where’s it from?

so- I bought a tube of toothpaste the other day and when I opened it there was a strange smell and the color looked funny. I was going to return it to the store but before I did I read the box and I was really surprised that it was made in Germany. I’m not saying that just because  it was made in Germany it’s spoiled but I would like to know next time before I purchase something where it was made, is anything made in America anymore? and how can I find out before I buy something where it was made?

I couldn’t believe that the all-American LL Bean large duffle bag is made in China and the all-American LL Bean men’s blazer is made in Vietnam. A lot of their things are made here, but not everything. I went to the pet store to buy my assistant, Libby, some treats and I had to read every package on 5 shelves before I found one bag of treats manufactured in America. Every treat was distributed from a company in America, but there’s a huge difference between being made in America and an American company distributing a product that was made somewhere else. If you don’t read carefully it’s hard to tell and I think that they do it that way on purpose. Everything that is made somewhere else must have the name of the country where it was manufactured on the box or package. When we got to shelf number 4 the store clerk asked me why it really mattered where the treats were made. I explained that it mattered because at least if something that my puppy was going to eat was made here I would know exactly where to find the manufacturer if something was wrong, and I also hope that American inspections and regulations will guarantee that the quality is better and safer here than things manufactured in a foreign country where regulations and health laws may not exist at all.

On a lot of levels I think that it’s a good thing to buy products and especially food for you and your pets that’s made in America. Support your local farmers, support the manufacturers that we have left in America, it keeps jobs here and hopefully our regulations and inspections will insure that you’ll also be getting better products. If you want to look for products made in America you can check before you go to the store. These websites will help you find things made in America: www.americansworking.com and www.madeinusa.org but if you don’t check before you go to the store you can check before you purchase something by always reading the box and package and looking for where something was manufactured. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but since I’ve been trying to read labels on everything that I buy I’ve found that the ‘Made In XYZ’ label is always in the tiniest little writing in the tiniest little corner possible!

 

grow something

you should always try to have something that’s alive besides you in your house or apartment, bugs don’t count… if you don’t have a pet, you can grow a house plant from fruit and vegetables that you can plant outside in the Spring

So whats the best soil to grow fruit and vegetable seeds?

Get a bag of potting soil mix that has some sand and vermiculite, if you keep it in a warm place like the top of the fridge it won’t dry out before you use it

grow an avocado plant
Avocado’s make fantastic plants, you can grow them by removing the pit from the center of the ripened fruit. You can grow avocado’s by having them first sprout in a glass of water or just by directly planting them in soil.

For the water method, simply pierce the seed with 2 or 3 tooth picks and place it in a cup of water. Make sure you place the seed with its pointed end up. In 2 to 6 weeks, when roots and leaves are well formed the plant is set in potting soil.

They can also be easily sprouted directly into a well-drained 4 or 5 inch pot of porous, fertile soil. The top of the seed should just barely peek above the surface of the soil. Keep the soil moist and warm, the seed will begin to sprout and a pretty, leafy plant will develop.

Repotting should be done in the spring. Well-rooted plants should be given a dilute liquid fertilizer every week or two. Watering should be done so that the soil never becomes really dry but isn’t ever soggy and waterlogged.

Avocado Plant

grow a pineapple plant
Pineapples are very exotic looking plants and if you wait  2-3 years your plant will flower and produce fruit, be patient!
Choose a pineapple with a healthy top and nice green leaves, cut or twist off the top and eat the fruit.
Prepare the top by trimming off the excess pineapple fruit around it and pulling off any brown leaves at the base.
Place your pineapple in a cup of water for about 2-4 weeks or until you have some good root growth and make sure to change the water once or twice a week.Take your newly rooted top and plant it in well drained soil and keep the soil slightly moist, place it in a warm and sunny spot.New green leaves will soon develop from the centre of the topknot to form a plant for a bright sunny windowsill, if you live in a warm area they could also be planted directly outside. Continue feeding and watering regularly. Once the plant has outgrown its pot, transplant it to a larger container.
Pineapple Plant 

 grow a pomegranate plant
Pomegranate seeds are easy to grow, just wash them until they are clean and let them sit on a paper towel for a few days, plant the pomegranate seeds in a small pot about 2 inches apart. Keep them moist and warm. It should take about 2 weeks for your seeds to sprout. It should grow about 2 feet tall in 2 months time, if you live in a warmer climate they can be transfered outside and if not, they are really good houseplants. Eventually has bright red flowers and can produce fruit in hot summers.
 
