Food and Drink en-US Get Up To 8% Cash Back Shopping at Whole Foods (Limited Time Deal!) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shopping at Whole Foods can definitely put a dent in your wallet. We've offered suggestions before on the <a href="">best ways to save at Whole Foods</a>. And for the next four months, you can save even more &mdash; up to 8% cash back on your purchases.</p> <p>Americans spend 130% more on average on groceries per week during the holiday season. And American Express Blue Cash Card Members can get a little help with their budget. Now through February 15, 2015, get an additional 2% cash back on top of your already <a href="">generous grocery rewards</a>. That's 5% with the <a target="_blank" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card</a> and 8% with the <a target="_blank" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card</a>! And in case you were wondering, yes, it applies to online purchases made at <a href="" title=""></a> as well!&nbsp;<strong>Note: You must enroll your card for the purchases to be eligible for the extra 2% cash back.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The Blue Cash cards are a favorite here at Wise Bread. We've touted their benefits for <a href="">cash rewards</a>,&nbsp;<a href="">gas rewards</a>, and of course, <a href="">grocery savings</a>. If you don't already have one of these cards, now's the time to get one! Not only are they offering a big sign up bonus: $100 (Blue Cash Everyday) and $150 (Blue Cash Preferred) statement credit when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, but you also get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months (after that it will be a variable rate 12.99%-21.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors).&nbsp;</p> <p>Check out the details below to choose which card is best for you.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card</a> offers a whopping 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% at US gas stations and select department stores, 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. It does have an <strong>annual fee</strong> of $75, but if you have a big grocery budget, the rewards would be more than enough to cover this yearly cost.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit. Also, get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</p> <ul> <li>Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations &amp; select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>A credit card that gives you cash back with a 0% Intro APR Offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.</li> <li>After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a title="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><img border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="" alt="" /></a>Don't like the idea of getting a card with an annual fee? The&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Blue Cash Everyday&reg;</a>&nbsp;has none, but still gets you 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</p> <ul> <li>Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 3% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations &amp; select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>No Annual Fee. A Credit Card that gives you cash back with a 0% Intro APR Offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.</li> <li>After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card today!</strong></a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Get Up To 8% Cash Back Shopping at Whole Foods (Limited Time Deal!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Food and Drink Shopping credit card rewards Whole Foods Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:40:11 +0000 Lynn Truong 1240222 at 20 Fun Ways to Use Pumpkin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-fun-ways-to-use-pumpkin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family cooking pumpkin" title="family cooking pumpkin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While we may be sad to say goodbye to summer, the appearance of pumpkins cheers us up. They are a reminder of upcoming holidays &mdash; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Spices frequently used with pumpkin trigger our olfactory senses, which give us excitement and happy memories. It is no wonder that sales of the 2012 pumpkin crop were a staggering $148.9 million dollars! (See also: <a href="">Gadzukes! 10 Ways to Use Up Your Zucchini Bounty</a>)</p> <p>Wouldn't the Pilgrims be flabbergasted at all the uses we have found for pumpkins? It's not enough that we eat them. We also decorate them, use them for beauty products, and beverages. Why do we love them so much? Versatility, for one. You can do lot of things with a pumpkin.</p> <p>So this year, get creative and go beyond pumpkin pie with these 20 fun ways to use pumpkins.</p> <h2>1. Thai Curry</h2> <p>Repeat after me: <a href="">Red Thai Chicken and Pumpkin Curry</a>. Yes, it is spicy, so have a glass of Thai iced tea ready. (You can reduce the amount of red curry paste, of course.) To me, this is one of the ultimate comfort foods. I also add carrot to mine and, serve on jasmine rice.</p> <h2>2. Pumpkin Spice Latte, Anyone?</h2> <p>These are super popular right now! Naturally, someone has uncovered the secret so you can make them DIY: pumpkin syrup. Why not save some money and make your own? Here's <a href="">how!</a></p> <h2>3. Pumpkin French Fries</h2> <p>Yes, french fry addicts, there is a healthier alternative. Try pumpkin <a href="">french fries</a>! I liked the ones with the spicy mix that included curry powder, and I did turn up my oven to 400 for the last ten minutes, to get them crispier. They make a fun hors d'oeuvre, too, with a yogurt dipping sauce.</p> <h2>4. Pumpkin Smoothies</h2> <p>This <a href="">pumpkin smoothie</a> is not only good for you, but also vegan and incredibly filling. I guess I should not have been surprised, since it contains pumpkin, bananas, and Greek yogurt.</p> <h2>5. Pumpkin, the Beauty Aid</h2> <p>I had heard of avocado, oatmeal, egg, honey&hellip; but <a href="">pumpkin facial masks</a> were a new one, on me. Various recipes claim that the fruit enzymes, plus alpha hydroxy acids, vitamin A, and vitamin C, will soften and smooth the skin. I am certain that as soon as I cover my face in pumpkin, the doorbell will ring.</p> <h2>6. Pass Me a Cold One</h2> <p>A cold pumpkin beer, that is. I think these or a love 'em or hate 'em thing. If you are a homebrewer and want to give them a try, you can buy a <a href="">pumpkin ale home-brewing kit</a>.</p> <h2>7. Chili</h2> <p>This <a href="">pumpkin chili</a> is one of my favorite comfort foods. It has the wonderful, mellow earthiness of pumpkin and the zestiness of peppers and spices. I like it with black-bean tortilla chips and lots of sour cream. It makes quite a bit, so it's a nice one to share, and even better the second day, reheated.</p> <h2>8. Squeaky Clean</h2> <p>Are you a soap-maker? I have yet to try soap-making as a DIY but when I do, this <a href="">pumpkin soap</a> is on the list. This would make a great gift!</p> <h2>9. Pumpkin Decor</h2> <p>It is too humid where I live for carved pumpkins to last for more than a day, so people tend to <a href="!2">decorate them</a>, instead. Check out the pumpkin covered in thumbtacks, which is really beautiful, as well as the hilarious &quot;Liberace pumpkin.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Pumpkin Candles</h2> <p>Both easy and fun, I am going to line the porch with these <a href="">pumpkin candles</a> this year, for a spooky effect.</p> <h2>11. Pumpkin Butter</h2> <p>My girlfriend just sent me a jar of this and I could just eat it with a spoon, although it's wonderful on toast, pancakes, and waffles. Now I just have to make my own! Here is a popular <a href="">pumpkin butter</a> recipe.</p> <h2>12. Fancy Pumpkin Croquettes</h2> <p>Just kidding, but use of the French word &quot;croquette&quot; certainly dresses up smashed chickpeas and pumpkin. Seriously, though, these are habit-forming and delicious. This is a vegan <a href="">recipe for chickpea and pumpkin croquettes</a>, but I used real cheese. If you make them really small, they make great appetizers, too.</p> <h2>13. Pamper Your Feet With Pumpkin</h2> <p>Not just for feet (but I think it is particularly nice for 'em) is this <a href="">Pumpkin Body Scrub</a>. Make a batch soon for a wonderful Thanksgiving hostess gift!</p> <h2>14. Potluck Pumpkin Pie Squares</h2> <p>These <a href="">pumpkin pecan pie squares</a> are a hit at potlucks. They also go together very quickly and make a nice size for sharing (they go in a 9 x 13 pan).</p> <h2>15. Don't Forget the Seeds!</h2> <p>After carving the pumpkin, <a href="">save the delicious seeds</a>. I love the spicy ones. The seeds are also extremely <a href="">nutritious</a>.</p> <h2>16. Risotto</h2> <p>Risotto is another dish I consider to be &quot;comfort food&quot; &mdash; warm, creamy, and full of flavor. Combining cumin and cardamom wouldn't have occurred to me, but the combination works with the <a href="">pumpkin</a> in this recipe.</p> <h2>17. Pumpkin Cookies</h2> <p>I love that these <a href="">pumpkin cookies</a> are delicious, but have more nutritional value than a traditional chocolate-chip cookie due to the addition of oatmeal and pumpkin. If it were just me, I would also add some raisins, but many people are raisin-phobic.</p> <h2>18. Hearty Pumpkin Stew</h2> <p>This <a href="">African Pumpkin Stew</a> is so healthy, not to mention hearty. I really like it with the beet greens, which are a little sweeter, but chard or spinach are easier to find. Talk about a healthful stew &mdash; it is resplendent with pumpkin, greens, coconut milk, and served with couscous. Non-vegetarians can add cooked pork or chicken.</p> <h2>19. Lighter Pumpkin Soup</h2> <p>Lighter, but still very satisfying, is this <a href="">pumpkin soup.</a> Instead of cream, it gets its thickness from skim milk, potatoes, and corn.</p> <h2>20. You, the Pumpkin</h2> <p>I finally relinquished it (it was looking pretty sad) but, as an adult, I wore my pumpkin costume four years running. It was a good one. Pumpkins always get a lot of laughs. There is still time to <a href="">make your own pumpkin costume</a>! I got more fabric and made mine longer, and wore it with black tights. Just think: Your entire family could be a pumpkin patch. Get sewing.</p> <p><em>There you have it &mdash; 20 fun ways to use pumpkin. Readers, any fun stuff to share?