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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Low Cost Butter Spreads

Easy Herb Butters
By:Suzanne Lieurance

Since herbs are plentiful this time of year, why not use them to make a variety of simple herb butters? You can even freeze the butters to enjoy in the cooler fall months ahead. You can buy fresh herbs at the grocery store or farmer's market, or even grow them yourself in a small herb garden, or in pots on the windowsill.

Use these tasty butters on everything from grilled steaks, fish, and chicken, to cooked vegetables. And don't forget to slather some on a big chunk of fresh bread. Yum!

To make herb butters, chop the herbs very fine (and pulverize the seeds). Cream the butter. Then blend in the herbs and seasonings. Roll the herb butter into a log, then wrap the log in waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator, or put in the freezer (for up to 6 months).

Try the following herb butter combinations:

BASIC HERBAL BUTTER
2 sticks softened butter
1 Tsp. chopped, fresh green basil
1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh marjoram
1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh chives
1 tsp. chopped, fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice


PARSLEY HERB BUTTER
1/2 c. softened butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. chopped basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
Pepper to taste


ROSEMARY BUTTER
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 sticks softened butter

Variation: To make pretty pats of these butters, spoon softened herb butter into candy molds and freeze. When the butter is frozen, pop it out of the molds. Store the butter pats in the refrigerator.

Visit the Three Angels Gourmet Co. at http://www.threeangelsgourmet.com and sign up to receive two free ebooks with quick recipes and tips for easy entertaining.

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, children's author, and The Working Writer's Coach. Find out more about her writing and coaching services at [http://www.lieurancegroup.com]

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Easy-Herb-Butters&id=65629] Easy Herb Butters

Easter Tips

Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)
By: Juliana Montgomery

If you're hosting Easter this year, I'd like to share a few tips with you that have helped me keep my sanity when I have hosted this holiday.

1. Cook and bake as many dishes as you can in advance. I have an Easter baking recipe that I share with you below that is easy and can be done up to a week in advance. I highly recommend baking your Easter desserts the day before. It really helps me cut down on the stress on Easter day.

2. Organize your kitchen into baking/cooking stations the night before. I know this might sound crazy but I have found it helps me whenever I am making a holiday meal. I put out all of the ingredients for each Easter recipe that do not need to be refrigerated. I put the recipe out and put all of the ingredients that go into that recipe right next to it, along with any pans or measuring cups or spoons I may need for it. I also try to organize them from longest to shortest cooking time so that I know what to start with first.

3. Select the Easter recipes that you want to use a week in advance. This helps me make a grocery list of all the ingredients that I need. That way I can get to the grocery store and get everything that I need well in advance of the day itself.

4. Use or borrow appliances to help make the job easier. I still remember the first Easter I hosted at my house. I must have spent at least half an hour slicing potatoes. If I had just asked to borrow a food processor with a slicer from a friend, it would have made that day so much easier. If you do not have the right appliance for the job or cannot borrow it, find a different recipe.

5. Enlist helpers! The friends and family who have come to your Easter feast are usually more than happy to help out with any small last minute things. My husband has become the official potato masher for all of the holiday gatherings we hold at our house! Those last 30 minutes before your meal is ready can sometimes get a bit crazy. It is okay to ask for help.

Bonus Easter Recipe: Chocolate Easter Nests

These have been a favorite Easter baking recipe of mine for as long as I can remember. I loved helping mom put jelly beans in these for the "eggs."

1 box shredded wheat cereal (10-12 biscuits)
1 - 12 ounce package chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Crush the biscuits so they are fairly fine. Melt the chocolate chips in bowl in the microwave until they are soft. Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate. Mix together, put into a large bowl, and add the shredded wheat. Put mixture by tablespoon on a piece of waxed paper. Shape each into a nest. Chill until firmly set. Store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to set them out, put a few jelly beans in each nest. It is a cute, tasty Easter treat.

Jill Seader is an avid baking enthusiast who loves to share baking stories. Visit her baking recipes website at http://www.YourBakingStory.com to hear her stories and share some of your own.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Easter-Baking-and-Cooking-Tips-(Plus-a-Bonus-Easter-Recipe)&id=501824] Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Vinegar: Low Cost Solution to Many Problems

Vinegar And Its Uses
By:Dr. Emanuel M. Cane, DC

Vinegar is described in the dictionary as an acid liquid obtained from an alcoholic liquid, as cider, by oxidation, as an acetous fermentation: used as a condiment and as a preservative. It is the product of two biochemical processes.


Alcoholic fermentation, which changes natural, sugars into alcohol.
Acid fermentation in which acetobacter, a group bacteria, converts the alcohol portion into acid.


There are four basic types of vinegar;


Distilled vinegar made by the acid fermentation of distilled alcohol. This is the white vinegar you can probably find in your house now.
Malt vinegar fermented from barley malt or other grains that can be converted to maltose (known as C12 H22 011 H20, the chemical formula.
Vinegar made from sugar, a two-step fermentation of sugar or molasses.
Vinegar that is made from juices in a two-step fermentation process. Apple juice is the juice of choice and most commonly used. However, other fruits such as peaches, grapes, and berries can be used as well.


Extremely popular vinegar, most everyone knows and usually found in restaurants, is Balsamic vinegar. The process of producing Balsamic vinegar begins with crushing grapes and concentrating the juice over an open flame. This produces what is called "must". The "must" is then fermented with yeast to produce alcohol, and is again fermented by the "madre" culture, producing the Balsamic vinegar we know so well. The entire process occurs in wooden barrels and as the liquid evaporates over time, it is then transferred to smaller barrels. It is these wooden barrels that what will give the vinegar its unique aromatic taste.

Some very interesting stories that are attributed to the use of vinegar since it was discovered approximately 10,000 years ago. No one knows who discovered it, but it probably occurred by accident. Vinegar means sour wine, so what probably happened was that some wine turned sour and vinegar was born. There are references to the healing and soothing properties of vinegar in the Bible. Vinegar was not permitted to be used by commoners, but was only permitted for use by the nobility by decree.

