Monday, December 4, 2017

Easy Chopped Spinach




I use a lot of spinach.  I love using it with chicken or egg dishes but have even worked up a couple of recipes using pork.  In the past I've always bought frozen, chopped spinach, keeping at least 2 packages in the freezer at all times.   Many times I've had my taste buds set for a dish just to remember that my spinach is still in the freezer so I put off making my dish until the next day.  And we all know that when using frozen spinach you not only have to thaw it out before using, you also have to go through the process of squeezing out the liquid.   Well.... I've found a solution to both of these little problems.

While looking through the produce department I found fresh baby spinach on sale.  I picked up two bags, got them home and, like a lot of times when I buy foods on sale, I realized that I wouldn't be using 2 whole bags of spinach before it started to wilt and I would have to throw out what wasn't used.  So, I did what I frequently do and that was put one bag in the freezer.  A couple of weeks later I found a recipe I wanted to make that called for spinach.  I grabbed the bag of frozen baby spinach and when I took it out of the freezer the leaves started breaking up.  Since the recipe called for chopped spinach I simply started mashing the bag.  This broke it up into the size I needed keeping me from thawing it out and then cutting it up.  Also.... I didn't have to squeeze the liquid out!  It didn't seem to have any liquids to squeeze.  I simply added my spinach to my pan and completed my dish. 

This is a great time saver and makes cooking with spinach so easy.  Do make sure you buy the kind that says it is pre-washed or if you buy it by the pound, wash it first and DRY it completely before putting it into a sealed bag and into the freezer.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 16



Sterling Silver Knives


Sterling silver flatware goes through a dishwasher just as well as stainless steel, with one exception: Many sterling silver knives have a hollow handle and the heat of the dishwasher can cause the glue that holds the blade to the handle to melt and separate. This happens whether the blade is sterling or stainless steel. Hand wash instead.

Comment:  Did not know this but I've always washed silver by hand and dried it immediately.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 15



Vintage China, Delicate Crystal and Repaired Items

For any glass or china heirlooms, skip the dishwasher and carefully hand wash. This is especially important for any item that has been repaired. The high heat and harsh detergents will cause the adhesives used to weaken and you may lose any small pieces.


Delicate crystal should be hand washed to prevent chipping. If you decide to use the dishwasher, use the top rack and place the glasses between the tines, not over them, to help avoid breakage. Remember, some lead crystal will become cloudy.

Comments:  Not guilty!  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 14



Gold Flatware and Metalic Trimmed China

While sterling silver flatware travels through a dishwasher well, gold-colored flatware will dull and discolor in the dishwasher due to the harsh detergent.


Porcelain and fine china are dishwasher safe unless they have metallic trim or images. The harsh detergent and the strong water action of the jets can cause the metallic work to flake away. With any delicate china, take care when loading so that pieces don't knock together and cause chipping.

Comment:  This is one that has to be washed with a soft touch no matter how you wash it.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 13



Containers With Paper Labels

Along with your deli containers, you may also save glass food jars for storage. There's no problem with placing the jars in the dishwasher, IF you remove the paper labels first. If you don't, the paper and adhesive may come off and clog the dishwasher drain and food disposal system.


Extra tip: One of the best label/adhesive removers on the market is Un-Du with a built-in scraper. 

Comment:  Never heard of the Un-Du but sounds like something that might be worth checking into.  I have washed containers before but have had enough brain to soak the paper part in hot water to remove the label before going into the dishwasher.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 12



Thin Plastic Containers

If you save every butter tub and deli container to use for storage, be prepared to loose a few if you place them in the dishwasher. The high heat can cause them to melt or warp.


When you place them in the dishwasher, use the top rack only and skip the high heat drying cycle. Remove from the dishwasher to air dry.

Comment:  Learned my lesson the hard way with this one.  A lid got hot, crinkled up and ended up on the heating element of the dishwasher.  Never again.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 11



Printed or Hand Painted Glassware

The techniques for commercial printing on glassware have improved but they are not always infallible in the dishwasher. That harsh detergent and the force of the water spray can remove the paint in just one or two washes.


And what good is a glass measuring cup with no lines?

