Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Beloved Friend - Dusty

It hurts me so to place my best friend, Dusty's picture on my Memorial Site, but I lost her today - 4/15/2015 - and will be lost without her.  Had it not been for Dusty I would have never published my 1st cookbook.  We had some wonderful times together and some wonderful laughs.  Boy am I going to miss her!  I know you're up there watching out for me in Heaven as you did here on Earth.  I love you my beautiful friend.

Pet Hair

Remove pet hair from furniture and carpets with a squeegee

If your dog is like mine, he really sheds and I found that this does work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Watering Can

Create a thrifty watering can by puncturing holes in the top of a used milk bottle.

Just in time for the upcoming planting season!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Slicing Cherry Tomatoes

A friend sent me some really neat tips that I'll be passing along over the next couple of weeks.  Here is the 1st.

The simplest way to slice a bunch of cherry tomatoes  is to sandwich them between two plastic lids and run a long knife through all of them at once!
This might work on GRAPES also!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

'Unsticky' Lasagna Noodles

It really irritates me when I'm making lasagna and the noodles stick together and tear when I try to pull them apart.  I finally found a simple way to prevent this from happening.

Boil your noodles until they are almost done, I think they call it al dente.  Drain off the water and rinse with cold water.  Fill a baking dish, like the one in the picture, half full with cold water.  Add the noodles one at a time and set aside until you're ready to use.  Make sure the water covers the final layer of noodles.

This works great.  I was able to pick up each noodle from the pan and place them in the baking dish without tearing even one!  That is a 1st for me.  You may have your own way of accomplishing this little task but this one works for me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Many Uses of Lemons

I didn't know any of these, did you?  Information from Today

You turn to this citrus fruit to enhance your water but did you know it can also help perk up limp lettuce and kill weeds? We asked experts to weigh on their go-to uses for this household must-have. Read on for their tips.
Kill weeds. Forget chemical weed killers, which can be just as bad for you as they are for the planet. “I like to control weeds with my lemon and white vinegar recipe, which is four parts lemon juice to one part white vinegar,” says Billee Sharp, author of "Lemons and Lavender: The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping."
Preserve and refresh produce. “Lemons are a perfect way to perk up produce,” Sharp says. “Adding limp lettuce to a bowl of cold water with lemon juice in the fridge for an hour will put bring back the crispness. Make sure to rinse and dry it a paper towel.” A little lemon juice also will help keep apples, potatoes, pears and cauliflower from browning and guacamole and pesto green.
Keep away cats. “If you have a precious rug or couch, spray it with your trusty lemon and lavender spray bottle to keep it pet-free,” Sharp suggests. “It will not only freshen the room with the nice smell but keep them away as well.” Bonus tip: orange and eucalyptus essential oil work well, too.
Easily clean cheese graters. “Cut the lemon in half and then run it over the grater,” advises cleaning coach Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning. “The acid in the lemon will help break down the fat in the cheese. If the food is really stuck on the grater you can dip the lemon in table salt and the salt will act as a scrubber; combined with the lemon it will remove most foods.”
Sanitize metal jewelry. The acid in lemon juice also works to remove tarnish. “I'd recommend using just a tablespoon of lemon juice concentrate to 1 1/2 cups water,” Reichert says. “You can also dip your silver into lemon soda and it will come out sparkling. But don’t use this combo on gold or pearls.”
Preserve meat and clean your cutting board. Lemon juice creates an acidic environment and bacteria need an alkaline environment to survive, so adding lemon to meat, produce and even water inhibits bacterial growth. “A handy antibacterial and natural way to clean your cutting board after cooking meat is to rub lemon juice on it and let sit overnight; rinse in the morning,” Sharp says. “The lemon juice will kill bacteria and leave your cutting board smelling fresh.”
Naturally restore furniture. “Mix mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice together,” Reichert suggests. “When worked into wood furniture, this mixture will add oil to the wood and the lemon juice will work to cut through any polish build up on the furniture.”
Prevent sticky rice. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the pot while the water's boiling to keep grains from sticking together. “Lemon does prevent sticky rice, as do other citrus fruit lines, which help separate grains of rice and enhance the whiteness of the rice itself,” Sharp says.
Get rid of grease. “Copper pots are cleaned quickly with a half of a lemon dipped into salt. Rub over a tarnished copper bottom pot and you'll see magic,” Reichert says. “The same combo works great for removing grease off a cooktop and stainless steel pots and pans, too. If you have a real buildup of grease, use the lemon juice or half lemon with sea salt.”

