This idea is perfect for anyone who has a porch entry. Go all out this year and create a monochromatic winter wonderland at your front door. Purchase large white and clear snowflakes, and hang them from strings of lights. Spray faux trees white and plant them in galvanizd buckets on each side of the door. For the final touch, spray-paint wire baskets white, hang, and fill each with sparkling silver tree decorations. Galvanized bucked can be purchased at any home improvement store. For a further touch, add one or more of the white wire lighted trees that are so popular now. White does not have to be your color of choice either, change it up every year. Look for after Christmas bargains.
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
JOKE OF THE DAY: Don’t forget, Sunday is a day of rest. The rest of the laundry, the rest of the housework and the rest of all the other stuff we couldn’t be bothered doing all week.
ON THIS LAST DAY OF MOVEMBER…HAVE A CHECK UP AND LET’S PROTECT “THE BOYS”.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 30 BIRTHDAY TO: Ben Stiller 49, Kaley Cuoco 29, Robert Guillaume 87, Bo Jackson 52, Billy Idol 59, Clay Aiken 36, Mandy Patinkin 62, Elisha Cuthbert 32, Colin Mochrie 57, Ridley Scott 77, G. Gordon Liddy 84, Ryan Murphy 49, Efrem Zimbilist Jr. (1918-2014), Dick Clark (1929-2012), Mark Twain (1835-1910), Richard Crenna (1926-2003), Mindy McCready (1975-2013), and Winston Churchill (1864-1965).
1. Placing all utensils in the dishwasher facing the same direction.
It’s fine for all the forks to point up. (This prevents the tines from bending.) But when spoons sit in one direction in a standard dishwasher basket, they end up, well, spooning, which prevents a complete clean. Place some up and some down for a more thorough, even wash, and do the same with knives.
2. Washing windows on a sunny day.
Glass cleaner dries up much more quickly in direct sunlight, resulting in streaks on window panes. That’s why, in any season, the ideal time to clean windows is late afternoon or evening, or when the skies are overcast (and the temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit). For quicker drying, swap your microfiber cloth for a window squeegee, which covers more surface area with each swipe.
3. Spraying cleaner directly on a surface.
This method is OK once in a while but should be reserved for extremely dirty surfaces that need extra solution. This shouldn’t be an everyday practice, because it will probably leave residue behind (for example, a gummy buildup on wood furniture and drip marks on walls). Instead, spray the formula onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe-downs done this way require less solution, which cuts down on buildup. (Your bottles of cleaner will last longer, too.)
4. Cleaning bare-handed (even for a quickie sink scrub-down).
Your skin is super-absorbent and will soak up almost any substance that touches its surface. Even natural products can dry out hands lickety-split. Avoid chalky rubber or latex gloves. Instead, choose gloves with a lined cotton interior. They offer more of a protective barrier and are so comfortable, you’ll be motivated to put them on.
5. Treating liquid stains on a carpet superficially.
Scrubbing stains like pet urine, red wine, and coffee isn’t effective in the long term. Unless you remove fresh carpet spills at the deepest level, in time they may resurface. Try this method: As soon as you notice the spill, use a dry towel to sop up as much liquid as possible. Next, douse the spot with club soda or ice water and blot again with another dry towel. Step on the towel to absorb the liquid. Repeat the blotting until no more color is transferred to the towel. If the stain persists, apply a stain remover and repeat the process.
6. Putting a rinsed toilet brush right back in the holder.
Moisture breeds bacteria, so it’s important to let the brush dry completely before stashing it. Sandwich the handle between the toilet seat and the base, with the business end suspended over the bowl, to drip-dry. Leave it for at least 10 minutes or until fully dry, then return it to the holder.
7. Considering a rinsed sponge clean.
Because food and bacteria hide in a sponge’s crevices, a water rinse isn’t enough. So once or twice a week, toss sponges into the top rack of the dishwasher, or heat wet ones in the microwave for two minutes. Another option: Use a sponge sanitizer. During the holidays, when cooking activities ramp up, it’s best to clean sponges daily.
8. Vacuuming pet fur without an attachment.
Standard vacuuming on a wood or tile floor often blows away as much fur as it collects, so you’re essentially moving debris all over the room. For controlled suction, resulting in fewer fur fly-a-ways, use the wand attachment. And before you vacuum, do a little prep work: Collect any visible fur into a pile with a broom or an electrostatic dry mop (like a Swiffer).
