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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentApril 25, 2014 


Follow this homemade guacamole recipe for your next party.


Best guacamole

My friend Mitzi Marullo’s homemade guacamole is always a hit at bunco parties. It’s so good that I often ask her to make a little extra just for me. Mitzi graciously shared the basics of her recipe with me. She says you can tweak it to fit your tastes.

You will need:

6 plum tomatoes, finely diced and seeded (very important)

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, finely snipped

At least 1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice (she always uses more and squeezes it fresh)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

2-4 firm, ripe avocados

Make salsa: Mix all ingredients except avocados an hour before serving.

Make guacamole: Peel and mash or dice the avocados and add more seasonings to taste. For every two avocados, add 1/4 cup of salsa.

Best 10 tips for a clean home

The Creative Home Keeper blog says there are 10 things we can do daily to maintain a clean and organized home. We’ve excerpted the advice here.

1 Make the bed. Tidy up bedrooms in the morning and evening. In the morning put away PJs and take the dirty clothes to the hamper. Remove water glasses or reading material from the nightstand.

2 Wipe down the bathroom. Put away personal products, wipe around the sink to remove makeup or loose hair. Spray the shower with a shower cleaner and use a squeegee to remove excess water. Do a quick wipe of the floor.

3 Wash and dry, then fold and put away one load of laundry.

4 Load, run and empty the dishwasher so it is ready for use the following morning.

5 Keep kitchen counters clean. Avoid a huge mess after meals by cleaning as you go while cooking.

6 Keep couch pillows neatly arranged. It at least will give the illusion that you have a neat living room.

7 Do a house-clutter sweep-through. Quickly put away any remaining toys, fold or pick up any clothing and remove clutter from counters. This takes about 15 minutes, but it is so worth it.

8 Plan for tomorrow. Jot a to-do list of things you need to accomplish or remember, creating a basic plan for the day.

9 Lay out breakfast dishes.

See the entire list of tips at

Best for blossoms

Ruth Hines of Raleigh shares a tip for watering flowering bushes. “We have 50 bushes. In our old garden they are not planted in rows. When we have to put the liquid fertilizer around each bush, I buy a bag of plastic forks or knives at the Dollar Store. As each bush is fed, I put in the plastic fork or knife to identify the bushes fed.”

Seeking our readers’ best

Do you have a simple springtime recipe that is a sure-fire hit at family or friend celebrations? If so, we want to hear about it. If we use your tip in Top Drawer, we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Send email to Be sure to include your name and street address. Please use precise measurements with recipes. Put “best recipe” in the subject line.

Best of the tube

On HGTV: Alison and Deirdre are sisters and best friends, but the similarities stop there. Alison wants to buy her first income property as a retirement investment, but Deirdre thinks it’s too risky. Scott comes to the rescue with a plan that will help secure Alison’s financial future. “Income Property” airs at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

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