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Recipes for Busy Moms Recipes for Busy Moms

     Where we can post kitchen tips, how to's and how not's.  You know those little secretes that make mom's cooking so good.  Also the basics like cutting and chopping techniques.

               

by on Oct. 21, 2010 at 4:48 PM
Replies (31-38):
dntbgmeb4cofe
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 4:23 AM

8 Ways to "Green" Your Kitchen

Reduce the Waste to Protect the Planet

-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

Greening your life—reducing your impact on the environment—takes a little research and planning. Because the kitchen is the most waste-producing room in an average house, it's a great place to start. The best way to do it is slowly, by starting with the easy, budget-friendly choices and moving on from there. Here are eight simple ways to green your kitchen. 

1. Exile excessive packaging. Oats, popcorn, flour, pasta, dried fruit, beans, and even cereal can be purchased in the bulk section (also called the bag and weigh section) of your local natural foods grocery. Some mainstream supermarkets are even catching on to this eco-friendly trend. You simply scoop what you want out of a large covered bin and then the cashier weighs it when you check out. Although the store usually provides plastic bags, bringing your own reusable containers is a better option. Have a cashier weigh your containers while empty, and then the cashier will subtract that weight from the filled container. 

If you can’t find your favorite foods in the bulk section, try to select the largest size that you can reasonably use (white vinegar will last forever, and can be purchased in gallon jugs, for example), or choose the brand that is packaged in cardboard or recyclable plastic, and be sure to recycle it when you’re through. 

If you’re packing your lunch, use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies for lunch items, and tote them all to work or school in a reusable lunch bag. Many of these bags are insulated too, so your lunch will stay fresher. 

BONUS: Packaging costs money too, so by buying in bulk and portioning out the food yourself, you'll save cash! 

2. Consider compost. Onion peels, carrot trimmings, apple cores, and egg shells will all become nutrient-rich dirt in a few months if you toss them in the compost. If they wind up in the landfill however, chances are they’ll stick around for a lot longer. Oxygen is necessary to keep the decomposing process moving along, but landfills are designed to keep air and water out. A carrot stick in a landfill could stick around for over a decade. 

To compost, you can buy or build a compost bin, or if you have a big yard, a simple compost pile will work just as well. If you don’t have a yard, check out worm composting, which you can do in your own kitchen. Completed compost can be used to fertilize vegetable or flower gardens, container gardens, and even houseplants, returning nourishment to the soil instead of clogging up the already over-crowded landfills. 

BONUS: Kitchens generate a lot of waste, but when you compost, you can significantly reduce the amount of trash in your kitchen and at your curb. But make sure you do it properly, as certain foods should not be composted. 

3. Buy organic. Choosing organically grown foods, which aren’t treated with chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, when you have the option helps to reduce the pesticide burden on the earth. Read more about the reasons to choose organic food here, and then learn how to buyorganic on a budget

BONUS: Organic foods are usually richer in nutrients too—they do a body good. 

4. Eat locally. Besides tasting fresher, locally-grown food is more ecologically sustainable. It benefits farmers and the local economy, as the profits from what is grown near you stay in your community. Check out your local farmer’s market for the best just-picked fruits and vegetables of the season, and select produce that was grown using organic methods to compound the eco-benefits. Buy large quantities and freeze, can, or dry them to enjoy locally-grown food all winter long. Or start your own organic backyard garden—the ultimate in local food. 

BONUS: When you buy food that's been shipped across the globe, you have to "eat" those transportation costs when you buy. Local food is also seasonal, which means it tastes better and is also more affordable. 

5. Use greener cleaners. Chlorine-free automatic dishwashing powder, petroleum-free soap, and non-toxic floor cleaner are all easy to find in most grocery stores. These products work just as well as their conventional competition, but leave behind less toxic residue for our bodies and the environment to process. You can also make your own cleaners with common household items like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and washing soda. 

BONUS: "Green" cleaners are usually better for people who have chemical sensitivities. Besides being better for the planet, they're healthier for everyone in your household. 

6. Drink filtered, not bottled. If you’re buying bottled water, consider this fact: In the state of California alone, nearly three million used plastic water bottles wind up in the landfill every day. Although you might recycle yours, keep in mind that it takes energy and resources to manufacture and transport these bottles—and to recycle them too. A better option is to buy a water filter that attaches to your kitchen faucet, and fill reusable bottles at the tap. 

