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Tuesday, October 21 , 2014

Get That Burnt Smell Out of the Kitchen

Here’s a fun way to get rid of lingering burnt-food smells. 

Wet a dishrag with plain water, wring out the excess, then imitate a cowboy swirling a lasso for a couple of minutes...until the smell is gone. If there’s smoke in the air from the burnt food, sprinkle a dishrag with white vinegar instead of water and start “lassoing.” Be careful not to knock any knickknacks, mugs or dishes off counters or shelves. Shout out a “ Yee-ha!” to detract from the coughs and complaints from your family.

Tuesday, October 21 , 2014

Unshrink Your Wool Sweater

If you have a wool sweater that has become too snug, we've got a tip that'll bring it back to its original size. Here's what to do...

Hair conditioner can soften and loosen knit fibers, which allows them to return to their original size. Mix one-third cup of hair conditioner in a sinkful of warm water. Submerge your tight sweater into the conditioned water, and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Shake off as much water as possible (don't wring!), then lay the sweater flat on a towel.

While it's still wet, reshape it as close as possible to its original size by holding each side and gently pulling the sweater to make it larger. Pull it evenly—both sides at the same time—all around the sweater. Let the sweater dry flat. It should return back to normal (or very close to it).

More help with your wardrobe...


Monday, October 20 , 2014

Tea for Your Face

A yoga instructor once said to us, "Relax your face," which is a strange phrase and something that's easier said than done. The face harbors a lot of anxiety! Here's a steamy facial relaxant that also helps to unclog pores.

Boil two cups of water in a pot, then add two chamomile tea bags. Cover the pot, and let the tea bags steep for seven to 10 minutes. Put a towel over your head, and hold your face about 12 inches above the uncovered, steaming tea. Stay that way for about seven minutes. Then rinse your face with cool water and pat dry.

Bonus:  Chamomile has properties that help unclog pores, making them look smaller and your complexion look better.

More help for your complexion...


Friday, October 17 , 2014

Better Than Brillo

Broiling provides great flavor, but the high heat does a great job of searing food onto your pan! You could soak and scrub your fingers raw, or try this easy fix...

While the broiler pan is still hot (or reheat it slightly if it has cooled), carefully sprinkle on some powdered laundry detergent—enough to cover the burned-on food. On top of that, place wet paper towels (whatever you need to cover all the detergent). Leave everything for about 15 minutes, then remove the towels. The burned-on stuff should easily come off with a gentle scrape.

More easy ways to clean...


Thursday, October 16 , 2014

Sore Throat Gargle...It's Not Salt

Do you feel the scratchiness of a sore throat coming on? Here's a highly favored pantry item that usually fixes our sore throats.

Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Take a mouthful, gargle with it, and spit it out, then swallow a mouthful. Again, gargle a mouthful, spit it out and swallow a mouthful. Notice a pattern? Do this until there's no liquid left in the glass.

Dose: Repeat the process once an hour. By the third or fourth hour, the sore throat is usually gone. (This remedy works for us every time.)

Oh, and get plenty of rest, watch what you eat, and stay away from coffee, cigarettes and alcohol...but you knew that!

More natural help for colds and flu...

Wednesday, October 15 , 2014

Taming Plastic Wrap

It's a common kitchen hassle—wrestling with your plastic wrap as it tries to tangle and cling to everything in sight. If plastic wrap gets unmanageable, chuck the box in the freezer. Cold plastic wrap will behave the way you want it to. And what if you can't find the edge of the sticky roll to pull out? Here's what to do...

Take a piece of tape (any kind), and dab at the roll until it picks up the loose edge.

If plastic wrap won't stick to the bowl or dish you're wrapping, dampen the outer edge of the bowl or dish, and then put the plastic wrap on. It will seal with a kiss!

More help in the kitchen...


Tuesday, October 14 , 2014

This Weird Juice Relieves Constipation

Raw sauerkraut and its juice have friendly bacteria that can aid digestion. In a related story, sauerkraut can also help your system as an excellent laxative! Eat one-half to one cup a day to relieve symptoms of constipation. Heat destroys the important enzymes in sauerkraut, so make sure you eat it raw. Raw sauerkraut is available at health-food stores, or here's a recipe to make your own:

Homemade Sauerkraut

More help with digestive disorders...


