Make traditional crosshatch cookies with a twist
Peanut butter cookies don’t taste the same without cross-hatching the tops before baking. Some people use a fork, while others prefer to use cookie stamps, the bottom of a textured glass, a waffle head potato masher or silicon molds made specifically for peanut butter cookies. The first reader shares her own method.
I use the textured side of a meat mallet to “stamp” peanut butter cookies. One hit and they’re ready to bake.
I save the empty paper towel tubes, flatten them and staple one end. I use them as sheaths for my sharp knives, rasps and carving forks. This prevents the knives from getting dull and protects my fingers when I pull one out of the drawer. This is great when you need to take anything sharp to a potluck, too! When they get wimpy, I just make another one.
I take the sturdy plastic lid from a coffee can, cut it in half, then cut the rim off and have bowl or board scrapers.
When I have to reorganize my freezer, I wear leather garden gloves to protect my hands from the cold. I keep a special pair just for the purpose.
I use a wine cork to “stamp” thumbprint cookies. If you don’t drink wine, have a friend of family member save them for you, or, the next time you go to a restaurant, ask the waiter. They’ll be happy to give you some. (Hint: Go for the plastic ones. They’re easier to clean.)
To rinse fruit and vegetables, make a “bath” of 2 tablespoons baking soda to 2 quarts water. Dunk the produce in the mixture, wipe with a washcloth or paper towel to remove wax or herbicides and dry. Proceed with your recipe. — Dae T., Georgia
DONATE PLASTIC BAGS:
Local food pantries welcome the plastic shopping bags used by stores, when we do not bring our own bags. Plastic bags can be deflated, rolled up, and many stored in one bag hanging on a hook in the pantry or utility room. Then, when dropping off your contributions to your local food care center, drop off a bag of plastic bags with the food. — Marilyn, Texas
SAVE RUBBER BANDS:
Every day we get a newspaper with a rubber band around it. I always put them into a plastic sandwich bag. I can use them or collect them until the bag is filled. Then I return them to our newspaper carrier by putting it by the mailbox, and he picks them up. — Margot S., e-mail
EASIER HANDLING OF LARGE SHEETS:
For queen/king size sheets, no pins. Pins cause rust and holes. Just take a permanent marker and mark the top corners with a dot , smiley face or symbol. — Linda H., e-mail
BABY OIL USE:
I use baby oil when I am outside to keep gnats and mosquitoes away. I have never had a problem since using the oil. — Cheryl, e-mail
I bought 3 pair for $1 at dollar store — sneaker child-size socks to slip over reading and sunglasses. They take up less space than eyeglass holders. Also, when I leave them in my car, they don’t look like change purses, or similar that might encourage a break in. I need to put one in the car for my loose change there. — Sharon, e-mail
photo by joefoodie