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How to Use Up Potatoes

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Many of us are staying home as much as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of going to the grocery store in person, families are having their groceries delivered. This can result in “substitutions” made by your shopper. You might end up with a much larger bag of potatoes than you expected! Here are some ideas about how to use up those potatoes before they go bad and have to be thrown in the trash.

Mashed Potatoes

It is pretty easy to make mashed potatoes. All you need is fresh potatoes, butter, and salt. You can find many recipes online that include additional ingredients, such as cheese, garlic, or leeks. There are even vegan mashed potato recipes.

With a little bit of effort, you can use up an entire ten pound bag of potatoes by turning them into mashed potatoes. Put some of it into small freezer bags that are a good size for an individual serving. Each bag can be used as a side dish for dinner.

Potato Soup

Few things can be more satisfying than bowl of hot soup on a cold day! The main ingredient in potato soup is potatoes. It can be made quite simply, with just a few ingredients. If that sounds boring, then you can add more ingredients to suit your taste.

You can make a meal out of a large bowl of potato soup. Serve some for dinner or lunch, and freeze the leftovers into individual servings. Use them up on a night when you are too busy to cook.

Baked Potato

Baked potatoes are wonderful for many reasons. They are easy to bake, and every member of your family can add their own preferred ingredients on top of it. This is a meal that can make everyone happy!

Baked potatoes can also save you a little money on your heating bill. The kitchen will be nice and warm while the oven is on. This gives you the opportunity to turn off your heat for an hour.

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Inexpensive Recipes for Sweet Potatoes

Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 at 7:00 am
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Sweet potatoes are a healthy, tasty, seasonal food.  Try one of these inexpensive recipes for sweet potatoes for dinner tonight!Potatoes are inexpensive, easy to cook, and have plenty of great recipes that you can use them in. Is your family growing tired of having the same old side dish for dinner? Now is the time to try some sweet potatoes before they go out of season. They are just as easy to use as regular potatoes, and are a healthy alternative. Try one of these recipes for dinner tonight!

Sweet Potato Recipes

Women’s Health has an easy recipe for Rosemary Sweet Potato Wedges. Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch thick wedges. Put them in a bowl, drizzle a mixture of butter, rosemary, and olive oil over them. Add some salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet to bake until lightly browned. This is so much better than heating up some frozen french fries!

Sometimes, my family has Breakfast for Dinner. AllRecipes has an awesome recipe for Louisiana Sweet Potato Pancakes. The directions are very similar to what you would expect if you wanted to make pancakes. The difference is that you add mashed sweet potatoes into the mixture. The website suggests that you top your Louisiana Sweet Potato Pancakes with some maple syrup or cranberry sauce.

The Food Network has a recipe for Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potato Souffle. It was created by Chef Paula Dean. Their website has a three minute video of Paula Dean making the recipe, and has the recipe written out for you. It includes potatoes and sweet potatoes, plenty of butter, and can be described as a comfort food.

MyRecipes has a simple and tasty recipe for Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions. The recipe originated in the Cooking Light magazine in December of 2002. It looks so good! Cut peeled sweet potatoes into 2 inch pieces. Cut 2 medium Oso Sweet onions into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle them with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, a garlic-pepper blend, and some salt. Bake in the oven on a 13” x 9” pan for 35 minutes.

If all else fails, and your picky eaters will not try the sweet potatoes, there is still hope. Mix a little mashed sweet potato into your normal recipe for mashed potatoes. The color will be different, but the taste might be a bit more familiar.

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How to Prevent Food Waste and Save on Groceries

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2020 at 1:43 am
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One often overlooked way to save money on groceries is to do what you can to prevent food waste. This strategy forces people to look at food differently than they may have before. It is a bit of a learning curve, but the savings are worth it!

Buy Frozen Food

Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce. It is also less expensive, and lasts much longer. This is great for families who aren’t always good at eating fresh fruits and veggies before they go bad. Put frozen fruit into a smoothie. Pair frozen mixed vegetables with a protein for dinner.

Use Up Wilted Produce

It is entirely possible to rescue wilted produce and turn it into part of a tasty meal. Cut wilted carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and other root vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you enjoy. Put them in the oven for a nice snack or a side dish for a meal.

Salvage the Good Stuff

Is your broccoli past its prime? Cut away the bad parts – and save the core. It can be cut into small pieces that will be just as flavorful as the florets would be. The same is true of celery, carrots, zucchini, and root vegetables. Turn the small pieces into a vegetable soup. Have your tomatoes seen better days? Make them into pasta sauce, and add some chopped zucchini bits.

