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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentMarch 14, 2014 

Best for stainless steel

Having trouble getting your stainless steel appliances to sparkle? Get them back in tip-top shape with this tip found on the Mrs. Hines Class blog. Blogger Mrs. Hines says she cleaned her stainless steel dishwasher with Windex and her stainless steel refrigerator with Pledge “Natural Beauty” polish. Both removed fingerprints and other marks, but Hines says that Pledge cleaned best. You can see the results and other cleaning tips at http://nando.com/ex.

Best St. Paddy’s Day cookie recipe

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we found a recipe on the Organized Island blog for Shamrock Cream Cheese cookies.

You will need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 ounces cream cheese (reduced-fat is OK)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Few drops of green food coloring

Shamrock cookie cutters

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, blend together butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla.

Slowly add flour and baking powder. Mix well. Add food coloring. Blend using an electric mixer.

Chill dough at least one hour.

Roll onto a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies and place on parchment paper.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes at 375 degrees until lightly browned on the bottom.

Let cool before serving.

http://nando.com/ey

Best for recipes

Little is as frustrating as coming home at the end of a day to a sparse pantry and a ravenous family. Supercook.com offers a solution to the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Visit the site, click on the ingredients you have on hand, and Supercook generates numerous recipes that you can prepare. You can customize the experience by specifying that you don’t eat gluten, nuts, dairy or other ingredients, Moreover, the recipe links are usually well-regarded and from reviewed sites such as epicurious.com, allrecipes.com, food.com. Check it out at supercook.com.

Bon appetit!

Best for organizing

If your kitchen is short on storage, you’ll thank the organizing geniuses at tidymom.net for this brilliant space-saving idea. They suggest purchasing tension rods to fit the height of your shelves, drawers, etc. and installing them vertically at intervals to create sections. The resulting dividers would be perfect for storing cookie sheets, cutting boards, platters, casserole dishes, pot lids and more. Check out this and other organizing tips at http://nando.com/ez.

Reader’s best

Debbie McGlaughlin of Raleigh shared a tip for eliminating messes around the house. “Turn a basket with an attached lid on its side and place it on a shelf to de-clutter. Add a spot of Velcro to the closure and you have a neat, tidy and stylish hiding place.”

Seeking your best slow-cooker recipes

In the hustle and bustle of everyday, there’s nothing more comforting than coming home to a delicious, home-cooked meal. With that in mind, we’re seeking your best, five-ingredient or less fix-it-and-forget-it slow-cooker recipes. If we use your recipe, we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Send email to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best recipe” in the subject line.

Seeking your best tips

We’re getting some great suggestions for readers’ favorite cleaning, organizing, decorating and time-saving home and garden tips. But we need more. If we publish your tip, we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Keep them brief, please. Send your best tips, along with your name and city to topdrawer@newsobserver.com; subject line: “best tips.”

Best of the tube

On HGTV: When homeowner Jennifer fell seriously ill, her family offered tremendous support. Now that she’s on the mend, Jennifer wants to thank her family with an amazing basement renovation. Amy and her team will create a fun craft room and family media room. “Renovation Raiders” airs at 8 p.m. Thursday.

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

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