How to Eliminate Odor of Gasoline Spilled Inside Family Vehicle Plus GIVEAWAY!

Recently a message showed up in my inbox that made my heart sink. I couldn’t help imagine what it would be like to lend my car to someone, only to have it come back to me with a little something I’d not counted on. And what if that condition was permanent?! Thankfully, I have good news for one desperate reader.


DEAR MARY: I have a problem that I can’t solve and was wondering if you would be able to help.  Someone borrowed my car recently and transported a small generator in it.  Somehow, the gasoline spilled out inside my Explorer and left a very intense gasoline smell. I have tried everything I can think of and nothing has removed the smell.  I steamed cleaned it with carpet shampoo, sprinkled it with baking soda and vacuum it up, saturated it with Nok-Out at least three time to no avail. Any ideas? Lisa

DEAR LISA: My first response to your dilemma was to wonder if this “someone” was at one time on your list of friends (relatives?) but I won’t go there. Instead, I do have a solution for you and one that does not involve pushing that SUV off a cliff. It’s long, so bear with me.

This is definitely a job for Nok-Out—an odor-eliminating product that is non-toxic, fragrance-free and absolutely works wonders providing it is used specifically.


Get Rid of Crawling Insects Fast and Easy Without Poisons

Got creepy crawly insects like ants, centipedes, cockroaches, silverfish or bedbugs trying to take over your home or garden? Don’t call an exterminator quite yet. I’m confident this is a problem you can fix yourself—cheaper and faster!


If you want to treat your home for insects, but you don’t want to poison yourself, your pets or the earth, your very best option is to use food grade Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of centipedes, bed bugs, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, fleas and all other household creepy crawlies.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE), an off white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. If you could take a look at it through a microscope you’d see that it resembles shards of glass. When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (centipedes, bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs and fleas do) or placed strategically so that bug crawls into it, the DE cuts into that bug’s exoskeleton, which causes it to dehydrate and die.

Here’s the most amazing thing about DE: It kills bugs but doesn’t hurt mammals. You and your pets could eat it without harm. In fact, many people add DE to their daily diet to promote good health. 


Better and Cheaper than Food Trucks

The Food Truck phenomenon has exploded across America, mostly in large urban areas of Los Angeles, Denver and Austin, Tex., but quickly making its way to the suburbs as well.


I am not a food truck aficionado. Until just recently, my one and only food truck experience was in Austin where I ordered a donut that cost $7.95. It was crazy—the biggest donut I have ever seen, cut open and filled with bananas, maple cream and bacon then re-deep fried and for its final glory, dunked into a vat of frosting. Three friends and I split it four ways. I choked down one bite and tossed the rest. It was just too decadent—as if that’s even possible with a donut.

Several weeks ago, hubs and I decided to patronize our new community’s semi-monthly Food Truck Night. My high hopes of a better experience the second time around were quickly dashed.

First it was the wait. I’m talking really long lines because, understandably, a food truck has a tiny kitchen and even tinier staff. Once we got to the front and placed our order, the wait was only half over. We had to wait (and wait some more) to get our food.

Next, the prices were ridiculously expensive. Then to top it off, the food was not good. All I could think was that I could have made this 10 times tastier for 1/10th the cost.

Today, I want to prove that to you with three different slow cooker recipes for taco meat—all of which are made in a slow cooker. I don’t know why I’m calling this “taco” meat because while certainly delicious in tacos, all three are equally wonderful in burritos, salads and tostadas. In fact, I use these meats for my own versions of enchilada and taquitos, too.

All of these recipes keep well, so if you have leftovers, Hooray! That means you’ll be able to enjoy another delicious lunch or dinner later in the week. 


Everybody Needs a Slow Cooker




A slow cooker, unlike this little guy in a chef’s hat, is an ingenious appliance. It’s simple. It cooks slowly. Really slow—like it takes 8 hours to get a meal ready where other methods can take 30 minutes. But unlike that 30-minute meal, a slow cooker doesn’t require work. It doesn’t need a babysitter. No coddling required with a slow cooker. You can just throw the ingredients into the slow cooker, set it and walk away.

