Saturday, July 7, 2012

25 Alternative Uses for Olive Oil

Olive oil also has plenty of uses around your home, outside of the sauté pan. There’s no need to waste your expensive Greek or Spanish Extra Virgin for these tasks, just grab a bottle of inexpensive, domestic olive oil for around-the-house use. You can cut down on excess oil by investing in a refillable spray can, such as the Misto.

1. Shave. Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. Rub in an extra teaspoon after washing your body or face once finished.
2. Wood Furniture Polish. Wipe with a teaspoon of olive oil and a soft rag. Add a bit of vinegar of citrus juice to bulk up the cleaning power, and add a fresh scent.
3. Fingernails. Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or mix oil and water and soak your hands before a manicure.
4. Lubricate Measuring Cups and Spoons. Rub or spray olive oil on your measuring tools for easy clean-up of sticky substances like honey, grain mustards, and sugar syrups,
5. Control hair frizz. Comb a bit of olive oil through dry hair to tame the frizz and flyaways on humid days or in the winter.
6. Free a stuck zipper. Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the teeth of a zipper, then gently ease the tab down.
7. Care for your kitty. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, and provide a shiny coat.
8. DIY Lip balm. Mix olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio, with an essential oil for fragrance, and say goodbye to dry and chapped lips.
9. Stop Snoring. Take a sip of olive oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop yourself, or your partner, from snoring.
10. Shine stainless steel and brass. Rub a bit of olive oil on a clean rag to prevent streaks, corrosion, and tarnish.
11. Exfoliate your face and hands. Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.
12. As you bathe. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your running bath water. You’ll be amazed when you towel off.
13. Remove makeup. Dab a bit under your eyes, on your cheeks and forehead, then wipe with a damp cloth.
14. Cure an earache. Very carefully, use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.
15. Remove paint from your skin. Rub on olive oil onto messy hand and arms (or faces) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes, then rinse with soap and water.
16. Treat lice. Apply olive oil to your youngster’s hair, and leave on for at least 40 minutes. Shampoo twice, then apply a preventative.
17. Stop a throat tickle. Take a sip of olive oil to stop the itchy flicker that is making you cough.
18. Fix a squeaky door. Use a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge in your home or automobile.
19. Shoe polish. Rub down your shoes with just a spray of olive oil to maintain their shine.
20. Personal Lubricant. It works…
21. Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.
22. Easy clean up of garden tools. Spritz some olive oil on your tools to cut down on dirt buildup. Read more here!
23. Condition leather. Rub olive oil into worn leather, such as a baseball glove, and let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.
24. As a hair tonic. Comb some olive oil through your hair for the vintage look of pomade without the build-up, or add a bit to wet hair for grungy, but clean, look.
25. Cure diaper rash. Gently wipe on olive oil to your baby’s bottom to help with the irritation of diaper rash.

Cornstarch unusual uses

Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickener in dishes like pudding, sauce and soup. But don't limit yourself to using cornstarch in the kitchen. Instead of whipping up gravy, channel your inner MacGyver and break out cornstarch to polish silver, fight stains and much more. Here are some of the many ways you can use cornstarch in your cleaning routine.

You can make your old silverware sparkle like new with the aid of cornstarch. First, mix up a paste of starch and water. Use a soft cloth to apply it over your silver. Let it dry, then buff the piece to a beautiful shine.


pizza, grease, cornstarch usesCorbis
- Grease on fabric: To remove stubborn grease stains from fabric, blot as much as you can with a cloth and sprinkle some cornstarch over the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes, then shake it off. To break up the grease, dab the stain with white vinegar. Launder as normal.

- Grease on leather: For stains and spills on leather, sprinkle the spot with some cornstarch and let it sit overnight. Brush it away in the morning. The cornstarch should absorb the grease.

- Grease stains from zinc oxide ointment: This type of ointment is used to clear up diaper rashes, and is a mess to wash off your clothes. To remedy this, use a spoon to scrape off as much of the ointment as you can. Then sprinkle the stained area with cornstarch and let it sit for an hour or so. Brush the starch away and treat the stain with a grease-cutting dish soap. Wash in cool water.

Sometimes after polishing furniture, a little bit remains on the surface. Soak up this residue by lightly sprinkling a little cornstarch on the furniture. Wipe clean and buff. The cornstarch will absorb the excess oil and leave you with a perfectly buffed piece.

cornstarch uses, cleaning windowsPhoto: Getty Images
CLEAN WINDOWSLiquid dish soap and cornstarch make for a budget-friendly window cleaner. Mix a teaspoon of soap and a teaspoon of cornstarch into a gallon of water. Make sure to mix well and apply to the windows with a clean sponge. Squeegee and wipe dry for a streak-free shine.

playing cards, cornstarch usesCorbis
Pop the cards into a paper bag along with a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch. Shake the bag, then dump the cards onto a towel. Wipe the cards down.

Sprinkle cornstarch over the surface and let it sit for half an hour. Then vacuum the carpet as normal. The starch will draw out odors and dirt, cleaning and freshening in one quick step!

Out of spray starch? You can give your clothes a crisp, clean look by ironing with cornstarch. For a homemade spray starch, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch and a pint of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle. Shake well, spray on your clothes and iron as usual. This works just as well as expensive store-bought products -- for a fraction of the price!