Roman legionnaires used vinegar as a beverage. They must have had strong stomachs. In Babylonian times it was used as an herb flavored condiment. Cleopatra is attributed to making a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal. She won her bet by dissolving precious pearls in vinegar and consumed the liquid with her meal. It was a dinner fit for a queen.

When Hannibal had to cross the Alps, there were boulders that obstructed his path. He found an ingenious way to overcome that obstacle. He had the boulders heated and then drenched with vinegar, causing them to crack and crumble so that they were easily cleared aside. One of the most interesting facts is that Hippocrates, the father of medicine spoke very highly of using vinegar as a remedy for many ills. The Egyptians used vinegar for medicinal purposes for a great many ills.

The uses for vinegar are many, and some new use is always being found. These are just some that can be used at home for our daily chores.

Clean windows by using a mixture of water and vinegar.
Dampen a cloth with vinegar to remove stains from chrome and stainless steel.
Wipe shower walls and door with vinegar-soaked cloth to remove and prevent mildew and mold from growing.
Use water and vinegar to rinse glasses and dishes to remove film and spots.
Add vinegar instead of water to the coffee maker and run the cycle. Then add plain water and run through cycle again to rinse. Will remove buildup of scale.
To remove scale from teakettle, add water and vinegar and let stand overnight.
To clean a hardened paint brush, let it simmer in boiling water and rinse in very hot soapy water.
Wipe your oven frequently with vinegar, that will help prevent a buildup of grease, making cleaning much easier.
Adding a little vinegar to the water will make cleaning your car easier and make it shine.
When seats in cane chairs start to sag use a solution of half water and half vinegar. Heat solution until hot, then sponge the seats and place outdoors in the sun to dry.
Add a little vinegar to the water when mopping tile floors. It will make them shine and also act as a deodorant and prevent mold and mildew.

In the kitchen and the preparing of foods, there are many uses as well.


Rinse your fruits and vegetables in a solution of vinegar and water before eating or preparing the food for cooking.
Make a better piecrust by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to recipe. The crust will be flakier.
Add a little vinegar when boiling eggs. If there are cracks in the egg, it will prevent the whites from leaking out.
Add a teaspoon of vinegar when poaching eggs to prevent separation.
When canning or preserving foods, wipe the jars with vinegar. That will prevent the buildup of mold producing bacteria.
To improve the taste of fish when cooking, rinse in a solution of vinegar and water. Much of the fishy taste and odor will be removed.
A spoon full of vinegar added to the water when cooking cauliflower will make it whiter, and when cooking green vegetables, it will make them greener.
Adding a tablespoon of vinegar to gelatin will make it firmer.
Add a 1/8 to � cup of cider vinegar when soaking beans to remove the gas from the beans.
Cabbage odor can be removed when cooking cabbage by adding some vinegar to the water.
To prevent mold from the end of an uncooked ham, just rub some vinegar on it.
To make a real fluffy meringue, add one teaspoon of vinegar to 3 egg whites.
Adding vinegar to the water when boiling a ham will remove the salty taste and improve the flavor.
New Englanders put vinegar on their French fries. It is also used that way in the UK.


In health related issues, vinegar has many applications. Some such uses are.


For skin burns apply ice-cold vinegar immediately. Use cold compresses by soaking a cloth in vinegar. Using these compresses 3 or 4 times daily. Doing this can prevent blisters from forming.
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to water in a plastic pan. Use to soak your feet to soften calluses. Makes trimming toenails and cuticles much easier.
Add 2 cups of cider vinegar to a hot tub. Makes an excellent soak for muscle soreness. This reduces the soreness by adding potassium to the muscles.
One of the best uses is making solution of half vinegar and half water, this basically is a solution that could be bought commercially, and was called "Burrow's Solution". It is an excellent solution to reduce the swelling and inflammation of a sprained ankle, by applying a cold compress. Use it also for any other injury that causes pain, swelling, and inflammation.


The versatility of vinegar makes it practically mandatory that all households have a bottle of white, and a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the pantry. And you needn't worry about it becoming outdated or spoiling. It doesn't spoil and can be kept indefinitely.

Dr. Emanuel M. Cane, D.C. [http://www.doctorsexercise.com]

 [mailto:doc1@gate.net]doc1@gate.net

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Vinegar-And-Its-Uses&id=5786541] Vinegar And Its Uses

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Low Cost Homemade Laundry Detergent

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simple Recipe to Save Money
By:Holly Mann

Ingredients:

1 Box of Washing Soda ($2.23)
  1 Box of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle, approx. $1.99)
  1 Bar of Soap
  Large Bucket
  Mixing Spoon
  Cheese Grater
  Old containers, water jugs, plastic bottles to store the detergent in


Making laundry detergent at home, is an excellent way to save money. According to the US Department of Energy, the average American does 148 loads of laundry per year. Some families wash clothes daily, which would equal a few hundred loads of laundry per year. Laundry soap is ridiculously expensive, and it's time you save some money = each load will cost you mere pennies!

I first made my own batch several months ago, after reading several tutorials online - my favorite which was from the Simple Dollar Website. So, thank you Trent, for your article as it has saved me a lot of money. My son and I enjoyed making our own detergent so much, that I wanted to create a little graphic tutorial for you on making laundry detergent from home. We altered the recipe a little bit to make. It was a fun project to do with my four-year-old son, took less than 20 minutes, and saved me hundreds of dollars (per year).

Tutorial: 4 Steps to Making Laundry Detergent Step 1: First, take your bar of soap (any kind of bar soap will work) and your cheese grater and grate that bar of soap down just like you would a block of cheese. This is the only hard part of making your own detergent, but it is worth the work! Grate it down until you have a bowl full of grated soap.

Step 2: In a large pan on your stove, put four cups of water and bring it to a boil. Take your grated soap bar pieces and dump them into the water, stirring constantly. It will take a few minutes, but continue to stir until the soap shavings dissolve fully. The water will become cloudy and thicken up. When all pieces are dissolved, you're ready for the next step.

