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10 Clever Uses for Bundt Cake Pans

They may be vintage in design, but Bundt pans can prove to be very beneficial both inside and outside of the kitchen.

If you’re not a fan of cakes with holes… My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 movie funny comedy family

You can use Bundt cakes for several other things!  Great for organizing and decorating, a Bundt cake pan can come in handy all over the house!

10 Clever Uses for Bundt Cake Pans

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Make an Organizer: Stack Bundt pans of different sizes to create a decorative organizer for food, craft supplies, or other nick-knacks. Personalize it further by spray painting the pans to match your décor.

Make a Wreath: Spray paint an old Bundt pan to look like an apple, pumpkin, or peppermint candy. This is a fun and unique decoration that will surely add character to your home.

Organize Makeup: Keep your counter clean of clutter with this cute makeup organization idea. Use the hole in the Bundt pan to hold your makeup brushes and place your must-have’s right in the bowl.

Roast a Chicken: This is a genius way to roast your chicken. With the chicken standing upright in the oven, the fat will drip off the chicken and into the bowl, making this a clean and healthy roasting alternative.

Peel Corn on the Cob: Not a fan of eating corn ON the cob? Remove it from the cob by placing the bottom of the cob in the small hole in the Bundt pan. Run your knife down the cob and all those sweet little kernels will collect in the bowl of the pan.

Create a Wind Chime: Old antique Bundt cake pans are great for this project. Attach ropes of beads, bells, buttons, or charms to the Bundt pan and hang it outside for a cute, eclectic decoration that will liven up any garden.

Make Wall Décor: Arrange Bundt pans of various sizes and shapes on the wall for a cool 3D decoration that is great for both living rooms and kitchens. Color the pans if you’d like, or leave them as is for a cool rustic touch.

Create a Party Sandwich: Don’t worry about ordering subs for your party, create a party sub right in your kitchen with a Bundt pan! This could easily feed 8 to 10 people, depending on the size of your pan, and it’s a fun activity to do for family dinner night!

Make a Decorative Ice Cube: Keep punch and other drinks cold with a Bundt pan ice cube. Use a small Bundt pan to create a decorative ice ring and place in punch bowl to keep your drink cold. For an extra decorative touch, drop cranberries, flowers, or herbs in the ice cube for added color and flavor.

Create a Garden: Create fun planters using old Bundt pans. Try herbs or succulents for a cute garden decoration. A Bundt pan with succulents would also make a great housewarming gift for friends and family.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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How to Use Your Favorite Herbs

If you’re a beginner gardener like me or you’re looking for easy window plants to liven up your home this spring, herbs are a great solution.  They can grow in medium to full sunlight and plants like basil, parsley, sage, and cilantro are great to have on hand for your cooking needs.

Use this helpful printable chart to keep track of how to use your favorite spices!

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While they may all look similar, herbs vary in taste, texture, and usability.  Some, like the bay leaf, offer wonderful flavor to soups and stews but should not be eaten.  Others, like cilantro or basil, can be chopped up and added to just about anything…even desserts!

To Grow In or Out?

Herbs are not only food for humans, but hungry bunnies, chipmunks, bugs, deer, and other wildlife that might come visit your garden…so grower beware–if you grow your herbs outside, make sure you fence them in or protect them so you can enjoy them, too!  Herbs are also great for indoor gardening and grow easily on a windowsill in medium to full sunlight.  Last year we planted basil, sage, lavender, and cilantro in our little Chicago windowsill and had delicious fresh herbs all season long.

Dry Spell

Dried herbs are more concentrated versions of their fresh counterparts; however, not all herbs are good when dried.  Do some research before drying your herbs and store dried herbs in a cool, dry environment.

These herbs are great when dried:  bay leaves, oregano, sage, and thyme.  They will keep 1-2 months when dried and dried herbs make great gift ideas for hostesses or friends who love to cook.

 

What’s your favorite herb to cook with? 

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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How to Properly Freeze Foods

Using your freezer to store bulk food is a great way to save on money and space, but be weary of what you freeze…some foods freeze beautifully while others can’t quite take the cold.

Not All Fruits and Veggies Are Equal

While most berries freeze wonderfully and have a much longer shelf life frozen than they do fresh, not all fruits and veggies are granted the same luxury.  As a general rule of thumb, if a fruit or veggie has a high water content, it won’t freeze well.  Foods like watermelon, cucumber, celery, and oranges just get mushy after freezing.  Fresh cheeses and yogurt can also sour and become unusable if frozen for too long.