Cornstarch is just one of the many items in your kitchen cabinet that can be used in surprising ways.

Mini Chicken Burger on a Baby Bella Mushroom

Thanks to Sandra's Easy Cooking Recipes


First let me thank you all for wonderful comments, I am well and ready to share some new recipes! It was such a hot day, and I needed something very light for lunch as well to get my stomach get use to real food all over again. I was eating really, really light meals, if we can even call "a meal" soups, fresh fruit and veggies, teas and pieces of burned toast...I was not ready for any kind of meat..but today as I felt like a new person felt that chicken burger would be perfect for me. It has less fat, and in combination with mushrooms it gave wonderful flavor! These are mini, but you can also use Portabella mushroom cups and form bigger chicken burgers!

Serves 2
(for patties)

  • ½ lb lean ground chicken
  • 1 Tbs. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried clove, crushed
  • Sprinkle of dried red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *After I washed mushrooms, I took the stem out and minced that into meat mixture as well (optional)
  • 8 Baby Bella Mushrooms

(for spinach dip)

  • 1 cup of Breakstone Sour cream
  • 1 cup of cooked and drained spinach
  • Sprinkle of dried red pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • -Put in the food processor and mix until well blended.


  1. Mix ground chicken with all the ingredients.
  2. In a frying pan add little bit of olive oil, just to code pan.
  3. Form the paddies, and add to the hot pan.
  4. In a meanwhile since you already separate steam from the cap(mushrooms)
  5. Put them in the oven to roast for 10 minutes on 350F(180C), and salt lightly.
  6. Fill each mushroom cap with spinach dip (about ½ tsp.)
  7. Add mini chicken burger, cheese, cherry tomato, and pickles.

It is very light yet full of flavor, you can eat it with salad on the side!

S'mores Truffles

S'mores Truffles

Yield: about 20 truffles
Prep Time: 20 minutes


12 ounces high quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka (see step #2)
20 miniature marshmallows (optional)
4 sheets of graham crackers, crushed into crumbs


1. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, combine chocolate, butter and heavy cream. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir until you have a smooth mixture.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour mixture into a shallow casserole dish and cool at room temperature for about 25 minutes. A good measure of readiness is to place a small dab of chocolate on your lips, if it’s not warm, the truffle mixture is ready to be infused.
3. Stir in the Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you refrigerate longer than two hours, the mixture will be too hard to work with. If this occurs, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature until it is pliable enough to work with.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) or a melon baller, scoop out chocolate mixture (if stuffing with miniature marshmallows see the note section below), roll into one inch balls, and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining chocolate mixture. Roll balls into graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.


- I wouldn't say the Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka is incredibly necessary. It did add a bit of sweetness and a creamy flavor. If you don't want to buy it - I don't blame you, so just omit it.
- I found the best way to "stuff" the marshmallow into the truffle was to use a small (2 teaspoons) scoop. Scoop (scrape) the truffle mixture into the small scoop, filling it about halfway full. Stuff the marshmallow into the chocolate and continue to scoop (scrape) the mixture to form a ball.
- I recommend making these the day that you serve them, you'll just want to factor in the chill time. If you do need to store them, keep them in the refrigerator and remove to room temperature about 30 minutes before you serve them.
Source: My Baking Addiction

Homemade Chili and Taco Seasoning

Post image for Homemade Chili and Taco Seasoning

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of cooking dinner and realize that you’re out of a key ingredient? This happened to me about three years ago when I was in the middle of making a huge pot of chili. After searching my pantry for a nonexistent envelope of chili seasoning, I had to improvise. Turns out this moment of annoyance created a spice cabinet must have.
After a quick visit to Google, I realized that I could make my own chili seasoning and it worked out beautifully. I was able to control the level of heat and the salt content from making my own spice mix and my chili wound up being incredibly flavorful. This homemade chili seasoning recipe wound up being so good, I ended up making a large batch of it and storing it in my spice cabinet.

This simple chili seasoning turned into a multipurpose spice blend that now flavors most of my Mexican inspired dishes. Everything from homemade tacos to roasted potatoes can be enhanced with this easy to make homemade seasoning blend. Moral of the story? Sometimes a kitchen conundrum can turn into something quite splendid.
Stay tuned later in the week for my favorite chili recipe, trust me, it’s delicious and will be the perfect last minute addition to your Super Bowl Spread!

Homemade Taco and Chili Seasoning

Yield: about 2/3 cup


4 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons black pepper


In a medium bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, ground cumin, sea salt, and black pepper. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.


- Stored in an airtight container, this spice blend will keep for up to a year.
- When making chili or tacos using one pound of ground beef, start with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoning blend and adjust according to your tastes.

Stupid-Easy Marinades with 5 Ingredients or Less

(Credit: Diane Fields)

We know that our columnists, the Canal House ladies, love a good dry rub. But in the BA Test Kitchen, sometimes we like to wet things down with a flavor-packed marinade. Smash some garlic cloves, toss in some fresh herbs, add a splash of oil and/or vinegar and then just kick back and let the meat soak in the flavor. Not sure how to get started? Use one of each of these elements for success.

1. Oil (Or Other Fat)
Oil coats meat and becomes infused with all of the flavors in your marinade. It ensures juicy meat that will crisp on the grill.

