Home & Garden

Top Drawer: Quick tips for your home and garden

Send your simple, one-pot recipes to  topdrawer@newsobserver.com. If we use your recipe, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate.
Send your simple, one-pot recipes to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. If we use your recipe, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate. TNS

Reader’s best tip

Lou Carpenter of Raleigh wrote in to share a cold weather tip for inclement weather. “When the snow and ice were predicted, I took table salt and sprinkled it on my outside steps and part of the driveway. We did not have any snow or ice in those places even though there was plenty all around it. It made it very easy and safe to get the paper and mail during those snowy days.”

Best soup for cold weather

Iva Marie Kelly of Fayetteville shares her favorite cold-weather recipe for Beef and Vegetable Soup.

You will need:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped

1 (16-ounce) bag mixed vegetables

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 to 3 dashes hot sauce

2 (10-1/2-ounce) cans beef broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (3-ounce) packet of beef flavor ramen noodle soup (use beef packet, too)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Brown beef. Add beef and the other remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for seven to eight hours or cook on high for four hours.

Best way to renew towels

Freshen and refluff towels with this trick gleaned from Pinterest and tested by the Dean Pudding blog. “Wash towels with one cup of vinegar on hot, then wash again with 1/2 cup of baking soda on hot. Voila! Fresh and fluffy like new!”

Check out more tips at: nando.com/vy.

Best ways to create a romantic bedroom

Restore romance in the bedroom with help from the How Does She blog. We’ve excerpted a few of the tips here, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Make your bed

Personalize your space.

Add fluffy pillows.

Make your room smell wonderful.

Check out more tips at nando.com/vz.

Seeking your one-pot meal recipes

Are you a master at meal-planning with minimal mess? Is there a go-to, one-pot dish your family loves at the end of a long day? If so, we’d love to share it with our readers. Please send your simple, one-pot recipes to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Put “best one-pot meal” in the subject line. Precise measurements must be given to be considered for print. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. If we use your recipe, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate.

Best way to showcase scarves

If you’ve been struggling with new ways to wear the scarves hanging in your closet, you may find useful a tutorial video that is featured on the Nordstrom site. The video shows 16 ways to rock square, rectangular and other scarves, including ways to configure long scarves into kimonos, headwraps, beach coverups and more. Check them out at: nando.com/w3.

Another favorite video demonstrates 12 looks that are hot this season. Test the looks out yourself by following the link to: nando.com/v-.

Best way to decorate your mantel

Bring warmth and whimsy into your home with these mantel decorating tips from the Shelterness.com blog. “Dress up your candles into warm sweaters, take the plants that are typical only for winter – they will remind you of spring with their green color. ... Pine cones and tree branches will help you to highlight the atmosphere. Add some fun hanging a witty inscription and, of course, a family photo is always a nice idea. Be creative and attach a skate to remind of your favorite winter pastime, enjoy winter!”

Check out the Shelterness blog at: nando.com/w0.

Best of the tube

DIY Network

Baby-proofed bathroom: New parents Chris and Amy continue their renovation of the historic 1903 Detroit home that was once owned by Chris’ great-grandparents. Before daughter Ruby starts crawling, they have to rebuild her bathroom, which has a giant hole in the floor. They salvage the early 1900s tub and transform the bathroom into a charming space with custom wallpaper inspired by the original design. They also renovate a guest bedroom by repairing the existing beadboard and sanding and staining the original pine sub-floor. “American Rehab: Detroit” airs at 9 p.m. Thursday.

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

email topdrawer@newsobserver.com.