Step 3: Leave the pan on the stove for a moment, and take out your large bucket. Put approximately 3 gallons of warm water into the bucket. Then add 1 Cup of Washing Soda, and 1/2 Cup of Borax. Stir it all until it dissolves.

Step 4: Take the pan off of the stove, and pour it directly into the bucket with the mixture of washing soda and borax. Continue to stir until everything is dissolved fully. And, you're done! It is recommended that you let the stuff settle overnight, before putting it all into containers for future usage.

The Final Result: My son and I (within 20 minutes) made a large batch of laundry detergent. We filled up all the old laundry detergent containers as well as the other bottles with detergent, and had detergent to spare. I ran out of bottles so I kept it in the bucket and used that first, before getting to the bottles. This stuff lasts a very long time, and costs just pennies for each load. Making laundry detergent at home is simple, fun and a great way to save a lot of money.

Holly Mann is an entrepreneur, helping others save money and make money from the Internet, at home. She runs numerous websites, and is the author of one of the most popular work-from-home guides, Honest Riches. [http://www.HonestHolly.com] [http://www.HonestRiches.com]

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Make-Your-Own-Laundry-Detergent---Simple-Recipe-to-Save-Money&id=2404448] Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simple Recipe to Save Money

What To Do With Stale Bread

6 Ways to Save Money - Rescue Your Stale Bread
By:Jesse Whitehead

If you are looking for ways to save money, what better place to start than by looking in your bread box. If you're like many people, you may not always eat all of your bread before it starts to gets dried-out or stale. This need not be a problem though. Here are 6 things you can do to save your stale bread from being thrown away, and you will save money too.

1) Bring Your Dried-Out Bread Back to Life. Don't throw the dry bread away - it can be saved! Just dip the dried-out bread in some water, put it in a warm oven that's about 200 degrees for a few minutes. Be sure to do this when you're already using the oven for something else though, or you won't really be saving any money. You'll know the bread is done when you see the outside turn crisp. The inside will be soft. You'll probably want to eat the bread when it's hot -it will be yummy with a little butter and jam.

2) Another way to use your stale bread is to make breadcrumbs - a great way to stretch your meats and add flavor. Breadcrumbs are perfect for making meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, and vegetarian dishes. Freeze what you don't use in an airtight container or freezer bag.

3) Make Croutons. Rescue your dry bread from going down the garbage disposal by making croutons. Wheat and white bread, bagels, English muffins and just about any other bread will work. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, toss with seasonings and oil in a bowl, bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees until crisp. Use immediately on salads, soups, or in recipes. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container.

4) Feed the birds. Your dried bread crumbs are perfect for feeding the neighborhood birds, and is a sure way to attract many fine-feathered friends to your bird feeder.

5) Make bread pudding. Leftover bread is perfect for bread puddings. Look online or at your favorite bookstore for great bread pudding recipes.

6) Make French Toast. Yes believe it or not stale bread makes terrific French toast because it will easily soak up the egg mixture. In fact French toast was created as a way to use bread that had become stale and dry.

As you can see you need not throw away your dry, stale bread anymore. Reducing waste can help you stretch your budget and save you money when your finances are tight.

Jesse Whitehead lives in the Central Valley of California where he enjoys writing articles on a variety of different subjects. His latest interest is in [http://flukedigitalmultimeter.org/Fluke-Clamp-Meter.html]Fluke Clamp Meters. Come visit his latest website at http://FlukeDigitalMultimeter.org which provides more information about Fluke Clamp Meters, and other electrical testing products.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?6-Ways-to-Save-Money---Rescue-Your-Stale-Bread&id=3267075] 6 Ways to Save Money - Rescue Your Stale Bread

What You Need To Know About Onions

The Humble Onion: A Guide for Creative Cooks
By:Shawn Scott

A good cook knows what ingredients to combine into a delicious meal. This short article in the "Ingredients" series focuses on the humble and ubiquitous onion. Virtually every cuisine uses the onion or onion variant as a basic flavoring. In fact, Julia Child once said, "It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions."



Here we'll take a look at what kinds of onions there are, their different tastes and qualities, and the different uses to which onions can be put.  When you're done reading you'll feel a lot more confident going to the market and selecting onions, cooking with onions and creating recipes with onions as an ingredient.



What's an onion?



The Latin name for onion is "Allium cepa."  It's related to other edible Allium species: leeks (Allium ampeloprasum or porrum); shallots (Allium ascalonicum); garlic (Allium sativum); and, chives (Allium schoenoprasum), among others.  You may immediately recognize some common characteristics: they all have bulbs, are layered, and taste quite strongly.  If you're a gardener, you know that they grow tall and thin, that there is one flower to a stalk, and that they reproduce by budding off the bulb.



When you go to the market you may notice that there are several types of onion available. In North America the most common are the yellow onion, the white onion, and the red onion. You may also find small white pearl onions or Walla Walla sweet onions.  Because onions are a foundation spice in many areas of the world, people have cultivated sub-species of the common garden onion, often named for where they come from. These different species have different flavors and uses and we'll cover those below.



You can find an excellent resource on the history of onions in general and sweet onions in particular at Peggy Trowbridge's About.com site, " [http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/swonionhistory.htm]Sweet Onion History." The history of the onion is fascinating, but not the subject of this article.  Here we're more concerned with choosing, storing and cooking with onions.



How to pick and store an onion



Onions should be firm and solid, heavy to the hand.  There should be no soft or mushy parts.  The "parchment" layer of thin skin should cover the whole onion, but not descend through more than one or two thin layers towards the heart.  It's said that the perfect onion has 13 rings, but of course you can't count them in the grocery store.



Onions keep for a very long time if they are stored in cool, dark, dry places.  If they are stored wet, however, they are prone to become moldy.  Don't buy onions that have mold on them (the mold can be dry and powdery, or, if the onion is very wet, it can be smeary like algae.  If you find mold on an onion you store at home, quickly remove it from other onions and check them for mold.  If it's a small spot of mold you can cut it away, but if there is a large area of mold or if the onion is soft you should dispose of it in the compost heap or the garbage. When onions begin to sprout they are still edible, but they lose some of their flavor. When the sprouts grow large they suck moisture from the bulb and the onion changes texture and taste for the worse. The drier you keep them, the less likely they will sprout.



Onions labeled "Sweet" do not store as well as other onions, and are usually only available seasonally. They are mild and, as their name suggests, taste sweeter than more common onions. Use these soon after you buy them.



Onions come in sizes from small to large. I recommend that you consider how much onion you will actually use at a time. If you need small amounts of onion to flavor dishes, buy smaller onions. If you're making sauce and need a lot of onion, go big. Just remember that cut and peeled onions are difficult to store properly. They can dry out, get mouldy and, if not kept in air-tight containers, make your whole refrigerator and/or kitchen smell like onion. An onion is considered "super-colossal" if it is 4.5" in diameter or larger.



Raw onions



The best onions for eating raw are Sweet Onions. Varieties of Sweet Onion are usually only available April-August, depending on the region you live in.



Raw onions are primarily used as flavoring and to add crunchy texture to cold or hot foods.  They can be chopped for salads, sliced for sandwiches, and pureed for dressings or sauces. They can also be eaten plain: Russians love to eat raw white onion with their black rye bread; a favorite combination is to take a shot of good vodka, bite into an onion, and follow it with a piece of the bread. (Repeat as necessary.)  Onions can also be marinated and pickled in a variety of ways.



When using raw onions, it is particularly important to pay attention to the flavor and strength of the particular onion you are using.  Peeling them under running water can help to cut the fumes, but the best method I've found for very sensitive people is to wear a pair of swimming goggles. Really; I'm not kidding.



How strong is your onion?



Though you might buy the same brand of onion from the market again and again, one time the flavor will be strong and the fumes so powerful they burn your eyes, and another time they will be mild and almost fume-free.  Onion strength within the same species vary depending upon the time of year they are grown, the conditions under which they are grown, their age at the time of harvesting, how long they have been stored, the quality of the soil, and the amount of water they receive. It's important to remember this when you are cooking and to taste the particular onions you have chosen for your meal.  "A cup of chopped onion" is simply a bulk measurement and doesn't tell you anything about flavor.  If your onions are very strong, use fewer. If they are weak and mild, you can use more.  Except when you are baking, regard recipes as guidelines to use in your cooking: amounts and proportions are rarely absolute.



Different kinds of onions



Yellow Onions comprise about 70 percent of the onions available in supermarkets.  They are easier to grow than red or white onions, have tougher skin and are not prone to showing the green streaks (from late harvest rains) or the sunburn that white onions can suffer. Yellow Onions can be strong or mild depending on the factors discussed above.



White onions grow very large and are more tender than Yellow Onions.  Like yellow onions, they vary a great deal in strength, pungency and fume emission. They are very popular for Mexican and Latin American cooking as they tend to be tangier and more crisp tasting than Yellow Onions.  They are very susceptible to mold, but store for a long time if kept very dry.



Red Onions grow to a smaller size than Yellow Onions. They are also often milder and sweeter, with a distinctive taste and texture. One variety of red onion is the Bermuda, which usually shows up in supermarkets in the spring.



Yellow Granax (sweet onions, called Vidalia when grown around Vidalia, Georgia and called Maui Onion when grown on that island in Hawaii).  The Cippolini is an Italian sweet onion. Other varieties include Sweet Imperial, Carzalia Sweet, Oso, Arizona, and the strangely named Texas 1015Y.  Remember these are hard to store.



Walla Walla Onion (called Walla Walla Sweets when grown around Walla Walla, Washington). This onion originated in Corsica and was brought to Washington by immigrants.



Pearl Onions (also called Boiling Onions) are small white onions under 2" in diameter. They are difficult to peel, but they are a lovely addition to soups and stews, and they are a joy to pickle. They are rarely eaten raw.



Dried Onions and Preserved Fried Onions



Dried onions are never as good as fresh. Use dried minced onion as a substitute for fresh only when absolutely necessary. Personally, I stay away from onion powder entirely.



Preserved fried (crispy) onions are often used to garnish finished dishes and can be purchased in many Asian food markets.



Cooking With Onions



Onions should always be cooked at medium or lower heat because they change their taste and become bitter if cooked too hot. Onions can be cooked into six different forms:



1) Transparent: 



If you cook an onion for a medium- to long-period of time over a low heat they will turn soft and transparent.  The longer you cook them at this temperature, the softer and less visible they will become.  Sauteing onions to transparency is the method often used for introducing them into sauces and stews. Many sauces begin with the instruction to "melt" your onions into some sort of oil, often combined with garlic and tomatoes.  When you put raw onions into liquid (like soups and stews) and boil them, you also achieve the state of transparency. In the first case you suffuse the oil with the onion taste. In the second, the onion taste diffuses through the boiling or simmering liquid.



2) Browned: 



The taste of browning onions is indeed delectable and can be smelled throughout the house (and even sometimes out onto the street), especially when combined with garlic.  Browned onions are sauted over a medium heat just to the point of achieving a golden brown color around the edges.  If you overcook the onions and burn them, the smooth, mellow flavor will be replaced by a sharp, bitter, burnt taste, so it is very important to keep a close watch on onions if you are cooking them over a medium heat. Never cook them higher than medium.  Browned onions are also used as the basis for sauces or stews, but they impart a very different flavor than transparent onions.  The best description I can give is that they have a "toasted" flavor. The flavor suffuses the oil medium in which they are browned and thus anything cooked in that oil will also taste of browned onions.



3) Fried:



If you dip onions in a batter and then drop them hot oil they will fry quickly. Properly fried onions have a crispy batter and reach a soft transparent or semi-transparent state. They must never burn on the outside. You can fry cut up onions (as in Onion Rings) or the whole onion (a popular dish in many steak houses).  Fried onions are usually served as garnishes or side dishes.



