Holiday Baking Tips and Tricks

We discussed safety tips, easy recipes and fun gadgets to try for the holiday baking season. The holidays may be winding down, but the baking fun doesn't have to stop!

December 18, 2019

Don't miss the next episode

Audio Transcript


What’s Cooking – Holiday Baking Tips and Tricks

Presented by Elyse Heinrich and Pam Winters

December 18, 2019

Elyse H: Hi everybody. Welcome to our What's Cooking discussion call. For those of you who are joining us for the first time, my name is Elyse Heinrich, and I'm here with my co-host Pam Winters. We're both learning experts here at Hadley, and we'll be the host for today's call. Pam, are you still there?

Pam W: I am here. Hi everybody.

Elyse H: Wonderful. We're so glad you can join us.

Today, for December, we're focusing a little bit on the holiday season, which is upon us, whichever holiday you celebrate, which is great and we're so glad you can join us for our virtual holiday baking exchange. So tonight, I want to share some safety tips, easy recipes that I've found and hopefully that you've found too, some different gadgets to try. And the first one I want to share with our group is actually a recipe for cookies without baking. What? And I thought well this is a little off the grid. Usually, you got to pre-heat the oven or get something ready beforehand, but I did pick this one, because I've used it in a pinch for a last-minute thing or to bring a dish over to someone's house when I'm visiting. And it's Cocoa No-Bake Cookies.

Pam W: Yum.

Elyse H: Still involves a little bit of heat, but the good thing is you can do it in a microwave or on the stove top. And essentially is a half-cup of butter, sugar, milk and coco powder, you combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. But I also found that you can do it in the microwave. You just listen for the boiling or if you know your microwave settings pretty well, how long it takes for maybe a cup of water to boil, for the butter to melt up, and you can mix it all together before you have your dry ingredients. Another thing I like to do is pre-measure out my dry ingredients before I start with even warming things up either on the stove or the microwave and I have a few extra spoons nearby for easier stirring. Sometimes there's a spatula on the counter, as well as a mixing spoon, just in case it gets to be a little thick too soon. So I'm not searching in the drawer trying to find something and then I have my hands full with something else in the bowl. So after you bring your butter, sugar and milk to a boil, you take it from the heat, and you want to stir in three cups of old-fashioned oats. I just use oatmeal; I think it's the same. Peanut butter and vanilla, a half cup of peanut butter and a little teaspoon of vanilla extract and that's it.

You just mix it up. It gets a little bit thicker in consistency. I find the spatula works really good to get that peanut butter worked in. So here's my little tip and maybe you've tried it too, is use a muffin tin instead of a flat cookie baking sheet. So on top of the muffin tins, I put wax paper and I push it into each muffin tin, so it pushes down a little bit, but then the weight of the cookie... I ball them up, use two spoons to mush them together, probably about the size of a golf ball and then I push that into the bottom of the muffin tin. So it gives me spacing so they're not on top of each other, a uniform size and shape, although I've used cookie cutters as well if you really want cutesy cookies that are all the same shape. But using a muffin tin-

Pam W: Oh, that's a great tip.

Elyse H: Yeah. Using a muffin tin, you can just push it into that molded and use your spoon around the perimeter and there's a tactile edge right there.

Pam W: Right. Elyse, when I came in earlier today, someone, and I'm sorry for not remembering who it was, was talking about their use of Dixie cups.

Barb: This is Barb.

Pam W: Oh, okay Barb, great. Thank you so much.

Barb: Okay. I don't remember if I got it off of here or if I got it off of another discussion group, but when you're measuring out liquid, if you will take one of those small Dixie cups, just pour some liquid in it and it's big enough that you can dip your measuring spoon down in it. And then when you want to pour what you didn't use back into the jar, it's just real easy to smash that cup together, so that you can pour it back into the jar. Now some of these jars got real small holes, so I usually just try to use a funnel or something to get it back into the jar.

