Monday, October 29, 2012

A Few Simple Household Hints

I’m always looking for easier ways to do everyday things. I like a clean house, but I hate to spend a whole day scrubbing floors and toilets. I love cooking, but I get frustrated when I can’t find the start of the plastic wrap. Here are some general tips I’ve discovered to help make life easier.

  • Baking soda is an effective but gentle abrasive. Use it to clean the pots, pans, appliances, and the sink.
  • Rubbing alcohol makes chrome shine. Add a drop of essential oil for to leave a pleasant fragrance.
  • Insert wadded newspaper into shoes to help hold their shape.
  • If you don’t have nonstick foil, use regular foil sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • If you have trouble finding the edge of a new roll of plastic wrap, use a small piece of scotch tape. Tap it along the edge until it pulls away.
  • Baby shampoo can remove most rings around the collar.
  • Instead of spending an entire day cleaning the house, choose one job per day, and by the end of the week, you’ll have a (mostly) clean house.
  • Clutter makes cleaning more difficult, so give each person a different color laundry basket to gather his or her things before the end of the day.
  • Magic Eraser sponges can usually remove marks from tile, walls, and other surfaces.

Photo courtesy of Mconnors on

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Heavenly Pineapple-Angelfood Cake

My daughter Alison Ingraham baked me a delicious birthday cake that is not only delicious, it’s fairly low calorie. Alison has become a fabulous, creative cook, and I always look forward to tasting her recipes.

Here's the recipe:

Cake ingredients:
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 box of angelfood cake mix
  • 1 16-ounce can of crushed pineapple

Cake directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9” by 13” cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Mix the angelfood cake with the entire contents of the canned pineapple.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 standard package of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 small tub of whipped topping
  • Berries (optional)

Topping directions:
  1. Whip the pudding mix and milk.
  2. Fold in the whipped topping.
  3. Top each serving with a dollop of dopping.
  4. Garnish with berries if desired.

Monday, October 22, 2012

No-Cook Oatmeal

I’ve discovered a super easy way to have my oatmeal without the morning mess of cooking it. This recipe can be altered according to taste and consistency preference.

·      1/2 cup oats (rolled or steel-cut)
·      2/3 cup water
·      2 tablespoons flax meal
·      1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.     Mix all the ingredients in a serving bowl.
2.     Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator. Leave overnight.
3.     The next morning, your oatmeal will be “done.”
4.     If you like hot cereal, place it in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.
5.     Add sweetener and milk to taste. Top with fresh fruit.

Photo courtesy of Seemann on

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Take the Trophy and Run

Great news for Bloomfield fans! Gail Sattler's book Take the Trophy and Run is coming soon! 

Like Mitford and Lake Wobegon before that, Bloomfield is a place we could all call home. Here, the residents enjoy a splash fountain in the town square, dine at the “Fancy Schmantsy” on tree-lined Main Street, and dream of reaching the 10,000 population mark - only 22 more folks to go!

The Bloomfield Garden Club, and all-ages group of lovable oddballs who will stop at nothing to make everything beautiful, maintains this piece of heaven on earth. But even such idyllic places as this have their share of dramatic characters and stories to be told.

Take, for instance, craft store owner Amber Weathersby. She wants to be a member of the garden club but has never received the blessing of a green thumb. Her friend, Stan the mechanic, has helped as much as he can - even adding a times sprinkler system to Amber's garden - but the results never live up to the club's expectations.

Her only claim to fame with that gang is her semi-famous garden gnome, Gnorman, who gets to hold the prized trophy each year in the Bloomfield Spring Fling contest's winning garden.

But this year, instead of being the life of the party, her little star is gnomegnapped, and worse, the club's irreplaceable trophy has gone missing with him. While Amber is chasing the gnome around town trying to win the trophy, Stan is chasing Amber, trying to win her heart.

Order Take the Trophy and Run at the following places:
Books a Million

I also want to wish Gail a very happy birthday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween and Candy Preferences

Photo courtesy of Bosela on

With Halloween approaching, I’ve been thinking about what kind of candy I need to purchase. Should I get candy I like, or should I purchase something that won’t even tempt me?

As I grew up, I was surrounded by candy. My dad always had a stash of sweet treats, and my grandparents had candy dishes in their living rooms. Funny thing, though, I wasn’t much of a sweets eater as a child. I was more of a fan of chips and dip. However, there were a few types of candy that I found hard to resist, like anything with a chocolate and peanut butter combination – like Butterfingers and Reece’s Cups. I also liked candy corn but only in small amounts.

I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but I admit that I do hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. First of all, I don’t want my house egged, and secondly, I enjoy the early evening when the tiny kids in cute costumes come to my door. Princesses, superheroes, ladybugs, and baby pumpkins are my favorites. However, once the scary costumes start showing up, I remember why I’m not crazy about Halloween.