Make potpourri. “I love lemons and lavender as potpourri,” Sharp says. “Take lemon rind or thin lemon and orange, lay them individually on a big sheet pan, and let them dry.” Add dried rose petals, lavender, rosemary, or mint for a wonderful, fresh scent. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Handicap Parking

Almost every morning I go to my favorite restaurant for breakfast and normally sit in the same area so I can get one of my favorite waitresses.  This area is near the front of the restaurant and puts me in view of the parking lot, mainly the handicap parking.  There are 3 spots clearly marked that they are for the handicap and even marked with a fine if violated.  Do people honor this?  NO!

I have rods in my back and multiple back problems.  I was given a 6 month handicap sticker but I don't use it unless I'm in terrible pain and if I'm in terrible pain I seriously doubt that I would be out unless it is at the doctor's office.

As I sit in my favorite seat I watch those 3 parking spaces fill up.  As soon as one car leaves another pulls in.  It appears to me that most of these vehicles are large trucks, SUVs and vans.  What I seldom see are people getting out of these vehicles with walkers, canes, wheelchairs nor any other handicap devices.  What I do see are younger people, middle aged people, and most commonly, overweight people of all ages get out of these vehicles.  They have stickers that they place on the mirror or lay on the dash but if they are handicapped or have a passenger that is handicapped it isn't apparent.  What I also see are elderly people coming across the parking lot in wheelchairs and on walkers. Some have parked way down at the end of the parking lot and even though they ARE handicapped, they don't really seem to mind the walk. These are the people who should be parking in these special spots for these special people.

I know that there are times that I would love to use my sticker, especially when it's raining or cold outside, but I refuse to.  I want to see these spots used for those who REALLY need them.  I hope you all agree with me but I'm sure there are many who won't.  At least I've gotten a little of this off my mind.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs

An article to share with dog lovers from Vet Street

If your New Year's resolution is to eat healthier, we've got some good news:  Your dog can do it too!  Fruits and vegetables make great treats for dogs, and we've got the skinny on which ones are OK to feed your dog.

If your pooch already eats a quality commercial diet that's been approved by your veterinarian, he doesn't necessarily need fruits and vegetables to balance his nutrition - not like we humans do,  anyway  Still, fruits and vegetables (offered in moderation, of course) can be tasty, low-calorie and inexpensive snacks for dogs.  So toss those fattening cookies and hit the produce section.  It's time to get healthy!

Broccoli makes a great snack for pups.  Just remember to serve human food sparingly - even the best fruits and vegetables, if eaten by your pet in huge amounts, can cause stomach problems.  Some canines love sweet potatoes.  Be sure to serve them to your dog in small bites and make sure that they're cooked, never raw.

Zucchini and other squash are healthy treats for your canine.  Before you change anything about your dog's diet, though, consult with your veterinarian, because some foods may be incompatible with certain medical conditions or prescribed diets.

If you want to give your canine a few banana slices but don't want to deal with a squishy mess on the floor, here's an easy solution.  Freeze the banana slices before you offer them to your dog.  Giving your dog peas instead of cookies can make you feel better about his calorie intake.  But keep in mind that treats, even healthy vegetables, should be less than 10% of your pet's diet.
Many dogs love juicy apples.  Just be sure your dog doesn't get hold of seeds or the core, which can be harmful to him.

Good news for all you green bean fans out there.  It's safe to share them with your dogs.  Plenty of dogs enjoy carrots, but if yours is hesitant about eating raw vegetables for the first time, you can steam or boil the vegetables for an easier transition.

How about some fresh cucumber slices?  Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables and remove rinds, skin, seeds or pits before feeding them to your pet.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fruits and Vegetables that are Dangerous for Dogs

My dog is my best friend so I try to stay up on what is good and not so good for him to eat.  I receive emails information from my vet now and then with sites that I find quite informative.  This is one he sent that I want to share.  It comes from Vet Street.

Onions, garlic, leeks and chives, which are all members of the Allium genus, can damage healthy red blood cells, leading to life-threatening anemia.  Cooking these household staples won't make them any less toxic, so leave them out of your pet's diet no matter how they're prepared.

Grapes or Raisins may look harmless, but they can cause illness and kidney damage in dogs.  Clinical signs can occur within 24 hours of eating and include, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

Raw Potatoes can be risky for your pup, especially if it has any green parts or sprouts.  Potatoes contain solanin, a toxin that can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and severe stomach upset.

Wild mushrooms can be pretty, but they can also be deadly for dogs.  Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can range from vomiting and hallucinating to liver failure and death.  There are many different species of mushrooms and toxicity levels differ, so to be safe, keep your animal away from all wild mushrooms.

