Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts is our new favorite recipe, and it's so easy to prepare!

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 55 min
Makes: 6 servings

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (can use chopped garlic in jar)
1 box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (4 oz)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Hot cooked rice or rice pilaf, if desired

Serve with...
Pine Nut and Green Onion Pilaf
Total Time: 30 min

***In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, reserving fat in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble and set aside.

***In same skillet, cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Remove skillet from heat; set aside. In medium bowl, mix spinach, egg, thyme and cheese. Stir in onion mixture and bacon.

***In thick side of each chicken breast, cut 3-inch-long pocket to within 1/4 inch of opposite side of breast. Spoon about 1/4 cup spinach mixture into pocket in each chicken breast. Sprinkle pepper over chicken.

***In same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook uncovered 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until light brown on all sides. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook 10 to 20 minutes longer, turning if necessary, until chicken is no longer pink in center (170°F). Serve immediately with rice.

***This can also be cooked in a covered glass cooking dish in the oven. I prefer to do it in oven. Bake stuffed chicken breasts in a heavy sprayed (olive oil spray) dish at 350F for 45-60 minutes. Ovens vary for cooking time. Cook until chicken is done and stuffing is cooked. Enjoy!

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): In step 4, cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes, turning if necessary.

Friday, April 2, 2010

T.G.I. Fridays Jack Daniel's Sauce

For years this has been one of my favorite sauces. I just discovered their secret recipe, and wanted to share it. Try this favorite restaurant sauce on chicken, ribs, steak, shrimp or anything else you can think of. This thick and rich sauce/glaze is perfect for any protein and is a definite crowd-pleaser. ENJOY!!!

T.G.I. Friday's Original Jack Daniel's Sauce
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 Cup pineapple juice (Keep the small lunch-size cans on hand for cooking)
1/2 Cup whiskey (your favorite brand)
2 Cups brown sugar
2 Beef bouillon cubes
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and use as a sauce on a grilled meat. Can be refrigerated for later use.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Storage: Bath Linens

Storing extra bath linens a problem? Up until we did a remodel, our bathroom didn’t have a linen closet, and space was limited. I had to get creative to come up with a solution. No one wants to need a towel, and not have one available.

There’s several solutions for this problem no matter how limited the space may be. A small open shelf unit or a basket large enough to hold a few extra towels, can make great storage areas. If you only have a small corner area that’s free, then look for a corner shelf unit or cabinet to hold the linens. There’s also corner linen hampers. Rolled towels and wash cloths look better on the open shelves than folded ones.

Another great storage idea that is perfect for rolled towels is a wine rack, the kind that has the triangle slots—roll the towels and put one in each slot. If the towels are rolled tight, even the fluffiest ones should fit into the wine rack.

When restocking with clean linens quickly move the bottom linens to the top, and put the freshly laundered ones on the bottom. Most people will always reach for the top to remove a towel. By rotating the towels on laundry day, none of the towels will get dusty; the supply will always smell fresh.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kitchen/Entertaining Tip

Keeping Appetizers Moist Before Needed

When making appetizers ahead of time, and storing in the frig for later, they tend to dry out. This is true especially if kept for a day or two. Try wetting thick paper towels with tap water, wring out extra moisture, put towels on top of appetizer, and cover with plastic wrap or in plastic bags or containers. This works really well on mini sandwiches by keeping the bread moist; also with stuffed mushrooms and vegetable trays. Just make sure the paper towels are damp, not full of moisture.

Garden Pizza Bite

Try a make-ahead appetizer or snack with fresh-baked biscuits, and a veggie-packed topping.

Prep Time: 40 Min Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Min
Total Appetizers: 30
1 can (12oz) Pillsbury Grands Jr., Golden-Layers refrigerated flaky biscuits
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 Container (8 oz) spinach dip
1/2 cup shredded carrots (many markets have these already shredded in produce)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
4 medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)
Heat oven to 400F.
Separate dough into 10 biscuits; separate each into 3 layers. Arrange biscuit rounds on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle rounds with cornmeal.
Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking. Remove from cookie sheets; place on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
***Spread each baked biscuit roundd with 1 1/2 teaspoons spinach dip. Sprinkle each evenly with carrots, bell pepper and onions.
***Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour until serving time. Can be made the day before and kept in frig, covered in plastic wrap.

Cheesy Sausage Pie

Here's a hearty old-fashioned meat pie made easy with refrigerated pie crust. Recipe can be doubled, and use the refrigerated pie crusts (2) to line a large rectangle glass pyrex dish. Can be made at home to take to a gathering, and warmed in microwave upon arrival.

Prep Time: 15 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 20 Min
Makes: 8 servings


1 lb bulk pork or turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup tomato paste (from 6-oz can)
1 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn
2 cups Progresso® diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained (from 28-oz can)
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed
1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese (6-oz)


Heat oven to 350°F.

In 12-inch skillet, cook sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain and discard any drippings.

Stir in tomato paste, corn, tomatoes and olives.

Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. Spoon sausage mixture into crust-lined pan.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust in golden brown. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I don't plan to post many of these, but this sale is incredible. Coldwater Creek must be really hurting in this economy to put even their new merchandise on sale 50% off. This sale is only on line shopping, and ends 3-28-2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cooking Tip: RICE

Use fat-free chicken broth instead of water to cook your rice. It'll taste a lot better, especially if you're serving it with a chicken dish!

