Blog Posts by Country Living

  • 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

    Save money and trips to the market with these tips and tricks from Rebecca DiLiberto's Penny Saving Household Helper. You'll be surprised how simple it is to keep food at its best.

    1. Line the bottom of your refrigerator's crisper drawer with paper towels. They'll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.

    Related: Easy ways to organize your kitchen today!

    2. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they'll be easier to chop, and they'll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.

    3. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.

    4. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.

    Plus: Browse our favorite cheese recipes and learn how cheese is made!

    5. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch,

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  • How to Conquer Closet Clutter Once and For All

    Don't wait until it's nice out to start your spring cleaning. The best time to tackle the big home projects is during the cold, miserable winter months. The closet is a daunting task, but we've broken it down into three main objectives to help get you started.



    1. How to create more space.

    Begin by taking inventory of the essentials that must be stored. Do this as you sort through your wardrobe. Then you can evaluate the space for its real potential.

    Choose double hanging bars to create more room for tops, skirts, and pants. Shelves along the back wall keep handbags within easy reach. Out-of-season clothes are stowed in drawers at the front of the closet, and shoes moved onto shelves and built-in racks.

    Tip: Place a trash can in your closet to conveniently toss out price tags and dry-cleaner bags.

    Related: Maximize your space with these decorating ideas.

    2. Organize, organize, organize!

    Plastic shoe boxes are ideal for storing off-season shoes or

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  • 5 Simple Valentine’s Day Crafts

    These cute crafts made from ordinary materials like yarn and paint strips will warm your heart. Need ideas for a romantic meal or delicious dessert? We've got you covered.

    Plus: Send love messages with our new Valentine's Day app!



    1. Make Valentine's Day cards out of paint strips - in seconds. Jodi Kahn, author of Simply Sublime Gifts ($19.99; Potter Craft), turned us on to this sweet idea for repurposing free color swatches: Press inked stamps onto the strips to form phrases like XOX (similar stamps, from $4.50 each; black ink pad, $4.95; paper-source.com) and let dry for five minutes. Kahn's trick for ensuring that the ink adheres? Coat each paint strip with aerosol hair spray before stamping.



    2. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Transform any sweater into a romantic fashion statement by tweaking store-bought elbow patches ($7.98 for two; mjtrim.com).

    Simply cut a heart-shaped pattern out of scrap paper (ours measured approximately 4½" x 4½"), then use that pattern to cut out a heart

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  • 3 Insiders Reveal the Secrets to Decorating with White

    Interior designers Rachel Ashwell, Darryl Carter, and Suzanne Kasler offer expert advice on the ways to work white right. Hint: Don't be afraid!



    Courtesy of Shabby ChicCourtesy of Shabby Chic

    1. Rachel Ashwell

    Ashwell sparked a craze for slipcovered sofas and flea-market finds when she launched Shabby Chic 22 years ago.

    Her advice: White is a very dramatic color that can be cozy. I avoid hard, modern pieces and use fluffy cushions and distressed finishes - so you still get that airy feeling, but with warmth to it. Paint a room white, and you have a blank canvas for anything. There's nothing worse than seeing someone go with an all-white room, then fear it. Let the white be lived in! I've raised two children in my homes, so all of my Shabby Chic slipcovers are preshrunk and machine washable.

    Steve ProckoSteve Procko

    2. Darryl Carter

    Carter's M.O.: Strip away unnecessary embellishment (loud colors, busy patterns) to focus attention on a few carefully curated pieces, many of them antiques with traditional forms and warm patinas.

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  • 7 Ways to Keep Your Super Bowl Party From Sucking

    Whether you're rooting for the Packers, Steelers, or just in it for the commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is the epitome of must-see TV. We'll show you how to avoid party fouls and score major points with simple tips on decorations, food, and drinks.

    Plus: See the best foods to serve during the game.



    Valerie Loiseleux / IstockValerie Loiseleux / Istock

    1. Don't Go Overboard with Decorations

    This is prime time to show your team spirit so don your favorite player's jersey and break a foam finger for a good laugh. There's a fine line between festive and tacky. Steer clear of football shaped cakes, streamers in the team colors, and turning the table into a miniature football field.



    2. Vary Your Drink Options and Prepare for Spills

    Beer may be synonymous with football (we blame the beer ads that play during every commercial break) but it isn't everyone's first choice. Make a pitcher of Orange-Ginger Margarita or Passion Fruit Mojito and be sure to have a few bottles of red wines on hand. Cheering can get rowdy so booze and food are bound

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  • The 10 Favorite Foods of Football Fans

    These crowd-pleasing dishes will score you major points at a Super Bowl party.

    1. Pastrami Sandwich

    Pastrami, a type of cured brisket, is traditionally a smoked meat, but here it is pre-spiced and then simply steamed with water. Every slice is defined by a tempting spice-encrusted edge.

