Now that my daughter is 10 and becoming more and more independent each day – I found myself reflecting on what family tricks I have passed on to her through the years. Lately, I feel like she has been teaching me more than I am teaching her. So, before she reminds me of that fact, I am journaling these time-savers and remedies as a handy reference. Our twin boys are only three- but they will be experiencing these tips through the years, too. I am not a doctor nor a chef- but cannot keep these ‘family secrets’ from you, our fabulous followers. My daughter and I had a lot of laughs compiling this list – but the tips themselves provide ‘no-joke’ results.
1. Berry Preparation
My girl is a berry maniac. She eats berries at least 3 times a day (usually with yogurt). Berries are best rinsed and prepared just prior to eating to maximize the freshness – but that is not realistic in our house. My crafty sister Pauline already shared my weekly time-saving lunch prep, which includes berries, in a previous post. I prep an entire week’s worth of berries on Sunday and the berries still stay fresh for the whole week. My amendment to that post for an even more efficient prep cycle is to use a salad spinner to wash and dry the berries. The inner liner works as a colander and the spin-cycle helps to dry the berries which will keep them fresher longer. I then parse the berries into reusable serving containers. I line the bottom of each container with a paper towel to help absorb residual moisture
2. Hang Nail Relief
I hate the pain of hang nails – but I hate it even more when one of my kids gets one. My sister-in-law Rosie, who is a Registered Nurse, treated me once by clipping the hang nail at the bottom of the split, applying antibiotic cream, and making me wear a band-aid overnight. The next morning, I had total relief. Yes- it’s simple (that’s the idea) – but also soooo effective. I have used this remedy with success many times. (Thank you, Rosie!)
3. Onion Preparation
Our family has two tips for better onion prep. If you haven’t seen our favorite guacamole recipe video– I highly encourage you to watch and try the recipe (yum!). In the video, my daughter shares the first tip of rinsing the onions once chopped to remove some of the bite. Secondly, I cannot handle the smell of onions on my hands (which seems to take forever to remove) – so I wear plastic sandwich bags on my hands while handling the onions. Once again – simple but effective.
4. Sore Throat Relief
My daughter runs away from our remedy to relieve a sore throat- which is gargling with warm salt water- but it really helps. I remember my grandfather making me gargle with warm salt water and gagging at the saltiness- but happy with the relief. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into warm water and gargle. You can do this as many times as you like to find some sore throat relief. Now that my grandfather has passed, I like to think of him and thank him every time I use this remedy.
5. Smoothie Staples
When my daughter is not asking for berries, she is asking for a fresh fruit smoothie. (Do you remember our smoothie review from Chef Charlie Ayers’ cookbook or our Feel Better Post?) I always have a supply of frozen fruit remnants to throw into a blender. Ripe bananas are easily frozen by removing the peel, placing in a sandwich bag, and flattening (which makes it easier to break off or blend when using frozen). Sometime we are at the bottom of the cubed watermelon supply and I freeze some in a small container along with the watermelon juice. Mandarin oranges (‘cuties’) work great. Just peel, split the sections and freeze in a sandwich bag. I also like to have frozen concentrated orange juice on hand as a couple tablespoons of frozen concentrated orange juice give the smoothies a fresh zing when blended in.
6. Upset Stomach Relief
Many years ago, I spent half of a summer in Costa Rica learning how to speak Spanish (please don’t test me). At one point, I had horrible diarrea and an upset stomach. My ‘house mom’ insisted on applying pressure and rubbing my lower arm between my wrist and the inside elbow. It worked! Since then, I have used this remedy with my daughter to help give her stomach relief. Whether it’s science or a placebo – it doesn’t matter to me as it is our ‘family trick’ to make the pain go away. I found several Internet references supporting the idea there is an acupressure point on the arm for stomach relief- including this video.
7. Oil Substitutes in Recipes
Our family often substitutes applesauce instead of oil in pancake and baking recipes. I heard another very timely option last week which is substituting oil with pumpkin puree. My daughter and I had a good laugh thinking how this probably wouldn’t work with our brownie mixes – but would be a yummy substitution in our pancakes and waffles. (Thank you Hungry Girl for the idea).
8. Charlie Horse Relief
I never had a charlie horse cramp in my leg until I was pregnant. Thanks to various pregnancy sites and books, I was reassured that my leg was not going to fall off. The recommended relief was to eat more bananas (to provide needed potassium) and flex the foot to point up and towards the knee (opposite direction of the cramp) to release the muscle cramp. Thankfully, I remembered this trick when my daughter had an intense leg cramp and needed relief.
Once again, I am not a doctor and not a chef, but these are family tips, tricks & remedies that I am passing along to my kids and to share with you. Old wives tales? Perhaps- but that’s what keeps the traditions and stories going.
Do you have any family time saving tips, tricks or remedies? Please share below.
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