Mediterranean Chicken

***This is one of my favorite recipes, and it's quick!

Prep Time: 6 min/Cook Time: 15 min/Total Time 21 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings


1 cup College Inn Brand, Culinary Broth-White Wine & Herb
1 14.5 oz. Can Del Monte Canned Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, & Oregano No Salt Added
1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Rosemary minced
1 cup Frozen Artichoke Hearts (can used canned artichokes, drained)
1/4 cup Black Olives

Rice or Couscous (In a hurry, use Uncle Ben’s, Microwave 90 seconds Rice—found in rice section. It comes in an orange bag, ready for the microwave.)


Cook Chicken in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, 3 minutes. Add rosemary; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and broth. Simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over couscous or rice.


The last couple of years I’ve had problems with my shoulders and neck, and had to do an extensive course of physical therapy (PT). Unfortunately, my problem couldn’t be fixed with surgery. Here’s a wonderful exercise I was taught in PT, and it helps the neck muscles too.


Test: Put one arm over your shoulder, and reach behind your back. Then bring your other arm up behind your back, and try to touch the fingers of the hand that went over your shoulder.

Goal: To increase the flexibility of your arms, especially your shoulders.

Exercise: The "test" is also an exercise. Perform it several times a day, holding the stretch 30 seconds, then reversing your arms. Soon your fingers will easily touch. At that point, it’s OK to reduce the frequency until you reach a level where you can consistently touch fingers.

***Do NOT force your fingers to touch in the beginning, as this can pull a muscle in your back. Gradually, work up to the fingers touching.
This has made a big difference for me. It’s been over a year since I’ve needed PT or a cortisone shot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Keep lettuce fresh by placing it in a Zip-loc bag with clean paper towels. I’ve kept lettuce for a week by replacing the towels every other day. The paper towels absorbs the moisture, and keeps the lettuce crisp.

This also works if you wash the lettuce, drain thoroughly, and wrap the lettuce in paper towels before placing in Zip-loc bag. Also, tear the lettuce and DO NOT use a metal knife which will turn the lettuce brown and cause it to wilt.

I do with the same with spinach.

Cooking Tip: HOT Chili Peppers

Buy disposable hospital gloves, and use them when chopping the peppers, making sure to throw them away immediately, so they don't get used or contaminate other items with the pepper.

Sometimes, I've found these at Sam's Wholesale Club in the Restaurant Supply area. They're used for food preparations.

Cooking Tip: Too Salty

If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled raw potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt. This can be used in any recipe that has liquid.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tip: Keep Bugs Out of Dry Goods!

This is an old trick that I learned from my great-grandmother Ethel, who was born in 1890. She taught me this when I was just a kid hanging out in her kitchen. This really works!!!

Place “Bay Leaves” inside the container, on top of flour, sugar, or any dry ingredient, even in sealed containers. It keeps crawling bugs such as weevils from infesting the dry goods. If you keep your ingredients in their original package, place the “Bay Leaves” in the top of opened container, and seal the original container in a zip-loc plastic bag. Hefty makes a 2-gallon bag that will easily store boxes of pancake or Bisquick mix. It also helps to place a few leaves inside the cabinet or closet where you store the dry goods.

Recipe: Baked Cheese Olive Balls

***This recipe always gets many requests, and compliments. I’m actually making a new batch today for the freezer. This time I purchased almond stuffed olives, and think that’ll give a different twist to this favorite recipe.

Baked Cheese Olive Balls

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (your favorite)
40 large green olives, with pimento

In a medium-size bowl, cream butter. Mix in flour, cheese, paprika, cumin, and hot sauce. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least an hour (can be made ahead a day ahead).

Dry olives on paper towels. With a ball of cheese mixture that is close in size to the olive, flatten the cheese mixture in your palm, plop the olive in the center, work the mixture up around the olive, and then very gently roll it around betwwen your palms. Make sure the cheese mixture completely seals in the olive. Repeat with remaining olives.

Place the cheese-wrapped olives on a parchment-lined (or wax paper) baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen. These can be stacked three layers, just put the paper between each layer, making sure they aren't touching. Once frozen, you can store in resealable plastic bags in the freezer until you are read to bake them.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you are planning to bake immediately, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Prior to baking, remove olive from the freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for approximately 15 minute (while the oven is heating). Place olives on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to slightly warm. Serve at room temperature to slightly warm.

Makes 40 cheese olive balls.

Note from Lady Trish

Things have been busy here, with Winter blossoming into Spring. It’s difficult to believe we’re quickly approaching the month of April. I’ve enjoyed the snowy winter days, but I’m ready for the warm weather, outdoor grilling and entertaining. Here in the Midwest, we’ll be planting our annuals in Mid-May, and that’s something I look forward to.

Now is the time to stock the freezer with appetizers to have on hand when the outdoor entertaining becomes possible, and friends gather. I always try to use the month of March and April to do this. In the next few days, I’ll post recipes for appetizers that’s easy to make, and can easily be kept in the freezer for several months. I love having them on hand, to pop in the oven or toaster oven for the last minute entertaining.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recipe: Salmon-Baked with Herb Mustard Glaze

½ cup smooth Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish
1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon fillets with skins
4 tablespoons of Herb Mustard Glaze

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the middle shelf height.

