Food and Drink en-US 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 10 Grocery Store Secrets Only the Pros Know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-grocery-store-secrets-only-the-pros-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man grocery shopping" title="man grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've strolled down aisle after aisle, checked shelf after shelf. But some of these little-known grocery facts may surprise even the most grizzled grocery vet.</p> <h2>1. The Supermarket Is Not Your Best Bet for Fresh Food</h2> <p>Christina Major, creator of the Grocery Store Shopping Trip &mdash; which aims to help sufferers of Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure &mdash; advocates for skipping the supermarket altogether when buying meats, fish, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. If you prefer freshness over frugality, that is. &quot;The grocery store can't be fresh &mdash; it's impossible, &quot;she says. &quot;The foods need to travel from farm to warehouse to truck, to store&hellip; and then wait for a stockperson to put it out. By the time you see a 'fresh' vegetable, it's already days, if not weeks, old.&quot; As an alternative, Major suggests picking up these perishables at your local farmer's market and butcher.</p> <h2>2. There May Be a 'Day-Old' Bread Store in Your Town</h2> <p>Bread is fairly expensive, but you can cut the cost by checking for markdowns in the bakery section of your grocery store on goods reaching their expiration date &mdash; or, better yet, by locating a &quot;day-old&quot; bread store in your area. Diane Lockard, a fellow <a href="">personal finance writer at</a>, says that many towns have these kinds of stores (my hometown did), and she recently purchased a large amount of hot dog and hamburger buns at a big discount for a family reunion by using this tactic.</p> <h2>3. Your Grocery Store Has a Clearance Section</h2> <p>Jessica Fisher, author of the cookbook <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1558328432&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HF7FK37MPHISSG5T">Good Cheap Eats: Everyday Dinners and Fantastic Feasts for $10 or Less</a>, scoops up deals at her supermarket's clearance section. She says, &quot;There are fabulous markdowns on all kinds of things that are perfectly good &mdash; sometimes years from their sell-by date &mdash; that the store is discontinuing. I've saved tons of money buying gourmet and organic items &mdash; as well as organic produce &mdash; this way.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Nutritional Labels Are More Deceptive Than You Think</h2> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0071432396&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3ZJOZPNAC5QG4X2Z">Cooking Aboard Your RV</a> author Janet Groene warns, &quot;Even avid label readers often miss the key point, which is portion size. To understand how many carbs, how much sodium and so on, look at how many servings the package provides. Most of us take pride in counting calories, not realizing that we're eating more than one portion.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Don't Shop Before 10 a.m. on the Day a Sale Starts</h2> <p>Home organizing blogger Ginny Underwood, advises waiting until mid-morning to do your shopping the day an advertised sale starts &mdash; especially on fresh protein items. &quot;Don't shop too early [that morning], as the butcher and fishmonger many not have the specials out in the display case until 10 a.m.,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>6. You're Probably Not Buying the Right Whole-Grain Foods</h2> <p>Immediately opt for packages with words like &quot;multi-grain,&quot; &quot;stone-ground,&quot; and &quot;whole wheat&quot;? Chris Weiler, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0989179605&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HLQ6LU3PV7EO2WIZ">The 3/4 Rule: How to Eat as a Young Athlete</a>, explains that you may need to look closer. &quot;The higher the fiber content the more nutrient dense the food, he says. &quot;The 'Fiber Rule' is your secret weapon that enables you to know without a doubt whether or not the ingredients are really whole grains. Since the fiber content is the defining measure of a whole grain, don't even bother reading the marketing claims on the package; simply look at the fiber content.&quot; (See also: <a href="">Getting Whole-Grain Nutrition</a>)</p> <p>Weiler notes that there is a connection between the ingredients list and the amount of fiber listed on the Nutrition Facts table. &quot;If the dietary fiber serving is 3 grams or above, you can be confident that you have a quality, whole-grain food source. The more grams of fiber per serving means that a higher percentage of the food you are eating comes from whole grains. If you are eating a piece of bread that has 2 grams of fiber per serving versus one that has 6 grams per serving, you know that the 2 gram slice of bread contains a low amount of whole grain ingredients and is therefore not as nutrient dense.&quot;</p> <h2>7. This &quot;Natural Ingredient&quot; in Your Food May Make You Gag</h2> <p>I know that gelatin isn't a PETA-friendly food since it consists of animal parts, like bones, but you might be surprised to learn that there may be a little bit of beaver in your diet as well. Melissa Garcia, owner of, recently enlightened me that the &quot;natural ingredients&quot; listed on labels may be more natural than we care to know. &quot;Castoreum, which is a secretion made by beavers from the anal glands, is used as a food additive in some of the products you buy,&quot; Garcia says. &quot;You might find it in some vanilla and strawberry flavored ice-cream and yogurt. Next time you pick one of these products up, check the label.&quot; (See also: <a href="">I'm Eating What? 12 Gross Things in Your Food</a>)</p> <h2>8. You Can Return Things to the Grocery Store</h2> <p>If you're not satisfied with a product you bought &mdash; maybe your milk is already spoiled when you opened it or your apple had a worm in it &mdash; you can take it back to the supermarket. Just like at the mall.</p> <h2>9. Yep, There's an App for That</h2> <p>You can save even more dough at the grocery store &mdash; on top of the sale savings, coupons, and other tactics you're already using &mdash; by downloading savings apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51, both of which are relatively new to the scene. Instead of coupon-like savings that are deducted from your bill, these apps reward you in cash when you buy items that the apps are promoting. I personally use these apps, and I've saved well over $25 since downloading that I can trade in for gift cards or have sent to my PayPal account in real money. You also can search your app store for supermarket-specific apps that also can help stack up the savings.</p> <h2>10. Compare Prices for Similar Items in Different Departments</h2> <p>This tip is kind of a wow-moment for me because I've honestly never thought about this. The amazing tip comes from Stephanie Nelson, founder of <a href=""></a>. &quot;Check different departments,&quot; Nelson says. &quot;A type of cheese sold in the deli department might cost more than a different brand of the same type of cheese sold in the dairy department. One brand of a type of nuts in the produce department might cost less than a different brand of the same type of nuts in the baking aisle.&quot; Seriously &mdash; Mind. Blown. (See also: <a href="">Market Clones: How to Pay Drastically Less for Pricey Products</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other supermarket secrets that you're willing to declassify? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Grocery Store Secrets Only the Pros Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping Food groceries grocery shopping grocery store Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1202832 at 7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="gardener vegetables" title="gardener vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A funny thing happened at our house this spring.</p> <p>We bid on our house in October, closed in December, and moved in January. In Colorado. So, while we knew that the house seemed to be well-landscaped and we could see the general outlines of how things would grow, we had no idea if some of the beds had anything at all planted in them, let alone what might be there. (See also: <a href="">Urban Composting: It Can Be Done</a>)</p> <p>So super early this spring, about the time that the tulips and daffodils started blooming, something shot up out of one bed, and then another something, and then another. I waited for them to bloom, but, when they didn't, I went ahead and pulled one up, just to see what it was. As I pulled, I got a whiff of something.</p> <p>Onion?</p> <p>Sure enough, someone had planted green onion ends in the garden bed, and they were coming up as the weather warmed.</p> <p>When I researched it, I found that there are actually a good number of vegetables that you can plant from kitchen scraps, so you can regrow them over and over and over again. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <h2>Lettuce and Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>I grouped these together because <a href="">their re-growth process is similar</a>. Cut off all the stalks but leave the whitish part at the bottom intact. Place this in a bowl of water and wait a few days, being sure to spray or flick water onto the top so it stays moist, too. Within a week, you should start seeing baby leaves and roots growing out of the old white part. Plant it with just the new leaves above the soil line, and water. Pretty soon you'll have a whole new vegetable!</p> <p>I have found that some heads, especially of lettuce, just don't seem to sprout. I'm not sure why this is, but I usually just buy another vegetable and try again. I've read that this whole process works with cabbage and bok choy, too, but I haven't tried either of those.