Comment:  I have noticed over the years that the markings eventually came off my measuring cup.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 10



Insulated Glasses, Tumblers and Thermal Containers

Plastic and metal insulated cups, tumblers and containers are great for keeping hot things hot and cold things cold. Most are constructed with two layers of material with an airspace between the two. It's that airspace that provides the insulation.


While some containers are labeled as dishwasher safe, many are not. It is best to hand wash both plastic and metal insulated containers. If you decide to place one in the dishwasher, opt for the top rack and skip the high heat of the drying cycle.

Comments:  I'm waiting on the list of what I CAN put in my dishwasher!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 9



Acrylic or Melamine Dishes

Lightweight, non-breakable acrylic or melamine dishware is very popular due to the bright colors and patterns. Unfortunately, the high water and drying temperatures and harsh dishwasher detergents can ruin the dishes. After several washings, especially for cheaper sets, there can be hairline cracks and loss of color and design.


If you love them and want them to last, hand wash.

Comment:  I've wasted a few of these dishes in the past.  Guess I now know why.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 8



Nonstick Pans

While many nonstick pans are labeled as dishwasher safe, the harsh detergents and excessively high drying temperatures can take a toll on the nonstick coating. If you choose to wash your pans in the dishwasher, skip the drying cycle and allow them to air dry.


At the first sign of damage to the surface, it's time for a new pan. When the nonstick surface is scratched, chipped or flaking, it can release dangerous toxins into the food.

Comment:  Guilty again.  Guess this is why I've gone through so many non-stick pots and pans.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 7



Pressure Cooker Lids

While a pressure cooker pot may go through a dishwasher cycle just fine, you should never put the pressure cooker lid in the dishwasher.


The lid contains the valves that control how well the cooker works. The action of a dishwasher can force small particles of food into the valves and vents and cause the cooker to malfunction (explode). The harsh chemicals can also damage the rubber or silicone seals of the lid.

Comment:  Not guilty.  I'm actually afraid of pressure cookers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 6



Copper Pans and Mugs


Copper pans and mugs for Moscow Muels are classic and beautiful but require extra effort to keep them shiny and bright. Don't make the task any harder by putting them in the dishwasher. The harsh chemicals in dishwasher detergent will immediately dull the finish and can be corrosive and cause the copper to pit.

Pitting is not going to be removed even with the best copper cleaner and elbow grease.

Comment:  Whew!  I don't have copper so I don't have to worry about this one.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 5



Aluminum Pans and Cookware

If you've ever put a shiny disposable aluminum pie plate in the dishwasher, you've seen what happens. It turns dull and darkens. 

The same thing can happen to your aluminum pots, pans and baking sheets. If the aluminum has not been anodized, the harsh detergent can cause pitting and corrosion. You may also see white spots on the surface from the alkalinity of the dishwasher detergent. Even if the pan is labeled as "dishwasher safe," it's better to hand wash.

Comments:  Guilty again. I'm beginning to wonder if there is any need for a dishwasher!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 4



Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron skillets and pans have been around for centuries and they can last nearly forever if they are cared for properly. To keep cast iron from rusting and food from sticking, it must be seasoned with oil. The oil penetrates the iron and leaves a near perfect cooking surface.


When the cast iron is placed in the dishwasher, the harsh detergent and excessive water strips away the oil and leaves the cast iron unusable. The seasoning process must be completely started over. 

Comment:  I knew this one.  I always wipe my cast iron pans out with a paper towel removing anything that might be left after making my bread and then lightly wipe it with oil.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 3



Graters and Sieves

Any kitchen tool with sharp edges should not be placed in the dishwasher. Graters and sieves can nick the plastic coating on the racks and rust will begin to form. 

And if you crowd items with small holes into the dishwasher, it is nearly impossible for the water stream to remove all of the food particles. Again, hand wash for best results.

Comments:  Guilty Again.  Never thought about them nicking my rack.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 2



Kitchen Knives

Knives pack a triple no-no whammy in the dishwasher. First, the edges can nick the protective coating on racks and baskets causing rust to form. Secondly, those sharp edges are dangerous when unloading the dishwasher especially when kids are helping.


Finally, the harsh dishwasher detergent can dull edges and cause wooden handles to loosen and split. It's best to hand wash all types of kitchen knives.  

