Home & Garden

Top Drawer

Good Housekeeping says eggshells can be used for a variety of tasks around the home.
Good Housekeeping says eggshells can be used for a variety of tasks around the home. MCT

Best fall soup

Lynne Jacobs of Chapel Hill shared her simple recipe for Tomato Bisque, just in time for cooler weather.

You will need:

2 cups fresh tomatoes, chunked (peel if desired)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place tomatoes in a large saucepan and simmer until tender. Add baking soda and stir. In another pan, scald milk. Add milk to tomatoes and stir in butter, salt and pepper. Stir well. Do not boil. (Reheat on low and do not boil.) Serves 4.


Last week’s recipe for Best Scones from Britian was incorrectly attributed. It was actually contributed by Nina Szlosberg-Landis on behalf of her mother Elaine Szlosberg.

Best for a clean fridge

Catherine Smith of Cary wrote in to share a tip for keeping your refrigerator neat and orderly. Place a pretty dish towel on areas where you keep milk or juice, she advises, to prevent sticky rings under the container.

Best uses for eggshells

Keep those eggshells the next time you fix an omelet or cake. Good Housekeeping says the shells can be used for a variety of tasks around the home. We’ve excerpted a few of the suggestions here:

1 Control pests in your garden. Scatter crushed shells around your plants to help deter plant-eating slugs, snails and cutworms without using pesticides. Plus, deer hate the smell of eggs, so the shells also help keep Bambi away from your begonias.

2 Make a better cup of coffee. Add an eggshell to coffee grounds in the filter, and your morning cup will taste less bitter. Afterward, toss the filter, grounds and shells into your compost bin.

3 Clean your house. Shake crushed eggshells and a little soapy water into hard-to-clean items like Thermoses and vases. Crushed eggshells can also be used as a nontoxic abrasive on pots and pans.

4 Get crafty. Blow out the inside of a raw egg and decorate the hollow shell so you can display a DIY piece of art. Pieces of egg shell are also great for mosaic art projects.

5 Put on a mask. Pulverize dried egg shells with a mortar and pestle, and combine the powder with an egg white to use as a skin-tightening face mask. Allow it to dry before rinsing it off.

See all 10 of the magazine’s ingenious reuses for eggshells at http://nando.com/l0.

Best tour

of new homes

The 49th annual Parade of Homes is coming up in Wake County, featuring 187 new construction homes. The homes will be on display from noon-5 p.m. Oct. 4-5, 10-12 and 17-19.

The tour is free and offers a glimpse of the very latest in home design and decor, paint colors, landscape ideas, appliance options and creative use of space. Most homes are vacant, allowing your mind to fill in the blanks with design possibilities. Others are furnished to give you an idea of how to make best use of the space.

So grab a friend, some paint swatches, a notebook, camera (cameras are not allowed in all homes) and some comfortable, slip-on shoes. You’ll come away from the tours with lots of ideas and inspiration. And if you’re in the market for a new residence, you may find your dream home, too.

Booklets filled with floor layouts, addresses and prices are usually available at houses along the route. Learn more at paradeofhomeswake.com/.

Seeking new uses for old things

Real Simple magazine has a regular feature that highlights new uses for old things. For example, use a clean, new toothbrush to remove stray silk strands from corn cobs. Or use a six-cup muffin tin instead of individual containers to store toppings for tacos or a potato bar. If you’ve got a great idea for repurposing an item around the home, we’d love to share it.

Please send tips to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. If we print your idea, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift card. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best new use” in the subject line.

Best of the tube


Too good to be true? Tarek and Christina come across a bank-owned listing that has been on the market for fewer than 24 hours and is only accepting offers until 5 p.m. It’s a house with great potential, so they make an offer that is accepted. But as renovations begin, problems arise. Could this latest flip turn out to be nothing but trouble, or a dream come true? “Flip or Flop” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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