Scour the internet, and you’ll find a lot of “life hacks.” Some are simple, clever, and/or brilliant. For example, it really does work to hold a matchstick in your teeth when cutting onions to keep yourself from crying. (This life hack went viral after the movie The Help referenced it on the big screen. Consequently, wearing contact lenses will also keep the tears at bay!) Other life hacks seem a bit too much. For example, I recently saw a life hack that suggested you should use a sanitary napkin wrapper as a money clip in your purse because no one would think to steal a pad! 😆 Nobody is doing that in real life, right? If you’ve used this hack will you leave me a comment please and tell me how it works when you go to pay for something and have to “unwrap” your cash at the checkout counter? I found a picture of this happening, but it must be fake news!
I’m always up for a good kitchen hack because I love to cook, but I also like to save time and be efficient doing it. That being said, I’m not a big kitchen gadget person. I know there are lots of unique “tools” that allegedly make things easier during prep time, but call me a bit old-fashioned when it comes to things like a three-piece strawberry tool that de-stems, de-seeds, and slices. I’ve never struggled so hard with a strawberry that I thought I should go out and by a specific object to handle them. I’ve also never tried to take the seeds out, however, so maybe my berry game is not that strong.
A common food that I love but do struggle with A LOT is garlic. I’m not talking about mincing it. I don’t want a garlic press. It’s not that hard to mince a garlic clove, and I like that the pieces are a little uneven. It makes it “rustic.” What I’ve never been particularly great at is peeling a clove of garlic. And it turns out no one is really great at that, so there’s a tool. I never thought to buy the tool because it looks stupid. It’s literally just a silicone tube that you’re supposed to put the cloves in, press down with your hands, and roll on the counter or on a cutting board. You can buy them for $3 on Amazon. But did I ever do such a thing. Of course not! I was meant to suffer as a home cook, and that means peeling my garlic by hand, which is tedious and occasionally painful.
At a recent bridal shower, the bride was gifted a multi-piece garlic peeler, press, storage gadget, and I expressed my love/hate relationship with garlic to the woman sitting next to me, who agreed that she would also never buy a garlic tool because she just used a silicone baking mat to roll and peel her garlic. I filed this nugget of information away for a later time. Could it be that rolling out cloves of garlic to peel them was such a good kitchen hack that people were coming up with new kitchen hacks to avoid buying the tool? I happen to have a silicone baking mat, so I resolved to find out.
The short answer, is yes! Rolling you garlic cloves in a silicone tube is 100x’s easier than trying to peel them by hand, and I’m pretty confident that the whole world knew this, has been doing it, and I’m just really really late to this life hack party! I almost want to know how amazing using a garlic press would be as well, but I’m pretty sure it only takes 30 seconds more to mince it by hand, and like I said, it’s kind of rustic.
If you already knew this kitchen hack, congratulate yourselves. I really don’t know why I thought I was better than the $3 tube, and I stand corrected. That said, will I buy one? Probably not. I can roll it in the baking mat, which works great! I’ve done it three times already since my first experiment. If you’ve never done this before, take it from this skeptic. You must try it immediately! If you have another amazing kitchen shortcut, let me know in the comments…particularly if you’ve got a good way to cleave a spaghetti squash in half without feeling like you’re going to take off a finger.
Friday kudos to…
Anyone who went back to school this week! I went back to school this week, and it was rough. I’m talking fall asleep on the couch by 8pm on Monday night, and lose my voice by Wednesday afternoon rough. This isn’t, in general, rougher than usual as much as it’s just the normal, slap in the face adjustment period that comes from switching out of vacation mode to work mode.
Also, is it weird that school is my work, but I say that I’m going back to school instead of back to work? Every teacher I know says, “back to school.” I guess “back to my career” sounds funny.
Whatever genius invented Amazon wardrobe. If you’re not using this service, start using this service. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, but inlight of the first week of school having commenced, and my teacher closet being on point but not super expensive, I must insist that if you didn’t already check it out, that you go and look now!
My awesome friend Kim who is probably ink.’s number one fan, and with whom I spent my whole weekend hosting and attending bridal showers for my other awesome friend the other Cait. But seriously, Kim rocks…this shout out is long overdo…and our car rides to the Cities this bridal shower season prove it!
Wine for your weekend
If you were a teacher who went back to school this week, I know you’re ready for a bottle of wine. If you’ve been working through the summer, you may just ready to celebrate the long Labor Day weekend, and you’re probably also ready for a bottle of wine. Since we’re all ready for wine, best to recommend a crowd pleasing palette quencher. At last weekend’s bridal shower, Kim and I created a mimosa bar in which people could pair champagne with different types of juice and different frozen and fresh fruits. I would HIGHLY recommend creating such a spread for you long weekend festivities, and when you do, try Risata Miscato d’Asti. This is one of those sparkling wines that you will find everywhere! Reasonably priced and well distributed, it’s a fan favorite and a go to should you need to have a “toasting” wine on hand. The wine is sweet, but not overly so, and is rich in peach, apricot, tangerine, and honey aromas. Use it as a mixer, or drink it well chilled out on the patio or deck this three day weekend as you celebrate the day off and the unofficial end of summer!