Mom Stuff


Top 8 Cleaning Tips from the Pros

Nobody likes to clean.  It is laborious, time consuming and for the most part dirty.  So why do we do it?  Well, whether in business or in daily life, those working in serving or caring roles; be they parent, food service workers or healthcare staff, have a huge responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of those within their care.

Food poisoning alone is reported at 5.4 million cases on average each year, in Australia alone.  This means that finding fast and efficient ways to maintain high levels of hygiene throughout the home and workplace, is crucial.

Whilst those figures are daunting, professional cleaners have passed on a few nuggets of wisdom which can shortcut cleaning time and ensure your guests, visitors or customers stay safe and healthy.

Since food preparation is one of the most common sources of food contamination such as e-coli and salmonella, let’s begin there.

Tip 1 – Making a meal of it

You may want to put down your lunch before reading this, but studies have found that the humble chopping board, the platform from which the majority of food is prepared, can be up to 200 times dirtier than a toilet seat.  This means any discussion about food hygiene should begin here – absolute ground zero.

In a busy kitchen where speed can overtake care, cleaning rituals can be lax and the results tragic, caused by a proliferation of pathogens including:

  • Salmonella
  • E-coli
  • Campylobacter

Until recently it was accepted that plastic chopping boards were more hygienic than wooden ones.  Recent research however, has now discovered that bacteria can survive far longer on plastic surfaces than wooden, making wood the far superior choice for chopping boards.

Cleaning wooden boards should be done separately to crockery and other utensils due to the risk of cross contamination.   Inspect chopping boards regularly and if there are deep scores or grooves where bacteria can grow or signs of mould staining, replace them immediately.

Tip 2 – Surface sanitation

It goes without saying that hard surfaces and countertops need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use.  Using products not specifically designed for purpose including bleach and window cleaner, can eventually cause fading or damage to porous or synthetic surfaces.

Natural stone

Wipe down with warm soapy water and a clean cloth followed by a paper towel to dry and prevent streaking.  Sanitise with a mixture of equal parts distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.  Thoroughly spray the entire surface, leave for three minutes then wipe off.  Alternatively, use a commercial sanitising solution.

Stainless steel

Commercial steel benchtops where food is prepared should undergo thorough cleaning after each use.

  • Remove all dirt and food particles from the surface
  • Rinse with potable warm water using a sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Wash with hot water (60C) and a commercial detergent
  • To sanitise, apply clean water heated to 75C for at least two minutes
  • Apply a commercial sanitising solution as indicated on the label
  • Allow to air dry.


Follow the same process as for stone benchtops, avoiding the use of abrasive cleaners. Where staining has occurred, use baking soda and water formed into a thick paste and apply it to the affected area and cover with a damp paper towel.  Leave for two hours and then gently wipe off.

Tip 3 – Bake off

The bane of every cleaner are ovens and stove tops due the combination of intricate parts and stubborn grease, grime and carbon build-up.  Naturally, these are not the place for toxic chemical use.

An ounce of prevention as they say, is worth a pound of cure.  Regular cleaning will prevent the worst of the gunk.  Using proper sized dishes, lids and roasting bags plus foil trays at the base of the oven and cooktop, will cut down on mess.

Tips for keeping your oven spotless:

  • Remove racks and trays and place in dishwasher
  • Wipe down and remove debris from oven and cooktop
  • Avoiding the heating elements, apply a paste of baking soda and water to built-up carbon and stains
  • Leave overnight
  • Use a plastic spatula to lift and remove built-up crud
  • In a spray bottle, mix white vinegar and water and spray thoroughly, concentrating on stubborn residue
  • Rinse then wipe down with a dry cloth.

Tip 4 – Glass

Whether showers, restaurant windows or splashbacks, maintaining crystal clear glass can be challenging.  Cloudy, streaked glass can be both unsanitary and very off-putting, particularly in food display cases.

Glass requires a three-pronged attack – to clean, sanitise and avoid build-up of mould and bacteria. The following instructions work for soap scum and other hard to shift film on glass:

  • Place 1/2 cup of baking soda into a plastic container adding enough white vinegar to form a paste
  • Wipe this paste over glass when fizzing has stopped
  • Wait 15 minutes
  • Clean off
  • Sanitise with a commercial grade, non-toxic product made for glass
  • Dry with a paper towel.

Tip 5 – Refrigerators and Freezers

Whilst refrigeration equipment usually doesn’t suffer the same built-up grime as cooking surfaces, they still need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.  Some tips for cleaning and maintenance are:

  • Look for appliances which have removable seals, making cleaning more streamlined
  • Empty fridge completely and unplug from wall
  • Use a commercial grade sanitiser that is safe for use around food
  • Don’t forget to clean the condenser tray, condenser filter and drainage hole!
  • Dry thoroughly to avoid bacteria and mould growth.

Tip 6 – Stainless steel cookware

No matter how hard we may try to keep it from happening, pots and pans which are in regular use will lose their pristine appearance eventually.

To bring them back from the brink, place water and a cup of vinegar into the pan and bring it to the boil.  Remove it from the heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda (expect fizz!) Clean the pan as normal.