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Fun Ways to Use Pumpkin" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty fall pumpkin pumpkin recipes Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1233262 at Wise Bread Reloaded: How to Prepare and Enjoy Our Modern, Monstrously Large Chickens <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-how-to-prepare-and-enjoy-our-modern-monstrously-large-chickens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="giant chicken" title="giant chicken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After fifty years of diligent effort, chicken breeders have managed to create a <a href="">chicken that is more than four times bigger</a> than its mid-century predecessor. Yesterday's rooster weighed just about two pounds. Today's enormous version, which is called the &quot;Ross 308 broiler,&quot; weighs more than nine pounds.</p> <p>During that half century of growth, chicken occupied a bigger and bigger place at the American table. Once a distant third behind pork and beef, chicken now resides at the head of the table, with Americans consuming more than 80 pounds of chicken each per year.</p> <p>That's a lot of nuggets!</p> <p>If nuggets aren't your thing, Wise Bread has you covered with several suggestions about how to prepare and enjoy today's comically large Ross 308.</p> <h2>What to Do With Giant Chicken Legs</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Camilla Cheung takes you on a tour of the world with this collection of <a href="">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</a>.</p> <h2>Eat for a Week &mdash; or Two!</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Today's chickens are so large you can <a href="">Get a Week's Worth of Dinners Out of One Chicken</a>. In fact, the chicken Max Wong used in her article was just a four pounder &mdash; not a nearly 10 pounder like the Ross 308.</p> <h2>Wheel Away a Giant Rotisserie Chicken</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>You may need a cart to get a giant cooked chicken out of the supermarket, but when you do, Camilla Cheung shares with you <a href="">25 Things to Do With Rotisserie Chicken</a>. Number 25? Make stock.</p> <h2>Make Gallons of Chicken Stock (And Use It for Dumplings)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Well maybe not gallons, but plenty enough! What will you do with it? Janey Osterlind came up with <a href="">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</a> &mdash; including dumplings, of course.</p> <h2>Or DIY Your Own Giant Chicken&hellip; Eggs</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Squicked out by the thought of eating industrial sized, manufactured giant chickens? Let Linsey Knerl explain <a href="">How to Raise Backyard Chickens</a>. These chickens are mostly about the eggs, but yes, you can eat your backyard chickens, too.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: How to Prepare and Enjoy Our Modern, Monstrously Large Chickens" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink chicken chicken eggs chicken legs chicken recipes Sat, 11 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Lars Peterson 1233265 at 15 Easy, Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-easy-mouthwatering-slow-cooker-dessert-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="chocolate cake" title="chocolate cake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't support a lot of extraneous kitchen contraptions. However, my slow cooker will have a space in my cupboards forever. I make tons of soups and stews that sustain my family through the fall and winter months. And lately, I've even started experimenting with making desserts. (See also: <a href="">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen</a>)</p> <p>Here are 15 absolutely incredible sweet treats you can make in your crock pot.</p> <h2>1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake</h2> <p>Let's just say the author of this <a href="">Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake</a> combined two of the best ingredients in the world. The recipe yields 16 total servings at 141 calories each. Turn to this cake when you're looking to make a treat with little effort but would rather skip processed store stuff. Oh, and if you're out of applesauce, you can use any other fruit (or even light vegetable) purees.</p> <h2>2. Apple Crisp Cake</h2> <p>This <a href="">Apple Crisp Coffee Cake</a> takes only 15 minutes to prep. There are three components: the apple mixture, the tasty oat crumble, and the cake. Once each is mixed together, simply layer them and let cook for just under four hours. Feel free to substitute in other fruits, like pears, and experiment!</p> <h2>3. Fudge</h2> <p>I usually save my fudge indulgences for the beach. With this <a href="">Easy Fudge Recipe</a>, I can eat it far more frequently. It's semi-healthy, too. Pour chocolate chips, coconut milk, raw honey, and sea salt into your crock pot. Keep the lid shut and cook for two hours. Pour in a little vanilla extract then stir vigorously before pouring into a dish to set.</p> <h2>4. Cinnamon Almonds</h2> <p>These <a href="">Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds</a> would make a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Coat almonds in a mixture of whisked egg whites and vanilla. Then toss into a bowl of sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cook for three to four hours, stirring every twenty minutes or so.</p> <h2>5. Baked Apples</h2> <p>Pick too many apples in the orchard? Try these crock pot <a href="">Baked Apples</a> stuffed with raisins, honey, and walnuts. The recipe calls for green apples because they tend to hold their flavor best with high-heat cooking. However, you can try using your favorite red apples with similarly delicious results.</p> <h2>6. Cheesecake</h2> <p>Cook up mouthwatering, silky smooth <a href="">Vanilla Cheesecake</a> right in your crock pot. First you'll create a graham cracker and butter crust that you'll press into prepared springform pans. Then you'll mix together the cheesecake filling and pour it into the crusts. The magic: Transfer the pans into your crock pot, cover with some towels and then the lid. Cook for two hours. Let cool for a while before serving.</p> <h2>7. Brownies</h2> <p>Check out these <a href=";backtourl=/photogallery/no-bake-desserts">Triple Chocolate Brownies</a>! To eliminate the chance of sticking, you'll line the interior of your crock pot with parchment paper. From there, pour in the batter and cook on low for three and a half hours. The author notes that the center of the brownies might seem a bit gooey at first, but it will be just right once cool.</p> <h2>8. Pumpkin Cake</h2> <p>Don't let the name deceive you. This <a href="">Pumpkin Dump Cake</a> might quickly turn into a new fall favorite. You can use white or yellow cake mix that you combine with pumpkin puree, spices, butter, and sugar. If you'd rather make it completely from scratch, here's a <a href="">DIY cake mix</a> recipe you can make and use in place of boxed mixes in recipes like these.</p> <h2>9. Chocolate Fondue</h2> <p>If there's one recipe that's been a hit at all my parties over all others, it's this <a href="">Chocolate Fondue</a>. You may even have the ingredients you need in the back of your pantry right now. Added bonus: You can schmooze with your guests while it cooks. Dip strawberries and bananas in it. Or try a few squares of angel food cake. Resist the urge to dip in your bare fingers, though &mdash; at least until your guests leave.</p> <h2>10. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars</h2> <p>Who says dessert can't be healthy? These <a href="">Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars</a> are made with whole ingredients. Avoiding gluten? The recipe can easily be modified for your dietary restriction by using gluten-free oats. Cook, slice, and enjoy.</p> <h2>11. Figgy Pudding</h2> <p>I'll be the first to admit I've never tried this Christmastime staple. Now that I know I can cook <a href="">Figgy Pudding</a> right in my slow cooker, I might just have to try it. Make this recipe suitable for vegans by using non-dairy butter and your favorite milk substitute. I think coconut milk would taste amazing combined with figs.</p> <h2>12. Hot Cocoa</h2> <p>With just two ingredients, you'll want to make this <a href="">Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa</a> all the time. For the richest flavor, you can certainly use whole milk. However, if you're watching calories or don't drink dairy, any milk should do in a pinch.</p> <h2>13. Cobbler</h2> <p>When's the last time you had a good cobbler? If you can't remember, add this <a href="">Black and Blue Cobbler</a> to your must-make list. The recipe calls for two cups each of frozen blueberries and blackberries. Feel free to use whatever frozen fruit you have on hand to modify this recipe.</p> <h2>14. Mason Jar Brownies</h2> <p>What a cool idea! Make brownie batter and spoon into <a href="">single serving Mason jars</a> before stashing in the slow cooker to bake for three hours. The mixture benefits from the addition of water in the pot to keep everything moist. Serve warm with fresh berries and whipped cream.</p> <h2>15. Pound Cake</h2> <p>I'm not sharing just any pound cake! Behold this beautifully decadent <a href="">Nutella Swirl Chocolate Chip Pound Cake</a>. What I like most about this recipe is its versatility. You could easily substitute in peanut butter or your favorite nut butter for the nutella. Chocolate chips could just as easily be butterscotch or peanut butter chips. Have fun with it!</p> <p><em>Have your made dessert in your slow cooker? Tell us about it! Any recipes to share?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Easy, Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink crock pot dessert slow cooker Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1227738 at Wise Bread Reloaded: Dinner Time Is Hard, Says Science — Wise Bread Makes It Easy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-dinner-time-is-hard-says-science-wise-bread-makes-it-easy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family cooking" title="family cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A trio of sociologists from North Carolina State University studied the eating habits of 200 low and middle income families and discovered what Wise Bread's short-on-time-and-energy readers already know: <a href="">dinner time is hard</a>.</p> <p>While most moms in the study expressed a desire to prepare wholesome, good tasting meals from high quality ingredients for their families, the reality was that they often could not, for a variety of reasons.</p> <p>Moms in both income groups reported time as a big obstacle &mdash; delicious wholesome meals require a lot of it of prepare.</p> <p>Both groups also reported that creating meals that satisfied everyone in the family was also a challenge. Finding meals that made everyone happy limited the range of options.