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Monday Q&A | Bread Bags, Vacuums, Dough Hooks, and Skin Care

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

I had a question on how you store your bread. I have been making more bread in an attempt to transition to 100% homemade bread, I am inspired by you! But I was wondering how you store your bread when you bake 2-3 loaves at a time. Do you freeze one or two, if you do, what type of bag or container do you freeze it in?

Kristen B.

Yep, that’s exactly what I do…I bake three loaves at a time and freeze two.

Since most plastic storage bags aren’t long enough for bread loaves, I typically reuse commercial bread bags for freezing. I just shake them out after I use them and stuff them in a drawer to be used again. They can last a long time that way. I also sometimes use old cereal bags…I just squeeeze the air out, roll the end up tight, and secure it with a chip clip or clothespin.

Cereal bags probably wouldn’t be great for long term storage since it’s harder to get all the air out of them, but my loaves of bread are usually only in the freezer for a few days, so it works fine for me.

I was wondering if you could share some experience of vacuum cleaners with me, I have had a cheap bagged one that my neighbor gave me when they emigrated for around 9 years and its started to smell and lose suction quite a lot.

Seeing as though you have children and such I was wondering what your vacuum of choice is?

– L.H.

I wish I had something really helpful to say, but I don’t. I currently have a Kenmore vacuum, but I’ve owned probably at least 4 vacuums before this one (including a bagless type). I’ve had a hard time finding one that lasts for a long time, and that frustrates me.

I have had some success at making my vacuums live longer by cleaning the belt and filters, and by clearing clogs from the hoses (one time I found a glue stick in there, and boy, my vacuum worked a lot better after I pulled that out!) But I wouldn’t say I’ve found a vacuum I would heartily recommend.

I was blessed to receive a KitchenAid mixer from my husband for Christmas (second hand – even better!), and have begun baking bread regularly. Early success, followed by a few failures, but I’m back on track. You seem to use your mixer to mix the dough, but then knead by hand. I’ve been using the dough hook to do the kneading for me – am I missing out on something great by not kneading by hand?


I do this mostly because my mom did it that way. 😉 She tried the dough hook a few times, decided she ended up adding too much flour that way, and switched to finishing up the kneading by hand.

So honestly, I’ve never really even tried using the dough hook! I’m so used to kneading this way (my mom taught me when I was in my early teens), I’m kind of stuck in my ways now.

I’d say if the dough hook is working well for you, then by all means stick with that method. Just be sure not to add too much flour (that’s the most common error new bakers make.)

I have noticed your pictures of you and your skin looks so good and I was wondering if you use sunscreen. If so what kind? I was told to use sunscreen but they all break my face out.


Oh, my skin is definitely not perfect…I’ve got moles, zits, and scars. 🙂

And I’m starting to get some wrinkles too. Fortunately, I do have somewhat oily skin, so hopefully the wrinkles won’t take over too soon. 😉

The makeup I use has a built-in sunscreen, I believe. Maybe you could find a hypo-allergenic, unscented sort?

Hopefully my readers will have some good advice for you. My skin doesn’t seem to be terribly sensitive, so I don’t really have the voice of experience that you need.


Ok, people. Share your vacuum-cleaner and sunscreen advice!



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Thursday 2nd of February 2012

I have a Dyson. I bought it on sale at Kohls for $100 off. Still, I don't think I'd buy it again. I don't think it's as easy to move around as a canister vacuum. My next one will be a Kenmore canister.

I also have sensitive skin. I use Aveeno moisturizer with spf but I my favorite is by GiGi. It's an organic line I found at Sally Beauty. It's very moisturizing and has an spf of 15. It always soothes my skin, even more so than the Aveeno. It's great for winter. I'll probably look to see if GiGi has something with a little more spf for the summer.

Another idea- check out Marshalls. They often have higher end brand name skin care products for a fraction of the price. I bought some awesome stuff there for a song.


Tuesday 31st of January 2012

I love the old Hoovers. When I got married almost 7 years ago I was given my great aunts Hoover Dial-a Matic, producted between 1963 and 1968 (it's a hideous green color and has a "shag" setting). It works very well and I love that it has metal parts instead of plastic parts that so many new vacuums have. I have no plans to replace it.


Tuesday 31st of January 2012

I absolutely recommend a Dyson. We have always bought ours as they've come out with the next model because previous models usually are discounted due to new model roll out. We have a golden retriever, cats, I have long hair and we are a busy family who is in and out a lot. And we live in the desert so there is LOTS of dirt.

On sunscreen... I will agree with the posters the recommend the Aveeno, Neutragena and Eucerin prodcuts. I have sensitive skin and I'm a very pale redhead living in the desert. And my family has a serious history of melanoma so I am serious about my sunscreen. On your face SPF 30 is good. The problem with super high SPF is that people feel more protected than they actually are with them. Also, don't forget your neck, ears, and hands. Look for something with a physical block in it (titanium oxide, zinc oxide). Eucerin Sensitive Skin Everyday Skin Protection SPF 30 is very good. You have to rub it in a bit more but it's very effective. Eucerin also makes a body lotion with SPF in it that I highly recommend also. Make up usually does not contain enough skin SPF nor do you most people use enough for it to be the only skin protection they use (per my dermatologist). And please wear a hat and sunglasses! (My brother is a melanoma survivor. He was 24 when they found it at stage 3. His oncologist called him a walking miracle. Please don't think this is something that happens only after a lifetime of sun exposure!)

Shelagh (aka S.S.)

Tuesday 31st of January 2012

Thank you Kristen, Heidi and everyone else for your stellar advice - I find this blog so inspiring!

Used the dough hook again but watched my flour input and took it out when it looked much stickier than normal (whatever 'normal' is for someone who's just started making bread) and it turned out perfectly!


Tuesday 31st of January 2012

I have an Oreck vacuum - works really well and I'm pretty abusive(german shepherd, lab, and I'm a quilter so have thread,etc everywhere) I think it was a bit pricey for being a plain jane vacuum but it does the job for me. no idea for sunscreen and haven't tried baking bread yet but I'm psyching msyelf up LOL!

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