Tip of the Day: A Plan to Make You Smile

Many companies don’t offer dental insurance, but you can join a plan on your own for discounts ranging from 10–60 percent off. Check out DentalPlans.com to find a plan and dentist in your neighborhood. Certain plans may be used in combination with dental insurance you already have.

Easy Cures for Common Cold Symptoms

The common cold is, for most, a yearly occurrence -- but it's possible to help it with all-natural cures for cold symptoms! They’re made up of things you probably already have in your home, and they’ll spare you the cost of pricey cold medicines. That's a good thing, because in our family if one of us gets sick, we all get sick! That’s when we pull out all the tried-and-true remedies that our grandparents used to use. Instead of just coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose, visit our new website for easy, all-natural cold cures.

Tip of the Day: Bottles for Boots

One-liter and other plastic bottles are perfect for propping up leather boots. Just clean the bottle and place it in your knee-high boots, and you won’t have to worry about them getting wrinkles because they’re folding over.

Tip of the Day: Stylists in Progress

Get your haircut on the cheap by students who are studying to be beauticians. You may risk a less-than-professional ’do, but it’s probably better than having a friend do it. Student haircuts are also great for kids, whose simple cuts are usually hard to screw up.

Tip of the Day: Pick the Right Cell Plan

Do you end up with lots of unused cell phone minutes at the end of the month? Visit BillShrink.com, where you can enter the amount you talk and text to find the best plan for you in your area. We found a plan that saved us $10 per month!

Tip of the Day: Minimize Broom-Swept Dust

The trail of dust that your broom leaves behind can be eliminated: Just fill a spray bottle with three parts water and one part liquid fabric softener, and spray the broom before sweeping. The spritz makes the broom strands more pliable, and helps it collect dirt more efficiently.

Tip of the Day: Candy-Making Help

Cooking up your own candy is as delicious as it is fun. Experienced candy makers know that keeping the sugar from crystallizing during cooking is a big problem. There’s a simple solution: Heat the sugar over low heat, without stirring, until it’s completely dissolved. To dissolve any sugar crystals that cling to the sides of the pan, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and continue cooking the syrup for three to four minutes. The steam that’s generated will melt these pesky sugar crystals.

Recipe of the Week: Juicy Pork Chops

When is it okay to eat pork chops? When your doctor says so! Dr. Jeanette Ryan emphasizes to her patients that it's important to get around 100 grams of lean, clean, protein each day. Pork, when enjoyed in moderation and when it comes from a hormone- and antibiotic-free source, fits the bill for a healthy meal. Here's Dr. Ryan's simple recipe for delicious, juicy, pork chops.  

free range, bone-in pork chops, 1/2" - 3/4" thick
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

How to Make It
 1. Rub both sides of the pork chop with olive oil. Salt and pepper one side. Put this side down in a cold frying pan. Arrange the chops so the bone end is in the center. Salt and pepper the second side.

2. Cook over medium heat 4-9 minutes, uncovered, until sizzling.

3. Flip over, reduce heat to low, cover and cook another 3-6 minutes. They're done when an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees in the center of the chop.

Do you have a great recipe to share? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Why Anticipation Loans Are Bad for You

Never sign up for a “refund anticipation loan” from an accountant. While it would be nice to get your hard-earned money back in your pocket as quickly as possible, these short-term loans can cost you big—in some cases, the fees on an anticipation loan are the equivalent of over 200 percent! Instead, file electronically and request direct deposit, and you should expect your refund in as little as two weeks. Those few weeks could save you a few hundred dollars in fees that you would have otherwise spent on a refund anticipation loan. Credit cards are never a good fix, but if you really need the money fast, most credit cards will give you better terms than an anticipation loan.

Tip of the Day: Remove Wax Splatters

Nothing is more disheartening than discovering hot wax has just dripped on your sofa. But there may be a way to fix it. Place a brown paper bag on top of the wax, then iron the bag with an iron set on medium heat. The wax should transfer to the bag, and you can peel it right up.

Five Shortcuts to Make Cleaning Your Bathroom Easy

Removing soap scum, mildew, and hard water stains are as easy as can be, even without harsh chemicals. These quick and simple steps will transform cleaning your bathroom from a dreaded chore into an earth-friendly breeze. Which leaves more time for doing the things you really want to do in the bathroom, like taking a long, luxurious bath.