Pomegranate Plant
OR
you can take the really easy way out and buy some herb plants at the grocery store and line them up on your windowsill- instant garden!
most of this information is from www.squidoo.com- check it out

by far the best baked macaroni & cheese

today’s Sunday Recipe is something that you’ve probably eaten 100 times but never made yourself- but once you do it will be hard to eat anything else…

Baked Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe)

ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 13×9 inch pan
  • corn flake crumbs

directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large pot of boiling, salted water under cook the pasta by about 2-3 minutes because it’s going to cook some more when you bake it
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes make sure it’s not lumpy, stir in the milk, onion, and paprika and simmer for ten minutes
  • Add the egg very slowly so that it mixes in and doesn’t cook by itself. Stir in about 3/4 of the cheese and add  salt and pepper. Lightly grease a 13×9 pan, pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the pan and top with remaining cheese
  • Sprinkle corn flake crumbs on top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for about five minutes before serving
  • Freeze the leftovers in individual serving containers or eat it all week

Macaroni and cheese goes with almost everything, have it with- tomato soup or salad or a hot dogs or tuna sandwich or a hamburger or salmon or all by itself…

 

lots of food-not much cooking

I got some comments that Sunday Recipes is not enough, thanks for letting me know- starting today I’ll post Weekend Recipes on Saturday and Sunday- let the cooking begin!

this is a perfect time to cook in big batches, if you make a couple of big batches of food you’ll have hot dinners for cold nights without cooking… I am giving you a big batch meat, pasta and chicken recipe- choose what you like or try them all and you’ll have lots of dinners waiting for you

some frozen food info before you start- when you make a big batch of food you can either eat the same thing 4 or 5 nights in a row or eat some and freeze some, if you’re going to freeze some keep in mind that some foods freeze better than others: grains, meats, and/or vegetables freeze very well, milk and other dairy doesn’t freeze as well, also freeze food in serving-sized portions and fill up the container because less air in the container means less freezer burn and also less containers in the freezer, don’t forget to label everything because it’s not always easy to tell one red frozen thing from another! All of these recipes are perfect for freezing

Best Brisket (btw brisket shrinks when it cooks so don’t be afraid to buy a big one)

ingredients, etc.:

  • 4-6 pound flat brisket
  • 12 oz bottle of chili sauce (it’s usually with the ketchup in the store)
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 12 oz can of regular  NOT diet Coke
  • large baking pan
directions:
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a bowl or very large measuring cup combine the bottle of chili sauce, onion soup mix and Coke and mix well
  • Place the brisket in the baking pan and pour the sauce all over the meat
  • Cover the pan with tin foil and bake covered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (about 1/2 hour per lb), while it’s cooking baste every 40 minutes, you can also uncover for the last 20 minutes
  • When the brisket is done, cool it before cutting and if you cool the meat separately from the gravy it cools faster. When the meat is cool slice it thinly against the grain
  • If the meat and gravy are not hot enough when you’re ready to eat, heat up the gravy, but don’t reheat the meat, it will taste better and the hot gravy will warm up the meat
Lazy Lasagna
ingredients, etc.:
  • a box of lasagna noodles (about 16 pieces)
  • 1 pound ground beef
 (optional)
  • 1 jar (about 28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 
2 eggs
  • 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 
1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 13×9 baking pan

directions:

