Clean a Stinky Garbage Disposal

If your kitchen is developing an odor and you’ve taken out the trash, it could be your garbage disposal.  Even if you run your garbage disposal until the last shred of food is gone, and you let the water run the recommended time, you can still wind up with an out-of control science experiment that stinks up your kitchen.

The reason is – some food is going to stick to the inside of the grinding chamber, and it’s going to decay.  You can clean the chamber by grinding ice and lemon rinds, adding baking soda or rinsing with vinegar and water.  Or, you can add commercial cleaners like Disposer Care, which is available at discount stores and most home centers.

garbage disposalIf there is still an odor after cleaning the grinding chamber, you’ll need to attack the underside of the splash guard.  Cleaning the splash guard is easier than you think.  you don’t even have to remove it.  Just clean it with a toothbrush and cleaner as shown.

Dip an old toothbrush in antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner and lift up one corner of the splash guard.  Scrub off the crud and rinse with cold water.  Repeat with each flap until it’s totally clean and rinsed.

Simple as that!

To prevent future odors and to ensure all the food particles are cleared away, don’t turn off the garbage disposal as soon as the grinding noises stop.  It is better to leave the garbage disposal on (with the water running) for several seconds after the grinding noises subside, as there may still be small particles in the disposal unit which have not yet been cleared away.

– S.O.
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN

Healthy Holiday Eating (and Drinking)

Holiday cookiesWe definitely want you to have fun this season and we know delicious baked goodies & seasonal beverages come with the territory.  Between baking at home with your family, receiving baked goods as gifts, and attending functions with a large selection of deserts & drinks, you’re probably consuming your fair share of bulge inducing delectables.  No wonder so many people make weight-loss a part of their New years resolutions!

Here’s how you can modify a bit but still have fun and enjoy the goodies.

If you’re baking, try substituting the following:

*   Whole wheat flour, ground oats or almond meal for FLOUR.
*   Honey or Stevia for SUGAR.
*   Applesauce, mashed banana or coconut oil for BUTTER & OIL.
*   Applesauce or flax meal for EGGS.
*   Carob chips or dark chocolate chunks for CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
*   Greek yogurt for SOUR CREAM.

If you’re attending a party try the following:

*   Make the earlier part of the day extra healthy.  Have a high fiber breakfast, a vegetable filled lunch and exercise in the afternoon.
*   Eat a healthy snack before the party to ease your hunger.  We’ve heard a cup of vegetable soup does a great job.  Also try fiber filled fruit, string cheese, almonds, 4 oz. Greek yogurt or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.
*   When you get to the party, survey and determine your options before filling your plate.  Decide which foods you like best and choose only those – don’t fill up on the others.
*   Dish out smaller portions – about 20% less than you think you might want. (How many times have your eyes been bigger than your stomach at a party)?

If you are going to indulge in Holiday Libations, here are lower calorie options:

*   Wine spritzer = White or red wine mixed with club soda
*   5 oz. of wine, 12oz. of light beer, or 1.5oz of liquor combined w/ non-calorie mixers = 120 calories each.
*   Cranberry crush = Club soda splashed with cranberry cocktail and frozen grapes
*   Guiltless hot chocolate = 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder, skim milk, low-cal sweetener, dash of cinnamon & vanilla extract
*   Apple tea = Brewed tea sweetened with a splash of apple cider and a cinnamon stick.

Do you have any tricks, tips and strategies for savoring the season without putting on the pounds?  We’d love to hear it!

Merry Christmas!!

S.O.
POB Agency

8 Tips For Throwing A Successful Holiday Party

Tis the season for Holiday Parties!  When you attend one, you may not give much thought as to how much pre-planning a host may do prior to the event.  But if you’ve ever been the host – Oh my!  It can get pretty stressful.

We recently had a party for 12 and in between work, kids, volunteer work, and day-to-day household chores, thank goodness we gave ourselves two weeks to prepare!  But, it all came together nicely and I’ll share some tips I think will ensure your party is a success without the stress:

1. A store-bought veggie tray is OKAY. Yes, our guests liked the hearty finger food but at the end of the night, that veggie tray was empty.  Guests like to nibble and snack as they drink their cocktail and they don’t want to leave feeling stuffed.

2. If you’re serving dinner, choose something that you can make ahead of time.  Have a casserole or lasagna pre-prepared so you can greet your guests as they arrive.  You’ll be free to mingle with everyone instead of stuck cooking in the kitchen while your guests hover over you feeling as if they should be doing something to help.

3. Decorate with inexpensive festive décor & play music. Simple wreaths and a few candles are an inexpensive way to create a warm and cozy atmosphere.  Our decor was minimal this year (to save time):  a tree and a simply decorated mantle.  We put on holiday music from one of our TV channels (who has time to create a playlist?!??!), lit candles and dimmed our lamps.  It was just enough.  We received many compliments on how cozy the house felt.

Click for EASY recipe!
Click for EASY recipe!

4. Serve ONE holiday drink for all.  Check out Pinterest for a TON of ideas.  Try a Candy Cane or “The Grinch” Martini; A Hot Apple Rum Punch; or the one I served:  Pomagranate-Cranberry Sparklers.  Even the guys drank it and LOVED it.  If you’re worried about drinking and driving, have a list of driving services and/or taxi numbers on hand OR offer them a guest room.

5. On that note, don’t stress your guest room accommodations.  We have 1 guest room but 2 couples stayed over.  I knew this could be a possibility after serving cocktails so I made sure all the beds had neat and clean bedding – even if one couple had to sleep on (clean) Avengers sheets.  But, it’s okay!  These are our friends and no need to stress the accommodations.  They were safe and slept great!

6. If it’s a relatively small party, enjoy a white elephant gift exchange. This party we hosted is an annual party and we always do a white elephant gift exchange.  It’s a blast!  It can be something from your home that you are no longer using; something funny; or something purchased.  It’s always fun watching people switch and swap as each gift is chosen. We’ve lucked out some years with a great gift and other years we’ve gone home with a gag gift – like a singing turkey.  If that’s too risky due to a more conservative group, consider something even simpler than that, like an ornament exchange.

7 If you’ve got the funds, consider hiring help. A catering service will allow you to fully enjoy the party. A bartender is also a nice addition, especially if you’re going for more complicated & diverse cocktails to serve. You might feel like you’re taking the easy way out, but in the end, you’ll be glad you got to engage in the holiday merriment along with your guests.

Have you hosted a Holiday Party (or any party) recently?  What did you do to cut back on time and stress?  Share your tips and success stories with us!

S.O.
POB Agency