Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Right Way to Store Produce

This was in an older copy of Woman's Day.  It's worth sharing.

Brussels Sprouts

Leave Out on the Counter"
Watermelon (whole, uncut)

Keep in a Cool, Dark Place:
(stash separately in the kitchen cabinet or pantry so they don't absorb one another's odors.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

How to Waste Less and Save #5

#5 - As tempting as it may be to dump leftovers on night two or three, challenge yourself to get creative.  Use extra meatballs and sauce to make personal pizzas with veggies.  Toss leftover rice and pasta into soup.  Add veggie scraps when making chicken stock - or throw all your produce odds and ends together for a stir-fry.

COMMENT:  When my kids were young I kept a gallon plastic jar in my freezer.  Every night I would put my leftovers in the jar and when it was full I would thaw, add liquid if needed, and make some of the best soup you'll ever eat.  I added everything from spaghetti to cube steak to chili and of course all of my leftover veggies.  Only one time did this not work and that was when I had leftover turnips.  Not so good in a soup, at least not for me.  And of course you wouldn't add salad as a leftover.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How to Waste Less and Save #4

#4 - As you plan weekly meals, try to come up with several uses for produce and bulk items.  For instance, you can enjoy bell peppers as a snack, stuffed with ground meat or in an omelet.

COMMENT:  This is something I do with some foods without even giving it a second thought.  The deli where I shop has rotisserie chicken and baked chicken for $4.99.  I buy the it with 2 things in mind - my salads and making chicken salad.  I pull the meat off the bones putting about half of it in a container to add to my daily salads and the other I chop up small and make my chicken salad.  The flavor from the rotisserie and the seasonings added to the baked make both dishes tasty.  I think I need to use my imagination a bit more to come up with more multitask ingredients.

One more thing I want to point out is my method of keeping lettuce longer.  Whether it be romaine or head lettuce, I wrap it up in paper towels before placing it in the refrigerator.  The paper towels keep the moisture down and prevents it from spoiling as quickly.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How to Waste Less and Save #3

#3 - It may sound counter-intuitive to shop more often, but by making frequent trips to the supermarket you can buy smaller quantities and prevent spoilage.  If you don't want to add another errand to your to-do list, consider ordering online.

COMMENT:  I've tried this one and have to say that my freezer, as well as my pantry is full.  This simply doesn't work for me.  Every time I go to the grocery store, even for just one or two items, I end up checking out the meats to see what's on sale.  I walk through the store, again checking to see what's on sale.  I've tried a shopping list but I have this problem with passing up a sale.  So for me it's best to go less often.  As for shopping on line, I'm actually getting into that just a little.  I've found that I can buy non-perishable items such as paper products and even items like coffee on-line cheaper and I don't even have to enter a store and spot all those 'sale items.'  So this is one that you'll have to ask yourself if it will fit your shopping personality.

Friday, August 11, 2017

How to Waste Less and Save #2

#2 - If a recipe calls for spinach but you have kale in the fridge, make the swap.  You can also sub in pears for apples in a fruit crumble; leftover fish for chicken or beef in tacos; and fresh oregano for basil or thyme in a sauce.  Recipes are not set in stone!

COMMENT:  This is exactly what I 'preach' in my cookbooks - Think With Your Taste Buds.  I take it a step further by saying if you don't like an item substitute it for something you do like.  So, if your recipe calls for asparagus but you don't like asparagus and never buy it but do have some broccoli that needs to be used, 'think with your taste buds'.  They will tell you if the recipe will work in your own taste favor or should I say flavor.  If I have chicken that needs to be cooked I frequently go through the Pork section of cookbooks to come up with a new recipe and taste.  Seldom has this practice failed me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How to Waste Less and Save #1

I found these tips in Woman's Day by Nutrition Expert Joy Bauer, RDN.  They are all worth sharing.

#1 - Keep foods that spoil relatively fast, such as dairy products and soft fruit, in the front of your fridge or on the counter so you are more likely to grab them.  If there are cans of unexpired soup in your cupboard that you know you won't use in time, donate them to a local food pantry.

COMMENTS:  I try to make myself clean out the refrigerator at least twice a month.  Yes, I find food items in the back of the shelf that I apparently pushed back after a trip to the grocery store.  There have been cucumbers that have gotten soft because they were at the back of the crisper drawer.  Milk that was hiding behind a jug of grape juice or vice versa.  So, for me, moving them to the front and keeping them there just might be my answer.  And to save even more money, I now try to go through my pantry shelves at least twice a month, checking the dates of my foods and moving those that expire 1st to the front.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


1 - Vanilla is a spice - True - vanilla beans seed pods from climbing orchids native to Central America and South America.

2 - Ground spices have a longer shelf life than whole spices - False - When a spice is ground, its essential oils are more exposed to air, which makes them lose their aroma and flavor.

3 - Nutmeg and mace come from the same tree - True - Both spices come from the nutmeg tree; mace is the bright red outer covering of the nutmeg seed.

4 - Star anise is a fruit - True - The star-shaped spice comes from an evergreen tree.

5 - Spices most often come from a plant's leaves - False - Spices come from the non-leafy parts of a plant, such as the seeds, bark, roots, berries and fruit.  Herbs come from the plant's leaves.

6 - Allspice is a blend of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper - False - Allspice is a berry from the Jamaican bayberry tree.  It's called allspice for its complex taste, which resembles a mix of spices.

7 - Anise seeds are the same as fennel seeds - False - Both have a similar licorice flavor, but the seeds come from two different plants.