For stubborn stains mix up a paste using the baking soda and a few drops of water and apply this, leaving it a few minutes to work its magic before cleaning off.

Tip 7 – Grease and gunk

As with ovens and cooktops, a paste comprising water and baking soda or white vinegar is a safe and effective solution for stubborn grease and food residue.

Alternatively, look for a non-toxic commercial grade cleaner, designed for kitchen use.

Tip 8 – Implement a schedule

By employing a cleaning checklist you can ensure that hygienic practices are being followed at all times.  A sample schedule could entail:


  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Sanitise food preparation surfaces
  • Change disposable foil on cooktops and in ovens
  • Clean cooking equipment, fryers and small appliances
  • Clean heads on beverage dispensers and similar
  • Clean sinks
  • Launder towels, cloths and aprons
  • Wash flatware, crockery and glassware and air dry
  • Remove trash and waste to external bins
  • Sweep, mop and disinfect floors


  • De-lime sinks and taps
  • Thoroughly clean ovens inside and out
  • Treat floor drains with commercial drain cleaner
  • Clean and sanitise refrigerators and freezers
  • Clean anti-fatigue mats


  • Clean out grease traps
  • Wash and rinse out range hood and other vents
  • If applicable, clean coffee and ice machines as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wash down ceilings and walls to prevent build-up of grease.

Implementing a formal cleaning schedule, whether in the home or a commercial environment, takes the guesswork out of hygiene.  It provides a transparent window into the health of a kitchen – a vital component to ensuring the continued wellbeing of everyone in your care.

Top 5 Instant Pot Recipes To Survive The Winter

Is it just me or is this winter the coldest it’s ever been? And, is your kitchen as cold as ours, despite the warm oven and the central heating and that delightful cup of cocoa? Well, you are in the same freezing ball of snow, then it means that you cannot withstand standing in the kitchen cooking for hours, can you?

While a packet of pastries and more cocoa sounds delightful, that isn’t the healthiest option, especially if you are an athlete or a CRA garnishment professional watching your waist. But, worry not! We don’t wish for you to sleep on an entry stomach, snack on unhealthy foods or starve to death. With the rest of the freezing families and singles out there, we have come up with simple, fast and, hearty instant pot recipes.  In a few warm minutes, you will be back on the warm couch with a bowl of the healthiest food to fill you up and keep you warm.

The five best instant pot recipes include:

1. Easy Chili

This is one of the easy-to-prepare recipes as you can prepare it within 45 minutes. The chili’s preparation time is 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes on the pressure cooker, and it will be ready in 35 minutes.

If you are craving a hearty meal to warm you up this winter, you should get ready to prepare chili. This is a simple beef and beans chili recipe. Besides guaranteeing to warm you up an hour after you set foot in the kitchen, this easy chili loaded with layers, upon layers of umami, spicy flavors and textures will leave you satisfied.

The recipe for your chili is available here:

2. Easy Mac and Cheese

You can never go wrong with mac and cheese, and the best part is that you need an instant pot to prepare this meal that guarantees warmth and fullness. The reason why this mac and cheese meal will take less time compared to other meals is that you get to cook it under a high pressure.

Like baked mac and cheese, your kids and the entire household will fall in love with this instant pot mac and cheese. The result of using a high-pressure cooker making mac and cheese is that it results in the creamiest, cheesiest, and the most delicious simple meal perfect for busy and cold weeknights or weekends. The best part is that you can have this mac and cheese as a side dish or as the main course!

The best part about preparing this meal is that instead of waiting for water to oil for you to add macaroni, the making sauce in a separate pan, you throw everything in the pot. Once you pressure cook the macaroni with butter, salt, and water, plus some dry mustard, you will have perfectly cooked macaroni. You don’t have to keep an eye on this and once cooked; you just need to add your milk and cheese.

Check out the entire recipe here:

3. Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Have you missed hearty and flavorful teriyaki chicken but you don’t want to spend your entire afternoon preparing this meal, how about a simple instant pot recipe that requires a minimum of five minutes for preparation?

The instant pot honey teriyaki chicken is full of flavors and extremely easy to make. This chicken will leave you wondering why you even eat out when you can prepare this delightful meal in few minutes and have it ready as you watch your favorite TV show.

The directions are so simple; just make the sauce, saute, add the sauce,  pressure cook, and then serve. You can have the full recipe here:

You will also love this recipe because you will realize that all the ingredients needed are most probably in your kitchen, and the whole family will love this meal whether you prepare it during weeknights or over the weekend.

Given the time it takes to prepare this chicken, it is the go-to recipe for every busy person.

4. Country Steak

Who said you need hours to prepare and serve up steak? As you think of the best ways for staying warm and healthy this winter, you better have this recipe. It is one of the simplest, fastest, and the easiest steak recipes for flavorful, tender, and filling steak.

You will also like it because it is one of those efficient freezer-to-pressure cooker recipes. It has a short preparation time, and in four steps, your steak is ready. The steps are: prepare your steak, saute, pressure cook, and release.

