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Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Food Stain Removal Tips:

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Wash fabrics as recommended after these treatments – the sooner, the better.

Coffee
Stretch the fabric over a bowl and carefully pour boiling water through the stain from about a foot above. If the coffee had milk in it, follow with an oil solvent, like Carbona Stain Wizard Pre-Wash. If it contained sugar, follow with a pretreatment product, like Shout Laundry Stain Remover and let sit for 30 minutes before washing.

Ketchup
Apply Shout, then apply white vinegar with an eyedropper or a clean toothbrush to lighten the stain.

Chocolate
Scrape off the excess with a plastic knife or a spatula. Spray with a dish-soap solution (1 tablespoon clear soap to 10 ounces water) then dab with an enzyme detergent before washing (Most everyday detergents contain enzymes).

Mustard
Saturate the stain with white vinegar, then apply a dish-soap solution (see Chocolate for formula)

Ice Cream
Flush with cool water. Apple a prewash stain-removal product (like Shout), then soak in a sink filled with cool water and a few drops of detergent.

Red Wine
Sprinkle salt on the stain, then stretch the fabric over a bowl and carefully pour boiling water onto the spot from about a foot above.

White Wine
Run cold water over the stain, then spray with a dish soap solution (see Chocolate formula) and pretreat by dabbing with detergent.

Beer
Soak in 2 cups cool water and 1/4 cups white vinegar.

Milk
Soak up as much wetness as possible with a towel. Then, apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. Repeat if necessary.

Tomato Sauce
Scrape off dried sauce, then apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. If the stain persists, blot on an ammonia solution with a warm, damp towel.

Juice or Berries
Scrape up any solids, then apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. If the stain persists, blot on an ammonia solution with a warm, damp towel.

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The Top 5 Kitchen Tools & Gadgets to Help with Weight Loss

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While we love dessert, we like to balance our sugar rushes with healthy habits. Thanks to these kitchen tools and gadgets, we’re able to have our cake(s) and eat it too!

PS. Click on the images for more details.

BLENDER

The blender (both countertop and immersion type) is essential in every kitchen, especially when it comes to blending smoothies and pureeing soups to give them a creamy texture (without the cream).

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FRESH HERB SAVER

Not only are fresh herbs a much healthier option than dried, but they also pack a flavor punch and help in cutting down on salt consumption. Worried you won’t use them up before they wilt? Grab this fresh herb saver, a gadget that, unlike the grocery store plastic bags, will keep herbs fresh for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

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OIL MISTER

While olive oil is an essential ingredient in every kitchen, an accidental slip of the wrist (pour versus spray) can wreak havoc on your diet – fill this oil mister with olive oil (plus herbs for extra flavor, if desired) and spritz away on salads and in cooking pans.

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STEAMER BASKET

The old school steamer basket is a life (and waist) saver. Steaming couldn’t be easier than with this steamer basket (the pop-up handle helps you remove it easily), a surefire way to serve up healthy vegetables and fish.

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MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS

Obvious, right? We know, but don’t dismiss how essential these tools are for staying trim. Measuring cups and spoons will take the guesswork out of determining what a true serving size (“What do you mean that’s all the cereal I get?”) is and keep your portions down to a science.

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Cheers! Top 10 Bite Me More Shots

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Be the star of the party when you shake up these delicious shots for your guests. Ring in the New Year, celebrate Saint Nick, toast your friends birthday or liven up your weekend when you shake up these classic desserts into a delicious shooter.

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Brunch is all about bacon, eggs and booze – shake up these French Toast Shots for a breakfast of champions!

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Want to have your cake and drink it too? You can with this sinfully delicious Chocolate Cake Shot Recipe.

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We’re nutty for Nutella and that love is what inspired us to shake up these scrumptious Hazelnuts Shots.

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Only thing better than your Crispy Crunch is someone else’s, especially if it’s a shot of it – this one’s for you, Canada (sorry, USA, gotta head North for this flaky chocolate and peanut butter bar)! Try this  Crispy Crunch Shot, a mix of coffee and hazelnut liqueur, creme de cacao and brandy.

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What’s up, Doc? We’re drinking our dessert with this tastes-like-the-real-thing Carrot Cake Shot.

