Category: Food & Beverages

Where to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Where to store fruits & vegetables

This article on where to store fruits and vegetables is pretty basic. I’m recovering from hip replacement surgery, so I needed to keep this month’s blog post simple. Fortunately, an email from the California Farmers’ Markets Association popped up in my inbox with these tips. Especially since spring has arrived (yummmm….asparagus), I thought I would share them with you. I hope you find them useful. Nap time! 😉 A Chart to Remind You How to Store Fruits & Vegetables I follow most of this advice, with a couple of exceptions. I like my bananas a little under-ripe so I keep them in the refrigerator. Even if  the skin darkens, the fruit stays fresh. I’m surprised they recommend keeping zucchini, cucumbers and green beans at room temperature. Have you had success with that? Let me know in the comments. Graphic By: EatingWell Some Helpful Tips for Keeping Produce Fresh Keep apples, avocados, tomatoes, stone fruits, and pears separate from other fruits and veggies. They naturally emit ethylene gas which speeds up produce ripening. This is handy if you want something to ripen faster though. Wash produce right before use. If you decide to wash produce ahead of time, make sure to […]

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Wine and Food Pairing Tips

Printable Wine and Food Chart

You’d think simple wine and food pairing tips would be easy to find. I spent hours searching online but couldn’t find a simple article by an authoritative source. In desperation, I contacted the editor at the Napa Wine Library. Thank you, Diana! Here’s the article she suggested: The Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing Guide – The California Wine Club If you’d like a simple, one page chart to keep near your wine collection, take a screen shot and print this one from Hopewell Valley Wines: Wine and Food Pairing Chart Discover more links you can really use The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing! We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you don’t have to. When we find the link with the most useful content it becomes a HabiLink, one of the chosen few! Unlike other web directories, we don’t accept payment for listings. We simply think they’re the best at what they do. You’ll find the wine and food pairing tips and more in the Food and Beverages category at HabiLinks. When you’re looking for wine and food pairing tips you […]

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How to Light a Charcoal Grill

a charcoal barbecue grill

Need some tips on how to light a charcoal grill? Whether you’re stepping up to the backyard grill for the first time, or just want to brush up on your technique, we found a link you can really use. It offers excellent advice on preparing your grill, charcoal starters and using lighter fluid. Even if you don’t read the whole article, please follow this safety precaution: Never add lighter fluid to burning coals. That can cause a dangerous flareup or even cause fire to travel up the stream of lighter fluid, igniting the  entire can in your hand. You could find yourself trying to figure out how to get to the emergency room instead of “how to light a charcoal grill.” There’s a right way and a wrong way Living in San Francisco, there’s not much opportunity to entertain outdoors or use a barbecue grill. In my experience planning to barbecue, especially in summer, is almost a guarantee that the fog will roll in. So I’m no expert. Thankfully, Derrick Riches is. You can read his article on how to light a charcoal grill at SpruceEats. When done right, preparing and lighting a charcoal grill is quite a process. After […]

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Fruits and Vegetables in Season

fruits ad vegetables in season

Using fruits and vegetables in season. I’m taking advantage of sheltering in place to try some new recipes and brush up on my cooking skills. For breakfast this morning I enjoyed an outrageously juicy, sweet nectarine with yogurt and granola. It reminded me how much more delicious fruits and vegetables are when in their peak seasons. Only problem is I don’t always remember what’s in season when. So I printed the lists at and put them near my recipes to help me remember. An “in season” chart that’s a work of art. While searching for the best list of seasonal fruits and vegetables I discovered a beautiful art print by artist Anne Mahler. Available in sizes from extra small (8″x 10″) to extra large (28″ x 37″),  prices range from  $22.99 to $61.99 for unframed prints. Check them out at Find more links you can really use at HabiLinks Curated Guide. The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing. We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you don’t have to. Only then, when we find the link with the most useful […]

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Spice Up Your S.I.P Life

spice up your S.I.P. life

Want to spice up your S.I.P. life? I’ve been tackling projects I would skip if life were normal. The latest? Cleaning out my spice drawer. The cardamon seeds had been there since the last time I made Swedish Glogg for the holidays…about 20 years ago. When I popped open the crystalized ginger I was just as petrified as IT was! The clean out took less than fifteen minutes. The practical, culinary and aesthetic rewards were worth it. Here’s the game plan: Learn how long dried spices and herbs last. When it comes to “use by” dates, all spices and herbs aren’t created equal. Many brands don’t even include a “Use by” or “Best by” date on the label. Here’s some good advice and a simple guide from McCormick & Company. You can copy and print the “Shelf Life of Spices” chart to keep near your spices. Take inventory. Take the jars out and line them up alphabetically. Set aside the ones you use but suspect are past their prime. Toss the the ones you’ll rarely if ever use. Make a shopping list for ones to replace. SpiceBarn is a great resource. Use a permanent marker to note the “Date Opened” and put […]

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Sustainable Seafood Lists for You

sustainable seafood guide

I love seafood. But many species are threatened by overfishing and climate related changes. So when I shop for seafood or peruse the menu at my favorite restaurant, I try to choose only sustainable species. The list of what’s sustainable and what’s not changes over time. So I depend on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which provides updated lists online.   Want to know what seafood is sustainable? There’s an app for that! Whether ordering sushi or standing in front of the fish counter at your market trying to decide what to have for dinner, the Seafood Watch app helps you make a responsible choice. The app categorizes species as “Best Choice,” “Good Alternatives” or “Avoid.” Search your app store for Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. You can download it free for your smartphone (IOS or Android). Download this free printable seafood list for your wallet. You can also download a printable wallet-size guide to sustainable seafood at the Seafood Watch website.  They offer a variety of guides to responsible choices including national, west coast and sushi. You can even download lists based on the state in which you live or are traveling. Just for fun. Clearly, there’s nothing funny about […]