</p> <h2>Avocado</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The process here is <a href="">more involved</a> than for almost everything else.</p> <p>To re-grow an avocado, wash the seed and poke toothpicks into its sides until you can use them to suspend it, wide part down, over a glass of water. Fill the glass until the water comes to &frac34;&quot;-1&quot; above the bottom of the seed. Keep it warm and remember to add water if the levels drop. After about six weeks, you should see a stem. When that gets to 6&quot;, trim it back to approximately 3&quot;. Once you see leaves (usually about the same time as the trim), plant the whole thing in your garden, with the top half of the seed peeking out of the ground.</p> <p>We love that these are re-growable, because we used to live in California, where they're much cheaper than they are here. The process feels very slow, but having fresh avocados is so worth it!</p> <h2>Ginger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The full name for &quot;ginger&quot; is &quot;ginger root,&quot; and the part you buy in a store is exactly that. <a href="">You can simply plant it</a>, either in a pot or directly into your garden. Everything I've read says to plant it with the most recent buds facing up, but I can never tell which those are, and mine has regrown fine. Simply plant it and water it like any other plant.</p> <p>The only problem with ginger is that it is awkward to harvest. You have to get down to the roots, either by digging or pulling the whole thing up, and then replant it again. Still, if you use ginger a lot, it's probably worth the time and energy that takes.</p> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>To get started <a href="">re-growing a pineapple</a>, you need to separate the top from the fruit. Consensus seems to say that the best way to do this is to cut it about &frac14;&quot; down and dig out the fruit. Then let the top dry for a few days, before you plant it directly into moist soil, potting or otherwise. Be sure to keep it warm and damp, since the pineapple grows best in tropical areas. It can take up to two years for the plant to produce fruit but, hey, we have all the time in the world.</p> <p>I honestly haven't tried this one, because no one here likes pineapple, but I included it because it sounds like so much fun. Let me know how it goes if you try it!</p> <h2>Potatoes (and Sweet Potatoes, Too!)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Chop a regular potato into sections that each have at least two eyes. Plant these in a pot and water them well until you see shoots and leaves appearing. Sweet potatoes are similar, except that most of the eyes tend to cluster around one end. You can plant the whole thing, or just cut off this &quot;top&quot; of the potato and plant that. Once you see the shoots and leaves, you can take cuttings, and start new plants and/or transplant them into your garden.</p> <p>Later this summer, after we found green onions growing all over the place, we discovered that some of our larger &quot;weeds&quot; were actually potato plants! We haven't harvested them yet (except for the few that we accidentally dug up when we thought they were pests), but they look promising.</p> <h2>Mushrooms</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>These tend to be <a href="">a particular challenge to re-grow</a>, but it's fun to try. Separate the top part from the bottom part. Then plant the bottom part in soil that's as nutrient-dense as you can get it, with just the very tip showing. If you keep it cool at night and in filtered light (think light that a mushroom might get while under a tree) during the day, you just might top your pizza with your own mushrooms next time!</p> <p>I haven't had much success with this, but it hasn't stopped me from trying. It seems hard to get these just the right amount of water at the right time. Mine keep looking like they are doing well, and then dying all-of-a-sudden.</p> <h2>Onions</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In addition to the green onions I found growing in my yard, <a href="">you can re-grow full-size onions</a>, too. Usually, an onion has an end that seems to have small roots attached. Cut this off, with just &frac14;&quot; or so of the flesh of the onion still attached. Plant this, roots down, in a pot or directly in your garden.</p> <p>My onions have been ready in two-three months, when the stalk starts to get yellow, though it can take up to four months, depending on where you live and where you plant them. Remember to note where you plant which types of onions, so you can be sure to harvest the type you need!</p> <p><em>Have you re-grown any vegetables from kitchen scraps? Did it work for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink compost gardens leftovers scraps vegetables Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1202639 at Best Money Tips: Eat Better Food For Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-eat-better-food-for-less" 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>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on eating better food for less, making big life decisions, and cheap baby essentials under $30.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Shop Like the French. You'll Eat Better Food For Less</a> &mdash; Shopping often and buying whole foods can help you eat better food for less. [Free to Pursue]</p> <p><a href="">Making Big Life Decisions: The Regret Test</a> &mdash; When you are making a decision about what to do, think about which you would regret more: doing what you are thinking about doing or not doing what you are considering doing. [Color Me Frugal]</p> <p><a href="">Money Musings From Mommyhood, Week 8: Cheap Baby Essentials Under $30</a> &mdash; A wipe warmer and multi-use pads are just a couple cheap baby essentials any new parent should consider investing in. [Farnoosh]</p> <p><a href="">Warning: Two Factors Stopping Your Financial Success</a> &mdash; Are you having trouble being financially successful? Your mindset may be the cause of your difficulties. [Take a Smart Step]</p> <p><a href="">10 Ways We Pay Attention to Money</a> &mdash; Take the time to balance your bank accounts monthly and reassess your emergency fund balances annually. [MoneyPlan SOS]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Want a Used Washer? Budget Some Time</a> &mdash; If you are thinking about buying a used washer, start looking long before you will actually need it. [Mighty Bargain Hunter]</p> <p><a href="">Tips for Financing Your First Car</a> &mdash; When financing a car, stay away from dealer financing and read the fine print. [Joe Taxpayer]</p> <p><a href="">Four Tips for Glamping on a Budget</a> &mdash; To glamp on a budget, cook from scratch instead of eating out or buying ready made food. [Miss Thrifty Blog]</p> <p><a href="">The 5 Best Toddler Carseats</a> &mdash; Are you in the market for a carseat for your toddler? Check out the Clek Oobr Booster Car Seat. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">56 Ways to Be a Risk Taker Today</a> &mdash; Signing up for a class and doing a DIY are just a couple ways you can take a risk today. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Eat Better Food For Less" 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 best money tips better eat Food less Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1195553 at Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man reading menu" title="man reading menu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans love to dine out. We spend an average of <a href="">$1,000 annually</a> just on going to lunch. In total, we each spend about $2700 annually in restaurants and on take-out.</p> <p>And where I live (New York City), it's that much worse. So I decided to do a price comparison to discover the restaurant menu items that serve up the biggest cost difference from homemade versions. As a reference, I used the menus of my local, reasonably priced diners and mom-and-pop restaurants. If you eat out at more expensive restaurants, the price difference will be even more extreme. Here's what I found.</p> <h2>1. Pasta</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Nothing could be simpler to prepare at home than pasta. Whether you buy dry or fresh pasta or make your own (as I recently started doing), pasta is generally a ripoff at most restaurants. My local Italian place serves its simplest and least expensive pasta dish for $10. I can make the exact same simple dish at home for less than $1.</p> <h2>2. Salad</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Whether you buy your produce at the grocery store, farmer's market, your local CSA, corner produce vendor, or grow your own, a simple veggie salad is a dish you should avoid at restaurants, especially during the summer months when local fresh vegetables are plentiful. I tallied up what it costs to make a simple salad at home with ingredients from my grocery store, and it costs less than $2 for all of the ingredients. My local diner charges $9 for the same salad.</p> <h2>3. Wine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Wine is my drink of choice. A reasonably priced local wine bar in my neighborhood has wines at $8 by the glass and $34 by the bottle (a bargain compared to a lot of New York City restaurants). My local wine store, however, has these same bottles for $14 each. A bottle easily serves four good-sized glasses of vino.</p> <h2>4. Coffee and Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>We are a country of coffee lovers. As many as <a href="">83% of Americans drink coffee</a> and in total we consume 587 million cups of joe per year. Excluding Starbucks, local coffee shops, and the artisanal coffee retailers that tend to charge high per cup prices, I toddled over to my local diner to browse their coffee and tea selection. They cost a minimum of $1.55 per cup. Not bad, especially with free refills. Then I broke down what it costs to brew my favorite gourmet coffee and tea at home and found it only costs $0.25 for the coffee and $0.15 for the tea. Grab your travel mug and home brew your morning fix.