Visit our new website for five shortcuts to make cleaning your bathroom easy

Tip of the Day: Purr-fectly Shiny Fur

To make your short-haired cat’s fur extra-shiny, rub it down with a piece of silk, velvet, or chamois cloth.

Tip of the Day: Homemade Hand Weights

If you want to do minor strength conditioning at home but you can’t afford a set of weights, just take some empty plastic milk jugs and fill them with dry pinto beans. The result won’t be perfect, but it’ll be good enough to fake it.

Recipe of the Week: Baked Fish Tacos

Who knew it was so easy to make restaurant-style fish tacos at home? Shelterrific won our hearts (and our tummies) with this great recipe!  

3-4 white thin white fish filets of your choosing, such as tilapia
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
salt & pepper
Tabasco, sriracha, or any red pepper sauce
1 cup panko or crushed tortilla chips
lime juice (optional)
tortillas thinly-sliced green cabbage, or lettuce tossed with a bit of lime juice and salt
sour cream cheese  

How to Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking oil. If you have time, marinate the fish in a zip-top bag with a few splashes of lime juice for up to 4 hours. Dry filets and cut into strips 1″ wide and salt and pepper both sides.

2. Put each of the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs each in separate shallow bowls, and add a 2 pinches of salt & pepper to each. Add a few big dashes hot pepper sauce to the eggs, and mix well with a fork. Next, dredge fish first in flour, then egg, then crumbs, and pat on all sides. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping half way through.

3. Add cabbage, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, or other toppings and serve on tortillas.

Do you have a great recipe to share? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: To the Bitter End

If you’ve got an upset stomach due to indigestion or a hang-over, try drinking a glass of club soda with a dash of bitters. It should help ease your pain.

Tip of the Day: Ever Wonder How To...?

To learn how to do just about anything, visit WonderHowTo.com, which culls instructional videos from more than 1,700 websites. You can check out what’s hot, do a custom search, or browse through such categories as family, electronics, software, dance, fitness, magic tricks, and pets. Whether you want to learn how to cut your own hair, use Photoshop software, or make a shot glass out of ice, you’ll find it here.

Tip of the Day: Spice It Up

Hot, spicy foods can help the body burn up calories. Using spices like cayenne pepper and chili powder elevates the body temperature, which makes the heart beat faster and requires more energy.

Tip of the Day: Free Income Tax Filing

The IRS free-filing service provides free federal income tax return preparation and electronic filing for all taxpayers. All you need is access to a computer and the Internet and you can prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free! Free file offers two options. The first, called Free File, is for filers whose incomes are $57,000 per year or less. Free File allows you to prepare your taxes using one of the 20 tax preparation software products on their site. If you make more than $57,000, the IRS has decided you can afford to pay for these programs yourself! But you can still use their Free File Fillable Forms, which are electronic versions of the usual paper forms that you can file online for free. To access either service, go to IRS.gov/freefile.

Tip of the Day: Mud-Free Shoes

If it’s too muddy for even your beater sneakers out in your garden, keep them clean by sticking plastic bags over them. Secure them with rubber bands and you’re ready to go to work.

Tip of the Day: Free, Printable Valentines

If you want to say "Be My Valentine" but you don't want to spend the money on store-bought cards, download valentines from the internet. Our friends at Living Richly on a Budget found these great Valentine's Day cards that you can download and print for free!

10 Creative (and Free) Valentine's Day Gifts!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to say “I love you” to the special people in your life. Rather than buying flowers, chocolate, or teddy bears clutching stuffed hearts, why not add a unique touch to this year’s valentines? Visit our website for ten clever and free Valentine's Day gifts!

Tip of the Day: Ice Proof Your Windshield

If an ice storm is in the forecast, coat your windshield with a solution of one part water to three parts white vinegar. It will keep your windshield ice free.

