GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Soak up the last rays of summer

This colorful panzanella salad is full of fresh, easy-to-assemble ingredients and is the perfect addition to any simple summer menu. (Photo by Mike Garten)

Take advantage of the perfect September weather — gather your friends for a day (or weekend!) of fun, food and relaxation.

Bring cozy decor out to the deck.

Line the table with tall taper candles, then add a row of pillows to make your outdoor dining area feel warm and inviting even when the sun starts to set.

Plan a simple family-style menu.

Focus on dishes with fresh ingredients you can assemble in advance, like a colorful panzanella salad, then enjoy the great outdoors with everyone else.

Sneak in extra seating.

Turn an unused stretch of wall into a place where guests can dive into a good book. To make it comfy, layer a plush pillow and a furry throw on a deep seat, then pull up a rustic side table.

Let the dining table double as an island.

Keep breakfast or snacks within easy reach so guests will feel comfortable gathering ‘round for a bite.

Decorate with classic games.

Top the coffee table with family favorites, and you’ll have entertainment at the ready.

Serve a batch of signature cocktails.

Up the specialness factor by setting out festive fabric napkins and convo-starting stirrers.

Set up multiple drink stations.

Encourage guests to mingle around the house by creating “mini bars” on open shelves and tables beyond the kitchen.

Light the way for guests.

You may know the lay of the land, but visitors? Not so much. Add reflective strips to outdoor stairs and put motion sensors on lighting so they can get around safely. Lab tip: Look for lightbulbs labeled as suitable for damp or wet locations.

Hosting and Toasting: Cocktail Hacks

  • Ice matters: Freeze distilled water in silicone molds to get pure-tasting ice that won’t leave a strange taste in your drink.
  • A good stir: Go stir crazy. It makes for colder drinks, and the melted ice enhances aroma and flavor.
  • Shake it up: When fruit juice is included, use a shaker to fully blend the ingredients.


Your Kitchen: From Scratch

Not just for breakfast anymore — our sweet and savory combo can add crunch to just about every dish.

Best-Ever Granola (for real!)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (we used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1. Heat oven to 300 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine oil, syrup, sugar and salt. Add oats, coconut flakes and sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and stir to evenly coat.

2. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until granola is light golden-brown and dry, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


Rubber critter toys, sold at BSN SPORTS and US Games catalogs, and online at,,, and from February 2017 through June 2018 for about $10 for an individual rubber critter and up to $145 for a set.

The orange and yellow surface paint on the rubber critter toys contains levels of lead that exceed the federal lead paint ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues. Consumers should immediately take the recalled rubber critter toys away from children and contact BSN SPORTS at 888-847-8816 or for more information for a merchandise credit. BSN SPORTS is contacting all known purchasers directly.

2017-2018 Volkswagen Passat sedans

2018 Atlas SUVs

The brake caliper bracket mounting bolts on these vehicles may not have been tightened sufficiently, which can allow the caliper to move, reducing braking ability or causing a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect the brake-caliper bracket bolt tightness, replacing and re-torqueing the bolts as necessary. Additionally, brake caliper fasteners, bleeder valve components and brake hose bolts will be checked and torqued to the correct specification, if necessary. For Passats, dealers also will inspect the parking brake cable for proper connection. All repairs will be done for free. Owners can call the automaker at 800-893-5298 to learn more.

(c) Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate



GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Soak up the last rays of summer–