Consider refurbished gift items for holidays
photo by jaye_elle
DEAR SARA: What is a good place to find a used iPod Nano? I am looking for a 4-gigabyte one for my teen for Christmas. I just can’t see paying $140 for one gift. — Oct2667us, Maine
DEAR OCT2667US: If you visit www.apple.com, you can often find refurbished iPods. The model you’re looking for is $99 on the Web site.
DEAR SARA: I was watching a TV show, and they mixed a capful of bleach with dish liquid in the sink to soak the dish rag overnight. Is this safe? — Jayne, Pennsylvania
DEAR JAYNE: I would not mix bleach with dish liquid or with any other cleanser. The combination could create toxic fumes.
DEAR SARA: I left some hardboiled eggs out last night. I forgot about them and just noticed them again this afternoon. Are they bad now? — Tammy, Virginia
DEAR TAMMY: I would toss them. Eggs should be refrigerated soon after cooking them. Once boiled and refrigerated properly, they should be consumed within a week. I would not risk eating eggs that have been left out longer than two hours. I’m not a fan of fever, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
DEAR SARA: I bought yeast in bulk, and I am not sure what is equivalent to the small packets I buy. Most recipes call for the small packets, and I am not sure how many teaspoons are in a small packet. — Amy, Indiana
DEAR AMY: A packet is typically 2-1/4 teaspoons.
DEAR SARA: I’m going to try to make some gifts in a jar this year. I have some recipes for different cookie mixes to put in the jar. How do I know what size jar to use? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t seem to find out. I don’t want to end up putting the ingredients in a jar that is too huge or way too small. — Acrossmyheart, via e-mail
DEAR ACROSSMYHEART: The majority of jar mix recipes are placed in wide-mouth quart-size jars. Mason jars are available in wide-mouth 1/2-gallon size, so you can double your gift in a jar or layer mix recipes, too.
DEAR SARA: I’d like to make my 7-year-old nephew a craft kit for a gift. I’m looking for suggestions on supplies to put together in a box to help get him started. — JanieD, via e-mail
DEAR JANIED: There are so many supplies you can add. Consider items such as pom poms, craft sticks, glue, paints, wiggle eyes, chenille stems, felt, yarn, feathers, tissue paper, clay, stickers, glitter, beads, buttons and tape. If you’re looking to reuse common household items, you could include old greeting cards, magazines, wrapping paper, baby food jars, milk jugs, brown grocery bags and paper tubes.
DEAR SARA: Broccoli is the loss leader this week at the grocery store. I used the florets this evening, but I don’t want to throw away the stalks. Do you know if it’s OK to shred the stalks to make broccoli slaw, or would that be too hard on the tummy? Any other suggestions for the stalks? — Kiveve, North Carolina
DEAR KIVEVE: You can chop the stalks and boil, steam, blanche or microwave them. They can be used in recipes such as soups, casseroles, stir fry and broccoli slaw. For slaw, simply cut them julienne style. You can peel the stalk a bit with a potato peeler to remove any parts of the exterior that appear too tough and cook them with the florets, too. Consider starting the stalks a few minutes ahead because they take longer to cook.