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Pear, Ham, and Cheddar Wrap

This recipe from Kiddies Corner Deals appealed to us because it's a tasty alternative to the traditional ham and cheese sandwich. It's easy to make and kids will love it. We also want to mention that Kiddies Corner Deals has some fantastic coupon codes and info about kids clothing sales! Check them out! Now, on to the recipe...
1 taco-sized 100% whole wheat tortilla
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon 100% pure honey
4 slices smoked honey ham, thinly sliced
1/2 bosc pear, thinly sliced
1 slice deli-style cheddar cheese

How to Make It:
1. Place a nonstick skillet over low heat.
2. Spread cream cheese on tortilla, then add honey and spread evenly over cheese. Place ham slices over the cheese mixture, and then top with pears and cheddar cheese. Roll up.
3. Place seam side down first in skillet and brown on all sides. (If you have a tabletop grill use that.)

To make this a low-fat recipe, substitute Flat Out bread for the tortilla and Neufch√Ętel cheese for the cream cheese, and use reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

Do you have a great recipe for your kids' lunch? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Free Shredding at Staples

Staples is offering free shredding through 2/29/12! Bring in up to 5 pounds of tax documents, bank receipts, or anything else you want securely destroyed. This normally costs 79 cents per pound. Click here to locate a Staples store.

Tip of the Day: Wine Cubes

Here’s a neat trick to get rid of the tiny bit of wine at the end of the bottle. Freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in a freezer bag. Use them in wine coolers and any dish that calls for wine.

Tip of the Day: The All-Natural Prozac

The herbal supplement St. John’s Wort can help ease feelings of depression and lift black moods. It is thought to increase the activity and prolong the action of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenalin in a similar way to standard antidepressants, and will need to be taken for a few weeks before it starts working. 

Please check with your doctor before starting this (and any) nutritional supplement.

Tip of the Day: Rust Remover

To treat rust on metal baking dishes and cookware, sprinkle powdered laundry detergent on the spot, then scour with the cut side of half a raw potato.

Tip of the Day: Say Cheese

To keep cheese fresh and moist, wrap it in a cloth dampened in white vinegar and put it in an air-tight container.

Tip of the Day: When Two TVs Are Better than One

Having a Super Bowl party? Consider having two TVs—one of which is reserved for the hardcore fans only. A lot of people will come to the party just looking to socialize (and maybe watch the halftime show), so let them watch away from the football freaks, who will want to be able to catch every moment of pig-skinned glory.

Tip of the Day: Wise Protein Choice

Salmon is a great source for protein, because it contains fewer calories than many other protein sources, and it’s rich in omega oils that help the development of the brain, heart, skin and joints. For the greatest health benefits, though, it’s best to go for wild or organic versions.

Tip of the Day: Super Bowl Decor

Having a Super Bowl party? For your tabletop, find a green tablecloth (turn it over to the plain side if it has a design on it) and use chalk to draw yard lines on top.

Recipe of the Week: Bean and Rice Breakfast Bowls with Spicy Avocado Sauce

When you think about quick and easy breakfasts, you think of the same old things: oatmeal. Cereal. Scrambled eggs, maybe. We decided to scour the internet for new breakfast ideas and when we found this recipe in the archives of The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, we were embarrassed we hadn't thought of it ourselves. Rice and beans for breakfast? So simple! So nutritious! Who knew?  

cooked beans (cook them yourself or buy them canned)
cooked brown rice
chopped fresh arugula, Napa cabbage, or romaine lettuce
chopped green onions
2 medium, ripe avocados
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded large
handful of fresh cilantro
juice of 1 small lime
1/4 cup water (or more for a thinner sauce)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt  

How to Make It: 

1. Combine the beans, rice, arugula, and onions in a bowl.
2. To make the sauce, place the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water for a thinner sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Store extra sauce in a small glass container with a squeeze of lime over the top to prevent browning.

For instructions on how to cook beans from scratch, click here.

Do you have a recipe to share? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Clean Your Ceiling Fan

To easily clean a ceiling fan, spray glass cleaner or a mixture of half vinegar and half water on the inside of a pillowcase. Put the pillow case over one arm of the fan, then pull the pillowcase off while applying gentle pressure towards the floor. The pillowcase will wipe the top of the blade clean.

Tip of the Day: When Dough Makes You Say "D'oh!"

You’ve just made a delicious loaf of bread and placed it in the oven, now how about all that dough and flour stuck to the counter? Make your cleaning job easy by first sprinkling salt on the counter. Its abrasive action will help you easily scrub off any sticky spots.
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