Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gooey Butter Cake

This is Paula Deen’s classic Gooey Butter Cake—enjoy!


  • 1 standard package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Prepare Filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.

Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Servings: 6 to 8 servings; Prep Time: 30 min; Cook Time: 40 min

Variations: try this with lemon cake mix or with pumpkin for the holidays.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Crowd for Dinner?


  • 1 med. sized hippo
  • 1 ton salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 500 bushels potatoes
  • 1000 gals. brown gravy
  • 200 bushels carrots
  • 400 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sm. rabbits (optional)

Cut hippo meat into bite sized pieces. This will take about 2 months. Cut vegetables into cubes (another 2 months). Place meat into large pan and cover with gravy. Simmer for 4 weeks. Shovel in salt and pepper to taste. When meat is tender, add vegetables. A steam shovel is useful for this. Simmer slowly for 4 more weeks. Garnish with parsley.

Will serve 2, 700 people. If more are expected, add 2 small rabbits - this is not recommended as very few people like hare in their stew.


Laws of Parenting

Anybody who has kids will appreciate this:

1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.

2. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.

3. Toys multiply to fill any space available.

4. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.

5. If the shoe fits, it's expensive.

6. The surest way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.

7. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.

8. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.

Any others from parents out there?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cheap Flights--Still Available

An interesting article appeared on CNN saying that you can still find cheap airline tickets and travel rates out there but you have to do a little digging and be flexible with your travel plans.

1. Fly on Tuesday and Wednesday because they are the slowest days of the week. Business people fly Sundays or Mondays and return on Fridays making those the busy days.

2. Fly during the slow times of the year. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is when you will find the best deals.

3. Fly to popular destinations off-season and you are more likely to save on your vacation.

4. Buy during the cheapest time of the day such as early morning as airlines will often change their prices several times a day.

5. Scout out the internet and look for package deals. Even if you don't want one take a look anyways because they can end up saving you money. The travel industry if very competitive online and I bet you can find a deal somewhere.

Along those lines, I have found a great deal right here at our local airport:

You can fly to Phoenix from Grand Island for $30 in November (or vice versa)! This is a special price for just Wednesdays and Saturdays….and of course there are a few “add-on” fees. But, still we got a round trip ticket for Gramps to visit his mom for under $100. You can’t drive it for that! (Check out the Allegiant website.)

Bring on the Vinegar!

There are so many uses for vinegar besides cooking--we all know to put a bit in the water when boiling eggs, and how a teaspoon of vinegar makes rice fluffier, but here are some other (non-food) ideas for you:

HAIR RINSE/SHINE: Vinegar removes soap buildup. Combine 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar and 2 cups warm water. Use on your hair after you shampoo to make it shine. After your hair is dry, the vinegar smell goes away. And it helps prevent dry scalp (restores the pH balance), too. (This is something my own mother used to do when washing my hair when I was little.)

RINSE-AID: Use as a rinse-aid in your dishwasher to prevent spots or as a fabric softener in your washing machine. This helps clean the past soap build-up in your machines, too. It can help your garbage disposal smell better or help to unclog a drain. For clogs (or just to keep the drain running well), pour 1/2 cup baking soda and then 1/2 cup vinegar down the drain. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.

CLEANER: Straight vinegar will work fine to clean your windows or eyeglasses, but for even better results, mix 1 cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water. This works well as a quick spray for dirty dishes, too. Try straight vinegar on your shower, shower doors or curtains, walls or counters, or add vinegar to your toilet bowl and let it stand overnight. Use some baking soda to scrub. Flush clean.

SKIN APPLICATION: Before buying over-the-counter medications, try apple-cider vinegar. It often works well as a remedy for a mild sunburn, poison ivy, warts, acne, rash, mosquito bites and athlete’s foot. Simply soak a cotton ball and apply to the affected area, or add some vinegar to your bathwater. Try it as an alternative to deodorant or to remove cooking smells from your hands. Recently on an episode of The Doctors they mentioned a quick solution for “bacne” or back acne. Use white vinegar and scrub it on your back and then rinse off. They said not to do it more than once a day. Apparently the acidity of the vinegar cleanses the skin and kills the bacteria.

