* Note: The tips submitted in this stories come from readers and have not been tested or endorsed by REAL SIMPLE
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Cinnamon and Cayenne Original purpose: Spicing up signature dishes. Aha! use: Pest prevention. Sprinkle on molehills to ward off unwanted yard visitors. Reward: A poison-free way to say “Scram!”
—submitted by Carol Maxwell Weatherly
Aluminum Foil Original purpose: Covering up last night’s nibbles. Aha! use: Aphid eliminator. Ball up the tinfoil—shiny side out—and scatter the wads in the soil around plants. The surface will reflect bright sunlight, scaring off aphids. Reward: An end to insect infestation.
—submitted by Angelina Fu
Serving Platter Original purpose: Setting out appetizers for company. Aha! use: Decorative plant bases. Put multicolored platters or old mix-and-match plates under plants for an instant shot of color and style. Reward: An extra boost for your blooms.
—submitted by Glynis Buschmann
A heavy, fatty lunch — the indulgence we all crave when the midday hunger pangs strike — can weigh you down for the rest of the afternoon. But, if you can stick to a healthy lunch, you’ll feel refreshed and full until dinnertime. With these 14 recipes for low-calorie lunches, you’ll feel satisfied for hours — and you’ll be glad you didn’t waste the calories on a less-than-pleasing fast-food burger
Toss the radicchio with the vinegar, place on top of the mustard-spread slices of bread. Layer each sandwich with 3 slices of salami and 3 slices of cheese. Top with the remaining bread. Brush both sides of the sandwich with butter. Grill in a panini press until cheese is melted –about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Fresh, locally grown tomatoes are one of summer’s greatest gifts. It’s a shame to hide these red, round beauties in sandwiches and cooked sauces. Let this proud produce shine as the star of its own salad, garnished with savory cheeses, piquant onions, and minty fresh herbs to play up its natural sweetness.
Skewered Greek Salad Skewers stacked with classic Greek salad ingredients — tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese — are perfect for a summer barbecue menu.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
12 (6-inch) bamboo or wood skewers
24 grape or small cherry tomatoes
3 ounce(s) feta cheese, cut into 12 1/2-inch pieces
12 pitted kalamata olives
1/2 small red or sweet onion, cut into 12 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon(s) red wine vinegar
4 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions Skewers: Thread skewers starting with a tomato, then a piece of feta cheese, an olive, a piece of onion, and finish with another tomato.
Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of the oregano. Whisk in olive oil until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange skewers on a serving platter. Spoon vinaigrette over skewers and sprinkle with remaining oregano.
There is still a few weeks of summer left and if we are lucky we will have an Indian summer thereby stretching the bbq season into October!
14 Summer Party Desserts The perfect end to a summer meal among friends? An irresistible seasonal dessert, of course! Serve up some of these fruit-filled and grilled desserts at your next summer party. There’s even a grown-up s’mores recipe for the kid in us all!
1 pound(s) (3 cups) mixed strawberries and blueberries, strawberries halved or quartered if large
1 teaspoon(s) finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
1/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
4 12-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of pound cake
Crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream, for serving
Light a grill. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and blueberries with the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Spoon 1/4 tablespoon of the butter in the center of each sheet of foil and top with the fruit. Bring 2 sides of the foil up over the fruit and fold to form a seam across the top. Fold the remaining 2 sides to seal the hobo packs completely.
Grill the hobo packs over moderate heat until the fruit is sizzling, about 10 minutes.
Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on the pound cake and grill on both sides just until toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates. Open the hobo packs and pour the berries and juices over the pound cake. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or ice cream.
Looking for a way to beat the heat? These refreshing summer sips will quench your thirst and please your palate. Prepare them for an outdoor party, a day in the backyard with the kids, or after mowing the lawn!