Prepare the Mustard Glaze by combining the Dijon, mayonnaise, relish, parsley, horseradish, dill, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a baking dish and generously coat each fillet with at least 1 tablespoon of the mustard glaze. Extra mustard glaze will keep in a well sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Bake the salmon until it turns pink, or about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set it aside to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Buying Ham

Ham with a center bone is much more flavorable than one without the bone.

Recipe: Ranch Potatoes--Steamed in Microwave

Potatoes--Hidden Valley Ranch

1 pound Red potato pieces (approx. 1" x 1")
1 1/2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
Optional Chopped Italian parsley

ll: Place potatoes in a Glad® SimplyCooking™ Microwave Steaming Bag. Add olive oil, seal bag and shake to coat with oil. Open bag and sprinkle on Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. Seal bag and shake again.
ok: Microwave on High power (100%) for about 7–8 minutes*. Let stand 2 minutes before opening.
rve: Season with salt & pepper. Garnish with parsley.

2 Servings

*For 1,000 W microwaves (oven power varies, adjust times accordingly)

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a big problem; they’re brought into the home on fruit and vegetables from the market. Pour wine (any type) in a cereal bowl, and place on the kitchen counter or in any infected area. The fruit flies will be attracted to the wine, and they’ll drown in the liquid! I’ve done this many times through the years, and it really works. If you don’t drink wine, I would imagine the same thing could be done with a fruit juice such as apple or pineapple juice.

***You may need to do this for several days to completely rid the area of those pests!!!

Itchy Scalp or Flaky Dandruff

The cold weather brings dry and itchy scalps, with a lot of flaky skin. Try the astringent, Sea-Breeze for Sensitive Skin. Yes, they still make it, and can be bought at Walgreen’s. A large 10 ounce bottle is only $4.99.

***After washing your hair, open the bottle of Sea-Breeze, and cover the opening with your finger allowing a small bit to trickle over your damp hair. Massage the astringent into the scalp, and dry hair as usual. Also, my hair color tech assures me this will not damage color treated hair or strip your color, but dandruff shampoos can do both.

***Sea-Breeze is great for removing deep trapped oil, dirt and makeup. Use after washing your face.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Appetizer: Individual Pizzas

4 English Muffins, split in half and toasted
24 slices pepperoni
1-1/2 cups (approximately) canned pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

***(You can alter these ingredients to your family’s taste-use the English Muffins for the crust)***

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer pizza sauce, pepperoni, Italian seasoning and mozzarella on English muffin halves.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Buying Fresh Bread!!!

***This is true, I called International Award Winner, Dorothy Lane Market to confirm it!

Have you ever noticed that bread has different colored twist ties or plastic clip? It means something that most consumers don’t know! It means when the bread was made. Most groceries have bread delivered daily except on Wednesday and Sunday. When the bread man stocks, he doesn’t have time to look for expiration dates on each loaf on the shelf. He would have to do this at every store he stopped at, and that would take forever! So stop squeezing the bread for freshness or softness—this really doesn’t tell you anything! Remember this code!

Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:

Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow

So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie -- not a white tie which is Fridays (almost a week old)!

To remember the colors of the twist tie, they go alphabetically (B-G-R-W-Y) by color:


Match each to the days in order of the week, Monday—through Saturday, skipping Wednesday and Sunday!

When you think of the colors in alphabetical order and the days of the week (minus Wednesday and Sunday) in order, it’s easy to remember!

Shopping: Target Discounts

Love Target? Want the best deal? Go to this site to get printable coupons!

Tip: Fluffing Pillows

To fluff bed pillows or decorative accent pillows, throw them in the dryer on a low heat or air setting. It’ll help remove the dust and fluff the stuffing.

***If it’s a needlepoint, cross-stitched or tapestry type pillow, then make sure the dryer is set on ‘air’ without heat!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dusty Laundry Rooms

Did you know most of the dust in the laundry room is from cleaning the dryer filter?

Keep a spray-trigger type bottle handy, full of water. Every time you clean the dryer filter, first spray a fine mist of water on the lint-filled filter, then use your hand to remove the damp lint. Misting the lint before cleaning the lint off the filter will keep most of the dust a minimum! If you have a laundry room window with blinds or curtain, this will keep them practically dust free.

***Buy a brand new bottle for this purpose! DO NOT use one that has been used with anything other than water. Chemical residues can remain in the bottle, and transfer to your drying clothes! I would suggest not wetting the filter under a faucet in a laundry room sink. Over time, this can clog the drain with lint.

Also, buy a dryer vent brush. They’re small like a baby bottle brush, and on a long handle that is bendable. Remove the filter, and clean the dryer filter vent of extra lint. This will make your dryer more efficient, and less chance for dryer fires.

Entertaining: Fast Heavy Appetizer

We just had a few friends over this weekend, and everyone was supposed to bring a “heavy appetizer”. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fantastic way to make a gathering easy, and have a great selection of food. Everything was absolutely delicious—thanks everyone! One of my friends ran short on time, and I love her idea. I’m certainly keeping this one in mind the next time I have to bring something, and don’t have time to make my own appetizer!