2. Acid (Like Vinegar or Lemon Juice)
Acid helps tenderize the meat and balance its natural richness. How much to use? Use the same ratio of oil to vinegar as you would for your favorite vinaigrette. Hell, use your favorite vinaigrette as a marinade; it works!

3. Something Salty, Something Sweet
Season your marinade with more than table salt and white sugar. Try soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, fish sauce, fruit juice, or honey.

4. Herbs, Onions, Garlic
The traditional aromatics will add freshness and depth to your grillin'.

Here are some of our favorite flavor combos (all made with oil, of course):

--Fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar

--Garlic, rosemary, lemon

--Thyme, chile, orange

--Pink peppercorns, lime wheels, rice wine vinegar, cilantro stems

--Apple cider vinegar, onions, cumin

--Ginger, garlic, scallion, soy

The possibilities are endless. If you come up with something brilliant, let us know so we can try it in our kitchens. --Mary-Frances Heck

For grilling tips, check out our Grilling Guide. And for more marinades, see our Marinades Slideshow.

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Peach-Blueberry Ice Cream Pie

Peach-Blueberry Ice Cream Pie


  • 6ouncesgingersnap cookies
  • 2tablespoonsunsalted butter, melted
  • 1tablespoonheavy cream
  • 2cupsfresh blueberries, divided
  • 1/3cupsugar
  • 1/4cupfresh lemon juice
  • 1pintpeach ice cream, softened in refrigerator for 20 minutes
  • 2cupswhipped cream (made from 1 cup heavy cream)
  • 1/4cupchopped crystallized ginger


  • Finely grind cookies in a food processor (you should have about 1 1/3 cups). Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl. Add butter and cream; stir to coat. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  • Toss 1 3/4 cups blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let macerate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  • Transfer blueberry mixture to a large heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until berries soften and juices are released, 10–15 minutes. Strain berries through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover and chill juices and berries separately until cold.
  • Mix softened ice cream with chilled cooked blueberries. Scrape ice cream mixture into crust; smooth top. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. DO AHEAD Pie can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.
  • Soften pie in refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream; scatter remaining 1/4 cup fresh blueberries over. Garnish with ginger. Drizzle each slice with reserved blueberry juices.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Quote of the day

I think life is trying to run me over as of right now.

Brownie, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cup Treats

Photo: Look what I am making tomorrow for the men in my house! These look so delicious can't wait to see what they say about them, as these are not on my 90 day challenge!

1 box brownie mix (milk chocolate or fudge or use your favorite)
1 pkg miniature peanut butter cups
1 pkg Nestle Chocolate Chips (they are in squares in the pkg)

Generously grease a square muffin pan.
Take one chocolate chip cookie and press in the pan to cover bottom as in the picture above. Place one unwrapped peanut butter cup upside down on top of the cookie dough.
Mix up the browine mix. Spoon some brownie dough over the peanut butter cup, covering it.
Bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes or until brownies are done.
Makes 12 treats.

The Freshest Loaf of Bread.... Do you Know how to Tell???

Are you tired of trying to find fresh bread in the grocery store?? During the summer months, I find that its harder and harder to find fresh bread. For years, I have wondered why there are different color bread tags on the wrappers of packaged bread. Well, guess what???? Those colored bread labels actually have meaning!
Now that we know the "Bread Code System", we can find the freshest loaf of bread in seconds!
After you learn the system, you'll be able to do the same! Here's the details:

Look at the bread system like the alphabet. The colors of the bread system run in alphabetical order!
Blue: Monday
Green: Tuesday
Red: Thursday
White: Friday
Yellow: Saturday

Until I could learn the system, I printed a copy of the "BREAD CODE SYSTEM and took it with me when I shopped! You'll never forget how to find the freshest bread on the shelf.

Blueberry-Mint Lemonade

Blueberry-Mint LemonadeIngredients:

7 cups Ocean Spray® Blueberry Juice Cocktail
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, washed
1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed


Combine 1/2 cup of the blueberry juice cocktail with the mint leaves in large (at least 2-quart) nonmetal pitcher or container. Crush the mint leaves against the side and bottom of the container with a wooden spoon. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in remaining juice cocktail and the lemonade concentrate. Pour into glasses over ice. Garnish with extra mint leaves, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Pizza Dip

Pizza Dip


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 ounces sliced pepperoni
2 tablespoons sliced black olives, sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic powder, dried
oregano, parsley and basil.
2. Spread cream cheese mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, and sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella and ½
cup of Parmesan on the cream cheese mixture.
3. Top with the pizza sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the pizza sauce.
4. Top with bell pepper, onion, pepperoni and black olives.
5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and bubbly.


- If you are short on time, you can cover your microwave safe dish and place into the microwave
for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through.
- I sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top of my cheese and toppings for an added kick.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pineapple No Bake Cheesecake

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes


For the Crust

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (see note below)
12 ounces fresh pineapple, pureed
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the Garnish

whipped topping, optional
fresh pineapple, optional


1. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in pineapple and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well combined.
3. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into prepared individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
4. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping and fresh pineapple.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves

  • 6 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • other seasonings (to personal preference)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping.

