Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer: - Part 5


Shelf Life - long lasting

Do keep vanilla in a tightly sealed container away from light and heat.

Don't get rid of old vanilla.  Vanilla's high alcohol content makes it extremely self-stable.  Tests found that even 10 year old vanilla is indistinguishable from fresh.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer: - Part 4

Soy Sauce

Shelf Life 1 year

Do store pasteurized soy sauce (most common type) in the pantry.

Don't store unpasteurized soy sauce in the pantry: put it in the fridge.  Though the high levels of salt, sugar, and acid in this fermented soybean liquid protect against rapid spoilage,  tests showed it took on a fishy flavor after a few months in the cupboard.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer: - Part 3


Shelf Life - long lasting

Do ignore any sediment in your vinegar.  The sediment is a harmless cellulose that has been shown to not affect taste.  It can be easily strained out if you want.

Don't toss old vinegar.  Most vinegars contain about 5% acetic acid, which (along with pasteurization) prevents the growth of harmful bacteria, and will last indefinitely.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer: - Part 2

Olive Oil 

Shelf Life - unopened 1 year; opened 3 months

Do check the harvest date printed on the label and high-end oils to ensure the freshest bottle possible (some labels cite an expiration date, which producers typically calculate as 18 months from harvesting, but unopened olive oil can go rancid 1 year after the harvest date.

Do move olive oil from the countertop or windowsill to a dark pantry or cupboard.  Strong sunlight will oxidize the chlorophyll in the oil, producing stale, harsh flavors.

Don't buy olive oil in bulk.  Once opened, it has a very short shelf life.
Checking for freshness - heat a little olive oil in a skillet.  If it smells rancid, throw out the bottle.  This test works for all vegetable oils.

Other Oils

For optimal flavor, replace these oils 6 months after opening:

Store in the pantry:

Store in the fridge:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer - Part 1

Spices and Dried Herbs

Shelf Life:  Whole spices 2 years; Ground spices and dried herbs 1 year.

Do buy spices whole, versus ground, whenever possible and grind them just before using.  Grinding releases the volatile compounds that give a spice its flavor and aroma.  The longer the spice sits around (or is stored) the more compounds disappear.

Don't store spices and herbs on the counter close to the stove.  Heat, light, and moisture shorten their life. 

Checking for freshness - crumble a small amount of the dried herb between your fingers and take a whif.  If it releases a lively aroma, it's still good to go.  If the aroma and color of the spice have faded, it's time to restock.

Info from Cooking Illustrated Magazine

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

If you can't think of Worcestershire sauce without thinking of Lea & Perrins, blame it on more than just branding. In the early 1800s, chemists John Lea and William Perrins tried to duplicate an Indian sauce recipe for Worcester nobleman Lord Sandys. The chemists found the result of their attempt "unpalatable" and moved on to other projects while the jars of sauce gathered dust in the cellar. Years later, they tasted the aged sauce and found it delicious and savory. The men bottled the sauce and sold it throughout Europe. In 1839, New York entrepreneur John Duncan imported the sauce to the states where it became the oldest commercially bottled condiment in the U.S.

Just in case you were wondering, you can properly pronounce the sauce a number of ways: "WUST-ter-shire," "WOOS-ter-sheer," or "WOOS-ter-sher" sauce, according to manufacturers. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Icee


Contrary to popular belief, 7-Eleven did not invent its well-known slushy frozen drink. The slurpee was a happy accident of Omar Knedlik, a Dairy Queen owner in Kansas City during the 1950s. When Knedlik's soda fountain broke down, he improvised by putting some soda bottles in the freezer to stay cool. He served the not-fully-frozen bottles to customers who ended up loving the consistency of the cool treat. 

Knedlik then created his own machine that added carbon dioxide to make the drink fizz then held a naming contest. The drink became known as ICEE. In 1965, 7-Eleven licensed Knedlik's machine and their ad agency director named the drink Slurpee® after the sound made while drinking it through a straw. To date, 6.5 billion Slurpee® beverages have been sold through the store alone and approximately 13 million people sip Slurpees each month, according to 7-Eleven

Slurp on that!

