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KYLEONA's Photo KYLEONA Posts: 776
10/2/10 8:58 A

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My favorite appliances that are making a comeback in our kitchen include my seal a meal machine. I started some batch cooking yesterday and being able to seal the servings individually without wasting space was awesome!

My blender which I use for my smoothies, I have used my food processor but I need to figure out how to maximize the usage of it. and my crockpot! I am planning on getting a new one that you can program so that even when I have to be out of the house by 7:30 and it shouldnt be started until 9, it will do it on it's own!

I do want a dehydrator, but maybe only a small one. I have been drying fruit in the oven the past 2 days and I bet a dehydrator would make a huge improvement in certain kinds of foods.



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STMML02's Photo STMML02 SparkPoints: (7,486)
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10/1/10 12:55 P

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The best thing I ever did was buy a rice cooker. I can come home from work, load it up with the rice and water, and then walk away and do something else. You can cook pasta in it, too.

Also, when I buy fruit, like berries, I freeze half. I save my money because they don't go bad sitting in the refrigerator, and I have the perfect ingredients to throw in the blender for a healthy smoothie. You don't have to add ice, which makes the blender make an awful noise. Plus, frozen bananas make the smoothie nice and creamy, without the addition of any fat-laden dairy products.

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POLSKARENIA's Photo POLSKARENIA Posts: 6,888
9/28/10 5:00 P

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I love making hummus in my food processor - home-made is just so-o-o much better, and you can load it up with garlic lol!!

Renia

2 weddings to be glam for - the second will be my own in Spring 2013!! A good place to start...

2012 must surely be MY year at last!!



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MIK113's Photo MIK113 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/28/10 4:46 P

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I have things like my food processor that I love but I think I need to try cutting and storing fruits and veggies this week. An hour of prep goes a long way!

Michelle*


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POLSKARENIA's Photo POLSKARENIA Posts: 6,888
9/26/10 3:33 P

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I love using my George Foreman grill, just watching the fat run away... I also use my smppthie maker and food processor a lot, as well as the combi oven/microwave. It save sme so much time!! Packed lunches are prepared the night before and kept in the fridge..

Renia

2 weddings to be glam for - the second will be my own in Spring 2013!! A good place to start...

2012 must surely be MY year at last!!



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LEAKAY59's Photo LEAKAY59 SparkPoints: (47,433)
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9/14/10 2:51 P

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Hey 60! If I send you the postage will you send me your immersion blender! LOL!

Laurie

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Calvin Coolidge

Co-Leader, Official Healthy Cooking Challenge


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60SIXTY's Photo 60SIXTY Posts: 24,911
9/11/10 6:33 A

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Kitchen tools on the list that I already have:
Blender with a special container to make a smoothie and take it with you.
I also have an immersion blender - but never use it.
2 Crockpots
A mini Food processor - great for salad dressings & spreads
Food scale - I have had a cheap one for over 15 years. If I put a plate or bowl on it that is heavy enough, it works great.
Rice cooker - Love it.

I am not interested in getting a
Dehydrator
a full sized Food processor
Grain Mill
Juicer
Toaster Oven - sold the one I had; waste of counter space.


An appliance not on the list ! ! !
This is one of my favorites.
Seal-A-Meal.
I have the old-old-old style. You can't buy bags for it anymore. But you can make the bags for the new vacuum models work on it. I like it because I can freeze soups and broth and other things that are moist. And, it doesn't smash berries when you freeze them.
I bought the vacuum sealer. I could have done without. I use it to freeze chicken breasts when they are on sale or pork loin. We buy a pork loin and have it sliced in serving sized cuts by the butcher.

Edited by: 60SIXTY at: 9/11/2010 (06:43)
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JANNYMACK's Photo JANNYMACK SparkPoints: (12,203)
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8/31/10 7:12 P

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I am planning on purchasing an immersion blender, especially for making fresh salad dressings, YUM!

Also, a rice cooker. I cook a lot of rice and I am way over due for one. A friend was in my kitchen two days ago and said, "You need to get a rice cooker, it's so much easier!" I guess it must be time! lol

Favorite Quotes:

"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."---Charles Reade

"Food is not love, comfort, or an anxiety pill."

"Eat to live, do not live to eat!"

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." ---Carl Gustav Jung


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NIMAWEYGH's Photo NIMAWEYGH Posts: 17,839
8/26/10 1:01 P

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Hi Lucy great to see you here. I love your idea but no graden. I am buying organic (and from the farms here when they sell) so just like the garden. I also love a sweet carrot for a snack.