</p> <h2>5. Juice and Sodas</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>These are items best bought at the grocery store. Juice is $3.50 per glass at my diner. Soda is $2.50 per glass. I recently bought 64 ounce bottles of each through Freshdirect for $2.50. Doing the math, a glass of either at home costs me $0.31. At the restaurant, stick with good ol' free tap water.</p> <h2>6. Dessert</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Given my sweet tooth, I'm always tempted by the dessert case. My frugal ways help me to steer clear of ordering, however. A slice of pie, conservatively, runs about $5 per at my local diner. I can buy an entire 8-slice organic, fresh-baked pie at my Whole Foods for $10. If I bake that same pie myself, the cost for the whole pie is about the cost of a single slice at the diner.</p> <h2>7. Simple Sandwiches</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When it's lunch time and I'm out and about in the city, I often crave the simplest sandwich. Grilled cheese, ham and swiss, and a classic BLT are some of my go-to options. Then I look at the menu of some of my regular cafe stops and at their least expensive, these sandwiches ring up at $6 each. That same sandwich costs less than $1 to make at home. Grabbing a simple lunch on-the-go for the sake of convenience and time certainly comes at a cost!</p> <h2>8. Egg Dishes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Eggs are a staple in my fridge and for $2.50 a dozen at the grocery store, they're one of the most nutritious bargains, too, at about $0.20 per egg. At my diner, an egg with a few potatoes and a couple pieces of toast will cost you $5. You don't even need your calculator to realize eggs are best consumed at home.</p> <h2>9. Baked Goods</h2> <p><img width="605" height="339" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>I used to tell myself I was no good at baking. Turns out I just needed to realize that baking and cooking require a different focus. While in cooking you can fudge measurements of ingredients, in baking you can't. Precision counts. Once I realized that, I started baking regularly. No need to spend $2 to $3 per muffin at my local bakery anymore. I can quickly whip up a batch of 12 for that price. I just put them in a ziploc bag and pop them in the freezer to warm up throughout the week.</p> <h2>10. Pizza</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>For a long time I believed pizza was worth buying because pizzerias deliver that chewy crust I crave. Then a friend told me that a $10 pizza stone would transform my homemade pizzas into works of art. Now I whip up homemade pizzas, with all the toppings I love, for a dime a slice. Even my local $2 slice joint can't compete with the cost-savings of my pizza stone.</p> <p><em>What's over-priced at your local eatery? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dining out expensive food restaurants Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1197727 at 9 Satisfying Stir-Fries in 20 Minutes or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-satisfying-stir-fries-in-20-minutes-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stir-fry cooking" title="stir-fry cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the fastest, cheapest meals I make on a regular basis is the stir-fry. As a vegetarian, it's a great way to get a big dose of vegetables and protein in one convenient pan. Meat eaters, too, can get their fill of healthy foods in just about 20 minutes. And the best part? There's little clean-up when you're done cooking. (See also: <a href="">10 Tricks To Keep Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <p>So check out these 10 fantastic stir-fries that will have you eating more and scrubbing less.</p> <h2>1. Chicken and Broccoli</h2> <p>The most delectable part of this <a href="">Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry</a> is the marinade, which features ginger, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and lemon zest. If you're not into meat, you can always substitute your favorite protein, like fried tofu. (The same trick applies to any non-vegetarian recipes that follow &mdash; and vice versa.)</p> <h2>2. Blackened Shrimp</h2> <p>Onions and peppers make up the veggies in this tasty <a href="">Blackened Shrimp Stir-Fry</a>. The seasoning is a hefty dose of Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Seafood Magic. If you cannot find it in your local grocery store, try this <a href="">copycat recipe</a> that contains several common herbs and spices with a spicy kick of paprika.</p> <h2>3. Thai Peanut</h2> <p>One of my favorite meals is this delicious <a href="">Thai Peanut Stir-Fry</a> with fresh veggies atop brown rice noodles. The sauce is made extra thick and creamy with full fat coconut milk. Don't skimp on the sprouts &mdash; they give the dish a nice crunch.</p> <h2>4. Chicken Fajita</h2> <p>Part stir-fry, part salad, this <a href="">Chicken Fajita Salad</a> is ready in just 20 minutes. It's a healthy twist on this Tex-Mex favorite, complete with liquid smoke for extra flair. I'd use black beans in this recipe for some solid vegetarian protein.</p> <h2>5. Almond Veggie</h2> <p>This <a href="">Almond Vegetable Stir-Fry</a> recipe is simple yet complexly flavorful. You'll notice that cornstarch is a key ingredient in the sauce, which is meant to give the dish thicker texture and also a more vibrant color. You can also substitute in arrowroot powder at an equal ratio.</p> <h2>6. Indian Style</h2> <p>I adore Indian food, and this <a href="">Vegetable Jalfrezi</a> recipe looks authentic without the fuss. The author claims this recipe takes 25 minutes to make from start to finish, but I imagine if you're in a pinch, you can cut off 5 minutes or more if you chop veggies in bulk at the beginning of the week. (See also: <a href="">Save Time and Money with a Monthly Assembly Cooking Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>7. Easy Veggie</h2> <p>This <a href="">Vegetable Stir-Fry</a> is so fresh, it might just make your regular meal rotation. If you have a garden or CSA farm share for the growing season, you can always substitute in whatever you have in your fridge for the other vegetables in this recipe.</p> <h2>8. Fig, Apple, and Pear</h2> <p>Fruit for dinner? Yes! This <a href="">Fig, Apple, and Chicken Stir-Fry</a> can be cooked in 20 minutes flat if you're smart with your preparation. The fruit only takes three minutes to cook, so the rest is in getting that chicken done. Cutting it into small chunks from the start should help.</p> <h2>9. Sumptuous Steak</h2> <p>I love the mix of vegetables that accompany this <a href="">Steak Stir-Fry</a>. Bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, and even edamame. Don't have all these on hand? No problem &mdash; use what you've got! And one of my favorite tricks for quick meals like these is using frozen mixes of veggies. They always stay good and require zero prepping before being tossed into the pan. Many also contain those more traditional blends of stir-fry vegetable favorites.</p> <h2>A Frozen Veggie Secret</h2> <p>And if you'd like to skip the marked-up frozen veggie packages at the store and make your own, <a href="">this method</a> is the way to go. Chop up vegetables and then blanch them before cooling to freeze in plastic zip bags. Take advantage of in-season vegetables or whatever is on sale to make your custom mix. Then enjoy dinners in a flash whenever the days get busy. With back-to-school just around the corner, I think we all need a trick like this in our back pockets.</p> <p><em>Do you have any favorite go to stir-fry recipes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Satisfying Stir-Fries in 20 Minutes or Less" 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 meals quick meals recipes stir-fry vegetarian Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1193087 at 10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-foods-with-the-most-bang-for-your-buck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman buying milk" title="woman buying milk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does it mean to get the most for your money when it comes to food? If you want to get the most calories for your dollar, you needn't look much further than the nearest fast food chain, which will gladly serve up a high-calorie burger, french fries, or a milkshake for less than $1.</p> <p>And that cheap food sure feels like a bargain. You're full, only $1 dollar poorer, and you can be back at your desk within 20 minutes' time.</p> <p>But whether that food is <em>really</em> the most cost-effective thing to eat depends on how you look at value. Sure, you'll probably get the most <em>calories</em> for your money from fast foods or junk food. The problem is that in the United States, what most people need isn't more calories, it's more <em>nutrients</em>.</p> <p>The latest statistics show that more than two-thirds of <a href="">Americans are overweight or obese</a>. And while corpulence used to be considered a sign of wealth, rates of obesity are just as high or <a href="">higher in the most disadvantaged populations</a>. But despite all those calories, most Americans <a href="">fall short of the recommended dietary guidelines</a> for many key nutrients. In other words, the concept of getting the most for your money when it comes to buying food has changed. And, at a time when more people than ever are overfed but still undernourished, experts suggest we should be stretching our food budgets by seeking out the foods that cost the least and provide the highest possible level of nutrition. (See also: <a href="">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week (With Meal Plans!)