Pam W: Yeah. I find funnels to be very helpful and they do come in a variety of different sizes, so you can different size tips into there. And this is Pam, and I'm going to add on to that and I don't know if this is the type of measuring spoon you use Barb, but one thing that I have found helpful too is to buy the old... I call them old-fashioned because they're the metal measuring spoons where you can bend so they're like ladles. So you can bend the handle up so it's like a ladle. You can literally just put the bowl of the measuring spoon into that liquid and pull it straight up, and you don't have to worry about spilling as you bring it over into your bowl and dump it in. So, I don't know if you use those or not, but I found that helpful.

Barb: Yeah, that's what it is.

Pam W: Oh, awesome.

Barb: I also found out some of those bottles have where you can just shake it in instead of pouring. It's got a little plastic deal that controls how much gets out. You can pop those out of the jar. I use a sharp knife or a table knife and just wedge it in underneath and pop that dill off so that I can pour it back in and then I just pop it back on.

Elyse H: Alright. Sure great information about the measuring spoons, turning them into a little ladle. You can definitely do that for the vanilla for these cookies and just a quick tip. If you do use the skillet or a stove top, make sure that you're wearing oven mitts or using a hot pad for the hot skillet. And again, like I said, you can use the microwave instead, the bowl might be a little bit warmer. The great thing about these no-bake cookies is all you do is push them into the shape you'd like them and cool them and let them set. So the amounts I talked about makes about four dozen, but those are pretty small comparatively. So depending on the size of your cookie, you can stretch the recipe as much as you need.

Pam W: Awesome. I had a chance to go on to the SurveyMonkey and take a look at whether or not we had any questions today, and I did see that somebody who is not able to participate live today, but will listen to the recording later was asking about brownies and good ways to cut brownies. So I had a couple ideas for that, I can throw those in now if you want me to do that.

Elyse H: Oh, that sounds good. Yeah.

Pam W: Okay. So one thing is before you pour your brownie batter into the 13X9 pan, which is what she was specifically asking about, is to lay a piece of parchment paper down in there first, because then you're able to, once the brownies have baked, you can go ahead and just lift that out and then you're not cutting in the pan which is a little bit easier to manage when you're not having to cut into the pan. Especially those Pyrex pans, they have that rounded edge down at the bottom. And another was just that cutting them simply with a cheap silverware plastic knife, usually gives one of the best cuts that I've ever had in brownies. So, I am curious about if whether or not anyone else has any input that they have in terms of brownie cutting or just even sheet pan cookie cutting or that kind of thing. Any other ideas or tips that they've used that have been successful that they can share with the group. Does anybody have anything they can share with us?

Elyse H: As they think about it, I'll jump in quick and say I love parchment paper.

Pam W: Yeah. Absolutely.

Elyse H: It just really, really helps. And sometimes if your brownies are cool enough after you've taken them out, they're cooled off pretty well, you can jostle the edges of that paper up and take them out and out them on a cutting board.

Pam W: Right. Let's see, we have a couple hands up.

Elyse H: Oh great.

Pam W: So, I will go ahead and call on Marilyn. I'll unmute you. Hi Marilyn.

Marilyn: Hi. I came in late.

Pam W: It's okay.

Marilyn: The holidays make you forget what time it is. I sometimes cut brownies or something other thicker thing than cake with the sharp-ish edge on a regular plastic spatula. You got some breadth there if you use the bottom of it. And you can zoom across and cut it crossway three or four time and then cut it length ways, depending on how big you want your brownies to be.

Pam W: Right. I'm wondering too, the lettuce knife. I haven't tried that. I love my lettuce knife, because I don't have to worry about getting cut with that. I wonder how that would work. I've never tried that out., maybe somebody else has done that.

Marilyn: It might. Yeah, I can see that.

Pam W: Yeah. All right, thanks Marilyn.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pam W: And I see Mary has her hand up, so Mary, I'll unmute you.

Mary: Hi. Just a couple ideas, for brownies, I have a type of a pan that has the separation for cutting it already in a pan.

Pam W: Really?