Apple Cores with seeds and stems are a no no.  It's fine for your dog to eat an apple slice or two but don't give him the core, seeds, stems and leaves which contain cyanide, a toxin that can cause dilated puples, panting, difficulty breathing and shock.  You'll also want to be cautious about other fruits with seeds, such as watermelon - offer only the fruit, not the seeds, stems or leaves.

Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries are not safe for dogs - their pits can be choking hazards.  And choking isn't the only problem with these fruits.  The stems, leaves and pits of apricots, plums, peaches and cherries also contain cyanide.

Rhubarb Leaves are toxic to pets so if you're making a rhubarb pie, make sure you carefully dispose of the leaves.  They can cause kidney failure and tremors.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Surprising Ways to Use Honey

This article was on the Today.Com site.  It's gives us Ladies, and some men too, multiple uses of Honey.  I personally am looking forward to trying some of these.

Experiencing a rough patch? Mix equal parts olive oil and honey to create a thick lotion. Rub on dry skin and let sit for 10-20 minutes before rinsing the area for smooth (and staying) results.

This use of honey for skin brings a little sweetness to your lips. Combine 1 teaspoon of honey with 1/2 cup of natural beeswax (grated), 10 drops of lemon essential oil, 2 drops of vitamin E oil and 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Once blended into an even (and creamy) concoction, separate mixture into small containers with lids (should make about 12 mini batches).

Combine 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of water in a microwave-safe container, then heat in the microwave or above the stove until the mixture turns brown (approximately 30 seconds). Let cool, thinning the mixture with more water if it appears too thick. Use a small spatula to thinly apply wax to skin, then apply a muslin cloth strip, pressing and smoothing in the direction of hair before peeling back in a swift motion.

Add a teaspoon of honey to regular shampoo to smooth damaged tresses, or combine with a teaspoon of olive oil for deeper conditioning. Apply to hair and let soak for 15 minutes (add 10 minutes for more damaged strands) before shampooing as usual.

Combine 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 cup hot water and let solution dissolve for about 10 minutes. Add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil, then pour in bath water.

Reserve a little dab of honey for skin and apply to blemishes, then keep covered with a Band-Aid for 30 minutes. (Honey also works as an antiseptic for burns and abrasions.)

Combine 2 teaspoons of milk with 2 tablespoons of honey. Smooth solution over face and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing off.

Melt 1.5 ounces of beeswax and 3 ounces of apricot kernel oil in the microwave. Stir in 1 tablespoon of honey and, once cooled, divide into small tins for quick cuticle repair on the go.

Stir a couple pinches of ground nuts into a tablespoon of honey (adding a squirt of lemon juice). While the ground nuts exfoliate and the lemon juice brightens, the honey will moisturize for a smooth surface.

Using honey for skin doesn't just involve softening. Proving one of the easiest (and better smelling) wart removers, apply honey to problem area twice a day until you see results.


Add a tablespoon of honey to a liter of water and, after shampooing, rinse your hair with this concoction to tame fly-aways. THROAT SOOTHER: Mix 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in 1 cup of water. Heat and stir.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Dodge the Flu

It's too late for me since I'm just getting over the flu but hopefully this information from the Today Health will help you.  Here’s how you can minimize your chances of getting the flu:

1. Wash your hands. It’ll protect you from all sorts of nasty bugs, from influenza to one of the hundreds of common cold viruses. Viruses and bacteria are most often carried on your fingers – they can live on surfaces such as table tops and get carried to the eyes, nose or mouth.
A quick rinse isn’t enough. You’re trying to remove sticky germs, so lather up, wash the whole hand and sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice (to yourself if you don’t want people staring at you) while soaping and rinsing. Schools, especially, should encourage and facilitate frequent hand-washing, public health experts say.

2. Get vaccinated. The flu vaccine isn’t a perfect match for all the flu circulating this year, but it can protect against some of the strains. Flu vaccines are formulated to protect against either three or four of the circulating flu viruses. And experts say even if you get infected, having been vaccinated can reduce the severity of illness.

3. Clean, clean, clean. It doesn’t take much to kill or remove most germs. Schools should take special care to encourage daily cleaning of desks, doorknobs and keyboards. At work, the coffee pot and computer keyboards are usually the germiest places – elevator buttons and light switches are less likely to be contaminated. 
Flu viruses don’t live long out in the open –maybe two to eight hours, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises. So the best time to clean is after people have been present for a while – a first-thing-in-the-morning clean might be a waste of time, whereas a lunchtime sweep with disinfectant wipes might be perfect.

4. Keep your distance. It may seem obvious but people can spread flu and other germs by sneezing, coughing or even just by talking. Flu, especially, can spread before people show symptoms and after they are feeling better. But the virus particles do not spread far – a few feet should keep you safe.