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
JOKE OF THE DAY: It’s okay to talk to yourself, it’s even okay to answer yourself. But when you ask yourself to repeat what you just said, you have a problem.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 29 BIRTHDAY TO: Howie Mandel 59, Diego Boneta 24, Andrew McCarthy 52, Diane Ladd 79, Chuck Mangione 74 Jonathan Knight 46, Tom Sizemore 53, Garry Shandling 65, Janina Gavankar 34, and Brian Baumgartner 42.
If you are considering a kitchen reno and you have the wall space for sliding barn doors, consider a neatly tucked away pantry that doubles as a work space. A spacious pantry can do more than store food. Keep (and use) a toaster and microwave in here and consider this spot your command center for entertaining. It will hold all your serving pieces, spare beverages, and baking supplies. Even with limited space, replacing some lower shelves with drawers lets you keep table linens neatly tucked away. Or install a wine and/or beverage frig, it will free up valuable refrigerator space.
SHARING: I do not claim all posts to be my own…I post the sites they are from if the source is known.
JOKE OF THE DAY: I am not so much thankful for this short week of work as I am annoyed that I have to come in at all.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 28 BIRTHDAY TO: Ed Harris 64, Karen Gillian 27, Anna Nicole Smith (1967-2007), Jon Stewart 52, Barry Gordy Jr. 85, Judd Nelson 55, Ryan Kwanten 38, Marc Andre Fleury 30, Paul Shaffer 65, S. Epatha Merkerson 62, and Alexander Gudenov (1949-1995).
The Shotgun formation became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s when the Jets adopted the formation for Joe Namath of the Jets and Roger Staubach of the Cowboys.
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
6 baby tomatoes cut into halves
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
1 1/3 cups milk or 1 1/3 cups light cream, divided
Worcestershire sauce or dry sherry
1/2 cup grated cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Sauté the chopped mushrooms in a skillet in 2 tablespoons of the butter until tender; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the flour and mix. Stir in 1/3 cup of milk or cream and stir until thickened. Season with salt and paprika. Fill the onion cases with mushroom mixture. Make the white sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour until blended. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk or cream; stir until thickened. Add the chopped onion centers and any of the mushroom mixture that didn’t fit in the onion cases. Season the sauce well with salt, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce or sherry. Pour the seasoned white sauce into a buttered shallow baking dish. Add the stuffed onion cases, stuffing side up. Place the a small tomato that is cut in half on the top of each onion. Sprinkle one with grated cheese cheese. Bake the onions until they are well-heated. Nice served with a juicy steak.
THIS DAY IN ENTERTAINMENT: 1942 – World premiere of movie “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY 1922 – Archaeologists enter King Tuts tomb.
JOKE OF THE DAY: I did a push up today. Well, actually I fell down, but I had to use my arms to get back up, so close enough. Now I need chocolate.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 26 BIRTHDAY TO: Tina Turner 75, Bat Masterson (1853-1921), Peter Facinelli 41, Charles Schulz (1922-2000), Rich Little 76, Robert Goulet (1933-2007), Kristin Bauer 48, John McVie 69, and Chris Hughes 31.
Expecting overnight company in the upcoming months? Make them feel like they are in a posh hotel right in your home by preparing their room with a few simple tricks.
Basket of Basics
Offer a neat grouping of rolled towels, new toothbrushes, travel-size toiletries (including toothpaste and saline solution), and just-in-case meds, so guests instantly feel cared for.
It’s off-putting for visitors to find the guest-room closet and dresser bursting with your overflow clothing. Leave at least two free drawers (set ajar so it’s clear that they’re for guests’ use), ample hanging space, and a half-dozen hangers to stow belongings.
Keep a room deodorizer on hand to combat mustiness or cover up a bad smell (quick). Or consider a natural-oil diffuser with a subtle scent, like lavender or eucalyptus.
A plush covering (on a wood floor or on top of a carpet) softens the space and makes the room cozy. Choose a durable, stain-resistant material, like wool.
If you have a ceiling fan to keep the space from getting stuffy, great. If not, get an electric table fan. Before guests arrive, make sure it works and clean the blades.
Carafe of Water and a Glass
Keep the vessel freshly filled to prevent guests from having to hunt, opening and closing cupboards, when middle-of-the-night thirst strikes.
Without one, guests are less comfortable coming and going as they please. Leave the key on a tray on the nightstand, along with a note detailing any tricky locks or alarms.
