Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 19 – April 2, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy April! I hope everyone survived April Fool’s Day without any major calamities. As a teacher, April Fool’s Day is a dreaded day for me, so I am incredibly thankful that it occurred on a Saturday this year.

In past issues, I have touted the benefits of those magic eraser cleaning blocks. If you do not have them, they are these foam rectangles, about the size of a sponge, and use only water and their “magic little powers” to get things like crayon marks and scuffs off walls, stains off my counters, and a whole host of other uses. But I have always wondered what they were made of. Apparently, that is a trade secret, which makes my little head just whirl with questions. I use those suckers until they literally crumble away, so I have very little eraser to toss out by its life end. And then this week, I stumbled across the following article.

Apparently, the melamine foam that magic erasers are made with are nontoxic (good news!), but they can leave behind bits of their plastic remnants on surfaces.  That explains the gritty feeling after scrubbing something.  I follow up with a wipe from a damp towel, or soapy water and wash rag if it is kitchen related, so I’m hoping that is enough to wash the remaining particles away. Either way, I am not planning on tossing out the magic erasers, but I will continue to wipe or wash the areas that I clean. To read more about magic erasers, visit this link:

Now that the burning question of “what are those made of” is somewhat answered, let’s address paper towels.  How is everyone doing with the challenge of reducing our usage? Like I have mentioned in the past, I keep a roll around.  They get to clean up those messes that I really do not want visiting my laundry machines, like car oil. I really do not want that mingling in my laundry. Or vomit.  That is a no-can-do for me, so the quicker I can get that mess out of the area and out to the trash bin, the better it is for everyone. But the one thing that I do use them for is to help keep the moisture from my greens in the fridge.  Although, I have often wondered if I can use something else. And, the answer… yes. Yes, there is another option!

Read this short article about thrifty ways of finding reusable towels, and her recommendation of using tea towels in your fridge. I happen to have some cloth napkins that would fit this need very nicely, especially since some of our favorites are beginning to look a little over loved. What a perfect way to repurpose these cloth napkins!

If you happen to have discovered new ways of cutting down your paper towel waste, please feel free to share!

This past week, our new picnic on the road recipe was a modified version of chicken avocado salad roll ups. Instead of using the shredded chicken, I used sandwich meat, to reduce the bulk of the rollups, and I am pleased to report that most of the filling stayed inside their little roll ups.  I did make the mistake of trying to divide all the filling into 2 tortilla shells, rather than spreading it out into 4 to 6 shells.  But, that was my own fault. I thought there were more shells in the fridge than there were.  Either way, these made a delicious addition to our car picnics, and helped break up the sandwich routine a little bit. These would make great lunch options, or appetizers for any gathering.

And last, but not least, I know that I have told many people about this clever little trick, but I am not sure if I have shared this with you. Many years ago, my friend Tanya shared with me a clever way to peel one’s garlic by pressing the clove under a knife blade to break open the little shell. That has been my go-to garlic method for years.  Then I ran across this video last summer. I tried it a few times with a regular canning jar and a standard metal canning lid. It worked like a charm, but I really dented the lid up!  It’s amazing what a clove of garlic and some vigor can do to a metal canning lid!! Then, last Christmas, I got a set of the ReCap canning jar lids.  I love them.  I use them all the time. And now I can continue to shake my way to freshly cleaned garlic without obliterating my metal lids, and this is a marvelous way of cleaning several cloves of garlic at one time. Scroll down a bit on this link for the video on how to shake your way to cleaned garlic.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a wonderful first week of April. Happy spring cleaning. Keep your imaginations open to new ways of making your routines more efficient, and zero waste friendly. Enjoy the roll up sandwich recipe, and happy garlic shaking! Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


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