Mary: Yeah. Well, you take it out... I guess you could either grease it or flour the brownies, so they don't stick, but then there's another section of the pan that has the cut-outs already. And it's nice. It comes with a lid so you can just bring it with you after you take out the separators. But, and then the other thing with I guess cutting, I have a type of a pie knife type of a thing. It's a triangular shape for cutting and serving.

Pam W: And is one of the edges on that serrated? A serrated edge rather than straight edge?

Mary: Yeah. I believe so. I haven't used it in a while but yeah, I think so. But it's nice because it's like a spatula but it's more of a triangular shape. If you want to cut your maybe pie or something like that in triangular shape.

Pam W: Yeah. I'm pretty sure I have one of those that I got a long time ago at a Tupperware party.

Elyse H: Yeah. I'm curious, has anyone used a pizza cutter to roll across brownies.

Pam W: Oh, yeah.

Mary: No. Mm-mm (negative).

Elyse H: Yeah I used it once or twice depending on how thick the brownies are, it gets a little dicey but if there a little bit thinner in a 9X13 pan, I've had good luck with using a pizza cutter to roll, either use a spoon in between for size wise or the back of a handle, a spoon handle just to measure them.

Pam W: All right.

Elyse H: Neat. So way back when, people had asked about and I think we had some emails from people, just ways to organize your fridge and your freezer and also your pantry and cabinets, so I wanted to talk just briefly on that. I know some people were talking about spices and how do you label them and keep them all organized. Especially with all these cookie tins now sitting around, maybe some extra pans or trays. I don't know about you, but I have some holiday trays that I like to make a dish and use. One of mine has red and green outlined and then big Santa face is in the middle. So how do I keep it all organized around this time of year when it seems to be busier than most?

So there's a couple ideas that I found online, and a lot of these websites have very similar information and really the first step is just to look and take an inventory. They call it assess, but I'd say an inventory of what you really have. What really is in your pantry or your fridge, or your freezer or the drawers. And so this woman, well, she was writing about all the different kind of flours that she found when she really went through and tried to organize. So she had coconut, gluten free, almond, white rice and tapioca flour. All in odds and ends bags and packages and that. And some of them were running low, some of them she had multiples of and she just never knew when she was at the store which one was she running low on, which one was she not, just to keep a mental inventory as well as a list. So just to go through and pull out every item in that drawer or that cabinet and sort through what do you have. So then after you find them all, she puts them into containers. Now whether that works for you as a system or not, or a bin or just somewhere that they can all be together. She suggested transferring bags of flour or sugar or extra candies and that into airtight containers. So there's a variety of sizes and colors and styles depending on your space in the kitchen or your storage space, you may find a different size works better than not. But then she also said find out where you want to store things so you're not just going to buy air-tight lids, containers with the lids to find out it won't all fit back in the pantry. So once you know your location, then you can work backwards on the size of the containers. Do you bake often, and you need a big container for flour or maybe not as much, so you don't need the biggest container for each quantity of that.

Pam W: Elyse, I do see that Marilyn has her hand raised.

Elyse H: Oh, wonderful, okay.

Pam W: So I'll go ahead and hear it. Hi Marilyn.

Marilyn: Hello again. I grew up with the old system of the largest canister has flour and the next one has the sugar and on down, graduated sizes, so I still do that but I don't always just turn the flour and sugar loose. I sometimes keep them in their bags within those canisters because I find it easier to clean and if I'm almost out of one and I can maybe squeeze the next one while I've still got a little bit left of that first one and I do flour, sugar, cornmeal that way and then usually in a smaller one I can put the baking soda and the baking powder, just both box and can in there. So I've got them right there handy. I have spice racks on the wall for small cans of spice that I don't use very often and maybe one row will be baking, one row will be things for sauces like rosemary, thyme, those things that you add a little at a time. The other one would be cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, that kind of thing. But then the larger ones that when I need them, I need them in big quantity and I just keep those in my pantry shelves, either surrounded by box or if I have an extra plastic container that will hold them all. Sage and chili powder and cinnamon, depending on whether I'm doing a lot of baking or making a bunch of chili or dressing, other holiday things that need sage in them. So I think the main thing is to evaluate and see how much of what kind of storage you need and then go from there.

