Ways to clean and care for wooden bowls
I got a beautiful set of plain wooden salad bowls, complete with the utensils, at a thrift store yesterday. I have no idea what kind of wood they are. They look old, possibly hand-sanded, and they appear to be one-piece, rather than several pieces glued together, like I often see in wooden bowls. There is no brand name on them whatsoever. How do I tell what kind of wood they are made from, and how do I care for them? — Leigh, Florida
You can maintain them with a general-care approach. Don’t place them in the dishwasher, microwave or refrigerator, or soak them in a sink full of water. To clean them, use a cloth or sponge (or synthetic scrub pad, if necessary) dipped in warm water with dishwashing liquid added, then rinse. Dry them immediately with a cloth or towel. Rub mineral oil on the outside to prevent drying. You can coat each bowl with as much oil as it continues to absorb.
Do you know any surefire solutions (especially homemade remedies) for puffy eyes? I hesitate to spend money on “miracle cures” that may or may not work. — C.H., Missouri
I splash cool water on my face or apply a damp washcloth to my closed eyes when mine look puffy. You can try applying moistened teabags (warm or cold) or sliced cucumber slices to your closed eyes. If your puffy eyes result from a lack of sleep, make sure you get plenty of rest, limit your salt intake and be sure to keep yourself hydrated. Please note that these suggestions are not to be taken as a substitute for seeking medical treatment from your physician for your specific needs.
I’m looking for a cheap craft idea to do for my grandkids over the summer. Any ideas? — Dorothy, Ohio
How about pipe-cleaner animals? Look for “Twisted Critters: The Pipe Cleaner Book” by Eva Steele-Saccio, or buy a Fuzzoodles plush construction kit full of large pipe cleaners and figure pieces to make a bunch of colorful critters. Painting rocks with acrylic paint is a lot of fun for kids, and it’s pretty cheap, too.
After giving away my not-so-great dollar store popsicle mold in the Fall Fling last year, I decided to spend the big bucks and get nice molds for this summer. (Fortunately, the “big bucks” only amounted to $9!) But I’m not feeling particularly creative about what to make in them, so I’m on an idea search. I’ve made popsicles from strawberry yogurt, chocolate pudding, lemonade and apple juice, and I’m going to try pina colada, cherry cola, homemade root beer, chocolate soda, butterscotch pudding, banana pudding, grape juice, cherry juice, homemade juice (especially watermelon, orange/apple and carrot/apple), blended coffee, peanut butter cloud and mint chocolate. I try not to use anything with artificial colors or flavors, so most packet drink mixes are out. I also don’t buy stuff with corn syrup, so Sunny Delight and the like are out. I’d like to get a really long list of ideas going, since I will be making these nearly every morning this summer. — Constance, New Jersey
You seem pretty creative to me! I would seek out fruit smoothie recipes (online or check your local library) and freeze them. You’d have a lot of variation. How about a combination of fresh strawberries or blueberries, yogurt and cream cheese? Or try freezing sweet tea. Here’s a recipe for pumpkin pie popsicles you might enjoy, too: kitchencorners.com/2010/11/pumpkin-pie-popsicles.html. Good luck!
photo by Smabs Sputzer