I brought in my celery and washed it, cut it into 3" pieces, put in a baggie with water so when I get it out it is so crisp and cool and so crunchy.

I clean and cut up my red/green/yellow peppers and store them in the freezer and they taste just like fresh.

Also I clean, cut up my okra, roll in cornmeal and freeze so I can pull out, put on Pam sprayed cookie sheet and bake............I tell you, you cannot tell it from fried.

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ERNOINACTION's Photo ERNOINACTION Posts: 2,309
8/23/10 4:35 P

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Hmmm, I also like the idea of cutting up and storing veggies. Great idea. I think the difference for me has been planning ahead and getting my lunches and breakfasts ready before work the night before. I just won't do it in the am.

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LUCY_SHADOW's Photo LUCY_SHADOW Posts: 417
8/9/10 4:07 P

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I also do the washing veggies/fruits right away and putting them into portions. It's so easy to grab a snack bag of carrot sticks when I feel a craving. I also have started heading out to the garden when a craving hits, and picking a fresh carrot. The yummiest sweet in the world doesn't compare to a carrot just barely picked!

MAMITACITA Posts: 1
8/2/10 10:58 A

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Keeping the laptop in the kitchen has been a huge time and money saver. I used to spend too much time browsing cookbooks for the "best" recipe. Typically, I'd just give up after overwhelming myself with choices. Now, I use SparkRecipes favorites, or the recipe sifter at www.Food.com to find a recipe using ingredients in the fridge at that moment. There's MUCH less waste of food, and I'm gradually trying new flavors without making discouraging messes in the kitchen.

I really don't enjoy cooking at heart. With the laptop (and the TV for news or a movie), I'm less resentful of time in the kitchen. I can check e-mail, pay bills, etc. while food is cooking. This keeps me from using expensive frozen dinners or going out for junky fast food.

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LEAKAY59's Photo LEAKAY59 SparkPoints: (47,433)
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8/1/10 7:38 P

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JM, I tried that - DH put up a special white board for me on the pantry door. My problem is keeping up with what goes in and out of the pantry!

Laurie

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Calvin Coolidge

Co-Leader, Official Healthy Cooking Challenge


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JMADAMS3's Photo JMADAMS3 SparkPoints: (29,662)
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8/1/10 7:29 P

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I keep spices alphabetized on the shelf, on a layered platform. PLUS I have an inventory list taped inside the cupboard door so I know what I have or need! (We also keep inventory of freezer stuff and canned stuff.) I think we're nuts! But it works - lol

He must increase and I must decrease. (John the Baptist!)

Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts,
will send among his fat ones leanness. (Is 10:16)


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SHELLPRO's Photo SHELLPRO SparkPoints: (70,944)
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7/31/10 6:44 P

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Not to mention they can be color coded, so you remember NOT to cross contaminate them!

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MIBABE's Photo MIBABE SparkPoints: (6,545)
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7/31/10 3:50 P

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Like many of you I prep my veggies for easy snacks. And I have found that I love the new silicone cutting boards. They are thin and can be folded so that you can "pour" what you were cutting up into a pan instead of the wood ones that some end up on the floor (at least they do with me).

Sharon


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SHELLPRO's Photo SHELLPRO SparkPoints: (70,944)
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7/30/10 5:13 P

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Good idea, though I tend to rely on Ziploc Bags instead. Easier to sort for freezing with only one side-by-side frig.

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KELLEEH's Photo KELLEEH SparkPoints: (43,640)
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7/30/10 12:53 P

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I have only one size of storage container, and I have a lot of them! I choose a small size so that I can pack a single serving in it. When it's time to put up leftovers from a meal I have cooked, this means that I will package them in single servings, which helps greatly with portion control. Having only one size also means that all of the lids are the same size, and I never have to hunt for a lid!

I also prep my raw veggies when I buy them. I store them in the crisper in quart size ziploc bags. I actually do think they go bad a little bit faster this way, but like many of you have said, I throw away far fewer veggies this way than I used to. It's just so much easier!

I have a labeler, and I label everything in the kitchen! I would stick a label on my dog if she would stay still for a second emoticon

Edited by: KELLEEH at: 7/30/2010 (12:54)

-Kellee


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SHELLPRO's Photo SHELLPRO SparkPoints: (70,944)
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7/29/10 3:24 P

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All most everything you need that I couldn't find for using produce & vegetables that I didn't know can be found here if not on Sparkrecipe.com-

allrecipes.tv/categories/fruitsveg.a
sp
x


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CHERI_F's Photo CHERI_F Posts: 819
7/29/10 9:31 A

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Some great ideas here! I'm notorious for letting veggies go bad in the crisper. I'll give prepping them a shot and see if that helps.