For more tips on what you can do with vinegar, see my website page on Vinegar.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Grocery Shopping

It looks like I’ll be stocking up on canned veggies at SUPER SAVER this week. Their store brand is priced at 44¢ each. When I’m in a hurry (and when am I not in a hurry?) I am always thankful to have canned vegetables to add to my dinner. I personally like to serve frozen veggies, but in a pinch, I’ll grab the canned variety.

The produce department has a 5 pound bag of red grapefruit for just under $3 and fresh asparagus for $1.48 a pound.

Hot Pockets are on sale for $1.64—would you believe I was at SUPER SAVER yesterday and picked up a couple of packages (they were $1.98 yesterday, which was still good in itself!). I’ll still stock up at that price. They won’t go bad in the freezer. Other items I’ve circled in their ad are Hunt’s spaghetti sauce for 85¢, store brand yogurt for 3/$1, Peter Pan peanut butter is $1/38 for a 16 ounce jar, and 3 types of General Mills cereals are only $1.67.

Don’t forget SUPER SAVER'S online coupons—I just printed out the one for free Wimmer’s snack sticks. You can get it here.

SKAGWAY has a two-day sale (Saturday & Sunday) with some good deals: Duncan Hines brownie mixes for 99¢, Jack’s frozen pizza is $1.67, and store brand cake mix is only 49¢. (This would be a good time to check my website for my cake mix recipes!)

SKAGWAY'S produce department has a 2# bag of baby carrots for $1.99, navel oranges for 58¢ a pound, and Granny Smith apples are 99¢ a pound.

Bone-In Pork sirloin roast is marked down to $1.29 a pound. I also circled store brand yogurt (33¢), SKAGWAY brand bread for 99¢ (put an extra loaf in the freezer), and Colgate toothpaste for 99¢.

Swiss Miss hot chocolate packets are 99¢ this week—that’s my personal favorite brand if I’m buying packets. But most often I will make a batch of my own hot chocolate mix (find it here). Another good deal at SKAGWAY is an in-ad coupon for free bread when you buy two jars of Skippy Peanut butter (sale-priced at 2/$4).

HYVEE has a 5 pound bag of locally grown potatoes priced at 99¢ and Jonagold (or Braeburn) apples are just 88¢ a pound. Store-brand powdered or brown sugar is just $1.18. Campbell’s chunky soup is a good deal at $1.25 this week, too.

There are a few good in-ad coupons to clip: Grimmway Farms baby carrots for just 69¢, Hershey’s baking chips for $1.68, $10 off when you buy any 6 General Mills cereals, $1 off 10 Dannon yogurts, and canned Butter Kernel Vegetables are 3/$1.

I also see Edy’s Ice cream (they show pumpkin-flavored in the ad) for 2.99. I’m not sure if pumpkin flavored ice cream is a good idea….my daughter on the east coast tried a pumpkin flavored DQ blizzard, and she didn’t like it. I’m the same way: the only way to use pumpkin is in baked goods like cookies, bread, and of course pie.

Don’t forget that HYVEE gives you cents-off at their gas station when you buy groceries. The discount amount varies by day and I’ve even been known to call them to ask what that day’s discount is before driving across town to shop there. One day last week they had a 15¢ discount on their gas—a good thing these days now that gas keeps going up!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemade Cafe Mocha Instant Mix

I almost lost my recipe! I wanted to make a new batch of Café Mocha mix and remembered that it had a 1-2-3 list of proportions, but in my morning fog, I couldn’t remember which was which…it’s pretty obvious, but I went to my computer to search.

So now that it’s published, I’ll be able to find it easier. Actually, I think I’ll just post it on the inside of my cupboard doors with all the other important stuff there. (I’ll tell you about my cupboard doors another time…)

I made this up for Gramps last week and he loves it! He even takes a bit to the office so he can make his own there. Keep the mix in a plastic container with a good lid.

Café Mocha

  • 1 cup of instant coffee 
  • 2 cups of Nestles NESQUIK® 
  • 3 cups of powdered Instant Milk

To make your cup of Café Mocha; boil your water, pour into your cup and add 3 tablespoons of the mix. If you have a big mug you will have to adjust the number to tablespoons you add to it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick & Easy Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Chocolate & Cherries always go together! Here is a very easy recipe for Chocolate Cherry cake.