Go to Subway, buy 3 or 4, foot long sandwiches, each one different. Cut them up into 2-3 inch widths across, insert toothpicks into each section, and you’ll instantly have a sub variety tray of appetizers! Thanks, Terri for this idea!

***These can be made the day before. We’ve actually bought Subway subs, and kept them until the next day. Somehow they’re better the second day, and more moist than the day they were bought. Just make sure you keep them thoroughly covered in the frig.

Decorating: Make Ceilings Taller

Install vertical striped wallpaper in a small area—keep stripes simple with small stripes. Apply a wallpaper with wider stripes in larger areas. This works on window treatments too—choose a striped fabric using the same rule.

Hang draperies from ceiling to floor, letting drapes puddle on the floor. Allow 12-18 inches of extra drape to create a generous puddle—if not they’ll simple look like you purchased drapes too long, and didn’t intend the puddle design. The puddle look is more European (
Old World), and may not be for everyone. The photo shows the luxury of puddled drapes. To create the puddle, fold the hem back under the drape, and let the drape slightly flow out from the wall base, allowing the drape to hang over the hem) Floor to ceiling drapes, even if they don’t puddle, will give the room more height.

Avoid valances which will produce a horizontal line before the eye travels to the ceiling, and will make the ceiling look lower. Swag and jabots will do the same thing. Unless your room is a large one, these types of window treatments look better on windows in rooms with high ceilings of 9 feet or taller. Swags with full length drapery panels will give a different look and actually give height to the room.

In a basement, with the standard ceiling height of 7-8 feet, add wide crown molding that are 5-6 inches wide. I prefer 6 inch, as the wider the molding the more distance the eye travels toward the ceiling making the walls look taller, lifting the ceiling. Consider putting molding on the ceiling just above the crown molding, around the entire perimeter of the room. This will again move the eye upward, giving an illusion of extra height.

I’ve seen basements with 2-3 inch crown moldings, and the thinner molding just emphasizes that the room is a basement, making the ceiling look lower. Just because your existing baseboards or door moldings are smaller in width, doesn’t mean you can’t install wider crown moldings.

Also use a neutral, light colored paint on the basement wall such as a light tan, and paint the crown molding a soft white—have the ‘flat’ ceiling paint tinted the same shade as the crown molding, so it flows from the molding to ceiling. A white ceiling will be stark, drawing the eye immediately upward, and that will visually lower the ceiling.

Pick artwork that hangs vertical instead of horizontal, especially in basements. The up and down length will draw the eye upward. Mirrors that are tall, hung in the vertical position can add light and height.

Don’t forget lighting—a floor lamp, the torch style that floods the ceiling with light will give the ceiling visual height—again, a very good thing to consider in a basement.

In basement rooms that have half, short windows, install the window treatments floor to ceiling (including blinds), and place a piece of furniture under the window, such as a chest with a lamp. Framing the chest with floor length drapes can give the the room the illusion that the room is not a basement.

Remember, any horizontal lines, whether artwork, long sofa tables against the wall, even the sofa will make a room look wider and longer. Vertical lines such as drapes, vertical hung artwork/mirrors, tall bookcases, and floor lamps will give the room visual height. Everything in your room will make a difference on how your room feels, so keep this in mind when you’re starting your next decorating project.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cleaning: Best Jewelry Cleaner

WINDEX! Yes, the window cleaner is the best jewelry cleaner I've ever found; it even beats the commercial jewelry cleaners. It should not be used on silver or costume jewelry, but it's great for real gold and hard stones. Never use it on any soft or porous stones such as pearls and opals!

In a small container, pour Windex over jewelry. You can let it soak for awhile or clean it immediately. Use an old toothbrush to clean in detail the entire piece. Rinse thoroughly, and your jewelry will sparkle like new!

Recipe: Quick Garlic Fries

Garlic Fries

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee, 2008
Prep Time:5 min/Cook Time:8 min
ves: 4 servings


(26-ounce) bag frozen "fast food" fries (recommended: Ore-Ida)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
Store-bought tzatziki or gyro dressing, for serving


ht broiler. On a baking sheet, toss together fries, olive oil, garlic, and seasoning. Arrange fries in a single layer. Broil 6 inches from heat source for 5 to 8 minutes.

Serve fries hot with tzatziki for dipping.

Leather Furniture

***First of all, let me say this: “some professionals” will disagree with this suggestion about cleaning and protecting your leather. With that said, I want to say that many times people are conditioned with what they believe for the reason that it’s what they were taught.***

Prolonging your leather furniture’s life is simple. Many people believe that leather furniture needs to be conditioned regularly with professional products—NOT SO! In most cases the only cleaning required is weekly dusting with a soft vacuum brush or a micro-fiber towel, and a warm damp cloth (no soap) to wash the surface. Constantly using the leather cleaners, soaps, and oils can cause a build up over time, and in the long run actually shorten the life of your leather furniture.

Most people arrange their furniture with seating placement in mind, and never consider the furniture’s exposure to light from a window, heat from an air duct-vent, radiator or even space heaters. All this can damage your leather. If you must place the furniture in front of a large window, keep the drapes or blinds closed during the time of day that exposes the leather to direct sunlight—that will fade the color. If this is not possible, then place an old sheet over the back or arms—any part that will be exposed to the sunlight. Keep leather pieces away from heating sources that will dry it out, and eventually cause cracking.

