What Not to Store in the Refrigerator


Joel Marion from Biotrust Nutrition stores these seven foods somewhere else, and here’s why.

1. A banana stops ripening in the refrigerator and may not continue to ripen, so if it’s green and very firm, it may stay that way until it spoils.

2. The starch in a sweet potato will turn to sugar, changing the taste and encouraging weight gain.

3. Tomatoes tend to lose flavor in the refrigerator.

4. Apples lose flavor and texture when refrigerated. However, they do keep longer if refrigerated.

5. Onions can get soggy after a while in the refrigerator and make other foods smell like onions.

6. Avocadoes ripening process is interrupted if put in the refrigerator, so if you want them soft and easy to mash for guacamole, keep them elsewhere.

7. Coffee does not keep better in the refrigerator and may absorb other smells.

So after all that advice, what do you do?


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Fresh Strawberrie Pie

I love strawberry desserts, but I have a diabetic son-in-law. I fixed this when he came for dinner with my daughters and my other daughter’s boyfriend. They all loved it.

Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe (you can also make it with raspberries)

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + chilling Cook: 5 min. + coolingYIELD:8 servings


  • 1/4 cup sugar [use 2 T. sugar and 2 T. Splenda for diabetic version)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package (3 ounces) strawberry sugar-free gelatin
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches, crumbs and melted butter, no sugar)


  • Combine the sugar, cornstarch and water and stir out all the lumps. Let it boil, stirring constantly. Stir for 2 minutes more or until thick. Remove from the heat and dissolve the gelatin in it. Cool 15 minutes.
  • Place strawberries in the crust and slowly pour gelatin mixture over berries. Chill until set, about 3 hours. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Nutritional Facts1 piece: 163 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 124mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 4g fiber), 2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit.

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The Languages of Love


Dr. Gary Chapman speaks at conferences about marriage. His book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, discusses the different ways couples show their love for each other. I took the quiz, and persuaded my husband of many years to take it also. He grumbled, but complied, then asked why I wanted him to do it. I explained I wanted to be sure I expressed my love in ways that he would appreciate.

So, what are the five languages? I’ll list them in alphabetical order, because others will rate them differently than my husband and I did.

Acts of Service, especially when one partner is stressed, are greatly appreciated by some. Physical touch may be more important to one partner, while Quality Time is valued by another. Receiving gifts pleases some partners, while Words of Affirmation are valued most by others.

Knowing this gives you a double whammy if you read or write romance. You can figure out what pleases your real-life partner and find it in the heroes and heroines in the romances you read and/or write.




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New Year’s Resolutions Made Easy

Low-carb Diet, here I come.

It’s January, and like many others, I’m trying to recover from pounds I gained from eating Christmas’s bountiful goodies.

My husband will only try the low-carb diet, so I’m looking forward to lots of sugar-free Jell-O with a dab of Cool Whip or fresh fruit. Oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low-carb. Since my husband has a sweet tooth, I mix one tablespoon of sugar and two packages of Sweet ‘n Low with the berries. For a tasty apple treat, I cut out the seeds, slice an apple onto a plate, sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, microwave for two to three minutes, and eat with a toothpick.

Since I hate summer squash and zucchini, and he hates winter squash, and broccoli, we’ve settled on a compromise.  I cook broccoli for me and squash for him. I love spaghetti squash with butter and brown sugar, but that much sugar is a no-no, so I won’t do that.

I found a great recipe for green beans with bacon and cream cheese. I was going to make it tonight when my grandson and his girlfriend come for dinner, but her boss scheduled her to work tonight, putting him on my grandson’s hate list, so I guess it will be next Tuesday before they come.

I’ve been hunting recipes for the non-starchy, allowed vegetables. I don’t care for kale or Swiss chard, but I love spinach. A recipe I developed is listed below. You can also use it to stuff mushrooms.

