Ready for winter? I’m not.

But as long as we have to look at that white blanket of fluff outdoors, we may as well have the best vantage point, right? And it’s a season for comfort food, such as pasta and bananas, too.

A window on the world

You may be spending a lot of time this winter on the inside looking out, so why not perfect your view?

Don’t let summer smudge sit on your glass all season. Straight vinegar in a spray bottle leaves windows super shiny. Just spray and wipe with a crumpled-up ball of newspaper.

Try this little trick: Use vertical strokes when you’re washing the outside and horizontal swipes on the inside. That way, if you spot a streak, you’ll know exactly where you need to touch up.

Bunches of bananas

Play “monkey see, monkey do” and do this trick the next time you buy bananas.

Instead of storing them in the cute clump that you bought at the store, tear them apart at the stems and store them individually. Bananas ripen and turn brown faster when they’re hooked together, so let them sit solo. Wrap each individual stem in plastic wrap to slow down the aging process.

If you aren’t ready to use them once they ripen, pop them into a plastic bag, seal and freeze for up to three months. Just thaw, peel and use.

You may also peel and slice them into bite-size chunks before you toss them in a freezer bag. Next time you’re making a smoothie, just throw a handful of the frozen fruit into your blender. They work great as a flavorful frozen topping for ice cream sundaes, too.

Pasta magic

It’s the season for comfort food, but if you’re a pasta fan, you’ve probably experienced that the pot sometimes floweth over while you’re boiling it unattended.

To make this age-old problem go away, simply place a wooden spoon over your pot before you turn the stove to “high” to boil your pasta. The horizontally placed spoon will break up the boiling bubbles and magically keep your pot from overflowing onto your stove top.

This trick also works for hard-boiled eggs, or any other boiling issue.

Tame the toilets

A few tablespoons of powdered lemonade or orange-flavored drink dumped into your toilet bowl will make stains disappear without the need for toxic chemicals. Tang is a good option, too.

Simply pour some powdered citrus drink mix into your bowl, let it set for several hours, then scrub as usual.

Have some favorite apps, household hints or savings secrets of your own you’d like to share? Or searching for a solution? We’d love to hear from you. Email Marie Havenga at mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com. Include your name, address and phone number. You may also snail-mail ideas to: Trib Tips, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417; or call 616-847-2628.

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