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Wednesday, July 24 , 2013

Food Truck to the Rescue

Are you in charge of planning a big party, such as a family reunion, and overwhelmed by the thought of all that cooking and cleanup, yet you just can't afford a professional caterer or an upscale restaurant to do the work for you? (And you want to do something a step up from pizza?) Try a local deluxe food truck. Specialty food trucks have become all the rage, and many chefs-behind-the-wheel would be more than happy to cook up big batches of their specialties for your party at reasonable prices (often less than what you would spend on bulk food that you’d buy and cook yourself). Your favorite food truck might even park at your party location, making the food-service part of your party an event (and easier than ever). Many food trucks have unique themes—from gourmet grilled cheese to Korean barbecue—that will liven up your celebration. So if there's a food truck in your town that you like...or have been wanting to try...ask the chef to super-size it for your next party!

More party tips...


Tuesday, July 23 , 2013

Top Uses for Used Foil

You probably don’t have the patience to clean soiled aluminum foil, but clean (slightly crumpled…even better) foil can have multiple lives. It’s great as a pan lining for oven-fried potatoes—the crinkled parts provide air space for extra crispness. It’s also good for cleaning grill grates (especially handy when your grill scraper is dirtier than your grill). Other uses include removing stuck-on food from pots, pans and oven racks. To sharpen scissors, cut through folded layers of clean foil a few times. To reduce static cling, put a loosely crumpled piece in the clothes dryer. To keep birds and deer out of your garden, hang strips of foil on strings where the critters go the most.

What else to do with used foil: Wrap leftovers in used foil (genius!), but if the foil has come in contact with raw meat, do not reuse it for other food purposes.

More creative ways to reuse what you have...

Monday, July 22 , 2013

Honeycomb Keeps You Cool

During the dog days of summer, when you have to do something physically taxing in a  location that is not air-conditioned, chew a chunk of honeycomb (available at health-food stores). You can chew it like chewing gum. (It's also OK if you swallow some.) The honeycomb actually causes a drop in body temperature, keeping you from feeling the heat. 

Caution: If you have asthma or a known or suspected sensitivity to bee products, do not chew honeycomb.

More healthful tips for the summer…

Friday, July 19 , 2013

Paper Towel Alternative

Did you run out of paper towels? Grab a paper coffee filter for that spill. Coffee filters are absorbent and surprisingly strong—and although they're more expensive than paper towels, when you have a potentially staining spill that needs action fast, it's worth it.

More easy ways to make your house sparkle...

Thursday, July 18 , 2013

Best Way to Thaw Frozen Fish

That fishing trip (or your trip to the sale at the fish counter) was fun and productive, but now what do you do with all that fresh fish? Freeze it! Separate fillets with wax paper, and then wrap tightly (and we mean get rid of all the air) with plastic wrap...then wrap again with foil and place in a freezer bag. Fatty fishes such as salmon and swordfish should be thawed and eaten within two months. To thaw your beautiful frozen fish, place the fillets in milk or in one cup of nonfat dry milk mixed with three cups of water. This will remove any freezer taste, and the fish will cook up as though it was just reeled in. Note: Some very oily fishes, such as bluefish, herring and sardines, do not freeze well at all unless you use a vacuum sealer.

More summer cooking tips...


Wednesday, July 17 , 2013

A Spoonful of This Will Help You Shape Up

Do you need to kick-start that diet? Here's a trick that's easy to try: First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, take one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil…any brand, from any country. This will rev up your metabolism and help curb your appetite.

Olive oil is 85% oleic acid. During digestion, oleic acid converts into OEA (oleoylethanolamine—a naturally occurring element that helps regulate appetite) and stimulates nerve cells, signaling the brain that you're full. But this doesn't mean you should skip breakfast. You'll just feel like eating less.

More help with weight loss...


Tuesday, July 16 , 2013

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Checklist

You probably know it's a good idea to make a checklist of what to pack for a vacation (or a business trip). Even better: Take your packing checklist with you on the trip, and when the trip is coming to an end and you are packing to go home, use it again—and you'll never forget to bring something back home. (No more did-I-forget-something panic on the plane!)

More travel tips...


Monday, July 15 , 2013

The Foot Massage for Back Pain

Is your back out of whack? If your pain seems due to stress (and most back pain is caused by stress), trigger the reflexology point that connects to your spine. It's located in the soles of your feet. Starting with your left foot, use your thumbs to apply firm pressure along the inner sole from the big toe to the heel. Massage for a good five minutes. Then do the same with your right foot. If relief isn't instant, repeat the procedure again or until the pain eases.

For more help with aches and pains...


Friday, July 12 , 2013

Aloe Vera Heals Acne

Do the harsh medicines made to cure blemishes do a number on your skin? Try the soothing natural alternative aloe vera juice (available at health-food stores) to help heal acne. With a cotton ball, dab it on first thing in the morning and last thing at night (after washing your face is best). If possible, apply it throughout the day. Again, we urge you to be consistent and use it every day for at least three weeks, unless the acne clears up sooner. Once your face clears, use the aloe vera periodically (once or twice a week) to help keep your skin acne-free.

More natural skin care...


Thursday, July 11 , 2013

Give Your Melons a Lift

Here's something nice you can do for those beautiful balls of fruit slowly appearing in your garden. Put melons on a pedestal while they’re growing, and they'll happily ripen early. Your "pedestal" can simply be an empty coffee can that has been turned upside down and pressed into the soil. The metal attracts and holds onto heat from the sun, which speeds up ripening.

More great gardening tips...