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Friday, August 08 , 2014

How to Grow Wonderful Radishes

Radishes are a very easy vegetable to grow, and they love coolish weather. So you can start a very successful crop in late summer or even early fall. Here's what to add to your soil to help radishes thrive...

To invigorate your radish plants, serve them a weekly tonic made from one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one gallon of water. They'll thrive on the trace minerals that the apple cider vinegar has to offer.

More help with your garden...


Thursday, August 07 , 2014

Make Sorbet in a Blender

We love those designer pints of gelato and sorbet as much as anyone, but have you seen how much they cost? And some gelato stands charge $8 for a quarter-cup scoop. Outrageous! Here are three delicious, easy sorbet recipes using four favorite fruit flavors...

Strawberry or Raspberry Sorbet

Blend one cup of frozen strawberries (or raspberries) with one tablespoon of maple syrup until it's the consistency of a creamy sorbet. (Add a pinch of cardamom, which adds a nice spice note and promotes digestion, or crushed mint leaves.) Serve immediately. Makes two one-half cup servings.

FYI—Strawberries pack healing nutrition: These vitamin C–rich gems may help fight cancer. In one recent study, they slowed the growth of precancerous esophageal lesions. The fiber in strawberries is also believed to slash colorectal cancer risk. If you don't like strawberries: Try raspberries—they're also great for your health, and the sorbet is scrumptious.

Thanks to Emily von Euw, a raw food recipe creator and author of Rawsome Vegan Baking (Page Street) for the above recipe. ThisRawsomeVeganLife.com

Banana Sorbet

Peel two medium-size bananas (the riper, the sweeter), and cut them into thick, coin-shaped slices to equal about one cup. Place them on a baking sheet covered with wax paper, foil or parchment, and put in the freezer. Leave for at least an hour, and then whirl the cut-up frozen pieces in your blender or food processer. We think the creamy banana flavor is sweet enough without added sugar, but feel free to add a little maple syrup to your processor just before whirling. Or blend in by hand some semisweet chocolate chips just before serving. Yum! Makes two one-half cup servings.

Mango Sorbet

The best mango sorbets are made with an ice cream maker, but here's an easy version that's refreshing and naturally tasty. You'll need two mangoes, some room-temperature water and a little honey for this recipe. Make sure your mangoes are ripe and smell sweet with a bright orange flesh (not a dry, pale yellow). Slice off the two fat sides (called the “cheeks” ) located along the flat surfaces of the mango's large pit, and scoop out the insides from the skins with a spoon. Cut the mango flesh into very small pieces (about one-half inch each) to equal a heaping cup (one to two mangoes, depending on their size). Place the pieces on a baking sheet covered with wax paper or foil, and place in the freezer until the pieces are frozen solid (at least two hours). Whirl the frozen pieces in a food processor with one-quarter cup of water and two teaspoons of honey (we like to use the mini-processor attachment that came with our immersion blender because it's easy to clean out and the blades are sharp). Serve immediately. Makes two one-half cup servings.

More great dessert ideas...


Wednesday, August 06 , 2014

The Color Mosquitoes Love

Mosquitoes love the dog days of summer. How do you get them to stop loving you? Here's what to do...

Don't wear the color blue around mosquitoes. They're very attracted to it. They're also attracted to wet clothes and bathing suits—it’s like hanging out in standing water, a mosquito's favorite place to be. So dry off well to keep those hungry suckers away!

More ways to fight pests...


Tuesday, August 05 , 2014

Remove Stains from Your Marble Top

If you have a beautiful white marble surface (an antique armoire or a coffee table, for example) that does not have stone-sealer protection, you need to be on the lookout for stains, because marble is a porous stone. Be sure to wipe up any spills immediately, and then do this...

For white marble: Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide to four parts water. Dip a cloth in the solution, and rub the stain, then wipe it quickly. If the stain doesn't go away, repeat the process. Do not use this solution on colored marble because peroxide can lighten nonwhite surfaces.

For colored marble: Spill enough table salt to cover the stain, then dribble on some milk to dampen the salt (sour milk works well, if you happen to have that around). Leave the salt-milk paste on the stain for two days (cover with plastic wrap if it's in a high-traffic area). Then use a damp cloth to wipe up the milky salt. The stain should be gone for good!

Note: These cleaning methods are safe for most marble surfaces, but there are many varieties of stone that might react differently. Be sure to test an unseen spot first with either solution to make sure it doesn't discolor the marble.

More household magic...


Monday, August 04 , 2014

Homemade Tea for Backaches

Hey, weekend warrior, did you hurt your back? Here's a homemade herbal tea you might want to try...

Yarrow leaves contain anti-inflammatory elements that help relax your muscles. You should be able to find the dried leaves at any health-food store or online. Add a teaspoon of yarrow to a cup of just-boiled water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup before each meal and a cup at bedtime. It can help pain fade away.