4) Baked or roasted:



Onions can be put in an oven and baked, either on their own with some sort of sauce (balsamic vinegar and garlic, for example), or as a part of a roasted dish (pot roast, tandoori, roast beef, etc.).  Roasted onions may toast lightly on the outside and be soft in the middle, or they may become completely soft and transparent. The end state depends on the amount of moisture in which the dish is cooked.



5) Grilled:



Onions grill very well, but since they burn quickly at high temperatures it's best to add them late to the barbecue grill or skewer.  Watch grilled onions carefully to ensure that they brown but do not burn. Grilled onions usually do not cook long enough to be soft in the middle, so they are often toasted and soft on the outer layers, and retain some crunch and bite on the inside. This makes them a particularly lively and tasty accompaniment to strongly flavored dishes like shishkebob.



6) Pickled or marinated: 



The most commonly pickled onions are boilers, but large onions can also be pickled if they are cut up. The best pickled onions retain freshness and crunch while merging their flavors with strong pickling spices. Most pickled onions are lightly boiled (less than three minutes) before being put in the preserving liquid. This liquid combines vinegar with other pickling spices.  If you arepickling for storage make sure to follow safe canning rules. Unlike most of the recipes I discuss, pickling is a delicate procedure and proportions of preserving liquid need to be measure carefully. For a great guide see Clemson Universities " [http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC3100.htm]Pickle Basics." 



Marinated onion dishes should be used within a week. Often the same spices are used for marination as for pickling, but the proportions and procedure are not so important since the pickled will not be canned and stored.



Summary



Most good cooks have onions on hand since they use them in many dishes and storage onions (non-sweet) keep for long periods of time. Learn to distinguish varieties of onion by tasting them and using them in your cooking experiments. A properly-used onion can ring flavor and taste out of scant ingredients.  If you don't feel like cooking, you can simply contemplate the onion. It inspires deep thoughts, or at least it did in Carl Sandburg, the famous American poet.  Sandburg wrote:  "Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."

In addition to being a scholar, Shawn Scott, Ph.D., is a culinary enthusiast and has worked as a professional caterer and chef.  Now retired from teaching, Scott has decided to share the collected wit and wisdom of almost forty years of cooking and food lore.  You can read more about Scott's ideas on innovation and improvisation in the kitchen at "  Recipe-Free Cooking": http://recipefreecooking.blogspot.com/

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Humble-Onion:-A-Guide-for-Creative-Cooks&id=317023] The Humble Onion: A Guide for Creative Cooks

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Guide to Chicken Parts and Recipe for Chicken Soup

A Guide to the Different Parts of a Chicken
By:KC Kudra

Chicken can be used in so many different recipes. It is economic to buy and has such a soft flavor that you can combine it with all different kinds of herbs, spices, and sauces. You can either buy a whole chicken or chicken pieces. A whole chicken will come with giblets, which is the heart, liver, neck and gizzard.

If you do not want a whole chicken, you can buy a poultry half, which is a chicken split in half lengthways. This gives you both dark and light meat.

Chicken Breast Cuts

Chicken breasts are very popular and these are available bone-in or boneless, and skin-on or skinless. A chicken breast is white meat only. Another option is a breast quarter, which is a quarter of the chicken, including half a breast, some of the back and a wing.

Breast halves, which are also called split breasts, are available too and these are chicken breasts, which have been split in half lengthwise. These are white meat only. The tenderloin is the breast muscle and is white meat.

Chicken Wing Cuts

A chicken wing comprises drummettes, wing tips, and wingettes. Wingettes are also known as flat wing tip. A drummette is the part of the wing, which has the most meat on. It looks like a small drumstick and is the part of the chicken connected to the body.

The wingette is the middle part of the wing. It is more moist than the drummette but with less meat on. The wing tip is often thrown away because there is hardly any meat on it but you can use wing tips to add flavor to broth or to your favorite chicken soup recipe or chicken noodle soup recipe.

Chicken Leg Cuts

A chicken leg comprises the drumstick and thigh and this is dark meat. Leg quarters include a drumstick, thigh, and some of the back. The thigh is at the top of the leg and the drumstick is at the bottom.

How to Make Soup with a Whole Chicken

This delicious chicken soup recipe is very simple to make and it is nutritious also. This makes enough to serve about eight people but you can freeze some if you want to.

You will need:


1 whole chicken (remove the insides)
 2 chicken bouillon cubes
 3 quarts water
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 sprigs parsley, chopped
 1 onion, quartered
 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
 1/2 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped
 1 teaspoon tomato puree
 2 stalks celery, chopped
 1 clove garlic, peeled

How to make it:

Put the whole chicken in cold water in a big pot. Add the celery, onion, bouillon cubes, garlic, tomato puree, and salt. Cook for an hour or until the chicken is tender, then turn off the heat and take the chicken out. Let it cool. Strain the broth into another pot, pressing the celery and onions with the back of a wooden spoon, to ensure their flavor goes into the broth.

Bring the broth to the boil. Add the carrots and parsnips and cook the soup until they are soft. Take the skin off the chicken and remove the bones. Cut the best parts into big chunks and put it in the soup, along with the parsley. Warm the soup back up but do not let it boil, else the chicken might go tough. Serve this chicken soup recipe hot with some crusty bread for dunking.

Whole chicken soup is easy to make but there are also lots of other chicken soup recipe [http://www.chickennoodlesoups.com/Soup-Recipes/index.php] ideas if you prefer to cook with chicken pieces. What about a chicken tortilla soup recipe [http://www.chickennoodlesoups.com/Soup-Recipes/easy-chicken-soup/chicken-tortilla-soup-crock-pot-recipe.php] or an old fashioned chicken noodle soup? You will find these recipes and many more at our website.

Look for Our Heart Health Recipes at ChickenNoodleSoups.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?A-Guide-to-the-Different-Parts-of-a-Chicken&id=3564297] A Guide to the Different Parts of a Chicken

Low Cost Chicken Drumstick Recipe

Chicken Drumstick Recipes - Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken
By:Brandy Summers

Here's a recipe where chicken drumsticks and thighs are the star attraction with a deep, honey glaze that has a twist of tangy balsamic vinegar. These sweet and tangy drumsticks are sure to be a favorite on your dinner menu.