Bakers, REJOICE!

However, foods with higher fat content (butter, avocado), grains, and meats are great for storing in the freezer (great news for you bakers out there!  You can keep all your baking materials fresh for months in the freezer!).  Most freezer-friendly food should be consumed within 6 months if possible, but you could stretch the lives of some foods to last you up to a year if stored properly.

Here are some foods that can stand up to the chill, and some that should just be left out of the cold.

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Freezing Ready-Made Meals

Prepping and freezing is also a great way to portion out meals and plan food in advance so you’re not scrambling last minute to come up with something for dinner.  Casseroles and pasta dishes often freeze easily and don’t change in taste or consistency when defrosted.  You can also bake and portion out cookie dough and bake cookies as needed for a warm, fresh cookie whenever you need one!

As always, check food labels before freezing anything…and make sure anything you store in the freezer is protected from frost by storing items in air-tight containers.  I also suggest labeling and dating anything you store in the freezer to keep track of what you’re storing.  If you find that you’re freezing a lot of food, it might be worth it to invest in a vacuum sealer to ensure freshness.

 

What foods do you keep in your freezer?  I store my chocolate in the freezer to help with portion control!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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13 Clever Uses for Cotton Balls

Who would have thought that cotton balls could be such a help around the house? From simple sachets to helpful cleaning tools, these little balls of cotton can do much more than remove nail polish and makeup.

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13 Creative Uses for Cotton Balls

  • Here’s a great tip for spring cleaning…saturate a cotton ball in your favorite scent and drop it into your vacuum cleaner bag. As you vacuum your house, it will slowly release the scent into the room.
  • Spring time also means flood season…and when it comes to fighting mildew, it can be a never ending battle of frustration to get to those hard to reach places. If you’re having trouble cleaning little corners and crevices, soak some cotton balls in bleach adn place them in those hard to reach spots. Let them sit for a few hours and rinse with warm water.
  • Nasty stink coming from the fridge? Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract to keep you fridge smelling nice and clean. Granted this won’t get rid of the smell, but after you wash your fridge and rid it of any unwanted food, the vanilla can help keep your fridge smelling clean.
  • Cotton balls also make great ear plugs. We all remember the days of ear infections and using cotton balls to keep the medicine contained in the ear, right? Well cotton balls are also great for blocking out loud sounds if you’re trying to sleep or concentrate.
  • Cotton makes a great fire starter. You can use them for lighting oil lamps and candles that are hard to reach with a match or a lighter.
  • I use cotton balls to stuff small toys and objects that I’m sewing. No need to buy all that filling if I’m making a small felt toy…I just pull apart some cotton balls and use them to bring my project to life.
  • Help your beautiful daffodils last longer by filling their hollow stems with water and plugging it with a cotton ball. This method works similarily to those plastic tubes that come with store bought or mail order flowers.
  • If Peter Cottontail is reaking havoc on your garden, soak some cotton balls in white distilled vinegar and place them in one of those old 35mm film containers (remember those?). Place these around your garden to keep bunnies from eating your crops.
  • Keep ants and other pesky critters away from your food by soaking cotton balls in peppermint extract adn placing them in the corners of your cabinets. This is great for those moving into a college dorm or an old apartment that’s in need of some work.
  • Don’t you hate when your pop goes flat? Help prolong the life of the fizz by placing a cotton ball in the bottle before you place the cap on (just don’t push it in too far…you don’t want it floating around in your drink!). The cotton will help plug any air leaks so your pop stays fresh. This also works for cans as well. Just place a cotton ball in the opening to help keep it fresher longer.
  • Cotton balls are also naturally great for removing nail polish and makeup, cleaning dust from a computer monitor and/or keyboard, cleaning jewelry, touching up shoe polish, and they can act as a temporary bandage if you accidently cut yourself and can’t get to a doctor in time.
  • Cotton balls are also great for crafty folks. Besides being used in thousands of craft projects, they can also work as paint brushes and a way to spread glue onto a surface.
  • Does your hair need a bit of a lift? Add a few cotton balls to beef up a chignon or French Twist hairstyle.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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12 Clever Uses for Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a common ingredient in the kitchen. Perfect for thickening up everything from soup to pudding, cornstarch is a wonderful go-to product that can do wonders for your favorite recipes. But don’t limit yourself to gravies and sauces…

Cornstarch can also be used to make face paint, untangle knots, clean oily hair, fight tough stains, and so much more. One box can last you for months, and you’ll love how easy your cleaning (and cooking) routine becomes with the help of this wonderful ingredient.