Covered Waste Can
It’s inevitable that guests will accumulate trash. A covered can lets them toss litter without having to look at it. Instead of a version with a lift-off lid, choose a step can—it’s easier and more sanitary.
Luggage Rack (or small table)
Their suitcases have been dragged through a plane or a train or stuffed in a car trunk. Do you really want them opened on top of the duvet? A rack is more hygienic and convenient.
Extra Toilet Paper (and a Plunger) in an Obvious Place in the Bathroom
Because no visitor wants to ask!
Extra Blanket or Comforter because some guests aren’t as warm blooded as others.
Good Reading Lamp guests will appreciate a good lamp for reading in be or working on the computer.
They’re the best way to make a space welcoming. Just put mildly scented grocery-store blooms in a vase that’s out of the way and not tippable, in case guests are getting ready in a hurry.
Print it on card stock, have it laminated at an office-supply shop, and place it on the nightstand so that guests can find it at a glance.
Two to three current issues of newsy or general lifestyle magazines or a small stack of books (short stories, poetry, essays) are a nice touch for lounging.
Leave a pair or two next to the bed so visitors don’t have to walk around in socks (or, brrr, barefoot). A unisex option that’s great for any guest:
Leave one on the nightstand so guests can power up if they forgot theirs at home (or just don’t feel like digging around in the suitcase for it). The V10 universal cell-phone charger works with iPhones, Android devices, iPads, and Kindles.
You can explain the clicker how-to, but it’s much easier to provide printed steps. Include a list of crowd-pleasing channels (CNN, E!, ESPN) for quick reference.
It’s so much nicer to have a dirty-clothes-stashing spot other than a suitcase, especially for guests staying more than a few days.
A space-saving alternative to the iron and board for smoothing blouses and button-downs.
Any night-light en route to the bathroom is appreciated, but a motion-sensor version lets you keep the house nice and dark when it’s not needed. It’s low-cost and a cinch to install, too.
Light-blocking drapes are a godsend for late risers.
JOKE OF THE DAY: My life feels like a test I didn’t study for.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 25 BIRTHDAY TO: Bruno Tonioli 60, Christina Applegate 44, Billy Burke 49, Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999), John F. Kennedy Jr. (1960-1999), Katie Cassidy 29, Amy Grant 55, Ricardo Maltalban (1920-2009), Ben Stein 71, Steven Lunsford 26, Barbara and Jenna Bush 34, and Charlaine Harris 64.
Everyone knows that a pie is only as good as its crust. But consistently achieving a tender, flaky texture, buttery flavor, and golden glow can be challenging for even the most seasoned baker. What’s an amateur to do? Start by following these 10 simple rules:
1. Be cool: Before you begin, make sure everything—your flour, your butter, your lard (if you’re using it)—is icy cold. Why? When you mix your dough, you want it to remain studded with unmelted nuggets of fat. When they hit the heat of the oven, those cool nuggets will create steam pockets—the building blocks of flakiness.
2. Stay thirsty: Always add water drop by drop and use the minimum that’s called for in a recipe. Water is what jumpstarts gluten formation, and too much of it inevitably results in a tough crust.
3. Drop some acid: Try replacing a bit of the water in a recipe with lemon juice or vinegar: Acid impedes the growth of gluten and keeps crust tender.
4. Don’t touch: Take care not to over-handle the dough. Both the heat from your hands and excess stretching can make gluten production go into overdrive—and the pastry seize up.
5. Chill out: Before rolling it out, chill your dough again—for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer. This “resting period” gives the gluten that’s formed an opportunity to relax, which prevents dramatic shrinking during baking and makes the dough easier to handle during shaping and rolling.
6. Roll right: Sandwiching dough between sheets of parchment paper before rolling keeps your workspace neater (less flour to scatter about!) and helps prevent fragile dough from sticking and tearing.
7. Let off steam: If you’re making a double crust pie, make sure to slice or cut vents into the top. These will let excess juices and steam escape from the pie and keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
8. Brush up: For a rich, golden hue and a bit of shine, brush the top of your pie with a wash made from egg and a splash of cream.
9. Get hot: When your oven’s not hot enough, your crust stews in the pie’s juices—and never crisps up. The solution: Always start baking at 425 degrees F, then reduce the temperature after about 30 minutes. Make sure your oven is completely up to temperature before placing your pie inside.