Creamed Spinach with Mushrooms

2 T dried, minced onion, soak in ¼ cup warm water (or ½ cup chopped fresh onion)

6 large mushrooms. sliced

2 pkgs. frozen spinach (12 oz.), microwave each 5 minutes

¼ cup butter or margarine, cut in cubes and melt in frying pan

1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1T. flour

¼ tsp. garlic powder


Soak the onions in a small bowl for ten minutes. Cook spinach in microwave, one package at a time. Let cool. Cook the mushrooms in the melted butter in a large frying pan until slightly browned on each side. Put mushrooms on a plate and add flour, soup, and garlic powder to the butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring. Cook and stir for one minute until it’s thickened. Squeeze extra water from spinach packages and add spinach and mushrooms to pan and stir. This makes six generous servings, and it will keep and reheat well. If you put the leftovers in the pan in the refrigerator, add a little water and stir before reheating so spinach won’t stick to pan. Or, you can reheat it in the microwave oven.




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Goodbye, Sweet Car

My Toyoto Corolla was sick and sluggish at times. I’d be tooling along without any problems until I stopped at an intersection with a Stop sign. Then it was like pushing an elephant to get it to move. Cars behind zipped around me while I jammed my foot on the accelerator. Nothing changed. Then all of a sudden, the engine decided to jerk ahead, and then I was fine–until the next time.

Goodbye Toyota

Goodbye Toyota

I was hoping to make it to Sunday School on time when the car just crawled for a whole block. When it finally decided to move faster, I turned around, headed home, and drove my husband’s car to church.

In the meantime, my husband woke up and wanted to go to the donut shop to meet with his cronies that gathered there in the mornings.  He took one look at my car sitting there and decided something must be wrong.

Monday morning, I drove my Toyoto to Jack’s Auto Shop to get it fixed.  Jack, bless his heart, said the transmission was about to go out, and the catalytic converter needed to be replaced before I could pass inspection. He asked if I wanted to spend $3,000 to fix a 14-year-0ld car with 175,00 miles on it.  Not ready to do that, I drove home and had a conference with my husband.

He checked out prices and informed me I could only sell it for $1,500 if I fixed it up. Since we’re both retired, we had planned on downsizing to one car when mine wore out, but I didn’t feel ready to let go.

We could donate it to Cars for Kids, an organization which helped pay to educate teens. I drove by Jack’s and took my last picture.

Then I had an idea. Maybe Carmax would buy it. Sure enough, a phone call confirmed they would probably take a car that old and that sick.

Now, I am counting my blessings. First, I received a $300 check from Carmax. Second, my sweet husband agreed to let me use our other car for all my writer’s meetings as long as he gets to join his cronies for coffee at the donut shop in the mornings. Third, we don’t have to pay for car inspection and registration, and fourth, we can get a refund on our car insurance.

The only catch is we have to remember to pass the extra key back and forth in case one of us forgets and leaves the key in the ignition. I can live with that.



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For Better Sleep

We updated our Sleep Number bed.  My husband and I carried out the old frame. He unpacked the new plastic frame pieces and assembled them. I had to vacuum the rug underneath. We enlisted my daughter to help carry the heavy stuff as he has a weak heart. Then we had to push like mad to get the top supports into the frame. Finally, blowing up the mattresses again was easy. We tugged the mattress cover into place and made the bed. I got my mattress so full, it felt like I was lying on the floor, so I let out some air. Now we have the foundation for a good night’s sleep again.img_0821 img_0822 img_0823 img_0825


In the background of the second picture, you can see the new frame. The oblong black thing lying on the mattress cover is a spongy filler that goes between the two mattresses. The last picture shows us blowing up the mattresses.

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Something you don’t want to meet

Horned Viper

While doing research for my next book, I discovered a picture of this venomous snake.  Its fangs grow to 13mm in length. That’s half an inch long. Their length can be as much as 95 cm. (over 3 1/2 inches). While females are usually smaller, if I saw one, I wouldn’t bother checking one’s sex. Like a rhinoceros, it has a single ‘horn’ protruding from the snout. The snake may be dark brown or grey to black and has a zigzag pattern.

The venom produced by this snake is very toxic based on experiments using mice, but does vary between species and areas and is neurotoxic. Pain, swelling, and redness will occur within moments of being bitten around the bite area. Dizziness and possible blackouts may occur with a tingling sensation around the body.

It’s venom can attack the nervous system. A bite may cause nausea, muscle spasms, as well as possible death through cardiac arrest.  However, most people recover after being treated with antivenom.  Now I have to decide if I’m going to let my heroine and hero come upon one when they are lost in the Northern Alps.

Never run from a snake, always walk calmly away. 

Horned Viper

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