But that’s not all. A slow cooker requires very little energy. It costs on average, 21 cents to run a slow cooker for 10 hours. If you roast a pork roast for 2 hours in the oven instead of using the slow cooker for 10 hours, you would spend $2.51 to operate an electric oven or $1.49 to operate a gas oven. Multiply the low cooking costs for a slow cooker over an entire year, and you will experience real savings.

There’s one more thing: A slow cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen the way a stovetop or oven can. This time of year with temperatures soaring right along with home cooling costs, that’s a big deal.

Slow cookers are pretty basic. Some have programmable timers, but generally it’s On or Off plus a dial to tell the thing how many hours to cook. Slowly.


Super Inexpensive Chromebook Laptop Gets Another Rave Review Plus More Reader Feedback

Somedays I stare at my email inbox the way a meteorologist stares at a barometer. While the meteorologist counts on his barometer to forecast the weather, I look to my email inbox to measure and predict your reactions and feedback.

You might recall a recent post on how to use up every last bit of a rotisserie chicken. I have to admit that my thoughts were on how to use up all of the chicken meat. About 10 minutes after that post hit, my inbox started going crazy. I got hundreds of responses scolding me for failure to include making stock from the chicken carcass. Whoops!

A post on a type of very inexpensive laptop brought another tsunami-strength wave of mail—this time from happy, satisfied readers turned Chromebook fans.



Get Back at Your Creditors

Late fees, punitive interest rates, over-limit fees, loading up your credit report with negative information—it’s enough to make you scream!

portrait of happy woman

It’s not that your creditors are doing anything illegal. You just didn’t understand the power you gave them when you accepted that credit card (it was buried in the fine print). And now it seems like they’re staying up nights looking for new ways to stick it to you. If you’ve just about had enough, maybe it’s time for you to turn the tables and get back at them.

Pay early. Nearly 30 percent of a credit card company’s profits are derived from fees—annual fees, late fees and over-limit fees. You’d think they would be pretty satisfied with all that interest you send them each month. But no. They want more. The days when issuers allowed 10 or 15 days for a payment to arrive after a due date before charging a fee are long gone. Now those fees kick in if you’re even five minutes late, and can range from $20 to $39 per occurrence.

Get back at your credit card company by making a decision right now to never pay another dime in late fees. Be quick with your payment. Send it in the preprinted envelope that came with your statement (or pay online). Don’t enclose a note, use a paper clip, decorate with stickers or do anything that will pull it out of the fast track and into manual processing.


How to Trap Wasps and Other Great Reader Tips

Are you aware that your health insurance provider may be willing to cover the cost of your gym membership? Or that all you need to take care of those annoying wasps flying around your home this summer may be as close your food pantry? How about where and how to purchase beautiful high-quality, name-brand men’s belts cheap? Your fellow-readers know and today they’re willing to share.


WASP CONTROL. It’s that time of year when I’m filling containers with homemade potion to trap the wasps that love to visit my property. I place containers around the yard, pool and patio. Wasps and other various other flying insects are attracted, dive in for a drink and never come out. Here’s the recipe: Mix together 6 oz. (3/4 cup) vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. If you need more, double the recipe. This wasp potion is non-toxic and harmless for kids and pets. Marilyn

INSIDER HOTEL INFO. Always check the hotel website before making a reservation. That’s where you will find our best rates. At the hotel where I work, when you reserve through Travelocity and Expedia, you’ll pay the full rate plus the commission—really pricey! Carey


Entree Salads that Beat the Heat

It’s summer. It’s hot. The last thing you want to do is heat up the kitchen to make dinner. But before you pick up the phone to make reservations, consider these two words: Entree Salad. Yes!  A big, hearty main-dish salad that takes advantage of the fresh season produce you picked up at a farmer’s market—or right from you own garden—that might also feature grilled fish, chicken salad or even leftover steak or taco meat.


Here, let me whet your appetite with three of my all-time favorite Entree Salads.


4 to 6 Servings

  • 10 cups mixed lettuces, lightly packed (8 ounces)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup radish or other type sprouts
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • Bottled Sweet Onion Dressing

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with 1/2 cup of dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.