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Monday, November 24 , 2014

Wicked Easy Turkey Croquette

Today we pay homage to the lowly croquette, which is a clever food concoction that makes good use of all that big-bird meat (or ham or chicken) you might have left over. It was a supper favorite when we were children but has in recent years fallen out of favor since “croquette” often is associated with “deep fried.” Well, that is not necessarily the case! Here's an economical way to deliciously rework your turkey leftovers...

Mince leftover turkey (or ham or chicken) very finely to make two cups, add one tablespoon of white sauce* and a beaten egg, and shape into tightly packed small logs (about two to three inches long). If the logs seem dry, add a little more white sauce. Refrigerate for an hour. Remove the croquettes from the fridge, roll them in fine breadcrumbs, heat up three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan and lightly fry your croquette logs until golden brown. Serve immediately.

And here's good news: If you don't finish these croquettes, they'll freeze perfectly for up to six months. Talk about going the distance!

Thanks to Baking Soda, Banana Peels, Baby Oil…and Beyond (Reader’s Digest and Bottom Line Books) for help with this tip. To purchase Baking Soda, Banana Peels, Baby Oil…and Beyond, call Bottom Line Books customer service at 800-678-5835.

*Easy white sauce recipe: Melt in a saucepan two tablespoons of butter or margarine, two tablespoons of flour, one-quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook the flour in the butter over medium heat for three minutes. Using a wire whisk to prevent lumps, stir in one cup of milk or milk and stock combined. Keep whisking, turning up heat if necessary to a slight bubble. Stir until thick. Makes about one cup. (Recipe adapted from More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, Herald Press, 1982.)

More help with leftovers…


Monday, November 24 , 2014

#1 Chicken Soup for a Cold

You hear it every time you get a cold—eat some chicken soup! That's great advice, but not all varieties are created equal. Here’s an easy chicken soup recipe that really heals.

Irwin Ziment, MD, professor emeritus of clinical medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, is an authority on respiratory conditions. Here’s his healing chicken soup recipe for colds, coughs and chest congestion. It tastes great...but take care! This is strong stuff. Be sure to follow the dosage at the end of the recipe.

Dr. Ziment’s Chicken Soup

1 quart homemade chicken broth,

or 2 cans low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

1 garlic head—about 15 cloves, peeled

5 parsley sprigs, minced

6 cilantro sprigs, minced

1 tsp lemon pepper

1 tsp dried basil, crushed, or

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 tsp curry powder

Optional: Hot red pepper flakes to taste, sliced carrots, a bay leaf or two

Place all ingredients in a pot without a lid. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. (If the soup is for your own personal use, carefully inhale the fumes during preparation as an additional decongesting treatment.) Remove the solid garlic cloves and herbs and, along with a little broth, purée them in a blender or food processor. Return the purée to the broth and stir. Serve hot.

Caution: Since this soup contains large amounts of garlic (which can irritate the digestive tract), you shouldn't eat a substantial portion at one time. Please follow the dosage instructions.

Dose: Take two tablespoons of Dr. Ziment's Chicken Soup at the beginning of a meal, one to three times a day. (If you feel you want a little more than two tablespoons, fine, but do not exceed more than one-half cup at a time.)

The respected Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, states, “Researchers say that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.”

We have both felt the assault of cold symptoms and have “taken” this soup in the evening (the one-half cup portion). The following day, we were symptom-free.

More natural healers...


Thursday, November 20 , 2014

Instant Cough Fix

We all have a cough center in our brain. It's generally motivated by an irritation in the respiratory tract. In other words, a cough is nature's way of helping us loosen and get rid of mucus and other irritants that shouldn't be in our system. But sometimes you need a break! Here's a quick cough stopper...

Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief. Black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow…salt and lemon are natural germ fighters. This works best for coughs due to colds, not dry coughs from smoking or irritants.

Note: If your cough lasts longer than a few days, or if it is accompanied by fever or shortness of breath, have it checked by a health professional. It could be serious.

Thanks to Kitchen Cabinet Cures by Sara Altshul with Dr. Pamela Hops (Reader’s Digest and Bottom Line Books) for help with this tip. (To purchase Kitchen Cabinet Cures, call Bottom Line Books customer service at 800-678-5835.)

More natural help for colds and flu...


Wednesday, November 19 , 2014

Tap Away Stress

Acupressure is great—it's free and completely portable! Aside from helping to heal pain, it's a good way to help you refocus and de-stress. Here's what to do if you need to relax...

Soothe your tension by stimulating the acupressure point called Yingtan, which is one-quarter inch above the midpoint of your eyebrows. Once you've located it, use your middle finger to tap on it lightly for 10 seconds. Breathe deeply, and think happy thoughts. Hey, just by stopping you'll feel better. (And all kidding aside—it works!)