5. Use hand sanitizer. Soap and water is best for removing germs and washing them down the drain, but alcohol-based hand gels can work in a pinch. They don’t kill all germs effectively, the CDC advises, and “natural” products such as witch hazel don’t kill them much at all. It’s important to use enough of the product, also – you have to really soak your hands in the gel or foam for it to work. Medical-standard agents such as chlorhexidine, triclosan or benzethonium chloride can also be effective.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium

Every new year millions of us make a resolution to eat better.  I'm one of those so I've 

Every new year I, as well as millions, make a resolution to eat better.  To do this I decided to check the foods that will benefit me the most and try, really hard, to include them in my diet.  I'm not one who eats that many bananas, which I know are a good source of Potassium so my 1st check was to see what other foods might benefit me in this area.  A site called provided me with the following information.

Potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension (increased blood pressure). Unless you are on dialysis, or have a special condition, overdose of potassium from natural sources is nearly impossible; however, it is possible to consume too much potassium via potassium salts which can lead to nausea, vomiting, and even cardiac arrest. High potassium foods from natural food sources like beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, yogurt, fish, avocados, mushrooms, and bananas, are considered safe and healthy. The current daily value for potassium is 3.5 grams.

#1: White Beans
Potassium in 100g
1 cup cooked (179g)
561mg (16% DV)
1004mg (29% DV)
Other Beans High in Potassium (%DV per cup): Adzuki (35%), Soy (28%), Lima (28%), Kidney (20%), Great Northern (20%), Pinto (18%) and others at an average of 15% DV per cup cooked.
#2: Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach)
Potassium in 100g
1 Cup (30g)
1 Cup Cooked (180g)
558mg (16% DV)
167mg (5% DV)
839mg (24% DV)
Other Greens High in Potassium (%DV per cup cooked): Swiss Chard (27% DV), Kale (8% DV), and Collards (6% DV).

#3: Baked Potatoes (With Skin)
Potassium in 100g
Average Potato (173g)
535mg (15% DV)
926mg (26% DV)
Warning: Potatoes are high in simple carbohydrates and not recommended for people with diabetes. Sweet potatoes are actually better for regulation blood sugar, an average baked sweet potato with skin (114g) provides 542mg (15% DV) of potassium.

#4: Dried Apricots
Potassium in 100g
1/2 cup (65g)
1162mg (33% DV)
755mg (22% DV)
Other Dried Fruits High in Potassium (%DV per 1/2 cup): Peaches (22% DV), Prunes (20% DV), Raisins (18% DV).
Warning: Dried fruits are high in sugar.
#5: Baked Acorn Squash
Potassium in 100g
1 cup cubed (205g)
437mg (12% DV)
899mg (26% DV)
Other Squash High in Potassium (%DV per cup baked): Hubbard (21%), Butternut (17% DV), Zucchini (14% DV), Average Winter Squash (10% DV).
#6: Yogurt (Plain, Skim/Non-Fat)
Potassium in 100g
1 cup (245g)
255mg (7% DV)
625mg (18% DV)
Other Yogurt High in Potassium (%DV per cup): Whole-Fat (11% DV), Chocolate Yogurt (24% DV).
#7: Fish (Salmon)
Potassium in 100g
1 3oz fillet (85g)
628mg (18% DV)
534mg (15% DV)
Other Fish High in Potassium (%DV per 3oz fillet (85g)): Pompano (15% DV), Lingcod (14% DV), Halibut (13% DV), Yellowfin Tuna (13% DV), Anchovies (12% DV), Mackerel (10% DV), Herring (10% DV) and most other fish at an average of 10% DV.
#8: Avocados
Potassium in 100g
Average Avocado (201g)
1/2 Cup Pureed (115g)
485mg (14% DV)
975mg (28% DV)
558mg (16% DV)
An average avocado provides 322 calories, half a cup purred contains 184 calories.
#9: Mushrooms (White)
Potassium in 100g
1 cup sliced (108g)
396mg (11% DV)
428mg (12% DV)
1 cup cooked sliced white mushrooms contain 28 calories.
Other mushrooms high in potassium (%DV per cup sliced): Portabella (9% DV), Brown or Crimini (9% DV), Enoki (7% DV), Shiitake (5% DV), Maitake (4% DV).
#10: Bananas
Potassium in 100g
Average Banana (118g)
1 Cup Mashed (225g)
358mg (10% DV)
422mg (12% DV)
806mg (23% DV)

An average banana provides 105 calories, 1 cup mashed contains 200 calories. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

To Refrigerate or not To Refrigerate

This article came to me via Today Health and I thought it worthy of sharing.