</p> <p>Money was a factor, too, but obviously more critical for poorer families. Higher quality ingredients are out of reach, of course. In addition, poorer families often cannot afford basic kitchen utensils or appliances required to make some recipes. And for those without reliable transportation, trips to the store must be carefully planned and are also infrequent, which takes fresh foods off the grocery list. For middle class families, money sometimes prevented moms from using the highest quality ingredients such as organics.</p> <p>Of course, none of this is surprising. Meal times are challenging for most families, from whatever income group. Wise Bread writers have been discussing ways to make dinner time easier for years. Here's a selection of some of their best labor- and money-saving tips.</p> <h2>Use a Crockpot or Slow Cooker</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Busy moms everywhere rely on the crockpot or slow cooker to get hot meals on the time in no time (by taking a long time to do it, which is weird if you think about it). Julie Rains offers <a href="">25 Great Cheap and Easy Crockpot Recipes</a>.</p> <h2>No Crockpot? No Problem &mdash; Just Use One Pot</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Making it all in a single pot cuts down on clean up time too. Marla Walters shares <a href="">25 Delicious and Easy One Pot Meals</a>, which includes breakfast, too!</p> <h2>Limit the Number of Ingredients</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Save time on shopping and prep and save money with a short grocery list by limiting the number of ingredients in your creations. Ashley Marcin's <a href="">25 Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes That Save Time and Money</a> was a big hit with readers, and in this Wise Bread editor's kitchen.</p> <h2>Embrace Your Inner Lazybones</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Lazy people just can't be bothered and maybe that's not so great, but the rest of us can profit from the shortcuts they come up with &mdash; especially if they are delicious, like these. Paul Michael collects and shares <a href="">25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People</a>.</p> <h2>Embrace Your Inner Workaholic</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>At the other end of the spectrum are the bulk or assembly cookers who set aside a weekend to get through a week &mdash; or even a month's &mdash; worth of shopping and cooking in a whirlwind of activity. Ashley Marcin walks you through how to <a href="">Save Time and Money With a Monthly Assembly (or Bulk) Cooking Weekend</a>.</p> <h2>Embrace Your Inner Goldilocks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Not up for prepping 30 days worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Aim your sights a little lower and freeze ahead five days worth of dinner, instead. Linsey Knerl shows you how in <a href="">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a>.</p> <h2>Make a Difficult Entree Easy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Finally, broaden your family's collective palate with something surprising, and fancy, and often too difficult to make by making it the easy way. Marla Walters brings us <a href="">10 Difficult But Delicious Recipes Made Easy</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you make dinner time manageable? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: Dinner Time Is Hard, Says Science — Wise Bread Makes It Easy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dinner easy meals family meals food budget meals Sat, 04 Oct 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Lars Peterson 1227990 at 20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A job loss, a big audacious savings goal, or a shiny new set of braces. Whatever the cause, most of us have had to sit down and figure out how to feed our families for less money at one point or another. (See also: <a href="">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <p>Here are 20 strategies for stretching your grocery budget without skimping on nutrition or enjoyment</p> <h2>1. Eat Less</h2> <p>Sixty percent of Americans admit to <a href="">eating more than is good for them</a>. When you're watching your pennies, one of the easiest ways to spend less on groceries is to buy less and eat less. Start by cutting way back on snacks, the culprit behind most overeating and among the most expensive grocery items.</p> <h2>2. Focus on Value Foods</h2> <p>It's fun to cook with a wide variety of ingredients, but sticking to the foods with the <a href="">most nutrition per dollar</a> can get you through a lean patch. Need more options? These 50 healthy foods can be had for <a href="">under a buck a pound</a>.</p> <h2>3. Buy in Bulk</h2> <p>Whether it's dividing up large Costco meat packages or hauling 50-pound bags of grain from a feed store, there are lots of ways to save by bulk buying. The important thing is to safeguard against waste by making sure you have a safe place to store it and that you will use the entire purchase before it goes bad.</p> <h2>4. Do the Work</h2> <p>You can <a href="">make your own bread</a> for half the price of a low-end store-bought loaf, and end up with a more delicious and nutritious product. Pre-chopped and washed veggies cost a premium and don't stay fresh as long. Roll up your sleeves and do your own prep work to save.</p> <h2>5. Substitute</h2> <p>The recipe may call for pine nuts, but pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are way cheaper. Learn about more <a href="">low-cost ingredient substitution</a> ideas.</p> <h2>6. Stop Throwing Food Away</h2> <p>Since 40% of all food produced in the United States is <a href="">thrown away</a>, eliminating waste is low-hanging fruit. At our house, we avoid waste by serving the kids small portions and seconds (or thirds) as needed, using tiny containers to save every last leftover, and incorporating those leftovers into other dishes. There are plenty <a href="">more ways to cut food waste</a>.</p> <h2>7. Drink Water</h2> <p>You know by now that <a href="">soda is bad for you</a>, but you don't need juice either. If you don't like plain water, flavor it with a splash of juice instead of pouring whole glasses of juice. Not only does this save money, but it cuts calories too.</p> <h2>8. Try Batch Cooking</h2> <p>Assembly line cooking, <a href="">once-a-month cooking</a>, whatever you want to call it, prepping food ahead and freezing it saves money by accommodating bulk purchases and helping you avoid high-priced instant meals when you're short of time.</p> <h2>9. Rinse Out the Container &mdash; Into the Pot</h2> <p>Whenever I empty a jar of tomatoes or a Tupperware of soup into a cooking pot, I put a little water in the container, shake, and empty it into the cooking pot, to make sure I'm not throwing away even a gram of food. The extra water cooks off.</p> <h2>10. Learn to Make Cheap Meat Delicious</h2> <p>Meat lovers don't have to buy T-bones to enjoy a hearty meal. <a href="">Osso buco, carnitas and hanger steak</a> are all delicious when done right.</p> <h2>11. Dilute It</h2> <p>Adding beans or rice really does <a href="">make a stew go farther</a>.</p> <h2>12. Make Your Own</h2> <p>Prepared foods are among the highest-margin items in the supermarket. If you've never tried it, you might be surprised how easy it is to <a href="">make your own guacamole, hummus, or even peanut butter</a>.</p> <h2>13. Make Your Own Instant Mixes</h2> <p>Another high-cost item is &quot;instant&quot; anything. Make <a href="">single-serve oatmeal packets</a>, <a href="">pancake mix</a>, or practically anything you use a mix for, and save.</p> <h2>14. Consider Markdowns</h2> <p>I kind of wish Safeway would rename its &quot;Clearance&quot; meat section, because it feels as if I'm buying used pot roast. Still, taking home items that are about to expire can save you 50% or more if you are able to use or freeze them right away.</p> <h2>15. Grow a Garden</h2> <p>Even if you <a href="">only have a balcony</a>, you can grow enough food to reduce your spending. To realize savings, it's important to pay attention to <a href="">how much you spend on a garden</a>. Focus on <a href="">plants that produce expensive items</a> to save the most.</p> <h2>16. If You're Getting a Pet, Get a Small One</h2> <p>It may seem crass to put a pound limit on love, but the fact is that feeding pets can strain a tight grocery budget. According to the ASPCA, a <a href="">large dog costs about $235 a year</a> to feed; a little yapper only about $55. Better yet, get a fish, which you can feed for $20 a year or less.</p> <h2>17. Use a Full Discount Arsenal</h2> <p>Coupons, online deals, in-store offers, rebates &mdash; these tactics really work and can easily cut your grocery spending by 20% or more.</p> <h2>18. Switch Stores</h2> <p>Where you shop can make a big difference in what you spend for the same groceries. Changing from <a href="">Safeway to Walmart</a> could save a family more than $1,600 a year. Explore your neighborhood &mdash; you may have a fresh produce market or a weekly farmer's market with even better prices than big box stores.</p> <h2>19. Return It</h2> <p>Your berries got moldy the day after you bought them? You picked up the wrong item and paid full price instead of the sale item you thought you were getting? Don't be afraid to stop by customer service the next time you visit; managers at good stores are happy to process the occasional refund.</p> <h2>20. Eat Your Garbage</h2> <p>My grandmother, born during the Depression, has a great anecdote. One garbage day, her husband looked out the window and asked why the other houses all had two trash bags out front, but they only had one.</p> <p>Grandma's answer: &quot;We eat our garbage!&quot;</p> <p>Grandma was stretching her husband's Navy paycheck as far as it would go, and one way she did that was by never letting a leftover go to waste. Every Thursday night, she'd throw every bit of this and that from the fridge into the crockpot for a weekly &quot;garbage stew.&quot; It was usually delicious, but even if she wanted to, she could never duplicate it. (See also: <a href="">Thursday Night Soup: Delicious Soup From Leftovers</a>)</p> <p>Another way of eating your garbage: Learn to prepare the <a href="">vegetable trimmings</a> you've been throwing away.</p> <p><em>Any other ideas for saving on groceries? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping Cooking Food food costs groceries Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1226228 at 10 Amazing Veggie Burgers to Make Tonight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-amazing-veggie-burgers-to-make-tonight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="veggie burger" title="veggie burger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite weeknight meals includes the homemade veggie burger. Sure, you can buy burgers in the freezer section of your local grocery store &mdash; but have you seen their ingredients lists? Plus, homemade just tastes better. In fact, my husband and I enjoy our homemade burgers so much, we go out to eat far less often these days, saving us tons of money. (See also: <a href="">Cheaper and Healthier Than Store Bought: 10 Great Freeze Ahead Burrito Recipes</a>)</p> <p>Try this trick: Freeze veggie burgers for quick weeknight meals. Most recipes should respond well to this technique: Shape into patties, lay out on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Then transfer into airtight plastic bags and eat within six months (or longer, depending on your freezer and storage). To serve, let defrost for an hour or so, then cook on your stovetop over medium-high heat until golden on both sides and warm in the center.