Kitchen Tip: Caring for the Wood

Wood in the Kitchen

After conditioning the wood

Caring for Wood…

First, a little background. My dad is a master woodworker a real craftsman if you will. And, my brother inherited these skills over many years helping out dad in the shop. This Thanksgiving, my brother got to spend the holiday with us and we were so pleased because we hadn’t spent a holiday with family in 7 years! While he was visiting we started talking about cutting boards and that led me to realize how pale my had become. I admitted I hadn’t done anything to them in at least a year, maybe more.

Now, I’m no stranger to the proper way to care for the wood items in my kitchen. Some of which have been handmade by my dad or brother and I want these to last forever!! So I finally bit the dust and I went online to buy what I needed to restore my cutting boards, cookbook holder, and butcher block kitchen cart.

How to care for the wood in your kitchen

Step 1: Clean the piece. That’s get all the dust off of it, scrape off the bit of dough you missed after the last batch of rolls, and if it’s really in bad shape, sand with some very fine grit sand paper with the grain. Luckily I didn’t need the sanding.

Step 2: Grab your trusty oil. DO NOT get olive oil or vegetable oil or any of the cooking oils for that matter. They will go rancid. Instead, you can use mineral oil which can be found at most health care or grocery stores.

Step 3: Grab a clean rag. Gently rub the oil into the wood with the grain. Wipe off any excess. Wait 1/2 an hour and repeat if necessary. You want to make sure that the oil soaks into the wood to prevent splits.

Alternate Step 2 & 3 (what I did): Get a bottle of “Howard Butcher Block Conditioner”. Grab the clean rag and rub into the wood with the grain. Wait 1/2 an hour and wipe of any excess. Repeat if necessary.

Here’s why I use the butcher block conditioner… It contains food grade mineral oil and natural waxes. The mineral oil penetrates the wood and the waxes add a water resistance to the wood. This really helps to prevent drying and splitting in the wood. Also, this is not runny like plain mineral oil. The consistency is more like thick applesauce which makes it really easy to work with. Especially on vertical surfaces. If it’s to difficult to apply, you can always warm it up to make it closer to a melted wax consistency.

When you buy a new wood item for your kitchen (cutting board or butcher block kitchen cart), it’s a good idea to “season” it by using the conditioner at least 3 times to build up a nice moisture content inside the wood as well as get a great base layer to be water repellent.

Once you’re finished oiling or conditioning the wood items in your kitchen, your hands will be super soft! Mineral oil is also a very good skin moisturizer. You will also notice that the wood is darker, possibly heavier, and the grain shows with much more detail than before. Now go out and get some mineral oil or butcher block conditioner and take care of those wood items in your kitchen. If you do, they will last, and last, and last.

Kitchen Tip: Cutting Chicken

There are many ways to cut chicken but for a minute here, lets talk about cutting raw chicken when prepping for a recipe. Most people will have the thawed chicken and cut it with a knife on a cutting board. WRONG! Here’s two easier ways to do it:

With a Knife

Cut your chicken while it is still partially frozen so it doesn’t slide around on you.

With Kitchen Shears

Yes, with the scissors in your knife block. You can cut your thawed raw chicken with the scissors in your knife block and the chicken will cut easily. I often will cut the chicken directly into the dish I’m working on (if it’s the time to put the chicken in).

With both of these methods, you can slice thinner chicken and not worry about cutting yourself when the slimy stuff moves on the cutting board. It also makes it quick to do a rough dice too.

Turkey Dinner Survival Guide – Free Download

Hi there and welcome to your Turkey Dinner Survival Guide! You’ll get a timeline for cooking everything yourself in one day. I usually cook a 16 pound bird for our family but you can use this for any size bird (as long as you adjust the cooking time for the bird). I’ll be giving you a .pdf version that I personally use as well as a .doc version you can edit to suit your own family’s needs. You’ll also get every recipe I use when I cook up a big turkey dinner with the fixings.

Our Turkey Dinner Includes:

  • Roasted Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Rolls
  • Gravy
  • Pumpkin Pie

Now I do cheat when it comes to the stuffing and the gravy. I like to use Stove Top Sage Stuffing and McCormick Turkey Gravy. If you are brave and make your stuffing from scratch, please make sure to take that into consideration when editing the .doc version. If you make your gravy from scratch, good for you! I think that’s awesome. If you keep running out of gravy though, since birds really don’t produce much, add a packet gravy to your homemade gravy and it will go very far and still taste amazing. To save space on your stove, after the gravy has been made, put it in a small crock pot to keep warm.

So, without further ado… click below to download either the .pdf or .doc versions of my Turkey Dinner Survival Guide!

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Kitchen Tips: Moist Leftover Turkey

When you go to eat your leftover turkey, is it deliciously moist or is it dry and hard? Often times when we go to reheat the turkey leftovers, it goes in the microwave and comes out dry as a bone. No one wants to eat dry turkey. And, often our gravy is long since gone. What is a person to do?

To combat dry turkey:

Drizzle some chicken stock over your turkey before reheating. The turkey will soak up the stock and leave you with deliciously moist turkey.

Kitchen Tip: Rings and Dough

This tip is mainly for the ladies out there. I know that we don’t all take off our rings when working with dough. It either feels weird or we forget or we don’t want do loose them. So, what do you do when you get dough stuck in the cracks? If you’ve had your wedding band and engagement band welded together like I did, you have that tiny crack that runs all around. I also have a ring with swirls in it. Not much can fit into these areas. I know one person who said they try to clean the dough out of their ring with a knife. Please don’t do this! Gold is a soft metal and you could easily damage it with a knife.

wpid-20130128_103735.jpg wpid-20130128_103809.jpgInstead, grab your dental floss (we all have that in the house) or a length of sewing thread (fewer of us have this on hand these days). Use this to “floss” your rings. For my swirled ring, I thread it through each swirl section and saw it back and forth to get everything out of the tiny little holes. I’ve used pink thread in the pictures so it would show up better. wpid-20130128_105308-1-1.jpgwpid-20130128_105538-1.jpgI have no idea when I have ever actually used this pink thread for anything sewing, but it works great in this application. So, when you make the pastry crust for my Turkey Pot Pie, you’ll know what to do with the dough in your rings.

Kitchen Tip: Sharpies are your friend

Chicken Stock Sharpies are our friend. I always keep a sharpie in my kitchen to write the date I opened something. In this shot, I opened my organic chicken stock today. This way I know how long a container has been open. This goes well for leftovers too. If you’re using reusable containers and don’t want permanent marker, try a dry erase marker. If you write in an area that you won’t be grabbing, it should stay well enough.

I also use sharpies in other places around my home too. I put the open date on my laundry detergent so I can see how fast we are going through it and how many I should pick up to survive until the next shopping trip. So, grab a sharpie and keep it in your kitchen too!

Kitchen Tips: Bread Crumbs

Lots of recipes call for bread crumbs but we don’t always have them on hand. What I’ve done is to make up a batch of bread crumbs in the food processor, then put them in a container and store them in the freezer. Now I’ve got bread crumbs ready when I need them. This saves lots of time when I come across a recipe that calls for bread crumbs.