    Recipe: Hot Steamed Pastrami

    Plus, Don't Miss These Super Bowl Party Do's and Don'ts


    2. Lasagna

    A hearty pasta dish like lasagna is filling and perfect for a self-serve buffet. With this recipe, even vegetarians can dig in!

    Recipe: Zesty Vegetable Lasagna

    Check Out More Hearty Pasta Recipes

    3. Garlic Bread

    Sprinkle a halved loaf with olive oil, chopped garlic, oregano, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then wrap in foil and bake.

    4. Chicken Fingers

    Sports are synonymous with finger foods. We've cut the fat from these irresistibly crispy chicken fingers by baking them in the oven instead of deep frying.

    Recipe: Crispy Oven Chicken Fingers

    Get More Read More »from The 10 Favorite Foods of Football Fans
  • 7 Beautiful Fireplace Looks You Can Copy

    Turn your fireplace into the coziest spot in the house with a mantel makeover.

    Stone

    This combined living and dining area exudes warmth thanks to a native-stone fireplace and rough-hewn beams that blend to make this grand space both intimate and inviting.


    Brick

    Proof that clean, airy decor can also deliver cozy warmth, the living room combines a neutral palette with loads of comfy seating and a red-brick fireplace.


    Blue

    An antique blue mantel adds a touch of color and character to this calming white living room.


    Distressed

    A makeover transformed this fireplace from white drywall and plaster to its original natural stone. The mantel was distressed to match the natural tones of the room.

    Get the step-by-step distressing instructions


    Reeded

    A tight grid of plant prints echoed by mini vases of flowers makes a unique display above this white reeded mantel.

    Vintage

    A dreary old fireplace was replaced with a vintage

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  • White’s Hottest Moments in Pop Culture

    In honor of our February white theme issue, we celebrate seven reasons why we love the color white - and you should too! IstockIstock

    White Bread (1921)

    Suffice it to say, people were amazed when Wonder Bread began selling loaves of sliced bread. The fluffy white slices quickly became a pantry staple and revolutionized the sandwich. It was the greatest thing since, um, what trumps sliced bread?


    Everett Collection / DisneyEverett Collection / Disney

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(1937)

    The Disney classic may have been the first animated film produced in color, but it was the leading lady's "skin as white as snow" that captivated audiences. OK, those lovable dwarfs Dopey, Doc, and, of course, Grumpy were worth watching too.


    Everett Collection / FoxEverett Collection / Fox

    Marilyn Monroe's White Dress (1955)

    From the second a breeze from the subway rushed through the grate and blew up Marilyn's dress, The Seven Year Itch catapulted to fame. Her gorgeous white halter instantly became a fashion icon and a ubiquitous Halloween costume.

    EMI / Apple Corps LtdEMI / Apple Corps Ltd

    The Beatles' White Album

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  • 6 Soups to Warm Up to This Winter

    The weather outside may be mean but these hearty, filling soups are a nice break from the cold.

    Plus: We have dozens of more soups, from mushroom to Mexican, for you to enjoy!


    Chicken and Chard Pasta f-- ioli

    This is a twist on the classic pasta f-- ioli soup, using shredded chicken breast, red kidney beans, and Swiss chard. At 345 calories per serving, it is a filling and low-calorie meal.

    Recipe:
    Chicken and Chard Pasta f-- ioli



    Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

    This meal-in-a-bowl brims with fill-you-up soluble fiber, thanks to the lentils. Translation: It may help keep weight down and also helps lower total and "bad" LDL cholesterol. The lentils, spinach, and tomatoes, all rich in potassium, work to keep blood pressure in check, too.

    Recipe:
    Red Lentil Vegetable Soup


    Butternut Squash Soup

    Favorite recipes, faithfully prepared, link fond memories of meals shared with the anticipation of more good times.

    Recipe:
    Butternut Squash Soup

    Hearty

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  • 5 Ways to Declutter Your Home

    One expert's tips on how to stay organized and live comfortably with loads of stuff.

    Plus: Crafts that help declutter


    1. Make an artful asset of hard-to-store goods.

    "There never seems to be cabinet space deep enough to hold platters," says Joanna Madden. She solves the dilemma in her kitchen with a custom rack that displays the oversize dishes.

    2. Put treasures to work.

    Stacked up, vintage suitcases "read as a single unit of furniture, like a cabinet," says Madden. And this gorgeous grouping doesn't just stand there looking good: The family stows off-season stuff, such as holiday ornaments, in each "drawer."


    3. Take full advantage of vertical space.

    In any house, there are only so many tabletops on which to showcase stuff. So if you tend to amass large numbers of small collectibles, consider climbing the walls.


    4. Layer objects for depth and drama.

    So brilliant, so simple: Madden injects instant architectural interest by

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