NoTakeOut – Great Meals Made Easy

nto_logoHas it been pretty hectic around your house? Do you feel like you have no time to get dinner on the table when you get home? Well NoTakeOut has made it easy on you, they have great meals made easy for anyone on the go.

THE SKINNY: No more mediocre meals cobbled together last minute.  No more trolling recipe websites to figure out what side dish might work with steamed halibut.  No more shopping fiascos — like when you arrived home without eggplant for the ratatouille. helps you plan, prep and cook an entire meal, not just one dish.  We provide a complete menu, a shopping list and a game plan – basically, we help you organize to go from kitchen to table with ease.

‘Making mealtime manageable’ is kind of a mantra for us.  When you say you’re busy, we get it: you’re taking care of kids, working, shopping, maybe grabbing a workout –  oh yeah, and the laundry… You don’t need another hassle!  Our goal is to make food, meals and dining-at-home an easy family ritual and a daily pleasure.

Each day they give you a menu, with a side dish and even suggestions on what wine goes best with the recipe of the day. Tools you may need, shopping list and pantry items. And they give you serving size, prep time and total time. Check out NoTakeOut for yourself and start cooking tonight!

Holiday Meat Reheating Instructions

Another set of helpful tips from Whole Foods. Left overs are a way of life during the holidays, but a lot of people have no idea how to correctly reheat their meat.

Pre-roasted and Smoked Whole Turkeys – If the turkey has been slow roasted until it is fully cooked, all you need to do is heat and serve as follows: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from bag and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until hot and nicely browned.

Pre-roasted Turkey Breast – If the turkey breast has been slow roasted until it is fully cooked, all you need to do is heat and serve as follows: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove turkey breast from bag, place in a roasting pan with a small amount of chicken stock and cover with aluminum foil. Heat until warmed.

Spiral Ham -Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from bag and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and heat until ham reaches an internal temperature 155 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Boneless Prime Rib – Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pour Au Jus into bottom of roasting pan. Place the Seared Prime Rib into roasting pan and then place in oven. Cook the roast for approximately 55 minutes for “Rare” and an additional 15 minutes longer for each increment of doneness. Use a probe thermometer to check the desired temperature.

  • 120-130 degrees F. = Rare
  • 130-140 degrees F. = Medium
  • 150-160 degrees F. = Medium well
  • 160 degrees F + = Well done

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove and strain Au Jus from pan to serve with prime rib.

Holiday 2009 Turkey Cooking Tips

Christmas dinnerIf you are making turkey for Christmas you may have some questions about the best way to handle and cook it. Below are some tips from Whole Foods Market that can help make your holiday meal the best it can be.

  1. Refrigerate a fresh turkey immediately.
  2. Remove a turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before placing it in the oven.
  3. Don’t stuff the bird! It’s best to cook the stuffing and the bird separately and stuff once both are fully cooked. his method reduces baking time as well.
  4. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
  5. Allow bird to rest (covered) for about 20 minutes after cooking. This redistributes the juices and makes for smooth carving.

Tools to have on hand:

  • Heavy duty roasting pan with rack to keep the turkey from resting on the bottom of your pan.
  • Trussing string to tie the turkey legs together.
  • Aluminum foil to cover turkey when cooling.
  • Wooden spoon & large metal spoon.
  • Fat separator for a leaner gravy.
  • Basting brush to baste turkey with melted butter, or bulb baster for basting with pan juices.
  • 8-cup measuring cup.
  • Fine sieve for straining pan juices.
  • Wire whisk for making gravy.
  • Good quality carving set.
  • Instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Apron

10 Tips For Staying Thin During The Holidays

ThanksgivingFeastTomorrow is one of my favorite days in the whole year. A day of Thanksgiving with family and friends, enjoying everything that we’ve been given, including wonderful foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and so much more. What a great day to sit back and eat more than one could hardly bear!

Someone told me yesterday that the average person gains 5-8 lbs. over the holiday season. As I am continuing working on losing weight over the next year, I do not want to gain back the weight that I have worked hard to lose over the last few months. I’m hoping to simply ‘break even’ and consider that a success for the holidays.

