JOPLIN, Mo. —
I recently saw an ad for a book that promises savings just by using the ideas in its pages. I really couldn't pass up the offer, and now, $10 later, I'm the owner of "Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems."
While in the check-out line, I thought it would be fun to actually count the ideas and make sure I was getting 10,001, but once I got home, that idea seemed just plain silly. I do know for sure that there are a bunch of solutions categorized into 24 sections. Some ideas I already knew, some seem far-fetched, and others sound very helpful. Reading through this book is almost as much fun as looking through cookbooks. Here are some of the book's solutions that I'd like to share with you today:
Vinegar: Remove a label or sticker without leaving a sticky mess by saturating it in vinegar then peeling it off.
Baking soda: Clean spinach, Swiss chard or other leafy vegetables by filling a bowl with cold water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Move the vegetables around in the water, soak for 3 minutes then rinse.
Lemon: Lemon (and orange) peels can be used as kindling instead of newspaper, and they smell delicious while burning. The peels contain oils that not only make them burn longer, they help ignite wood around them and produce less creosote than paper.
Salt: Round up that sticky mess of a broken egg on the floor or countertop by covering it with salt.
Vegetable and olive oil: Pour vegetable oil down the sides of two stuck-together glasses to unstick them without breaking.
Duct tape: Deter squirrels and other rodents from chewing on the rubber pipeline that connects the propane tank to your grill by reinforcing the entire line with duct tape.
Cleaning wonders: Get rid of odors from dishes, bottles and plastic containers by adding a teaspoon of mustard to hot water, letting them soak for five minutes, then washing as usual.
Dogs, cats and other pets: Keep Fido's dish from moving by applying a strip of glue around the bottom rim with a glue gun. The hardened glue will help keep the bowl in place.
Sanity-saving kids tips: Place a frozen juice box inside a lunch box to keep lunch cool and provide a cold drink at lunchtime.
Energy-saving solutions: Your freezer is more energy-efficient when it's full. Fill empty juice cartons with water and put them in the freezer if you need to fill more space.
My favorite tip from the entire book? When frying up fish, add a dollop of peanut butter. It won't affect the taste but will absorb the stinky fish smell, so your house doesn't reek after dinner. I haven't tried this, but I find it quite interesting and will definitely give it a shot. If you buy this book, I'm sure you will find some money- and time-saving ideas you can use, just like I did.
Everyone knows I'm a Duke Mason fan, and what a great time we had in Webb City Saturday night. I made some new friends and visited with many dear ones. Marilyn Baugh, Waylon and Matt were good sports, and the pre-show singing and dancing added to the fun. One of the highlights of Duke's performances each year is the Duke and Dad gospel concert when Duke, his dad, Lowell, and the band get together at the Carl Junction Christian Church at 103 Hodge Street. It's at 6 p.m. this Sunday, and if you go to one Duke Mason concert this year, this is the one to attend.
For some reason, I turn to comfort food when it's raining outside. Lately, that seems to be just about every day, so today's recipes are from the "Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook." Trying to add a wow factor to breakfast? The pancakes are so pretty straight from the oven to the table. You could make the pizza even faster by using precooked chicken -- just heat it up and season. The oatmeal bars are just as good as those with twice the fat and are super moist. Have a wonderful week and happy eating.
Baked peach pancakes
3 cups fresh or frozen sliced and peeled peaches
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Sour cream, optional
In a small bowl, combine peaches, sugar and lemon juice; set aside. In large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Add the flour, milk and salt; beat until smooth. Place butter in a 10-inch skillet. Bake at 400 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes or until melted. Immediately pour batter into hot skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pancake has risen and puffed all over. Fill with peach slices and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately. Add sour cream if desired. Yields 6 servings.
Chicken fajita pizza
1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning mix
1 each medium red and green pepper, julienned
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Unroll crust into a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; flatten dough and build up edges slightly. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, saute chicken in 2 teaspoons of oil until no longer pink. Sprinkle with seasoning mix; cook 30 seconds longer. Remove from skillet and keep warm. In same skillet, saute peppers and onion in remaining oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in salsa, pepper and chicken. Spoon chicken mixture over crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro. Yields 6 servings.
Makeover oatmeal bars
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins
In a large bowl, beat sugar, applesauce, oil and syrup until well blended. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and allspice; gradually beat into applesauce mixture until blended. Stir in raisins. Spread into 9-by-13-inch sprayed baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Yields 20 servings.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.