Just three ingredients:

  • 1 milk chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (20-oz) can cherry pie filling 
  • 3 eggs

 Start by combining all ingredients in a bowl—mix by hand.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. (Test with a toothpick for doneness)

Free College Classes Available Online

Open Courseware is the term for study material, courses and lecturers created by top universities and shared for free on the Internet. Some of the most popular courses are offered by Academic Earth. Here is an example of just a few of their free courses:

Introduction to Psychology - Yale, Political Science - Princeton, Entrepreneurship - Stanford University, and General Chemistry- Berkeley.

Here are the links to additional open courseware web classes offered at these top universities: MIT, Stanford, Utah State, University of California at Berkeley, Notre Dame, Yale, Tufts, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

If you are already a college student, you might download the free courses that correspond with the classes you are taking to use as a study guide and preview future classes. Deciding on a major? Take a look at the classes you will need to take.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Granny's grocery list for this week

There are lots of good deals out there at our local grocery stores this week.  I usually sit down at the table with all the ads spread out in front of me, and circle the items I'm interested in.  That way if I don't make it out right away I can find the deals I want later on without having to check through the whole flyer!

HyVee has some “hot deals” on the front of their grocery ad—store brand Chicken Noodle (or tomato) soup for 38¢ a can. It’s always good to have a can of Chicken Noodle soup in the cupboard! There is a coupon inside for Chicken of the Sea tuna for 58¢ (limit of one with coupon).

The inside pages of are promoting their private label (HyVee) products: cereal for $1.88, tortilla chips for $1, 6-ounce container of sour cream for 66¢. They also have HyVee little smokies for $2.49 (quick & easy fixed in barbeque sauce), and pork shoulder roast for 99¢ a pound. Slice & Bake cookies are $2 for a tube. Their olives (both black & green) are $1.18—I’ll stock up for Thanksgiving (one less thing on that list!).

I think I’ll also be getting some more Hot Pockets (great to tuck into lunches!) for $2 and the 24 ounce cottage cheese that is priced at $1.38, broccoli is 99¢ each, and there’s a coupon for large eggs for 99¢.

I noticed that HyVee didn’t have any limited day sales this week! Good! I don’t like having to make separate trips to get the really good sale items. But, I’d bet that they will have another “special deal” flyer in the Saturday or Sunday paper….

Skagway does have a 3-day weekend special flyer with Campbell’s chunky soup for 99¢, ½ gallon Land o Lakes orange juice for 88¢, and bananas for 33¢ a pound—all great deals!

Other things I’ve circled in the Skagway ad are the sirloin steak ($2.99 a pound), a 4-pound bag of sugar for $1.49, Taco Bell taco shells or refried beans for 99¢, and wood roses for 10¢. This one made me laugh: New York Texas Toast croutons for 99¢.

Super Saver has a week-end sale: bottled 6-pack Coke products for $2.87, StarKist tuna for 62¢ for a 5-ounce can, 5 pound bag of carrots for $1.46, Old Orchard juice (64 ounce bottle) for $1.36, and chicken drumsticks for 96¢ a pound.

Other good deals this week at Super Saver I see: Store brand bleach for 98¢, and boxed mac & cheese for 28¢. The produce department is always one of my favorite areas: Bananas are 38¢ a pound, head lettuce is 74¢ each, celery is 67¢ a package, and a 5-pound bag of red delicious apples is only $2.84.

I went checked their online-only coupons, too: Free (with $10 purchase) Wimmers Little Meaty Snack Sticks, Iams 15-pound dog food has a $2 off coupon, $1 off cherry tomatoes, and a 16-count package of AA batteries for just $3.98. Their ad says they have a twitter account now! I love twitter, so I’m following their updates now! They are also on Facebook—see this week’s flyer for details.

Ready to go shopping?  Remember to make (and take!) you list, get the coupons that you'll need, and grab a couple of the re-useable shopping bags!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Table Manners

Whether you're eating at a fancy restaurant, in the cafeteria, or at home with friends and families, good table manners make for a more pleasant meal. While you may not need to worry about confusing your salad fork with your desert fork when dining with friends, some basic table manners should never be forgotten. Here are some easy-to-follow Do's and Don'ts:


•Sit properly (and straight) in your chair

•Talk about pleasant things

•Place your napkin on your lap

•Wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat

•Watch others, or ask, if you're not sure how to eat something

•Ask someone to pass the food, rather than reach across the table

•Chew with your mouth closed

•Don't talk with your mouth full

•Use a knife and fork to cut your meat

•Say "excuse me" or "I'm sorry" if you burp

•Say "no thank you" if you don't want a certain dish or are full

•Say "may I please be excused" before leaving the table


•Don't talk about gross things

•Don't ask for seconds before others have had firsts

•Don't take more than your fair share

•Don't overload your fork or plate

•Don't gobble your food

•Don't chew with your mouth open

•Don't talk with your mouth full

•Don't play at the table

•Don't hum or sing at the table

•Don't tip your chair or lean on the table

•Don't eat with or lick your fingers

•Don't push your plate away when you're finished

Clutter? Use Baskets!

