Reader tips

The mailbags are full again, so we thought it time to post up some of the more interesting tips and titillations.

Ruth from Pahiatua has a tip for frozen spuds. “I often par-boil potatoes for 12 to 15 minutes, cool on cake rack and then freeze. When needed I can just get out as many as necessary for that meal and finish cooking them, either by roasting in the oven or cooking in a fryer.”

Rachel from Masterton has something to smile about, “If you don’t want to put all the chemicals in toothpaste into your mouth try coconut oil and baking soda. You may have to soften the coconut oil to mix. I just rub my toothbrush over and clean my teeth. Awesome.”

Beryl from Whangarei writes, “Today we have made two compost bins. We went to the dump and got 5 pallets put it all together and started filling them up – all for the cost of $20 for trailer hire.” Great stuff Beryl – and it would have cost nothing had you been able to borrow a trailer. You could have given them some compost in return!

LCL from Hauraki is looking for some help from the oily rag community. LCL is diabetic and is looking for alternate sweeteners when making jam. If you have any suggestions, please let us know so we can pass it on to LCL and post it up on our oily rag website so others can benefit too.

A reader from Whangarei has a question. “Does anyone have any suggestions for getting permanent markers off a whiteboard? Although I really do like the stick figure drawings that my grandkids did, I would also like to be able to use the whiteboard again!”

L.M. from Waikanae has this cleaning tip. “Tea tree oil is anti-fungal and antibacterial. I use it to clean counter tops and hard surfaces. Simply add 10 drops of tea tree oil into a spray bottle filled with water, give it a shake, and you are ready to go.”

Nyri from Palmerston North has a solution to a sticky problem. “If your toilet is blocked, pour in a cupful of baking soda and a cupful of vinegar (I used white vinegar but apparently any vinegar works). Leave it for a bit to dissolve the waste, then flush. If it’s badly blocked, get a bucketful of water and pour it from a height to force the waste down!”

Here are some nifty ideas for using egg shells. Instead of throwing them out in the waste, try these suggestions:

• Use as a health supplement for you and your pets. Shells are full of calcium. Dry egg shells in a warm oven then crush into a powder and sprinkle over your food. Half an egg shell would provide the daily intake for most people. Add it to dog and cat food too… they need calcium for strong bones and healthy white teeth!

• Crushed egg shells sprinkled generously around seedling plants will protect them from slugs and snails.

• For those with chickens, add crushed shell to their food. The calcium in their diet helps build strong shells and give them grit to help them digest their food. The trick here is to crush the shells up into tiny pieces. Place them in a plastic bag and run-over it with a rolling pin or something similar (like the family car!).

• Here’s a fun idea for kidding around. Fill up an empty egg shell with confetti and break it over the head of some poor unsuspecting individual!

If you have a suggestions or questions you would like to share with readers, then contact us using the online tips form or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.