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  • Use cornstarch to make face paint for Halloween, birthday parties, and more. Simply mix two parts cornstarch with one part white vegetable shortening to make a non-toxic grease paint. Add food coloring to change the color.
  • Make your old silverware sparkle like new with a simple combination of cornstarch and water. Use a soft cloth to apply it to your silver, let it dry, then buff each piece for a beautiful shine.
  • Late night poker game leave your cards gross to the touch? Dump those cards in a paper bag, along with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch. Shake the bag to coat the cards, then wipe them down to clean.
  • If your carpets are smelling a little musty, you can sprinkle cornstarch over the surface and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Vacuum as normal.
  • You can use cornstarch as a dry shampoo. Between regular shampoos, a sprinkling of cornstarch can help absorb excess oils. Brush thoroughly to remove excess cornstarch. This is also a great temporary method to help clean dogs as well.
  • Use cornstarch instead of flour to help thicken gravies, sauces, casseroles, soups, and stews. When your recipe calls for flour, use ½ as much cornstarch and your result will be much creamier (so for 2 TBS flour, use 1 TB cornstarch instead).
  • Untangle knots in strings and shoelaces by sprinkling the trouble spot with a little cornstarch.
  • Create your own streak free window cleaning solution by mixing 2 TBS cornstarch with ½ cup ammonia and ½ cup white vinegar. Combine everything in a large bucket containing 3-4 quarts of warm water. The solution should look milky when ready. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray on car and home windows to clean. Rinse with warm water and wipe with a paper towel.
  • If you have a roach problem and want to take matters into your own hands, combine equal parts of cornstarch and Plaster of Paris and sprinkle into any crack and crevice in your home. The roaches will eat the fatal mixture and you should be roach free!
  • Need some spray starch for collars and shirts? Mix one tablespoon cornstarch and one pint of cold water. Stir to dissolve. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and use normally as you would any starch.
  • Sprinkle cornstarch on furniture, clothing, briefcases, and shoes to help eliminate stains. This method works especially well for oil stains. Let the cornstarch work its magic overnight and rub the stain out the next day.
  • You can use cornstarch to prevent and kill mildew in your old books that may have had water damage in the past. Just sprinkle the cornstarch all throughout the book to absorb the moisture and let it sit several hours before wiping the book clean.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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14 DIY Household Deodorizers

Nasty smells can linger in any room in the home. Bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and basements can retain smells for months…sometimes years.

Everyday products like plastic storage containers, rugs, bedding, and garbage cans can also absorb odors that make them near unusable.

Luckily there are tons of household products that you can use to help you eliminate these pesky odors. Even items like onions and mustard can be used to remove the smell from plastic jars and musty basements.

Oftentimes, these products work better than their chemically treated counterparts and, best of all, they won’t leave your entire home smelling like bleach!

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Vodka: You can spritz your vintage garments with a small amount of vodka to rid them of that terrible musty smell (make sure you spot test first). Vodka will kill the bacteria on your clothes without leaving a scent. Hang in a well-ventilated area to dry.

Orange Peels: Stubborn odors plaguing your garbage disposal? Drop orange peels, lemon peels, lime or grapefruit peels down the drain and run your disposal with the hot water on.

Vanilla Extract: Refrigerators and freezers can absorb odors quickly and easily. Zap that pesky fridge odor by rubbing your freezer with a cotton pad dampened with pure vanilla extract.

Vinegar: Create a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water and wipe down the shelves of your refrigerator to eliminate any lingering smells.

Vinegar: To absorb cooking odors, place a small bowl of white vinegar on the stove while you cook.

Vinegar: To deodorize the toilet bowl, pour one cup of household vinegar into the toilet bowl, let it stand for at least five minutes, and then scrub and flush.

Wax Tart: If your car is holding on to smells from every road trip and run to the pizza place, you can hide those powerful odors by dropping a wax tart in your coffee cup holder or under the seats of your car. These small wax tarts are sold by candle makers and will release scents slowly.