Quoteable Quote

Homemade Body Scrub

-2 1/2 Cups of Sugar (Yes, just normal sugar)
-1 Cup of oil (I used Olive Oil and of course, I smell a little like Olive Oil. You can also use Canola, Vegetable, Avocado, Coconut or any fragranced body oil you have).
-5 Tablespoons of a citrus juice. Preferably fresh squeezed. (I used Key Lime)

Bath Time:
-Draw you a warm/hot bath.
-Soak for about five minutes.
-Shave one leg.
-Take a palm full of your homemade sugar scrub and scrub that leg and then rinse off.
-Shave your leg again. Yes, again.
-Take a palm full of sugar scrub and scrub your leg again.
-Repeat on your other leg.
-After your bath, dry off and then lotion your legs


Pet Tips

Pet Remedies
If your dog or cat has asthma and if they are on the heavy side, time to put your pet on a diet! Yep, that extra weight is making it harder for your pet to breath. Ask your vet to suggest a good low fat pet food. Next, get a humidifier. This will help your pet to breath easier. If your kitty has asthma, don't use the clumping kitty litter. Make sure to use a dust-free litter instead.

Got a constipated dog? Try this quick fix that Melissa C. from Denver, Co. sent in; "When your dog gets constipation you can give it 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin, not the pie filling just the pure pumpkin. It will regulate their system. It works for me." Thanks Melissa!" Carol from PA writes; "For a constipated dog or cat, try mixing a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil into their food for a day or two. This should do the trick." I would like to add that mineral oil should not be given to your constipated pets! Here is yet another warning sent in by Debby: "I have done cat and kitten rescue for 5 years. I have learned that if the mineral oil is ingested into the lungs, it will be there for life and will cause problems. This can happen very easily in very young hand fed kittens, pups and all mammals." Thanks so much for the warning Debby!

Fido got the runs? Try this great remedy that Candy from Ohio wanted to share with us; "Take one heaping teaspoon of carob powder and mix into your dogs food (1/2 teaspoon for a pup). This should do the job. If the diarrhea lasts for more than two days, get your pup to the vet." Thanks a bunch Candy! Sonja from Belvidere, Illinois writes; "I thought I would write you and give you a GREAT remedy for dog diarrhea. Canned 100 percent pumpkin works WONDERS. It is high fiber and really gets both DIARRHEA AND CONSTIPATION under control. The best part is it's all natural so you're not putting anything harmful into your dog. And no overdosing! So, based on dog size you would give a couple of spoonfuls to 1/3 can after the first lose movement, then several more spoonfuls for every loose movement after that." Thanks for the wonderful tip Sonja!

Doggy Breath
If doggy breath is a problem for your pet, just mix some parsley in with his food once a day. Works for people too! A lot of times plaque is the culprit in causing your pets yucky breath. Brush his teeth! Yep, pets should have their teeth brushed too! 

Ear Mites
Does your kitty have the dreaded ear mites? Here is a simple yet effective solution sent in by Wendy from merry old England; "Using an eye dropper, drop two drops of corn oil into your kitties ears. Massage the ear well (gently) then clean the ear with a cotton ball. This will suffocate the mites. Do this for three days" Thanks Wendy!

Ewe! Icky hairballs! To prevent them, just put a dollop (about 1/2 teaspoon.) of Vaseline onto your cats nose. Your kitty will lick it off making the hair pass through his system easily. Or you can try adding 1/2 teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your kitties food.

Itchy Pooch
Does your pupster have an itch that he just won't let alone? Dab some apple cider vinegar onto the spot. That should take the itch away.

Ticks... Gross!
My favorite tip to remove a tick is to put a nice size dollop of Vaseline onto and around the tick. Let this set for about ten minutes. The tick will loosen his hold to get air. Just wipe him away with a tissue and squish (ewe!). The tweezer method is also a great way to remove those ticks. It is best to use a set of very teeny ended tweezers and grasp as close to the head and skin without actually mashing the belly which could cause him to regurgitate any disease the tick has. Gently pull downward. Don't force, if you have 'em by the jaws, the tick should come off easily. Caution: Do not use a hot needle or anything that will make the tick panic. The tick tends to regurgitate what it has injected back into the host. This can be as bad as leaving the head in. Any disease the tick carries can be transmitted to the host.

Urinary Tract Infections
You've heard that cranberry juice works for us humans right? Well this old time remedy also works for your pet. Just mix 1 to 2 ounces of cranberry juice into your pets food. This will boost the acidity of urine which will reduce bacteria and help relieve his discomfort.

Bath Time

Bath Tips
Place a rubber mat in your tub so your critter won't slip! Next put a piece of screen (cut a small section from an old screen door) or a tea strainer on top of your drain. This will prevent your pipes from clogging up! Collect all of you supplies (old towels, rinsing cup, shampoo, brush, camera) and place close to the tub. Run the bath with warm (not cold, not hot!) water. Trick your pet into following you into the bathroom with a treat. Now... shut the door tight and get ready for some fun! Brush your pets coat well before washing. If there are any burrs in the fur, try crushing them with a pair of pliers then brushing out. Or, you can add a bit of oil to the tangle, then work it out with your fingers. Also, for doggies only (kitties lick their fur too much for this one) try getting out those tangles with a bit of cream rinse. Once your pet is nice and clean, make sure you dry him well with a large soft bath towel. You will probably need quite a few! Now brush em' up, and open the bathroom door! By the time you change your wet clothes, someone would have left the door open and your little critter will be rolling around in the mud!