</a>)</p> <p>A publication created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012 looked at different ways of <a href="">measuring the value of food and food costs</a> beyond cost-per-calories. It compared cost per 100 calories, cost per 100 edible grams, and cost per portion. What it found is that you can fill your plate &mdash; and your stomach &mdash; with some very healthy foods for less than the cost of a fast-food burger.</p> <p>So what are the cheapest healthy foods you can buy? Here are the 10 top contenders.</p> <h2>Corn Tortillas</h2> <p>Corn tortillas are cheap food no matter how you look at them; they're cheap per calorie, they're cheap per portion, and they require little or no preparation (although if you're ambitious, <a href="">you can make your own</a>.) These aren't nutritional powerhouses on their own, but they're <a href="">relatively low in calories</a> and if you stuff them with some of the other foods on this list, you'll have a great, low-cost, nutritious meal.</p> <h2>Beans</h2> <p>Pinto beans and other dried beans are among the least expensive foods per portion size. And that's good news. Beans are powerful disease fighters that are <a href="">high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants</a>. They're filling, flavorful, and they come at a price of about 27 cents per cup. And they aren't that hard to cook up. <a href="">Really</a>.</p> <h2>Onions</h2> <p>Onions have been a staple food in many cultures for centuries; the Egyptians even worshipped these pungent layers of peel. What's not to love? They're easy to grow, can be stored for long periods, and they add loads of flavor to any dish. Plus, <a href="">they're high in vitamin C and disease fighting compounds</a>. And, at 55 cents per pound, onions are one of the least expensive vegetables out there.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p>Carrots can be cooked into <a href="">soups</a>, baked into <a href="">pies</a>, or are great with a little dip as an afternoon snack. They also come with <a href="">plenty of fiber and tons of vitamin A</a>. The cost? About 63 cents per cup.</p> <h2>Potatoes</h2> <p>Potatoes have gotten a bad rap in recent years, mostly as a result of diets like Atkins or South Beach, which aim to limit carbohydrates. However, it's important to remember that potatoes have been a staple food for people around the world for centuries. Plus, many of the studies that have vilified potatoes have lumped steamed or baked potatoes together with French fries and potato chips. (See also: <a href="">End Potato Prejudice: 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Potatoes</a>)</p> <p>In reality, a plain potato is <a href="">relatively low in calories, and very high in fiber and vitamins</a>. Plus, potatoes have also been <a href="">found to be the most satisfying food on the Satiety Index</a>, which means a helping will keep you feeling fuller longer. All that for about 53 cents per cup.</p> <h2>Bread</h2> <p>Bread is another food that many health-conscious people have banished from the table, and in some cases for good reason. Research has shown that eating too much starchy food &mdash; especially at the expense of fruits and vegetables &mdash; contributes to obesity. That said, whole grains are associated with <a href="">lower levels of unhealthy belly fat</a>. The bottom line? If you stick to whole grain breads and avoid overdoing it, you'll be just fine. Look for day-old bread at your local bakery, or buy in bulk on sale and freeze it for later.</p> <h2>Oatmeal</h2> <p>Whole grains are good for you, but oats might just be the best of the bunch. Beyond providing a healthy dose of fiber, <a href="">oatmeal's soluble fiber has been shown to reduce LDL (or &quot;bad&quot;) cholesterol</a>. Eating oatmeal regularly may also reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and prevent hardening of the artery walls. For the biggest benefit, use rolled or steel cut oats. And be sure to buy them unprocessed; instant oatmeal packets tend to cost more and be loaded with sugar and salt.</p> <h2>Milk</h2> <p>A gallon of milk might look pretty expensive; <a href="">according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>, a gallon of milk cost an average of $3.62 as of June 2014. Even so, <a href="">the FDA ranks 1% milk as less expensive than regular soda</a> for an average serving. Full-fat milk is also cheaper on a cost-per-calorie basis, as it has more calories than the same volume of soda. And no matter what kind of milk you choose, it has far more nutrients than soda or even fruit juice, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Debates about milk's value as a health food aside, there's no question that it's a better, more nutritious choice than soda. It's good to know it's healthier for your budget, too.</p> <h2>Eggs</h2> <p>Eggs are the ultimate low-cost food. Not only are they inexpensive, but they are easy to prepare. They are a great source of complete protein, and include vitamins and minerals that are hard to get from other food sources, <a href="">such as vitamin D, vitamin K and choline</a>. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a carton of eggs punches in at about $1.95. Breakfast (or lunch or dinner) for a few cents!</p> <h2>Peanut Butter</h2> <p>Peanut butter is nutritious, filling, practical &mdash; and cheap! One serving will give you a dose of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, and B vitamins. Research has shown that regular consumption of peanuts and other nuts <a href="">can protect against heart disease</a>, and can significantly<a href=""> lower your risk of diabetes</a>. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can bring home a one-pound jar for about $2.50.</p> <p><em>What healthy foods help you stretch your food budget? Let me know in the comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping Health healthy eating healthy food nutrition Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Tara Struyk 1193085 at 18 Pantry Foods That Keep Longer Than You Think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-pantry-foods-that-keep-longer-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="pantry" title="pantry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a big difference between the &quot;use-by&quot; and &quot;sell-by&quot; dates on a bottle of ketchup.</p> <p>Americans in particular are notorious for throwing out perfectly good eats, a habit that has recently given life to <a href="">a grocery store of expired foods</a>, that are still safe to eat. And while it's pretty easy to detect fresh milk from sour milk, it can be tricky to discern the difference when it comes to condiments and other dry goods. (See also: <a href="">You're Wasting One-Third of the Food You Buy</a>)</p> <p>Tricky, but not rocket science. So we've figured it out for you. (We recommend printing this comprehensive guide to freshness and keeping it in the pantry, right next to the Worcestershire sauce.)</p> <h2>Coffee Beans</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When it comes to coffee beans, air is the enemy of flavor and freshness. So you'll want to store your beans in an air-tight container. Even so, <a href="">coffee beans are best within the first one to two weeks</a> after purchase. They won't ever go bad, but they will slowly grow stale and lose their boldness.</p> <h2>Honey</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Like coffee beans, honey never spoils. But it loses its perfectly goupy consistency when it's not stored at room temperature.</p> <p>Honey stored at cooler temperatures will sometimes crystallize, <a href="">a natural chemical process</a> that is no cause for alarm. In fact, crystallized honey tastes just as delicious. But if you want to revert it back to goupy goodness, simply run the container under warm water or relocate it to a warmer part of the house.</p> <h2>Maple Syrup</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A sealed canister of maple syrup will last <a href="">up to two years in the pantry</a> before discoloration begins to take hold. Even still, syrup can last on the shelf this way for up to four years without much flavor adulteration. Once unsealed, maple syrup will stay fresh for several months in the refrigerator.</p> <p>Syrup bottled in glass stays fresher longer than syrup kept in plastic containers. So if you make pancakes once in a blue moon, it's probably better to buy syrup that's packaged in glass.</p> <h2>Pasta</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When stored at room temperature in <a href="">an air-tight container</a>, dry pasta can retain freshness for eight to 10 years. Pasta stored at warmer temperatures or in containers that are not air-tight will last up to two years. After that, you'll be stuck with stale-tasting fettuccine alfredo.</p> <h2>Nuts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Nuts are <a href="">chock-full of oil</a>, which causes them to go rancid after four to 12 months on the shelf. Hazelnuts and pistachios fall on the lower end of that spectrum while almonds and brazil nuts land on the higher end. Falling somewhere in the middle, around four to seven months, are cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts.</p> <p>The only exceptions are pine nuts, which have a shelf life of about two months, and pistachios, which stay fresh for about three months.</p> <h2>Peanut Butter</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A sealed jar of peanut butter has a shelf life of two years. But once the seal is broken, it'll only last about three to six months &mdash; depending on the brand. All-natural spreads tend to last longer, while <a href="">processed spreads like Jif</a> and Peter Pan perish more quickly.</p> <h2>Bread Crumbs</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A sealed package of dried bread crumbs will last two years in the refrigerator or up to six months when stored in <a href="">a cool, dry place</a>.