Posts Tagged ‘food’

02/17/10
Amy
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(Home Management) Cleaning out the Fridge


One of the best ways to establish a new habit is to build on an existing routine.

Trash day comes on the same day every week. It is a routine. Cleaning out food from the fridge that is growing as a science project is a task that you often procrastinate doing until you can ignore it no longer.  It is a task that would be the most effective as a routine. Since trash day is a routine that has already been established for you, build on that and try to make trash day (or the day before trash day) your routine day for cleaning out the fridge. This gives you a natural weekly reminder as well as an efficient way to not stink up the garage with the old food.

*Tip – To simplify this routine even more, read my easy idea for date-labeling food.

11/29/09
Amy
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(Money Saving Tips) Re-purposing Produce


produce

Many fruits and vegetables lose their fresh appeal after sitting on the counter for several days. Then they enter that awkward, slightly-over-ripe stage. If you are like me, you find yourself ignoring its presence until it reaches a point when you can justify throwing it away.

Look for ways to re-purpose the produce during that in-between stage. While it may no longer be optimal for eating fresh, it may be at a prime time to be made into another yummy treat.

Fruits can be used in smoothies, cobblers, muffins, breads, or in a simple fruit salad. Many fruits can even be frozen with a minimal amount of effort. Strawberries, blueberries (and other berries), peaches, mangos, and even bananas (for later use in baked goods) freeze really well.

Vegetables also have many ways that they can be re-purposed. They can be cooked and eaten as a side dish, added to a stir-fry or soup, used as green salad toppings, or frozen. Fresh green beans, broccoli, onions, and peppers are examples of some vegetables that freeze well for later use and cooking.

So the next time you recognize that the produce on your counters is teetering on over-ripeness, capitalize on the qualities that they still have to offer. It will save you money and maybe even provide you with fresh flavors that you wouldn’t have otherwise experienced.

11/19/09
Amy
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(Home Management) Date Labels


Don’t you hate the Expiration Date Debate? You know, the one where you stand in front of the fridge and look at the deli meat or leftover chili, knowing it is on the brink of not being fresh, but you are unable to make a commitment one way or the other. So you choose to eat something else and repeat the same debate the next day. This continues until you are absolutely sure that the food is past its prime or it has become a science experiment in the making and you can confidently throw it away.

labelsRemove the guesswork from your leftovers in one simple step. Purchase a package of small white labels, kind of like the ones you would use at a garage sale. When you first open an item or put away the food from dinner, predetermine the expiration date that you are comfortable with, write it on the sticker and stick it on the package or container. Then when you open your refrigerator, you will immediately know what is edible, what needs to be eaten today or never, and what is destined for the trash.

11/16/09
Amy
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(Money-Saving Tips) Holiday Menu Shopping


You may not put much thought yet into what you will cook for holiday meals or include on your Christmas cookie plates, but a little bit of planning can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Sales on baking supplies and ingredients are already happening. With your menu in hand, you can begin to keep an eye out for great sales and coupons on items that you would otherwise overpay for in a last minute rush. This also gives you the opportunity to gradually accumulate the needed ingredients and holiday foods, making it much gentler on the budget.

Holidays cost enough as it is. By simply doing a little bit of planning, this is one area where you can minimize holiday expense.

11/01/09
Amy
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(Organization) Double-Duty Dishpans


dishpanClutter comes in all shapes and sizes. It is often the small odds-and-ends, however, that accumulate the most rapidly into piles of clutter.

The kitchen pantry is one place where clutter can completely take over. Open chip bags, pieces of candy, granola bars, and boxes of pudding fill the shelves without order or containment. While some of the smaller items clutter the shelves, the messy packaging on other items can create the feel of clutter even after some level organization. For true, sustainable organization to occur, these items need to be contained while also remaining easily accessible. Yet the accessibility factor usully makes storage boxes an inefficient solution.

Dishpans are a cheap (I purchased mine at a local dollar store) and practical organization tool for the pantry. Use them to contain chips, pastas, dessert items, and snacks. My personal favorite is the “Kids Snack Bin”. In mine, I’ve put all of the kids’ favorite snack items: crackers, raisins, bars, canned fruits, popcorn, etc. This gives them a predictable place to look for approved snack items and encourages their developing independence. The dishpans can be easily removed from the pantry and the open tops make the contents readily accessible.

So if you find yourself feeling frustrated by clutter every time you open your pantry door, ask yourself what items can be grouped together and contained. The solution might be as simple as a dishpan.

09/15/09
Amy

(Healthy Living) Aluminum Free Baking Powder


img_3944 When I think of baking powder, I think of yummy home-baked goods. Pancakes, muffins, waffles, coffee cakes…the list goes on!

Many of the common brands of baking powder are single-acting and contain aluminum. In recent years, there has been a lot of research examining whether or not aluminum contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and other diseases. Research is still not conclusive, but there are points of concern that are being examined such as elevated levels of aluminum found in the brain cells of many Alzheimer patients.

In our day-to-day life, our bodies are frequently in contact with products that contain aluminum. Deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams and other bath and body products, water, and baking powder are a few examples. The baking powder, though, is an easy place to begin reducing the aluminum put into your body. It is a simple and cheap change to make. An added benefit is that when the aluminum is removed from baking powder, so is the bitter and metallic taste that baking powder is often known for.  So not only will your baked goods be healthier for you, but they will also taste better!

*Baking Tip – Look for “Double-Acting” baking powder to give your baked goods an added boost of fluffiness. Double-acting simply means that the leavening properties of the baking powder are released twice: when it comes in contact with liquids and then again with heat. This is especially important in gluten-free baking.