Tag Archives: leftovers

Simple (and natural) Housecleaning- The Microwave and the Fridge

Image :Pexals
If you’re interested in natural yet simple housecleaning check out the hints below.
The microwave:
To deodorise and clean stubborn food splatters from the interior of the microwave fill a microwave safe bowl or jug with water. Add a few slices of lemon or even lemon halves that have already being juiced. If you have them you can also add a couple of whole cloves. Heat this mixture on high for five minutes then allow to stand for a few minutes. The baked on splatters should then wipe of easily with a soft cloth and the microwave will also smell fresh.
Wipe down the exterior of the microwave with a soft cloth dampened with a vinegar/water solution ( 1 cup of warm water and a couple of capfuls of cheap white vinegar) . Dry and polish any streaks away with a soft dry cloth.
Keep a plate cover in the microwave to encourage people to cover their plates or containers before heating food. If they use it, it will save a lot of work.
The Refrigerator.
Clean the refrigerator the day of or the day before you do your grocery shopping. Do this each week and it will be faster and easier to clean. You will also be able to write your grocery list as you go and save money and cut down on wastage by buying only what you need and not buying what you already have and by seeing what you can use up before it spoils.
Try using plastic baskets or a similar type of container to keep like items together. Find containers that are easy the see items through and that are easy to wash. Plastic baskets are found in discount stores and also in the supermarket- often the aisle where the laundry products are kept. If you are watching your budget buy one a week until you have the supply you need. Otherwise you might already have suitable containers such as food storage containers that have lost their lid, or the plastic punnets apples and other fruit are sold in. This is a great way to recycle.
Consider lining the vegetable crisper drawers with old but clean tea towels or placemats. This saves on cleaning and absorbs moisture. When they become soiled or damp, wash and dry them, wash out the drawers and then re-line them.You can also use paper towels but they’re not as durable or eco friendly.
When cleaning start at the top of the fridge, working down to the vegetable crisper then back up to the top of the door and work down from there. Do the same with freezer. 

Have an ready;

an empty bin

a compost bucket

a bowl or ice cream container filled with warm water with a couple of capfuls of vinegar and a capful of vanilla added

a sponge with a soft scourer on one side

a dry cloth or tea towel

and a notebook and pen for the grocery list.
Take all items off the first shelf. Check for freshness and check use by and throw out or compost any spoiled food. Write anything you need to replace or are low on, on you grocery list. Wipe down containers of items you are keeping and sort them into baskets if you are doing so. If the baskets also need washing do this too. Wipe the shelf over and under with the damp sponge and dry it before replacing the food. Continue on with this until the shelves and inside door are finished.
Wipe down the sides of the door and door seals with the same vinegar/vanilla solution and dry well.
Add an opened container of bi-carb to the back of the top shelf- it will absorb odours.
Wipe and polish the refrigerator door handles and the door. A spray bottle filled with 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water with work for most surfaces. Add a capful of eucalyptus, tea tree or lavender oil (or all three) to make a sweet smelling cleaning spray the naturally disinfects as well.
Never use abrasive cleaners or cloths on the outside of appliances like the fridge, microwave or dishwasher. They will cause scratches. A vinegar solution or methylated spirits on a dry cloth will make stainless steel doors shine.

When your fridge is clean and tidy look at what you have left and try to incorporate that into your next weeks meal plan.

Clean your freezer in the same way if it is frost free. If it is not you will need to find your owners manual- it should be online if you don’t have a physical copy- because there are safety precautions you MUST follow.

Do you have any tips? Share in the comments below and subscribe for more aSimple Life 🌟

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Simple Breakfast Ideas to get you out the door

Image:Pexals

If you or your family have a ‘go to’ breakfast like cereal or toast with an egg for example,that is great but some people have problems eating breakfast due to reasons, such as those below, that can be remedied.
* Being too rushed- planning breakfast, establishing a morning routine and simplifying can help you have the time to sit down and enjoy your breakfast-even if you have kids!
* You or your child has no appetite in the morning or has food allergies or preferences that may take time or require special ingredients- thinking outside the ‘cereal box’ will help. Typical breakfast food are NOT the only thing that need be on the menu.
* Your family wants a hot breakfast or craves variety- a little planning and pre-preparation will allow you to serve a pleasing breakfast.
* When you think about the cooking and clean up cereal or toast is just easier- True, a quick and easy breakfast is a great idea, but there are options if you are willing to plan ahead.