10. Protect and shield: Often fillings and crust cook at a different pace. To prevent burnt bits and scorched spots, place a pie shield or a ring of aluminum foil over the edge of the crust during the last few minutes of baking.
JOKE OF THE DAY: Someone switched my regular coffee out with decaf as a joke. They should be out of the hospital sometime next week. Happy Monday.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 24 BIRTHDAY TO: Sarah Hyland 24, Catherine Heigl 36, Billy Connolly 72, Pete Best 73, Colin Hanks 37, Todd Beamer (1968-2001), Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano (1897-1962), and Dwight Schultz 67.
Awesome! Awesome! Not as hard as it looks!! 3 Granny Smith Apples – wash the apples before you start: cut the tops off, and core out. Careful here, don’t cut through the apple skin.Fill the cored out apples with lemon water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a full glass of water ~ keeps them from turning brown.Use a small can of apple pie mix, adding a little more cinnamon and apple pie spices until the flavor is to your liking. Or..use fresh apples.
Dump the water out of the apples, just shake it off, fill the apple with the mixture. Set aside for a few minutes, while you make the lattice top.
Use one Pillsbury pie crust, rolled it out and sliced a few thin long strands. ( Let the pie crust come to room temperature before you roll it out)
Basket weave across the tops, leave a little hanging over the edges, when you’re done with the lattice, press the edges you left hanging to the apple.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on the top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, your oven may be different.
Some people use an egg wash on the lattice, but as fast as these cook, the tops might brown too quickly. You are looking for a nice browned top and the apple to look a little transparent. 25 minutes is about the perfect amount of time.
Kitchen notes: If you have extra pie filling and extra pie crust left over, roll it out thin and put the rest of the apple mixture in it and rolled it up jelly roll style, cook it right along with the apples, slice it in thin pieces for bit sized treats. Waste not, want not!
November 22 is Our annual Christmas Open House at Charter House. Store hours are 9:00-5:30. We have been decorating, moving thing from one spot to another, setting up the coffee table and door prize table; and now we are ready. A huge thanks once again to Drake Meats who donated a meat hamper just in time for the holiday season. Also to Van Houtte Coffee who always supplies the coffee and hot chocolate for our event. This year we have for door prizes, this beautiful 30″ acrylic angel valued at 450.00 and a pearl necklace and earring set.
One of our features this year is a ‘floating tree’. Scott found it on the internet and engineered it’s completion. We did it in black, white and red. Mona did a bang up job of decorating the trees once again this year. Please shop the trees, the tables, the walls and anything that looks like Christmas.
Most of all, thanks to our awesome staff who worked so hard and put in a ton extra time and effort to make this all possible. We have Warren, Karen and Shannon volunteering their time tomorrow as well. THANK YOU so much everyone.
FAMOUS QUOTE SAID ON THIS DAY, NOVEMBER 22: 1963 This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. (about the JFK assassination). – Lyndon B. Johnson
THIS DAY IN SPORTS: 1984 Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary pass: Boston College defeats Miami on a last second play.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 22 BIRTHDAY TO: Jaime Lee Curtis 56, James Campbell Bower 26, Yvan Cournoyer 71, Scarlett Johansson 30, Mark Ruffalo 47, Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004), Boris Becker 47, Mads Mikkelsen 49, Mariel Hemingway 53, Robert Vaughn 82, Billie Jean King 71, Tyler Hilton 31, MacKenzie Lintz 18, Steven Zandt 64, Josh Cooke 35, and Richard Kind 58.
Strike a high note in an entry by accenting a store-bought three-hook coat rack with old records. Arrange colorful vinyl 45’s, which you can score for as little as 50 cents secondhand, around the hooks. Glue the records to the rack and to one another with a heavy-duty adhesive. This can easily be turned into a cool piece of retro art by gluing the old 45’s together and then applying them to a couple of small blocks of wood and attaching hanging hardware to the wood. The hardware can be bought at any home improvement store. This is a project that can be done in an hour or two.
JOKE OF THE DAY: A quiet man is a thinking man. A quiet woman is usually mad.
HAPPY NOVEMBER 21 BIRTHDAY TO: Goldie Hawn 69, Carly Rae Jepsen 29, Troy Aikman 48, Bjork 49, Ken Griffey Jr. 45, Stan Musial (1920-2013), Marlo Thomas 77, Juliette Mills 73, Lorna Luft 62, Nicolette Sheridan 51, Cynthia Rhodes 58, Joseph Campanella 87 and, Lindsey Hahn 30.
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