Mustard: Saving leftovers is easy with plastic containers, but foods like fish, sauces, and meats can easily leave a nasty smell behind. Add a dollop of mustard to glass or plastic jars and fill with hot water. Let sit and wash with soap and water to leave your Tupperware smelling fresh and clean.

Baking Soda: Eliminate scents from living room and bathroom rugs by sprinkling problem areas with baking soda and vacuuming it up a few hours later.

Baking Soda: Fill ashtrays with 1/2 cup baking soda for a continual deodorizer in your car.

Onions: Who would have thought that onions would help you remove odors from your home? If you find yourself with a basement that smells dank and musty, cut an onion in half, place it on a plate, and leave it in the basement overnight. Once the initial salad-bar aroma dissipates, you’ll have fresh (non-oniony) air. Like magic!

Salt: Sprinkling salt on drips that have bubbled over and out of cookware will absorb any burned smell while a dish is still cooking.

Fabric Softener Sheets: Used fabric softener sheets left in the bottom of your kitchen trash will absorb odors from disposed food.

Essential Oils: Soak your favorite scents on cotton balls and store in small bowls around your home to keep every room smelling clean and fresh.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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9 Clever Uses for the Dishwasher

Baseball hats, sponges, toys, flip flops, and potatoes all have one thing in common…they can all be cleaned with a dishwasher!

This standard kitchen appliance isn’t just for dishes anymore. With a little creativity, you can use your dishwasher to clean everything from hats to food.

As someone who has tried several of these ideas, I don’t recommend mixing any of these things in with a load of dishes, since food particles can get on the fabric of a baseball hat. If you’re going to wash shoes, toys, or other kitchen equipment in the dishwasher, gather up as much as you can to give yourself a good sized load. Do the dishes separately to ensure that nothing gets damaged in the process.

Also I recommend letting anything you wash in the dishwasher (that isn’t dishes) air dry. The heat setting on the machine can melt plastic and warp certain materials, so simply wash your products and let them air dry in the racks with the door open to allow for air flow.

Dishwasher

Clean Baseball Hats: Perhaps the most well-known odd use for a dishwasher is to use it to clean dirty baseball hats. Rather than putting them through the vigorous washing machine, place dirty hats on the top rack of the dishwasher and they’ll come out stink free. This trick also works well for shin guards and knee pads.

Properly Clean Kitchen Sponges: Sponges are notorious for absorbing odors, so if you find yourself with a smelly sponge, simply throw them into your dishwasher to extend their use.

Clean Kids and Dog Toys: From LEGOS to tug of war toys, the dishwasher can handle all the germs that kids and pets seem to attract. Doing this around flu season can help limit your chances of having to deal with runny noses and upset tummies.

Get New Life from Flip Flops, Jellies, and Crocs: Rubber shoes aren’t made to last forever, but you can get good use out of them if you wash them occasionally. Rubber also absorbs foot odor, so these summer staples tend to smell…so remember to wash them once in a while to keep your toes (and your home) smelling fresh. You could also run the dishwasher with a little baking soda to help clean the shoes and your dishwasher at the same time.

Give Your Car a New Set of Wheels: Stubborn road grime can be hard to remove from metal hubcaps and wheel covers, but a run through the dishwasher on the pots and pans cycle ought to give your hub caps a sparkly shine.

Garden and Construction Tools: Rusty outdoor tools can do with a good cleaning every so often. Freshen up garden tools, hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches by tossing them into the dishwasher.

Get a Fresh Look with Clean Hair Accessories and Makeup Brushes: Hairspray, products, and oily tresses can gunk up your favorite hair pieces…so run your combs, brushes, ties, barrettes, and hairpins through the dishwasher to help extend their use. You can also use the dishwasher to clean the oils and residue from your makeup brushes. This will not only extend the life of your brushes, but will help prevent acne from forming, since plenty of bacteria reside on your brushes (Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can take a spin, but not wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. Be sure to remove all the hair first to protect the drain).

Stubborn Kitchen Shelves, Grates, and Stovetops: Spills and burns can make refrigerator shelves, oven shelves, and stovetop grates near impossible to clean by hand, but the mighty dishwasher can help clean those tough spots in no time.

Soapy Suds: Okay, don’t add soap, but the dishwasher can help you clean off a whole bunch of potatoes if you’re cooking for a crowd.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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