If gum dries up, add a little vinegar and stir.Store nail polish bottles in the refrigerator to prevent the polish from drying up.
To get a dry sketch pen working again, pour three or four drops of hot water into the sponge tube inside and wait a while.
If grilled doors or windows start getting rusty, scrape off the rust carefully and paint the area immediately. You can also use a metal primer instead of paint.
To remove mud stains from clothes, soak and wash them in water collected after boiling potatoes.
To make Aluminium vessels look good again, rub them with emery paper. Mere washing can’t remove the black stains.
If an onion is too sharp in taste, wash, drain and toss into some beaten curd. Add a dash of salt and pepper, it becomes a tasty raitha.
To bake potatoes crisp and brown, soak the peeled potatoes in hot water for a while, pat dry and pierce all over with a fork before placing them in hot fat along with the roast.
If fish is to be stored for more than a day, clean it, rub with salt, turmeric and if liked, a dash of vinegar before freezing.
If dried herbs are used in a recipe, crush them first to release their fragrance
.Save the peel of apples, cucumbers and peaches. Grind them and add to the ingredients of a green chutney (coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, coconut, salt and sugar). It makes a tasty and nutritious chutney and when mixed with curd makes an unusual raita.
Never scrape burnt leftovers from casseroles. Soak in a weak solution of vinegar, salt and soapy warm water for an hour or so. The stuck particles will come off very easily, without scratching the dish.
Always soak cauliflower in warm salted water for some time to get rid of the tiny insects sometimes present deep inside the florets and not visible to the eye.
Adding a little dry rice to sugar while grinding it, will keep it from becoming lumpy.
Easiest way to chop raisins. Sprinkle some flour over them so they don’t stick. Cut with a small kitchen scissors as required.
Add a few pinches of turmeric, a small spoon of ghee, to dal before pressure cooking. This will impart a better flavour to the dal.
Rub the soles of new footwear (leather soled) with some sandpaper to keep from slipping on polished floors.
Cut a small piece of the base of flower stalks each day, and add a capsule contents of B complex to the vase water, to make cut flowers last longer.
Use a knife dipped in hot water to smoothen the icing surface and sides. Repeat the action till the whole icing is smoothened.
Use varied coloured dough like green one above, to make shapes (leaves, cherries, braids, etc.) and deep fry on low till done. Decorate a variety of festive dishes like baked casseroles, gratins, pulaos, etc. with them. Store in airtight containers for 2-3 days.
Add a pinch of soda bicarb to the water to boil peas etc. faster and also to retain their bright green colour.
Use a mixture of lemon juice and glycerine in equal parts to dip nails which are brittle and bruised to make them stronger and shinier. Repeat process regularly if the case is extreme.
Store chopped vegetables in airtight plastic containers in the fridge to keep from browning and drying up.
Add some salt or vinegar drops while washing vegetables and greens to make them clean and germ free, eg. cauliflower, spinach, etc.
If curds have become too sour to eat as is, tie as above for 3-4 hours, add milk and use in raitas, curd rice, etc.
Blow out dirt from devices of electronic gadgets, carved furniture, etc., by blowing air in the following way. Use an empty soft-plastic sauce dispenser bottle with a nozzle. Press so that the air blowing out will blow the dirt away.
Place some soda bicarb open in a small shallow dish in the fridge. This will disallow odours of one dish mixing into another. Eg. milk and guavas.
Place a folded cloth under any vessel which you have to whip in. You will have a better grip of the vessel since it will not slip over the work surface. This holds good while mixing cake batter, icings, whipping, etc.
Rest assured that honey can never be adulterated. If warm water is added, it will ferment. If any type of sugar syrup is added it will solidify. Also, the older the better.
Fix candle in a container. Fill half the container with water before lighting the candle. This way, the candle lasts longer and the overflowed wax is easier to remove from the water. The container becomes easy to clean too.
Add contents of a capsule of b complex to the water in your vase to make the flowers last longer.
To freeze stock of your choice, eg., tomato, mixed vegetable as above, spinach, etc., prepare thick stock and cool to room temperature. Transfer to icecube trays and freeze to make solid cubes. Remove cubes and transfer to a freezable polythene bag, with an airseal. Remove excess air, seal tight. Store in freezer and use cubes as required.
Make a concentrated solution of bleaching powder and water. Apply on stained surfaces and wash basins in a bathroom (tiles, etc., not metallic), leave overnight. Wash clean with water next day. Will keep the bathroom sparkling.
Clean unreachable places and crevices in ovens and waffle trays etc. by using old toothbrushes dipped in soda bi carbonate. Then wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Place tomatoes in hot water for 5-7 minutes, before using for easier peeling and better taste in any recipe where tomatoes are required to be cooked.
