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Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Don't Grate Your Fingers

Food processors don't produce the even shred that we like for salads or toppings or whatever. Sometimes you just have to grate by hand, which can be a tricky endeavor when you get down to the stubs...no one wants to waste so much or have grated fingertips in their food! Here's a super solution: Go to a sewing-supplies store, and get thimbles that fit the fingers that are in jeopardy each time you use your grater...usually your thumb, index and middle fingers. With the thimbles in place, you'll be able to grate faster and more completely—no more leftover stubs of potato, carrot or cheese!

Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Our Favorite Beef Marinade

Marinades aren't just for great flavor. They can also make your meat more healthful, if you use the right ingredients. This is what to do…

A marinade made from white vinegar will destroy bacteria as it tenderizes meat. Use one-half cup vinegar on a two- to three-pound roast (double up on larger roasts). You can use red wine vinegar or balsamic for extra flavor if you'd like. Add one-quarter cup of chopped fresh rosemary to protect against cancer. According to recent research, marinating or seasoning meat with rosemary produces two natural antioxidants, camosol and rosemarinic acid, that destroy heterocyclic amines—cancer-causing carcinogens that occur when you roast, grill or broil meat. Studies found that animals given rosemary extract after being exposed to a carcinogen had less DNA damage and fewer tumors (read this).

Let your roast beast marinate overnight, and then prepare the meat per your recipe after draining, but without rinsing.

More healthy food ideas…


Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Don’t Freeze Your Cat’s Ears Off

You probably know it's not a good idea to let your cat outside when it's below freezing, but do you know the specific reason? Here's why…

Cats should not go outside in subfreezing weather because their ears have very little protective fur, and frostbite can set in very easily. So ignore their cries to leave the house when it's super cold outside.

More natural pet care…


Friday, December 19 , 2014

Stinky Tea for Cold Relief (It’s Not Garlic!)

You probably know that garlic can ward off a winter bug. But did you know that the onion is also a powerful natural remedy to relieve colds? Here are two ways to cut your cold time with this popular bulb.

Cut an onion in half, and place one half on each side of your bed so you can inhale the scent while you sleep. This should help clear your nasal passages.

Drop a slice of raw onion in a glass of just-boiled water. After a few seconds, remove the onion and, when the water cools (enough to drink without burning yourself), start sipping it. Continue to do so throughout the day. You should feel your symptoms start to abate in less than a day.

More natural cures…


Friday, December 19 , 2014

Keep Your Car Doors from Freezing Shut

If you aren't blessed with a garage, like some lucky so-and-sos, and wet, cold weather is in the forecast, you need a way to get into your car in the morning (or late in the evening!) without denting the driver's-side door with an ice pick. Here's what to do…

Before the Ice Bowl sets in, coat the rubber gaskets around the doors with vegetable oil or a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent them from freezing shut.

You can also use a bit of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent your trunk from freezing solid.

And here's what to to do for frozen car locks.

Ways to keep your car forever…


Thursday, December 18 , 2014

How to Clean Up Cat Barf

Homemade cat-vomit removal…easier than you think.

Meet Patches. She’s like a member of the family, but sometimes, she finds herself in the doghouse! Why? Barf cleanup! If you licked the hair off yourself all day, I guess you'd barf, too! The most common form of cat throw-up is the hairball and the easiest way to clean that off your furniture or carpet is to just let it dry and then simply lift or scrape it away. Don't use liquid cleaners on a hairball barf— those will smear the hairball goo into your carpet. If the barf is not a ball- or log-shaped clump of hair, but an icky liquid or food-based slime, here's what to do: Carefully blot up the excess throw-up with a rag or paper towel, taking care to rub as little as possible into your rug. Then mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one-half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. This will make a thin, spreadable paste. Spread this paste over the barf spot, covering it completely (double the mixture if needed). If the barf is on a delicate or patterned material such as an Oriental rug, test the paste on an inconspicuous area, since hydrogen peroxide can yellow some materials. Let it sit until its dry (two hours to overnight), then vacuum it. The barf goo should come up with the dried baking soda paste.


Thursday, December 18 , 2014

A Tart Hangover Solution

Hurrah! It's a brand new year, and you feel like something the cat dragged in. Do you need a quick, cheap fix for a hangover? Here's what to do…

Take one-quarter of a lemon, and rub the juicy side on each armpit. You might need to repeat a few times before you feel less queasy. Revolting as this seems, we've been told that it does indeed ease the symptoms of a hangover.

Note: This might sting if you’ve recently shaved under your arms.