</p> <p>Now, on to the recipes!</p> <h2>1. Zucchini Black Bean Burgers</h2> <p>These <a href="">Zucchini and Black Bean Burgers</a> are a wonderful source of phytonutrients and antioxidants. They also come together in a snap. Just combine shredded zucchini with a can of drained black beans and some flax meal. Season however you like, then form patties, and cook on your stovetop.</p> <h2>2. Quinoa White Bean Burgers</h2> <p>I love finding new ways to eat quinoa, so these <a href="">Quinoa and White Bean Burgers</a> are certainly on my to-try list. The author of this recipe shares that you can fry or bake them, and if you don't have all the ingredients on the list &mdash; just substitute in like things. For example, frozen corn could be swapped with frozen peas.</p> <h2>3. Chickpea Burgers</h2> <p>I created these <a href="">Chickpea Burgers</a> when I discovered I was out of all other types of beans one night. Use two cans of beans with some chopped onion and chili pepper and bulk up using oats and flax meal. You can season however you like, but I recommend cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant Burgers</h2> <p>These vegan <a href="">Baked Eggplant Burgers</a> contain some unexpected ingredients. Hummus makes the list along with pine nuts. In other words: Uniquely delicious! To continue on this theme, top burgers with tahini versus standard ketchup and mustard.</p> <h2>5. Beet Burgers</h2> <p>Shock your vegetarian and vegan friends by serving blood-red <a href="">Beet Burgers</a> at your next dinner party. Along with the amazingly vibrant color and delicious earthy-sweet flavor, they contain a good dose of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and C.</p> <h2>6. Cauliflower Burgers</h2> <p>These Paleo-friendly <a href="">Cauliflower and Carrot Burgers</a> bind together using protein-rich eggs. They are also gluten-free, grain-free, and and legume-free if you have special dietary restrictions. Oh, and if you have a nut allergy, you can also swap in sunflower kernels for the walnuts.</p> <h2>7. Tofu Burgers</h2> <p>I used to live two blocks from the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. So, when I found their <a href="">Classic Tofu Burger</a> recipe online, I knew it had to make this list. The mix creates eight good-sized burgers, but you can also choose to shape into faux &quot;meatballs&quot; and serve with spaghetti.</p> <h2>8. Cheese-Stuffed Burgers</h2> <p>I once saw an episode of <em>Man V. Food</em> where host Adam Richman explored the incredible Juicy Lucy, a stuffed cheeseburger native to Minneapolis, MN. It looked crazy good, so I just had to replicate it at home. And the <a href="">Vegetarian Juicy Lucy</a> was born. I recommend serving this burger on sourdough buns atop a bed of sweet potato fries.</p> <h2>9. Copycat Sunshine Burgers</h2> <p>Do you like Sunshine Burgers? So do I! Here's a wonderful <a href="">copycat recipe</a> that is just as tasty, yet less expensive. All you need are sunflower kernels, brown rice, carrots, and garlic cloves. Like the original, these veggie burgers are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.</p> <h2>10. Sweet Potato Burgers</h2> <p>Think sweet potato fries go on the side? Think again! These <a href="">Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers</a> have so many flavors and textures going on. Use your microwave to quickly cook potatoes in their skins before mashing coarsely. Then mix with the other ingredients and let cool before cooking on your stovetop.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite veggie burger recipe? Please share a bite in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Amazing Veggie Burgers to Make Tonight" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink burgers vegan vegetarian veggie burgers Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1224392 at How to Enjoy the 12 Foods People Love to Hate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-enjoy-the-12-foods-people-love-to-hate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="seafood shock" title="seafood shock" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Ewww, oysters!&quot; &quot;Gross, anchovies!&quot; We all have foods we <a href="">hate</a>, don't we?</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" width="605" height="340" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>But what if those foods are really good for you, and what if it turned out you actually might like them, if fixed another way? Here are some foods you may hate, and suggestions about how to suck it up and give them another try.</p> <h2>1. Raisins</h2> <p>&quot;I thought it was a chocolate chip in my cookie but it was a <em>raisin</em>. YEEEEECH!&quot;</p> <p>Well, we have all experienced that disappointment, haven't we? Poor, maligned raisins. I have seen people pick them out of cookies and trail mix and children ignore them in lunch boxes. Don't discount the little shriveled grapes, though. They are an excellent source of iron and fiber and are perfect for snacking, because they'll give you a burst of energy.</p> <p>When giving raisins another go, consider that maybe you might like a different type of raisin. My father favors currants, which come from the Black Corinth or Zante grape. You might also find better grades of raisins than what you have previously tasted. Health-food stores tend to have better raisins than grocery stores, I think, in their bulk bins.</p> <p>How to use them? I like this <a href="">granola;</a> this <a href="">Curried Citrus Quinoa Salad</a> is also healthy and satisfying.</p> <h2>2. Fish</h2> <p>&quot;Fish smells&hellip; fishy.&quot;</p> <p>If your fish smells strong, it isn't fresh. Fresh fish has hardly any smell. If anything, it should smell vaguely like the ocean (unless it's a freshwater fish). When shopping, go ahead and pick up the package. Give it a big sniff. Or, go to a fish counter, and chat up the folks who work there.</p> <p>Don't be prejudiced against <a href="">flash-frozen fish</a>, because it hits the ice really quickly after being caught. Thinking about trying fish, or trying it <em>again</em>? Good idea, because fish contains <a href="">unsaturated fatty acids</a> &mdash; very beneficial to your heart. Fish is also a great source of protein.</p> <p>What to try? I would advise <a href="">salmon</a>, <a href="">halibut</a>, or <a href="">ahi.</a> These are not your cheapest fish, by any means, but for someone who is &quot;getting acquainted&quot; with fish, or giving fish the ol' college try again, you will find these to be mild and meaty. The bones are also easier to see and pick out. I think that you will be surprised and pleased, and on the next attempt you will be brave enough to branch out and try something else.</p> <h2>3. Peas</h2> <p>&quot;They are chalky and squishy.&quot;</p> <p>Okay, that was me. Were you forced to eat peas as a child? I fed mine to the poodle, spit them into my napkin, or tried to hide them under a lettuce leaf. For years, I refused to have anything to do with them. Being a mature adult, I could still refuse to eat them. However, I do attempt to be reasonable, and when a food contains vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and K, plus fiber and protein, it's hard to argue and time to find a way to eat the little suckers.</p> <p>My friend Debbie made a bowl of <a href="">Crunchy Pea Salad</a> for a party, and I was hooked. I have actually made this salad so many times, my husband has requested that I just make it for myself (he's sick of it). So I do. I also had to modify the recipe to make it healthier, if I kept eating massive quantities. I use non-fat, plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise, low-fat cheddar, and use soy or turkey bacon, uncured bacon, or just a whole lot <em>less</em> bacon. Even with the modifications, it's great.</p> <p>My other pea trick is to eat petite peas. They are sweeter, crunchier, and brighter in color, which is more appealing. Another favorite pea dish of mine is this <a href="">Summer Pea Soup</a>, which is great hot or cold.</p> <h2>4. Anchovies</h2> <p>Never has a pizza topping been more roundly feared and despised.</p> <p>But have you ever eaten them on Caesar salads?</p> <p>I just pulled out my <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743246268&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KE3UDBWKAVTMG27T">Joy of Cooking</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553568817&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7EABCXVYIR6XNAXI">The Fannie Farmer</a> cookbooks; between them, I find 14 anchovy recipes.</p> <p>What's the point of trying anchovies? Are they good for you? Yes. Remember, they are a fish, so hello Omega-3's, B12 and B6, iron, and calcium. Their nutritional downfall is their packaging &mdash; usually a salty brine &mdash; which can be diminished somewhat if you rinse them.</p> <p>What in the heck would you do with an anchovy? Well, if you want to dip your toes, try a <a href="">Caesar Salad</a>. If that goes well, you might want to be a little more adventurous and try a throwback recipe &mdash; <a href="">Deviled Eggs With Anchovies</a>.</p> <h2>5. Tomatoes</h2> <p>&quot;I don't like the taste or the texture.&quot;</p> <p>That is my daughter's complaint &mdash; but here is great news for you tomato-haters: Hate away! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. <em>Cooking</em> the <a href="">tomatoes</a> increases the antioxidants! Sounds like you lose some vitamin C in that process, so that's something to keep in mind.</p> <p>Most people I know who hate fresh tomatoes don't mind them at all if they are cooked, like in <a href="">marinara sauce</a>, or this <a href="">roasted tomato soup</a>.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>&quot;Why do they even put those out in the salad bar?&quot;</p> <p>Because they're really good for you, and very tasty. Besides fiber, they contain potassium and folate. They made &quot;superfood&quot; status, too, because they contain betacyanin, which may protect against development of cancer cells and also prevent heart disease.</p> <p>The easiest way to make fresh beets? Wrap individual beets in a layer of heavy-duty foil. (I like to make four to six at a time, because they are also good cold.) Put a layer of foil on a cookie sheet, put the beets on top of that, and roast at 400F for an hour. Carefully unwrap, peel away the outside beet layer (it will come off very easily) and slice or chop. Sprinkle those with feta or goat cheese, a little balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. If you now say, &quot;Hey, I guess I like beets!&quot; then try making a classic <a href="">Borscht</a>.</p> <h2>7. Tofu</h2> <p>&quot;The texture is weird.&quot;</p> <p>Have to agree, but there are ways to prepare it to help you get past that. Why eat tofu? Tofu is made from soybeans, which is a complete plant protein. Besides the protein, it contains fiber, omega-3's, iron, magnesium, B1 and folic acid.</p> <p>How to try it? Here is what I call the &quot;State Fair&quot; approach. Fry it. I like to cut firm tofu into small pieces. Dip it into an egg wash, then into a mixture of Panko crumbs and sesame seeds, and fry it. Serve with rice or noodles and some broccoli. Another delicious preparation? Put it in a cabbage salad with <a href="">peanut sauce</a>. I'll eat anything in a peanut sauce.</p> <h2>8. Brussels Sprouts</h2> <p>&quot;They are bitter, and they smell weird.&quot;</p> <p>Eating cruciferous vegetables (Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower) may help you lower your risk of getting cancer. If that isn't enough reason, the little green mini-cabbages are packed with vitamins A, C, K, B6, plus folate, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, iron and magnesium. Whew! They certainly earned their &quot;Superfood&quot; status.</p> <p>When buying, look for the smaller ones that are bright-green and have tight leaves. If you found them to be bitter previously, that might be because you ate too-large or old ones. What is my favorite way to eat brussels sprouts? Add <a href="">bacon</a>! And grapes, and walnuts&hellip; this recipe makes me swoon. Another &quot;beginner&quot; way to try brussels sprouts? Get some of the frozen ones in cheese sauce. Not kidding &mdash; they are really yummy, and easy.</p> <h2>9. Eggplant</h2> <p>&quot;It's spongy. It doesn't really taste like anything.&quot;</p> <p>That's actually sort of a plus, when you think about it. It makes eggplant a blank palette for whatever you want to put on it or with it. Eggplant provides a healthy background for many flavors, without competing. Eggplants contain iron, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C. Don't cut off the skin, which is the most nutritious part.</p> <p>Probably the most famous use of eggplant is in Eggplant Parmigiana, which can be really great&hellip; or oily and heavy. I like this <a href="">lighter</a> recipe. If you have trepidation about eating eggplant, that will be eased by knowing there are layers of tomato sauce and cheese. Another great &quot;intro to eggplant&quot; recipe is <a href="">Baba Ganoush</a>, which is a dip. Even people who think they don't like eggplant will like baba ganoush.</p> <h2>10. Liver</h2> <p>&quot;It's just gross. I would never eat liver.&quot;</p> <p>There certainly is not the pressure to eat liver like there was when I was a kid. Although high in iron, it's also high in cholesterol, so you wouldn't want to make it a habit. Back in the 60s and 70s, if you showed signs of anemia, mothers (on advice of pediatricians) started cooking up liver and fed that to you, along with dried apricots and eggs. It was a strange little diet. I personally have never been a big fan of liver after that experience. So, why on earth would you try eating liver, again? It's packed with B12, vitamin A, and the aforementioned iron (for anemia).</p> <p>My husband, who lived in Germany for a while, has a favorable view of liver. This is because his mother cooked it in fragrant onions and&hellip; lots of butter. German butter is also higher in milk fats, which makes it tastier. This <a href="">liver and onions</a> recipe has great step-by-step instructions. If you can find European-style butter, try using that, too. I have learned to love chicken livers, especially in <a href="">Rumaki</a>, and that's saying something because I hate water chestnuts. It's all about the bacon.</p> <h2>11. Turnips</h2> <p>&quot;I have never eaten one and I don't think I want to.&quot;</p> <p>Oh, you probably have, and just didn't know it. When cooked, they look a lot like a potato. The turnip is one of those vegetables that trip up grocery-store checkers every time, like parsnips and shallots. Why bother with turnips? They contain vitamin C, antioxidants, minerals, and dietary fiber. They are also inexpensive.</p> <p>Best way to try turnips? How about <a href="">turnip fries</a>? Not many people will turn up their nose (pun intended) at those. My favorite turnip recipe, though, is a soup called <a href="">Scotch Broth</a>, which also contains barley, lamb, carrots, and other delicious ingredients.</p> <h2>12. Oysters</h2> <p>&quot;That's so gross, seeing someone slurp up those slimy things!&quot;</p> <p>I guess oysters can go into that &quot;acquired taste&quot; category. I love them, but not in their raw state. Why are oysters good for you? They contain more zinc, per serving, than any other food. Zinc supports your immune system. It's also important for your skin, hair, and nails.</p> <p>How to eat oysters? If you are squeamish, the &quot;raw bar&quot; is not for you. I would, again, go with my &quot;State Fair&quot; approach and <a href="">fry</a> them. Once you see how delicious their flavor is, try an <a href="">oyster stew</a>, which is easy and filling.</p> <p><em>Did I cover it, haters? What foods do YOU hate? Bet I can come up with a way to make you love them!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Enjoy the 12 Foods People Love to Hate" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink gross food hated food strange food unpopular food Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1221085 at Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating fruit salad" title="woman eating fruit salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An apple a day keeps the psychiatrist away?</p> <p>That's what medical researchers in the UK have learned.</p> <p>In a recent survey of 14,000 individuals, <a href="">33.5% of participants with &quot;good mental wellbeing&quot;</a> consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In contrast, only 6.8% of participants with good mental wellbeing consumed less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day. Other health-related behaviors such as alcohol intake and obesity were looked at, but only smoking and fruit and vegetable consumption were the &quot;behaviors most consistently associated with both low and high mental wellbeing.&quot;</p> <p>Getting your daily five (or more!) servings has obvious benefits for your physical health. And now it may be a boost to mental health, too.</p> <p>Need some ideas to help you get more fruits and vege into your body and your brain? Let's see what Wise Bread's writers have suggested over the years.</p> <p><a href="">25 Delicious Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a> &mdash; From Artichokes to Zucchini, Ashley Marcin shares one favorite recipe for each of her 25 favorite vegetables.</p> <p><a href="">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a> &mdash; Frozen vegetables are a great frugal choice &mdash; almost as nutritious as fresh, often way cheaper, and always convenient. Rebecca Lieb shares a long list of easy, delicious recipes.</p> <p><a href="">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; You're sold on the idea of getting more fruits and vegetables, but you're unsure about how to choose the freshest, most flavorful ones from the bin. No problem. Ashley Watson used to be a produce stocker at her local grocery, and she learned a lot about ripe produce.</p> <p><a href="">7 Ways to Use Subpar Produce</a> &mdash; Linsey Knerl shows you what to do with a mushy banana or some wilted celery or a flat of overripe strawberries.</p> <p><a href="">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fresh Fruit for Best Flavor </a>&mdash; Now that you have it home, where do you store it? Ashley Marcin tells you.</p> <p><a href="">10 Incredible But True Facts About Eating Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; Finally, Beth Buczynski uncovers 10 more astounding facts about fruits and veggies, giving you even more reason to fill your cart in the produce section.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink brain food fruit happiness mental health produce vegetables Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Lars Peterson 1222771 at Best Money Tips: Save Money on Beer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-money-on-beer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends beer toast" title="friends beer toast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on saving money on beer, inexpensive date ideas, and saving more on dental care.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">13 Ways to Save Money on Beer</a> &mdash; To save money on beer, go to happy hours and buy store brand beer. [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="">16 Inexpensive Date Ideas</a> &mdash; Taking a class or going on a walking tour are just a couple inexpensive date ideas you can try on your next date! [Listen Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Save More on Dental Care</a> &mdash; If you want to save more on dental care, ask for discounts and look into savings plans. [SmartAsset Blog]</p> <p><a href="">6 Times When Being Frugal Doesn't Pay</a> &mdash; Being frugal might not end up paying when dealing with car maintenance. [Daily Finance]</p> <p><a href="">6 Small Moves That Could Boost Your Retirement Savings</a> &mdash; Rolling over your old retirement accounts can boost your retirement savings/ [LearnVest]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Master These 15 Interview Questions</a> &mdash; Make sure you know how to answer the &quot;why do you want to work for us?&quot; question before you go in for an interview. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">5 Costly Options You Don&rsquo;t Need in a New Car</a> &mdash; Chances are you don't need in car WiFi in your car. [MintLife]</p> <p><a href="">Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Interiors Look Larger</a> &mdash; To make your home interiors look larger, bring in natural light and color. [FatWallet]</p> <p><a href="">Watch A Dude Bend His iPhone 6 With His Hands</a> &mdash; Bad news for recent iPhone 6 Plus buyers: your phone is bendable. [Consumerist]</p> <p><a href="">7 Tips to End Your Child's Whining</a> &mdash; To end your child's whining, tell them to stop and don't give in to them. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Save Money on Beer" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink beer best money tips money saving Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1221082 at The Easiest, Cheapest Way to Make Delicious Dumplings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easiest-cheapest-way-to-make-delicious-dumplings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="dumplings" title="dumplings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you compare restaurant or store bought dumpling prices to making your own, there's just no contest. Dumplings are one of the cheapest entrees you can make at home (50-60 wrappers cost about two dollars), and the flavor possibilities are endless. Plus, they freeze great and don't require defrosting, so you can have a quick homemade meal at a moment's notice. (See also: <a href="">How to Make Scrumptious, Quick Homemade Rolls</a>)</p> <p>Don't let the folding part of dumpling making scare you off. It's simple and once you get the hang of it, you'll be a dumpling making machine. Just follow these steps to dumpling heaven, and get creative with the fillings.</p> <h2>Dumpling-Making Demystified</h2> <p>You'll find recipes below, but let's start with an overview of the process.</p> <h3>1. Prep Your Filling</h3> <p>There are tons of options for filling your dumplings. Below are two recipes to get you started. Mix up the ingredients and set aside.</p> <h3>2. Set Up Your Assembly Line</h3> <p>Making your dumplings will go much faster if you have everything at arm's length. You'll need:</p> <ul> <li>dumpling or wonton wrappers</li> <li>two wet and wrung out tea towels or paper towels</li> <li>a small bowl with water</li> <li>a pastry brush (optional)</li> <li>a teaspoon measuring spoon</li> <li>a parchment-lined baking sheet</li> </ul> <h3>3. Fill Your Dumplings</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Take out two dumpling wrappers and cover the remaining wrappers with a damp towel. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper and brush the edges all around with water using a pastry brush or your finger. Use just enough water to make the edges damp. Do not overfill your dumpling!</p> <h3>4. Fold Your Dumplings</h3> <p><iframe frameborder="0" width="605" height="340" src="//" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You can fold your dumplings by simply folding them in half and pressing around all of the edges to make a seal. Press firmly so that the filling will not leak out during cooking. If you'd like to get more creative, there are a <a href="">number of methods</a>.</p> <h3>5. Repeat</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>As you fold your dumplings, place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth so they don't dry out. Repeat until the filling runs out. If you are going to freeze your dumplings, you can place them in the freezer now.</p> <h3>6. Freeze Your Dumplings</h3> <p>If you aren't taking these straight to the stovetop, freeze them for later. Here's how.</p> <p>Lay finished dumplings out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes to an hour, or until frozen. Freezing them individually this way means they won't freeze together into a big clump of dumpling.</p> <p>Transfer dumplings into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Use veggie dumplings within a month, use meat dumplings within about two weeks.</p> <p>Cook straight from the freezer according to the directions below, but add 2-4 minutes to cooking time.</p> <h3>7. Cook Your Dumplings</h3> <p>You can steam or pan fry your dumplings.</p> <p>To steam: Lightly grease your steamer and bring a couple of inches of water in the bottom to a boil. Steam for about ten minutes.</p> <p>To pan fry (the most delicious way to cook dumplings): Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook dumplings, 8-10 at a time (don't overcrowd the pan) until browned on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. Add about &frac14; cup of water and cover with lid, leaving a crack for some steam to escape, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until all water has evaporated, or 3-5 minutes.</p> <h3>8. Eat Your Dumplings</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Serve with dipping sauce, recipe below.</p> <h2>Dumpling and Sauce Recipes</h2> <p>Now that you've got a handle on the process, here are some delicious dumpling recipes to get you started. Note: These recipes are easily halved or &mdash; even better &mdash; doubled.</p> <h3>Chicken and Corn Dumplings</h3> <p>Makes 30-35 dumplings</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul> <li>35 dumpling or wonton wrappers, defrosted if frozen</li> <li>⅔ lb ground chicken (or ground turkey or lean pork)</li> <li>&frac34; cup frozen or fresh corn</li> <li>2 garlic cloves, minced</li> <li>3 T chopped spring onions</li> <li>1 T chopped Thai basil (or Italian basil)</li> <li>1 T hoisin sauce</li> <li>2 t rice vinegar</li> <li>salt and pepper</li> <li>water</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method</strong></p> <p>Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Follow the process for forming the dumplings outlined above.</p> <h2>Edamame and Butternut Squash Dumplings</h2> <p>Makes 30-35 dumplings</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul> <li>35 dumpling or wonton wrappers, defrosted if frozen</li> <li>1 &frac12; cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions</li> <li>1 cup frozen or fresh butternut squash, diced small and cooked</li> <li>2 T chopped spring onions</li> <li>1 T grated fresh ginger</li> <li>2 garlic cloves, minced</li> <li>2 t chopped fresh mint</li> <li>1 t soy sauce</li> <li>1 t sesame oil</li> <li>juice of 1 lime</li> <li>salt and pepper</li> <li>water</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method</strong></p> <p>Combine squash and edamame in a food processor and process until edamame is in medium-to-small sized chunks (or mash together in a bowl by hand). Add other ingredients and mix well. Follow the process for forming the dumplings outlined above.</p> <h3>Dipping Sauce</h3> <p>Makes enough for one batch of dumplings.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul> <li>&frac34; cup soy sauce</li> <li>2-3 T Sriracha (optional, add soy sauce to compensate)</li> <li>1 T sesame oil</li> <li>2 spring onions, chopped</li> <li>juice of one lemon or lime</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method</strong></p> <p>Combine ingredients in a bowl. Serve with dumplings.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite dumpling recipe? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Easiest, Cheapest Way to Make Delicious Dumplings" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Laurel Randolph</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dumplings freeze ahead Homemade Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1220889 at 10 Delicious Freeze-Ahead Dinners for Busy Fall Weeknights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-freeze-ahead-dinners-for-busy-fall-weeknights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="quesadilla" title="quesadilla" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fall is the busy season in my house. School is back in session, work is in full swing, and dinners are difficult to craft quickly each evening. The solution? Freezing! I am a huge fan of freezing delicious, nutritious dinners ahead of time for quick reheating and minimal cleanup.</p> <p>If you're feeling ambitious, try a <a href="">bulk cooking weekend</a> to make a month's worth of meals (or more!) at once. You'll not only save yourself some time in the long run, but you'll likely save some major money by using up all your ingredients with little waste. Our comprehensive guide linked above has you covered from start to finish. (See also: <a href="">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a>)</p> <p>If you'd rather dip your toe in the waters, here are some fantastic, frugal recipes to try in your kitchen this week.</p> <h2>1. Stuffed Acorn Squash</h2> <p>This <a href="">Stuffed Acorn Squash</a> is both freezable and <a href="">Whole 30</a> approved. To make, slice squash in half and bake while you cook the carrot and beef mixture on your stovetop. Then combine the two components, place in foil baking dishes, label, and freeze.</p> <h2>2. Veggie Burgers</h2> <p>Stop buying burgers at the store and try this bulk <a href="">Veggie Burger</a> recipe at home. Just cut all ingredients into small bits and combine using your hands in a large bowl. Shape into patties and freeze on a baking sheet. Then transfer to freezer bags.</p> <h2>3. Chicken Taquitos</h2> <p>These <a href="">Chicken Taquitos</a> are bursting with flavor. Mix all the filling ingredients together and roll into your flour tortilla. Like the veggie burger recipe above, freeze flat on a baking sheet. Store in labeled freezer bags.</p> <h2>4. Lasagna Roll-Ups</h2> <p>If you love the Pioneer Woman, you'll love her <a href="">Lasagna Roll-Ups</a>. The best part? They're totally freeze-friendly. Mix together the pasta filling, simmer the sauce, and cook the pasta. Then assemble and freeze before the final baking step.</p> <h2>5. Pumpkin Chili</h2> <p>This hearty <a href="">Pumpkin Chili</a> is perfect for fall. I make a double batch and freeze each month to serve with homemade cornbread. Just make the soup following the directions &mdash; don't forget the pumpkin puree &mdash; and then pour into freezer bags or jars (leaving room for expansion).</p> <h2>6. Pizza Dough</h2> <p>Make pizza nights easy (and skip last-minute takeout) with this freezer <a href="">Pizza Dough</a>. You'll need to thaw at room temperature for at least four hours. Then bake as normal and top with whatever cheese and vegetables and proteins you need to use up.</p> <h2>7. Manicotti</h2> <p>Pasta freezes famously well, so this <a href="">Best Ever Manicotti</a> recipe is sure to please your crowd whether you eat it immediately or five months down the line. If you're really strapped for time, consider skipping the from-scratch sauce and subbing in your favorite store bought version.</p> <h2>8. Calzones</h2> <p>This step-by-step <a href="">Freezer Calzones</a> recipe looks simple enough. If you can resist eating them right away, let cool completely before wrapping each in plastic wrap and storing in a labeled freezer bag.</p> <h2>9. Meatballs</h2> <p>Heating up pasta and topping with sauce is simple enough, so why not create the meatballs ahead of time? This <a href="">Easy Meatball Recipe</a> can be doubled or tripled to make a quick protein to accompany your weeknight meals for months to come.</p> <h2>10. Quesadillas</h2> <p>Make a bunch of <a href="">Freezer Quesadillas</a> in different varieties to add a lively punch to your evenings. Try chicken, pizza, or black bean quesadillas and then freeze in wax paper to keep them from sticking. Transfer to freezer bags.</p> <p><em>How do you manage dinner on busy fall weeknights? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Delicious Freeze-Ahead Dinners for Busy Fall Weeknights" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink easy dinner freeze ahead dinner freeze ahead meals quick meals Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1218887 at 10 Packed Lunch Ideas You'll Want to Steal From Your Kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="packed lunch" title="packed lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Now that school is back in session, you might find that evening lunch-prep has become quite laborious. Maybe that means you're packing the wrong lunches. (See also: <a href="">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <p>By focusing on meals adults can enjoy too, you'll rediscover old favorites of your own, and maybe even be surprised by your child's adventurous palate. Whatever the case, using the same ingredients for similar meals will save you money and eliminate food waste.</p> <p>Here are 10 ideas (two whole work or school weeks!) to get you started.</p> <h2>1. PB&amp;J Wrap</h2> <p>I've been eating this simple lunch since I was a kid. Just spread a thin layer of peanut butter on a whole wheat wrap and top it with a thin layer of your favorite jam or jelly or honey. Adults might want to jazz this meal up by using red pepper jelly and sprinkling a bit of granola. Children might enjoy some thinly sliced apple tossed in.</p> <h2>2. Cheese Plate</h2> <p>My mom used to pack me Lunchables, and I'd always toss the meat. Make what I used to eat healthier by packing multigrain crackers, grapes or other fruit, sliced or string cheese, and some hummus or peanut butter for added protein. Add sliced carrots or your other favorite fresh veggie to complete the nutrition for adults and kids alike.</p> <h2>3. Quiche</h2> <p>Skip the sandwich and pack a couple mini quiches made in a cupcake tin. What you fill your quiche with is up to you, but this <a href="">Broccoli and Cheese</a> one looks like a solid choice. The best part? You can customize them however you want to suit your tastes as well as your child's (and pantry's ingredients). Eat hot or cold.</p> <h2>4. DIY Parfait</h2> <p>Fill one of the larger slots in your lunch box with nonfat or Greek yogurt. I even like to mix a couple teaspoons of peanut butter in there. Round out the rest of your box with mixed berries, a helping of granola, some nuts and seeds, even mini chocolate chips. Pack a homemade muffin or half sandwich on the side. (See also: <a href="">25 Great Non-Sandwich Work Lunches</a>)</p> <h2>5. Bagel-Wich</h2> <p>When I came across this idea to pack a whole grain bagel stuffed with goodness instead of a sandwich, I got excited for the many possibilities. This <a href="">salami and dill stuffing</a> seems better suited for adults. To make this concept work for the whole family, consider simple egg or tuna salad. My personal favorite? <a href="">Avocado egg salad</a> or its vegan counterpart, <a href="">avocado tofu salad</a>.</p> <h2>6. Nachos Grande</h2> <p>Pack some multigrain tortilla chips in one section of your lunch box. Use leftover taco meat (or veggie substitute) from your dinner the night before and top with shredded cheese and mild salsa. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt to act as a healthy sour cream substitute and some avocado slices on the side. This is a lunch that you'll certainly want to make (and eat) again and again.</p> <h2>7. Overnight Oats</h2> <p>Though this staple is often eaten at breakfast, I love the idea of packing a jar of <a href="">Overnight Oats</a> as the bulk of a lunch for school or work. As the name describes, this meal is prepared the night before by tossing &mdash; in this case &mdash; steel cut oats with milk, maple syrup, flax meal, cinnamon, and bananas in a jar. The mix thickens overnight to make a hearty, cold meal.</p> <h2>8. Pizza</h2> <p>Who doesn't love a good pizza? You can make healthy pies on pita bread to cut and slice for lunchtime eating. Just spread pizza sauce on the pitas and sprinkle with cheese and top with whatever other ingredients you like. Then bake at 350 degrees F for around 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Let cool, slice, and pack.</p> <h2>9. Slow Cooker Soup, Two Ways</h2> <p>If you're a fan of slow cooking, toss your favorite veggies, broth, and whatever protein in the pot and let simmer. You <a href="">don't need a recipe</a> for success and can use up any possible food waste before it spoils. In my experience, kids don't always like a thick soup. So, pack the whole monty for yourself and strain out the softened and seasoned vegetables for your child. Serve both meals with crackers or even a whole wheat biscuit.</p> <h2>10. Pasta Salad</h2> <p>Make a big batch of this <a href="">Ranch Pasta Salad</a> and let all those colors and shapes dazzle your family. If your kid isn't into Tortellini, consider trying a plainer pasta. Mix and match the rest of the ingredients (in equal ratio) to customize and utilize the ingredients you already have on hand.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite workday and school day lunch? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Packed Lunch Ideas You&#039;ll Want to Steal From Your Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink bulk meals cheap eats easy lunch lunch Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1216062 at The Best and Worst Things to Buy at Farmers' Markets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-at-farmers-markets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="farmers market" title="farmers market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Farmers' market extremists will tell you to never set foot in a produce aisle again, while grocery loyalists will dismiss markets as overpriced and inconvenient indulgences. So who's right? (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">25 Things You Shouldn't Buy at the Grocery Store</a>)</p> <p>It turns out: both. It just depends on what it is you're buying.</p> <h2>Best Things to Buy at the Farmers' Market</h2> <p>These are the fruits and veggies (and other things), you definitely should pick up fresh from your local Farmers' Market.</p> <h3>Berries</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries tend to be expensive at the typical grocery store, in part due to the thousands of miles they've traveled to get to the store. Fresh berries at your local farmers' market will be in better condition (perishable berries don't tend to do well in transport), will be cheaper, and will most likely have fewer pesticides and fungicides than imported or commercial varieties. Ask your grower whether the berries are pesticide-free &mdash; I tend to trust a farmer who can look me in the eye and vouch for his or her berries.</p> <p>Most importantly, local berries, picked at the height of ripeness, are just sweeter and more delicious. Often you can find local varieties of berries that are tastier, but more perishable, so you'll never find them in a grocery store. Or you might discover the rare flavor of wild berries, foraged from the surrounding countryside.</p> <h3>Stone Fruit</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Like tomatoes, most stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums) will ripen but not sweeten on your counter. That means that getting them when they are picked ripe is essential to getting the full seasonal flavor. In addition, stone fruit tends to get sprayed with a lot of pesticides. Ask your grower what their pesticide policy is and whether your fruit has been sprayed.</p> <h3>Avocados</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Don't you just hate buying a bunch of rock-hard avocados at the supermarket, only to find out that they've gone bad by the time they've softened? Much of this is due to commercially-grown avocados being picked far too early (before the level of oils in the fruit have increased to the point where they are able to ripen) and then being transported in trucks where they are easily bruised. Worse, store refrigerators sometimes freeze fresh produce, causing it to go bad faster.</p> <p>By contrast, buying avocados from a local farmer ensures that they have been picked recently. In my experience, avocados from my farmers' market last far longer, don't turn brown inside, and are far more buttery and rich than supermarket avocados. I also have my go-to &quot;avocado guy,&quot; who helps me choose the perfect ripeness of avocados depending on when I want to eat them. And have you ever tried a Reed avocado? These huge, super-creamy avocados are rarely available in supermarkets, but they are my absolute favorite.</p> <h3>Rare or Unusual Vegetables</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The farmers' market is the best place to try out a new fruit or vegetable that isn't typically found in supermarkets. Have you ever tried the delicate fractal buds of a romanesco broccoli? How about those unfamiliar Asian greens sold by the local Japanese family farm? Or have you ever wondered what a Buddha's hand citron tastes like? The grower is a great resource for asking how to cook and eat these intriguing new vegetables.</p> <h3>Flowers</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>This may seem like an odd thing to buy at a primarily food-oriented market, but pesticide-free cut flowers are a great thing to pick up on your shopping trip. Conventional flowers are usually grown with a heavy load of pesticides, which takes a toll on the workers involved. In addition, transporting fresh flowers isn't great for the environment. Buying seasonal, local, pesticide-free flowers is a great way to get some natural beauty into your home without harming the planet or other people.</p> <h3>Eggs</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>So-called &quot;cage free&quot; eggs at supermarkets are typically not well-regulated. Cage-free might simply mean that the chickens have a door open for a few hours a day. By contrast, at a farmers' market, you can ask the farmer directly about how the chickens are raised and what they are fed. Many local chicken farmers are proud of their &quot;happy chickens&quot; that live a humane life from birth to death, and that eat a more natural diet including foraging for grass and bugs.</p> <h2>Worst Things to Buy at a Farmer's Market</h2> <p>Now that you've stuffed your grocery totes with the good stuff above, turn up your nose at this stuff, which isn't so great.</p> <h3>Wilted Greens</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The later in the day you come, the less fresh the vegetables will be. This is especially true of farmers' markets that attract growers from outside the immediately local area. Be discerning &mdash; just because it's at the farmers' market doesn't mean it's perfect. In addition, certain vegetables tend to do worse in the heat and sun &mdash; lettuce for example.