then straining out the rinds. Get the gas by taking a small jar with a lid with you the next time you fill up and add an ounce or two—a little goes a long way.
It may not be 100% as potent as commercial Goo Gone, but even if it’s only 50% as efficient if you eat oranges and drive a car the homemade version is basically free.
The Frugal Geek’s Toolbox | The Simple Dollar
Most of us have meat or cooking thermometers we use around the kitchen, but how often have you thought about calibrating it to make sure the readings are correct? Most cooking thermometers—even digital ones—tend to drift with time and repeated use. Thankfully, it’s easy to recalibrate them and guarantee accurate readings.
The folks over at The LA Times’ Daily Dish have a step-by-step on how to calibrate both dial (instant-read) and digital thermometers. Dial thermometers naturally require the most attention, and need to be calibrated either in freezing (32 degrees F/0 degrees C) or boiling water (212 degrees F/100 degrees C) before their first use, and then again every month or so, and especially any time the thermometer has been dropped or jostled. They can be recalibrated by using a wrench to hold the hex bolt behind the dial and then turning the dial until the correct temperature is registered.
Digital thermometers on the other hand should be tested every six months or so against freezing or boiling water to make sure they’re still accurate too—if they’re not, most digital thermometers have a reset button and that’ll do the trick. If not, just replace the batteries—that could be the problem.
I’d never thought about recalibrating my kitchen thermometers, but I’ll give it a try, even if it’s just to check if the read is off by more than a few degrees. Two or three degrees won’t hurt, but more than five or ten could be a problem. Have you ever had to recalibrate a cooking thermometer, or do you think it’s much ado about nothing? Sound off in the discussions below.
Test Kitchen Tips: Calibrating Your Thermometer | Daily Dish
If you’re into making some of your own foods and love cream cheese you can make your own without any special equipment, starter cultures, or hard-to-find ingredients. All you really need is half and half, heavy whipping cream, a touch of buttermilk, and salt.
This recipe comes from culinary weblog The How-To Baker, who also has instructions for making your own bagels to go along with the cream cheese. The only bad news about making cream cheese is that it will take five days from the start until you’re spreading it on a bagel and that if you use ultra-pasteurized half and half and cream it may not separate into curds and whey very well, so look out for non-ultra pasteurized equivalents.
What you’re doing is pouring your half and half and whipping cream in a saucepan, bringing that to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and pouring the mixture into a sanitized mixing bowl. Over the next few days you’ll be taking it out every 12 hours to drain any liquid out and let the curd firm up. Full step-by-step instructions and measurement amounts can be found at the source link below.
Once the cream cheese is ready it’ll store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Homemade Cream Cheese without a Starter Culture | The How-To Baker
If you have a small injury you need to keep cold or just have kids that want an ice pack for every small boo-boo, placing a few single-serve ketchup packets in your freezer means you don’t have to break out expensive commercial or leaky DIY ice packs.
This tip comes from household weblog Stuckihouse and comes in handy mostly for parents. My 9-year-old tends to need Band-Aids as a comfort item even if the small scratch or scrape doesn’t really require one to keep the wound clean. If he “needs” an ice pack, it’s no big deal to pull a frozen ketchup packet out of the freezer.
So in our household if an adult needs an ice pack we pull out frozen peas or a disposable diaper but now we have a good alternative when the kid has a boo-boo.
I need a ketchup | Stuckihouse