One of the most basic things you can do to achieve a more organized home is to find a place for every item you own. Just simply having a spot to put everything helps considerably in keeping the clutter at bay in your home space. Of course this is easier said than done (especially for me!) and to achieve it may take some work but it is possible.

Just spending a few minutes a day focusing on finding a home for all of your belongings can help you see a tidier home very quickly.

To achieve this organized home with minimal stress work on finding the right spots in small blocks of time you set aside each day. 15 minutes is a great block of time that doesn’t seem like much but yet in reality is plenty enough to see big results.

Start with one room in your home and one section. Start with the least disorganized room so that you won’t quickly become discouraged once you start. Once you have that fairly easy room organized then pick a bigger challenge now that you know how to do it.

Use baskets and boxes to help corral things that are hard to keep organized. This works great on shelves and in drawers. You can find these very cheaply at your local dollar store.

Measure your spaces and know what sizes you will need before going out to purchase.

Your main home junk drawer is a great spot for containers. Corral those spare batteries, pens, and odds and ends into little containers. Use small baskets in the fridge to organize condiments. Use baskets in the bathroom to gather up hair accessories, make up, even towels.

Monday, October 19, 2009


There are more things you can do with Alka-Seltzer than just quiet an upset tummy:

Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets; wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.

Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

Remove burned-on grease from a pot or pan. Fill the pot or pan with water, drop in six Alka-Seltzer tablets, let soak for one hour, then scrub as usual.

Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

Get short-term relief from nicotine withdrawal symptoms. As long as you're not on a low-sodium diet or have peptic ulcers, drink two Alka-Seltzer tablets dissolved in a glass of water at every meal.

Soothe insect bites. Dissolve two Alka-Seltzer tablets in a glass of water, dip a cloth into the solution, and place the cloth on the bite for twenty minutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making Lists for the Flu Season

The flu—both regular and H1N1—is on everyone’s minds these days. Have you ever thought what would happen to the people in your household if you got sick? Here is a common sense list of things that are easily overlooked during flu season. A little planning and preparation makes life a bit easier when you don’t feel well.


Medicinal Shopping List

  • Thermometer
  • Cough syrup/Cough drops/Throat lozenges 
  • Chest rub – mentholated 
  • Fever Reducer - avoid Aspirin for children due to Rye’s syndrome 
  • Electrolyte drinks – Pedialyte, Gatorade, etc. 
  • Vitamins 
  • Anti-Diarrhea
  • Over the counter flu medications that ease flu symptom discomfort– they do not CURE the flu
Hygiene & Sanitation List
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Hand soap in a pump for every sink in the house 
  • Facial Tissue–a box for family room and each bedroom 
  • Toilet paper–Have several rolls for each bathroom. 
  • Paper towels–put back extra rolls for quick clean up of messy accidents 
  • Disposable gloves–quick clean ups and minimum exposure of contamination 
  • Disinfectant and cleaning products

Food Shopping List

  • Soup – canned or dry mix 
  • Crackers 
  • Jell-o 
  • Bread – freeze a loaf or two until needed 
  • Instant tea, coffee, powdered drink mixes 
  • Peanut butter & jelly or any other easy comfort food that your children like to eat; they can serve themselves if needed. 
  • Staple items such as rice, pasta, salt, sugar 
  • Canned fruit and vegetables 
  • Canned fish and meat 
  • Shelf stable or powdered milk
  • Paper plates, cups, etc

Additional Items

  • Humidifier 
  • Heating pad(s) 
  • Lip moisturizer or ChapStick – one per person 
  • Special & Critical Needs 
  • Prescriptions – make sure each person’s regularly needed medications stay refilled and don’t let run out. Call your doctor now if prescriptions are expiring soon. 
  • Baby items – keep extra formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, etc. on hand
  • Pet items – extra food and other necessary items your pet requires everyday

Also, does your car have gas in it? Keep your car properly fueled and don’t leave it on empty. This ensures you won’t need to stop for gas in an emergency or when you realize you need something extra from the store at the last minute.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homemade Cat Treats

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or both? We have always had a cat around (although 3 dogs dominate our home right now…). Here’s an easy recipe for cat treats.


• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

• 1/2 cup nonfat, dry, powdered milk

• 1/2 can tuna, in oil OR 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped into small pieces

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil OR cod liver oil

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1/4 cup water

• Catnip (Optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mash the tuna (or chicken) into smaller pieces. Then add flour and milk. Mix well. After all is mixed, pour in water and oil. Mix well again. Next beat egg in separate dish until egg gets a foamy texture. Add to mix. Mix well. The dough mix will be sticky, so don't worry. Using your fingers, shape dough into small bite size balls about the size of a marble. Put balls on greased cookie sheets. Flatten balls with hand. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove treats from oven; wait five minutes and turn treats over so other side will cook. Bake 10 more minutes or until golden brown in color. Place treats on cookie rack to cool. Cool for 15 minutes. NEVER give treats to your pet right after cooking. You can add the catnip in the recipe or sprinkle on top of treats. They like it either way. Store in air tight container in refrigerator or cool dry place. Makes approximately 60 treats.

I also have recipes for homemade dog treats on my website. Check it out here.

Bakery Outlet Stores

I save a bit of my grocery budget by buying baked goods at the local outlet store.

Find a bakery outlet in your area and save 50-60% on bread products. The bakery outlets sell their products within the freshness dates. The days of dark, dingy, stale bread stores are a thing of the past.

The products primarily arrive from the company bakery. In addition to bread, you can find donuts, cookies, crackers, cereals, croutons, stuffing, snack foods, cakes and English Muffins.

Often as the expiration dates nears, the price is reduced even further. Some outlets give an additional discount to senior citizens.

Old Fashioned Pop Corn

Not only is popcorn tasty and economical, it's also easy to prepare. (This is NOT microwave popcorn!) Whether you choose to pop popcorn in an electric popper, on the stove or over an open fire, follow these tips for perfectly popped popcorn:

 First, warm the popper, heavy pan or skillet. If oil popping your corn, add 1/4 cup of cooking oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat. The best popping temperature is between 400 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil burns at 500 degrees. If your oil starts to smoke, it's too hot. Any cooking oil will work provided it can retain the proper temperature. The less saturated the fat in the oil (like corn or sunflower), the less calories you add to your snack.

 Don't pop popcorn in butter. Butter will burn.

 Test the heat of the oil by dropping in one or two kernels. When the kernel pops or spins in the oil, you're ready to add the remaining popcorn. Pour just enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake the pan to be certain oil coats each kernel.

 Kernels that do not pop are known as "old maids." They do not have sufficient water contained within the starch to create the build up of pressure needed to pop the kernels.

If your popcorn does not pop into fluffy, crunchy kernels, it may have lost some of its moisture. Rejuvenate popcorn by filling a 1-quart jar 3/4 full with popcorn. Add one tablespoon of water. Cover and shake every five to 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. In two to four days it should be perfect for popping.

Fall Gardening Tips

Bring in your houseplants that have summered outdoors. When nighttime low temperatures get to around 50° is time to start moving them back inside. When indoor plants have been outdoors for the summer, roots may grow through the bottom of the pot. If the pots are sitting on the ground, give the pots a twist to loosen. Check them carefully before bringing back inside. Pests may have set up summer homes in your plants. A good gentle spraying with the garden hose will help dislodge and clean the plant before you return it to its indoor home.

If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom on time, start in the fall. About three months from the desired bloom time, stop feeding, reduce or stop watering, give the plant complete darkness from sundown to sunrise, and then sunlight all day. When buds have formed, resume a regular water and food schedule and you will have beautiful flowers in December.

Fall is a great time to add to your compost. Leaves and other lawn and garden cleanup material are perfect for composting. Turn your compost material at least once a week with a garden fork to speed its decay. Chopping and shredding materials to make them smaller before adding to the pile helps compost break down faster.

If you are in a colder climate, the temperature in the pile may diminish. You may want to cover the compost pile to retain heat.

Get your tools, especially your mower, ready for the off-season with a little simple maintenance. They'll be ready to go to work next year when spring fever strikes.

Drain the water from garden hoses at the end of the season. Coil them and store them in a spot where they won't freeze.