  •  If you’re making meat lasagna brown the meat in a large skillet and drain the fat.
  •  Stir in spaghetti sauce and water; simmer 10 minutes
  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Try to separate the individual lasagna noodles and lay them flat on tin foil, if you leave them in the colander while they cool you’ll have one big lump of noodles
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (keep 1/2 cup to use later), Parmesan cheese, eggs, oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper
  • If you are making cheese lasagna (no meat) spread about 1/3 cup of spaghetti sauce straight out of the jar on the bottom of the baking pan, if you’re making meat lasagna spread about 1/3 cup meat sauce that you already made on the bottom
  • Arrange 4 lasagna noodles lengthwise over sauce, overlapping edges, then spread one-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup sauce over the cheese
  • Repeat layers, beginning and end with pasta on the top, spread remaining sauce on top of the noodles; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese
  • Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting
  • Cut the remaining lasagna into squares and freeze them in individual containers
Almost Mexican Chicken Burritos

ingredients, etc.:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 24 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • 6 cups (24 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa, optional
  • 2 13×9 inch baking pans

directions:

  • In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender, stir in flour until blended and gradually stir in broth
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cook and stir for about 2 minutes then reduce heat and add the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper (optional) and ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and cook for 5 minutes or until heated. Stir in red kidney beans and cream cheese stir until cheese is melted and stir in cut up chicken
  • Spoon about 1/2 cupful down the center of each tortilla and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Colby-Monterey Jack cheese. Fold ends and sides over filling and roll it up
  • Place each tortilla in greased 13-in. x 9-inch baking dish, you should be able to fill up 2 pans with 6 burritos in each
  • It freezes best if you cover and freeze 1 whole casserole for up to 3 months or you can freeze 2 burritos together.
  •  Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with salsa if desired.
  • To use the frozen burritos: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes if you are baking the whole casserole, if you’re reheating 1 or 2 at a time it will not take as long. 

 

10 good little things

I have brain over load and forget so many good ideas, then all of a sudden I remembered a good idea and that made me remember another one and another, here it is an eclectic list of some good ideas that I just remembered…

keep cold wine cold- take a pretty cloth napkin and wrap up a bag of frozen peas then wrap it around your bottle of wine and tie a bandana around it, or attach it to the bottle with a rubber band or tie it with a piece of rafia or twine,  when you’re done refreeze the peas and use them again

baby your collar and underarm stains- sprinkle baby powder inside the collar and underarms of a white shirt then iron the shirt, the powder keeps wetness, oil and stains from getting into the material

close shave- we still can’t fly with all the liquids that we want to take, so take Instant Shave Gel Tablets they’re very good for traveling

splat mat- if you’re doing something messy in the kitchen or any other room in your place put a plastic tablecloth on the floor and when you’re done wash it off with a sponge, shake it out or throw it out and the floor underneath is perfectly clean

reuse- crumble up clean used tin foil to use for scrubbing grills or glass pans and crumble up newspaper for cleaning windows at home and in the car

nails and more- if you don’t have a suede brush an emory board works to fluff up spots on suede shoes, belts and bags, but don’t rub too hard

stand tall- soft boots fold over, crease and sag so put a liter size plastic pop bottle inside the boot or roll up some bubble paper and stuff it inside the boots and the boots will look better and take up less room if they are not laying all over the closet floor

eggactly- an egg carton has built in little places so use them for little things from getting all mixed up- like earrings, rings, separate necklaces so that they won’t get tangled, you can cut off the carton tops and stack the topless cartons  carefully, btw if you hard boiled some eggs but can’t remember which ones are and which ones aren’t, spin the egg on the counter (not near the edge) because a hard boiled egg will spin and a raw one won’t

clean and fresh- use hydrogen peroxide to clean the bathroom instead of bleach, it smells better, kills germs and if you don’t have good ventilation the fumes won’t knock you out

mark it- pretty ribbon that has very thin flexible wire running up the sides is perfect for bookmarks, you can buy it by the inch or yard and cut it to whatever size you need, buy a few pretty pieces of ribbon and cut a bookmark whenever you need to keep your place, if you’re really trying to get organized you can write the recipe’s name on the ribbon with a very thin permanent marker, your bookshelf will look good, you’ll find your recipes in your cookbook faster or hold your place when you’re reading a book, and you’ll never have to turn down a corner again