BONUS: You'll save tons of money by saying no to bottled water and save trips to the grocery store to get it. 

7. Mind your appliances. Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances, which means that the appliance has met the quality and energy-efficiency guidelines of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. And make sure you use your appliances correctly. Monitor the temperature in your fridge (it shouldn't be so cold that it freezes your milk), only run your dishwasher if it’s completely full (otherwise you’ll waste water and energy), and try to multitask your oven (if you’re firing it up to cook the dinner casserole, throw in a few potatoes too, and you’ll have lunch for tomorrow). 

BONUS: Boosting the energy-efficiency of your appliances also keeps money in your wallet by reducing your utility usage. 

8. Don’t pre-rinse. If you have a newer model dishwasher equipped with a built-in garbage disposal unit, rinsing your dishes is probably an unnecessary, and wasteful, step. Read the instructions and experiment with a few loads to see how much your machine can handle. 

BONUS: Skipping the pre-rinse not only saves water, but it also saves you time and energy! 

Here's to a greener kitchen and a healthier planet!


                     

                                                   Barb

dntbgmeb4cofe
by on May. 2, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Don't act like you all ready knew this.

I had to go into the kitchen and check this out for myself. Whoever looks at the end of your aluminum foil box? You know when you try to pull some foil out and the roll comes out of the box. Then you have to put the roll back in the box and start over. The darn roll always comes out at the wrong time.

Well, I would like to share this with you. Yesterday I went to throw out an empty Reynolds foil box and for some reason I turned it and looked at the end of the box. And written on the end it said, Press here to lock end. Right there on the end of the box is a tab to lock the roll in place. How long has this little locking tab been there? I then looked at a generic brand of aluminum foil and it had one, too. I then looked at a box of Saran wrap and it had one too! I can't count the number of times the Saran wrap roll has jumped out when I was trying to cover something up.

I'm sharing this with my friends. I hope I'm not the only person that didn't know about this.

dntbgmeb4cofe
by on Aug. 4, 2011 at 10:11 PM

herb guide

Nothing beats the flavor and aroma of freshly cut herbs. They are easy to grow, even in the smallest of gardens or on a window sill. No patience for gardening? The supermarkets carry a large selection of fresh herbs in the produce section. Fresh herbs will add a touch of summer to all your recipes.

Basil

Basil

Fresh basil has a pungent flavor that is very common and popular. Use it in tomato sauces, pesto sauces, vinegar, and with lamb, fish, poultry, pasta, rice, tomatoes and Italian dishes.
Try these recipes:
Grilled Shrimp ItalianoHealthy Living | Shells with Tomato & Basil

Parsley

Parsley

This fresh-flavored herb, slightly green and piny, is more commonly used as a flavoring and as a garnish. Use to flavor grilled meat, poultry, soups, omelets, mashed potatoes, and salads. It may be used in herbal butters and vinegars or as a garnish. 
Try these recipes:
Garlic Mashed Potatoes Dijon | Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms

Oregano

Oregano

This herb has a strong flavor and aroma. Used to flavor tomato sauces, vinegar, omelets, quiche, bread, marinated vegetables, beef, poultry, black beans, and pizza. 
Try these recipes: 
Italian-Style Red Pepper DipHealthy Living | Herbed Onion Marinated Steak

Cilantro

Cilantro

Use in Asian and Mexican cooking or as a garnish. Popular in salsa, guacamole, Thai peanut sauce, enchiladas, and chicken dishes. Cilantro is also called coriander and has a pungent fragrance. 
Try these recipes:
Creamy Pico de Gallo Bean Salad | Black Bean Dip |Grilled Chicken with Sassy Citrus SalsaHealthy Living | Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Plantain and Orange Salsa

Tarragon

Tarragon

This aromatic herb, with narrow, pointed, dark green leaves, is known for its distinctive anise-like flavor. Use to flavor vinegars, herbal butter, shellfish, mayonnaise, sour cream dressing, poultry, turkey, mushrooms, broccoli, and rice. Use the fresh leaves in salads, tartar sauce, and French dressing.
Try these recipes:
Garden Vegetable DipHealthy Living | Pecan-Encrusted Pork with Peaches

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary's silver-green, needle-shaped leaves are highly aromatic and their flavor is one of both lemon and pine. Use for poultry, lamb, veal, pork, and tomato dishes, stews, soups, and vegetables. Also good finely chopped in breads and custards. 
Try these recipes:
Herb-Roasted Lamb | Roasted Garlic-White Bean SpreadHealthy Living

Sage

Sage

This slightly bitter and musty-mint tasting herb has narrow, oval, and gray-green leaves. Use in chicken and turkey stuffing and to flavor sausages. 
Try these recipes:
Sirloin Steak with Red Onion Relish

Dill

Dill

This tangy and pungent flavored herb is known for its feathery green leaves. Use to flavor fish and rice, sprinkle over potatoes and cucumbers and add to sauces and dips. 
Try these recipes:
Dill Potato Salad | Veggie Pizza Appetizer

Chives

Chives

This mild onion flavor herb has slender, vivid green, and hollow stem. Use as topping for baked potatoes, fish & poultry, and vegetables. It can be used as a substitute for green onions or as a garnish. It is also great in soups and sauces. 
Try these recipes:
Herb DipHealthy Living | Hearty Golden Chowder

Thyme

Thyme

This herb has pungent minty, light-lemon scent. Use in stews, soups, casseroles, meatloaf, stuffing, marinades, and vegetables. 
Try these recipes:
Caribbean Jerk Chicken BreastsHealthy Living

Mint

Mint

This aromatic herb has a sweet smell and a cool aftertaste. Use to make teas, beverages, and desserts. It can also be used as a garnish. It is also popular in Indian cuisine. 
Try these recipes:
Lebanese Lentils & Red Peppers | Savory Gorgonzola Spread

dntbgmeb4cofe
by on Aug. 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM

5 Hints for Busy Cooks

  1. Take a cue from restaurant chefs and prep fresh vegetables, like onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers, packaging them in separate containers or bags. They'll come in handy when making soups, stews and chilies.
  2. Buy a rotisserie chicken. One 2- to 3-pound chicken will yield about 4 cups of shredded meat. Most recipes call for 2 cups—freeze or chill the remaining meat to use in another meal.
  3. Wash and spin-dry lettuces, then store in plastic bags lined with paper towels. You won't believe how long lettuce will stay crisp this way.
  4. Make your own vinaigrettes and salad dressings. It requires a little work up front, but they’re a simple way to add a huge flavor boost to your meal. Make them fresh, and you'll be dressing those crisp greens with outstanding flavor all week.
  5. Buy fresh fruits in season—they make nutritious, ultra-speedy desserts. When you buy fruits in season, they’ll be at the peak of flavor and reasonably priced. Freeze them for fresh flavor year-round.
mamahogan2
by on Aug. 30, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Bump
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
batjmom
by on Aug. 30, 2011 at 6:50 AM

 worth the time to read the post... all kinds of great tips and information

dntbgmeb4cofe
by on Aug. 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Frozen Food and Power Outages: 
When to Save and When to Throw Out

hurricane-irene

Adapted from Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency (USDA).

Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.

If you keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer, it’s easy to tell whether food is safe. When the power comes back on, check the thermometer. If it reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen.

Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

Note: Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

You will have to evaluate each item separately. Use this chart as a guide.

Food Categories

Specific Foods

Still contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated

Thawed and held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD

Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats

Refreeze

Discard

Poultry and ground poultry

Refreeze

Discard

Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)

Refreeze

Discard

Casseroles, stews, soups

Refreeze

Discard

Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products

Refreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor loss.

Discard

DAIRY

Milk

Refreeze. May lose some texture.

Discard

Eggs (out of shell) and egg products

Refreeze

Discard

Ice cream, frozen yogurt

Discard

Discard

Cheese (soft and semi-soft)

Refreeze. May lose some texture.

Discard

Hard cheeses

Refreeze

Refreeze

Shredded cheeses

Refreeze

Discard

Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses

Refreeze

Discard

Cheesecake

Refreeze

Discard

FRUITS

Juices

Refreeze

Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.

Home or commercially packaged

Refreeze. Will change texture and flavor.

Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.

VEGETABLES

Juices

Refreeze

Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.

Home or commercially packaged or blanched

Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss.

Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.

BREADS, PASTRIES

Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)

Refreeze

Refreeze

Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling

Refreeze

Discard

Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough

Refreeze. Some quality loss may occur.

Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.

OTHER

Casseroles – pasta, rice based

Refreeze

Discard

Flour, cornmeal, nuts

Refreeze

Refreeze

Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagels

Refreeze

Refreeze

Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie, convenience foods)

Refreeze

Discard

 

bhwrn1
by on Aug. 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

bump...I like this post!

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