If pizza sauce (or gravies) has become very thin, thicken by adding 2 slices of day old bread, run in a mixie to make very fine crumbs. Using too much cornflour may make the sauce taste pasty.
If curd has turned sour, tie in cloth for a while (1/2-1 hour) remove in bowl add enough milk to get required consistency, beat well. The sourness will be gone. Use in raithas, rices, etc.
Rub mustard oil on palms and soles to bring warmth to a shivering body. Also use as massage oil for aching joints and muscles. However, the smell may be a bit repulsive, so add a few drops of perfume if desired.
Add a pinch of turmeric powder to the oil before adding green vegetables. The vegetables will retain their greenness better even after cooking.
Rub used lemon halves dipped in salt over greasy pans, and wipe clean with an old newspaper before washing. This will remove all the extra grease and make the washing easier. You may even rub some flour instead.
When carrying many food packets while travelling, use either transparent polythene bags or put a name sticker on each foil pack etc. so that guessing, opening and searching is avoided. When food is used up, use these bags to collect your litter on the way.
Crush chikki coarsely and use as nougat over cakes and ice-creams. Use nuts of your choice.
Blanch green leafy vegetables ( fenugreek, spinach, etc.) in boiling water for 2 minutes. Hold under cold running water, press out excess water, store in freezer for about 2 weeks without spoiling.
Shake the vegetables loose in the plastic bag before thawing, to distribute the heat evenly.
Use tissue papers for reheating fried snacks. Eg. samosa, vada, kachori, bhajji, etc. The paper will absorb the excess oil and moisture and keep the snack crisp. Reheat on high for 1-1 1/2 minute.
Place a large bowl half full of water, microwave on high till it comes to a boil. Remove and clean oven with a moist cloth, to remove grime and grease. Clean then as usual with warm soapy water dipped cloth.
Round or oval containers will spread heat more evenly in a microwave oven than square, rectangular or odd shaped ones.
To get the best out of saffron: Warm saffron before crushing (you may use microwave: 10 secs on maxi.). Add 1 tsp. warm milk and stir well.
Make a lovely potpourri by drying your favourite flowers, herbs and leaves between layers of paper napkins. Make sure not do burn them. This may not last as long as the ones made by the long traditional process.
For apt usage of a microwave, compliment microwave cooking with traditional forms. Do the boiling, frying and seasoning part on a gas stove. While leaving the baking, sauteeing, cooking, melting, etc. to a microwave.
Sometimes oil begins to foam on heating to deep fry and rises dangerously in the pan. To dissipate the foam add a marble sized ball of tamarind to the oil.
To get rid of dandruff apply the following mixture of once or twice a week. Keep for 20-25 minutes before washing off with a mild soap or shampoo. Warm together, 1 tbsp. curds, 2 tsp. oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice.
Soak burnt pans with a weak solution of domestic ammonia and water. After an hour rub with used lemon peels dipped in salt. Wash with soap for a clean, clean pan.
If karanjis are used after too many days and feel stale, warm them for 1/2 to 1 minute in the microwave oven before serving. They will taste freshly fried.
If you cannot get hold of diwali diyas (lamps), make your own by mould out of ordinary wheat flour dough, about a week ahead, dry well and paint.
Don’t throw away old toothbrushes. They form excellent scrubbers for so many places, eg. crevices in tiles, inlaid furniture, grooves in vessels, sieves, meshes, waffle irons, etc.
Do not throw away unused chillies in vinegar while making a chinese course. Blend, bottle and use to spice up soups, rices, etc.
Wipe mirrors first with pieces of moist newspaper and then with dry newpaper toget a clean, spotless mirror.
Keep is whole cardamom or clove in the mouth to subside the sensation of vomiting.
To remove sellotape stuck on walls, etc ( eg. for posters) without removing the paint, hold a warm iron over it for a few seconds, then peel off slowly.
Put a handful of salt in the rinsing water for glass and crockery for a cleaner, crystal clear wash.
Add a cupful of soaked poha to 5 cupfuls of rice soaked for idlis and grind with the rice for softer and lighter idlis.
Make bread crumbs from toasts and store some in the fridge. They come in very hand for thickening gravies, especially if you’ve landed up making them extra watery.
Always keep some ready-made ginger-paste and garlic paste in the freezer. Comes in handy and enhances the flavor of most dishes in a jiffy.
This may sound funny, but when cutting lots of onions, to avoid burning of the eyes, if you have swimming goggles then wear them and cut. This will prevent the eyes from watering.
Keep an extra potato or two handy. Boil in their jacket, drain dry and keep in the fridge.
