preparing chocolate cake batter

The Secret Ingredient in Yummy Chocolate Cake plus More Great Reader Tips

Once again, it’s great reader tip day, when I reach into my overflowing email inbox to pull out handy hints and great ideas sent in by you, my Dear Readers. The tips you send me are always appreciated, often amusing, and frequently make me wonder, why didn’t I think of that?

preparing chocolate cake batter

CHOCOLATE CAKE. I use one cup of leftover coffee in my chocolate cake mixes instead of a cup of water. The bottom of the pot is the best! Vicki

PILLOW PROTECTORS. I used to iron cotton pillowcases but no more because I no longer use pillowcases! Instead, I use cotton pillow protectors with a zipper—two of these per pillow: One to protect the pillow and one to wash when I launder the sheets. The zipper has never been a problem. The pillows look neater and blend in with decorative pillows used on the bed. Ginny

Related: Best Inexpensive™: Mattress, Bed Pillow, Duvet Cover

REMOVE PERMANENT MARKER. You recently published a tip from a reader who had difficulty removing a permanent marker stain from her refrigerator. I am a teacher, and here’s what I do, no cleaner required: Simply use a dry erase marker to write over the top of the permanent mark, then wipe it away. This trick, which I actually learned from a student, has saved the whiteboard in my classroom on more than one occasion! By the way, thanks for all of the great tips! I’ve been reading your column for years and have learned so much from you! Jennifer

CLEAN VINYL FLOORING. Luxury vinyl flooring is beautiful but can prove difficult to clean. Bar Keepers Friend is safe for vinyl floors when you follow the cleaning instructions on the back label. Clean small areas at a time. Wet the floor, apply Bar Keepers Friend to a wet sponge, clean and rinse thoroughly. Janet, SerVaas Laboratories

CHEAP BIRDSEED. We feed wild birds in the winter here in eastern Washington, and it is very expensive. One day while at Walmart, I noticed that chicken scratch food was really inexpensive, around $8 for a 40-lb. bag. I thought I’d try it, and it works great. We feed a lot of quail and Hungarian partridges, and they love the mix of grains in chicken scratch, and it is less than half the price of expensive bird food mixes. The little birds seem to like it, too. Linda

KEEP SQUIRRELS AT BAY. Keep squirrels off your bird feeders by spraying poles with WD-40. While birds will still be able to enjoy the feeders, squirrels won’t get enough traction to climb. WD-40 also works as a pigeon repellent on balconies and roofs, because they hate its smell. Bob

EPSOM SALT IN LAUNDRY. I have found that using Epsom Salt (1/4 to 1/2 cup) in addition to my regular detergent in the wash cycle gets rid of the stinky smell in all my clothes and towels without having to use hot water. My son can have really bad odor, smelly shirts! Marcine

EASY SHEET ORGANIZATION. Not all tags on sheets say the size of the sheet, therefore using a black permanent marker, I mark S for single D for double size, Q for queen and K for king size. The mark survives bleach in the wash. Simplifies my life. Jan


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

2 replies
  1. JP says:

    At work in a meeting, the line lead wrote on the whiteboard with black permanent marker. She asked someone to go get some coffee. I don’t know if the silence in the room meant the others didn’t believe it.
    I still wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *