keep your distance

Dear Ask Mom- I have a friend who depends on me too much. I’m starting to feel suffocated what can I do?

Reassure your friend that he/she is just fine on their own and doesn’t always need your advice. Make yourself less available and suggest other people that can help. Make some distance between you for a little while and when your friend realizes that he/she doesn’t need you for everything, you can start spending more time together without feeling smothered.

no competition

Dear Mom, I just met a friend of a friend who is so competitive that I can’t stand to spend time with my friend when this other person is around. How can I spend time with my friend and the other person without letting her ruin the whole time together?

Competitive people are usually insecure and it takes two people to compete. Don’t get caught up in it. If you know that she is always going to try to one-up you or start a competition stop it before it gets started by saying, “we’re both really lucky” or “that’s really great” and change the subject. She can’t be competitive if there’s no one to compete with…

start tossing

if you have ever ruined a good salad with bad dressing you need to read this…

Here’s How: Make Any Salad Dressing

Equipment: All you need is a mixing bowl and a whisk (or two forks)

The VinegarThe first ingredient in salad dressing is always vinegar. Use red wine or white wine vinegar, both flavorful but relatively mellow choices. For special-occasion salads, champagne, sherry vinegar and balsamic.  You can also use lime juice or lemon juice, or even the juice from a freshly squeezed orange. Depending on how much you like vinegar or lemon juice, you can cut the acidity in two ways: adding more oil or throwing in pinches of salt.

The Oil--Oil stands out in salad dressings, so opt for your most delicious, high-quality oil. We always use extra virgin olive oil in our dressings. Walnut or sesame oil can change the flavor of your dressing. We always say to add oil to your taste, so really do try the dressing as you go, pouring oil slowly into the vinegar, whisking all the while, until the balance of flavors is exactly what you like. The best way to sample your dressing while it’s in progress? On a lettuce leaf–exactly what you’ll eat it on later.

The CreaminessThe simplest way to adjust the level of creaminess in your salad dressing is to add a spoonful of mayonnaise to your oil-vinegar mixture. Mayo already contains oil that’s been emulsified with an egg yolk. You can also whisk a creamy cheese, like blue cheese or goat cheese, into the the dressing at the end.

The FlavoringsThe simplest flavor additions are shallot and garlic. Mince shallot finely and cut garlic even more finely so that it turns into a paste. To mellow the taste a bit, marinate the shallot in vinegar while cooking the rest of the meal. Chopped fresh herbs are another way to add flavor, we add capers and olives.

this is from a series by Ina Garten titled Here’s How Series

face it- no quick fix

Lots of emails that I read are from people who have different problems, but they all end by saying that they have no idea what to do to solve their problem, so they aren’t doing anything.

I’m not sure that I understand that. I think that most of us spend too much time and energy not facing the real problem. Since we have not admitted what the real problem is it’s impossible to figure out what to do about it. Instead of spending time trying to blame something or someone else for problems just accept the problem for what it is and spend time and energy trying to make things better. You can’t start to find a solution until you honestly face the problem and get all the emotional stuff and blaming out of the way. Solving a problem is a process, there’s no quick fix. Most of the time solving a problem includes changing the person you are and change is never fast, easy or painless…

cooking made easier

Who knew…cooking tips you’ll love

  • pre-soak pasta in a bag of water for a few hours or over night and it will cook in about one minute
  • if you add a pinch or two of baking soda to onions when you’re carmelizing them they’ll cook much faster
  • don’t peel potatoes before boiling them because the skin will slip off when the potatoes are cooked
  • the core will pop out of a head of iceberg lettuce if you slam it down on the core on the counter or cutting board
  • microwave an ear of corn in the husk and it will slide out of the husk when it’s cooked
  • if you’re baking from scratch take a frozen stick of butter and grate the amount you need into the flour to make dough
  • spray the cheese grater with nonstick spray and the cheese won’t stick to the grater
  • to get more juice out of lemons and limes microwave them for 15-20 seconds first


quitting is not failing

Mom- I started volunteering some place and it is not what I expected. Everyone is inconsiderate and they treat me like I am incompetent because I am a volunteer. I want to quit, but I feel like quitting is failing. What should I do?

Volunteering is supposed to be a good thing for everyone involved. If it is making you feel bad and you’re unhappy about doing a good thing, do you think that saying something to someone about how you’re being treated will help? If not, then quit. Quitting is not the same as failing.

get it done

Dear Ask Mom, I start off with a long ‘to do’ list and it just keeps getting longer. I feel like I never accomplish anything. How can I be more productive?

