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Top Drawer: The best of everything for your home and garden

CorrespondentJune 28, 2013 

20111221 Bell pepper

Did you know that green peppers last much longer than orange and red peppers in the refrigerator?

DAVE JOHNSON — MCT

Best for storing produce

Did you know that green peppers last much longer than orange and red peppers in the refrigerator? Or that greens must be kept in an air-tight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out? Or that oranges stay juicier if left at room temperature? You can learn these and tons of other tips for storing fruits and vegetables at the My Thirty Spot blog: http://bit.ly/pMzrk6.

If you’re wondering how to freeze produce or how long frozen foods last, check out http://bit.ly/qgBL3k.

Best for designing on the cheap

Are you stumped for affordable ways to decorate your home? Are you trying to dig yourself out of a designing rut? Then hop on over to the Yellow Cape Cod site and feast your eyes on several dozen ideas for designing and decorating on the cheap.

Blogger Sarah chronicles her do-it-yourself design projects with step-by-step directions and pictorials on everything from making “no-sew” drapes and thrift store makeovers to D-I-Y family command centers and how to achieve that Pottery Barn worn black paint finish.

Learn more at: http://bit.ly/GXL8rT.

Best improvised bed rail

If your kids are like mine, they’re occasionally prone to tumbling out of bed and falling on the floor. To keep older kids (not infants or very young toddlers, where this could pose a suffocation risk) from accidentally going “bump in the night,” try this trick I found on the nedhardy.com site. Buy a large-circumference pool noodle and cut it to run the length of the bed. Slip the noodle under the bed’s fitted sheet and position it toward the side edge of the bed. You can see a picture of this tip and many other creative household tricks at: http://bit.ly/Nt26BQ.

Reader’s best 4-ingredient recipe

Cary resident Nancy O’Dowd wrote in to share a recipe for Pineapple and Coconut Salad/Dessert. O’Dowd, who got the recipe from her friend, Sherry Hay, says, “This is an amazingly tasty combination – and soooo easy.”

You will need:

1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks

1 cup (or to taste) shredded coconut

1 cup sour cream

Optional - 1 small can mandarin oranges (drained)

Mix it all together. It keeps well in the refrigerator or can be served right away.

Seeking your best 5-ingredient or fewer recipe:

Now that it’s officially summertime, we’re on the prowl for mouth-watering recipes for summertime grilling. If you have a favorite, simple 5-ingredient or fewer marinade for steak, chicken, fish or pork or a no-fail recipe for kabobs or summer veggies, please send it along to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city for a chance to be entered in our quarterly gift drawing. Put “best recipe” in the subject line.

Best for rust rings

Stop those unsightly rust rings from shaving cream cans from marking up bathroom tiles with this tip from the Lifehacker website. “Paint the bottom ring of your shaving cream cans with clear nail polish and they won’t leave rust rings in your bathroom.”

Seeking our readers’ best

Do you have a cleaning, organizing, gardening or time-saving household tip to share? Send them to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. You’ll be entered in a quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best survival kit

With hurricane season upon us, it’s time to think ahead in case of an emergency. Do you have a list of emergency contact numbers prepared? Would you know what to grab if you had to evacuate your home or city? Where do you keep important documents such as social security and ID cards? You could buy an expensive organizer or, with the help of guides from the Your Own Home Store site, you can make your own.

The site’s bloggers have come up with a series of customizable, printable word documents and PDFs to guide you through creating your own personalized emergency/evacuation plans. Simply scroll to the list you need and click on the word document to see one family’s plan/template. You can then click within the document to type in your own family’s plans and details. You’ll find templates and suggestions for how to make kid and adult ID kits; tips for organizing financial information and tips for preserving family pictures. Check it out at: http://bit.ly/Maub24.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Dumpster, Mill, Theatre. Not everyone lives in a tract home. These amazing home conversions from around the world have quite a history including an old train depot, a church and a fire station. Can you imagine making your home in a Dumpster? What about a horse box? One couple brought a modern touch to a historic grist mill, while another family found a dilapidated barn in France and made it their dream home. Check out creative transformations from old to new at 4 p.m. Monday on “You Live in What?”

Send news and photos to The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; email topdrawer@newsobserver.com

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