Hopefully most of you had little or no damage during Hurricane Irma, though heaven knows we all experienced the anxiety, stress and fear. We ended up going to Orlando and staying with the parents of my son’s good friend from high school.  It turns out that the mother, Amal (we now all know that name thanks to George Clooney), is an incredible fountain of amazing household tips and shortcuts, plus she’s a star teacher. In fact,  I felt as if I had gone to “HU” as in household university. They’re all quick, easy, and low cost. Happy to share “what I learned during Irma”, six household tips you’ll love — food prep shortcuts, cleaning, and a terrific milk frother and cappucino maker, plus more.


How would you like to have fresh tasting, preminced garlic at the ready when you cook? Buy a jar of peeled garlic (she recommends Costco for the big jars). Take the garlic, add about half a cup of olive oil and mince it in a mini chopper/mincer. Divide the mix into several Ziploc bags and pound it so it’s thin, and put the bags in the freezer. Whenever you need some garlic, break off a piece and you’re all set. The garlic can last 6 months to a year. She recommends the Cuisinart MiniPrep Plus Food Processor  which I just bought on Amazon for $39.95.


Bought fresh herbs and have leftovers, or just want to have some available next time you need them? Cut off the stems from the bunch and dry them out in a colander. When dry, chop them up and put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Be sure to label them. This works with any herb. You can do the same with fresh ginger though it should be peeled first, as well as  lemon zest. All last indefinitely.


What’s the best way to eliminate a strong odor from your garbage disposal? Put in quarter cup of baking soda and while you’re at it, put some in the sink. Then cover all with white vinegar. Once it stops foaming, run the water with the disposal on. (and of course, most of you know that baking soda works to absorb odors in the refrigerator; keep a box of it open there)


Worried about grease in your dishwasher from dirty plates and pans? Careful, as it can shorten the life of your dishwasher. Be sure to wipe off all greasy plates with a paper towel. Use cheap paper towels.


A great cleaning aide are Scott Shop towels that you can buy online, or at Home Depot. It’s a disposable microfiber cloth that soaks up the water like nothing else, and you can reuse it repeatedly.


My Nespresso milk foamer recently broke after an all too short run. Now I’m addicted to a foamer but didn’t want to shell out another $99 after less than a year. She recommended the Chefs Star Milk Frother, Heater and Cappuccino maker which she has had for several years. I found it on Amazon for $29.99 and promptly ordered it.



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