To make this dish you'll need: fresh skinless chicken thighs, fresh chicken drumsticks, vegetable oil, black pepper, chopped garlic cloves, tomato paste, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, honey and green onion tops - thinly sliced.

In a large skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add in 6 pieces of fresh chicken thighs and 6 pieces of fresh chicken drumsticks. Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of black pepper over all chicken. Cook chicken, while turning frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is slightly brown on all sides.

Remove chicken from the pan and drain off the excess oil. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic to the pan and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and slowly add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth. With a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape bits clinging to bottom of pan.

Increase the heat to medium high and add in 2/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey. Boil rapidly for 3 minutes to reduce the liquid to approximately 1 cup.

Return the chicken to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the liquid in the pan thickens and reaches a dark mahogany glaze consistency. Internal juices form the chicken should run clear.

Remove chicken from the pan and place on a serving platter. Pour glaze over chicken and sprinkle 4 tablespoons of thinly sliced green onion tops over chicken pieces.

Makes 4 servings.

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Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Chicken-Drumstick-Recipes---Honey-Balsamic-Glazed-Chicken&id=2799733] Chicken Drumstick Recipes - Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Slow Cooking Tips

My Top 10 Tips for Slow Cooking in the Fast Lane
By:Diane Watkins

I call this slow cooking in the fast lane, because I use my slow cooker to cope with the fast pace of my life.  I frequently find myself running from work to appointment, picking up kids, wondering when I am going to have time to cook.  Well here is the answer. 
My crockpot cooks for me, while I run.  When dinner time comes, or when I finally have time to collapse, there is a hot, tasty meal waiting for me.
These 10 tips are the essentials for successful crock pot cooking. 

 1.  Cooking Times and Temperatures:  Cooking time on high is about 1/2 the time on low.  Some recipes require a specific cooking temperature and time to be successful, so follow instructions closely until you have a feel for the recipe.  For recipes that give both times, I will often start the recipe on High to get it started, then turn to low after about an hour.   Start large chunks of meat such as a roast or whole chicken on high for about an hour when-ever possible.  This gets the food up to a safe cooking temperature quickly.  An extra large roast should be cut into half, to help get the temperature up quickly.



2.  You can line the crockpot with an oven cooking bag before placing the food in.  This makes clean up a snap.  The cooking times are not affected, but the mess stays in the bag rather than on the pot.  I usually find these bags on clearance after Thanksgiving or Christmas and stock up then.



3.  Whenever possible, don't lift the lid.  Slow cooker temperatures are low and a lot of heat can be lost, possibly lowering the cooking temperature below the safe point.  Use the lid provided with the cooker.  A layer of aluminum foil will not suffice.



4.  Fill the slow cooker between 1/2 to 2/3 full of food.  Too full may not allow the food to heat up quickly enough.  Likewise a cooker that is not full enough will not heat properly either.  Use the correct size crockpot for the recipe.



5.  Follow the recipe, adding ingredients in the order listed.  Foods that take longer to cook usually go on the bottom.  Also, for some recipes, vegetables or other foods on the bottom may act as a rack, keeping top foods out of the juices. 



 6.  Food does not need to be swimming in liquid to be successful in the crockpot.  Many people find crockpot roasts lacking in flavor because they have covered them in water to cook.  For most roasts, 1 cup or less liquid is all that is needed.  The meat will give up some of its own juices as it cooks. 



7.  Tenderness of the meat is directly related to the cooking time.  A longer cooking time at low will yield a more tender roast, as long as it is cooked beyond done to the falling apart stage.  The difference between a tough piece of meat and a tender one is about 1 hour.  When you check your meat for doneness, if it isn't tender, let it cook for another hour and check again.



8.  Do not refrigerate food in the crockery, the heat retained in the crock will delay cooling and keep food at an unsafe temperature for too long.  Transfer the food to storage containers and refrigerate as soon as possible after the meal.



 9.  Some recipes require browning or some amount of cooking before being put into the slow cooker.  Completely read through the recipe so that you know what is required while planning the meal.  Look for recipes that require little to no pre-cooking for those busy mornings.  Many recipes that require browning can be successful without browning, but may loose a little flavor from the caramelization of the meat. 



10.  You can sometimes assemble the recipe the night before, putting the food and liner into the refrigerator.  Next morning, place into the cooker and plug-n-go.  In this situation, you should never use recipes that require pre-cooking.  Keep all ingredients cold until you are ready to plug in the pot.  This works well for roasts, etc.  I will often place the roast and its flavorings into the pot the night before.  In the morning, I plug it in and add the liquid (although I could probably get away with adding the liquid the night before as well).  This method is particularly handy when I am relying on a husband or son to start the cooking.

Do you need more easy crock pot recipe ideas?  Sign up for our newsletter at Easy Crock Pot Recipes [http://www.easysoutherncooking.com/crockpot/crock-pot-chicken.html] and get quick and healthy crock pot recipes delivered to your email regularly.

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Diane Watkins is a traditional southern style cook.  She enjoys cooking, teaching, and writing about good food and family.  For more information on southern cooking and recipes visit her website at Easy Southern Cooking [http://easysoutherncooking.com]

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?My-Top-10-Tips-for-Slow-Cooking-in-the-Fast-Lane&id=528111] My Top 10 Tips for Slow Cooking in the Fast Lane

Slow Cooking to Save Money

Discover How One Kitchen Appliance Saved My Family $400 Per Month
By:Leah T.

When I went back to work after my 3rd child went into kindergarten, I was more than eager to get back into the work force after a 10 year absence.  The days flew by but I worked at least until 6:30 pm.  By the time I picked up my kids from after school care, I was exhausted. I was really too tired to go home and cook and besides I worked all day and deserved a little break, right?