Use in a jiffy when you to tired to make tedious things. Either season with salt and pepper or put slices in bread sandwiches or fry and season or make a quick stir fried vegetable.
The potatoes will stay good in a refrigerator for 2-3 days.
When cutting hard vegetables like potatoes, beetroots or carrots, put them in the microwave oven before cutting them into slices. They will be much easier to cut.
Using earthen or stone ware for setting curds will result in firmer and better quality curd. Since they are porous they absorb the excess moisture.
Just dip a small clean rag in a teeny bit of any oil (edible too) and rub on creaky hinges. You will experience quiet doors and windows in a jiffy.
To break open the coconuts easily (the brown ones..), place them in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. This would separate the shell easily.
Rinse white clothes in water to which some alum powder is added, for better whites.
To allow free flow of sauce from a sauce bottle to a pourer, insert a drinking straw half way, into the bottle and hold it there lightly with one hand while pouring with the other.
Always add a tbsp. of oil to plenty of water while boiling pasta of any kind. It will keep them from sticking to each other.
Line the bottoms of your kitchen cabinet shelves with old newspapers. Instead of tedious cleaning, just discard and replace with fresh ones. Cheap and quick.
Pour a capful of liquid bleach in a stained commode. Keep for 1/2 hour. Add soap powder and brush, for a sparkle.
If gloves are inconvenient wear 2 old washed socks while doing chores which are rude on the hands, like carwashing, dish-washing, scrubbing, etc.
Save old toothbrushes for quick cleaning of those corner and grooves which are difficult to clean with larger brushes. eg. bottles, bathroom corners, tile joints, engraving on metals, etc.
Place a tsp. of soda bicarb in a corner of the fridge in a small crucible. This will keep smells of foods in the fridge from permeating each other.
Use the water drained from curdle milk to knead chapati dough. They will turn out softer and whiter.
Soak jewelry (eg. silver, copper, gold) in the water drained from curdled milk for 15 mins. wash them with soap afterwards. Get back the sparkle in them to look new.
Apply tamarind paste and salt for greasy, or copped bottomed or brass vessels, and wash. They come out much cleaner, and more easily.
Dissolve a 1/2 tsp. of turmeric powder in half a cup of hot sweetened milk and drink for relief from cough and cold. Repeat morning and night for a week.
Make a decoction of tea leaves, mint, a bit of ginger. Mix in a dash of honey, sip hot to give relief from chest congestion.
Rub the point of a bee-bite with soft mud and salt made into a paste. The swelling will subside soon, as also the poison will not spread further.
A tsp. each of ginger juice and honey to be warmed and taken just before sleeping, to bring relief from severe cough. Repeat every night for a week.
Sprinkle a mixture of powdered cardamom and rock sugar (misri) over the tongue, gums and inner cheeks to get relief from mouth sores and ulcers. Repeat 3-4 times a day.
A clove and a cardamom kept in the mouth while travelling, brings relief to those suffering from motion sickness.
A drop or two of eucalyptus oil add to water for steam inhalation gives excellent relief in common colds.
Use the whey (water) from tied curds to make softer chapati, paratha and naans. Use this water instead of plain water to knead the dough.
Always use a clean pair of kitchen scissors to trim edges of bread. Much neater and less messy edges as compared to those trimmed with a knife.
Use a large semi-boiled potato to make a quick flower arrangement if a flower holder is not available. Push sturdy stalks of flowers into the potato at the required angles. Do not keep for more than 2 days. Immerse in water to which an aspirin is added.
Use the water strained from the curdled milk (paneer) to soak your dull silvers for 15-20 minutes. Wash well. They will shine like new.
Use clean skins of boiled potatoes to place as a soothing pack over eyes to refresh and reduce their puffiness.
If there is a lot of leftover paneer crumbs, dry in a warm oven. Fry till crisp and store in the fridge. Soften in boiling water, drain and add to thicken gravies of any vegetables and curries.
Make tomato puree in bulk. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. Put the frozen cubes in a thick polythene bag. Store in the freezer and use ready puree cubes as required. Will keep for over 3 weeks in the freezer.
Give a nice big bright star on your kiddies’ room calender every day that he cleans out his lunch box fully!! See his enthusiasm soar.
Use minimal of wrappers, foils, etc. which they may litter or make messy if wrongly handled.
Replace sweets and candy with a few dry fruits like almonds, etc. for after lunch munching. So much healthier.
Try substituting kids’ lunch bag with lemonade instead of water once or twice a week. They’ll be thrilled.
Rub a piece of lime (used) inside the lunch box to get rid of strong odours (like garlic) before rinsing off.