Pam W: Thank you, Marilyn, so much for sharing. I'm just curious, anybody else want to share how they've organized things in their cupboards regarding canisters and spice and things like that. We'd love to hear from more people.

Elyse H: As we go to piggyback on your storage, large to small, the large canister has flour, the middle one is sugar, the other one is cornmeal, if you are low vision, maybe coloring can also help in distinguishing between canisters, as well as the size. The next idea after you find your containers and your space, to label. Right? I can't say that enough to label what you have. This woman was talking about using a wine pen or fancy marker. You can use a sharpie to write in an index card. You can rubber band the index card to the outside of your packaging or roll the rubber band around if it's a spice container. Or there's also a lot of technology, those Way Tags can be used or Pen Friend, you can make labels that way. You can also put in any cooking or baking instructions that you might want to remember. Say you have a box of rice and you want to remember how long to cook or what your ratios are, so you can put that into an electronic label. So large print, dark colored markers on an index card I found worked the best on the outside of those jars or canisters. I'll pause here because I see a few hands popping up.

Pam W: Yeah.

Elyse H: I love to hear from you and your ideas. Let's see.

Pam W: So should we try Mary again? Mary, can we hear you?

Mary: Can you hear me?

Pam W: We can. There we go.

Mary: Oh good. Oh, I was just going to say I actually just a couple weeks ago, reorganized my kitchen and I decided to store my baking things next to the stove. So in the drawer next to the stove, I don't use really large quantities, so I used four ounce jars, canning jars and then I labeled in print on the jar but on the top, I labeled with braille so I can just reach in the drawer and feel it. And then in the cupboards where I stand, I can just open it and everything in small quantities I need to bake like sugar and baking soda and all those kinds of things, I put into small containers and I also labeled them so I can just stand there and reach whatever I need for whatever. Then I also put a pan, because I'm very sloppy, so I put pan that I can put my bowls and my spoons in, so if I make a mess it's in that large, large baking pan.

Pam W: Right. That's a great idea. Even when you are pouring those liquids or things to do it over into a measuring cup to hold it over just a separate bowl even so that nay of the extra goes into there and you're still getting your correct measurement. That's great. Thank you, Mary.

Mary: Thank you.

Pam W: Let's see, I will go next to Brenda.

Brenda: Okay. So, in the pantry I found that I had several different types of rice. So I went and got a laundry basket, a small one and I put my boxes, bags of rice in that. I also try to keep things in the original containers from the grocery store so that it's easier for me to identify. And then for the spices, I buy those little [inaudible] in and I will label each one of my spice bottles and I line up alphabetically from front to back and then from left to right, I line up my spices in those little trays and stack the trays. I've got mine up on my very top cupboard rack and they're very easy to pull down, sort through my spices, pull them out and then put them back.

Pam W: Awesome. I really like the idea of those little trays and putting those spices in there.

Elyse H: And this is Elyse, just to recap, I think our audio is a little spotty. So in the pantry, you're saying you keep a smaller laundry basket to keep similar items together and then trying to keep items in their original packaging from the store to help you identity, whether that's by shape and feel or maybe the barcodes could also help you identify if you have a barcode reader. And for your spices that you put braille labels on them and then they're in different drawers by alphabet from left to right and front to back in different trays that then you can also put up high in cupboard when you're not using them to keep your kitchen organized.

Pam W: Yeah and what you just mentioned something I was thinking about the app Seeing AI for your phone, I've never tried actually to see whether or not it would identify spices, but that could be helpful too with the barcodes to do the scanner thing there.

Elyse H: Yeah. I haven't done it either on spices, but I've done it on other items like canned goods and jars.

Pam W: So I would imagine that it would work on the spices too.

Elyse H: I sure would hope so, yeah.

Pam W: All right. And we have Annely. I'll go ahead and unmute you. Hi.

Annely: Hello. Hello.

Pam W: Hello.

Elyse H: Hi Annely. How are you?

Annely: I'm good. How are you all.