So, I began to start picking up dinner to-go at least one night per week to make things easier for us.  I enjoyed having everything already cooked for me so much, that one night per week of eating out became two, and then three, until it was pretty much every weeknight we ate out or brought take-out food home.  My husband enjoyed it too because he didn't have to wait long for me to cook a meal when he arrived home from work.

It wasn't until things were really tight for us financially one year,  and after going over our monthly expenses one night, did my husband and I really grasp at how much we were spending a month on take-out food.  We were spending about $600 each month just by ordering take-out food 4 to 5 days per week to feed our family of five!

It was then when we both realized that this spending must stop.  I needed to start cooking more meals at home. I was determined to find a simple and fast way to do it.  I then remembered a cookbook my friend gave me a long time ago that just featured slow cooker recipes.  I remembered going to her house smelling the wonderful aroma of Chicken Noodle Soup simmering away  in the middle of the afternoon.  

So that night, I brought my Crock Pot down from the pantry shelf and decided that I would prepare at least two meals per week and get the recipes from this cookbook. The other two nights of the week, I'd prepare simple meals when I got home, and then Friday night would be our pizza night.

I found the recipes were so simple and easy to follow, and my family loved the dinners that I was making.  I found that preparing dinner in the slow cooker was a breeze.  I loved the feeling of knowing when I arrived home from work, my dinner was cooked and ready for my hungry family.  I loved slow cooking so much, that I sometimes used it three nights per week.

It did take a small amount of preparation on some recipes, like chopping the vegetables or trimming the fat off the meat, but I did all of the small prep work the night before while my kids sat at the kitchen table doing homework.  It was such a good feeling knowing that I was providing a great home-cooked meal to my family.  It was also a good feeling knowing that we were saving about $400 per month by not eating take-out food every weeknight.

Oh, and besides the money you will save, the healthy meals may cause you to shed a few pounds by not eating out  as much.  After 7 months of not eating restaurant food four nights per week, and not doing anything else different in my diet, I shed 12 pounds!

Besides the two great reasons I mentioned above for using a slow cooker, here are some more good reasons to begin slow cooking your dinners at least 2-3 times a week:

More Reasons I Love Using A Slow Cooker:


Time Saver: As mentioned previously, they are great for working moms and dads. Prepare, go to work and dinner is cooked by the time you arrive home.
  Overcoming Overcooking: On a low setting, you won't  need to worry about overcooking and burning your food for up to one hour after the desired cooking time is done.
  Less  Dishes=Less Cleanup:  Rather than the usual pots and pans used in a typical dinner, the slow cooker is usually the only one you'll need to cook your meal in making clean-up a breeze.
  Perfect Party Guest: They are great for buffets and parties because it'll keep your food warm for hours.
  Cool Kitchen: Does not heat up your kitchen like an oven does so you can use it all year round, even during those hot  summer months.
  Energy Efficient:  They are cheaper and more efficient to run than using your oven, grill and stove.  Using it saves energy because at it's lowest setting (200 degrees) it uses less energy than some light bulbs do. It stays warm using less energy because you have a warmer that is heating a clay pot.  Clay holds and stores heat for a longer period of time.
  Reduced Fat Cooking:  You'll find that the slow cooker can help you make lower-fat meals because you won't be needing to saute or stir fry with oil and butter.
  Cost Efficient:  Vegetables are really inexpensive, and so are rice, pasta, and beans which are some of the key ingredients in a lot of meals.  Also, the meats that you are using for slow cooking are the less expensive varieties like chuck coast and chicken.  These meats come out so fork-tender, you'll be amazed at the flavors from the juices.
  Variety: You can cook so many different types of meals in it and it's not just for soups and stews.   One of my family's favorite meals are Slow Cooker Layered Enchiladas. Yum!

My Simple Plan To Start Slow Cooking Your Meals


When first getting started, limit yourself to one good cookbook with nothing but slow cooker recipes.  This will help keep you focused and narrow your decisions so you can quickly decide what to make.  If you have too many choices at first, it can be overwhelming and all your time is spent browsing through hundreds and hundreds of recipes on the internet. One good book helps make it easier to decide.
  Decide how many nights per week you are going to use your slow cooker and select your recipes.
  Purchase ingredients for all meals at one time.
  Do prep work ahead of time for all recipes at one time.  Slice, and chop vegetables, trim the meat etc. Store the ingredients in their proper place until needed.
  Once you have your family's favorite recipes bookmarked, I like to make copies of them and slip them into a sheet protector cover.  I bought a little folder and I am placing them all in there.  I have quite a collection now.  It makes it so easy to know what meals are instant hits with my family.


Happy Slow Cooking!

Leah is a full-time working mom who loves writing articles in her spare time. She loves cooking and baking, playing tennis and most of all spending time with her family and raising her beautiful German Shepherd Dogs. Please visit her other site about safe car travel with dogs, protecting them using a simple dogcarharness [http://www.dogcarharness.net/] or dog car seats [http://www.dogcarharness.net/dogcarseats.html] that could save your pets life.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Discover-How-One-Kitchen-Appliance-Saved-My-Family-$400-Per-Month&id=3119200] Discover How One Kitchen Appliance Saved My Family $400 Per Month

Monday, March 16, 2015

Low Cost Superfoods

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Low Cost Superfoods
By:M. Decker

Food prices are climbing ever higher, and many people are looking to fast food and overly processed or pre-packaged foods for their low price tags. Low cost doesn't need to mean low quality. Some of the most inexpensive things you can buy are exceptionally healthy and nutritious. It is possible to save money and eat healthy, it just requires a bit of research ahead of time. At the grocery store, getting the most nutrition for the least amount of money usually means hanging out on the peripheries-near the fruits and veggies, the meat and dairy, and the bulk grains. By taking advantage of as many of the lost cost options available, and filling in with higher priced options, you will see the benefits in your bank account.

There are also low cost methods of cooking to help. Slow cooking can be the key to transforming inexpensive, sometimes tough cuts of meat into tender, fall-off-the-fork morsels. Chances are that the least expensive cuts of meat in your butcher's case are perfect for the Crock-Pot or slow cooker.
Crock-Pots are also perfect for cooking beans and other legumes, among the healthiest and least expensive foods you can eat. Another big bonus is that slow cookers require less fat for cooking, so the recipes are much healthier.