</p> <h3>Unripe Fruit</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's best if you can taste the fruit before you buy, so you can make sure you get produce at the peak of ripeness. Most growers will have samples or will willingly cut you a slice. Make the most of your money and buy only the best, in-season fruit.</p> <h3>Fast Food</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Unfortunately, the crowds at farmers' markets tend to attract food vendors, many of which don't exactly serve health food. Skip the overpriced hot dogs, funnel cakes, and burgers. If you're really hungry and need something immediately, I like to head for the mom-and-pop tamale stands, which offer (usually) homemade steamed tamales and fresh salsas, instead of the deep-fried junk.</p> <h3>Non-Food Items</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Some larger farmers' markets also tend to attract non-food booths that sell gifts and knick-knacks. Be careful not to be suckered into an impulse buy of something that you don't need (I'm thinking potholders, jewelry, clothing, etc). Of course, a local craft item can be a fun souvenir if you're traveling, or a thoughtful gift for out-of-town friends, but in general steer clear of anything you didn't specifically come to buy.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite purchase at your local farmers' market? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best and Worst Things to Buy at Farmers&#039; Markets" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping farmers markets fresh produce fruits and vegetables groceries Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1209037 at 15 Easy Fall Pizzas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-easy-fall-pizzas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="homemade pizza" title="homemade pizza" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you eat a lot of pizza? I know we do. So does the rest of America (roughly 93% of Americans eat pizza at least <a href="">once per month</a>).</p> <p>But I confess: I prefer more interesting, healthy pizza, rather than the greasy, fast-food-type. Also, being naturally frugal, my preference is to make my own. This is where using fall produce comes into play &mdash; it is always to your budget's benefit to use fruits and vegetables that are in season. (See also: <a href="">This Is How You Make Restaurant Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <p>However, dinner recipes have to be <em>easy</em>. These are.</p> <h2>Crusts and Sauces</h2> <p>First, though, let's talk easy crusts. I like Pillsbury's Artisan Whole Grain, Flatout Bread, or the whole-wheat Boboli brands of crusts. No mixing, kneading, or mess! Also easy, and kid-friendly, are whole-wheat English muffin halves. If you <em>must</em> make your own pizza crust, try this fairly <a href="">uncomplicated recipe</a>. Many of the recipes I have featured below give instructions for crusts. Feel free to ignore them, and use a premade crust, to save time.</p> <p>Secondly, sauce. Since we are going with an &quot;easy&quot; theme here, let's not make sauce from scratch. Pasta sauces make great pizza sauces. Try Alfredo, Vodka, or Marinara. A tub of pesto also works wonders. You will notice that some of the pizzas I have tried out below do not even <em>have</em> sauce.</p> <p>Ready to make some easy, inexpensive, fall-themed pizzas?</p> <h2>1. Carb Heaven</h2> <p>If you are avoiding carbs, apologies, because this <a href="">Potato Pizza</a> has them.</p> <p>I thought the whole idea was nuts until I saw one being made on TV, and then I had to try it. As mentioned above, I made an easy version, with a flatbread crust. This is a vegetarian pizza, but there is nothing to stop you from adding bacon. Nobody in my household has ever complained about the addition of bacon. I also threw on some gorgonzola. Because I don't own a mandolin for slicing, I used my ninja super-sharp knife and cut the potatoes very carefully and thinly. Yukon gold potatoes are very flavorful, and I recommend using those. This pizza is very good with (also easy) packaged kale salad.</p> <h2>2. Turnabout Is Fair Play</h2> <p>Since I was mean to the &quot;no carbs&quot; folks above, let's go carb-free with another fall vegetable, cauliflower. If you are new to the <a href="">cauliflower crust</a> thing, well, it looks like a pizza crust, but tastes like cauliflower. That's not a problem to those of us who love cauliflower. This funny <a href="">video</a> has excellent instructions, including the part about how to get the moisture out of the &quot;dough.&quot; Throw on some of that sauce from a jar, some salami and cheese, and bake. It's awesome and guilt-free pizza, in about an hour.</p> <h2>3. Traditional Fall Salad</h2> <p>Do you like that salad with arugula, bleu cheese, pears, and walnuts? Me, too. Turns out, I like it equally well when it is made into a <a href="">pizza</a>. I substituted pecans because they were handy. The Pillsbury Artisan crust worked very well with this recipe, adding a nutty dimension. I think this is really nice with a bowl of butternut squash soup (the kind from a box, since we are keeping this easy).</p> <h2>4. Squash</h2> <p>If I were a contestant on &quot;Family Feud,&quot; and the category were &quot;Fall Vegetables,&quot; squash would be my first choice. So, if we want to make an easy fall pizza, why not <a href="">Butternut Squash, Spinach and Goat Cheese</a>? The whole-wheat Boboli crust was good and sturdy, supporting these delicious toppings.</p> <h2>5. Pot Roast</h2> <p>Well, not exactly, but <a href="">roasted pork </a>on a pizza is pretty amazing. Pair it with other fall-type stuff like maple syrup and garlic, and you'll see what I mean. Garlic is another fall harvest item and although it takes a little while to prepare it, it's worth the time. Your neighbors will probably show up once you start roasting garlic. I used purchased kalua pork as I did not have leftover pork kicking around. The nuttiness of the Pillsbury crust was good, here. I served it with some fresh, sliced pears.</p> <h2>6. Fennel? Really?</h2> <p>Yes. <a href="">Fennel pizza</a> is delicious, especially when paired with caramelized onions. This makes a great appetizer, too, if you want to cut it into small squares. Fennel has a bit of a licorice-y taste, so this is one for the adventurous eaters. With use of a purchased crust, you can cut down the prep time on this to about a half hour. The flatbread crust was a good bet, here. If you want some meat on it, try slicing some Italian sausage and adding that (that's what I did).</p> <h2>7. Almost Like Dessert</h2> <p><a href="">Cranberries</a>, a fall fruit, are paired with brie and pecans in this pizza recipe. There are variations online that add chicken; some have mozzarella. I like this on a crispy flatbread. Cream cheese is a cheaper substitution, if brie does not fit into the grocery budget. A good variation on this is to add thin slices of apples in addition to (or in place of) the cranberries.</p> <h2>8. Pass the Dip</h2> <p>You know that person who stands at the buffet table and eats all of the hot artichoke dip? Yeah, me, too, and <em>I'm sorry</em>. I get close to that dip and I sort of just lose all inhibitions.</p> <p>Putting the &quot;dip&quot; on a <a href="">pizza crust</a> is just a wonderful idea, don't you think? Any of the recommended pre-prepared crusts &quot;work&quot; with this pizza, because this one is really about the topping. In fact, cardboard would be fine. That was a joke, okay? The recipe's author uses canned artichoke hearts, but I found a good deal on fresh. Because they tend to be expensive, try cooking and using the leaves one night, and saving the hearts for this pizza, the next.</p> <h2>9. Roast 'Em</h2> <p>Talk about a seasonable, healthy <a href="">pizza</a>! Eggplant is great on pizza, especially when roasted like this. I used artichokes out of a jar (in an olive oil-seasoned brine), and they added extra flavor. The Pillsbury whole-wheat crust works well with this, as did marinara sauce from a jar. If you thought you needed to salt and drain your eggplant before using it, no, don't bother. Just roast it; it comes out beautifully.</p> <h2>10. Love Your Sprouts</h2> <p>Being an acquired taste, this <a href="">brussels sprouts</a> pizza may not be one for the kids &mdash; but it is definitely a winner! Look for sprouts that are bright green and have tightly-closed heads. Also, the smaller, the better. The Pillsbury crust held up well. I served it with a spinach-egg salad dressed with balsamic vinegar.</p> <h2>11. Mexican Flavors</h2> <p>Tomatillos are technically a fruit, but they are a fall fruit, so they fit into this fall pizza category. Have you tried tomatillos? They look like green tomatoes with husks, and have a very bright, lemony flavor. They pair very well with cilantro in this <a href="">tomatillo pizza</a>. I opted for queso fresco, a white Mexican cheese, over the cheddar. The Boboli crust was good with this.</p> <h2>12. Use Up That Zucchini</h2> <p>I know, I know&hellip; you are sick of zucchini, and why did you plant so much of it? So you could eat this <a href="">Zucchini-Goat Cheese Pizza,</a> that's why. This is perfect on a Boboli crust, along with another fall vegetable, the red pepper. The zucchini looks better and bakes faster in the strips, but you can just cut it into thin slices, too.</p> <h2>13. Ever-Popular Kale</h2> <p>Kale is sweeter in the fall, because it likes cooler weather. That makes it extra-delicious on <a href="">pizza,</a> especially when paired with&hellip; bacon. (I use Applegate Naturals, which is uncured.) Onions are also being harvested in the fall, so you may start to see some bargains. I liked this on the Pillsbury crust, along with some corn chowder.</p> <h2>14. Fresh Herb</h2> <p>Having overplanted basil and parsley in my garden, I went hunting for a pizza recipe to use some up. Whew! The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue with this <a href="">Fresh Herb</a> pizza. I used a Boboli crust, which was sturdy enough for all that fresh mozzarella. This was very fast and easy to put together. I added some cooked chicken breast to the toppings, too.</p> <h2>15. Rapini, Raab, Rabe, Whatever</h2> <p>Often called Broccoli Rabe, too&hellip; the leaves of this fall vegetable are nutty and bitter, and great when paired with caramelized onions. Who knew it would be so yummy on <a href="">pizza?</a> The flatbread is great for this pizza, and a cup of tomato soup makes a perfect accompaniment.</p> <p><em>Convinced? You can serve your family easy, healthy pizza in about an hour using these ideas. Let us know how it comes out!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Easy Fall Pizzas" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink easy pizza fall vegetables harvest vegetables pizza Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Marla Walters 1202833 at