Beware that the cooking time will change depending on the size of the steak. Here is your full recipe:

5. Portuguese Chicken and Rice

Did you ever think that you could prepare, cook, and serve chicken and rice in less than one hour? Well, you can, once you get an instant pot.  Also, you don’t have to be Portuguese.

In under an hour, you will serve up and enjoy delicious spoonfuls of tender chicken with veggies soaked in the aromatic and colorful coconut turmeric sauce, and paired with perfectly cooked fried rice. Then, top all that with creamy melted cheese! Appetizing, isn’t it?

Well, this meal is eleven (or less) simple steps away. Just make sure to serve and start digging immediately to enjoy the flavors!

Here are the directions:


If you are still wondering about what you will do to keep warm, healthy, and how you will make this winter a little more interesting, get started with these five recipes. Keep in mind that there are many more recipes from where these came from – we hope your kitchen is stocked up!

4 Fantastic Ways to Remove Stretch Marks

There is nothing quite miraculous as giving birth to a healthy baby; the experience can be all too surreal. Nothing can equal what it is to be a mother. Unfortunately, giving birth, despite the joyous newcomer into your life, has a somewhat negative side effect to it.

The toil of having a human inside of you takes a great deal of stress on your body and because of this after you have given birth the body, specifically the stomach, is left with unsightly stretch marks.

These stretch marks can do a great deal of psychological and emotional damage to new and young mother.

Fortunately, we have created a small list of remedies that will help in removing those nasty stretch marks. Say goodbye to those unsightly marks and say hello to your original beautiful tummy.

Home Remedies

There are a plethora of home remedies that newfound mothers can use to remove their stretch marks. Some of the most well-known treatments that mothers can use to lighten their stretch marks are:


Olive Oil – Olive oil is an extremely beneficial and highly potent agent in helping to improve the blood circulation and as a result gives the skin a much more youthful, flushed and healthy look.

Castor Oil – Thank heaven you don’t have to swallow it, right? Castor oil is also another beneficial oil; which when rubbed on the stretch marks or massaged, helps to slowly – but surely – remove the stretch mark lines.


Awe, the many benefits of honey are too numerous for this blog. But to keep it short and straightforward – honey is an extremely beneficial remedy and this is all thanks to the high antiseptic properties found in honey.


Did you know that Cleopatra – to keep her beauty and her youthful appearance – would bathe in Milk? Milk is an excellent agent in for the beginning of the skin regeneration process. No wonder she was considered to be one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Cocoa Butter/Shea Butter:

Lastly, and perhaps my most favorite, is cocoa butter. Not only do you smell good enough to eat but cocoa butter is a great moisturizer that helps to nourish your skin.

Say goodbye to your stretch marks

Now, the samples listed above are just a small amount of home remedies that you can use to help remove your stretch marks. There are many more remedies and hospital treatments that you can use to get rid of your stretch marks.

Embrace being the beautiful women and mother you are

It is indeed a joyous experience to give birth. Say goodbye to your stretch marks and enjoy the experience of being a mother who is both happy with her newfound baby and happy that she has gotten her old image and figure back. Be positive about your body and don’t feel you have to cover up!

Forget Just Shopping: Do Meta Shopping!

Meta shopping is something relatively new on the internet panorama but it is absolutely taking the world as we know it by storm. This is something so subtle but yet so powerful in so many ways, it would be crazy not to use meta shopping engines for many of your shopping needs.

Why Meta Shop?

Meta shopping has radically transformed the shopping experience, especially in the few areas where people felt they still needed to go to malls for, like shopping for clothing. Meta-shopping for clothes is truly a game changer. This new level of effectiveness in shopping for things online may truly spell the death knell for malls around the world.

Found exactly what you want, but not in the color and size you want? Meta shopping can take care of that for you. It can even store your measurements, and connect you with a tailor who can make what you want or need, but tailored to you, with all the data passing automatically.

Ok, But What Exactly Is It?

For those of you who are not one hundred percent familiar with the term, meta shopping is to shopping what meta search engines were to the traditional search engines back in the day.

Those of us who remember the early days of the web in the 90s remember there being several popular search engines, and then Meta Crawler came out and changed the game by being a META search engine that searched all the other search engines at once. Most of what was once the old search engines ended up being assmiliated by Google, but there are modern meta search engines that are more powerful than ever.

Meta shopping works the same way; sites such as LystAmazon Fashion and The Iconic all link to multiple retailers and allows for a common interface to shop all of them. ‘  and add in the additional links to Amazon and The Iconic.  Often a common shopping cart is even included. And the best part is that the whole process is run by smart algorithms that can be educated about your tastes, preferences, styles and needs. The algorithm even learns from you naturally as time goes on and helps you to make more intelligent shopping decisions.

Where is Meta-Shopping Most Effective?

We have found over time meta shopping is the most effective in areas where the choices are so many they can become bewildering. This is especially true for areas like clothes as mentioned above, but also for things like car parts and electronics, where you have many similar options, and a meta shopping engine can help you sort through all of them more quickly and better.