</p> <h2>Flour</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Flour can last up to five years when stored at room temperature in an air-tight container. But opened flour packages only have a shelf life of about a year.</p> <p>Ditto that for all other food products made of cracked or ground seed, such as all cornmeal, cracked wheat, germade, and gluten. Same rules also apply to refried beans and wheat flakes.</p> <h2>Sugar</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Sugar will last indefinitely when kept sealed away from moisture.</p> <h2>Salt</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Salt will never perish so long as it is stored in a dry place.</p> <h2>Spices</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Whole spices have a shelf life of two years. Dried or ground spices stay fresh half that time. All spices should be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. That means don't store your spices near the stovetop or toaster oven. (See also: <a href="">How to Store Herbs to Make Them Last Longer and Taste Better</a>)</p> <h2>Oils</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Canola, corn, peanut, and vegetable oil should be stored in the pantry, while sesame and walnut oil <a href="">should be refrigerated</a>. All of these oils will stay fresh up to six months after opening.</p> <h2>Ketchup</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>An unopened bottle of ketchup has a shelf life of about 15 months. <a href="">Once that seal is popped</a>, its life shortens to about six months when stored in the refrigerator. Same rules apply to barbecue sauce.</p> <h2>Mayonnaise</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>An unopened jar of mayo will stay fresh on the pantry shelf for two to three months. It will last another two to three months if it's refrigerated after opening.</p> <h2>Mustard</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>An unopened container of mustard has a shelf life of two years. Once that seal is popped, mustard will last six to eight more months when refrigerated.</p> <h2>Rice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>White rice has a shelf life of eight to 10 years. Brown rice, on the other hand, is full of oils that go rancid as they oxidize, which is why it has a shelf life of only six months &mdash; though it can last up to two years when stored in an air-tight container.</p> <h2>Beans</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Beans of all types have a shelf life of eight to 10 years when stored at room temperature.</p> <h2>Dehydrated Fruit</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Dried fruit such as raisins will stay tasty and fresh for up to five years when stored in a cool dry place. It's also best to keep them out of direct light, which speeds up the perishing process.</p> <p><em>How often do you check your pantry items for freshness?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="18 Pantry Foods That Keep Longer Than You Think" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink food storage fresh food pantry sell-by shelf life stale food use-by Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1192002 at The 12 Most Dangerous Foods You're Buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-most-dangerous-foods-youre-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man eating hot dog" title="man eating hot dog" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>True fact: Some of the most popular foods are simply unhealthy and pose higher risks of illness. Also true? Many of those unhealthy foods are in your kitchen right now. (See also: <a href="">11 Food Additives You're Probably Eating Everyday</a>)</p> <p>Steer clear of these 12 dangerous foods you're buying.</p> <h2>1. 5-Hour Energy and Other Energy Drinks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Many studies have concluded that massive amounts of caffeine paired with other synthetic substances such as aspartame are to blame for the huge <a href="">health risks</a> associate with this afternoon booster, including high blood pressure, heart attack, seizure, and death.</p> <h2>2. Soda Pop</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>This big part of everyday consumption for many, especially children, is dangerous <a href="">on many fronts</a>. Soda not only erodes tooth enamel, but common soda pop ingredients can increase risk for diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, cancer, nerve disorders, hormonal imbalances, and more.</p> <h2>3. Microwave Popcorn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>That faux-buttery flavor of microwave popcorn is definitely fake, but that is not where all the health risks originate. It's the chemicals <a href="">lining the microwaveable bag</a>, such as POOA, that are cause for concern. Not only can these chemicals cause cancer in adults, but they can also make children's vaccines less effective.</p> <h2>4. Caffeine Pills</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>As with 5-Hour Energy, too much caffeine is not as unhealthy in the short term as it is in the long term. For example, consumption of too much caffeine in adolescents <a href="">can lead to drug use</a> later in life.</p> <h2>5. Margarine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The truth emerged only recently after years of buying margarine that it does not lower your cholesterol, nor is it healthier than natural butter. In fact, <a href="">margarine dramatically increases LDL</a> levels. Time to go back to using real butter, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.</p> <h2>6. Aspartame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The negative buzz on artificial sweeteners only seems to persist, especially in the case of aspartame. In addition to low-level <a href="">side effects like headaches</a>, long-term consumption of aspartame can <a href="">possibly cause cancer</a> in both adults and prenatal children.</p> <h2>7. Food Dyes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>While laws now require most manufacturers to categorize dyed foods as &quot;adulterated,&quot; and places like Trader Joe's have promised to only use natural coloring (i.e. beets and greens), dye is still a problem. Three regularly used dyes can cause cancer, and four others can cause <a href="">serious allergic reactions</a>.</p> <h2>8. Alfalfa Sprouts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Alfalfa and other types of sprouts can be very difficult to clean and are generally eaten raw. This can lead to contracting really bad bacteria such as <a href="">salmonella, listeria, and E. coli</a>. Children, elderly, and those with weak immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts.</p> <h2>9. Cassava</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The cassava root, also known as tapioca, is in a lot more foods than you may think. It can be <a href=",28804,1967235_1967238_1967250,00.html">dangerous if prepared incorrectly</a>, activating its traces of deadly cyanide. Also? If you are allergic to latex, you may be allergic to cassava.</p> <h2>10. Hot Dogs</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>This is a tough one to hear, because America loves frankfurters. While processed meats are already risky, the additive sodium nitrate pushes hot dogs into <a href="">cancer danger</a>. In addition, hot dogs cause 17% of food-related asphyxiations among children under 10 years.</p> <h2>11. Raw Honey</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Despite the benefits many raw food and homeopathic fans may tout, raw honey contains the legitimately <a href="">harmful toxin grayanotoxin I</a>, which can cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and fainting.</p> <h2>12. Ground Turkey</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Ground turkey, while a sound alternative to beef and pork, has its downside too. Turkey tends to be the <a href="">poultry with the most bacteria</a> &ndash;&ndash; including listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. The only way to combat gross bugs is to buy organic (to avoid antibiotic-resistant salmonella) and always cook turkey to 180&deg;F (to kill off all bacteria).</p> <p><em>Any other dangerous foods to watch for? Please warn us in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 12 Most Dangerous Foods You&#039;re Buying" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amanda Meadows</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 dangerous food Food poison unhealthful food Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1190087 at 12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="good restaurant service" title="good restaurant service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, my favorite spot was a little place called The Blue Danube, familiarly known as &quot;The Dube.&quot; In addition to the usual inexpensive bar fare, the menu there offered the <a href="">Dube Dinner Deluxe</a> which paired a bottle of Dom Perignon with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Roquefort cheese) at a cost of $185.</p> <p>Though I always regarded the Dube Dinner Deluxe as more of a joke than anything else, I've since come to realize that including it on the menu was a savvy marketing strategy on the part of the bar's owners.</p> <p>Due to a cognitive bias known as <a href="">anchoring</a>, diners are more likely to buy mid-priced items when the menu highlights a very expensive meal. Just the existence of a high-priced item is enough to make the other prices on the menu seem reasonable in comparison. &quot;Menu engineers&quot; (and yes, that's a real profession) actually describe these very high priced items as &quot;<a href="">decoys</a>,&quot; since they're only there to soften the sticker shock of other offerings. (See also: <a href="">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, restaurants have a pretty good handle on behavioral psychology &mdash; which is why you often end up leaving with a fuller belly and a lighter wallet than you intended. Here are 12 of the sneakiest tricks that restaurants use to get you spend more.