 

food stuff

a friend of one of my kids has asked her to ask me 3 times about freezing food, defrosting food and keeping food fresh and I have mostly ignored it saying “I’ll get to it” because it doesn’t sound like it’s something that I really want to write about, but my conscience kicked in and I started to think about how bad I’ll feel if she gets food poisoning, so here are some basic important things to know about keeping your food from making you sick:

FRIDGE FOOD

Start with NEVER keep old food in your fridge- it could start to grow, smell bad and make you sick just looking at it!

Product Storage period in refrigerator (40 degrees F) Storage
period in freezer (0 degrees F)
Fresh Meat
Ground beef 1-2 days 3-4 months
Beef steaks and roasts 3-5 days 6-12 months
Pork chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Ground pork 1-2 days 3-4 months
Pork roasts 3-5 days 4-6 months
Cured Meats
Lunch meat 3-5 days 1-2 months
Sausage 1-2 days 1-2 months
Gravy 1-2 days 2-3 months
Fish
Lean fish (such as cod, flounder, and haddock) 1-2 days Up to 6 months
Fatty fish (such as bluefish, perch, and salmon) 1-2 days 2-3 months
Chicken
Whole 1-2 days 12 months
Parts 1-2 days 9 months
Giblets 1-2 days 3-4 months
Dairy Products
Swiss, brick, processed cheese 3-4 weeks *
Milk 5 days 1 month
Ice cream N/A 2-4 months
Eggs
Fresh in shell 3 weeks *
Hard-boiled 1 week *

 

FREEZER FOOD

  • Freezer temperatures should never go above 0°F.
  • Supermarket wrappings are safe for most foods frozen 1 to 2 months, but for best quality, overwrap packages with heavy-duty freezer materials or store in plastic freezer bags.
  • Cool cooked foods quickly before packaging. Don’t let food stand at room temperature longer than 30 minutes before freezing.
  • Freeze food as soon as it is cooled to room temperature (or refrigerate in shallow containers uncovered until cooled, then package and freeze).
  • Write info on the bag with a permanent marker or put a label on the bag with recipe name, date, number of servings, if you know the thawing and reheating directions and “use-by” date add them, too.
  • Do not overload your freezer with foods so air can circulate for proper freezing. If you can leave space between packages so air can circulate around them.
  • If you buy frozen raw foods you can refreeze it after it has been cooked (i.e., fresh chicken —> packaged and frozen —> thawed —> cooked —> frozen —> thawed —> reheated).
  • You can refreeze unused portions of cooked foods that have previously been frozen and thawed in the fridge.
  • Seal containers with as little air as possible unless freezing liquid or semiliquid foods that expand when frozen. Leave a 1 1/2-inch space below the rim to allow for expansion.
  • When freezing casserole dishes or containers with empty space between the food and lid, fill “dead spaces” with crumpled wax paper if you have it.
  • Store food in 1-gallon freezer bags; press out all the air and seal tightly so bags can be stacked on top of each other.
  • Do not freeze tomato-based or other acidic foods in aluminum baking pans, or cover them with aluminum foil.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn

  • Freezer burn happens when foods are frozen for a long time or not properly wrapped and sealed. Even though these foods will not make you sick, the freezer-burned areas will be dried out and tasteless, try to cut away freezer-burned portions before or after cooking.
  • When wrapping foods for freezing, get as much air out as possible so moisture can’t get in seal tightly. Sometimes I double bag if it’s something I know will be in the freezer for a long time.

Thawing Foods Safely

  • NEVER defrost perishable foods (meat, poultry, fish/seafood, dairy, eggs) outdoors or on the kitchen counter.
  • The best thing to do is put frozen food into the fridge from the freezer for meat/poultry/seafood or casseroles 24 to 48 hours or until completely thawed. Also if the food never leaves the fridge foods thawed in the fridge can usually be safely refrozen without changing taste or quality.
    • Allow 8 hours per pound of meat.
    • Allow 4 hours per pound of poultry.
    • Allow 6 hours per pound of fruit or vegetables.
  • If you couldn’t plan ahead and you need to fast thaw, place frozen food in their packages in a watertight, sealed bag and cover with cold water. Change water every 30 minutes until food is completely thawed.
  • Microwave oven thawing:
    • Remove wrapping from food that may release chemicals into foods.
    • Allow 6 to 8 minutes per pound of food when thawing in microwave on low heat- 30 power. Once food is defrosted you can wave following the directions on high heat.
  • Breads, cakes, cookies and bagels can be thawed at room temperature.
  • Most ‘wet’ foods containing dairy or egg products should be thawed in the fridge.

Reheating

  • Reheat all previously cooked food in small batches to shorten the reheating time.
  • If you need to reheat frozen food without thawing:
    • Bake at 300 to 350°F for almost double the original cooking time.
    • Turning up the temperature do not a good idea, cooking frozen foods at higher temperatures does not make it cook faster! Higher temperatures will cook the outside before the inside is completely thawed.
  • Microwave reheating:
    • Cover foods with microwave-safe wrap (I use paper towels because I don’t like plastic wrap in the wave and steam won’t buildup.
    • Stir foods from the outside edges into the center and you won’t have hot food on the edges and cold food in the middle.

Leftovers

  • Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
  • Cut meat into slices. Store leftovers in small, shallow containers to cool faster than a big thick chunk.
  • Remove all the stuffing from turkey, chicken or meat and store separately.

What “Use-By” and “Sell-By” Labels Really Mean

  • Use-By: Food is no longer acceptable for consumption and should not be purchased or used after the given date.
  • Date of Pack or Manufacture: This date refers to when the food was packed or processed for sale. Freeze food that will not be used within 3 to 5 days of purchase.
  • Freshness, Pull-or Sell-By: This refers to the last day that a particular food should be sold, but can be safely used for 1 week past the “sell- by” date (i.e., dairy and fresh bakery products).
  • Use Before or Best if Used By: This refers to the date at which food may begin to lose quality but can still be used safely (i.e., frozen foods, cereals, canned food, pasta, rice).
MORE

Location is important, in the right environment, oil in an opened bottle stays fresh and antioxidant rich for up to a year. But leave it on a sunny windowsill, and the healthy fats turn rancid in half that time. Most food stays fresher, tastes better, and delivers more health benefits if it’s kept in the right place. Here are ideas about what goes where:

Avocados- fridge or counter

If you have a rock-hard avocado, put it in a brown paper bag on the counter; it’ll be good to go in two to five days. If you need fast guacamole, add a whole apple or banana to the bag and it will ripen a day or 2 sooner. Once it’s ripe, you can keep it that way for up to three days by moving it to the fridge.

Fruit, part one- fridge or counter

Peaches, plums, pears, honeydews, cantaloupes, mangoes, bananas, and tomatoes always keep on ripening whether they’re on the tree, in the store, or in your fruit bowl. Fact is, most produce sold at grocery stores is not fully mature when you bring it home, says Robert L. Wolke, PhD, author of “What Einstein Told His Cook.” To help these fruits ripen faster, keep them on the counter for two to five days. Fruit that starts turning soft — or you’ve sliced it should be put into the fridge or it will spoil, and banana skins will turn brown in the fridge but the banana is still fresh.

Fruit, part two- fridge

Citrus fruits, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cherries stop ripening after they’ve been picked — they just go bad. Slow down spoiling by putting these fruits in the fridge as soon as you get them home.

