Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nose Stuffy?

This tip may be a few days too late for some of you and just in time for others.  Beauty returns in the Spring, but with it comes P-O-L-L-E-N.  Some allergy seasons are worse than others, but we are in the thick of it where I live.  If you want another tool in your arsenal to fight seasonal allergies, look no further than the Neti Pot.

Several recent studies cited in this New York Times article suggest that nasal irrigation may actually reduce sinus and allergy symptoms.  The benefit, according to this Web MD article is believed to be two-fold.  It helps clear away allergens and infectious agents by thinning out the mucus and by making the cilia in the nose more efficient.  

One study suggests daily use is not the best idea, but it is best to use it when you are congested. (The debate over the frequency is because some believe the good bacteria is carried out with the bad, forcing the body to be dependent on the saline solution).  

On an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz stated this treatment may be more effective than medication.

Have you used a Neti Pot or had a doctor recommend it?  Would you consider using one?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cheese - Grating on Your Nerves?

Image courtesy of dvortygirl on
Typically the worst part of grating cheese is cleaning the cheese grater afterwards.  Dread no more!  This tip from Real Simple recommends to spray the cheese grater with non-stick cooking spray.  When the cheese is grated, it will not stick.

UPDATE: I found that since I still had to clean the non-stick cooking spray off the grater, I'd just assume clean cheese off and save the step.  I don't have a box grater, though, I have one that doesn't require sticking my hand in a box.  I have this grater in green:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Just For Cereal

I often play songs for the kids during breakfast that we're working on for school.  We also like to have "mood music" when eating outside on our deck.  And in the shower, I play music but wish it it was a little bit louder.

I love this helpful tip from Real Simple magazine, April 2011 issue:

Place your phone speaker-side down in a cereal bowl to amplify the tunes streaming out of it.  The concave shape of the bowl makes an effective homemade speaker.  And in my experience, this works better than those little speakers you plug into a headphones jack.

This summer when you're planning your outdoor picnic, don't forget to pack a cereal bowl for some mood music!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Faster Meatloaf

Some say meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food.  But most meatloaves take at least an hour to cook!  Use this tip and you can cut the cooking time in half.

Next time you make your favorite meatloaf, bake it in a muffin tin!  My normal meatloaf bakes in a loaf pan for 1-1/2 hours but my meatloaf "muffins" only take 20 minutes.

Rachael Ray recently did made Thanksgiving-inspired meatloaf with sweet potato puree as the frosting.  It made little meatloaf cupcakes.  I tried the recipe and piped the sweet potato puree on top (see picture on left).  My kids were so excited about eating "cupcakes" for dinner.  I may try piping potatoes on my go-to meatloaf next time, since we all like that recipe so much.

I'd love to hear from all of you.  Do you have a meatloaf shortcut to share?  Have you ever baked a meatloaf in muffin tins?  How did it turn out?