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Thursday, December 11 , 2014

How to Clean Up Broken Glass

Mazel tov! That’s what we say when someone breaks a glass. Then we get busy cleaning up the pieces the safest way we know how. Here's what to do…

If you break a drinking glass—or anything made of glass—put on rubber gloves, then pick up the shattered pieces with a few slices of bread. Bread is thicker than paper towels so it's safer to use. (And it's more thorough than a broom and dustpan.) Once you've cleaned up all of the visible pieces of glass, throw out the bread and carefully go over the area using the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Then go back to your party!

More easy ways to clean…


Wednesday, December 10 , 2014

Cracking Tough Nuts

We get all nostalgic about nuts around the holidays. No, we don't mean the loony friends and relatives that come out of the woodwork this time of year. We mean the ones with shells, you silly. Here's what we do to crack open walnuts and pecans more easily.

Walnuts: Soak them in salt water overnight—one-half teaspoon of salt to every cup of water—and they'll be a cinch to crack with your nutcracker.

Pecans: These nuts have a reputation for being almost impossible to open, but hot water makes pecan shells more porous and creates air pockets, making them a breeze to open. Here's how to do it—place pecans in a microwave-safe container, cover them with water and zap them on high for about three minutes. Then take the pecans out of the water and, once they're cool, their shells should be easy to crack. If the pecans seem a little damp, place them on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for a few minutes to dry them out. Leave them in the oven for two or three minutes longer (check frequently…they can burn easily) for a delicious toasty flavor!

More about nuts…


Tuesday, December 09 , 2014

Crazy Way to Fix DVD Scratches

Did you accidentally scratch your favorite movie DVD or music CD? Don't buy that special repair kit just yet. Try this first…

Gently rub a freshly cut ripe banana in a circular motion to coat and fill in scratches on your CD or DVD. Then use the inside of the peel to clean and polish the disc. Finally, wipe away any residue with a clean, soft cloth and your disc should be ready to play!

Thanks to Julie Edelman, The Accidental Housewife (JuliesTips.com), for help with this tip.

More ways to do things better with common household items…


Tuesday, December 09 , 2014

Watch This Easy Way to Clean Venetian Blinds

This is how to clean window blinds (easily).

Venetian blinds or any kind of slatted shades can be a real pain to dust! Cover your hands with either heavy cotton socks or cotton gardening gloves, then run your hands over the slats to dust them. Your fingers will be protected if your blinds are the sharp metal kind. To keep your blinds cleaner longer, give them a once-over with a fabric-softener sheet. The antistatic agent in the dryer sheet helps repel dust.

Monday, December 08 , 2014

Tame Your Junk Drawer

Now is a good time to clean up and cull through your clutter. You need to make room for your incoming Christmas presents! Cleaning out a big storage drawer is usually something to put off till tomorrow, unless you have a system that's somewhat fun. Here's what to do…

To organize a drawer in the most efficient manner, have a plastic trash bag and three shoe boxes (or larger boxes, depending on the size of your drawer) at your side. Now you're ready to dig in.

• Put anything you want to throw away in the trash bag.

• Place anything you want to store elsewhere into the first box.

• Stash anything worth giving to charity in the second box.

• Save any candidates for a garage sale in the third box.

Now keep everything that’s left in the drawer—hopefully it's hardly anything at all! Oh, and if you have a few items that fall under the “I-don’t-know” category, we find this phrase quite helpful: When in doubt, throw it out! Plan your trips to the dump, the storage facility and your favorite charity. And start designing your garage sale signs for the spring.

Motivation to declutter: Think of cleaning out drawers or closets as going shopping. How often have you found something while cleaning out a storage space and happily said, So that's where I put that!

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.)

More help with clutter…


Friday, December 05 , 2014

Make Your Kitchen Smell Like the Holidays

One of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is to fill the kitchen with smells of the season. But we don't like the mess of simmering a mix in a pot that could bubble away to the point of burning. Here's what to do...

In a microwave-safe bowl or large mug, put one cup of water, one tea bag (make sure there's no metal staple), one teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of allspice (or cloves or any other spice you like). Nuke it on high for two minutes. Then open the microwave door, and wait one minute before removing the scented bowl or mug and setting it on the counter. The spicy scent will permeate your kitchen and lift your spirits!

Help for the holidays...


Thursday, December 04 , 2014

Easy Way to Dry Herbs

Fresh herbs are great for a variety of recipes, but they can be pricey and you often can't use the whole bunch before they start to weep and wither. Here's what to do...

For an easy way to make fresh herbs into dried herbs, place them on a paper towel and cook them in the microwave on high for about one minute. (Depending on the strength of your microwave, it might only take 45 to 50 seconds.) When dry, the herbs should keep their color but will crumble to the touch. Store the dried herbs in labeled, resealable plastic bags. They should retain their flavor for up to one year.

More ways to use herbs...


Thursday, December 04 , 2014

Add This to Your Coffee to Relieve Arthritis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US. Approximately 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis—which has 100 different forms and many names. No matter what it's called, it causes a lot of pain. Here's a remedy we'd like to share...

Our friend's grandfather cleared up an arthritic condition (and lived to be 90) after he used a remedy given to him by a woman who brought it here from Puerto Rico.

Squeeze the juice of a large lime into a six-ounce cup of black coffee, and drink it hot first thing each morning.

We're not personally in favor of drinking coffee, but who are we to argue with success?

More natural remedies for pain...

Tuesday, December 02 , 2014

Get Rid of the Garlic Smell Without Soap!


If your hands smell like garlic or onion, we've got a hint that works like magic! Take a piece of flatware—any metal spoon, dull knife or fork will do. Pretend it's a bar of soap, and wash your hands with it under cold water. No special kind of metal needed! And you can go back to cooking without a soapy smell on your hands! The garlic or onion smell will disappear in seconds.

Monday, December 01 , 2014

Our Favorite Cauliflower Recipe

We love to indulge in the bounty of fall/winter vegetables...like cauliflower! If you think about it, it really is an exotic-looking food...a cloud of white "flowers" in a ring of silver-green. And some varieties are purple or the color of cheddar cheese! Here's a super-healthy recipe for cauliflower that is now our favorite.

We love cauliflower as a simple side dish, just boiled (don't overcook!) and topped with butter and tarragon. But we really love the following irresistible roasted version. So tasty, so nutritious...did we mention "tasty"?

Cherry-Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, florets cut into one-half-inch-thick slices from top to stem, so that the pieces lie flat

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

4 Tablespoons roughly chopped dried cherries

½ teaspoon salt (to taste)

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1. Place an oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. On a sheet pan, spread the cauliflower in a single layer.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cherries, salt and pepper and mix until well blended. Drizzle the cauliflower with the mixture, and bake for 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Halfway through the cooking process, turn the cauliflower. Some of the smaller pieces may cook more quickly...watch them carefully to avoid burning.

3. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, making sure to scrape up all the bits. Transfer to a dish and serve.

Makes two servings as an entrée or four servings as a side.

Thanks to The Healing Kitchen by Stephen Sinatra, MD, and Jim Healthy with recipes by Rebecca Bent (Bottom Line Books) for the above recipe. Buy the book here.

More fantastic ways to cook vegetables...