</p> <h2>Menu Presentation</h2> <p>A well-designed menu is the single greatest asset for a restaurant's bottom line, as it can help to steer customers to the items the restaurant most wants to sell. That's why you'll find nearly all restaurants have many or all of the following features on their menus.</p> <h3>1. Visual Highlights</h3> <p>If you have ever wondered why some menu items are placed in a text box or otherwise bolded, it's because the restaurant wants to draw your attention to the item. Often, the boxed-off menu item is something that is a major profit-maker for the restaurant &mdash; like chicken wings, for example. Wings cost the restaurant pennies, so the more they sell, the more they profit.</p> <p>In addition, menu designers recognize that most people's eyes are drawn to the <a href="">top right-hand corner</a>, so that is where the big money-maker dishes are often placed. You may have noticed this if you've ever searched in vain for a simple burger on a menu. Burgers and sandwiches and the like don't tend be super profitable in some restaurants, so they are often confined to &quot;menu Siberia,&quot; where you'll have to read through the pricier items before finding them.</p> <p>Finally, photographs of food tend to be powerful motivators, which is why restaurants will place photographs of only some of their menu items. The ones appearing in photographs are the most profitable dishes.</p> <p>Even in high-end restaurants, where photos on the menu are considered a little déclassé, you will often find line drawings or other visual representations of the big money makers.</p> <h3>2. Offering Two Portion Sizes</h3> <p>I often order salads when I dine out, and I have noticed that salads are usually offered in two sizes. This practice is called &quot;bracketing,&quot; and it's a no-win for the customer. Most customers will order the smaller/cheaper portion, thinking that the lower price is a better deal. But the menu does not specify how much smaller the cheaper portion will be, and in general the restaurant is actually hoping you'll buy the smaller size. If you do splurge on the larger salad, often the size difference will be made up in inexpensive lettuce.</p> <h3>3. Feeling Like Family</h3> <p>Diners tend to like seeing the <a href="">names of mothers, grandmothers, uncles, and other relatives</a> on their menus. That's why you'll see something listed as &quot;Bubbie's Chicken Soup&quot; or &quot;Uncle Doug's Famous Burgers&quot; rather than simply chicken noodle soup or &frac14; pound burgers.</p> <h3>4. Brand Name Recognition</h3> <p>Going along with that, menu designers have discovered that using <a href="">brand names helps boost sales</a>. For instance, T.G.I. Friday's offers Jack Daniel's sauce, and many restaurants make sure to specify that their juice is from Minute Maid. The name recognition is enough to help sell the food.</p> <h3>5. Descriptive Language</h3> <p>A study by Cornell University revealed that foods described in a more flowery or beautiful way were more appealing and popular with diners than the same items presented more plainly. For instance, the study would either label a dessert as &quot;New York Style Cheesecake with Godiva Chocolate Sauce&quot; or simply as &quot;Cheesecake.&quot; The results showed that diners chose the more descriptive menu items <a href="">27% more often</a> than the more plainly labeled items.</p> <p>Restaurants will often use this effect to highlight a profitable dish &mdash; while using much plainer description on a less profitable menu item placed nearby.</p> <h3>6. Price Shenanigans</h3> <p>One of the things you won't find in almost any menu, from a formal foodie haven down to Mom's Diner, is a dollar sign. Omitting the symbol from the price seems to be enough to spur diners to spend significantly more, according to another Cornell study.</p> <p>In addition, you'll notice something funny about the numbers on menus. You will rarely see any prices ending in a 9. For instance, a dessert will be listed as $4.95 <a href="">rather than $4.99</a>. Apparently, numbers ending in 5 seem &quot;friendlier,&quot; while numbers ending with 9 connote value, but not necessarily quality.</p> <p>Many restaurants will leave off the cents entirely, listing their dishes as a clean and simple number. All of these gambits make prices abstract, which makes spending feel less threatening and painful.</p> <h3>7. Price Placement</h3> <p>Many menus will avoid listing prices in a column, since that will make it much simpler to compare prices between meals. Instead, many restaurants will bury each item's price beneath the description.</p> <p>Even if prices are listed across from the dishes, restaurants generally do not print leader dots between the dish name and the price. It's harder to scan across to the price without those dots, meaning you're more likely to focus on the dish.</p> <h2>Service</h2> <p>The menu is not the only way restaurants try to manipulate your spending. Your friendly server is also in on it.</p> <h3>8. Introducing Themselves by Name</h3> <p>When your server introduces himself as Todd and claims he'll be &quot;taking care of you this evening,&quot; he's not just being friendly. Studies have shown that <a href="">restaurant tipping is higher when servers introduce themselves</a> because the interaction feels more personal.</p> <h3>9. Upselling</h3> <p>Servers are trained to ask you if you'd like to add to your meal during every step of the ordering process. For instance, when you order a cocktail, your server might offer you a choice of brands of liquor &mdash; letting you know that the restaurant carries both Bombay and Beefeaters gin, for instance. What the server does not tell you is that there is also a perfectly good and inexpensive gin that the bartender would have used had you not specified either Bombay or Beefeaters.</p> <h3>10. Listing Specials Verbally</h3> <p>In addition to upselling, servers are also trained to rattle off the day's specials &mdash; from the appetizers to the soups to the entrees to the desserts &mdash; off the top of their heads. This practice provides you with a mouth watering description of the foods that the restaurant is hoping to sell, but it does not give you the price point for each special. Many diners are too embarrassed to ask about the prices of specials, meaning they are surprised when the bill comes.</p> <h3>11. Beverage Timing</h3> <p>You've probably noticed that good servers get your beverage from the bar very quickly after you place your order. That's partially because if the timing is right, you'll run out of your drink either before your entrée arrives or in the middle of your meal &mdash; which will often mean you ask for a refill. If you're drinking a bottle of wine, you might find that your server is Johnny-on-the-spot with refills, since you might be persuaded to purchase another bottle if the first one is empty before your plate is.</p> <h3>12. The Midas Touch</h3> <p>Waitresses in particular are known for being very friendly and even lightly touching diners on the shoulder or hand. That's partially because studies have shown that both men and women tend to tip significantly more when their waitresses touch them in a friendly way. Researchers have dubbed this the <a href="">Midas Touch</a>.</p> <p>This Midas Touch <a href="">does not extend to male servers</a>, however. Diners are more likely to see that kind of touch as creepy rather than friendly or nurturing when it comes from a waiter rather than a waitress.</p> <h2>Limiting Your Restaurant Spending</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the restaurants hold most of the cards when you decide to treat yourself to a meal out. Since you are there to enjoy yourself, it can be very difficult to attempt to counteract the psychological tricks since doing so will likely negatively affect your enjoyment.</p> <p>The best way to deal with these issues is to plan ahead. Bring cash so you cannot spend more than you brought. Check out the menu online and decide what you will order before you arrive. Make sure you ask questions of your server if you're not sure of prices or options. And plan to savor your food and drink, since it will help you be more satisfied and lessen the possibility of over-ordering and overeating.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed any other tricks of the restaurant trade? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping dining out psychology restaurants spending tricks Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1189022 at The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boy drinking soda" title="boy drinking soda" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think what you're eating is what matters most in your diet? Maybe it's what you're washing it all down with that's really the problem. According to statistics compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health, the rising consumption of <a href="">sugary drinks is a major contributor to obesity</a> in the United States. In fact, for about 25% of Americans, these drinks contribute 200 or more calories to their diet each day. (See also: <a href="">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p>Of course, the obvious culprit is soda (or &quot;pop,&quot; depending on where you live). Fizzy, sugary drinks are also the indulgence that get vilified the most in the press and nutritional publications. Unfortunately, that isn't the only unhealthy drink you should be avoiding. Check out these six surprisingly unhealthy beverages you may have overlooked.