Stinky Critter
Add some lemon juice or vinegar to your pets rinse water. This will cut the soap scum along with eliminating odor. A great bath tip was sent in by Doug from Washington; "Add some baking soda to your pets rinse water after his bath. This will get rid of the stink and as a bonus, will give your pooch a soft and shiny coat." Thanks Doug!

Quick Bath for Short Hairs
Nancy in Connecticut writes; "It can be hard to bathe my short-haired dog in these New England winters. I don't want her to get chilled, so scheduling baths around walk times is hard. The solution? Disposable, pop-up baby wipes. She's clean, smells good, and the lotion eases her dry winter skin. We only do the rub down once a week or so. If they're safe for babies, they have to be safe for our doggie babies." Thanks for the great bath tip Nancy!

Run in with a Skunk!
Michael from Hartford, CT. writes; "I have tried everything, to remove the skunk smell from my dog. Pet stores sold me strong perfumes that masked the odor. Tomato juice turned my dog pink, but did nothing to remove the smell. Mixing Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking soda does what nothing else can. This mixture is only effective when first mixed. I actually coat the dog with baking soda and scrub in the peroxide." Thanks Michael! P.S. Don't forget to rinse! Some people swear that tomatoe juice really works. If it is a nice day, take your pet outside for this endeavor. If not, make sure that the area is well ventilated. Set 'em in the tub and bring on the tomato juice. You will need quite a few large cans of the stuff. Pore it on and rub into his fur. Try to keep the juice on for a few minutes before washing. Now you can wash you pet as usual. Add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water. Some say that for the last step, take 2 gallons of water and add two tablespoons of ammonia to it. Then rinse and rinse once again with clear water. Michaelene “Mikey” Taliano, from Cleveland, Ohio writes: "I was a Doubting Thomas, when one of the guys I worked with, told me about using liquid douche to remove that horrid smell when a pet has a run in with a skunk. I went ahead and bought a supply and the next time my dogs met up with the black and white “kitty”, I found out for my self that the liquid douche is terrific, works rapidly and even leaves a pleasant scent. This really works!" Thanks Mikey! I just had a friend tell me that douche is what her vet recommended also. So this must really work!!

Careful Now!
When bathing your pet, don't get any water into his ears! This could very well cause an infection. We sure don't want a big vet bill just because we were careless... do we?! Oh, and if your pup has dirty ears you can gently wash them with a soft cloth that has been dipped into a vinegar and water solution (1/2 water - 1/2 vinegar).


Precautions Against Pesky Fleas!
The month of March is the time to prepare for those annoying fleas. If you start off the month right, you can keep those fleas at bay. If you put a flea collar on your critter, do it now! Before the army of fleas attack. Start your dog on some yeast supplements. Sprinkle Brewers yeast on your kitties food. Brewers yeast makes your pets blood taste yucky to fleas.

Flea Proof Dog House
Sprinkle salt all around your dog house to keep fleas at bay. Don't forget to sprinkle the salt into all of the crevices of your dogs home. Then place a bed of fresh pine needles on the floor of the house. Cover with his favorite blankie and your good to go! Or try this great pet tip sent in by Cynthia Hanson; "To keep fleas out of you dog's house, surround the house (and underneath) with cedar chips. Fleas hate the smell of the cedar and stay away." Thanks for the critter tip Cynthia!

Fleas Hate Salt!
Besides protecting your dog house with a sprinkling of salt, try washing your pet with salt water. That is sure to kill those pesky fleas! Add some salt to your vacuum bag and vacuum often during flea season. This will kill the fleas that are trapped in the bag. Don't forget to vacuum the couches and chairs.

Cats & Fleas
A good remedy to keep fleas off of your cat is this simple solution: Slice a whole lemon very thin (peel 'n all) and add to a pint of water. Heat this mixture right until the boiling point. Let sit overnight. In the morning gently rub the mixture into your cats fur and skin. Just dampen the fur don't drench it! Do this once a month. This is a natural flea killer! You can also use this every day for skin problems involving fleas. Sprinkle a small amount of Brewers yeast onto your kitties food. Fleas hate yeast! Also, avoid flea powders containing pyrethrins. Although considered safe, the cats will lick it off when grooming and will be ingested. It is so much safer for your cat if you use natural flea remedies. Don't forget to wash your feline's bedding and all area rugs often (the fleas will drown!). Vacuuming frequently is a must! Sprinkle some Rosemary or Eucalyptus leaves under your cats bedding (powdered Rosemary works in a pinch).

Dogs & Fleas
Start giving your dog Brewers yeast supplements in March. Or, just sprinkle the yeast into his food. You can even rub some Brewers yeast right onto his coat (a double whammy for those nasty fleas!). Sprinkle some Rosemary or Eucalyptus leaves under your dogs bedding (powdered Rosemary works in a pinch).

Flea Proof Your House!
Here is a homemade flea trap that won't cost you a dime. Take an old cake or pie pan and fill with water. Add a tablespoon of dish detergent. Place the pan under a nightlight. If you have a green bulb, use it in the nightlight (green works even better!). In the evening the fleas will jump into the pan and fleas can't swim!