So - how did you do.  I didn't do so well with my answers but I sure did learn a lot.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


These are True or False - See how many you can get right.

1. Vanilla is a spice T or F   (I say T)
2. Ground spices have a longer shelf life than whole spices T or F   (I say F)
3. Nutmeg and mace come from he same tree T or F   (I say T, think I read that somewhere)
4. Star anise is a fruit T or F  (I say T, because it looks like it might be a tiny dried fruit)
5. Spices most often come from a plant's leaves T or F  (I think F, I think most come from seeds)
6. Allspice is a blend of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper T or F  (I say F, don't know why)
7. Anise seeds are the same as fennel seeds T or F  (I'm having to take a guess on this and say T)

Answers to SPICE #16 - C - You can use the entire seed; it will stay potent for about 2 years.  Finally I got one right!

Check back tomorrow for the answers to this final SPICE Quiz (#17)

Monday, July 31, 2017


Do you know which part of a whole nutmeg seed you should grate?

A - The outer brown skin
B - Just beneath the outer brown skin
C - The whole thing

I love using whole nutmeg seeds and I grate the whole thing so I'm guessing C.  Hope I'm right.

Answer to SPICE #15 - D - Piperine  Another wrong answer for me!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Did you know that peppercorns contain an essential oil that makes you sneeze?  Which of these do you think it might be?

A - Monoterpense
B - Capsaicinoids
C - Capsaicin
D - Piperine

I have no idea!  I'm going to guess the only 'word' I recognize which is C - Capsaicin.

Answer to SPICE #14 - B - High-quality saffron can cost up to $200 per ounce.
Finally I got one right!

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Do you know which of these spices are the most expensive?

A - Vanilla
B - Saffron
C - Chili Flakes
D  Cardamon

I think I heard somewhere that Saffron is the most expensive so I'm choosing B.

Answer to SPICE #13 - A - Celery Salt.  Yep, I got another one wrong!

Friday, July 28, 2017


Do you know what the primary spice is in Old Bay Seasoning?

A - Celery salt
B - Paprika
C - Black Pepper
D - Chili Powder

I use Old Bay frequently but I can only make a guess at this answer.  I'm saying B - Paprika.

Answer to SPICE #12 - C - Canada was the top exporter of spices to the U.S. in 2014.
Another wrong answer for me!

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Do you know where America get the majority of it's spices?

A - China
B - India
C - Canada
D - Mexico

I'm guessing B - India.

Answer to SPICE #12 - C - The USDA recommended replacing ground spices after two to three years.  Smell your spices to make sure they're still pungent, and replace them sooner if necessary.

I got another one Wrong!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Do you know the shelf life of your ground spices?

A - 6 months
B - 1 - 2 years
C - 2 - 3 years
D - Dried Spices are good forever

I'm not sure about this one so I'm going to guess B - 1 - 2 years.

Answer to SPICE #10 - D.  Chai tea is typically made with cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, ginger, star anise, black peppercorns and black tea.  I missed that one too!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Do you know which spice is NOT traditionally used in chai tea?

A - Black Pepper
B - Cardamon
C - Cinnamon
D - Mace

I'm not a Chai Tea drinker so this is another guess for me.  I'm saying Black Pepper.

Answer to SPICE #9 - A - Sweet Smoked Paprka 1; B - Habanero Chile Powder 4; C - Cayenne Pepper  3; and D - Ancho Chile Powder 2

I really miss this one!

Monday, July 24, 2017


Can you rank the heat of these spices? Rank 1-4 with 4 being the hottest.

A - Sweet Smoked Paprika ____
B - Habanero Chile Powder ____
C - Cayenne Pepper _____
D - Ancho Chili Powder ____

I'm saying A - 1; B - 3; C - 2; and D - 4

Answer to SPICE #8 - D is not a type of Paprika.  I got another one right!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Do you know which of these are NOT a type of paprika?

A - Hungarian
B - California Sweet
C - Pimenton
D - English

I've heard of Hungarian and think I've heard of California Sweet.  I'm going to take a guess and say D - English.

Answer to SPICE #7 - D - Termeric has long been used to enhance the color of mustard and other foods, including stocks and rice.  I got that one wrong!

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Do you know what is often added to mustard to give it its yellow color?

Choose from:
A - Cumin
B - Saffron
C - Curry Powder
D - Turmeric

I'm guessing D - Turmeric.  Check back tomorrow to see if I got it right.

The answer to SPICE #6 is B.  Cinnamon sticks come from the inner bark of laurel trees.  When harvested, the bark naturally rolls up, then it's dried.  I got that one right too.  (I think I read this somewhere a long time ago.)

Friday, July 21, 2017


Do you know where cinnamon sticks come from?  The answer to that is the Laurel Tree.  But what part of the tree is used to make cinnamon sticks?

A - Root
B - Bark
C - Leaves

I'm pretty sure I know this one.  I'm staying the Bark.

Answer to SPICE #5 - A - Dried Lavender.  It's technically an herb because it comes from the plant's leaves.  It is commonly found in the French herb blend herbes de Provence.

I got that one right but my answer was only a guess.  I didn't know it was actually an herb.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Do you know which of these items is NOT a spice?

A - Dried Lavender
B - Sesame Seeds
C - Juniper Berries
D - Fenugreek Seeds

My guess is A - Dried Lavender.  As for D - I'm not sure what that is but since it's a seed I'm guessing it is a spice.  Check back tomorrow to see if I'm correct.

For SPICE #4 - the answer was B.  Mrs. Dash was invented in the early 1980's as a seasoning alternative t salt; it was called Mrs. Pinch.  I got that one right!