So what are some ways that I (and you if you’re in my boat) can keep the holiday weight off? Here’s ten things I’m going to try:

1. Control My Portions:
Probably my biggest issue. I can enjoy more of the variety of holiday foods if I eat less of them in their portions. I have to get over my goal-oriented sense of eating and simply enjoy the food, but in smaller portions.

2. Lighten the Load:
Many of the holiday foods can be made with less sugar and fat. Here are some suggestions:
# Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
# Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
# Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
# Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

3. Eat Breakfast:
I know this seems counter-productive, but having a little food in your stomach when the big meal comes helps one control their cravings better and keeps you from overeating. It also prevents your body from storing your Thanksgiving feast into more fat because you’re not eating on a consistent basis.

4. Save Your Seconds:
Try to eat everything you need and want in one helping and resist going back for seconds. Save them for leftovers the next day, when you can enjoy them more and feel like you’ve overeaten less.

5. Get Active:
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” Diekman says. “Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.

6. Slowly Savor:
Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

7. Spread out the food and fun all day long:
Rather than eating all of the food in one hour, enjoy your meal throughout the day. Take a walk in between the meal and dessert, put out appetizers before the main meal, you will be able to enjoy the food over a longer period of time and keep curb your appetite more effectively.

8. Be Realistic:
Switch from a mindset of ‘weight loss’ to ‘weight maintenance’ over the holiday season.

9. Focus on the Holiday Foods:
Save room (and calories) for the foods that only come around once a year! Don’t waste tons of calories and space on foods that you can eat any time of the year.

10. Focus on Family and Friends:
While the food of the holidays is tough to beat, the real focus during this holiday season should be on people. Spend time with family and friends, give to the poor and the hungry, and remind yourself that its about so much more than great food.

Good luck in your battle! Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Frugal Holiday Party Tips

711083_56975192A successful party doesn’t depend on the amount of money you spend. You can have a successful fun party if you spend time thinking and letting your creativity flow.

1. Serve ordinary drinks in pretty stemware garnered from thrift shops (they needn’t match) – and garnish them with extraordinary, yet simple, touches. Frugal Luxuries by Tracey Mcbride.

2. Have a potluck, its not only cheap its tasty too. Ask each guest to bring their favorite dish.

3. Some people think there needs to be many desserts to choose but most of the time more than half is left over. Cut down on the desserts and the money spent by making one or two desserts.

4. Stop cooking appetizers if you are having a meal, this is an extra step that is not needed.

5. Skip the bar tab and have each guest bring their favorite bottle of wine. Just specify it on the invite “Bring your favorite bottle of vino to share!”. 5 Frugal Yet Fab Holiday Party Tips – Ezine Articles.

6. Save money and be environmentally friendly by using your own dishes and silverware. F is for Frugal – Blissfully Domestic.

7. Make sure and have music playing in the background, it adds a festive touch to any event.

8. Bring the outdoors in to decorate with – Pine cones, evergreen clippings, and holly all make great holiday decorations and as an added bonus they make the house smell great.

9. Make your own invitations and hand deliver them to save on postage.

10. Borrow from friends any items you may be lacking, such as casserole dishes, serving trays and large punch bowls.

Can Curry Spice Kill Cancer Cells?

374839_2703Found this article on the BBC News site online; Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’. An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

I was surprised when I read this about Turmeric. My family tends to eat a lot of curry dishes but I had never heard of it having the ability to help kill cancer cells. The chemical – curcumin – they have found has properties that have started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

Dr McKenna said: “Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

To read the complete article click here.

Find A Festival Near You

carnivalFall is a great time for weekend festivals! The weather has cooled down and your kids need something on the weekend to get them out of the house and moving about your community. So do some research and find a fun and entertaining festival nearby where you live and go check it out! Festivals are usually cheap and usually even free, family outings that are active, enjoyable and educational for your whole family.

If you live in the Portland, OR area, here is a list of some great festivals going on this weekend.

-Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest-Saturday, September 26 (10am-5pm)

Green Sprouts Festival is a fun, festive and educational one-day event for the whole family that celebrates and promotes the nurturing of life through nature. From pregnancy to childhood, parents can learn about and explore eco-friendly, community-involved, natural, and healthy options to raising their families.