I'm also going to invest in a rice cooker. I have cooking white rice down to a science but haven't quite mastered brown rice yet. I think the rice cooker will just make things faster and easier for me all the way around.

Cheri
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JANINEWHITE Posts: 74
7/28/10 12:46 A

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Prepping veggies and fruits so that they can be grabbed quickly, whether for a snack or for saving time cooking dinner. I started doing this when I realized that my kids will play until they hit the wall of hunger hard and want food NOW NOW! They would be screaming while I tried to hurry and slice up berries or cheese. Now in the morning, I plan what their snack will be and while they get dressed, I slice and dice for that day.

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JENJESS48's Photo JENJESS48 Posts: 1,075
7/27/10 6:31 P

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Ikea, Ikea, Ikea. Ok, I live practically across the street from one. But my house is a tiny 600 feet and was built during WWII so we have NO storage. Ikea has brilliant storage ideas for small spaces - and stuff that works great in any space. My newest find is large airtight containers that have cup measures built into the top. You never have to search for a cup measure or guesstimate on your grains. And things stay fresh for much longer than in their original boxes or bags. I find these containers perfect for rice, quinoa, and others grains.

But you have to try. Because what would you be if you didn't even try? -- Lyle Lovett

Organization will set you free. -- Alton Brown


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ALWAYSLOWFAT's Photo ALWAYSLOWFAT Posts: 2,247
7/22/10 8:38 P

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i use many spices (herbs) and have them on a turntable in kitchen cab above sink. easy access.

I use a lot of Oregano, parsley and many others depending on what i am cooking. i am a veggie eater and am alone so i started to steam a full pkge of frozen veggies (sort of blanched) and store in snack plastic bags (one portion) now i just grab one and add it to the protein of choice. I find it saves time.

BASKETLADY6's Photo BASKETLADY6 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/22/10 8:18 A

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I thought I was the only person who kept spices, alphabetized in a cabinet drawer! I've never had a spice rack, and I never wanted one. I find it easier to use the drawer.

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GIBSOTB's Photo GIBSOTB SparkPoints: (7,049)
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7/20/10 7:53 A

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I do the rotisserie chicken thing too! I buy one almost every week from Sams, take the meat off the bones, and then either make stock then or freeze the bones for later use. Throw them in a freezer bag, squish to break the bones (so its smaller) and you are ready to go next time you want to make stock. B/c the bones are roasted, they make delicious stock, and well worth the effort. If you make stock this way, and have the time, the best way to defat it is to let it cool overnight in the fridge, then just peel off the fat layer in the morning!

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”


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DONNABRIGHT's Photo DONNABRIGHT Posts: 10,429
7/19/10 12:48 P

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Love the veggie prep idea!

Donna
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We CAN do this!


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FAIRYANNE3's Photo FAIRYANNE3 Posts: 3,642
7/18/10 11:57 A

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I bought a set on long handle spoons from the dollar store. They are sundae spoons, plastic. They are great for travel mugs etc. When I make my tea or coffee I can use the spoon for sugar. If you level the sugar it is one teaspoon. Love them because before I would measure the sugar in a measuring spoon and then have to use another to stir etc.

I too have multiple measure cups and spoons, makes life so easy!

No foods with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, rice syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose etc. in the first three ingredients.

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OURELEE1 Posts: 1,533
7/17/10 8:11 P

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Thanks for the ideas.

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CTTAGENT's Photo CTTAGENT Posts: 1,621
7/7/10 7:59 P

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My husband buys a large container of dried, minced onion, then when the onion powder container gets low, he grinds some of the dried onion to fill the bottle. So we get both dried and powder with one purchase.

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SHERRY822's Photo SHERRY822 Posts: 3,737
7/6/10 9:15 P

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I have been in food service for 32 years, before becoming disabled. I love all of the gadgets, and gizmos, that make kitchen life easier. My very favorite thing for my weekly meals is the in store roasted, rotisserie chicken. I usually call the night before going to the store and order two of them with no seasoning, because there is a lot of sodium, and some unwanted chemicals like M.S.G., anti caking agents, etc. I let the chickens cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes. While it is still warm I pull the meat off the carcass. I package the meat into separate freezer bags for use in different meals.I store aome of it in the freezer to be used on different days, in different meals.

