About a year ago I was introduced to Dump Chicken and could not wait to share the idea and recipes with you. Loads of positive feedback confirmed that many of you are fans, too.

I must admit that originally, I was somewhat put off by the name. Dump Chicken doesn’t exactly bring to mind something that is easy, ingenious and flat out delicious. But it should, because that’s what Dump Chicken is.

By way of review, you dump chicken pieces and your choice of sauce into a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, dump it into a pan and bake it. That’s it.

The genius part of this whole thing is the variations. In the original post, I gave you Russian Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Spiced Citrus Chicken, Spicy Sweet Glazed Chicken, Sticky Chicken, Honey Sesame Chicken, and Pepper Lime Chicken. And in a minute I’m going to give you even more choices. Read more

 

Dear Mary: I have a food vacuum sealer but find that it mashes and mangles delicate items like cookies, bread and brownies.

The main reason I got this machine was so I could send home-baked goodies to family and friends far away. Now what do I do? I could use a canister, but they are expensive and I wouldn’t want to mail that. My machine is not a fancy model, so there is no way to “half vacuum” the air out before the crushing begins, if that’s even an option on more expensive models. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! —Julianne, Illinois

Foodsaver

Dear Julianne: I have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer that I use all the time. In fact this is my third in 25 years. I use it every day and swear by it. My current model does have a manual override option that allows me to complete the seal before delicate items get crushed beyond recognition. But all is not lost if you do not have this feature. Honestly, it’s a little tricky to hit the override button in time to prevent crushing delicate things. But I do have a solution for you:

Freeze the items before sealing them. In a frozen state, delicate items are more sturdy against the force of the vacuum process.

My FoodSaver has paid for itself many times over—but only because it has a permanent place on my kitchen counter with the bags and attachments always at the ready. I have a collection of Mason jars in 2-quart, 1-quart, 1-pint and 1/2-pint sizes. I use them to store all manner of food items. The jar sealer accessory, which is part of my FoodSaver, vacuums the air out of the jar then seals the lid so tight it takes a church key to open it. So easy, so effective. Don’t tell anyone, but I have crackers that are at least six months old, sealed in a Mason jar, that are as fresh as the day I bought them. I can reseal my jars over and over until the contents are fully consumed. Amazing.  Read more

 

Imagine that every time you walk into the supermarket you can be sure that your favorite pricey name-brand products will be “Buy One, Get One 50% Off.” What?! That’s not possible? Don’t tell Pat, today’s first tipster. He’s figured a way to do that with his pricey breakfast cereal, week after week after week ….

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CEREAL MIX. The breakfast cereal I like is one of the most expensive on the supermarket shelf. Here is how I cut the price without giving up my favorite: I purchased two plastic containers with lids at Walmart. Then I buy one box of my favorite cereal and one of a cheaper version of it, mix them together and divide between the two containers. I get twice as much cereal for a reduced price. —Pat, California Read more

 

Got plans for air travel this summer? Here are some handy tricks to land the cheapest fares possible. But first a little story ….

Weather delays that caused one of my flights to circle over Dallas, for what seemed like forever, brought out the chatter bug in me and several of my seat mates. We compared the fares we’d paid for our roundtrip tickets from Orange County to Dallas. It was shocking. One fellow paid twice as much as I, while another came in considerably lower. What makes the difference? Lots of things, say travel experts, some of which remains known to the airline industry alone. But there’s lots we can know and things we can do to make sure we bag the best bargains on airfare this summer.

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Best time to book. The magical hour to shop for cheap airfare is 3 PM Eastern on a Tuesday.  Historically, says Rick Seaney, CEO and co-founder of FareCompare.com and owner of the world’s largest database of current and historical airfares, Monday night is the when the major airlines announce sales. This triggers other airlines to try to match those sales on Tuesday. It takes a few hours to get through the system, says Seaney, making 3 PM the time when the most cheap seats flood the system. Don’t wait until the weekend to buy your tickets because fares tend to creep back up by then, adds travel expert Peter Greenberg. Read more

In a University of Michigan survey, interviewers asked people what they believed would improve their quality of life. The answer given most often was, “More money.” In the book The Day America Told the Truth (Prentice Hall, 1991), surveyors asked, “If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?” The number […]

 

I love to bake, however baking has not always liked me. We’ve had our moments. It wasn’t until I surrendered to following recipes exactly that our relationship made the turn. I had to come to the point that I was willing to measure the ingredients, follow directions and believe that little things like “folding in” does not mean “beating it to death,” “one-cup of flour” doesn’t mean, “that looks about right,” and “butter softened,” does not mean “boiling like a witch’s cauldron.”

Ordinary blueberry muffins

Just last week I was reminded about how far I’ve come as a home baker when DPL staffer, Max, could be heard throughout the office, “These blueberry muffins are insane!” Sure, he called them blueberry muffins, but I call them Einstein Muffins. That’s because every time I make them, I feel like a genius. And you can feel like a genius, too—provided you follow these recipes exactly.  Read more

Dear Mary: My wife and I inherited a small printing business 40 years ago and have run it successfully ever since. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but we continue to survive. Now we need to upgrade our equipment to remain competitive. We need to purchase a digital production press. With supplies, training and shipping the cost will be about $20,000.

The problem is that we do not have that amount of money to buy the press and our credit seems to be holding us back from getting a loan. We are confident that with the increased business the press will generate, we can pay it back, in the same way we have paid for all of our other machines and equipment.

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Is there any lender you know of who will consider our 40 years of success and the potential we have for increasing our business?

Thank you and God bless all that you do to help others. –Jack P., Pennsylvania Read more

 

Yesterday I found a surprise on the front porch—a dutifully-delivered telephone book, complete with Yellow Pages and the old familiar “white” ones, too, a term I used advisedly as that color is anything but white.

Am I the only one who thought telephone books went out with VCRs? Apparently they have not because someone out there is spending a ton of money to produce and deliver them. Which begs the question, “What to do with a perfectly good telephone book?” Today’s first tipster begs to answer.

Old Phonebook

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SHRED BED. Whether for cushioning a package or lining an animal’s bed, shredded phone book paper produces a nice soft shred. A great new use for clean but outdated or unused phone books. — Linda Read more