Pam W: All right. Would you like to add to our baking discussion tonight?

Annely: Oh definitely. One thing on the spices I was going to say, what I do is I separate my spices according to grouping them together the ones that are used for meats and vegetables in one group, and then those that are used for baking in another group-

Elyse H: Oh, that's a good idea.

Annely: Yeah, so it's half the search when you're looking for something. Also, she talked about putting spices in the four ounce jars and I was going to say that also putting your vanilla or your other extracts in the four ounce jar with a wide mouth so you can dip your measuring spoon in there without having to pour. And also keeping them in the refrigerator so they're cold and you can maybe feel the coldness. I like to keep a two cup container, a wide mouth container of oil so that if I have to measure out a fourth of a cup or a third of a cup, I can dip that measuring cup into the oil and not have to pour the oil.

Pam W: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Very nice.

Elyse H: And Pam, is that what you were talking about with your ladles of sorts?

Pam W: Right.

Elyse H: If you dip it into a wide mouth jar, sounds like you and Annely are on the same page there.

Annely: And also, they do sell and I haven't bought them in a long time, but at the dollar stores, they look like pamphlets, but they're peel and stick alphabet letters that are, I guess cushy or rubbery, that work well for labeling as well.

Elyse H: Oh, how clever.

Pam W: Yeah, like the puffy stickers that have the thing on the back?

Annely: Yeah.

Pam W: Okay. Great idea. Thank you so much for sharing Annalee.

Annely: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pam W: All right and we have Barb. Barb, I'm going to go ahead and unmute you. Hi Barb.

Barb: Hi. If you're using a barcode scanner, how do you find the barcode?

Pam W: Great question.

Barb: You can't see. You don't know if you're looking at the front of the bag or the back of the bag or the bottom of the bag.

Pam W: Right. Well so with a boxed product, quite often it's on the bottom. So on the top and the bottom, you can tell apart by if it's a cardboard container, it has the flap to open it. And if it's not there, then it would be on the sides. Right now, I'm picturing a box of rice, so that would be with that situation. The spice labels, that is an interesting one. I have to go look at a spice bottle actually to see what identifying marks on there, but I also see that Annely has her hand back up again, so I'm hoping that maybe she has some input there. So I'm going to go ahead and unmute her too. Hi Annely.

Annely: Hey, yes. I have a barcode reader and I was going to say the barcodes are usually on canned goods, they're usually where the two labels come together, or one overlaps the other.

Pam W: Okay. Perfect. That's what I was wondering. Awesome.

Annely: It's usually to the right and it's usually near the bottom of the can. Boxes too.

Barb: What about bags?

Annely: What's that?

Barb: What about bags of frozen vegetables?

Annely: Okay. Usually the bags have a seam that goes from top to bottom, which is considered the back of the bag and it's usually somewhere along the seam or the backside of the bag, that's where I found it.

Barb: Okay.

Annely: And the boxes of course, it's usually on the bottom or somewhere near the bottom.

Pam W: Great input. Thank you so much Annely.

Annely: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Elyse H: I see we have another hand up too.

Pam W: Right.

Elyse H: Ben, would you like to add in? Get our audio together here.

Pam W: Sorry. There we go. All right. Hi.

Ben: How are you doing?

Pam W: Good. How are you?

Ben: Pretty good. I've used Seeing AI to scan spices. I do it all the time, so it does scan spices if you flip through the menu and put it on product and you slowly turn the bottle. As long as you got the bottle facing up and slowly turn it, it will scan, and it will read most barcodes on spices.

Pam W: Okay great. Thank you for confirming that actually.

Ben: No problem.

Pam W: I see Marilyn.

Marilyn: Yeah. This is not about barcoding but once you know what your things are if you've ordered several things, if I have several spaghetti sauces in envelopes or several chili powders in envelopes or gravy mixes in envelopes, separate those and then I put those, rather than try to label each one, I have a plastic bag that I keep store everything of the same kind in and then label the outside of it and that way you know when you're running out something, you got just one spaghetti sauce left so you know to put that on the shopping list. Sometimes there are other kinds of mixes, small envelope kind of things that you can group and that helps you keep a little closer inventory and it also identifies without having to puncture those little envelopes.

