I was way off base when I guessed “egg-gathering basket.” Leslie Hindman, host of the TV show, Appraisal Fair, held up this round cage-contraption with folding sides and asked us to guess “What the Heck Is It?” Salad spinner was the right choice, but who knew people were wasting their money on needless pieces of kitchen equipment back in the 1880s?
I used to have a salad spinner. It worked OK, but not as well as the currently popular Oxo model ($30). Even it does not remove all of the water from a load of salad greens. And it takes up a lot of storage space.
This does not mean I’ve abandoned my pet peeve for wet, soggy, limp salad greens. I’ve just discovered a better way to dry my salad greens for a lot less money and a fraction of the storage space required for a big bulky salad spinner.
Self-spinner. You need a clean cotton pillowcase. Wash your greens well, shake off the excess water and stuff them into the pillowcase. Gather the open end into your hand so that it is completely closed and step outdoors. With great gusto, swing it around in circles for a minute or two, windmill style. The water will be thrown to the edges of the pillowcase due to centrifugal force, then absorbed by the fabric. Your greens will be crisp and dry, you’ll get a little exercise and entertain the neighbors at the same time. (If stepping outdoors is not convenient just pin or tie the pillow case closed and toss it in the washing machine on spin cycle for a minute or two. Seriously!) Continue reading
Who doesn’t wince at the thought of throwing food in the garbage that is slightly past its prime? Take bread for instance. It’s no longer fresh. So what can you really do with leftover bread, rolls or baguettes that will turn them into something great, almost if by magic? Here’s the secret: Grilling, toasting, baking or frying will give bread a second yummy life. In fact, the following are all best when the bread is not fresh. You’ll be amazed.
1. French toast. In a bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 2/3 cup milk. Soak 6 slices of leftover bread in the mixture, turning to coat both sides. Heat lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat. Place bread in pan and cook on both sides until golden.
2. Croutons. Rub 4 slices of stale bread with a clove of garlic that you have crushed. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add cubes and cook, stirring often, until crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue reading
Food prices have increased so dramatically in recent years, a trip to the supermarket is enough to ruin your appetite. With food weighing in as the second biggest monthly expenses for many families, we all ned to find clever ways to save. I’ve got some great tips for driving those costs down.
FIND THE DEALS
Hire help. Would you fork over $1.25 a week for someone to help you scour the aisles of your supermarket for the week’s best sales, figure out which coupons go with those sales, tell you exactly where those coupons are, figure out the net cost, show you how much you’ll save and then hand it to you in a tidy list? Then you need to check out The Grocery Game. I’ve been a big fan of founder Teri Gault since the days she shared her handwritten shopping list with just a few friends. Now Teri’s List is available for supermarkets nationwide. Tip: Try a free 4-week trial.
Get more than books: Amazon Grocery offers hundreds of thousands of nonperishable grocery items, with free Super Saver shipping on orders over $35. In exchange for competitive pricing, you’ll be buying in larger quantities than at a traditional grocery store. But here’s the fun part: Amazon offers plenty of varieties. Where else can you find all 70 Jello-O products and more than 35 different types of mustard? Amazon Grocery also carries diapers, pet supplies and laundry products. Continue reading
I am excited to share this quite unusual recipe with you because, well, it’s just plain awesome. This is the recipe you want handy when you need to use up what you have on hand, don’t want to run to the supermarket to make something delicious and want even less to patronize some fast-food joint’s drive-thru for a quick breakfast.
This recipe is a bit more time consuming as you need to do a little prep work. But it is the perfect option when you have any number of “add ins” on hand, which makes this recipe so versatile. Continue reading
Panera Bread opened a new bakery-cafe located dangerously close to my home, a situation that gives new meaning to the term “mixed emotions.”
On the one hand my husband and I love their muffins. But at $33 a dozen ($2.75 each), the feeling tends to sour.
An occasional muffin has never posed a fiscal threat. But with this new location being so handy, that could change quickly had I not made it my business to figure out how to win at the muffin game.
I tell you this not so much as to boast (well, maybe just a little), but to share my recipes and tricks for how to make muffins from scratch that are quick, easy and even more delicious than the ones at Panera, and for less than $4 a dozen, or about $.33 each. Continue reading