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FYI: A flea can jump 150 times its own length!!

Pet Tips

Feeling like your pet isn't so precious after finding chew marks on your new coffee table? Try dabbing a bit of clove oil in the wood. The bitter taste and scent of the oil will keep 'em away! A good way to keep your cat off of the your tables is to put strips of double faced tape on them. Cats totally hate to put their paws on something sticky. After a few days you can remove the tape. Careful on wood tables with finishes though! Want your cat to stay off of your chairs? Just put some plastic on the chairs (cats hate plastic too!) until they learn that chairs are for people.

Housebreak Your Puppy
Feeling like your pet isn't so precious after finding chew marks on your new coffee table? Try dabbing a bit of clove oil in the wood. The bitter taste and scent of the oil will keep 'em away!Hang a bell by the back door. Each time that you take your puppy out for a "pee", ring the bell. As your pup gets older he will ring the bell himself to let you know that he's gotta go!

Pet Dishes
Keep your pet's dishes from sliding around by putting them on top of a rubber mat. A super way to keep ants out of your pets dishes? Just put his dish in a cake or pie pan of water.

Bad Kitty!
If you cat tends to think that you are a food item, when he takes his next bite, just say "No!" (don't smack him) and walk away from him. Totally ignore him! Sounds easy, but it really works for most felines. Here is a good way to train your cat not to do something (getting on tables, etc.). Keep a spray bottle of water handy. When you see your cat doing something that he shouldn't be doing... give 'em a squirt of water in the face. Man, they really hate that!

Dog Digging Holes?
Stop your dog from digging that "dogone" hole by putting cayenne pepper in the hole. Gives them a weird feeling in their tootsies. He won't be digging that hole any more.

Pet Dishes
Keep your pet's dishes from sliding around by putting them on top of a rubber mat. A super way to keep ants out of your pets dishes? Just put his dish in a cake or pie pan of water.

Pet Accidents
A New York Pet Lover writes; "This formula works by neutralizing the acid in pet urine and killing the bacteria. If you do not know where the urine is, get a black light bulb (most inexpensive) for an existing lamp or hand held black light (available at pet stores for $20 or so. OUCH!!). In a dark room with only the black light on, the urine will glow! Here are the ingredients to make the urine stain remover solution; 1 16 oz. bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 Tbsp. of Baking Soda, 1 Teas. of liquid dish detergent (regular or antibacterial). Mix all ingredients into a plastic or glass bowl (do not use metal). Stir with a plastic spoon (not metal!) until completely dissolved. Place in a plastic squirt bottle. Let the solution set for an hour before using (this is important!) for the best results ever! Test the solution on a small, hidden part of your rug, carpet or furniture (non-color set fabrics such as Indian cotton rugs may fade). Completely saturate the urine stain and allow the solution to soak in. Do not blot. Do not scrub. Do not walk on the spot. Allow to air dry. Once dry, vacuum up any residue left by the baking soda. Gentle brushing with a towel or soft brush may help. This really works!" Thanks Pet Lover from NY! You are really swell for sharing this great tip with us! Check below for more pet accident tips!

Pet Accidents II
Mindy from England writes; "Cats of either sex seem to love to urinate on comforters and duvets (dogs too!). Even though you wash it they go and do it again! The reason that they repeat this awful habit is because they can still smell the urine. My tip is to include a large bottle of malt vinegar into the main wash. After washing you won't be able to smell the vinegar but your pet will and it will put them off. I use this method with all cat attacked duvets that come into the laundry where I work and they very rarely come back (not good for business really hehe). This method will also work on any area where cats or dogs tend to urinate such as carpets." Thanks Mindy! This is a gem of a tip! Kristen from Mt. Pleasant, SC writes; "When my male cat urinated on my carpet, it was almost impossible to get that smell out! Nothing over the counter would work, and regular deodorizers were of no help either. I found that if I took a regular spray bottle and added Original Listerine, and sprayed it on the spot a couple times a day for 2 days, it was gone.....and it never returned. No one would ever know there had been a problem!" Thanks Kristen!


Never give chocolate to your pet! Chocolate is pure poison to our furry friends! Feeding this sweet treat for humans to your cat or dog could be fatal. Please pass this warning on to your children. Lori from Topeka writes, "Here is a very handy tip that may save your dog's life. One Christmas our sheltie got into a whole 5 lb box of chocolates. We called the vet (Dr Robert Johnson, DVM Paw Prints Animal Hospital) and he told us to put about a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide on the back of the dog's tongue. Do this outside or somewhere that will be easy to clean up the vomit. (The fizzy of the peroxide makes them vomit) Sometimes it takes more than a teaspoon to get the dog to vomit. Give them a teaspoon, wait about 15 minutes and if it doesn't work, give them another teaspoon of peroxide." Thanks for sharing Lori!

Mineral Oil
NEVER give your pet Mineral oil! It is made from petroleum. It suffocates the skin and should never be put on the skin OR ingested. If the mineral oil is ingested into the lungs, it will be there for life and will cause problems. This can happen very easily in very young hand fed kittens, pups and all mammals.