Bread- counter or cabinet

Most breads stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature — depending on humidity — keep it  sealed and in its original wrapping. Bread dries out faster in the fridge than the freezer and can be kept in the freezer for up to three months, so if you’re not going to eat the whole thing freeze half right away while you’re eating the rest.

Coffee- cabinet

This is the expert opinion: Depositing your coffee in the fridge or freezer exposes it to fluctuating temps and therefore condensation. “It’s like your coffee is brewed a little each time it’s exposed to water, and that diminishes the flavor,” says Johnny McGregor, PhD, chair of the department of food science and human nutrition at Clemson University. For a better brew, keep coffee in an airtight canister in a cabinet. That being said- I keep mine in the freezer and fridge!

Potatoes, onions, garlic
cabinet

Keep potatoes, onions and garlic in cool, dark places, in the fridge or not — but not together, or everything will smell like garlic, and the moisture in potatoes will make onions rotten.

Olive oil- fridge or cabinet

Since olive oil should be placed away from light, the fridge is fine. The important thing is that oil spoils when exposed to heat and oxygen. Fridge cold temperatures may solidify the oil, but they won’t affect its quality, Wolke says. If your cabinets are cool, oil should be fine there, too. In a fridge or a cool cabinet, oil keeps about 1 year opened and 2 years unopened.

Flour- fridge or counter

Flour in an airtight container is best in the fridge. In the cool temperature white flour stays fresh for 2 years; whole wheat flour lasts for about six months. If you’re going to keep white flour for less than a year, you can keep it on the counter in an airtight jar or canister. But keep wheat flour in the fridge no matter how fast you use it. The oils it make it spoil faster.

Quick tip
Don’t use the top of the fridge to store food, it’s warm up there, which is not a good thing for almost any food or wine

BEST PLACES IN THE FRIDGE TO PUT THINGS  

These are recommendations from foodies, I don’t agree with all of them so pick and choose which ones you like and ignore the rest:

Top shelves

  • Fruits and veggies will be the first things you see — and the snacks you’re most inclined to grab. Storing high keeps them at the right temperature.
  • Experts say forget the door for butter — it’s too warm, but why did they make that butter door? They say keep it on a top or middle shelf and in the same area, keep cheese tightly sealed in foil or plastic wrap.

The bottom shelf

  • Store all meats on bottom shelf; it’s the coldest spot in your fridge. Low placement will also keep juices from dripping onto other foods.
  • Some experts say to keep eggs fresher longer, keep them low and in the carton they came in. And keep the carton shut to avoid odor absorption from other foods. I have also heard just the opposite, never keep eggs in the carton that they came in and the door is fine, so you decide.
  • Separate large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers. The less food in each, the faster they cool — that helps prevent the growth of harmful whatever.
  • Don’t put milk containers in the door, because since the door opens and closes a lot and milk is especially sensitive to temperature changes, put it on a shelf as close to the bottom as it will fit.

One crisper

  • Leafy vegetables, broccoli, celery, or any veggies with lots of surface area tend to lose moisture quickly. The crisper keeps water vapor in.

The other crisper

  • Apples stored at room temperature deteriorate 10 times faster than when they’re refrigerated. Apples are best in the humid-enough crisper, away from anything else. Apples give off a natural gas called ethylene that can wilt, spot, or rot other food.

The door

  • Condiments are high in natural preservatives, and fit perfectly in the door, btw reduced-sodium soy sauce has to be refrigerated because there’s not enough salt to keep it from spoiling, regular is ok on the shelf.
  • OJ is pasteurized and citric acid hinders bacteria growth so the door is fine.
  • Recorked white wine will stay fresh in the fridge door for three to five days. (For unopened wine, lay the bottle down so the cork remains moist.)

I got most of this information from the following sources:

 

 

read between the lines

so- I haven’t read a book in a long time. It’s getting colder, I’m going to be inside more and I want to start reading again this winter. Can you recommend some good books?