What should be avoided at all cost is a newspaper or magazine on a leather sofa or chair. The chemicals can be damaging, and in some cases transfer the print to the leather, especially if there’s a build up of body oil on the leather. I know it’s a habit of convenience to put reading material on the nearest surface, but leather is not the place you should do this. Another enemy of leather is alcoholic drinks. Alcohol should be wiped off immediately, and washed with a hot damp cloth at least twice to remove all the residue. Alcohol can dry out leather, but it can cause the leather to stretch.

Leather has long been a favorite for it’s durability, and especially for how it holds it’s shape compared to regular fabrics that stretch with time. However, leather upholstered cushions should be fluffed and turned regularly. If you don’t flip and rotate the leather seat cushions, they can become wrinkled over time, and be impossible to repair. Yes a well worn leather chair may be comfortable, but it’s not eye appealing with a saggy seat, so remember rotate, fluff, and protect, and no chemicals!

***If you have a stain, it’s best to contact a professional cleaner who is experienced in leather. You could make the stain worse or set the stain permanently if you try cleaning it yourself. Leather is too pricey to take the chance that your attempt will not harm the furniture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

***Hat & Scarf in One***

Ladies, remember this from the 70s and 80s? I have one from the ‘old days’, and still use it.

For a long time they weren’t available, but they’re back and better than before. I'm thinking my girlfriend, Mary Jo, who is in Minnesota, could use one with all the snow and cold weather!!!

They are now made with two layers of fleece. The fleece will keep you warm and dry, unlike the old models. Fleece has a tendency to be water repellent, but the new ones have a built in 'Blizzard Guard' that is wind and water proof. The new model has a side loop that keeps one end securely wrapped; another problem with the old model--the scarf would slip and open.

They're machine washable and dryer safe.

The design keeps the back of the neck warm and dry, the reason I always loved this item. Remember my tip of static and dryer sheets—wipe the inside with a used dryer sheet to hold down the static or keep one handy for when you remove the hat.

I purchased two tonight!

You can purchase them on line at:

In their search box, type in the item number: FB4402

***The item didn't appear when I searched by: Hat & Scarf in One

Recipe: Pizza Dip

***This one disappears immediately at parties. I usually make two or three. Make these in a Micro-wave safe dish, and they can be reheated repeatedly to soften the cheese if they last that long. :-) Also, great to make ahead, cook, and rewarm in a microwave upon arriving at a function.


8 oz. Of cream cheese
1/2 C of sour cream
I/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 cup of pizza sauce
1/2 cup of chopped pepperoni
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella

Lightly spray pie dish with non-stick spray.

Mix sour cream, cream cheese, garlic powder and oregano.

Layer above ingredients on bottom of pie dish, pizza sauce on next, then onion, pepperoni, top with mozzarella.

Bake about 20 minutes on 350F or until cheese melts. If cheese hardens during serving, can reheat in microwave. Serve with Nacho Chips for dipping.

Best served with a large spoon to be dipped onto individual serving plates as chips will break off in dip if everyone is dipping in same bowl.

***And for those who know me personally, yes-this is the one Sandy used to bring to our parties.

A Note From Lady Trish

Hi, Everyone. I hope you're enjoying my blog, and receiving tips to help make your life easier. Even though my blog site doesn’t show a lot of “Followers”, there seems to be many who are silently following my posts. If you’re not aware of this feature, you can sign up to be a “Follower”, and the updates will be individually emailed to you. Sign up on the left side of page, under my photo and “About Me”.

Since starting the blog, I’ve had email requests to post more recipes, especially some of the “oldies”. I think all of us were tired of these, with every party or gathering having the same food prepared, and they fell to the backside or were lost. Everything old, truly is new again, and to the younger generation they’ll be brand new.

I’ll continue to post these, but will try to make the posts diverse, so there’s something for everyone. Thanks for the support, and all feedback is welcome.
Lady Trish

Cleaning: Bathtubs Without Pain

Having joint problems that makes it difficult to clean your bathtub, or a deep whirlpool bath?

Try buying a new sponge mop, the kind that has a squeeze device attached to wring it out. Mark the handle with a permanent marker or duct tape to identify it from other mops, and use this one only for the tub cleaning chore.

The mop eliminates the need to bend over or get on your knees. If you have a linen closet in the bathroom, then keep the tub-cleaning mop there or keep it in a separate area from the regular mops. This will keep family members from accidently using it to clean a floor.

Cleaning: Artwork and Mirrors

I was surprised that cleaning companies are NOT taught this rule.

NEVER spray the glass cleaner directly to the glass covered artwork or mirror. Over a period of time, the moisture will discolor or cause mold if the cleaner should get under the frame. Always spray the cleaning towel, and then clean the art/mirror. This will keep them looking new for many years of enjoyment.

Decorating: Area Rugs for Dining Area

Considering an area rug under the dining table? Stop! Before you buy there’s things to consider.

The area rug must be larger than just the area where the table and chairs sit. DO NOT purchase a rug that will not allow the chairs pushed back far enough to sit, without the chair legs going off the rug. This will cause major problems for using the table; the chair legs will constantly be hanging up on the rugs edge, and besides being a nuisance, will eventually damage your rug.

