TIP #27: Fake a perfectly timed meal

It's hard to make a meal with sides and time it perfectly. I often wish I had 3 to 6 arms and hands to do extra things I needed at that very moment while cooking like answer the phone, turn on/off or change the song on my IPOD, push the kid back from the hot oven, take something out of the oven while still stirring the gravy, AHHHHHH!!! Anyway, because I only have two I have to start earlier. But it creates a problem of some side dishes being too cold.

So the next time your making warm/hot side dishes like corn on the cob, baked beans, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, creamed spinach, Thanksgiving dressing, etc. store them in a mini cooler (even the reusable insulated freezer bags you buy at the grocery store) or the microwave (don't turn it on though), until you're ready to serve them. The mini cooler keeps items safely warm for longer than the microwave does. Up to 3 hours actually! The microwave for only about 30-45 minutes.

Be the perfectly timed cook you've always wanted to be.

TIP #26: How do I get this food coloring off my hands?

I'm didn't enjoy finding this tip for you (and now me). Maybe it will save your hands the next time you dye Easter eggs or almonds for Ladies Fingers cookies.

Red and Yellow food coloring:
I had made those Ladies Fingers cookies the other day. When dying the blanched almonds with red food dye, I got it all over my hands, even though I wore gloves. It was easy to get off. You know the old volcano science experiment with baking soda and vinegar? The same experiment lifts the dye off your hands immediately.

Green Blue and Black food coloring:
But when I dyed more almonds a dark green for the Monster Toes soft pretzels, that same experiment didn't work as well. It didn't take it all away. I went around the house trying different chemicals, washing my hands in between. (BTW, I don't recommend that. My dry and irritated hands = your hands saved the next time you dye something.) After trying dish soap, vinegar/baking soda, dishwash detergent, laundry detergent, nail polish remover; I finally got desperate and resorted to bleach - not good, I know - I went to the bathroom about to give maybe soak them in the tub? But I saw the toothpaste & tried it. It worked!

Learning a new cooking technique: Soft Pretzels (& other Halloween goodies)

I've always wanted to learn how to make pretzels but it always seemed like so much work so I never ventured.

I've been busy since last night making all kinds of "scary" goodies for a Halloween party tonight.

Ladies fingers (cookies) in a black bucket is the first thing I made. They didn't turn out exactly the way I had envisioned but Ryan thinks they're cool.

Then late last night I made "Eggs of Newt" spiked punch. It's so good & you even get a surprise in your glass!

This morning I woke up and decided not to make "bat" wings but instead to make small homemade soft pretzels into Monster Toes that I'll serve with mustard. Not knowing what I was doing, I found a recipe on Martha Stewart's website. And to my surprise, it wasn't hard at all! They may not look all that great, but they are oh so yummy!

There are so many things I'd like to learn how to proud I learned one today.

Tip #25: Yuck! I hate that crust of ice around my ice cream.

I really hate those ice crystals that form on my popsicles and ice cream in the freezer. If you do too, put your ice cream carton or other in large freezer ziplocs. It stops the ice from forming.

Tip #24: Needing some extra change?

At the airport & needing some extra change? Look in the cushions of those nicer leather seats. I found 2 quarters, a nickel & a penny in my seat today...then I started playing "musical" chairs until I noticed people looking at me.

TIP #23: Trying new recipes

I'm a sucker for vintage cookbooks (1960's and before). Ask Ryan, I'm always trying recipes out of a 1950's Middle Eastern cookbook I found a couple of months ago at a thrift store, making up my own recipes as I go, scouring the internet, calling my mother and grandmother, etc. I love trying new things out on my tastebuds and my skills.

1. My advice is to try one new recipe at a time. It might be overwhelming and frustrating if you don't.

2. Make sure you have enough time to make it and will not be rushed. If you come to my house between midnight and 3am on any given night, you'll find me trying out a new recipe or making something else like sewing, painting, etc. I know that during this time, I won't be disturbed and I can get things done my own way.

