Top Drawer Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

Top Drawer

CorrespondentFebruary 27, 2014 


Have you ever wondered if you could still use your eggs? You can test them.


Best foods for freezing

The One Good Thing by Jillee blog is back with a post filled with all kinds of tips for freezing and thawing 31 foods you probably never thought of freezing. Did you know that you can freeze sandwiches, milk, orange juice, herbs, marinated meats, flour, pasta and even eggs? Of course, you will need to follow certain steps. Check out the entire list at

Best for meatloaf

Skip the messy hands associated with making meatloaf the next time a craving for this comfort food strikes. A heavy duty paddle mixer like a KitchenAid stand makes quick work of thoroughly mixing meat, veggies, bread crumbs, sauces, etc.

Best for eggs

Have you ever pulled out a carton of eggs past its expiration date and wondered if you could still use them? The Work the Thing blog points out that eggs can often be used beyond the stated expiration date. “Dates on egg cartons and all other food packaging reflect food quality, not food safety. An ‘expiration’ or ‘sell-by’ date on an egg carton tells the grocer to pull the eggs if they haven’t sold by that time. A ‘best-by’ or ‘use-by’ date tells you that your eggs will still be of high quality if you use them by that date.” To test whether an egg is still good, try this trick: “Place the egg in a bowl of water. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s fresh as it can be. If it starts to stand up, it’s still good. If it floats to the top, it’s no longer good. Throw it away.” See the original blog entry at

Best for odors

The Lifehacker blog says you can freshen your home with the warm, inviting scent of vanilla by putting two capsful of vanilla extract in a coffee cup and placing it in a 300 degree oven for one hour. “Within twenty minutes the whole house smells like heaven. It’s actually a common realtor trick.” See this and other tips at

Best use of corn

Warm up chilly nights with this recipe for Corn Pudding from Cary reader Anita Harris.

You’ll need:

1 (14 3/4 ounce) can creamed corn

1 (15 1/4 ounce) can kernel corn, drained

4-6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 cup light sour cream

1 (8 1/2 ounce) box corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)


• Heat oven to 400 degrees.

• Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

• Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. (You can also make “tartlets” by spraying a muffin tin and filling 18 to 20 muffin cups.)

• Bake for 45-60 minutes or until set in the middle. Test the mixture by inserting a knife – if it comes out clean, it’s done. (If using muffin cups, check after 40 minutes.)

Seeking your best tips and recipes

We are seeking your best simple, cold-weather recipes and tips for cleaning, organizing and gardening. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate of thanks. Send your tips to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best recipe” or “best tips” in the subject line.

Best grease remover

Kim Shope of Raleigh shared her tip for removing greasy messes like spaghetti sauce, soups and the like from plastic food containers. “Wipe out excess food with a paper towel. Put a couple of squirts of dishwashing liquid in the container, rub the detergent around the inside of the container with a fresh paper towel, then rinse with cold water and a paper towel. This takes the greasy film off.”

Designer’s best

Real Simple says you can make the most of that empty space above the sofa by following this simple rule: “Choose art that’s two-thirds as wide as the couch – never the same width – and hang it, centered, so that its midpoint is about 60 inches from the floor and its bottom edge about 8 to 10 inches above the sofa back.”

On the tube


First-timers: Whitney and Wyatt are ready to branch out on their own after having endured long commutes while living with Whitney’s parents, but their small budget is an issue. Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan help them see how a renovation can give them their perfect home. “Property Brothers” airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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