There are no exact rules, but here’s a guide: The average person needs 18 inches from the table edge to the front back of the chair when seated. If family members are larger in build, then add more to the inches. Next, when seated, the average person needs an additional 16 inches to push back the chair to get up. Again, add more if family members are larger than average. If all family members are of average size, then think about the guests who may not be; it’s best to be generous with measurements for everyone to be comfortable.

Also, look at your floor for duct vents. You do not want to cover any vents with the rug. Even with vents closed, they are weak when people step on them. Remember, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. You can’t expect even family members to remember there’s a vent under the rug.

Covering the vent will also cut down on the room’s air circulation. A table full of people seated, plus perhaps candles burning, generates a lot of heat. You’ll definitely want to keep the air flowing. Making sure everyone is comfortable with the room temperature, and enough personal space; this will make the entire dining experience more pleasant.

If you can’t make a rug work due to lack of space or floor vents, then don’t try to squeeze one into the area. Move on, and find other ways to bring warmth and color into your dining space. I’ve wanted a rug in my dining room for years, and unfortunately there’s not enough space without covering my vents.

***Area rugs can be used on top of carpet. Make sure you use a rug pad to keep the rug secure. There are rug pads to use on different floor surfaces; wood floor and carpets pads—only use the one appropriate for your area.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Decorating: Creating an Entry/Storage

I may have lived in the same house for 30 plus years, but our two daughters have lived more of a nomadic lifestyle, especially during their college years. There’s been many apartments decorated, with an equal number of challenges.

One problem I’ve encountered often is no separate entry. You can make one visually, and gain extra storage. This same decorating trick can also be used to divide a long narrow room into two functional spaces; a living/TV area, and the other space a reading or a play area for children.

If the room is a rectangle with the entry door on one end, try putting two bookcases together back to back with their side against the room’s wall, making a divider wall. No coat closet, put an armoire and bookcase back to back or even two armoires. Just make sure both units are the same height and width. There’s great ‘unassembled furniture’ available at a low cost, and many different styles. If you haven’t looked, you might be surprised at how much better the quality is today.

*** For stability, bolt them together, back to back in a way that they can easily be disassembled without damage. The next place you live may be a different room arrangement, and they can be used in another way.

If the living room is small, try using cases that are table height to keep the area open. Put a table runner on top, and that will hide the seam, then decorate the top with a few items as if it were a sofa table. A lamp would be nice on the end next to the room’s wall—instant light when entering the room. Just make sure to keep the lamp in proportion to the bookcases, and the shade isn’t bigger than the width of the cases. You don’t want anyone brushing against the lamp, and knocking it off. A rectangle shaped shade would work great.

If you use bookcases with solid doors, this will also provide extra storage for shoes, mittens, scarves, and other things that you want to hide; two great functions from a clever decorating idea. Remember, think outside the box!

Recipe: Outback-Coconut Shrimp

Outback Steakhouse-style Gold Coast shrimp

May 13, 1998
Makes 4 servings (I’ve made more, just prepare more batter)

Marmalade dipping sauce:

1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Dash salt


1 cup flat beer
1 cup self-rising flour
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 large fresh shrimp
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 cups vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare the marmalade dipping sauce: Place marmalade, mustard, horseradish and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. Make the shrimp: In a large bowl, combine beer, flour, 1/2 cup coconut, the sugar and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the last segment of the shell and tailfins intact to serve as a ``handle'' when dipping and eating. Dry shrimp with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

4. In a deep saucepan, preheat oil to 350 degrees (measure with a deep-fat thermometer). Place remaining 1-1/2 cups coconut in a shallow bowl. Dip shrimp, one at a time, into batter, coating generously. Drop battered shrimp into coconut and roll until well-coated.

5. Fry shrimp, four at a time, about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, flipping shrimp halfway through cooking time. Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Hold cooked shrimp in a preheated 325-degree oven until remaining shrimp are cooked.

6. Serve hot with marmalade dipping sauce on the side.

***These can be baked on a olive oil sprayed cookie sheet and baked. Bake at 350 F until done—each oven is different with the cooking time, but they should be golden brown--not burned.

***From Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, by Todd Wilbur, Plume

Crooked Pictures

Have artwork, pictures or a mirror that you’re constantly straightening? Maybe it goes crooked on the wall every time the door is shut hard?

There are little rubber disk with an adhesive back (when the paper is pulled off). Use these to stick to the back of the artwork/mirror and the rubber side will keep the frame from shifting on the wall, and they DO NOT leave marks on the wall.

They’re called ‘
self adhesive, rubber bumper pads’. The photo is from Lowe’s web site. They can be found at hardware stores, and I’ve seen them at Kroger’s grocery in the household isle. The photo above is from Lowe's.

***Another use: If you have an small appliance (coffee maker) or anything similar that is missing a small foot, these can be used to help level the item. I’ve actually used them sticking one on top of the other to make a replacement leg level with the remaining original legs.

Also, if you have a rough bottom item, and afraid it’ll scratch your table; these will work for protection.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Type Kid-Friendly, Quick & Easy, Sandwich
dietary considerations Low Cal

yield: Makes 4 servings
ive time: 35 minutes
total time: 35 minutes


10 1/2 inch think slices of French bread (4 inches in diameter); 8 slices toasted, 2 slices (crust removed) diced

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided, plus 12 large basil leaves

3/4 cup purchased refrigerated marinara sauce

12 ounces ground chicken (white meat)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon grated onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

4 large radicchio leaves


Blend diced bread and Parmesan in processor to fine crumbs Transfer to pie dish; mix in 2 tablespoons minced basil.