Macadamia Nuts
Linda from Cape Fair, MO writes; "My sister almost lost her dog due to macadamia nuts. He had gotten into some bird food which contained the nuts and became very ill, her vet said that the nuts cause bloat in dogs and it can be fatal." Thanks so much for sharing Linda!

Garlic and it's relatives, onions, leeks shallots and chives are all bad for dogs and cats. They contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which causes hemolytic anemia. The symptoms include bloody vomiting and/or diarrhea. It is a nasty painful death and I would never recommend feeding such things to dogs especially considering there is no scientific evidence that they help with things like flea control. If you have a flea problem, Frontline is much safer. This little known fact was sent in by Sean from GA. Thanks so much for enlightening us Sean!

If your pet has a tummy ache or is just plain sick, never give them human medicine!

Got Milk?
Don't feed your cat cows milk. It will give your cat a case of the runs! Kathleen from Kingston, Georgia writes; "Just wanted to share that you can give kitties either half and half or canned evaporated milk without problem. Neither of them contain lactose which is what gives kitties the runs. Either choice is far more economical than the "kitty milk" now sold in the pet food aisles." Thanks for sharing Kathleen!

Driveway De-icer
All driveway de-icers are toxic to your pets feet! The salt or chemicals in these ice melters may burn their little feet or cause a fungus. They may even lick their toes and get sores in their mouths. So... wash your pet's feet when they come in after a jaunt in the snow!

Grapes & Raisins
Dr. Alexis Gullett from Ohio writes; "Another little known toxin to dogs and cats is actually grapes and of course, raisins. It was only discovered/decided a couple of years ago that they can actually cause anemia in these animals. Of course, some dogs will eat grapes every day and never have a problem, but it's impossible to tell which animals are the most sensitive to grapes and raisins, and so it is better not to feed them any at all." Thanks for your contribution Dr. Gullett!

Cars & Trucks
Don't leave your pet unattended in your vehicle for over 15 minutes. When you do, make sure to open the window a bit to let in fresh air. Don't let your pet ride in the back of a truck in the winter months. If you have a metal truck bed, their feet can actually freeze to the bed!

dog bisquits

1 1/4 cups grated Cheddar cheese at room temp.
1 1/2 cups of buckwheat, rice, or rye flour
1/4 pound softened corn oil margarine

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Add enough milk to form the dough into a ball. Cover and chill for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured board roll the dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut with bone shaped cookie cutters. No bone shapes? Use your creativity and cut different shapes by hand. Place on a un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 min. or until firm and slightly brown. Makes 2 - 3 dozen biscuits (depending on the size). If you want to be fancy, brush a beaten egg onto the biscuits before baking for a nice glossy finish.

dog bisquits

1 1/2 cups cooked, boned and skinned chicken or turkey
1 large egg
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 cup of buckwheat, rice, or rye flour
1 cup cornmeal
In a food processor or blender, mix chicken, egg & broth until you get a smooth consistency. Scrape out into a bowl & add the cornmeal and flour. Stir until moist. Cover & put into the fridge for about 2 hours until firm. Roll out onto a floured board. Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1/2 inch shapes (triangles, squares or circles). I use a lid from a Tabasco bottle myself. Arrange on a greased baking sheets so that the sides do not touch. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove from oven and give the treats a stir. Let the treats cool in the pans. Put in an air tight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Makes 3 cups.


spinning utensils

Add one cup of water to the bottom portion of the broiling pan before putting it in the oven. The water will absorb the smoke and grease and make the food more tender.
Self Cleaning Cooking Sheets!
Connie from Las Vegas, NV writes; "My mother-in-law told me about using aluminum foil to cover baking sheets or dishes when cooking in the oven. It saves tons of clean-up time, all you have to do is throw away the foil and wah-la, a clean pan." Thanks for the super timesaving cooking tip Connie! I like to use the new non-stick aluminum foil that came out this year. It is amazing!
Here are a few tips to soften cabbage leaves for making cabbage rolls. Put the head of cabbage in the freezer any where from one hour to two days then defrost. Cut out the core and rinse. The leaves will be soft enough to remove, fill and roll. The "old fashion method works great also. Just cut out the core and place the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water. Then with a long fork, turn the cabbage and remove the leaves. Rinse, fill and roll!
If you run out of flour or just want your chocolate cake to not have that "white dust" on it, use cocoa to dust the bottom of your cake pan. To test the doneness of your cake, use a raw piece of spaghetti. If a cake sticks to the pan after baking, simply set the pan over a pot of boiling water for a minute or two. It will pop out of the pan nice and neat!
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when storing in your fridge. It will keep weeks longer!
Get yourself a bunch of fresh cilantro, wash and trim of the stems. Dry on paper towels then put in individual freezer snack bags. Freeze. When you need some fresh cilantro for salsa, soup or dips, just get a pack from the freezer, crush or chop and add to your recipe. Fresh cilantro! Wa-La!
To make delicious warm toasty croutons, cut up leftover bread into cubes. Fry them in olive oil and spices. My trick is to use olive oil cooking spray to cut down on the calories. Then I add garlic powder (not garlic salt!), a little season-all, parsley, and a tad of parmesan cheese. Just fry until brown. These tasty morsels freeze well too!
To make better French fries just soak fresh-cut potatoes in water for five minutes, drain and pat dry before cooking to remove the excess starch that causes them to clump together (and from keeping them from sticking to the pan while cooking). For extra crispy fries just dust them lightly with flour before you fry. (restaurants use this great tip!)
To test to see if an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it's fresh. If it floats, throw it away!!
Quincy Vagell from Woodstock, CT writes; "Want to make Pancakes without added cholesterol and fat? For each egg, take a teaspoon of sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of flour. Mix the two and add a few drops of water. The mixture will make a creamy paste, which is similar to that of a scrambled egg. Add this mixture into pancake mixture and your pancakes will come out tasting great, and just a little bit healthier!" Thanks Quincy! This recipe is not only healthy, but oh so yummy!
Dennis Judd from Powder Springs, Georgia writes; "I learned from a cookware salesman that if you boil eggs in an aluminum pan, your eggs will "begin to turn black" (or green). This is caused by a reaction between the aluminum and the sulfer in the egg yolk. However, if you boil the eggs in glass or stainless steel, they will not have the discoloration." Thanks for the tip Dennis! This next egg tip was sent in by Bill Evans; "To hard boil eggs without the "yellow" starting to turn black, poke a tiny hole in the small end to let the air escape, then place in warm water, bring to a rolling boil, cover and remove the pot from the heat! For one or two eggs, let stand for 10 minutes. For each additional egg allow 1 minute. This also makes the egg shell peel off with ease." Thanks Bill! Nancy Patrick from Corning, NY sent in this easy method of cooking hard boiled eggs; "Put any number of eggs in the pan, cover with water and bring to a good rolling boil. While still boiling, cover the pan (to trap the heat and steam) and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off, pour off the hot water and cover with cold water and let sit. I change the water several times until it stays cool. No black rings around the yolks." Thanks Nancy!
Zap garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins will slip right off!

