Posts filed under ‘Helpful Hints’

Tips for Freezing Foods

One way to simplify your life and increase your frequency of eating homemade, nutritious meals is to double or triple your favorite recipes and freeze the extra food for future meals. Here’s a link to a great reference with freezing tips, guidelines, and more.

http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/freezing-foods-a-real-time-saver/Detail.aspx

Some of my favorite tips from this site:

Foods freeze best (meaning they last longer in the freezer and taste better when thawed) if they are in a sauce or broth. This is why soups are great to keep in the freezer. Everyone knows that when you have soup as a leftover, it’s better the second day, because all the flavors have had time to meld and intermingle. The same thing happens when you freeze a soup. Casseroles and lasagna also freeze well, for the same reason.

My favorite food to freeze is meatballs and sauce. As delicious as they are the first time around, the meatballs are always even tastier as leftovers. I usually make a triple recipe (requires a big pot but it’s worth it!) on a Saturday or Sunday when I have some extra time. Then we have a great dinner that night, and I get to put two dinners’ worth in the freezer for future nights when I need a healthy, filling dinner for my family but have no time to make one.

Cool cooked foods as quickly as possible before placing them in the freezer, to ensure freshness and avoid spoilage.

Leave as little air in the container as possible when freezing. The more air remaining in the container, the greater your chance of freezer burn.

Freeze in small containers (around 1 quart should be the largest size) to make sure food thaws quickly and evenly. You don’t want a huge container of warm food sitting in your freezer. It will raise the temperature of the freezer which affects the other foods surrounding it. This also increases the risk of bacteria growth. As a rule, food that is two inches thick takes about 2 hours to freeze completely.

The best way to thaw foods is in the refrigerator. If you can, put the frozen food in the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. This way it will thaw slowly with minimal risk of any bacteria showing up. It will be fully thawed and guaranteed fresh and delicious when you’re ready to heat it up the following evening. (Note – Thawing at room temperature carries a high risk of bacteria growth.)

June 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

Finding a Babysitter

So we have our daycare and we have family members who are often willing to babysit. But who will watch our baby when the daycare isn’t open and my mom has other plans and my sister-in-law has to work?

Sittercity.com is a website that links parents who need a sitter with babysitters who want a job.

If you’re a parent who has been stuck without child care at one time or another, this website is definitely worth checking out. The prices for their services are reasonable. But first, go into the site and do a search for sitters in your city/town. You can find out right away if there are providers who you may want to contact. Even without becoming a member, you can view the sitters’ background, experience with children, age and education, a photo, their rates, and their skills and certifications. If you see a few who you might want to speak with, you can obtain their contact information by becoming a member for $35 for one month (other plans are available for longer time periods).

Another alternative is to post your babysitting job and let the sitters come to you. This can be done with a 7-day free trial, so you can see who applies to your job and view their pictures and experience. You do have to pay in order to see your applicants’ contact info. But this option allows you to find out if there are babysitters out there who are really interested in working for you, and who have the qualifications you’re looking for, before you pay any money.

Sittercity.com also has a section on “How to Hire the Right Sitter” and “Tips & Tools for Parents” with some good suggestions, including a list of babysitter interview questions and a list of questions to ask when calling your sitter’s references. Additionally, the website can connect you with individuals who offer pet care, senior care, housekeeping, and tutoring services.

May 25, 2011 at 1:59 am Leave a comment


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