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Craving a cookie? No need to bake – all you have to do is shake, shake up this Oatmeal Cookie Shot!

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How does the cookie crumble? Scrumptiously, as evidenced in this creamy, dreamy Oreo Cookie Shot.

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Looking for a drink that’s as easy as apple pie? You’ve found it with, yup, this terrifically tasty Apple Pie Shot.

og-inline-1904566586Looking for some extra cheer this holiday season? This Christmas Shooter will help you decking the halls!

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Ditch the fork and knife and shake up this delicious Banana Cream Pie Shot.

Christmas Trio Cookies

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Ready for the perfect chocolate trio? We’ve got all our bases covered with milk chocolate (as found in the decadent brownie-stuffed chocolate chip cookie), white chocolate (creamy white chocolate snickerdoodle, anyone?) and semi-sweet chocolate (ever-present in our fudgy chocolate brownie cookies). These cookies make for great edible gifts for everyone on your list!

Click here for the recipes!

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

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“Just gimme some Lysol spray
Just hand me a moist towelette
Don’t tell me I’m paranoid
I know that they’re after me
Look under the microscope
See??”

-Weird Al Yankovic

Lisa wears “eau de hand sanitizer” and uses antibacterial wipes to clean everything from airline armrests to hotel TV remotes. My sister is mega-cootie-conscious, and, thanks to her, kitchens across the globe will no longer be Petri dishes for all-things-nasty. Here are her top tips to keep bacteria at bay:

1) THE SPONGE
The warm, moist kitchen sponge is enemy #1. Not only is this porous, spore-producer grimier than a public toilet, but it also acts as a vehicle, spreading germs from surface to surface.
The fix: Either zap it in the microwave 1-2 minutes on a weekly basis and then run it through the dishwasher or replace sponges with microfiber towels that you launder regularly.

2) THE SINK
The kitchen sink is another place where contamination runs wild. From the basin to the drain and taps, nowhere is safe from the perils of raw food.
The fix: In the evening, spray the drain, basin, faucets and spigot with disinfectant.

3) THE TOWELS
Dishrags are a hotbed of bacterial growth. Like the sponge, they give germs a free ride across kitchen counters, onto your hands and even onto that freshly washed apple you’re shining
The fix: Launder towels regularly and dry on high heat. Alternatively, switch to paper towels, and for those who are eco-friendly, use the 1/2-size sheets of recycled paper.

4) THE FRIDGE
Raw meat and poultry isn’t the only culprit that makes this a bacteria-box – raw, unwashed fruit and veggies come with pesticides and other germs.
The fix: Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator once a week and do a deep clean once a month. As well, clean refrigerator handles on a daily basis.

5) THE CUTTING BOARD
Cracks and crevices caused by wear and deep knife cuts make the cutting board a damp, dark, safe harbor for bacterial growth.
The fix: If using a wood board, rub it with mineral oil monthly. As well, to disinfect, use a bleach solution of 1 tbsp bleach with 1 gallon of hot water. If using a plastic board, run it through the dishwasher and use separate ones for produce and meat/poultry.

6) SECRET CROSS CONTAMINATORS
Be aware of these lesser-known germ carriers:
Can Opener: Wash with hot, soapy water
Fruit Rind: Wash before slicing through the fruit
Reusable Shopping Bag: Machine wash regularly
Kitchen Telephone: Clean with antibacterial wipe
Salt & Pepper Shaker: Wipe surfaces with disinfecting wipes
Raw meat/poultry: Don’t rinse before cooking – proper cooking gets rid of harmful germs
*and of course outside of the home, beware the
Shopping Cart: Littered with bodily fluids and bacteria

Don’t fret. It’ll all be ok if you wash your hands like a surgeon and never consider keyboards, escalator railings, playgrounds and communion cups…

Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

It’s so simple to follow your nose! Combine the ingredients, along with 4 cups of water, in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat, allow to simmer and sit back and inhale as your kitchen (and the rest of your home) starts to smell divine.

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Bring home the holidays with this festive combo of cranberries, oranges, cinnamon, pine, cider and so much more…a gift with every whiff!

Click here for more natural room scents

Tips and Tricks Tuesday!

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1) Start the potatoes in cold water and bring to a simmer, which allows them to cook evenly.

2) Simmer the potatoes gently. If they boil too violently, they’ll fall apart before they’re cooked.