Info from

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate lovers everywhere bow to the greatness that is Ruth Wakefield's accidental creation — the chocolate chip cookie. Wakefield was the owner and occasional cook of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. One day Wakefield was making a batch of chocolate cookies when she ran out of baker's chocolate. Improvising, she used broken pieces from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar thinking the dough would absorb the melted pieces. Instead, she accidentally created chocolate chip cookies

Wakefield called the cookies "Toll House Crunch Cookies" and the recipe was eventually published in a Boston newspaper. This got the attention of Andrew Nestlé, the chocolate provider whose chocolate was used in Wakefield's fruitful mishap. In exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate, Wakefield agreed to let Nestlé print her cookie recipe on their chocolate packaging. You can still find the Toll House cookie recipe on Nestlé packaging today! 

Info from

Friday, July 31, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs

Cheese doodles, cheese curls, cheese balls, corn curls — whatever you call it, this crunchy, cheese-powdered snack came from the brain of Edward Wilson, a curious employee at Flakall Corporation, a producer of corn-based feed for animals. Wilson noticed the machines that produced cornmeal would sometimes get so hot that the cornmeal came out in puffy cooked pieces that hardened as they came in contact with air. One day he took some of the puffy pieces home, added oil and the cheese flavor, and made the first cheese puffs. By 1946, Flakall Corp produced the earliest known version of cheese puffs that they called Korn Kurls

To date, there are over 324 variations of cheese puffs, including the popular Cheetos and Utz's Cheese Balls. The addictive snack is even spoofed in pop culture with this satirical scene from South Park

Info from 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Corn Flakes

Corn Flakes

In 1898, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (sounds familiar?) and his brother Will Keith Kellogg accidentally left cooked wheat out long enough that it became stale. Hoping to turn the stale wheat into long sheets of dough, the Kellogg brothers forced it through rollers, but the rollers flaked the wheat instead. The brothers then toasted the flakes and found it perfectly edible. Later, Will Keith tried the same method on corn and thus was the beginning of corn flakes cereal

In 1906, W.K. Kellogg created the first consumer batch of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. More than a century later, the Kellogg brothers' cereal empire includes more than 30 products. As of 2013, corn flakes' sugar-coated alternative Frosted Flakes ranked #2 on the list of 10 best-selling cereals in the U.S.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Didn't Know That - Champagne

It’s no secret that some of the best inventions happened by accident. Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was working with bacteria and mold when he discovered penicillin. Before the age of microwaves ovens, American engineer Percy Spencer noticed the chocolate in his pocket melted every time he walked in front of a vacuum tube generating small electromagnetic waves. Serendipitous discoveries aren't confined to technology; they also happen in the kitchen! A tablespoon of genius mixed with a pinch of luck cooked up these accidental food creations ...


The creation of the celebratory bubbly isn't credited to any one person, but to poor winemaking practices in the 15th century. During the late 1400s, Europe experienced an extreme temperature drop that froze both the Thames River and the Venice canals. The cold also stopped the fermentation process of grapes in Champagne, France, where the monks in the Abbey of Hautvillers created red and white wines. As spring brought warmer weather, the grape juice resumed fermenting and released carbon dioxide inside the bottle, which produced a new, throat-tickling quality. 
The Catholic church called in monk Dom Pierre Pérignon to curb the fizz from the remaining fermented wine. However, Pérignon's attempts only succeeded in refining champagne blending techniques. Thanks to increased consumption from French nobility, sparkling wine increased in popularity and became a symbol of expensive taste.

Fun fact: According to trade laws, only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region is called champagne. 

Pop, fizz, and clink to that!

Info from 

Monday, July 20, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #6


Another carminative herb known to prevent and eliminate gas is chamomile, according to research published in Molecular Medicine Reports. Branin recommends drinking chamomile as a strong tea (2 bags steeped for 15 to 20 minutes) or a liquid extract taken before meals. “I recommend this to many of my patients who suffer from gas with great results,” she said.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #5


The best way to prevent gas, according to Branin, is to add spices to your diet. In particular, she recommends black pepper, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, anise, rosemary, cardamom, coriander, basil and cloves. Considered carminative, which literally means an herb that prevents gas, these spices can go a long way in keeping the tummy taut and gas-free.

Friday, July 17, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #4


Although it has only recently become popular in America, fermented cow, goat or sheep milk—also known as kefir—has been keeping bellies happy and bloat-free in Eastern Europe for centuries. Like its cousin yogurt, kefir is chock full of good bacteria—it actually has up to three times more beneficial bacteria than yogurt—which helps the body break down food and prevent build-up of gas, according to research from The Ohio State University. Even better, this probiotic powerhouse doesn’t require a spoon! As long as you don’t mind its carbonation and slightly sour taste, you can drink it from a glass, with a straw or even straight from the container.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #3


Considered a staple in any Korean kitchen, kimchi is a spicy mix of fermented vegetables that includes cabbage as its main ingredient. Cabbage has gotten a bad rap over the years as one of the top culprits for gas and bloating, but this fiber-rich food actually aids in digestion by populating the GI tract with beneficial bacteria. The more good bacteria you have in your gut, the better equipped your body will be at breaking down foods properly so gas doesn’t build up, said Branin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #2

Pineapple and Papaya

Their ability to break down proteins in meat not only make pineapple and papaya natural meat tenderizers (try Taste of Home's Marinated Pork Medallions recipe), but these enzyme-rich foods can also ease digestion by helping to break down proteins during digestion, according to Branin. The longer it takes to break down these proteins, the more likely it is that you will experience the feeling of fullness and bloating, said Branin. What’s more, if the undigested proteins enter the small intestine, they’ll begin to putrefy and cause gas.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

6 Foods That Actually Relieve Gas - Food #1

There is no way I could not pass this one on and yes it's from the

Say goodbye to post-meal bloating, pain, and embarrassment when you add these gas-busting foods to your diet.

Whether it’s physical discomfort, like sharp, jabbing pains and a swelling or tightness in the stomach, or the embarrassment of belching or flatulating uncontrollably, we’ve all experienced that distressing moment (or series of moments) when your body is overrun with gas.

The good news is that we’re all in this together. I have yet to meet someone who has not burped, farted or clutched their bloated stomach and cursed their respective gastrointestinal gods for undue discomfort. The great news is that there are foods that can actually help your body combat gas, and we’ve rounded them up just for you.

Dandelion Greens
A bitter herb like dandelion seems like it would churn your stomach into a gassy knot, but this backyard nuisance is actually a bloat and gas-fighting all-star. Dandelion greens pack a bloat-free punch by acting as a diuretic and ridding the body of excess water, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dandelion greens also prevent gas by increasing stomach acid production and stimulating digestion, according to naturopathic doctor Dr. Ivy Branin from Simplicity Health Associates in New York City. “Stomach acid is crucial in proper digestion,” said Branin. “If foods are properly digested, gas and bloating are prevented.”

Whole Foods Market says the greens also offer a trio of vitamins—A, C and K—and recommends adding them to salads and stir-fries.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Test Your Brain

Test Your Brain
This is really cool.

(I love this part.. It's absolutely amazing!)

 Count every "F" in the following text:




 Count them again.

  Don't go any lower until you come up with your number.




WRONG, THERE ARE 6 -- no joke..


Really, go back and try to find the 6 'F's before you scroll down.

The reasoning behind this is further down.

The brain cannot process "OF".



Incredible or what?

Anyone who counts all 6 'F's on the first go is a genius.

Three is normalfour is quite rare.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

5 Ways Caffeine Can Make Your Life Better - part 5

I found this on and thought we might all enjoy seeing why we SHOULD enjoy that must have morning drink - coffee.

Coffee is much more than a daily pick-me-up — the right amount can protect you from serious health problems. 

Reduces risk of kidney stones

The promise: Increase your caffeine intake and you’ll decrease your chances of getting painful kidney stones.

The proof: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014 revealed that people who drink caffeine-containing beverages have a lower risk of incident kidney stones. “Caffeine does make you pee more!” says Kirkpatrick. “It’s the build-up of [deposits] that are not being released that leads to stones. Having urine and waste move through the body decreases the potential for stones to form.”

Friday, July 3, 2015

5 Ways Caffeine Can Make Your Life Better - part 4

I found this on and thought we might all enjoy seeing why we SHOULD enjoy that must have morning drink - coffee.

Coffee is much more than a daily pick-me-up — the right amount can protect you from serious health problems. 

Helps men with sexual problems

The promise: Decrease your risk of erectile dysfunction by drinking coffee daily.

The proof: A 2015 study of 3,724 men found that participants who drank 2 to 3 cups (170-375mg) per day had the lowest incidence of erectile dysfunction, a problem that affects 22% of men at age 40 and 49% by age 70, according to the Boston University School of Medicine, Sexual Medicine.

This effect is similar to why coffee reduces your risk of heart disease, says Kirkpatrick. “If you think about heart disease, it occurs because you have a blockage somewhere,” she says. “ED is like a heart attack in your penis—you’re not getting enough blood flow to be able to do what you need to do. A lot of studies show that coffee improves function of blood vessels.”