Clean up debris in the lawn and garden. Leaves, sticks, rocks and other late season leftovers can harm next year's lawn and harbor pests and diseases over the winter.

Energy Saving Chair

This unique chair produces its own light! The Murakami chair's attached lamp is powered by kinetic energy produced from the chair rocking back and forth—deliciously simple and elegant.  The lampshade is not really a lampshade. That's the actual OLED light source, shaped like a lampshade.

The OLED lamp even senses when it's light or dark out, and if it is light, the energy produced by rocking is stored in a battery pack until nightfall. The chair, designed by Rochus Jacob, shared first prize at the DesignBoom Green Life Competition, which was held in September in Korea.

Friday, October 16, 2009

20 Bathroom Cleaning Hints

1. Wipe a little glycerin (available in drug stores) on windows and bathroom mirrors and buff with a soft cloth to keep them from steaming up.

2. For a fast shine to your glass shower doors, wipe them with a sponge containing white vinegar. It cuts soap film quickly.

3. Use baking soda mixed with liquid dish detergent and water to scour the tub and walls and doors of the shower.

4. Clean bathroom tiles with vinegar which has been poured into a spray bottle.

5. One of the easiest ways to clean bathroom walls is to run hot water in the bathtub and shut the door for five minutes. Steam will form on the walls and ceilings and loosen the dirt, which can then be wiped with a dry, clean cloth.

6. The same enzyme presoak that takes stains out of fabric will clean unsightly spots from porcelain sinks. Soak sink and garments at the same time.

7. The rough, grainy texture which forms in bathtubs can be removed by soaking with vinegar.

8. To remove stains from old bathtubs, use a “fine” automotive polishing compound.

9. Use undiluted ammonia to remove bath oil rings from the bathtub.

10. Use undiluted ammonia to remove bath oil rings from the bathtub.

11. To get rid of mildew stains on sinks, tubs and tiles, pour on bleach, let sit for a few minutes, then rinse.

12. Shine chrome in the bathroom with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Let dry, then polish with a soft cloth.

13. Use hydrogen peroxide in shower door tracks to loosen the hardened scum. When it bubbles up, run a cotton swab along the track and flush with glass of water.

14. To get soap film and grime off vinyl shower curtains, spray them down with a vinegar/water solution and then wash them in the washing machine with another cup of vinegar and regular detergent.

15. Use wintergreen oil as a bathroom deodorant. Soak a cotton ball with the oil and place in a glass container. It will last for months.

16. Place a denture-cleaning tablet in the toilet bowl and let it dissolve. This is an easy, inexpensive way to help keep the bowl clean.

17. Put a scoop of Tang in the toilet bowl and let sit for a couple of hours. It eliminates toilet bowl stains, leaving the toilet clean and fresh smelling.

18. Pour left over cola drinks into your toilet bowl. Let soak, then flush and the bowl will sparkle.

19. Save old toothbrushes for cleaning around difficult areas in the bathroom.

20. A sponge makes a great soap dish.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where do you keep your ketchup and mustard?

When I was young, we kept ketchup and mustard in pantry even after they were opened. The labels did not specify otherwise. Now, the labels say to refrigerate them after opening. What’s the difference, I wondered…..

So I looked around for some answers and found that technically speaking, you don’t have to store opened bottles of ketchup and mustard in the refrigerator.

But it’s a good idea all the same, since they'll last longer if you do.

Due to their high acid content, both mustard and ketchup will keep fine for about a month in the pantry. But after that, their flavor, appearance and texture will begin to break down and deteriorate much more quickly at normal room temperatures than in the cooler 40° F storage conditions of the refrigerator.

An opened bottle of ketchup should stay at peak quality for about 6 months in the fridge and mustard for at least a year. And both will remain safe to consume for much longer than that, as long as they've been continuously refrigerated.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Almond Maple Granola

Almond Maple Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 (14 ounce) package flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (optional)
  •  6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  •  6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  •  1/4 cup vegetable oil
  •  2 tablespoons warm water
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet with sides, or a large cake pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss together the oats, almonds, wheat germ, coconut, and sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, water and salt. Pour the liquid over the oat and nut mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Spread out on the prepared cookie sheet. If you want some chunky bits, squeeze some small handfuls into little clumps.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally until evenly toasted. Mix in raisins. Cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

For more easy recipes, see Granny's cookbook at