-17th Annual Portland Juggling Festival, September 25-27

The Portland Jugglers is a rich community of people from around the globe that use the Portland, Oregon area as a place to nurture juggling as a hobby and a lifestyle.
Once a year, we focus our collective energies to put on the biggest regional juggling festival in North America, which draws jugglers from around the world to come and see what is happening this year.

-27th Annual Grape Stomping Festival at St. Josef’s Winery, September 26 (12pm-6pm)

The Original NW Harvest Festival- complete with fun music, homemade food, casual & lively crowd- and of course stomping.  Owners Josef & Lilli started the festival to honor the ones they grew up with in Europe. Wine tasting of the reserve wines and new releases,  plus the ‘famous’ tours by the winemaker.

-2009 Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, September 26-27

Activities for the whole family
The 2009 Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival is scheduled for Sept. 26-27th with workshops on the 25th. Next year’s featured breed will be Primitive sheep, including Icelandic, Jacob and Navjo Churro. Naturally, primitive sheep produce the perfect fiber for the featured handcraft — rug making.

How to Protect Your Clothes from Stains

1018485_49471728Are you one of those people that walk in from lunch daily with a stain on your shirt or pants? Do your colleagues count on seeing you wearing some of your food on your clothes? Do friends point out stains to you that you didn’t know were there?

Here are 7 ways to protect your clothes from stains:

1. Avoid eating red sauce, such as spaghetti, when wearing white or cream colored shirts.

2. Think about prevention – always use a napkin when eating and use an apron when you are cooking.

3. Try to always sit at a table when eating. If you have no table make sure and lean over your food when you are eating and make sure there is a napkin beneath your plate to catch anything you miss.

4. Make sure your clothes are durable and machine washable for when you do get a stain on them.

5. Eat slowly. Don’t be in a race when you are eating. Slow down and take small bites.

6. Avoid activities that can distract while eating. Keep your attention on your meal and the food will go in your mouth not on your clothes.

7. When eating soup fill your spoon by moving it away from you, that way if you have an accident, the food will spill on the table and not on your lap.

Eating Out on a Budget

1105305_37239518I love food, love it! But I as my checking account dwindles I am finding that I really need to slow down on eating out. I love to eat out, try new restaurants and spend time with friends but now I have started looking for ways to make my favorite past time a bit of a cheaper enjoyment than it previously has been.

Here are some ways to eat out on a budget:

Always check the restaurant website for a happy hour menu. Try making your meals out early in the evening to enjoy the cheaper eats. Happy hour most of times has some of the same options as the regular menu without the high price tag.

Look around for coupons. A lot of local restaurants have coupons in the paper or ads that come once a month in the mail. If you find coupons for a restaurant you frequent, keep them handy(in your purse or wallet) for those surprise meals out. Another great place to find coupons is in the Entertainment Book, they offer a lot of 50% off or 2-for-1 meals. Also it doesn’t hurt to check the restaurant website to see if they have any coupons online.

Stay away from drinks. Simply order water and you will save a lot of money on a family of four.

If you have kids, check out restaurants where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

Share a meal. This morning I shared a meal with my sis at a local restaurant that offers a lower price in the morning for their special of the day and our total with drinks came to under $9.00.

The Joy Of Buying Local

7e9362b702fcdea82bd7-lYesterday my colleague Deanna posted about ways to cut your grocery bill in half. I want to expand on number six and share with you my experience last week.

There’s a great little place called Highway 22 cafe near the city where I live. The have amazing food and even better milkshakes. Its an eat out favorite for all of our family and friends. So, for a special date with my wife last week, we went out to the Cafe to have a marionberry milkshake. I’m not sure what the special recipe is for their milkshakes, but I would pay a lot of money for it. After we enjoyed our milkshake, we walked around some of their other buildings outside of the restaurant and realized that the Highway 22 Cafe is much more than just a restaurant.

In their outlying buildings they have fresh produce and plants on sale for the public. We perused all of the fresh fruit and vegetables and picked up some marionberries, blueberries and other great berries and vegetables.

We then proceeded to take many attempts at producing our own amazing milkshakes. While we fell short, the point is this: we saved a bunch of money buying fresh, local, healthy produce from a local business that will last us a while and curb our ‘eating-out’ cravings.

So this summer, consider making your own homemade icecream or milkshakes, and other snacks that your family will enjoy. You’ll save money on eating out and create special summer memories together.