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I am a stress eater. So, I don't need to tell you what the past three months trapped at home all the time have been like. A few weeks ago, when I had to lie flat on the bed to zip up my favorite pair of jeans (that's what happens when you're working from home and wearing sweat pants), I put a curb on my binge eating.

This past week, I've been stressed out about my pool. In January, it became apparent there was a hole in the pool liner. The winter cover sagged lower and lower, until I made the decision to cut the cord and drop the cover into the pool, to prevent the pool from collapsing altogether. After the initial stressing out, I lived with the fact I would need a new liner in the spring. (Did I mention this pool has only been up two summers?)

My pool guy sent a crew earlier last week — and they were able to patch the holes, no new liner! No sooner had the holes been fixed and the water replaced, it was decreed I needed a new filter, which would explain why there was water spraying out like a lawn sprinkler.

I was told to run the pump, keep an eye on the water level since the filter was spouting like a whale. The first day there was no problem. The next day, I turned it on and was sitting on the deck reading when it started making a rattling noise. Thinking the filter basket was filled with leaves and other stuff, I opened the cover to dump it — and a very dead squirrel was stuck in the skimmer door. I screamed, ran and called for reinforcements to remove the body. (Thanks, Mike, I owe you big time.)

After installing the new filter, the pool guy turned on the garden hose running in the pool when he left and told me to keep an eye on it, letting it fill just to top of the skimmer. I got busy doing my newspaper work and when I went out four hours later, water was cascading over the pool rim. It then drained for over two hours. (My apologies to my neighbor, Mrs. Wood.)

And tight jeans be damned — I looked in the fridge to see what was on hand. The result was a batch of this great Everything Bagel Dip. I had store-bought seasoning and the cream cheese and sour cream. Although the directions don't mention it, when I make the dip, I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. It only gets better as time goes on.

EVERYTHING BAGEL DIP

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning, (recipe below or use store-bought)

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream and Everything Bagel Seasoning. Stir until everything is combined ... that's it! If you'd like, you can sprinkle a little extra bagel seasoning on top for presentation. Serve with fresh veggies, potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, pretzels, pita bread, chunks of sourdough bread.

Tip:To soften cream cheese, for an 8-ounce block, place the completely unwrapped cheese on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for 15 seconds. Add 10 seconds for each additional 8 ounces of cheese

EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1/2 tablespoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic


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