Comment:  I'm afraid I'm guilty of this.  I had no idea it would damage my knives.  Guess that's why I have to sharpen them so often.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Things That Shouldn't go into the Dishwasher - part 1



Great article I received and wanted to share.

Automatic dishwashers are magical machines and a real timesaver in the kitchen, but they can damage items, and some of them are quite expensive to repair or replace. It's better to be safe and handwash these kitchen and dining room items.

If you do choose to slip them in the dishwasher, opt for the top rack and be prepared to accept your mistakes!

#1 - Wooden Spoons, Bowls and Cutting Boards

The harshness of dishwasher detergents can strip the natural oils that keep wooden utensils and cutting boards from drying out. When those oils are stripped, the wood will begin to crack. 
Wooden items should be hand washed quickly with a mild detergent in warm water. Do not allow them to soak because that can cause the wood to swell and distort. If you feel the wood needs to be disinfected, use a mild solution of chlorine bleach and warm water–1/4 cup of bleach to 1/2 gallon of water.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 14



Roast Beef

You might think that dieters who eat roast beef are destined for failure. And you might be right.  But it is possible to eat beef and still lose weight. You just have to choose your meat carefully.


If you get a craving for red meat, you can buy a lean beef choice like a filet mignon. But steaks like that are often expensive. Instead, go to your deli counter and get thinly sliced roast beef.  You can satisfy that craving for red meat with a 2-ounce serving that only contains about 80 calories. You can even use the roast beef in a cucumber sandwich to eliminate calories from bread.

COMMENTS:  This is one of my favorite diet tips.  I sometimes use low cal wraps for my bread and add mustard instead of mayo for my condiment.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 13



Old Fashioned Oatmeal

Do you eat oatmeal for breakfast? If you do, that's great. But some oatmeal brands are better than others. If you buy those single serving packets that come in flavors like maple syrup or apple cinnamon, then you might want to think twice.  Those packets are often loaded with sugar.


Instead, look below those fancy packets in the grocery store and you'll usually find old fashioned rolled oats on the bottom shelves. Look for the cardboard canister - the same one your grandma used to buy. These oats are healthy, easy to store, cheap and each hearty serving provides 150 calories.

COMMENT:  I love oatmeal, especially the Old Fashion kind.  I use it to make my own granola by mixing it with raisins, cranberries and nuts.  I also like it for breakfast and have found another type that is, to me, just as good and that is steel cut oats.  They have a definite chew and so good.

Friday, September 15, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 12



Nut Butter

Many diet experts will tell you that peanut butter is one of the best foods for weight loss. It's true that almost all nut butters are filling and contain healthy fats. The problem with peanut butter is that it is loaded with calories and it's hard to eat just a single serving.

If you absolutely need to keep nut butter in your diet when you're trying to slim down, buy it in these handy single serving packs. Then throw it into your lunch box, your briefcase or your handbag with some celery sticks for a protein and fiber-packed portion-controlled snack.

Comment:  I would have a problem with this one.  I love all nut butters, especially almond and cashew.  I would also feel I needed to have something to eat with it - like pretzels, crackers, apples.  I think I better try to pass on this one.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 11



Cucumber

What do you eat when you're trying to lose weight and you're craving a sandwich? Some dieters actually use cucumbers to replace bread. This savvy trick can save 200-300 calories when you're making a sandwich.


If you don't like the cucumber peel (some say it tastes bitter), you can peel your cucumber before you build the sandwich. Then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon so each half of the cucumber has a canoe shape. After that, fill the middle with a lean meat like turkey, add tomato and peppers and you've got a yummy lean sandwich without the high-calorie bread!

Comment:  I've tried this with cheese spreads and it's delicious.  Never thought about using meats.  I'll give this a try.

Monday, September 11, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 10



Chicken Broth

Nothing adds calories to your meal faster than cooking oil. Even olive oil which has many healthy properties has 120 calories per tablespoon.  It would be nice if we could use no oil at all when we saute veggies or meat, but that doesn't always work very well.


In some recipes, you can cook with chicken stock instead of oil.  With just a tablespoon or two, it's easy to cook onions, garlic, and other veggies and you'll add less than 5 calories to the meal.