3. Gather all the ingredients the recipe calls for.

4. I like to line my ingredients in order that I'll use them. It ensures I won't forget an ingredient.

5. Read through the whole recipe once or twice to make sure you understand it before you begin. I usually type mine out and print on a recipe card. I usually memorize it by the time I'm done typing it out.

TIP #22: Oh, man! Those tomatoes went bad!...or did they?

No need to throw out those overripe tomatoes. Dip overripe tomatoes in cold water, add salt and leave overnight. The next day they should be fresh and firm to the touch. So save that recipe for those tomatoes tomorrow.

Tip #21: Fighting the battle with mildew...Are you winning?

I haven't had much mildew in our home in New Mexico but I remember how bad it was in Houston. I constantly fought it and it always seemed to win. Some of  you may be fighting the battle now. This is for you.

My sister Tara told us the other day that she heard a tip on how to get rid of the mildew. It worked for her and my mom. Hope it works for you!

TUB: Soak cotton balls in bleach. Place one bleach-soaked cotton ball on each corner of the tub. Leave for 1 to 2 hours. When you come back, the mildew should be gone. Remove cotton balls & rinse.

SINK: Soak cotton balls in bleach. Place one bleach-soaked cotto nball on each corner of the inside of the sink. Leave for 1 to 2 hours. When you come back, the mildew should be gone. Remove cotton balls & rinse.

WINDOW: Try placing 2 bleach-soaked cotton balls on either side of the window seal. Leave for 1 to 2 hours. When you come back, the mildew should be gone. Remove cotton ball & wipe clean. If your window seal is wood or painted wood, place on a saucer or piece of foil.


WAX IT: Clean the grout, tile and shower stalls well. Apply a small amount of liquid car wax to the bathroom, then polish. I've hear it keeps things moisture and mildew-proof for up to a year.

VINEGAR: Fill an old spray bottle with vinegar. After each shower, spray shower walls, tiles, curtains and doors. The vinegar will kill the mold bacteria before mildew has a chance to get started, remove soap scum, and body oils. Vinegar is also an effective mildew and odor remover.

Tip #20: Want clear instead of red all over?

It's so hard to clean our glass doors because of Cosmo's slobber & grime along with Canaan's sticky handprints. I can't clean it all off with Windex & a paper towel. This made me think of my childhood. One of my chores was to clean the windows and I always wanted to use newspaper not because it's how my parents taught me to do it but because it worked!

Crumple a sheet of newspaper into a loose ball. With a clean spray bottle, spray on distilled water onto the window. In a circular motion, clean the glass. If it begins to pill, shred or tear, use a new sheet of newspaper. You can clean mirrors with this method as well.

Tip#20b: Wear rubber gloves as not to get the newsprint on your skin.

Tip#20c: If you don't receive a newspaper like us, you can pick up free newspapers at the entrances of grocery stores, coffee shops, airports, etc.

TIP #19: Constantly trying to help your indoor plants survive, well, you?!

Constantly trying to help your indoor plants survive, well, you?! Don't throw away your coffee grounds, tea bags or egg shells. Put them in the soil for healthier house plants. You can use them in your vegetable gardens.

Put the eggshells on a paperplate or paper towel and place in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Add the shells, coffee grounds and/or the innards of the used tea bags to a foodprocessor or blender. Grind into a fine powder. Add it to your soil. It's great nutrients and will last you through the winter. Don't forget to water!

Your plants will love the water left over from boiling your eggs or left over tea. Just make sure it's room temp!

Question #1: How can I keep fresh produce longer?

Shonda Jackson October 18 at 4:04pm
Hey Mrs Domestic Diva, as a single person, how can I preserve my green vegetables longer than a couple of days? When I go to the grocery store or farmers market I have to by in the bundle so I lose vegs and money all at the same time. Any suggestions? Can I freeze fresh produce?
Well Miss Jackson, this may not be what you want to hear, but I think we should buy fresh produce every 3 or so days to keep everything fresh. If not, there's not a whole lot you can do. You can freeze corn even in the husks. For corn, I like to take off the husks, cut off the kernals and freeze them. That way I can cook it in anything I want like soups. For things like yellow squash, tomatoes, zuccini, onions, etc. Keeping them in the vege drawer in the fridge will keep them a few days longer. You can always cook and make something & freeze it. Italian & French foods like ratatouille or pasta sauce are great options. Hope that helps!

