This is a general catch-all category for the stories that appear on this site.

Super White Teeth

How To Use Baking Soda To Whiten Teeth

Baking soda will definitely whiten your teeth. Here’s how to use it properly.

1-iStock_000014553894Small

 

CHEAP & EFFECTIVE | There’s no question that brushing with ordinary baking soda will remove surface stains from your teeth and contribute to a pearly white smile. Toothpaste manufacturers know this, which is why some of them have taken a page from 19th- and early 20th-century history books—when paste made from hydrogen peroxide combined with baking soda was a common agent for cleaning and destaining teeth—and included baking soda as an active ingredient in their product.

With baking soda’s proven track record, it’s no wonder people are curious about using it by itself as an inexpensive alternative to bleaching trays to whiten their teeth, though many worry that its abrasive properties will strip the enamel from their teeth. Read more

Stack of Old Letters

Why A Christmas Letter Is The Perfect Gift

All I want for Christmas is one simple thing no amount of money can buy.

Stack of Old Letters

 

HOLIDAY 2012 | Somewhere around the first of December every year my kids ask me what I want for Christmas. This year I threw them a curve ball. I don’t need a lot of new stuff, and the few new things I might want (a Vitamix down the road, maybe) are insanely out of their price range anyway. Read more

Beautiful Stack Of Letters - Louloubelle5

The Write Thing: Send A Handwritten Note

This perfect Mother’s Day gift costs nothing more than thought and time—plus proves the pen is mightier than the charge card.

Beautiful Stack Of Letters - Louloubelle5

 

KEEPING IT REAL | Wherever you look on the internet today you’re going to be clobbered with last-minute gift ideas. Since when did Mother’s Day (this coming Sunday), an occasion honoring maternal bonds and the influence of mothers on society, become so hyper-commercialized that we now feel compelled to prove our mother love by purchasing the sorts of presents typically reserved for birthdays or Christmas.

Flowers and corner-store cards are one thing, says my friend Tansy Palmer, “but gadgets and gift certificates for Mother’s Day? No way. Mother’s Day is about gratitude and emotional connection not buying stuff.” Read more

TopChips Cooked

Make Fat-Free Pototo Chips In 3 Minutes

Potato chip lovers rejoice—TopChips makes fresh, yummy, fatfree crisps at home.

TopChips Cooked

 

EASY & DELISH | I’m a complete potato chip queen, though most people who know me don’t know it. I seldom buy this yummy could-there-be-anything-unhealthier-with-more-empty-calories snack because I have a tendency to overindulge. Now, thankfully, with my new TopChips chips maker I never have to think about the quantity of crisps I consume or whether or not they’re good for me because chips made using this inexpensive, inventive microwave tray are 100 percent fat free—really. Read more

Shirataki noodle soup - iStock

A Tasty Gluten-Free Sub For Wheat Pasta

Yes, there is a guilt-free, gluten-free substitute for high-cal, high-carb wheat-based pasta.

Shirataki noodle soup - iStock

 

EASY & DELISH | For anyone on a low-cal, low-carb or gluten-free diet, pasta can be a problem—at least the traditional wheat-based kind. But there is an alternative: shirataki noodles, used in Asian cuisine. Read more

Woman Shopping - C. Phaisalakani

Over Or Under: What’s Your Shopping Style?

Are you an under-buyer or an over-buyer? Here’s what you can to do about it if you are.

Woman Shopping - C. Phaisalakani

 

BUY RIGHT | After squeezing the last bit of paste from the only tube of toothpaste in our house last week, I rushed out and bought a replacement at Shoppers Drug Mart. The next day I was cruising through WalMart, a store I seldom visit, when I noticed my toothpaste brand was regularly priced at $1.25 a tube cheaper than at Shoppers. That’s a considerable savings, so I made a mental note to return in the future and stock up. I didn’t buy any that day because I already had some at home.

Gretchen Rubin, The New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project, coined a term for people like me. She calls us under-buyers, and she knows one when she sees one because she’s an under-buyer too. Read more

My Pizza by Jim Lahey

You Need A Pizza Stone

The secret to cooking perfect pizza really is a pizza stone. Here’s how Jim Lahey uses one.

Williams-Sonoma Emile Henry pizza stone

 

WHAT THE PROS KNOW | No matter how you do pizza at home—from scratch, from half-scratch with premade dough and store-bought sauce or from take-and-bake (doctored Dr. Oetker anyone?)—the taste and consistency of your pie will be infinitely improved if you bake it on an pizza stone.

I was seriously shocked at how much better my frozen pie tasted a few months back when I baked it on an inexpensive no-name ceramic pizza stone ($13 from HomeSense) rather than on my Cuisinart non-stick pizza pan. And I was shocked again this week at how much better the crust performed when I used the stone precisely as described in no-knead bread guru Jim Lahey’s new cookbook My Pizza: The Easy No-knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home. Read more

Yellow shampoo II

Using Products at 1/2 Strength Makes Sense

Using everyday products at 1/2 strength is often more than enough.

 

WASTE NOT | It all started with my first highlights. My stylist swung me around to the mirror for the reveal, and I basked in the glow of my glorious, glittering bangs, confident I would gleam forever in a radiant halo. Then he pulled me back to earth with a thump: “You’re going to have to stop washing your hair so much.” My wise stylist explained that daily washing strips the hair of colour and leaves it dull and dry.

I’d spent big bucks on my hair and was determined to protect my investment, so I cut down on the number of times I washed, and I revisited everything I thought I knew about shampoo. Instead of Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat, it became Shampoo, Rinse for me, all the way. Then one day it occurred to me—not only was my hair looking just as good or better, my shampoo budget had been cut in half. Read more

Roast Chickens - Fine Cooking

The One Meal Fits All Way To Entertain

Time crunched but wanting to entertain, here’s the creative way one woman takes care of business.

Roast Chickens - Fine Cooking

 

SAVE TIME & ENERGY | If in-home entertaining is something you’d like to do more of but you don’t have the extra time or energy to put into an elaborate production, consider adopting the game plan Janie Collier uses to host twice-monthly Saturday night suppers.

Collier has developed one wonderful meal that she can serve to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans—and she  repeats it—with slight variations and tweaks—in perpetuity. “If I had to come up with a new menu and source new ingredients every time I wanted to have people over, I just wouldn’t get around to it much.”

Janie Collier’s One Meal Fits All Saturday Night Supper Read more
Cheesecakes in Jars - My Baking Addiction

Awesome Ways To Put Weck Jars To Work

You needn’t be an ace with a canner to find awesome ways to put gorgeous Weck jars to work.

Cheesecakes in Jars - My Baking Addiction

 

BEAUTIFUL & EASY | “Now this is a full-circle moment,” said my friend Anne, pointing to the Weck canning jars prominently displayed in the chi-chi San Francisco kitchen shop we cruised through last week. “I was so happy to get away from these things when I moved here from Germany and to discover canning jars with screw-top lids. They’re much easier and more convenient to use.” Read more