Pam W: Yes. Great. Thank you. And I see Brenda has her hand up, so Brenda?

Brenda: What you were talking about the packages, I have plastic bands, they're really wide bands, probably five inches wide, they're almost as wide as the packages themselves, and I would say probably about eight or nine inches long, I braille across the end of one, like I put ranch dressing mix and then I'll fold it up and put the packages down inside it and then put a rubber band around the packages and they hold the band on and then I keep that type of stuff in a tote bin in my pantry.

Pam W: Okay.

Brenda: So store them all very conveniently and neatly.

Pam W: I'm having a little bit of a hard time picturing that.

Elyse H: This is Elyse. I've seen those before although they're a little bit narrower than what you had described. They have a rubber band on each side and then you can braille or do a large print tag on the plastic itself but definitely easy for finding them later, just being able to read them quick to see which one is which.

Brenda: It would almost be like you take an index card and fold it in half, and then put the packages inside that fold and then put a rubber band around the side of it and it holds the index card to the outside of the bag.

Pam W: Got you.

Brenda: I use a plastic band, not a rubber band, two different things.

Pam W: Right. Okay. Great. Thank you. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I can picture it much better now, thanks.

Elyse H: And to piggyback with you, Brenda, the tote bins in the pantry or in the cabinets is a great strategy and I saw a lot of that in the freezer. So some people have an extra freezer just dedicated for frozen foods, veggies, meats, fish. They've made a bunch of food and then you put some up in the freezer for next month or a busy day. So keeping your same items in different bins, like a storage tote, I've seen just regular bins, sometimes office stuff or papers you can change to a freezer and when you're looking and searching for packages or items in a freezer, you can say, "Oh, I know my chicken is in this certain bin and I keep it on the left, the second shelf on the left. Or the fish I'm looking for, that's the second bin on the second shelf," and so on, so using bins or even cardboard boxes or an empty shoe box would fit into a fridge or a freezer putting your like items or all the items for chili are going to be in this container and it can keep those organized.

Pam W: Sounds good. I try to keep all little kinds of boxes like that, that I can organize things in. I've been trying to do that more and more recently. So I think that's a great idea.

Elyse H: Other ideas that people would like to share. We have plenty of time and we always learn from everyone else here on the call. I see Annely, your hand is up.

Annely: When I worked as a rehab teacher and we had a blind coworker and we had parts of meats, we had chicken parts and we had ground beef and pork chops and instead of using braille, we had pieces separated and wrapped in freezer paper and then we'd put all the pork chops in one resealable freezer bag and all the leg quarters in another freezer bag and the breast quarters in another and of course before, the bags went in the freezer, we made labels on the outside with masking tape and I sued a print letter L for leg quarters. And I'd layer the masking tape. I'd put about three or four layers of it and for pork chops, I just had a vertical line, didn't do the P. That's a lot of tape and a lot of work. For ground beef, I used two horizontal parallel line to simulate a hamburger bun and for the breast quarters, I used the letter X to crisscross the tape. People would ask me why did I use an X and I said, "Well, it reminded me of the cross your heart bras."

Pam W: That's great, thanks. That's awesome.

Annely: The tape had to be replaced though, I don't know how many months, six, eight months, it would come off, but it worked, and it was cheap and it was easy to do.

Pam W: Right. Right. Awesome great idea. Okay. Marilyn, you're unmuted.

Marilyn: Hi.

Pam W: Hi.

Marilyn: Thanks. I have used that technique also with putting either freezer tape or masking tape, because it will adhere to the plastic, either the container or the bag better, but then once you've done that, sometimes you can get the plastic braille labels that don't want to stick directly to the product. Sometimes you can get them to adhere to the masking tape or freezer tape and that way you can have it both ways. You can have your configuration in case you lose it, but for simplification, you can look for your braille and see if it's there.