Shonda found this:

A step-by-step guide to wasting less food

Tip #18: Whip it!

Sarah Hankins & I found out yesterday in the church kitchen that if your arms feel like they're going to fall off whisking heavy whipping cream because you don't have a mixer, a blender or food processor will work just fine.

Tip #17: Presents with little money

Unfortunately, times are tight for a lot of us. This Christmas why not make your presents? I'm currently making our family all kinds of things from aprons to napkins to pillow cases to photo crafts to curtains...

It may take more time and effort, but if you're smart, it will be made with a lot less money and your recipients will be grateful for your love, time and effort.

Collage something like a vintage suitcase...

Sew an apron for your sister...

Make one of a kind pillowcases...

Make a photo tote bag or throw pillows

Put your photos on candles

There are TONS of ideas! Have fun making and saving money.

Tip #16: To salt or not to salt. That is the question.

Unless baking, I almost never salt a meal while cooking. I know that it may be more bland but I personally like to taste the fresh vegetables naturally in my food. You know how people say with spicy food that they'd rather taste their food?

Here in New Mexico, restaurants douse the food in red chili, green chili or Christmas. Out of habit and fear, I always ask for it on the side so that I may be able to determine how much I want.

I believe in putting the salt on the table so that people can salt to their own taste. This act of salting never hurts my feelings, so when you come over to eat at my home next time, feel free to salt away.

Tip #15: Nothing fits?

Have you looked in all the stores including thrift stores and garage sales and still can't find that perfect piece of furniture for that corner or wall? When we first moved into this house, I looked everywhere for a long table skinny enough to not be in the walkway. The only one I found was so out of my price range it would have taken me 10 years worth of Xmas's & Bday's to be able to afford it. Not wanting to wait that long, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make one. I took a trip to the ReStore and then to Lowe's. I found an antique cabinet door thin enough for the table top I wanted. I cleaned it well then screwed on table leg mounts I bought at Lowe's. Painted 4 legs & screwed them in. Voila! A table was born. And the best thing about it? It was only $25 to make.

If you can't find it, make it!

Tip #14: Freezing leftovers

Where are all my Tupperware containers??? No problem! Freeze left overs in Ziplocs.
Easy clean up too!
P.S. No, this is not an advertisement for Tupperware or Ziplocs. I just hated to call them: plastic containers with lids that stain easily and those snack, sandwich, pint & gallon size baggies that zip up. Yes, I'm a corner-cutter.

Tip #13: Easy Peasy but too busy

Too busy to cook for you and your family every night? Cook 2 or 3 nights a week making double or triple portions. Refrigerate or freeze the extra portions. If freezing make sure to have them in portion sizing for easy reheating. Lasagna, pastas, ratatouille, soups, enchiladas, cookie dough and tons of others meals and snacks are easily frozen and reheated.

Tip #12: Make it up

Don't know what to make for dinner? Make up your own recipe. Soups are easy peasy!

I stood in my kitchen not knowing what to make for lunch tomorrow when I decided to make a soup. Just started grabbing food I had on my counter, fridge, freezer & pantry. Here's what I made. I'll call it...Anything-You-Have Mexican Soup.

Anything-You-Have Mexican Soup
by Kimber Scott

2 T olive oil
3-4 medium zucchini & yellow squash, diced
4-6 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fresh sweet corn
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 fresh (frozen) green chilis, chopped
8 cups water
1 T Simply Organic Mexican Seasoning
1 T Vogue instant VegeBase (or other bouillon)
12 oz sour cream (you could even use cubed Velveeta)

Heat oil in large stock pot. Add zucchini, tomatoes, sweet corn, onion, garlic & green chili. Cook on high for 10 min, stirring often. Add water, seasoning & bouillon. Turn heat to med-high & cook for 20-30 min or until onions are clear & squash is cooked through. Stir occationally. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5-10 min. Stir in sour cream. Refrigerate up to 3 days, freeze for up to 2 months.

