Dear Sara:

About a year ago we remodeled our kitchen and put in a black ground-granite sink. All the cleaners I have used leave a white film on it. Any suggestions? -- Jean, email

Dear Jean:

Use a microfiber cloth and warm water or Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water on a sponge or dishcloth. Rinse the cloth with water, wring it out and wipe the sink. Then dry with a soft cotton/flannel cloth. Don't use excessive soap or you'll get buildup. Wipe up spills as soon as possible, too. Don't use vinegar. I'd stick with the manufacturer's recommended granite cleaner and alternate for occasional cleaning to keep the cost down.

Dear Sara:

What to do with old National Geographics? I have them going back to the '70s and I really need to clear them out. There was a time when I might have taken them to a school or something, but they're all on CD now and searchable and I can't see today's kids pouring through old magazines. Should I just recycle the lot of them? -- C.H., Missouri

Dear C.H.:

National Geographic has some advice for people with collections, which you can read here:
They suggest donating to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, etc. But they also share a small list of magazine distribution charities. These organizations send materials overseas. There's a National Geographic collectors corner, too. Visit There are some listings on eBay, so you could take that route, or list them on FreeCycle.

Dear Sara:

I'd like a dip recipe to serve at a casual party. I want a hot dip, but not artichoke or spinach, please. -- Linda, Illinois

Dear Linda:

Try this dip. It can be served hot or cold, but it tastes better hot. You can keep it warm in the slow cooker.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup Red Hot sauce or hot wing sauce
2 8-ounce packages cold cream cheese, cubed
1 cup ranch salad dressing
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4-inch pieces
1 8-ounce box chicken-flavored crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well-blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover and cook on low until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks (or various other cut veggies), tortilla chips and crackers. Optional: Use bleu cheese dressing instead of ranch. -- Theresa S., Pennsylvania

Dear Sara:

Would you please share some of your favorite ideas for a bake sale? -- Lisa, Tennessee

Dear Lisa:

Traditional treats do well at bake sales. Think cookies, brownies, fudge, muffins/quick breads, Rice Krispies treats, flavored popcorn, blondies (or any bars such as lemon bars) and snack mixes.

photo by granite charlotte