* Store honey in the cupboard over the stove where it will stay warm. Cold air, even air conditioning, will cause honey to crystallize or "sugar". To restore sugared honey, place the container in a pan or bowl of very warm water. After ten to twenty minutes, the honey should be clear again.
* Eat your garnish! Grate the colored zest on oranges, limes or lemons that have nice peels before you juice or peel them. Avoid getting the white part underneath that has a slightly bitter taste. Store the zest in labeled zipper sandwich bags, inside a pint-size freezer bag in your freezer. It will be handy and quick whenever you need to add zest to a recipe. This also allows you to utilize ready-to-use orange or lemon juice and frozen zest in recipes that call for freshly squeezed plus zest.
* Eat your garnish! Use a garnish/zester such as that offered by Tupperware« to make thin strips of orange peel. The oils add aroma and flavor, the garnish lends a professional look to your presentation, and the strip of peel can be eaten! Orange peel has small amounts of many nutrients and antioxidants, plus a significant amount of vitamin A.
* Eat your garnish! Parsley is full of vitamins and antioxidants, and helps cure bad breath. It also makes a great looking garnish to decorate a bland looking dish. Too often this nutritious herb gets left behind on the plate. Encourage consumption. Rinse parsley well to remove sand and break into smaller branches; it will look almost as nice and will be more likely to be eaten. For small children, tear or chop it very tiny so it won't stick in their throats and put them off parsley for life.
* Eat your garnish! Salad instructions frequently suggest serving on a bed of lettuce leaves. These leaves often get left behind uneaten, a waste of money and nutrition. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces first. Or better, make a chiffonade (I love that word!) by rolling the leaves up, and then cutting into fine strips with a sharp knife. Arrange on the plate or platter and top with salad. They'll be more likely to be eaten.
* Here's a little kitchen tip that saves you time when it comes to cleaning the microwave: fill a glass measuring pitcher (or micro-safe bowl) with 2 cups of water. Place in microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. Leave the door closed for another 15 minutes to allow the "steam" to work on the crusty bits and pieces that haunt the inside of everyone's microwave. After 15 minutes, remove the glass pitcher and wipe out the inside of the microwave. The steam has done all the work for you and the cleaning is almost effortless. From Karen Danielson
* Here's an inexpensive, fast way to freeze single portions. To fill, put a zipper type sandwich bag into a glass or small jar and fold the top over outside. Pour in the food. Seal, pressing out excess air. Lay on a tray or cookie sheet and freeze perfectly flat. If you stack second layers, put newspaper in between so they will separate. When frozen, put several portions inside a gallon freezer zipper bag (labeled and dated) for longer-term storage.
For those on low-carbohydrate diets: when the sugar craving takes over, be sure it's the right kind. See Go for the Good Sugar by Third Age.
A visitor asks for a brown sugar cake icing like her mother used to make.
* To de-fat soups or broth, store soup cans in refrigerator. To use, open and discard any solid fat that has formed on top and proceed with recipe. You will be amazed to see the amount of solid fat that forms on top of the broth, especially commercial chicken noodle and vegetable beef. To de-fat homemade broth, refrigerate overnight and then proceed as with the canned broth. Remember, that solid fat you are discarding is the saturated fat that adheres to the walls of your veins and arteries, and can eventually lead to the occlusion (blockage) of those vessels! Karen Danielson, RN
* Make up extra chicken broth with veggie trimmings and cheap chicken cuts. Freeze what you don't need in ice cube trays. When solid, package in a labeled freezer bag. This is excellent for stepping up flavor in soups, stews, veggie dishes, rice and gravies.
* Keep a zipper freezer bag in the refrigerator's freezer compartment. Save clean scraps of onion trimmings, celery tops, bell pepper ribs and other pieces of veggies that are edible, and throw them into the bag to use in soup stock. You can save clean bones, gristle and meat scraps too. Add the accumulation to whatever meat you use to make stock-- they'll add flavor and vitamins. The bag can be reused for some time if always kept in the freezer.
Fighting to keep your weight in check? Here's some helpful hints from Dr. Weil in "Watching Your Weight the Weil Way?"..
* It's corn on the cob and barbecue time. I like to use those little holders to serve the corn, and then wash them in the dishwasher. Put a plastic scrubber into one of the silverware compartments to keep small items like corn holders, skewers or kebab holders from falling through or getting stuck in the bottom.
* Tired of replacing messy shelf paper, or scrubbing painted shelves? Buy some attractive self-stick vinyl floor tile. Wash shelves well and dry completely. Wipe with denatured alcohol or acetone and let dry again. Stick on tiles for an attractive, easy-clean surface.