· Take a plate of cookies to your local fire department
· Reach out to someone in your circle who you know is going through a tough time in their life and listen to them and acknowledge their feelings rather than offering advice.
· Buy a bunch of balloons and hand them out to children.
· Leave a gas card at the pump.
· Leave a big bottle of laundry detergent at the laundry mat.
Cooking an acorn squash isn’t as intimidating as it looks. All you need is a sharp knife, spoon, fork and the following ingredients:
2 TBSP butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
First, preheat your oven to 425°. Next, cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Place the two halves cut side down on a baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Peel the skin away from the “meat” and place in a bowl. Add the butter, brown sugar, a few dashes of cinnamon and the teaspoon of vanilla, smash all together and enjoy.
There’s nothing like the feeling of a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. However, getting them well-stocked is the challenge families face every week. Making the most of your weekly trip to the grocery store takes planning. Here are some tips that will save you time in the long run and money too.
· For extra savings, check around for deals and coupons for the food you plan to buy. This could be online, in mailers or flyers in the grocery store.
· Buy produce that’s in season. Many grocery stores run specials on apples in September and October because there’s more supply than demand. Look for specials on zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and bell peppers.
· Use search engines like FoodieView to find recipes that include the on-sale produce for that week. This way you’ll have a new recipe that uses the food you’ve bought.
· A failure to plan is a plan for failure. To get the most out of the money you spend on the groceries and eat the food you’ve bought before it goes bad, a week-long meal plan is the solution. Consider planning six dinner menus that are healthy and easy to fix in order to accommodate your busy work week schedule. Most families prefer to eat at least one meal out per week for a night off from cooking. Keep breakfasts simple and eat leftovers from dinner for lunch.
· Once you’ve decided on a meal plan, you’re ready to make your shopping list based on the ingredients needed for those meals. Make sure you check the pantry and the fridge to see what you already have on hand. You’ll save more money when you avoid buying things you already have.
· One final way to save money at the grocery store is to stick to your list. Avoid going to the store when you’re hungry and tossing stuff into the cart that’s not on your list. Since you’ve planned your meals, you know what you need and what you don’t.
Because mangos are quite slippery you’ll want to be extra careful. Wash the mango first and then use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin. Next, use a serrated edge knife to slice off the fattest part (the “cheek”) of both sides of the mango. If you are right handed, the stem should be next to your left index finger.
Next, score/make shallow cuts into the “cheek” with a paring knife. Each cut should be about ½ inch apart and then turn the cheek so you can make perpendicular cuts. Once you’ve scored the mango you can press the back side so all the flesh stands at attention or you can trim off the flesh from the skin.
With the “cheek” scored, you’re ready to cut around the mango’s pit. Do this with a paring knife and then remove any flesh from the remaining skin. Finally, cut the rest of the flesh around the pit.
If you’re like me, you’ve bought fresh herbs and stored them in your refrigerator’s crisper, only to have them go bad four days later. Here’s a storage tip that will allow you to keep a bunch of herbs for weeks.
Store your herbs in a mason jar of water. Wash your herbs and give them a quick shake to dry. By prewashing them you save time cooking because you can just snip what you need right from the jar.
Once you’ve placed the herbs in the jar with water, put a plastic bag over them (like the one from the grocery store) and put the jar in your fridge. This works with most herbs except for basil which doesn’t do well in the cold. Keep your basil in a mason jar of water on your countertop by a window. Another benefit to this is that basil makes your kitchen smell good. Be sure to change the water when you use your herbs (every day or so) as this will keep them fresher longer.
With the busy schedules today’s modern family keeps, packing healthy lunches for school is a challenge. But a little planning ahead can really pay off the rest of the week. Here are some tips for staying healthy and saving time:
· Packing healthy lunches is much easier when you have the right supplies. A divided lunch container (with only one lid to open), ice packs, and an insulated lunch bag, thermos container and cup are must-haves.
· Go green and save some green. You can cut down on paper napkin purchases by using your own silverware and five reusable cloth napkins you can throw in the laundry over the weekend.
· Make a double portion of your favorite healthy, homemade recipes and freeze in individual serving sized containers for lunch on another day.
· Opt for foods other than lunchmeat. Consider hummus and cheese, cream cheese and jelly, egg salad, pesto and tomato, or peanut butter and honey rather than lunchmeat which is highly processed.
· Say “bye-bye” to bread. Pack healthier foods like apple slices, whole-grain tortillas, whole-wheat pitas or homemade banana bread. You can even substitute whole-wheat waffles for your “bread.” Or send your child a smoothie, hot soup, or “snacky” lunch of fruit, cheese, and nuts instead.
· Make your own Lunchable with whole-grain crackers and cheese, or plain whole-wheat pizza crust (or pitas), with spaghetti sauce and grated cheese.
“The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” –Albert Einstein