Any of the following ideas are worth considering if you want to simplify breakfast or enjoy a more substantial breakfast without stress or taking too much time.
* Write a list of possible meal ideas that you and your family enjoy or would like to have. Refer back to this list when preparing the grocery list. When you read the hints below, add any new ideas to this list. Check out the Internet, especially Pinterest, for appetising inspiration. Look up ‘mug cooking’ ‘breakfast bowls’ ‘overnight oats’ for example and prepare to expand your culinary horizons.
*Keep your staples on hand ALWAYS .For example,have bread in the freezer and plenty of milk and allergy free alternatives (if required). If you don’t write a shopping list START NOW or do you like going to Woolies for soy milk in your slippers? 
* Set the scene the night before , maybe after the dinner clean up, by laying out placemats, crockery, cutlery etc. A child can do this – and probably should before they get anymore screen time! Think about what pots and utensils you will need and have them ready on a shelf or corner of the counter.
*If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher empty it at night so it’s ready for the breakfast run. If you’ve got dishpan hands like me fill the sink as you fill the kettle and wash as you go. Aim to clean up so you’re next meal isn’t sabotaged by crusty bowls and grungy pans.
* Prepare any ingredients you can ahead of time. When you are preparing ingredients for another meal STOP AND THINK if you can also prepare something else now for another meal. Say you are chopping veggies for dinner, spend a couple of minutes chopping some more for an omelette or similar. Store them extra in a ziplock bag or airtight container and it will be available for the next few days.
* Pre- measure dry ingredients for your own ‘make-ahead’ mixes. If your are making or planning to make muffins, scones, piklets etc measure a few extra batches of the dry ingredients and store these in labelled plastic containers or ziplock bags in the pantry. On the inside of the pantry door have a copy of each recipe with the ingredient list divided into dry and wet categories and also include the method and oven temperature. When you want to make the item the recipe is within easy reach. You will already have the dry ingredients measured and sifted and need to simply add the wet ingredients, mix and cook. Pikelets on a Tuesday should no longer be too much of a problem.
*Leftovers for breakfast-why not? Look at other cultures, breakfast is more varied that we often think. You’ll find variations such as rice dishes, cold platters of meats and fruit and veg, and hot meals that will keep you going until lunch. I’m not suggesting cold pizza out of the box but why not leftover fried rice or savoury mince or spaghetti bolognaise (growing boys love it!) Use leftover roast veggies to make a frittata or have on toast.
*Cook the breakfast ahead and heat it up as required. As my boys need it, I make extra or cook more food alongside the evening meal for lunch boxes or reheating for breakfast. I often do this all during the day to ease the dinner time workload. Some extra chicken breasts or browned mince or burger patties do not go astray when the ‘little ones’ are becoming ‘big ones’! One caveat, label or hide anything you want to serve for a specific meal because the fridge may get raided by growth spurting bandits.
*Don’t judge the minimalist. Some kids and grown ups never deviate from their ‘same ole’- let em be. Overall variety during a week of meals matters more than switching up breakfast everyday. If junior is a vegemite on toast enthusiast ensure that the variety is introduced at other mealtimes and snack times-peacefully too I might add. Don’t fret- a stressful eating environment causes more lifelong challenges than a more ‘relaxed’ attitude.

I have come to the point when I can eat the same thing day in and day out for most of the time. It’s a health and simplicity decision for me. My son is currently needing more variety and volume so I can provide that using the tips above-it’s no trouble and I know it’s getting him through the school morning /soccer game.
Share you’re tips and problems and support in the comments. Let me know what you’d like to read about. Subscribe for updates sent straight to you inbox.

🌟Simple Life Mum

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