I have no pride and, according to some, no taste. I love fruitcake. Sickeningly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple, and golden raisins; heavy as a brick and about four weeks old. Yum.
For some reason, which I cannot even begin to fathom, fruitcake has acquired a somewhat dubious reputation. It’s been horribly maligned— often referred to as “disgusting!” It’s the laughing stock of the season, which as a fruitcake connoisseur, I find completely offensive.
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Even if winter is still hanging on, without a doubt things are going to heat up soon. And won’t that be wonderful—provided you’ve figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere?
If you could use some help in that regard, here are some tips, tricks, and great ideas that will help you stay cool without blowing a hole in the budget.
Whole house fan
A whole house fan (not to be confused with an attic fan) is installed in the attic and designed to ventilate the house whenever the outdoor air is cooler, which is typically after the sun sets—making it possible to turn the air conditioner off at night.
For a seasoned and experienced homeowner, installing a whole house fan is typically a do-it-yourself project. However, for a professional, it’s a quick and easy job. Learn more at the U.S. Department of Energy website.
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Whenever I write about my love of coffee that admittedly has turned me into a coffee snob, reader feedback is as enthusiastic as it is voluminous. I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my snobbery.
Many of you bring up interesting points—questions, too. Like what to do with brewed coffee that is no longer ideally fresh but too good to throw down the drain. Others want to know how to make your own cappuccino, lattes, and even the “steamer,” made popular by Starbucks—surprisingly containing no coffee at all.
Short of purchasing an espresso machine that uses high-pressure steam to make espresso and has a gizmo that steams the milk as well, there are ways we can improvise to create reasonable facsimiles of our favorite coffee drinks.
Even if you didn’t have an abundant garden this year, don’t worry. You can still make these wonderful gifts of summer to hold onto for Christmas. You can find everything you need at a local farmer’s market.
How wonderful it will be when you welcome the holiday season knowing your gifts are ready to go.
Mix 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries with 4 cups sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir one package dry pectin into 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers. Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours. Freeze and store frozen until ready to give. Makes 5 pints.
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There’s just nothing that screams late summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too.
Corn on the cob is a summer staple that should be part of every summer celebration and backyard cookout because not only is fresh corn cheap when it’s in season, it’s quick and easy to prepare, too! But first, let’s talk about how to start with the best ears of corn.
How to choose
There you are in front of a pile of freshly-picked, in-the-husks, sweet corn. You want to select ears with these characteristics:
Bright green husks that are tightly wrapped and mostly intact.
The stem area where it was cut from the stalk should be sticky and moist. If this is really dry, it’s old corn.
Check the tassels. They, too, should be slightly sticky, moist, and silky.
Peel back a small area of the husk to check for wormholes and brown spots. Avoid.
4 ways to prepare
There must be as many ways to prepare fresh corn on the cob as there are people who love to eat it. Here are my favorites:
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Is there anything better than ice cream on a hot summer day? Well, yes there is—FREE ice cream! And I’ve got the scoop on where you can get free goodies like ice cream on your birthday and other times, too.
Most of these stores and restaurants will require you to join a club or sign up for e-alerts. So do this: Create a free email account at Yahoo or Gmail exclusively for these kinds of special offers and freebies. That will help keep your regular email inbox free of all the notices and offers that are sure to show up.
When you sign up for for Baskin-Robbins mobile app and sign up for mobile deals, enjoy a free regular scoop of ice cream at participating U.S. locations. Get the app.
When you join the Forty Below Club, you will get a free cup of Dippin’ Dots ice cream on your birthday.
Once you join the BFF Club you’ll be eligible for a free three-scoop sundae with the purchase of an entree just for enrolling and a special treat on your birthday, too.
Join the Blizzard Fan Club to get a buy-one-get-one-Blizzard-free coupon. Kids also get a free ice cream treat with a kids’ meal.Read more
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