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Printable Grocery List Saves Trips to the Store

printable grocery list

I’ve been using printable grocery lists for years. When I’m in a hurry (almost always!) my handwriting is so bad no one can read it, including me. Because the list reminds me of basic needs, we rarely run out of things. That saves extra trips to the store, which is especially important these days. I use button-style magnets to attach the list and a pen to the refrigerator. When someone uses the last of anything they circle it. On grocery day all I have to do is remember to grab the list on my way out the door. Why use a grocery list? So you don’t run out of staples To minimize trips to the grocery store To save time at the store So someone else can do the shopping Here’s a printable grocery list you can personalize If you use Microsoft Word, you should be able to download, personalize and print the list. To save time, I organize my list in the order things are found in the grocery store. No backtracking because I passed the peanut butter two aisles ago! If someone else does your grocery shopping you can add brand, size and other preferences. I print several […]

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Turkey Shortcuts You’ll Give Thanks For

turkey safety tips represented by carved turkey

I used to spend days preparing for and making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. The stuffing was never as good as mom’s. I finally asked for the recipe. I was so surprised by her answer: Stove Top®, with a few added touches! These days I use several tried and true turkey shortcuts. I don’t have to worry about wrestling a hot, whole turkey out of the oven, spooning out the dressing, carving it and making the gravy. Now I can enjoy the party, too. Turkey shortcut: Make it ahead This recipe suggests roasting the turkey a day ahead. I actually find it easier to do it Thanksgiving morning. Then you reheat it for an hour before you expect to sit down at the table. The broth added while reheating keeps the meat succulent and moist. Here’s the recipe: Turkey stuffing shortcut: Stove top This link offers several suggestions for dressing up (pun intended) stuffing kits. If you don’t want to reveal your secret, hide the stuffing box at the bottom of the kitchen trash can. Here’s the link: Turkey gravy shortcut: From a jar. They’ll never know. Don’t skimp here, buy the best gravy from a trusted brand. This […]

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Are You Eating an Endangered Species?

eating an endangered seafood species, sushi

Unless you and that endangered species were the last ones on earth and it came down to either you or it, you probably wouldn’t knowingly eat a species that’s not sustainable. But whether you’re deciding what to serve at home or what to order at a restaurant, it’s hard to know what’s endangered and what’s not. Adding to the confusion, the lists change all the time, especially when it comes to endangered seafood. Here’s a printable list to help you make responsible seafood choices. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website offers up-to-date, printable, wallet sized lists of sustainable seafood. They divide the choices into “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives” and “Avoid.” Regional as well as national versions of the lists are available so you can make responsible seafood choices wherever you are. Download the guides here: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Some chefs and fishermen need to get with the program. The Bluefin Tuna is one of the most endangered fishes. Prized by sushi chefs, Bluefins have been known to sell for up to $100,000 per fish. In January 2019 the New York Times reported that a Japanese restaurant chain paid $3 million for one 612-pound Bluefin. Unbelievable? Maybe. But […]

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The Easiest Way to Roast & Carve a Turkey

the easiest way to roast and carve turkey

The easiest way to roast & carve a turkey is the “spatchcock” method. For years I cooked and served the holiday turkey my mother’s way. The only thing missing was my dad, who used to carve the bird VERY carefully, under mom’s watchful eye. I, on the other hand, had to depend on volunteers. Sometimes I got lucky. But more often than not the bird looked like a bomb had gone off inside it by the time it reached the table. Then I discovered the “spatchcock” method. When you “spatchcock” a turkey you split it open down the back and spread the two halves out flat. The turkey cooks faster and it’s a lot easier to carve. You can spatchcock it at home with good poultry shears, but do yourself a big favor – have your butcher do it! Here’s the recipe I use.  It really is the easiest way to roast & carve a turkey. Find More Links You Can Really Use at HabiLinks Web Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing. We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you […]

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A Wine Guide You Can Really Use.

wine guide

With this wine guide, all you need is a smartphone to make the right choice. I like wine, but it doesn’t always agree with me, so I don’t drink it often. That made it hard to select a bottle from a restaurant wine list or choose one from my own collection to give to a friend. That’s all changed now that a friend showed me Vivino, a wine guide that helps me choose the right wine in a snap. This app does it all! Download Vivino free at your app store. Snap a photo of a label in a store or your wine collection to find reviews, prices and where to buy. Search for wine by type, food pairing or style. Enter the name of a wine on a restaurant wine list to help decide whether to order it. Save a list of favorite wines and keep an inventory of what’s on hand. Review wines and share ratings and tasting notes with your friends. Buy wine and have it delivered right to your door. HabiTip: re-gifting. Since I don’t drink much wine, my collection includes quite a few bottles given to me by dinner guests. I keep round labels and […]

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How to Prepare, Roast and Carve a Turkey

roast turkey

Turkey is a popular entree for the holidays. But most of us serve it only once or twice a year. It’s easy to forget how to prepare, roast and carve it. Here are links to Real Simple Magazine’s suggested turkey techniques. They are, not surprisingly, really simple! How to Prepare How to Roast How to Carve You’ll find these and even more links you can really use in the Food & Beverages category at Habilinks. P.S. Don’t make the same mistake I did. When I cooked my first turkey, years ago, I didn’t know there was a plastic bag containing giblets in the neck cavity. It went in the oven, plastic bag and all.  Nothing like melted plastic to ruin your Thanksgiving apetite! Find More Links You Can Really Use at HabiLinks Web Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing. We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you don’t have to. Only then, when we find the link with the most useful content, does it become a HabiLink, one of the chosen few. And unlike other guides, we don’t accept payment for […]

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