Tip #11: Strings, Seeds & Things

Just in time for PUMPKIN CARVING. Forget the store bought pumpkin carving scoops that don't work anyway; use tools in your kitchen. Let the kids dig all those sticky strings & pumpkin seeds out with an ice cream scoop & grapefruit spoons. Both are safe & work well, especially the grapefruit spoons. Don't forget to let the kids bake pumpkin seeds. Have fun!

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 T melted butter
1/2 t salt
1/8 t garlic salt
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly and place in shallow baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Sweet Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
6 T white sugar, divided (or splenda or Stevia)
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 T vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 t butter, melted
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

Tip #10: Talking Dirty

For all those household divas, you have to have TALKING DIRTY with the QUEEN OF CLEAN book by Linda Cobb. Just about anything that has a stain or needs cleaning, she can help. Be careful, you'll want to clean anything and everything you can get your hands on after reading this fun-filled cleaning book. Although if this book won't help you get your butt up to clean, watch Grey Gardens with Drew Barrymore; that movie will!


Steam then mash or puree cauliflower. Add butter, salt, pepper, milk then sprinkle cheese on top. It's SO good b/c it's so much like mashed potatoes! Around 108 calories for 1 cup for the pureed cauliflower. Compare that to 237 calories for 1 cup of mashed potatoes. But who am I fooling? I don't count calories. I eat it b/c it's good!

Tip #9

Needing a little extra flavor in your life or maybe forgetting to eat enough vegetables? Cook & puree veges like pumpkin (pie pumpkin), butternut squash, beetroot, carrots or zucchini & add it to your cakes, muffins and brownies.

Tip #7

BEANS the magical fruit. If making homemade beans, soak in water, drain & refill with fresh water every 4-6 hours for up to 16 hrs. Cook as usual. If using canned beans, drain liquid. Rinse with running water for a couple of minutes. This helps with gas. TIP #7b Use Bolita beans instead of pinto. Taste the same; less of a problem. Although for that certain someone in your family, no "tip" will help them.

Tip #6

Pureed beans can be used as a fat sub in brownies! So can applesauce; use it as a fat sub in cakes, brownies, muffins, pancakes, etc.

Tip #5

Eat together as a family at least once a day. If they see you eating healthy foods & there are no other choices but healthy foods, they will start eating it too. Besides you'll get amazing face time with the whole family!

Tip #4

Getting your husband & kids to eat something healthier: Puree vegetables, beans or lentils and add 1 cup to mashed potatoes, soup or pasta sauce. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, yellow squash, zucchini and cauliflower are great choices. Sing this to them after they've eaten it You ate the good stuff & you liked it! Ha ha ha ha HA!

Tip #3

Cook together with your kids or as a whole family at least once a week. Make it fun. Canaan & I have a dance party while cooking dinner every night. Have a weekly family cooking party & build your own: pizza, taco salad, sandwich, omlette, etc. Have a lot of choices. They'll have fun making healthy choices & you will too. We're off to our dance party now :)

Tip #2

Instead of buying sugar filled popsicles, buy fresh, frozen or even canned fruit. Place them into your popsicle molds (I use TwiStix) then add fruit juice, homemade limeade with sparkling water, yogurt, or even the syrup out of the can of fruit. There's all kinds of recipes online too. I enjoy It's a great snack or dessert for the whole family.

Tip #1

Getting your husband & kids to eat something healthier: When making homemade pizza, stir in about a cup of frozen chopped broccoli into the dough. If you buy refrigerated dough, press the broccoli into the dough before you bake it. It's good and they'll never know. HA HA HA HA HA!!!