COMMENT:  Never thought of this.  I always have chicken broth on hand to use in my sauces, soups, etc. but never thought of trying to saute veggies with it instead of oil.  I'll give this one a try.  Should add some good flavor too.  Also bet it will work with beef broth.  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 9



Chick Peas

Chick peas, also called garbanzo beans, are a must have item in every dieter's pantry. A half cup of the hearty bean provides about 130 calories, almost 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of filling protein. 


If you love the nutty taste of chick peas, you can eat them alone, but I usually use them to make low-calorie hummus (without the tahini).  You can also add garbanzo beans to soups and salads or make chick pea poppers as a snack that both you and your kids will love.

COMMENT:  I didn't know what 'tahini' was so I looked it up.  Its a Middle Eastern paste or sauce made from ground sesame seeds.  I don't normally eat just plain chick peas but do enjoy hummus and it is filling.  I enjoy it with celery, carrots and even cucumbers slices.  I especially love it with pretzels.  I'll just have to watch the ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain tahini.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 8



Slaw Mix

No matter what kind of food you like to eat, slaw mix should always be on your grocery list when you're shopping for the best weight loss foods. Why? It's the easiest way to add bulk, fiber, healthy nutrition, and crunchy flavor to any meal. Top your burgers with it, add it to tacos or build an entire salad around the easy-to-use mix.


There are several kinds of slaw mix to pick from, like the broccoli slaw blends that include carrots. You can also find slaw blends that include only cabbage. Check the produce section of your market to see what is available near you.

Comment:  I like the broccoli slaw blend.  I use it as a slaw but have never thought of trying it on my burgers or taco.  Have a feeling it would be good on both and is one that I will be trying.  It's also good added to cooked rice blends.  I get it just slightly done and mix it in with my rice.  It's especially good with wild rice mixes.

Friday, September 8, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 7



Cauliflower

If you need a tasty food that is cheap, easy to find and super versatile, then look no further than cauliflower. A serving of this crunchy vegetable provides only 25 calories 2.5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.


Because cauliflower has increased in popularity, you'll find plenty of online recipes for new and interesting ways to use the vegetable.  It's still an easy veggie to eat raw, but you can also mash cauliflower the same way you would mash potatoes.  Some people even make pizza crust with cauliflower.

Comment:  I've never cared for it cooked but I do love it raw.  Give me some broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and a good dressing to dip them in and I'm happy.  A friend of mine used cauliflower in place of rice.  I might give it a try one day.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 6



Tarte Asian Yogurt

I'm sure you've seen smart dieters gobble down Greek yogurt at meal time. And there's nothing wrong the high-protein, creamy treat. But Asian yogurt is another great option if you're trying to get protein from dairy.


A single serving of Tarte Asian Yogurt is 6 ounces, slightly larger than the popular cups of Greek yogurt. Each cup provides 12 grams of protein and only 110 calories - less than Greek yogurt. The sugar count is usually lower too. Asian yogurt has 13 grams of sugar, lower than the sugar content of many other yogurts.

Comment:  I've never tried Tart Asian Yogurt and am not even sure I've seen it in the grocery store.  But I do eat yogurt, mainly as a dessert.  It seems that at night I always have a sweet tooth around 8:00 and don't want to eat anything too heavy - like cookies, chips, etc.  I keep cartons of yogurt in my refrigerator to satisfy that hunger.  No I don't buy the low cal, sugar sub type.  I buy the good tasting that has around 170 calories per container.  I figure my stomach can digest yogurt easier and quicker than solid foods so those few extra calories can't be too bad for me.  At least that's my justification for eating the tasty kind.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 5



Beef Jerky

If you're a regular dieter with a regular life, you've probably ended up in a convenience store once or twice wandering the aisles, desperately looking for something healthy to eat. This is a tricky predicament because there aren't always diet-friendly options in those stores - except for beef jerky.


This "junk food" is actually pretty good for your diet. It's not the very best weight loss food because many brands are very high in sodium. But the better brands are generally low in calories and high in protein. A natural style beef jerky, for example, has only 70 calories and 13 grams of protein per serving.