</p> <h2>1. Rice Milk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Cow's milk often gets a bad rap, whether for its saturated fat content, or the hormones that are too often fed to milking cows, or to the conditions in which those cows produce their milk. And while those may all be valid concerns, many milk substitutes have problems of their own. Rice milk, in particular, <a href="">is essentially just starchy water</a>; if it isn't fortified, it provides virtually nothing in the way of protein or vitamins. Much like soda, rice milk only promises empty calories.</p> <h2>2. Smoothies</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>When it comes to having a refreshing summer treat, a smoothie seems like a good bet. But you might be better off getting the ice cream. Because let's face it: That's what you really want anyway, and you probably won't be any worse off for it.</p> <p>Smoothies tend to start out as being pretty healthy. They often contain yogurt and fruit. But then, many smoothie and drink chains add sugar, protein powders, juice, and ice cream, ratcheting up the calories to as many as 500 per cup. That said, a few chains do make healthy, relatively low calorie smoothies. Just check the nutritional information rather than assuming that a smoothie is a health food. Or take control of what's in your smoothie by <a href="">making your own at home</a>.</p> <h2>3. Vitamin Water</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Vitamins and water. It sounds like a good combo, right? After all, our bodies need both. But before you pop the cap on one of these drinks, take a look at the label. Sure, there are plenty of vitamins, as promised. But there's also a lot of sugar. About 120 calories' worth in a typical bottle. That's less than what you'll find in the same about of soda, but not by much. And as for vitamins, well, even the leading vitamin water producer says <a href="">they probably won't do you much good</a>. Is it any wonder vitamin waters are hawked by major soft drink companies like Coca Cola?</p> <h2>4. Iced Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><a href="">Tea has tons of health benefits</a>, but when it's brewed and bottled and sold as iced tea, its health benefits get a little murky.</p> <p>Most people drink what those in Southern United States call &quot;sweet tea.&quot; According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database, a 12-ounce glass of iced sweet tea is almost entirely made of water and carbohydrates, with 136 calories, no fat, fiber, or protein, and 32 grams of sugar. Compare that to a typical can of soda, which has about 150 calories. Sure, there are some antioxidants in that tea, but in bottled varieties,<a href=""> those levels are often pretty low</a>. In other words, iced tea isn't much better than soda unless you make your own and keep sugar to a minimum.</p> <h2>5. Fruit Juice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>A glass of fruit juice has long been represented on the USDA's Food Guide as a serving of fruit. Unfortunately, more recent research has found that while 100% fruit juice is made of fruit, it doesn't act like fruit in our bodies. Juice does include some vitamins and minerals, but it lacks whole fruit's fiber, which is what helps all the sugar in fruit enter our bloodstream at a slower rate. Plus,<a href=""> many fruit juices are as sugary as soft drinks</a>. In small quantities, the vitamins in juice make it a little healthier than soda, but not by much.</p> <h2>6. Diet Soda</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>If you're a diet soda lover, you probably know it isn't <em>healthy</em> for you, exactly, but you may assume think it's a cut above sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks. Unfortunately, calorie-free diet drinks aren't free of health consequences. According to a 2008 University of Minnesota study, just one diet soda a day is linked to an <a href="">increased risk of metabolic syndrome.</a> A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that downing two or more cans of <a href="">diet soda per day increased people's waistlines by 500%</a>. Diet soda consumption has even been linked to <a href="">kidney problems</a> and <a href="">acid reflux</a>.</p> <p>The bottom line? Many drinks that are marketed as being healthy &mdash; or healthier &mdash; are just as bad for your health as soda.</p> <p><em>Any other surprisingly unhealthy beverages? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink beverages healthy food junk food pop soda tea unhealthy food Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Tara Struyk 1189082 at Best Money Tips: Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-steps-to-grocery-savings-without-double-coupons" 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>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on grocery savings without double coupons, things that annoy hiring managers, and coming to grips with paying your rent on time.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">6 Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons</a> &mdash; You can save at the grocery store without double coupons by comparing what you purchase and tracking sale prices. [Pocket Your Dollars]</p> <p><a href="">9 Things That Really Annoy Hiring Managers</a> &mdash; Being too persistant can really annoy hiring managers. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Coming to Grips With Paying Your Rent On Time</a> &mdash; To make sure you pay your rent on time, budget rent as a priority and make cut backs where possible. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="">5 Times It's Worth Booking a Hotel While Backpacking</a> &mdash; If you are backpacking and become concerned about your safety, it is probably worth it to book a hotel. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="">How to Dress Cheaply for the Rest of Summer</a> &mdash; Rocking cotton and linen and remembering that dresses are your friend can help you dress cheaply for the rest of summer. [The Shop My Closet Project]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">10 Things We Need to Fix to Slow Down the March of Identity Theft</a> &mdash; In order to slow down identity theft, consumer apathy and security must be dealt with. [Credit Sesame Blog]</p> <p><a href="">Ready to Do What You Love and Find Your Ideal Career?</a> &mdash; Teaching yourself something new and establishing a side hustle can help you find your ideal career. [Common Sense Millennial]</p> <p><a href="">Are You Driving a Lemon?</a> &mdash; If your car is a lemon, contact the manufacturer as well as the dealer to report any problems with your car. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="">6 Tips on How to Act on the Sidelines of Your Child&rsquo;s Sporting Event</a> &mdash; It is important to be positive and not yell at the coach when attending your child's sporting event. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">New Law Mandates In-State Tuition for Vets Studying at All Public Colleges Starting Next Year</a> &mdash; Starting next year, vets will pay in state tuition fees at all colleges, even if they attend college in another state. [Bargaineering]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons" 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 Shopping best money tips coupons Food grocery market supermarket Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1185498 at 10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-but-difficult-recipes-made-easy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mother making sushi" title="mother making sushi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you care for some pate' on fresh bread? Perhaps some sushi? No trouble, I'll just whip some up. Really. Okay, some of these recipes require a little planning, but these are true time-savers. You don't need to think you are compromising, because they're also delicious. (See also: <a href="">Elevate Your Cooking Skills With These 5 Easy Techniques</a>)</p> <h2>1. Strawberry Freezer Jam</h2> <p>My best friend's mother used to crank this <a href="">strawberry jam</a> out every summer. The beauty of freezer jam is that once you've made it, you've made jam like some dang pioneer. However, you don't need one of those massive canning kettles, boiling water, fancy jars and lids, and the worry of &quot;did they properly seal?&quot;</p> <p>I like the quantity of this recipe, which makes five pints. That's enough to store a few and share some. Freezer jam is great over toast, waffles, and pancakes. A little bit on the runny side, this jam is also great to stir into plain yogurt, or put over ice cream. I liked mine over a well-buttered English muffin.</p> <h2>2. Refrigerator Pickles</h2> <p>My aunt used to make pickles, and that's why I haven't. The work involved is too daunting. You have to make a brine, and get out the giant kettle, sterilize the jars, trim the ends of the cucumbers if they are too tall, and worry about if they have sealed properly&hellip; ugh, no thanks. Target has excellent pickle prices.</p> <p>So when a co-worker said, &quot;Just make <a href="">refrigerator pickles</a>,&quot; I thought well, let's look into that! These are delicious. Based on the recipe comments, I used apple cider vinegar instead of white. They remind me very much of Japanese sunomono, a cucumber salad (the difference being the use of rice vinegar, ginger root, and sesame seeds). Refrigerator pickles are not at all daunting and they are very delicious.</p> <h2>3. No-Knead Bread</h2> <p>&quot;Even a six-year-old can do it!&quot; Those are my kind of instructions.</p> <p>This <a href="">no-knead bread </a>is amazingly easy. It does need to rest for twelve hours, so you will need to allow for that. However, it makes a fantastic loaf.</p> <p>Sometimes, though, I want my bread even faster! Did you ever make a pot of soup and think, &quot;I wish I had some fresh bread to go with this&quot;? <a href="">Beer bread</a> is one of my favorite quick bread go-to's. I always seem to have these ingredients around&hellip; including the beer.