If you have a long ‘to do’ list that’s your first problem. Choose two or three small things that you need to do and set a deadline, or break down a big thing into small parts. Make a ‘short list’ forget about the rest of the ‘to do’ list until you have finished the smaller things. Do that with your whole list and you’ll finish everything without feeling so overwhelmed.

fresh fruity muffins

there’s fruit everywhere this summer…make Fruit Filled Muffins (makes 12 muffins)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fruit ( peeled, cored and chopped) apples, berries, dried fruit, frozen and thawed or go to a u-pick or farmer’s market and buy as much as you can carry


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and shortening. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
  • Fold in the fruit. Pour batter into prepared muffin pans.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


I’m going to start sharing emails today and every Thursday… more than any other I get emails about loneliness…let me know if you can figure out how I can connect all of the people who write to tell me that they are lonely with each other then there wouldn’t be any more lonely people…

It seems like there are two groups of lonely people, some of you are lonely because you say that you have no friends and some of you are lonely even though you have friends or are in a relationship. The feeling of loneliness seems to have very little to do with physically being alone. They are different problems. The other good thing about loneliness is that you can stop feeling lonely fast with a little bit of effort and it’s worth the effort.

If you feel lonely even though you have friends or you’re in a relationship it’s probably because you’re not sharing your thoughts and feelings and your relationships are superficial. Open up and let yourself be vulnerable.

If you are lonely because you’re alone, you have to accept that you are the only one responsible for your life and for your choices. Most people are lonely because they don’t have self confidence and most people don’t have self confidence because they are alone! Going around in this circle will make you dizzy and you’ll still be lonely. Just get out there and try everything. Join a club, take a class, join a gym, play a sport, start a group, volunteer and get out of the house as much as possible…

If you have been lonely and you’ve figured out how to solve the problem please let me know what you did and I’ll pass along your good ideas…all you need is one person…



Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company
Don’t get stuck in routines and don’t let apathy keep you from being active. Transform loneliness into something positive and learn to enjoy your own company. Loneliness can have many advantages. It can bring out your creativity and help you find your true self.
Choose to look at your being lonely in a positive light. There are so many solitary activities that can lift up your spirit, activate your mind and ease your loneliness. Reading, painting, cooking, or gardening, are just some of them. Find something that suits your interests and focus on it. Stop thinking about the past or worrying about the future and start appreciating the present moment.
Loneliness can also help you make constructive changes in your life. When you learn to be happy and comfortable with yourself, you will also find out what you really want from life. And you won’t be feeling lonely any more.
Strengthen Your Existing Relationships
Reconnect with people you already know. Call them, go see them more often, or write to them if they are not in the same city. Try to deepen your contacts and make your relationships more meaningful.
Reach out to People and Create New Relationships

In order to stop feeling lonely, you can create new social relationships. Without human interaction, loneliness can turn into complete solitude. Sharing opinions and life experiences with other people is what all human beings need – we are not meant to live life alone.
Don’t expect that people will approach you and ask you to be their friend. You should make an effort to approach them first. If you never talk or take any initiative, they will assume that you want to be alone.
Rather than waiting for people to invite you to social gatherings, step up and arrange events. Organize outings, meet up with old friends, or invite new people over.
But remember to be patient and take it slowly. Social relationships and friendships are not built overnight. It takes time to get to know another person, build rapport and develop mutual trust.
In the meantime, enjoy spending time with new friends and doing activities that interest both of you. This is a good step.
Stop Waiting and Looking – Get Involved in Activities
To avoid feeling lonely, you must keep yourself busy and engage in an activity that will make you feel happy and satisfied. When you change yourself, the world around you will change also.
Joining a class or a club, or participating in a team project such as volunteering, can have numerous advantages.
Getting involved in an activity will not only stimulate your curiosity and make you learn a new skill, but it will also help you meet new people and give you a sense of belonging to a group.
Volunteer: Helping Someone Who is Lonelier than You Will Make You Feel More Connected to Life
There are plenty of opportunities. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, care homes for disabled people, hospitals, and nursing homes are just a few.
The act of doing something useful for someone who really needs your help, will give you happiness and satisfaction. Your feelings of emptiness and loneliness will quickly dissipate and you will start feeling more connected to life.
Volunteering will also make you meet many other valuable people who are trying to do something good for others without expecting anything in return. This is a good way to develop meaningful friendships.
Join an Internet Community and Find Support Online