Brown Rice is one of the ultimate bargains. A 2-lb bag can be found for around $2 per bag and contains around 20 servings! This equals about 10 cents per serving! Brown rice is also low in calories, fiber rich and a great source of protein.

Apples are inexpensive, easy to find, come in portion-controlled packaging, and taste good. They are a good source of pectin, a fiber that may help reduce cholesterol and they have the antioxidant Vitamin C, which keeps your blood vessels healthy.

Frozen Vegetables contain the same nutrients as fresh vegetables, and are usually cheaper! Although prices vary according to the vegetable, frozen vegetables average around 25 cents per serving and are a great and economical way to bring extra nutrients to your diet.
Oats are another food that costs around $2 per package. With about 13 servings it equates to about 19 cents per serving.

Bananas can be found for about 19� apiece; a dollar gets you a banana a day for the work week. High in potassium and fiber (9 grams for one), bananas are a no-brainer when it comes to eating your five a day quotient of fruits and veggies.

Russet Potatoes are about 23 cents per potato when purchased in a 5-lb bag. Russet potatoes are great sources of fiber, protein and also contain vitamin C, iron and potassium.

Broccoli contains tons of nice nutrients-calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. As if that isn't enough, broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Plus, it's low in calories and cost.

Whole-Wheat Pasta can be found for less than $2 a package, and contains about 7 servings. This comes out to less than 30 cents per serving. Whole-wheat pasta is also a great source of fiber and protein and a great source of healthy carbs.

Fresh Spinach can be bought washed and ready to eat for less than $2, or about 66 cents for a 4-cup serving. Very low in calories, spinach contains more than your daily value for vitamin A and also contains vitamin C, calcium and folic acid.

Whole-Wheat Bread can be found for less than $2 per loaf, and with about 8 servings per loaf your cost per serving is less than 30 cents. This fantastic meal helper is also a great source of protein and fiber.

Canned Tuna, in water comes in a 6-oz container with about 2 servings. For about 63 cents per serving you will get a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of protein.

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and many kinds are also high in iron, folate, and manganese, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And if you don't like one type, try another-black, lima, lentils, garbonzo... the varieties are endless. Though they require soaking and cooking, the most inexpensive way to purchase these beans is in dried form; a precooked can will still only run you around a buck.

Whole-Wheat Flour sells for around $2 per package and contains about 37 servings. This comes to about 6 cents per serving! Whole wheat flour is a great source of protein and fiber.

Egg Substitute weighs in at around 25 cents per serving and is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin A and vitamins D and E.

Carrots are loaded with fiber and beta carotene. Sweet potatoes contain the same array of nutrients but cost more; still, they're a great buy.

Onions are rich in a number of disease-preventive antioxidants and add volumes of flavor. Garlic and ginger are other great flavor-boosters that cost pennies per serving.

Yogurt is high in calcium and probiotics and is much cheaper than cheese.

By following these shopping tips you can and will see an impact on your bank account. Eating healthy does not mean you need to spend more on groceries; you just need to shop smarter. Take advantage of as many of the lost cost options available and fill in with the higher priced options. You should also try to take advantage of the slow cooker option to save money, reduce the fat in your meals and transform cheaper cuts of meat into tender meals.

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Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Eating-Healthy-on-a-Budget:-Low-Cost-Superfoods&id=5944362] Eating Healthy on a Budget: Low Cost Superfoods

Buy From Bulk Bins

Buy From Bulk Bins - Save Money, Buy Just As Much As You Need, Cut Down on Waste
By Selma Roth

If you shop in a store that sells foods in bulk bins, there are good reasons to check them out. They can make you a smarter shopper.

If you would like to buy organic foods, but they don't fit into your budget, you'll find they are usually more affordable when bought from bulk bins. It costs less for companies to sell in bulk bins because that way they don't have packaging costs, and they share the savings with consumers.

You can eliminate a lot of waste by buying small amounts from bulk bins and using them up more quickly. When recipes call for an item that you don't use very often, it's better to buy small amounts, as foods are less likely to spoil, get stale or buggy, and end up having to be thrown away.

You can also have a chance to test your taste buds. If there's something you've been wanting to try, but are concerned that you won't like it, buying a very small amount for a test will save you money.

Spices are the best deal when bought from bulk bins. Some recipes call for a lot of different spices, and it costs a fortune to buy them all pre-packaged. It's shocking how much less they cost when bought from bulk bins, and you can buy as little as you want. That way they won't linger on your pantry shelves and you'll always have fresh spices. It also makes you feel better about buying more expensive spices that you would like to try. When you need nuts for a recipe, it costs a lot more to buy them in little packages.

If you buy gluten-free ingredients, instead of paying a premium, check them out in bulk bins. You'll probably find flax, millet and buckwheat and other items at big savings.

Some staples, such as specialty flours (like cake or bread flour) that you don't use all the time, but want to keep on hand, can be bought in smaller amounts and stay fresh longer.

The most obvious advantage to buying from bulk bins is that you're not adding to the mounds of packaging in our landfills. You can proudly use your own containers and feel good about how you are helping the environment. Some stores will weigh your container and take it off the weight of your purchase, or provide a scale so you can do it yourself.

A PLACE ABOUT FOOD is your place for food information of all kinds. We offer short articles about FOOD FACTS AND TIPS, FOOD HOW-TOS, and four other categories, and we continue to add to them. We also tell you about food history, cooking terms, and miscellaneous tidbits of information that will help you in the kitchen. Please come by and leave us a message so we'll know you came to visit! http://www.aplaceaboutfood.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Buy-From-Bulk-Bins---Save-Money,-Buy-Just-As-Much-As-You-Need,-Cut-Down-on-Waste&id=8958695] Buy From Bulk Bins - Save Money, Buy Just As Much As You Need, Cut Down on Waste