We recommended this remedy in one of our books. When we handed in the manuscript, the publisher gave the pages to an MD. The doctor reviewed all the remedies to make sure they were safe. In the margins of each chapter, he wrote comments like “this is outrageous” and “they must be joking.” Obviously, the doctor wasn't into folk remedies. That is, until he came to “lemon on the armpit for hangovers.” In the margin, next to this remedy he wrote, “It's the greatest! It helped get me through medical school.” This was our very first doctor-endorsed folk remedy.

More help for the New Year…


Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

Don’t Be That Guy Who Buys Too Little Champagne

If you're having a party tonight and you're trying to figure out if you bought enough champagne for your crew, this is what to do…

If you want to figure out how many bottles of bubbly to buy for your New Year's bash, instead of winging it, start with a list of the people who are coming (don't forget yourself!). Then write down how many glasses of champagne you think each guest is likely to drink—for some it may be none or one…for some, two or three…and for others, well, you are collecting car keys at your front door, right? If you've invited people whose drinking habits you don't know, count each in for two drinks to be on the safe side. Once you've added up all the expected servings, you can figure that each bottle of champagne will provide about six four-ounce servings (or 12 two-ounce servings, if you're toasting with mini portions). If you want to add regular wine to the blend, figure about five glasses per bottle (people tend to pour a little more wine in a glass than champagne). Now you can do the math and then go out and buy the indicated number of bottles…plus one. Like we said, you don't want to be that guy who runs out, right?

More help with celebrations…


Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

Strange New Year’s Rituals from Around the World

Every year is the same for New Year's— you eat and drink and wait for the clock to strike midnight. Maybe it's time for a little shake-up. Try one of these cultural traditions made to bring lots of luck. Who knows? It might be just what you need for the best year ever.

China—The color red is a Chinese symbol of good luck and happiness. Hang a red banner on your front door to bring good energy your way.

England/Wales—For this one, you need a clock that tolls on the hour. When the clock starts to strike midnight, open the back door of your house and then close it. You will be releasing the old year, along with all of its misfortune. Then, on the 12th toll of the clock, open the front door, which welcomes in the New Year with all of its good luck.

France—Good health and good fortune will come to those who eat a stack of pancakes on New Year's Day.

Italy—Good luck will come to those who eat lentils on New Year's Day, which represent a bountiful new year.

Japan—You'll need a string of tiny, white tree lights to symbolize stars. Use the type that has a plug on one end only, such as these. Bunch the string of lights loosely in a clear glass vase. Place the vase in the southwest part of your living room. Just before midnight on New Year's Eve, plug in the lights. This will ensure that you invite lucky stars into your life and have a fresh start for the new year. Keep them on throughout New Year's Day or as long as they brighten your decor. The Japanese also believe in letting out a big belly laugh at the stroke of midnight, setting the tone for a happy, healthful New Year!

Norway—Prepare rice pudding, and hide one whole almond in the bowl. Dish out the pudding to family and friends on New Year's Day. The person who gets the almond is assured of major wealth.

Switzerland—On New Year's Day, let a drop of cream land on the floor to make sure you have a rich New Year.

United States—Did you know that there's a specific reason for the tradition of the midnight kiss? Some say that the practice goes all the way back to ancient Rome, when kissing at midnight was part of the giant party celebrating Saturnalia. The tradition was later adopted and adapted by Europeans, who held masked balls to celebrate New Year's. The masks represented evil spirits, which were removed at midnight, and the kiss was an act of purification. Some believe a good kiss at midnight sets the tone of lucky-at-love for the rest of the year (see more at kisstixx.com).

In the southern US states, luck will come your way if on New Year's Day, you eat a dish of black-eyed peas and greens, such as kale, collard greens, spinach or mustard greens. The beans represent coins and the leafy vegetables symbolize folded money. Who doesn't want a little more green in the new year?

More help in the New Year…

The Surprising Secret of Willpower

How to Buy Low and Sell High

Dream Up the Life You Wish You Had…And Make It Real

Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

Wine Cork Disasters

Did you get some bits of cork in your excellent bottle of wine? Not all of us can be expert wine uncorkers. Don't throw the wine out or bother decanting. It's still very drinkable once you get the cork bits out. A restaurant-manager friend told us an easy way to do that…

Stick a paper-covered straw (like the kind you see in bars or in McDonalds…grab a bunch when you get a chance) into the bottle, and the cork will adhere to the paper like a magnet! Carefully pull out the straw. Don't let anyone make you laugh.

More great tips on wine…