Loneliness is widespread in modern society. There are far more lonely people in this world than you might imagine and many of them are in search of friends to talk to. Join an internet community and find them.
Sharing thoughts, secrets, worries, and experiences with other persons who feel the same way will help you feel less lonely and less isolated. Creating friendly connections online can be as valuable as forming them in real life. Just remember to be a careful internet user. Not everyone online is who they say they are.
You may also join loneliness support groups online. Sometimes they can be very helpful.
Learn to Be with Other People
Social relationships and friendships are based on mutual respect. This means that instead of just talking, you must also learn to listen to other people and show that you are interested in what they have to say.
In other words, you must respect their need to express their opinions and feelings, just like you would want them to respect yours.
Don’t Be a Burden
When you meet someone, don’t exhaust him or her with your problems and don’t try to quickly create an intense relationship. Nobody likes someone who is too insistent or too desperate. You must let a new relationship take its natural course and give it time and space to develop.
However, just by starting to create new social contacts, you will already feel less lonely.
Love Yourself and Others will Love You Too
Are you afraid that you can not measure up to other people? Do you feel insecure about yourself? Do you think that nobody cares for you?
If your fear of being rejected prevents you from establishing relationships with other people, then you have a self-confidence problem.
Try focusing on your good qualities instead of only the negative ones. Reaching deep inside yourself, overcoming your fears and learning to accept yourself for who you truly are will help you become more self-confident, more socially relaxed, and thereby less lonely. Once you learn to live with yourself, other people will enjoy your company too.
Loneliness doesn’t Last Forever
Stay positive and always look on the bright side of life. Negative emotions don’t last for ever. Loneliness, sadness, or depression, are just temporary feelings that are part of everybody’s life.
Avoid despair, don’t allow yourself to wallow, take action and things will change.




NEXT THURSDAY I get almost as many emails about stress and worrying as I do about feeling lonely.

watch what you eat

don’t let what you eat make you sick this summer…how long will it last in the fridge? freezer?

Mayo-Based Salads: Chicken Salad, Egg Salad, Tuna Salad Or Macaroni Salad-In the fridge: 3 to 5 days

Hot Dogs (Opened Package)-In the fridge: 1 week- in the freezer: 1 to 2 months

Hot Dogs (Unopened Package)-In the fridge: 2 weeks

Lunch Meat (Opened Package Or Deli Sliced)
In the fridge: 3-5 days- in the freezer: 1-2 months

Lunch Meat (Unopened Package)
In the fridge: 2 weeks- in the freezer: 1-2 months

Bacon-In the fridge: 7 days- in the freezer: 1 month

Sausage (Raw) From Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Beef
In the fridge: 1-2 days- in the freezer: 1-2 months

Ground Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey-In the fridge: 1-2 days-in the freezer: 3-4 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork: Steaks-In the fridge: 3-5 days-in the freezer: 6-12 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork: Chops-In the fridge: 3-5 days- in the freezer: 4-6 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork: Roasts-In the fridge: 3-5 days-in the freezer: 4-12 months

Fresh Poultry: Chicken Or Turkey, Whole-In the fridge: 1-2 days-in the freezer: 1 year

Fresh Poultry: Chicken Or Turkey, Pieces-In the fridge: 1-2 days-in the freezer: 9 months

Soups & Stews: Vegetable Or Meat Added-In the fridge: 3-4 days-in the freezer: 2-3 months

Leftover Cooked Meat Or Poultry-In the fridge: 3-4 days-in the freezer: 2-6 months

Leftover Chicken Nuggets Or Patties-In the fridge: 3-4 days-in the freezer: 1-3 months

Leftover Pizza-In the fridge: 3-4 days- in the freezer: 1-2 months

Raw Eggs In Shell-In the fridge: 3-5 weeks-in the freezer: Do not freeze. Instead, beat yolks and whites together; then freeze. Or freeze whites and yolks separately.

Raw Egg Whites-In the fridge: 3-4 days-in the freezer: 12 months

Raw Egg Yolks-In the fridge: 2-4 days-in the freezer: Yolks do not freeze well.

Hard-Cooked Eggs-In the fridge: 1 week In the freezer: Do not freeze.

Quiche-In the fridge: 3-4 days-in the freezer: After baking, 1-2 months.

Pies: Custard And Chiffon-In the fridge: 3-4 days- in the freezer: Do not freeze.

Pies: Pumpkin And Pecan-In the fridge: 3-4 day

Storing fruit and vegetables
Don’t Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables
For Vegetables: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
For Fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.