Also, this may have probably been covered, but for any kind of bread, to me it so often gets soggy or waterlogged or something if you don't have it well covered in the freezer and somebody told me this a long time ago. Those heavy grocery bags, the paper, so when I get them, I stick them in the freezer immediately because I know they can draw bugs if you just leave them around the house because they can come with bugs in them. Hate to think about it but it happens. But if you use those and then put your breads and cakes that you want to protect from the moisture that might accumulate in the fridge, if you put them in there and then staples them or tape them up some way to make them smaller and store them that way. Then you can put a label on the sack, the bag.

Pam W: Right.

Marilyn: And that's a good way to make sure that no moisture gets to that stuff.

Elyse H: How clever is that? I've never thought of that before. How true, little moisture could be absorbed in the paper of the bag and then it's in the fridge or freezer.

Marilyn: If you do it with plastic, there's sometimes a leak in the bag.

Elyse H: Oh, that's a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

Pam W: As Marilyn was talking and I see these other hands here who we will get in just a second, real quick. I just had an idea that came into my head. These days at a lot of the craft stores, there are a ton of different designs and colors of duct tape even, and so if seeing color and patterns and that kind of thing is still something that's helpful to you, you could just buy a few did roles of that tape too and label things in that way. They've got ones with stars and stripes on them and all kinds of different flowers and all that kind of different designs on there that if you have enough vision to see those things might be able to help you label some things too. All right, so we have about six minutes here so I'm going to go down the line and unmute Ben. Ben, you're up.

Ben: How are you doing?

Pam W: Hi.

Ben: I know you guys were talking earlier about cutting brownies so when they have children's cooking classes, one of the ways that they teach them to cut things without using knives and anything plastic, they give them dental floss. So they use dental floss to cut the cake or you can cut brownies. So that's another way of cutting stuff.

Pam W: Well, thank you. A few months ago, back in the summer we did a picnic topic, and I talked about using the dental floss for cutting watermelon. And actually when the email came through, SurveyMonkey about the brownies, I was wondering about whether or not dental floss would work but since I hadn't tried it yet, I maybe will do that next time and see, so thank you for confirming that it does work, Ben. We appreciate that.

Ben: You're welcome.

Pam W: All right. Let's see. Barb, you're up.

Barb: Yes. We got that little Elf on the Shelf messing with it.

Pam W: Exactly.

Barb: Organizing in a deep freezer that does not have shelves in it. I do have some containers and I have some cloth totes bag where I separate all my meat. Now what do I do if I want to keep a running tally of what I have in the freezer without having to stand there with the freezer open going through every bag and every container?

Elyse H: Right. So this is Elyse, I'll hop in here. As you purchase things or prepare or have extras to put into the freezer, keep a list on the outside of the freezer. Whether that's on the computer or it's in braille or large print on the outside of the door, whatever system that's going to be usable for you, but if you're starting out with a system, it might be that you have to dig through everything to count or to take an inventory at one time and once you have the inventory, I can keep the running list on the outside and not have to remember what was in what bag. But I like the idea of cloth tote bag to keep things together but then you can mush them and fit more things in there rather than hard container of sorts.

Barb: Yes. I have a white bag that I put my chicken in. I got a black bag to fit my beef in.

Elyse H: Oh, yeah, color code. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barb: I still see a little bit of the color and stuff, but they also feel different, so I can feel okay by the feel of this I know this is the beef or whatever. I was just curious of how people keep a running tally if they have a list somewhere. I even thought about creating it on the computer. I just wanted something quick and easy.

Elyse H: Well, maybe there's some other people that do a different system. That's just one option. Definitely let's hear from other people, see what they do.

Pam W: All right. I'm going to unmute Mary. Hi.

Mary: Hi. I mostly label a lot of my spices and things like that in braille and maybe that would be a simpler way for someone who knows braille, a simpler way to keep a list on your freezer and all that. But if there's someone that doesn't know braille, then I seen these large print labels that are also raised print.

Pam W: Yes. I've seen those too.

Mary: Not sure where you can get them right now. I don't know whether they’re in MaxiAids or Independent Living Aids, but I've seen them around and they seemed to be pretty tactile so that maybe for someone who doesn't know braille.