Note: Yarrow tea has an unusual taste, so you may want to add honey.

More help with pain…


Friday, August 01 , 2014

2 Foods That Fight Allergies

Are you dreading another bout of seasonal allergy symptoms? Right around mid-August is the beginning of more pollen and spores in the air, bringing on all those sneezes and runny noses. Talk about summer fun! Here are two foods that help to ease annoying allergies...

Nutrient-rich watercress helps swollen bronchial passages and is one of nature's best bacteria fighters. It's a strong diuretic, so eat small portions at a time.

Fish gives you omega-3 fatty acids that help control inflammation and may help your puffy nostrils and clogged-up lower respiratory system. Are you a fish hater? Try flavorless fish-oil supplements. We each take a 1,000-milligram capsule three times a day (one with each meal), but check with your doctor, especially if you are on blood thinners or another medication.

Oh, and by the way, you might want to have a virgin version of that pretty summer drink with the umbrella. Alcohol can dilate blood vessels and release histamines that make your symptoms worse. Save your bottoms up for after allergy season!

More natural cures…


Thursday, July 31 , 2014

Make Your Cottage Cheese Last Longer

Sometimes you need only a dollop of ricotta to spiff up a swirl of pasta or to make a better meatball. Then the unused cheese doesn't keep very long if you just pop the plastic container back into the fridge. Here's what to do…

Once you open a plastic container of ricotta, cottage cheese or sour cream, you can do one of two things to prolong its staying power—either transfer the unused portion to a glass jar with a screw-on lid and refrigerate...or leave the cheese in its original container but store it upside down in the refrigerator. This prolongs freshness by creating a vacuum at the top of the container that helps reduce bacterial growth. Upside down, it should keep for up to three weeks rather than the usual week or so. Just make sure that the lid is on tight or you'll have some extra cleaning to do down below!

More ways to save on your food bill...


Wednesday, July 30 , 2014

Cool Way to Keep Track of Your Paint Colors

What a nice paint job! Now your friends will want to copy your color choices. And you yourself may need to touch up a room with the same colors in the future. Today’s creative paint names (Seafoam Pearl, Ballet Slipper) are so easy to forget! Here’s what to do…

To ID leftover paint cans: The labels on paint cans often are either not very informative or get covered up by drips of paint. On a 3-x-5 index card, write the paint brand, color name, color number, sheen name (such as flat, semi-gloss or eggshell) and the room you used it in—you might even want to paint a color smear on the card. Then attach the card to the paint can or laundry-detergent bottle (see below), sticking it in place with transparent tape.

To catalogue paint choices throughout your home: While you're at it, paint a sample on an additional index card or dip half a Popsicle stick into the paint. When it is dry, write the paint brand, color name and the room you used it in on the card or stick so you will have the color handy for matching and decorating purposes. Keep your index cards or Popsicle sticks in a small photo album with plastic sheathings and, bingo, you've got a portable decorator's helper.

Great way to store leftover paint: Cleaned-out plastic laundry-detergent bottles make great containers for leftover paint—much better than the original cans with their gooped-up, difficult-to-open metal lids. Laundry-detergent bottles have dripless pouring spouts and handy handles and, if you close them tightly, your leftover paint won't dry out.

More help with home upkeep...


Tuesday, July 29 , 2014

Make Your Patio Furniture Look Like New

If you have an outdoor area to hang out in (especially with a pool), consider yourself a lucky duck! Here are a few tips to keep your outdoor living space cleaner longer.

Protecting outdoor furniture: After wiping the dust and dirt off plastic, wood or metal furniture frames—not chair seats or any other parts that come in contact with people’s skin— buff the frames with liquid car wax. It will protect your furniture from pollution, bird droppings and anything else that may cause erosion.

Cleaning patio and poolside umbrellas: While you're at the auto-supply store buying liquid car wax, pick up some cleaner for a convertible car top. Use it to clean your sun-beaten patio umbrella and give it a revitalized look.

Pool: You'll have a cleaner pool if you keep a tennis ball floating in the water. The ball serves to absorb body oils and suntan lotion residue (although if you have a lot of swimmers, it's a good idea to have the divers shower off lotion before entering the pool).

More help with your backyard...


Monday, July 28 , 2014

Fix Cracks in Your Fine China

Is it tea time at your house? Oh no! There's a crack in one of your china pieces, and now you have an odd set of saucers. Here's what to do...

Put a cracked china cup or plate in a pan, and pour in enough whole milk to cover it—and then some. Let it simmer on the stovetop for 45 minutes. That allows enough time for the milk protein (casein) to do what it needs to do, which is to fill in the fissures. When the time is up, take the china off the stove and let it cool. Then rinse and marvel at the restored piece.

For more easy home fix-its...