These chickens are so versatile. The meat can be used in dishes like salads, soups, stews, casseroles, pot pies, wraps, and sandwiches. I usually mix mostly white meat with a little of the dark. That way it is mostly healthy. The dark meat has a little more flavor, so it helps to mix it together, to keep from wasting any of it. Sometimes I save the carcass and boil it to extract the flavor and make my own stock. I then strain the bones and throw them away, and package and freeze the stock, for use in different dishes later.

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart,and my portion for ever.
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GABRIELLE42's Photo GABRIELLE42 Posts: 8,614
6/30/10 3:14 P

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I like the idea of a spice drawer but all my drawers are either too shallow or too deep.


Jane

The road to success always has detours.

I know every single excuse not to eat right or exercise regularly - except for a good one.
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WINDSONG~'s Photo WINDSONG~ Posts: 23,497
6/30/10 5:39 A

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To clean and freshen wooden chopping blocks, counter or rolling pins, sprinkle table salt on these surfaces when they are wet and scrub dry.

To keep cauliflower white while cooking -
add a little milk to the water

No "curly" bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water
before frying.

Freeze fruits such as bananas, grapes and orange slices to make them more fun to eat.


*~*Marcie*~*

Health is my goal weight loss is my gift .

I am entering into a new Time of My Life and I look forward to the challenges it has in store for me.




ARDYNLEE72's Photo ARDYNLEE72 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/28/10 10:17 A

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I love the idea of prepping veggies ahead of time. What do you keep them in? Tupperware? Or is there something special? I guess it's back to reorganizing the fridge for me.. emoticon

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.-Dolly Parton
~~~~~~~
Do or do not... there is no try.-Yoda
~~~~~~~~
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Nutrition: Less than 1500 calories and 50 grams of fat per day.
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MEIJER's Photo MEIJER Posts: 3,964
6/23/10 12:48 P

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I'd like to know what people do with the containers. In what do you store them in or where.

*Carol*



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MELISSA_X0's Photo MELISSA_X0 Posts: 6,037
6/23/10 9:05 A

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I love the idea of a spice DRAWER. Never thought of that. I too have multiple sets of measuring cups and spoons. I use mine all the time and this way I won't run out.

When I cook and have leftover food, I portion it into separate containers and freeze it for later meals. This means, on the nights that I don't feel like cooking or have little time, I can "eat" from the freezer and have a meal ready in minutes.

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ZOEJADA's Photo ZOEJADA Posts: 844
6/21/10 8:57 P

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I've been hesitant to prep veggies - worried about freshness and leaching of nutrients - but it sounds like that's not really a big issue. Also, you guys are right - if they're prepped, there's more of a chance I will actually use the veggies instead of them rotting in the crisper drawer.

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MEIJER's Photo MEIJER Posts: 3,964
6/19/10 11:47 A

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I think I`ll get off to the $ store to get some funnels.

*Carol*



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RANCHGAL9's Photo RANCHGAL9 SparkPoints: (89,717)
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6/19/10 10:05 A

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Great idea to leave the measures in the container where you will be using them. Off to the $ store I go to get some extras!!!! emoticon

Cowboy logic says "If you find yourself in a hole, first quit digging!"

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MEIJER's Photo MEIJER Posts: 3,964
6/17/10 11:40 A

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I do love my food processor but with such a small kitchen often I find it easier to take my big knife out to chop those veggies of course. lol

*Carol*



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MBSKIT's Photo MBSKIT SparkPoints: (0)
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6/15/10 9:25 A

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I do that as well and it is nice to reach in and have the right measuring cup.

I also keep extra measuring spoons on hand because I tend to forget them and they get caught in the disposal.


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CRBSMITH1968's Photo CRBSMITH1968 Posts: 223
6/14/10 7:09 P

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I store some of my dollar store measuring cups right in the tupperware/plastic containers where I keep some of my staples. It's usually the same measure every time I make it so I have nothing to wash -- I keep them in:

whole wheat flour (1 c)
cornstarch (1 T)
flour (1 c)
sugar (1/3 c - I use this amount for homemade lemonade)
oatmeal (1/2 c)
brown rice and white rice (1/2 c)
malt o meal for the kids (1 T)


~**Christine**~
Galatians 2:20



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LEAKAY59's Photo LEAKAY59 SparkPoints: (47,433)
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6/14/10 5:28 P

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Simera, I have to tell you, I never thought of having more than one set of measuring cups! What a great idea! Now just to find someplace to store them. I don't even actually have one full set right now. Somehow the 1 cup measure got broken or thrown away, so I have just been using half of the two cup, or two of the half cup! LOL!