Pam W: Right. I'll go ahead and look into that and make sure that if I find the information that I add it to the show notes that will be posted.

Elyse H: That sounds good. Yep, I have seen those Mary and you're right, they're very high contract black tape with white lettering and also raised letters, so between a couple different identifiers, it might be helpful for someone to use a large print label. Thanks for sharing.

Pam W: All right, we're down to our last minute here. So I'm going to unmute- thank you, Mary- unmute Annely.

Annely: Alrighty. The lady who was talking about keeping an inventory of what's in the freezer and I was thinking instead of having a list or having to either scratch off or rewrite or whatever, it may be a little work in the beginning, but maybe having an envelope for each meat, whether it's chicken legs or breasts or pork chops or whatever and having labels with those names on them and putting those into the envelopes of stuff that's in the freezer and then as you use something take that label out and put it in another envelope as your grocery list and that ways you can check right off the bat. And I don't know if taping those envelopes to the outside of the freezer, the ones to let you know what's in the freezer. That's something I think I would use.

Barb: I'm going to jump in real quick. This is Barb again, I was asking about that. Something that just crossed my mind is you know the white boards that they use for marking stuff on, they have magnetic tabs that you can use on those. So I'm thinking maybe getting one of those magnetic white boards out and using magnets. That might be a good way to do it.

Annely: Yeah. You can use magnetic letters. You'd have to use several sets because I think there's only one letter of each in a set.

Barb: You can use magnetic strips. It doesn't have to be a letter. If you take the different shapes, they have different sizes of magnetic strips, and you just cut them down or whatever and you can have, okay I got three of them up here, if I use one and take it out and put it down at the bottom of the board that way [inaudible] it just hit me and I went, "Oh, yeah."

Annely: Another thing I would-

Barb: Attach them to the board.

Elyse H: Oh even better right. You don't have to go out and get something or make up a whole list. That would be neat to try to see if you like it. [crosstalk] I heard two people.

Pam W: Area code 850. I think you're trying to say something.

Heidi: If you have a smart phone, there's this really great app called Out of Milk, you can create your grocery list and then you can move it to pantry and it will automatically keep track of how many you have and when you use it, you just have to take it out of that pantry list and you can use it for spices and dates and all sorts of goods. Because spices go out of date, you can tell how much I cook. Mine go out of date.

Elyse H: What's the name of that app?

Heidi: It's Out of Milk.

Elyse H: Out of Milk, okay.

Heidi: And it's wonderful. I use it all the time and I usually have my smart around, so it's just really helpful.

Pam W: Yeah. I'll add that to the show notes also then too. Sorry, go ahead.

Annely: I was going to say it's accessible with VoiceOver?

Heidi: I use Talk Back, and it seems to work pretty good. I don't know about VoiceOver. Is that the iPhone version?

Annalee: Right.

Heidi: Sorry. I'm bad for that. I'm an Android user.

Annely: That's okay. This is Annely. I was also going to say that your plastic containers such as sour cream or yogurt, the bigger containers or the ones that the tiny soup come in, you can cut the lids, you cut the rim off and you have a flat piece and those can be used to stick braille labels on or whatever other labels put on them. I've never brailed on them, so I don't know if they would braille easily, it might take a little bit of work.

Pam W: Right. Well, Elyse, we are at 5:34 now. So I know we have a couple of hands raised.

Elyse H: Yes. Just a quick thing, who was talking, their phone number starts 850. What's your name please?

Heidi: Heidi. Sorry. I got in late.

Elyse H: Oh that's okay. I missed you. Thank you so much for sharing about that app. We'll be sure to look into that and like Pam said, we are running short on time. Everybody's got great ideas and great organization ideas too for baking.

Pam W: Well for those of you who still have your hands raised, if you could try to remember what you have to say, and share it with us at the beginning of next week, we can review what we talked about really quickly or next month I should say. So, with that, I personally would like wish everybody a very happy holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate. Happy New Year to everybody and we'll see you in 2020.