More natural stress relief...


Tuesday, November 18 , 2014

Suede Scuff Fix

Suede shoes and boots are soft and cozy, but they can get scuffed pretty easily, even the waterproof kind. If you have a minor scuff or a patch of grass stains on your suede (or soft leather) boots, here's what to do...

Dip a clean, dry cloth or soft sponge in glycerin, and gently rub it onto the shoe or boot until the scuffs or grass stains disappear. It will leave a dark patch. After rubbing with glycerin, scrunch up a coffee filter to buff the scuffed area, then let your suede item sit for an hour or so to dry completely. If you have a hard time finding liquid glycerin at your local pharmacy, you can use glycerin suppositories. Just cut one in half, and rub on the scuff. If your suede is not waterproof, be sure to test a tiny, inconspicuous spot first (such as a hidden part of the tongue or under a belt buckle). If the glycerin leaves a water ring after sitting for an hour, do not use. We've never had that happen. It usually works like a charm, especially on dark suede.

More shoe and boot care...


Monday, November 17 , 2014

Sticky-Floor Solutions

Did you just discover a spot of sticky gunk on your vinyl or linoleum floor? It could be accumulated food grease or dirt, wax buildup (if you still wax your floor) or an old label that was never removed. Don't pull out the sharp scrapers yet! Here are three floor-preserving ways to get rid of the gunk...

If it's a greasy-sticky patch from a food or oil spill, pour cola on the stain and let it stay there for one hour. Then wipe it off— both the soda and the stain. (Legend has it that Coca-Cola works best due to its acidic content, so you might want to try the “real thing” first.) Don't let it sit for more than an hour because soda can stain some vinyl floors if it dries. (If you’re not sure if your floor has a protective coating, you might want to test some cola on a patch of unseen vinyl before using it to clean the grease.)

If you think the sticky spot is from a sticker, use our favorite pantry floor cleaner— white vinegar. Just pour straight vinegar directly on the spot, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Wipe away with hot water and a damp cloth. The stickiness will wipe away with the greatest of ease! (You can also use vinegar on sticky food spills, but we think the cola works best when grease is involved.)

If your vinyl or linoleum floor is sticky from wax buildup, take club soda and pour it on a small section of the floor. Scrub it in with a brush, and give it a few minutes as you start the process on the next small section, then go back to the first section and wipe it off.

More cleaning tricks...


Friday, November 14 , 2014

Cloudy Glassware

If you use a dishwasher, place a dishwasher-safe bowl on the bottom rack of your empty dishwasher and fill it with a cup of white vinegar. Place the cloudy glasses on the top rack, and run a full cycle without detergent. This will clean both your dishwasher and your cloudy glasses! We've also found that using gel dishwasher detergent can leave a film on glasses. Try using powdered detergent only, and use a little less than the recommended amount.

Thursday, November 13 , 2014

Emergency Laundry Detergent Substitute

You thought you had enough laundry soap to get you to the end of the week, but you made a gross miscalculation. Here's what to do...

In an emergency, when you must do a wash and you don't have any laundry detergent (or baking soda), use shampoo...that is, if you have shampoo. About one-third cup will do a full load.

In case you were wondering, dishwashing liquid is not a good substitute for laundry detergent. Washing machines and dishwashing soaps both vary in strength...just a small squirt could create enough suds to float the Titanic! (OK, that was an exaggeration.)

More help with your laundry...


Wednesday, November 12 , 2014

Make Your Own Ben-Gay

Do your joints ache from arthritis or overuse? Does the rainy weather remind you of an old injury? If you prefer to soothe your pain naturally, here's a remedy for you...

Combine one-half teaspoon of eucalyptus oil (available at health-food stores or online) with one tablespoon of pure olive oil, and massage the mixture onto your painful areas. You should feel an immediate warmth from the eucalyptus that will help to relieve your pain.

Note: Eucalyptus is strong and can cause local redness and temporary burning to sensitive skin. Always blend the pure oil with a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and discontinue use if you notice an allergic reaction.

More natural pain healers...


Tuesday, November 11 , 2014

No Ice Scraper? Use This

Darn, this year's first frost came out of the blue and you can’'t find your ice scraper. Here's what to do...

If ol' Jack Frost visited your car windshield last night and you don't have a proper ice scraper, use a plastic dustpan—it will do the scraping job without scratching the windshield.

What? You don't have a dustpan? What are we going to do with you? Go grab that half can of cola (it's OK if it's flat) on your kitchen counter, and pour it onto a clean cloth and rub off the icy buildup. The cola should not refreeze (unless you live in the Antarctic and it's 40 below).

Caution: If the cola splashes on other parts of your car, wipe it off quickly. It might eat through the finish. Kind of makes you think twice before drinking it, huh?