Monday, October 13 , 2014

6 Fixes for Scratched Furniture

Thrift shops and Craigslist can be frugal outlets for furniture...but sometimes the wood looks a bit beat up. If it's just a few scratches that are holding you back from a great piece of used furniture, here's what to do...

You don't have to be a woodworking expert to fix up old furniture.

On dark wood, fill in a scratch or nick with a paste of instant coffee grounds (two to three tablespoons mixed with one or two drops of water). Use a cotton swab to apply.

Cover up a scratch on varnished wood by using an appropriately colored eyebrow pencil, shoe polish or crayon. You can also try rubbing a pecan, walnut, Brazil nut or peanut into the scratch.

On mahogany, a little iodine will hide most minor scratches. Apply with a clean cloth or a cotton swab.

More help for your furniture...


Friday, October 10 , 2014

Ulcer-Soothing Soup

Did you know that about 80% of all ulcers can be blamed on the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)? It is estimated that half of the American adult population has H. pylori present but dormant in their stomachs. Why do some people develop ulcers and others don't? One theory is that emotional upsets, fatigue, nervous anxiety...you know, all that stress-related stuff...devitalize the immune system, lowering one's resistance to the H. pylori. If this includes you (and your ulcer is not caused by medications or some other condition described by your doctor), we have a remedy for your ulcer, but you also have to focus on fixing the obnoxious stresses in your life. Change jobs, meditate...do whatever is appropriate to transform your specific problem into something that is positive and healthy. Now, for that remedy...

Barley and barley water are soothing and help rebuild the stomach lining. Boil two ounces of pearled barley in six cups of water until there's about half the water—three cups—left in the pot. Strain. If necessary, add honey and lemon to taste. Drink this barley water throughout the day. Eat the leftover barley in soup, stew or by itself.

More help for heartburn and ulcers...


Thursday, October 09 , 2014

Crustless Apple Pie in 3 Minutes

There's so much to love about fall. One is the bountiful harvest of so many different kinds of apples! They're great to eat on their own, and here are three easy, healthful recipes that taste great and will have you thinking beyond high-calorie apple desserts.

Nutrition expert Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz says that eating this apple treat as part of a balanced breakfast can help curb cravings for the rest of the day...

Nutty Candied Apple

Slice one small apple. Sprinkled slices with cinnamon, and dip them into one-and-a-half tablespoons of almond butter mixed with one of teaspoon honey. Makes one serving.

Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, is a former professor of medicine and endocrinology at Virginia Commonwealth University and is now at the Wolfson Medical Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel. She also is the author of The Big Breakfast Diet: Eat Big Before 9 am, and Lose Big for Life (Workman).

Here’s a delicious apple salad filled with nutrients...

Apple-Jicama Salad

Core two apples (a firm red variety is best—these include honeycrisp, jazz, empire, Jonathan and others—with skin intact) and julienne into matchsticks. Place in a bowl.

Julienne one peeled medium-sized (about one pound) jicama (a crisp, slightly sweet root vegetable), and add to bowl.

Add a handful of orange segments (cut into smaller pieces if you prefer) and a handful of chopped mint.

Mix together with an orange-lime vinaigrette—one to two tablespoons each of orange juice and lime juice with two to three tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of watercress with some toasted pecans scattered on top.

Serves four.

David Joachim, chef, based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and author of numerous cookbooks, including Perfect Light Desserts (William Morrow), The Science of Good Food (Robert Rose) and Fire it Up: More than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything (Chronicle).

This guilt-free dessert takes just a few minutes to make…

Easy Crustless Apple Pie

Core an apple, and place it, peel-on, on a microwavable dish. Into the center of the apple, spoon one teaspoon brown sugar and one-half teaspoon whipped butter. Drizzle the apple with lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Microwave on high three to four minutes or until tender. (If your microwave tray does not turn automatically, rotate the dish one-quarter turn halfway through the cooking time.) Makes one serving.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the author of 25 books on nutrition and cooking, including Comfort Classics: Hearty Favorites Made Healthy (a Barnes & Noble Bargain Book). She is based in Pleasant Hill, California, and wrote the nationally syndicated column “The Recipe Doctor” for 10 years.

More ways to healthy eating...