3) Test for doneness with a metal skewer. It’s more accurate than a knife and less damaging than a fork.

4) After cooking, drain thoroughly, shaking to rid the potatoes of excess water return them to the pot over low heat and stir to dry them fully.

5) The best tool for mashing is a ricer, but you can also use a food mill or simple hand-held potato masher.

6) Never use a food processor to mash russet potatoes you’ll overwork them and give them a gluey texture.

The Top 5 Ways to Liven Up Thanksgiving

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Love your Thanksgiving traditions but feeling a bit of turkey tedium? Here are 5 ways you can liven things up (It’s a Turkeypalooza!) and leave everyone feeling grateful.

1) DO THE UNEXPECTED
There’s only so much fun you can have with pumpkins and potatoes. Consider adding some creative décor ideas such as dollar store turkey basters as place cards and swags of Bounty chocolate bars hung across doorways.

2) BE GAME
How about getting in the spirit with a round of Thanksgiving Trivia between courses and watch as aunts and uncles duke it out over the prize, a bottle of Wild Turkey.

3) STEP RIGHT UP
A super sweet idea for the kids is to set up a Caramel Apple Station for dessert. With toppings such as sprinkles, candy and mini marshmallows, you can’t go wrong.

4) SAY ‘THANKS’ AT THE TABLE
Wrap your table in muslin and provide guests with fabric markers and the chance to write/draw what they’re grateful for. Keep adding to this special cloth year after year.

5) RELAX
Sounds impossible, right? Not so. Put out a buffet of foods that can be prepared in advance and make it even easier for little kids by putting together mini turkey and stuffing sandwiches slathered in homemade cranberry sauce

NATIONAL CANDY DAY!

In honor of National Candy Day, we are sharpening up our sweet teeth (yes, we have more than one) and taking this ultimate candy quiz! Mmmmmm!

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“You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate bar.” -George Carlin
When Lisa loves me, she calls me Jolly Rancher or Chuckles. When I annoy her, I become Jelly Belly, Butterfinger or Milk Dud. These tasty monikers don’t faze me…they just make me drool.

I have a mouth full of cavities, a chocolate stash under my bed and a kid named Oompa Loompa to show how deep my sweet tooth run for creamy, sticky, chewy, coated, hard, soft, gummy, sweet and sour candy.

Take this test to see if you’re a confectionary champ or a bonbon bust! True or False…

1) The first Lifesaver flavor was cherry.

2) The Snickers bar was named after a pig.

3) Bubble Yum was the first soft bubble gum.

4) A pack of Starburst Fruit Chews has over 50% of your daily vitamin C.

5) Pez candy was originally a breath mint for adult smokers.

6) “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was an ’80s anthem performed by Metallica.

7) A milk chocolate candy bar has more protein than a banana.

8) The Chicken Dinner Bar, a chocolate-covered nut roll, was introduced during the Depression.

9) Jell-o was introduced to the marked in 1897, created by a cough medicine manufacturer.

10) Licorice was found in King Tut’s tomb.

11) Bazooka bubble gum was named after the weapon.

12) Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for 7 years.

13) Red M&M’s were discontinued from 1976-1985 because the colour was associated with blood, sex, and Satanism.

14) In “Summer Rental,” John Candy smoked cigars, gambled and drove a really loud car.

15) In the 1940s, Little Orphan Annie was a spokesperson for Tootsie Rolls.

16) Jelly Belly has a vomit-flavored jelly bean.

17) Tic Tacs slogan was “If he kissed you once, will he kiss you again?”

18) An 11 year old boy invented the popsicle.

19) The first candy cane was made 100 years ago.

20) There were 5 golden tickets to be found in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

 

 

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Answers (don’t peek):

1) False – peppermint

2) False – horse belonging to the Mars family

3) True

4) True

5) True

6) False – Def Leppard

7) True

8) True

9) True

10) True

11) False – after a musical instrument created by 1930s entertainer Bob Burns

12) False – myth

13) False – FDA banned Red Dye #2, even though M&Ms didn’t have this dye

14) False – as Buck in the 1989 movie “Uncle Buck”

15) False – Kraft Caramels

16) True

17) False – Certs slogan

18) True

19) False – over 300 years ago

20) True