Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Catching an intruder in the kitchen ... snap!

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"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ..."

Oh yeah? There was a mouse stirring and, unfortunately it was in one of my kitchen drawers. I am not a fan of rodents, so when I spotted its little calling cards about two weeks ago, I called my son for advice. I really wanted him to come home (he's only 150 miles away!) and take charge of the situation, but no such luck.

"There's some sticky-trap things behind the canisters on the counter," David said. "Put peanut butter in the center. The mouse gets stuck and can't get free."

I knew where this was headed — I would have to pick up the trap with a still alive, squirming mouse that would come unstuck just as I lifted up the trap.

I needn't have worried. For five nights, the mouse dined on PB and pooped a lot more. I don't know what sticks to those traps, but it sure as heck wasn't this mouse.

David came home the weekend before Christmas, armed with real mouse traps. For four nights, the mouse ate, pooped and ran. David left Christmas night and, of course, the next morning I opened the drawer and found a gray mouse fanny and long tail extending from the trap.

I tried to summon the courage to dispose of it. I pulled the trash can over, I stood over the corpse with a pair tongs (also to be tossed) and took several deep breaths. I couldn't do it ...

I swallowed my pride and did what any other mouse-freaked-out woman would do — I asked a neighbor if he would be the mouse undertaker. I am forever indebted to him. Now I'm just praying there was only one mouse and the newly baited trap doesn't catch another.

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As I write thus, I plan to spend New Year's Eve at home with my dog, either watching a good movie or reading the next selection for the features department book club. The only other thing planned is a pan of taco dip in lieu of supper. I sometimes add black olives on top and a layer of shredded lettuce between the sour cream and cheese.

Layered taco dip

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INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

1/2 package taco seasoning

1 pint sour cream

1 pint guacamole

1/2 can refried beans

1 cup salsa

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

DIRECTIONS:

Brown the ground beef and drain off the fat. Add 1/2 of the package of taco seasoning mix. Press the meat mixture into a 7x11-inch pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill. Remove and top with refried beans, then guacamole, next the salsa. Place dollops of sour cream on top and spread with a a spatula. Top with the cheddar cheese and scatter tomatoes on the top. Serve with taco chips.


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