This tip was sent in by Chris from Greensburg, PA. She's my Mom and she knows her stuff! To keep herbs fresh longer, loosely wrap them in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Thanks for the tip Mom!
To get the walnut meat out whole, soak over night in salt water then crack gently.
To get the most juice out of a lemon, bring to room temperature and roll them under your palm on your counter a few times before squeezing.
Light a match and blow it out. Put the non burnt end between your teeth while you cut your onion. The sulfer will absorb the fumes. Always cut the root end of the onion off last. Nicole sent in this great tip to keep the tears out of your eyes when you cut your onions; "A good way to cut onions without tears is to cut them near water. Running water works best. Or put them in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting them. It works every time." Thanks for the tip Nicole!
Shirley from Central Oklahoma writes; "If you are cutting onions and get the smell on your hands and no amount of washing seems to help, try this tip: The easy way to remove the onion odor is to rub your hands on your stainless steel sink. Then wash them. No more onion odor!" Thanks so much for sharing Shirley! And... for those of you who don't have a stainless steel sink, try using a stainless steel butter knife! Bye bye stinky hands!
Need to peel a bunch of oranges for a salad? Just soak the oranges in boiling water for five minutes then peel as usual. As a bonus, the "white" part of the peel will come off along with the peel to give a beautiful presentation! FYI: The bigger the naval, the sweeter the orange!
Use a meat baster to squeeze your pancake batter onto the hot griddle.
pie PIES
Beat an egg white and brush over your pie crust before baking for a beautiful glossy finish.
Add a lump of butter or a few teaspoons of oil to the water. Spaghetti will not boil over or stick together.
Wrap green tomatoes or bananas in a wet dish towel and place them in a brown paper sack. (bag!) They will ripen in a day or so. Don't forget to check them!
For soup and stews, add cut raw potatoes and discard once they have cooked and absorbed the salt.

Rinse the mold pan with cold water and then coat with oil or pam.
This is a great tip to keep your oil-based salad dressings from pooling at the bottom of the bowl and keeping it on your greens! Take your dressing and heat it in the microwave for ten seconds before using. That's it!
When a recipe calls for scalded milk, add (but don't stir in!) a teaspoon of sugar before turning on the heat. The sugar will prevent hot milk from scorching the bottom of your saucepans.
Ruthie from Belton, Mo.writes; "When I make spaghetti sauce, I add a spoonful of grape jelly to take the acidity out. It adds a slightly different flavor and darkens it a little." Thanks for the yummy tip Ruthie! Another way to absorb the acidic taste that you get with tomato sauce, it to drop a whole carrot into the sauce while it simmers. Just remove the carrot before serving the sauce!
When pan frying or sauteing, always heat your pan before adding the butter or oil. Not even eggs stick when you use this great tip! Another good tip to keep hot oil from splattering is to sprinkle a little salt in the pan before frying.
Sprinkle with dry powdered milk for the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever!
Microwave them on high for 4-minutes on each side, then bake them for about 20-minutes at 450 degrees until skin is crispy. Or you can boil in salt water for 10-minutes before putting them into a preheated 450-degree oven.
Fill your pitcher one quarter full with hot water and add the instant ice tea mix and stir. Then add the cold water and ice. No more having to stir forever waiting for it to dissolve!
Run out of unsweetened baking chocolate? Try this substitute: Combine 3 Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 Tbs. of vegetable shortening to equal one ounce of chocolate. Wa La!
Sweeten your whipped cream with confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar. Oh so fluffy! Bonus-it holds its shape better!