Laurie

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Calvin Coolidge

Co-Leader, Official Healthy Cooking Challenge


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MBSKIT's Photo MBSKIT SparkPoints: (0)
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6/14/10 3:40 P

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I do the same with bananas and use them in smoothies.
I also cut avacados in forths and freeze them to add in smoothies or to use later since I am the only one who will eat them.

I have four sets of measuring cups. I use them alot and you can get really nice ones at the dollar store.I never havet o worry that one is dirty or I can't find what I'm looking for.


Simera

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REBECCA-LICIOUS Posts: 1,613
6/9/10 10:46 A

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@LEAKAY59 My pre-cut veggies have not gone funky. But since they're not loosely stacked on each other in the crisper, I probably use them up faster. No forgotten green peppers or anything like that.

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Another trick I use is to take any extra fresh berries or ripe bananas we haven't eaten and freeze them for snacks and smoothies.

Rebecca

"Fitness to me isn't about a crunch or a push-up, it's about taking your power back." –Jillian Michaels

"I figured, me walking is better than me sitting on the couch. Even if I can't climb a mountain or do 100,000 push-ups, these steps matter, and they're leading somewhere." –Jennifer Hudson


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CRBSMITH1968's Photo CRBSMITH1968 Posts: 223
6/8/10 5:40 P

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I made a printable grocery list in Excel for my 2 main grocery stores that has everything listed in order of how I walk the aisles through the store. There's a box in front of the items we typically use in a week and I just check off the boxes after I make my menu plan. It saves a LOT of time in list-making and shopping which is important to me because I usually shop with at least some of my kids.

~**Christine**~
Galatians 2:20



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JILLSMYTH Posts: 802
6/8/10 9:30 A

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DIETITIANBECKY that is such a good idea! Every time I ask the hubby to pull out a spice to add in he swears we need to buy a spice rack. But if we could just clean out that "junk" drawer in the kitchen, we'd have an extra shelf in the pantry and easier time finding spices.



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ARIANROSE's Photo ARIANROSE Posts: 99
6/8/10 8:57 A

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Laurie, I've found that prepped vegetables actually keep *longer* than non, particularly green onions, or anything with a green top like that.

My partner and I clean and chop our vegetables when we come home from the grocery store or the farmers market. I have a lot less vegetables go bad after that - possibly because we actually remember to eat them then!

I don't clean fruits though. We just picked up some apples, and I only slice them the night before they go into lunches.

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LEAKAY59's Photo LEAKAY59 SparkPoints: (47,433)
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6/8/10 8:14 A

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Rebecca, I like the idea of prepping the veggies in advance. Of course, with DH as my built-in prep cook I don't have that much trouble with it, but it would certainly make it easier to just say okay, pull out half a cup of diced green pepper, a chopped onion, and a cup of diced celery. My only question is shelf life - do they last as long after they're cut or do you have to use them more quickly?

Laurie

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Calvin Coolidge

Co-Leader, Official Healthy Cooking Challenge


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DIETITIANBECKY's Photo DIETITIANBECKY Posts: 26,704
6/8/10 7:40 A

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I keep my spices in a pull out drawer, I have them in rows and they are in alphabetical order. I use a black marker to write the name on the top of the spice lid. I no longer have to hunt for the spice I need, nor does my family when they are cooking...easy to put every spice back too...they all have a space.

Becky

REBECCA-LICIOUS Posts: 1,613
6/8/10 7:31 A

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If you spend enough time in the kitchen, you'll come up with an idea or two for making things easier.

One of my favorite tricks is to make a "salad bar" in the crisper drawer by washing and slicing vegetables and placing them in individual containers.

When I know my veggies are ready to go, I'm much more likely to make a salad or stir-fry, add some carrots or cucumber slices to a sandwich, etc.

What about you? Have you stumbled onto any handy tips, tricks or other ideas for kitchen prep, storage, planning, etc.?





Rebecca

"Fitness to me isn't about a crunch or a push-up, it's about taking your power back." –Jillian Michaels

"I figured, me walking is better than me sitting on the couch. Even if I can't climb a mountain or do 100,000 push-ups, these steps matter, and they're leading somewhere." –Jennifer Hudson


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