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

CorrespondentJuly 5, 2013 


Make perfect corn-on-the cob by boiling corn with sugar.


Best corn-on-the cob

With fresh corn flying off of the stalks, we came across a post on the Joyful Abode blog which claims you can prepare perfect corn-on-the cob with this method:

• Fill your pot with water.

• Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar.

• Drop in your corn.

• Bring to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved in the water.

• Boil for no longer than 8 minutes.

• Remove from the water and let it cool enough for handling and eating.

• Season.

• Enjoy.

Best for removing water marks from furniture

The Budget Savvy Diva says you can lift water marks from wood furniture with a little mayonnaise. Cover the mark with two tablespoons of full-fat mayo. Leave it on at least eight hours. “Wipe it clean and the ring will be gone!” The diva claims to have used this trick successfully on numerous occasions, and goes on to explain the theory behind the restorative trick. “The fat in the mayonnaise is reabsorbed into the ring thus causing the ring to disappear.”

Find this and other tips at

Reader’s best

We’re seeking your best tips for improving your home and garden. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Send your tips to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best for travel

Traveling this summer? If so, Buzzfeed offers up 14 savvy travel tips for packing. We share a few of the tips here:

1 Use a pot holder to pack a hair straightener (curling iron).

2 Hollow out and use a clean, empty tube of chapstick as a secret hiding spot for cash and other valuables.

3 Use a Tic Tac case to store bobby pins.

4 A hard plastic soap case is the perfect size to protect some compact cameras stashed in a carry-on bag.

5 Roll silk scarves around an empty paper towel holder to prevent wrinkling.

6 Safely pack your razor by clamping the blade between the cover of a plastic binder clip.

7 Use a multi-day medicine organizer case to store small earrings or rings.

Find more tips with pictures at

Reader’s best recipe

Dena Aretakis Horn of Raleigh wrote in to share her favorite five-ingredient-or-less recipe for summer. “It’s healthy and is perfect for lunch or supper. Hope you enjoy it!”

Pasta Salad with Spinach

1 pound Penne pasta

2 cloves of garlic

One bunch of fresh spinach, chopped

1/3 pound feta cheese

1/2 of a red pepper

Boil the pasta until done and set aside. Saute garlic in olive oil. Cook spinach about 5 minutes. Crumble feta cheese and chop the red pepper. Add all ingredients to the pasta and mix together with additional olive oil. This recipe serves six.

Best temperature check

If your attempts to cook foods according to recipes usually end in burned or underbaked foods, you may want to take your oven’s temperature. “After a while, ovens may lose accuracy, running up to 25 degrees too hot or cool,” Real Simple magazine says. “To test yours, place an oven-safe thermometer on the middle rack and heat the oven to 300 degrees F; when the oven indicates it has reached that temperature, check the thermometer. If it reads 275 degrees F, you’ll know that you need to set the temperature 25 degrees higher. Or seek a permanent fix by calling a repairman recommended by the manufacturer.”

Best for roses

As you tend your rose bushes this summer, remember these tips from Readers’ Digest.

For the best display of blooms, fertilize roses at least every few weeks. There are special fertilizers for roses, but a general-purpose fertilizer will do. Using too much can result in lots of leafy growth but not many flowers.

Once the flower is fading, clip it off just above the first five-leaflet leaf. This deadheading will encourage more blooms.

Roses need at least six hours of sun a day, and they like rich, well-drained soil that has been worked to a depth of at least 18 inches. They require one inch of water per week with as little as possible splashed on their leaves. A one- to-three inch layer of mulch around them conserves moisture and prevents soil-borne disease.

Make all cuts at a 45-degree angle, slanting downward toward the center of the bush, and about 1/4 inch above an outward-facing leaf bud. This encourages new growth outward.

Get these and other rose-growing tips at

Best of the tube


Positive thinking: After two years of marriage, Ashley and Zach are ready to buy a house. Since Zach is in a wheelchair, their property search poses special challenges. But the easygoing couple is realistic and knows they may not get every item on their wish list. Property expert Egypt Sherrod vows to find them a home that will accommodate their needs, which means no stairs or narrow hallways, and a level driveway is a must. The search puts Sherrod’s skills to the test. But before long, the couple has two great homes to choose from. “Property Virgins” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.


Theater room: A drab family room is transformed into an eco-friendly theater room featuring bamboo flooring, a slat wall staircase, LED lighting, repurposed leather media wall, vintage lumber and a recycled marble sofa table. “House Crashers” airs at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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