Mix marinara and 2 tablespoons basil in small saucepan. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce to large bowl.

Add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon oil, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper; blend. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties; coat with crumbs. Heat sauce over low heat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, 4 minutes. Turn patties over; top with cheese. Cook 3 minutes. Cover; cook until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves, and warm marinara.

Cooking for One or Two

If you’re an empty-nester, cooking for two or even just for yourself: Try cooking the main course (your meat or fish) in the toaster oven. I’ve found that the meat is much better because it’s cooked near the cooking element. The cooking time is shorter, and much of the meat’s moisture is retained.

There are all types of dishes made from ceramic, Pyrex, and non-stick metal that will fit in the oven. Just make sure to take your measurements (width, depth, and height) inside the oven before shopping for a dish, to make sure it’ll fit. Make sure you don’t get the dish too high as you don’t want the dish to touch the top heating element. In a pinch, put the meat/fish in foil wrap, add ingredients and cook in the toaster oven.

***You’ll need to watch your entrée until you figure out the exact cooking time, as it will be a lot faster than the conventional oven, but so much better in taste!

Snow Removal for Sotherners or Not

For those of you who live south or other areas where there’s little snow, and you’re getting the white stuff—you’re not equipped with the gear for the removal. Try your leaf blower—it works great. I’ve even used mine here in the Midwest for a quick clean at my front door! I have an electric one that's very light. I plug it into an entry wall outlet, and clean the front walk from inside the house.

***It's a great device to have even if you live in a condo or apartment where the snow is cleaned for you. You can keep your front door step clean or your back patio for your dog a path to do their outside business.

Recipe & Coupon Site

Just found this wonderful site on a Facebook Ad--Joined, and love it. I've already printed some discount coupons, and recipes! Hope you'll find something helpful, too at:

Lighting During Power Outage!

Before we get into the Spring thunderstorm power outages, consider this little helpful device. Unfortunately, one doesn’t have a warning when the power goes off, and many times it can catch us totally in the dark, fumbling around for a flashlight.

These are better than the standard night light which I find too bright, and disturbing to my sleep. Instead of the white bright light from a regular 4 watt bulb, this device has a soft orange glow that is unobtrusive. The other nice feature is that when it’s plugged into an outlet, the device has a plug outlet on the front, so the outlet is still available. When the power goes off, a bright white light kicks on that is battery-powered, and there’s a built in flashlight with an on/off button on the bottom of unit. The batteries last a long time before they need to be replaced.

We’ve used these for several years, and they’ve never failed to do the job when needed. They give one a sense of direction in the dark—easy to see, and unplug and you have a flashlight to use until you can get other back-up lights working. We’ve installed them in several locations directing us to exits. Remember, it’s easy to get confused in a smoke filled home, and in a house fire the electricity may not work—these could save your life by marking the exits.

These are available through—which is the cheapest price I’ve found. Don’t wait for the next power outage, consider these helpful little devices!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flameless Candles

Given up your candles due to small children or pets in the household? Don't worry, there's a way you can have the look of candlelight without the danger of fire. If you haven't heard, there are battery-operated Flameless Candles. Give them a try; they're a great alternative.

The Flameless Candles have come a long way in the few years since they first appeared on the market. They are unscented or scented, and come in many colors, and sizes. The newest feature is they are now available with timers, most 4-6 hours. Once the timer is set, they’ll automatically turn on and off. The timer doesn’t have to be used, as all come with an on/off switch!

***These are great for senior citizens, dorms, nursing homes, hospitals, and bathrooms where you might forget to extinguish them after an evening of entertaining. So, bring back the candlelight and enjoy!

Polishing Stainless Appliances

This tip comes from my daughter, Tara:

Use Pledge Furniture Polish to clean your stainless appliances. Don't use the Lemon scent for the outdoor grill.

Thanks, Tara

Entertaining: Appetizer Party Details

Ever have a gathering where everyone is supposed to bring an appetizer, and all you end up with is a table full of salty chips, and creamy dips? Not very filling is it?

Try distinguishing next time whether on the phone or on the invitation: “Heavy Appetizers”. This should be obvious that the appetizers are supposed to be something significant, and not chips and nuts.

Also, if you’re hosting the gathering, and DO NOT require guests to bring something, it would be considerate to include what will be served on the invite. I don’t mean specific details of each food, but simply something like this:

Please Join Us for Heavy Appetizers and Drinks’ or ‘You’re Invited for Heavy Appetizers and Drinks’.

This will let the guests know if they should eat before arriving.

Unfortunately, the word ‘snacks’ can mean almost any type of food to nibble on—so play it safe, and use the new description: “Heavy Appetizers”. This way guests and hosts will both be happy!