</p> <p>Another favorite (no need to wait for St. Patrick's Day) is <a href="">Irish Soda bread,</a> which I think is absolutely great for breakfast. No buttermilk? Don't worry. Just substitute lemon juice or <a href="">vinegar into regular milk</a>, in place of buttermilk.</p> <p>Special diet? Here is a no-knead <a href="">oatmeal </a>bread that works with with soy milk. No yeast is used. I found that if I added some finely-chopped apple (about a half-cup), it was like dessert.</p> <h2>4. Sushi</h2> <p>As much as I love sushi, you would think I would be better at making it. Not so! Any type of cooking that requires good manual dexterity is not my thing. I have tried sushi, spring rolls, shaped baked rolls, but mine come out looking pretty ugly.</p> <p>Loving the flavors of sushi, I was so happy to find a recipe for &quot;<a href="">pan sushi</a>.&quot; Keoni Chang is the chef for the Hawaii chain of Foodland stores and this is a fun demo. Try with imitation (or real) crab, Spam, tuna, or let your imagination go crazy. I like to add a layer of Japanese omelet or tofu, spicy ahi poke, bacon and/or fried chicken pieces. A layer of sliced green onions is also good.</p> <h2>5. Ice Cream</h2> <p>I do own an ice-cream maker. It makes wonderful ice cream and frozen yogurt, but it takes a lot of pre-planning and time. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't easier to use.</p> <p>When I am not in the mood to get all the parts out, I have two &quot;cheater&quot; ice-cream recipes that are great. The first one? <a href="">Frozen bananas</a>. No kidding. Slice a banana, freeze it, pummel it in the food processor or blender and ta-daah! Ice cream. I use a blender, which is powerful enough that it works fine. Keep in mind the advantages of the frozen banana ice cream: Fat-free, gluten-free, vegan&hellip; you get my drift. What is really unusual is that I first thought it would just taste, oh, I don't know, just banana-y. But oddly, and especially when you add a little chocolate syrup on top, or peanut butter, or coconut shavings, well, that other flavor seems to be the dominant one. It's a little like a blank slate.</p> <p>My second &quot;fake <a href="">ice cream</a>&quot; trick? Whipping cream and condensed milk. Again, add whatever flavorings you want (if any). I challenge you to wait until it is completely solid. The first time we made this ice cream, my husband and I waited an hour and a half and decided we would &quot;check&quot; it. Like quality control. Just to make sure it wasn't horrible. Well, we ate it. All. It was like soft-serve ice cream, and it was a hot day, and we'd had a small lunch&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Margaritas</h2> <p>If I ask my husband to make me a margarita, it is an undertaking. He makes a simple syrup, picks fresh limes, and gets out some fancy glasses and coarse salt. If I have been marinating carnitas or simmering a mole, that kind of margarita fuss is justified. But hey, tacos? No. Let's just make an easy <a href="">margarita.</a> I keep frozen limeade (which is also cheap) around just for this purpose.</p> <h2>7. Pate</h2> <p>Pate, anyone? Why, yes, thank you, I would love some. Would you believe that, aside from the chicken livers, I had the makings in my pantry? I had never considered making it, thinking it would be really complicated. Wrong! This Emeril Lagase recipe for <a href="">chicken liver pate</a> is surprisingly easy. It does take a little pre-planning, so if you want to throw a dinner party on Saturday night, you will need to shop and cook on Friday. I used brandy rather than cognac and served on toasted baguettes.</p> <h2>8. Hollandaise</h2> <p>When my mother wanted to impress her guests, out came the fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Couldn't you just swim in this sauce? I don't own a double boiler, and I certainly do not have the patience for all the stirring and monitoring. Fortunately, some smarty came up with a blender <a href="">hollandaise sauce</a>. I use a little Sriracha sauce in mine for extra zip. Great on asparagus, of course (roasted, not boiled &mdash; sorry, mom) and of course on Eggs Benedict. You could put this sauce on just about anything and it would be great, shoe leather included.</p> <h2>9. Pasta</h2> <p>I used to have a pasta maker. It did make very nice pasta, but it also had many parts, needed assembly each use, and the clean-up was a nightmare. I ended up selling it. However, I do love fresh pasta, and was feeling a little deprived until I looked into making it without the equipment.</p> <p>What do you really need for good, fresh pasta? Basically, a good, sharp knife and a rolling pin.</p> <p>I found instructions in lots of places online, but I like <a href="">this fresh pasta recipe</a> the best.</p> <p>There was some trial and error involved. I did not have good luck with whole-wheat flour, which fell apart a lot. In my cookbooks, &quot;semolina flour&quot; is recommended, but I just used plain flour and it worked fine.</p> <p>There is a lot of debate online about whether to allow the pasta to dry or to cook it immediately. Most people seem to agree that results are better if you allow spaghetti or linguini to dry for between one and three hours. If you do decide to dry your pasta, you're going to need a rack or a tree to hang it from. When I had a pasta maker, I also had a drying tree &mdash; no problem. But when I got rid of that maker, I sold the tree with it. What to do if you don't have a pasta drying tree? Improvise.</p> <p>I took my cookie rack (like <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000Q3EZNY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VD5Q3KYAT7MMN35L">this one</a>), put it between two tall standing books (making a sort of bridge), and put the noodles on the rungs of the rack to dry. I also put some waxed paper underneath the noodles, as some of them fell off and I wanted them to land on a clean surface.</p> <h2>10. Pie Crust</h2> <p>I have no issues with using those ready-made crusts, but sometimes, I don't have them around at the ready. Also, I am not terribly handy with a rolling pin and I really hate getting flour everywhere. But wait! You don't need all that stuff. I love this <a href="">simple pie crust recipe</a> &mdash; and it works! How? Smushing. Yep, you just &quot;smush&quot; the dough into place. It takes a little practice, but this dough recipe is very forgiving. I am not very good at decorative crusts, but I think mine turned out looking fine and definitely had a homemade touch.</p> <p><em>See, anybody can look like a total gourmet on a day's notice. Any easy recipes to share, readers?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy" 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 difficult recipes easy recipes recipe secrets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Marla Walters 1185373 at Wise Bread Reloaded: Late Summer Grilling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-late-summer-grilling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family barbeque" title="family barbeque" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In some parts of the country, the <a href="">apple harvest is already underway</a>, and a summer that seemed so endless when it began is already closing in on another fall.</p> <p>But there are still a few more weekends of grilling season left. If you've grown weary of the usual backyard BBQ fare, consider some of the recipes, ingredients, and grill techniques we've collected below in this week's edition of Reloaded.</p> <p><a href="">Great Vegan Grill Recipes</a> &mdash; Mikey Rox offers up six delicious vegan grill dishes, including a precious grilled peach dessert.</p> <p><a href="">This Is How You Grill Pizza at Home</a> &mdash; It sounds crazy, but a grill really is a great way to prepare pizza, primarily because you can raise the temperature to 700 degrees or more, almost as hot as a wood-fired pizza oven. Ashley Marcin's method puts dough right on grill, but a pizza stone works too.</p> <p><a href="">15 Delicious New Ways to Top a Burger</a> &mdash; If you are determined to go with the classic burger, mix it up with one (or several) of Marla Walter's fun burger toppings. She also offers recipes for several non-beef burgers, including turkey, salmon, black bean, and crab.</p> <p><a href="">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</a> &mdash; The recipe for Korean BBQ chicken thighs Camilla Cheung included in her collection of leg and thigh recipes is why we've included the post here, but you'll find 14 other great recipes for dark meat after the click, too.</p> <p><a href="">10 Cheap and Delicious Marinades</a> &mdash; All of these marinades are suitable for the usual grill proteins (the ones that come from animals), but they'll do well on vegetarian and vegan vehicles such as tofu and tempeh, too.</p> <p><a href="">15 Fun, Cheap Things to Do Before Summer Is Gone</a> &mdash; When you're done grilling and eating, Jennifer Holder offers a double handful of fun, frugal things to do before school and bad weather return.</p> <h2>This Year's Record Breaking Apple Harvest</h2> <p>The Wall Street Journal tells us that this year apple harvest in Washington state will be <a href="">record breaking</a>. Just don't expect too much downward pressure on prices. That's because Washington grows varieties such as Gala and Honey Crisp that other apple growing regions do not. Nevertheless, what should we do with the bounty?</p> <p>Grill 'em, of course &mdash; <a href="">sliced</a> and dusted with cinnamon and sugar, or whole and <a href="">stuffed with chocolate</a> and marshmallows.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: Late Summer Grilling" 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 BBQ Grill Grilling outdoor food Sat, 16 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Lars Peterson 1186465 at