Unopened salami or pepperoni: Room temperature
Whether part of a gift basket, or purchased for a cocktail party, all unopened salamis and related versions can be stored at room temperature. Once you've opened them, store them in the fridge, as they're susceptible to bacteria and mold from the cut end, even if most of it remains wrapped.

Leftover can of frosting: Refrigerator 
An open can of frosting needs to in your fridge. Unopened, it's fine in your pantry, but once you've used it, it's prone to spoilage and bacterial contamination.

Peanut butter (processed commercial brands): Room temperature
Traditional peanut butters like Jif or Skippy are processed for a long shelf life, even after opening. And any additives used to stabilize the products are FDA approved, and have used safely for decades.
If your peanut butter is a processed commercial brand, store it in the kitchen cabinet.

Peanut butter (unprocessed brands) : Refrigerator
Sometimes referred to as "natural" peanut butter, this version of peanut butter is only ground peanuts, and nothing else. It's best to refrigerate because the oils can become rancid and spoiled when left at room temperature for weeks. 
To soften, remove from the fridge 30 - 60 minutes prior to using.

Coconut oil: Refrigerator
All oil can become rancid when stored at room temperature for too long. This is particularly true for oils used less often, including coconut, sesame, and walnut oils. To ensure freshness, store in the fridge. Coconut oil is already a solid fat at room temperature. Sesame and walnut oils become solid in the refrigerator, but return to a liquid at room temperature without a change in taste or texture.

Coffee beans: Room temperature 
If you're looking for optimal taste and aroma from your morning joe, keep the beans at room temperature. Coffee beans can pick up moisture from the fridge, and compromise flavor (but it doesn’t alter the caffeine content). 
For storage longer than a few weeks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Soy sauce: Room temperature 
Soy sauce is a fermented product of soybeans, and once opened can safely remain at room temperature.

Hot sauce: Room temperature
Hot chili pepper sauce.
Hot sauces are generally a mixture of vinegar, hot peppers and seasonings. Because vinegar is a mild acid, these sauces can be stored at room temp without spoilage. If you choose to store it in the fridge, warm to room temperature for optimal flavor before using.

Leftover pie: Refrigerator
Because the crusts and sometimes the fillings contain butter, cream, and eggs, store leftover pie in the fridge to avoid spoilage.

Mixed nuts: Refrigerator
Nuts contain heart healthy oil that can become rancid when stored too long at room temperature, especially in a warm kitchen. Store your leftover nuts in a sealed bag in the refrigerator. For longer term storage, wrap carefully and store in the freezer for several months.

Balsamic vinegar: Room temperature
All vinegars — plain and specialty types like balsamic or tarragon —are stable at room temperature. Vinegar is a mild acid which deters bacterial growth.

Butter: Refrigerator
Even if your mother kept the butter on the kitchen counter, you should store it in the fridge to prevent spoilage.

As a dairy product, butter must be stored in the fridge to prevent spoilage. While "butter crocks" can be a good idea for short term storage of several hours, for longer storage without spoilage, keep it in the fridge.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Foods that Help you Sleep

At some point in time most of us have those times when we just can't seem to sleep at night.  I know I do and am always looking for a safe way to let me get those much needed hours of rest.  Below is what I found on one of my favorite sites -  I've listed the items, how much you should eat and when.  Go to the site link to learn why these foods work.

Nearly 60 million Americans wake up tired and irritable every morning due to lack of sleep.  Aside from feeling cranky and lethargic, not getting enough sleep can cause serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, depression, cognitive impairment, diabetes, and even weight gain. 

The good news is that small changes in your lifestyle and diet can have a tremendous effect on the quality of sleep you get each night.  So, has rounded up some of the top foods that can help you catch those Zzzz's.  Just remember, if you experience chronic sleepless nights that impair your mood or ability to function in any way, you should make an appointment to see your primary care physician.

Oatmeal with Milk and Honey - Eat 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal, 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp. of honey 90 minutes before bedtime.

Banana and Almonds - 1/2 medium banana and 23 almonds (approx. 1 ounce) 90 minutes before bedtime.

Tart Cherry Juice - 8 oz. each - 1 glass in the morning and 1 glass 2 hours before bed.

Rice and Beans - 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1/2 cup cooked beans with dinner or at least 4 hours before bedtime.

Cheese and Crackers - enjoy 2/3 ounce cheese and 2 - 3 small crackers at least 30 minutes before bedtime

Sweet Potatoes with Dark, Leafy Greens - 1 medium sweet potato and 1/2 cup cooked greens at least 90 minutes before bed.