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Don’t let it all go down the drain

By on June 8, 2008

photo by Burning Image

You might be wasting water and not even be aware of it. Maybe you let the water run down the drain for dishes, teeth-brushing or your shower. Or you drain off the boiled water used for cooking pasta or vegetables. Some water can be saved and reused for watering indoor and outdoor plants. And your cooking water can often be reused for soup or rice, or like in the first reader tip below.

WASTE NOT: When you make mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, measure out how much liquid you will need and reserve it from the cooking water. Drain out the rest, return the reserved water to the pan and add a small amount of powdered milk to it. Stir and enjoy! Also, I use the lids from plastic margarine tubs as mini cutting boards. I just rinse them off instead of having to clean the whole board to mince 1/4 cup of onion. — Lori, Oregon

SALVAGE: If you come across old, abandoned houses or buildings that are going to be torn down (or a neighbor who’s moving), get in touch with the owner or construction company and ask whether they mind if you take some of the plants. You’ll be saving them! Last fall, our neighbor was looking after his neighbor’s place. It was going to be torn down, and he asked me if I wanted all the ferns that were across the front of the house. They’re now at the side of my house. — Heather, e-mail

ROLLING-PIN SUBSTITUTE: When my rolling pin broke, I had to look around and see what I could find to use instead. I found that plastic cups work OK. But even better were cold soda cans or bottles from the fridge. Not the 2-liter size, but the smaller ones. More often, I use cans of veggies or a smooth jar, like a wine bottle. — Missy, Colorado

REPURPOSE: I have a bunch of hair scrunchies that I bought on sale. I cut my hair short but didn’t want to throw them out. I used them as napkin holders and attached one to my key chain so I can find my keys easier. I’ve used one to open a lid on a jar before, too. — Jean H., e-mail

LAUNDRY TIP: The permanent-press cycle on your washer uses more water than the regular cycle. You can save water by using the regular cycle. — Alexa L., e-mail

MEND: Do you have pulls in jeans that would otherwise still be in good shape? Go and purchase a steel crochet hook anywhere between size 9 and 12 (the larger the number, the smaller the hook). Insert from the inside directly under the pull, hook the fibers and pull through to the inside of the garment. Works every time! This is also great for sweaters, mittens, hats, blouses, slacks and anything that has a pull in it. — Dee, New York

GRATE FROZEN BREAD: I’m not the best cook, but today I was making meatloaves and was not looking forward to chopping up the bread. As I was grating the onions and carrots, I grabbed the frozen bread and grated that, too. Wow, that was easier. Also, I love canned plum tomatoes on toast with cheese and always keep the leftover drained juice. Last week, I froze the juice in ice-cube trays and have used the “cubes” in my chili and soups to add flavor. — She who cannot cook, England

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Monroe on a Budget » Sara Noel: Don’t send money down the drain

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