Comment:  I love beef jerky, turkey jerky, bear jurky, just about any kind of jerky.  I've always worried about the sodium being so high but I never eat that much.  I have a feeling for that is because you have to chew it like chewing gum before swallowing, which in turn seems to make the stomach think it's full.  But, now that I know this, I think I'll keep some on hand in my purse for hunger attacks.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 4



Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is so not cool. But it really is one of the best weight loss foods. Why? Iceberg lettuce has only 7 calories per cup. So you can bulk up your food and feel like you're eating more without adding calories. You can literally double the size of your salad, bust out your tacos and add an inch to the height of your sandwich for less than 10 calories.

Iceberg lettuce also adds crunch and color to your meals and this cheap, easy-to-find veggie is packed with water - so it's hydrating too.

Comment:  It actually makes you feel like you're cheating.  When I make a salad I fill a big bowl with lettuce, than add my other ingredients.  I actually find myself becoming full before I even finish.  Just make sure you use a dressing that is low calorie.  I like the fruity vinaigrettes.  They are full of flavor without the calories.




Saturday, September 2, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 3



Grapefruit

Remember the grapefruit diet? Well, I wouldn't necessarily recommend that program, but I would recommend adding grapefruit to your list of weight loss foods. A half grapefruit (which is a fairly generous serving) provides only 52 calories and is packed with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and B6.


If you don't like grapefruit alone, add it to a fruit salad. Other fruits can be a little bit higher in calories. If you add this tangy citrus fruit to a salad with bananas and berries, you get more food for fewer calories.

Comments:  I love grapefruit so this one is easy for me to eat.  I don't always buy it as fresh fruit.  I often buy it in a can or jar.  If you buy this way, check the ingredients and make sure it's 100% grapefruit and juice - no added sugar.

Friday, September 1, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 2



Cheese Minis

One of the hardest things about being on a diet is giving up the creamy rich foods that you love. Many dieters miss cheese the most. But you don't have to give up cheese entirely when you are trying to slim down. You just have to eat less of it.


That's why Jarlsberg Minis are great. These cute little snacks are so easy to carry with you and because each mini round is individually packaged it's easy to control portion size. Each serving contains just 70 calories. Wanna reduce your calories even more? The new Jarlsberg Lite Minis are just 50 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein.

Comment:  I found these cheese snacks on the Walmart site.  Haven't been to the store yet to check out but will.  Also, check out the nutritional information on some of the other brands of cheese snacks in your grocery store.  I'm sure there are others that are just as healthy.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

List of Best Weight Loss Foods - Part 1

I'll be posting some tips on what foods are best to eat when you're trying to lose weight.  I found this article by Very Well and since many of us are constantly on a diet I thought it might be beneficial to share.

What to Eat to Lose Weight

Do you know what to eat to lose weight? You might be relieved to know that you don't have to spend a lot of money or go to fancy boutique grocery stores to fill your fridge when you're trying to slim down. In fact, most products on the best weight loss foods list are common items that you can find in any supermarket.  Smart dieters eat these cheap and easy foods and slim down faster.

The best healthy foods for weight loss are naturally low in fat and calories, full of nutrients and easy to prepare. You can find foods like this in every section of the grocery store and sometimes even in convenience marts. These foods won't break your budget, but they can break the cycle of overeating and help you to lose weight.



Radishes

Radishes are crunchy, packed with fiber and super low in calories. In fact, each large radish provides only 1 calorie, putting it at the top of the best weight loss foods list. The bright red veggie is also simple to store in the refrigerator and easy to pack when you need a snack on the go. 

Not sure what to do with radishes? If you don't like to eat radishes alone, chop them up and add them to your salad to give it a spicy pop of flavor. Or how about a delicious Radish and Olive Salad recipe? You can even cook radishes and eat them as a healthy side dish.

Comment:  I like radishes but never seem to remember to buy them.  I like them in a salad but also just as they are, washed and sprinkled with just a little salt.  They remind me of raw turnips.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Right Way to Store Produce



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

Refrigerate:
Apples
Apricots
Broccoli
Plums
Cucumbers
Brussels Sprouts
Cantaloupe
Cauliflower
Lettuce

Leave Out on the Counter"
Peaches
Avacados
Nectarines
Bananas
Watermelon (whole, uncut)
Tomatoes

Keep in a Cool, Dark Place:
Potatoes
Onions
Garlic
(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.