This is not easy, the first book I thought of is a tiny book, in size and number of pages (70 pages) titled Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, also Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler and The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie were all books that I loved. Two of these books I read a long time ago, you should try to find a book that’s the right book to read at the right time. If you have problems read a book about someone that has more problems than you do and you’ll see it could always be worse, or if you’re sad read a funny book.  The books that I recommended are probably about people who have lives very different from your real life which is a good thing, while you’re reading don’t think about yourself, and that brings me to this- I apologize (but not really) to the person who thought that my advice on October 23rd to the person with so many problems was bad advice.

I thought about my response and answered the way I did for a reason- Most of the time we take ourselves way too seriously and if you can’t give yourself a break how can you expect anyone else to? My first response to the troubled reader who asked me what to do about having so many problems was actually the one that follows until I changed it, “Start solving most of your problems by taking the can of whipped cream, (that should be in your fridge at all times), squirt some into your mouth and smile! Most things will seem a little less bad after that. What I’m trying to tell you is…If you can do anything to help yourself pretend that things aren’t so bad you’ll start to feel happier. You can fool yourself into being happier, after awhile you won’t have to pretend as much and you’ll start to feel happier for real, because you’ll like the feeling and you’ll find a way to make it how you really feel”.  I hope whoever read my first answer and didn’t like it because it was too frivolous, isn’t reading this because you’re  going to really hate this one…

Check out these book lists for more:

  • www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists
  • www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html
  • www.listofbests.com/lists/home/books
  • www.bookmovement.com/

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yesterday a conversation with 1 of my kids ended this way…”I’ve got to go, I’m bleeding all over” beep (before I called back I tried to find out how to schedule a transfusion long distance). It was only a cut finger from a sharp knife… it happens all the time. It reminded me of something that I saw the other day at Crate and Barrel, and probably other places, there were at least 4 kinds of kitchen scissors that you can use for cutting, instead of always using a knife: seafood scissors, herb scissors, kitchen shears, poultry shears and maybe more. Or, you can probably find very good quality shears, not cheap scissors, at a sewing or craft store and use them in the kitchen for cooking prep. Keep them really clean and use them for cooking only, btw it’s not a good idea to use the same scissors for meat and non-meat food, so get a couple of pairs with different colored handles so that you can tell them apart.

not all problems are created equal

so- I have so many problems and I can’t stop thinking about them all the time. I need help.

You might not really have as many problems as you think you do. There are problems that you have no control over, they’re really not problems, sometimes you need to accept that things exist out there that bother you, but move on. Worrying about something that you have no control over will only make it worse and it’s a waste of time. Take some action and control of the problems that you really have control over, you need to deal with them and the sooner the better. Just thinking about a problem always makes it seem bigger and worse than it actually might be, but doing something about it makes you feel like you have some power to solve the  problem. You are bigger than any problem, so don’t make yourself the victim of your problems. If you have too much work to do, if you’re lonely, eating too much, need more money or whatever- do something about it now and worrying about it or  thinking about it all the time does not count just do something! Make a phone call, talk to someone who can help you, look on the internet, whatever.  Every problem you have someone else has had, too, so start talking to friends, family or the guy down the hall and share your dilemma and you’ll be surprised at how much people like to talk about themselves and tell you about what they did to solve the same problem. Do something- do anything, and if whatever you try doesn’t work that’s ok, because you found out what doesn’t work! so try something else.

no time

so- What if there is a neighbor next door that I really like and her dog is super cute, but I can’t see either of them very often because I have so much to do. I feel bad not being able to see them. What should I do?

Everybody I know has your problem, but not everybody is lucky enough to have you for a neighbor. The important things have to come first because you won’t really enjoy the fun things if you’re thinking about the stuff you should be doing, the quality of the time you spend is as important as the quantity. Sometimes you’ll have more free time than others which gives you something to look forward to. Having something to look forward to is really important because it gives you a reason to keep going, especially when you’re swamped and the going gets tough.