Recipe: Appetizer-Sausage Balls

Some things are better the second time around. Many of us will rcognize this "Oldie" recipe!
~~Sausage Balls~~

These handy tidbits were developed in the 1960s, with the advent of biscuit mix. They are simple, delicious, and very popular. To freeze, wrap the unbaked balls well in freezer wrap, label, and freeze. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until hot and golden.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Serves 8-10
Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 lb. Italian sausage (Turkey Sausage may be substituted)
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1 egg, beaten
dash cayenne pepper
2-3 cups biscuit mix


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place uncooked sausage, cheese, egg, cayenne pepper, and 2 cups of the biscuit mix in large bowl and mix well until blended. If you can, work in an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of biscuit mix (dough should be stiff and slightly dry). Form into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 375 degrees for 14-19 minutes until deep golden brown and cooked through. The little balls should be sizzling on the cookie sheet. You may want to turn the cheese balls over halfway through cooking time so they brown more evenly.

These freeze well after baking. Place cooked balls on a cookie sheet lined in wax paper. Make sure they’re not touching. Can make up to 3 layers as long as wax paper is between layers. Once frozen, store in a zip-loc freezer bag, and date.

Serve with a dipping sauce made of equal parts seafood cocktail sauce or chili sauce and buffalo chicken wing sauce. It may sound improbable, but the combination is spicy and rich, perfect with the crunchy and creamy Sausage Cheese Balls.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Entertaining: Guest's Toiletry Needs

When entertaining one or fifty people, there are some things that should be available to guests, for their convenience. Also, guests should not have to ask for personal items that would cause embarrassment.

Something I find constantly over looked, even in the best of homes, is the consideration given to guest’s toiletry needs. With all the nasty germs going around, this is something that should NEVER be over looked when entertaining. There are also some essentials that I advise to be stocked, besides the extra bathroom tissue. I’ll address several issues of concern as I list the items for the guest bath. If you don’t have a separate bath for guests, then it’s even more important to create a clean and well stocked area in your personal bath for them.

Guest Towels: I’m not talking fabric towels! I personally do NOT want to dry my hands on a fabric towel even if it’s clean; it’s only clean for the first person, and the first person to use it is unsure just how clean it is.

A package of pretty paper guests towels can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Paper Dinner Napkins (the ones folded in a rectangle, not the square ones) can be just as functional and for less cost. I’ve found pretty ones at Dollar Stores, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s. Also, discount party stores are an excellent source—all colors and designs. Most cities have these type of stores. If you’re in a hurry, pick up a package of colored or white Dinner Napkins at the grocery. Always keep a package on hand for unexpected guests. I don’t know why, but if the package is marked ‘Guest Towels’, they’re more expensive than those marked ‘Dinner Napkin’--there’s only a slight difference in thickness.

***You don’t have to keep these out all the time, especially if you have small kids. These are for
‘Guests’. If you have guests, and don’t have paper dinner napkins or guests towels, use paper towels by folding each full size towel in half and stacking them on the sink counter. Trust me, you’re guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Liquid Soap: There’s nothing more germy than a bar of soap. Everyone touches it, germs are easily passed around. The discount warehouses such as Sam’s has the gallon container that can be bought in bulk to refill the small pump bottles.

Hand Sanitizer: If possible, this is a nice extra for guests, and family too. I keep one at every sink, including the kitchen. I prefer the unscented, especially if guests will be eating—the smells can be strong enough to get on the food, and ruin one’s taste. Sam’s also sells the gallon containers of this.

Small Trash Can: This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised. I was at a home where there were paper guest towels, but no trash bin. I didn’t know what to do with my used towel. I folded it, and discreetly carried it to the kitchen trash. Also, a disposal for some female products.

Female Products: This is something that is often overlooked, especially if there’s NO need for them in the host’s home where the women are older. A small container of tampons, preferably with the plastic applicator, and full size sanitary pads should be kept under the sink or in a bathroom linen closet or cabinet. One small container of each can be available for years without getting old. If space is limited, then put several of each item in a clear zip-lock storage bag instead of using the entire box for storage. This way the guest can easily find them if needed.

Extra Bathroom Tissue: When entertaining, there should always be more than one extra roll of tissue. Make sure there are several rolls so there won’t be any embarrassing moments.

Aerosol Room Deodorant: Keep a can of room spray, preferable an odor eliminating one, and not the perfume kind under the sink. Plug in room fresheners are also a nice item to consider.

***If you do have a guest bath, keep it regularly stocked so that it’s always ready for unexpected guests.

Your guest may never mention your special attention given to the bath, but your effort will be greatly appreciated, especially for those unexpected moments that could be embarrassing.

Moving the Christmas Tree

Ever decorate the Christmas tree away from the wall, and then need to move it into the corner or closer to the window? Easy solution! Buy carpet samples and put the carpet side down, and sit the tree stand on the back of carpet sample (jute back). Decorate tree, and then slowly push and pull the carpet sample until tree is in desired position.

Two tips: this is better if someone helps by holding the center pole of tree half way down length as other person moves the sample. Also, make sure the carpet sample is turned, and all feet of stand are securely on it, and it’s angled where the Christmas tree skirt will cover the sample.

***This works great on tile and wood floors, but it makes it easier to move tree on carpet too. The carpet sample keeps the stands feet from sinking into the room’s carpet which makes the tree difficult to move. Carpet samples come in two doormat sizes. Make sure to measure the diameter of the stand’s width, and you buy the correct size, so the stand’s feet fits securely on the entire sample.