Do a Food Waste Audit

How much food is your family throwing away? Find out with a food waste audit. Write down all the food that ended up in the trash for two weeks. Keep your grocery receipt and find out how much money you wasted. This simple process could open your eyes to how much food waste is happening – and motivate you to reduce waste.

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Save on Seasonal Produce in December

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Keep your family healthy and strong in December by feeding them fresh, in season, produce. The best time to buy fresh, rather than frozen, produce is when it is in season. The reason is you can buy seasonal produce at a lower price than if you buy it out of season.

Potatoes
Everybody loves potatoes! There are so many different varieties to choose from. Potatoes, with the skin on them, have Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6.

Some options for using potatoes include: baked potatoes, homemade french fries, potato pancakes, and homemade hash browns.

Celery
Chopped celery is one ingredient in potato salad. It is also good in soups, and for adding some crunch to a salad. Children might enjoy eating small pieces of fresh celery stalk filled with peanut butter.

Cauliflower
You can swap out rice for riced cauliflower in many meals. It is easy to hide small pieces of cauliflower in a macaroni and cheese dish (especially if you buy the orange colored cauliflower). Some people bake a seasoned Cauliflower in the oven and enjoy the crisp, savory, treat.

Winter Squash
There are many types of winter squash, including: acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. All of them are in season during December.

You can turn spaghetti squash into long strips and swap out the spaghetti noodles in a meal. Small squashes can be cut into chunks and added into a casserole or served as a side dish.

Apples
What’s your favorite kind of apple? December is a good month to purchase them as snacks. While some varieties of apples are great for snacking, others are better for cooking or baking. Cold, winter, weather makes people want hot foods like apple cider or baked apples.

Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and mandarins are in season in December. Each is a good source of Vitamin C. Grapefruits are a go-to breakfast food. Oranges can be juiced and added to a smoothie.

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How to Save Money on Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 at 3:15 pm
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Thanksgiving dinner is an important part of how families celebrate Thanksgiving. The larger your family, the more expensive that dinner becomes. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on Thanksgiving Dinner.

Use Coupons and Loyalty Cards
Go through your printed manufacturer coupons and look for the ones that match the brands you like. This will help you save money on the foods you need for Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t forget to check for digital coupons in the app for your grocery store’s loyalty card. You might be able to combine those deals.

Take a minute to do a price check on the items you need and find out what they cost at the groceries stores near you. There’s a possibility that one store will have better prices than the rest.

Split the Cost
Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Let your family members know that you will be cooking the turkey. Ask them to contribute by bringing a dish. This tends to work best if you set up a system that will let everyone know who is bringing what.

For example, Aunt Ida might volunteer to bring mashed potatoes. Cousin Fred might bring his famous cranberry recipe. Uncle Joe might be happy to bring cases of soda and beer. Your family can split the cost of Thanksgiving dinner together.

Make your own Stuffing
The main ingredient in stuffing is bread. Instead of buying a box of stuffing mix, you can easily make your own. Use up some slightly stale bread that you already have. Cut it into cubes. Find a stuffing recipe online that you like. You might have all (or most of) the ingredients at home.

Don’t Dine Out
Dining out always costs more than eating at home. If no one wants to cook, consider ordering Thanksgiving dinner from places like Boston Market. Or, purchase pre-made items from the grocery store.

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Best Things to Buy in November

Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Every month, there are things that have an annual sale. There are plenty of sales in November. If you know what to look for, you can save some money.

Veterans Day Sales
The Veterans Day sales are usually on Veterans Day itself and the weekend closest to that day. You can expect to find special deals for people who are veterans or current members of the military. Restaurants typically offer veterans a nice discount on a meal that weekend.

In addition, stores will have sales on a wide variety of products. Those sales are open to everyone and tend to last through the weekend. Some might last all week long.

Turkey
Your favorite grocery store might be doing a “freebie” deal on turkey. Call ahead and ask the store for details before you shop. In general, grocery stores who participate in these “freebies” require shoppers to spend a certain amount of money in order to get a free turkey. The deal might require you to spend a dollar amount on specific types of items (such as food from their meat counter).

Seasonal Produce
The best way to save money on produce is to buy it when it is in season. In November, that means apples, pears, cranberries, plums, and clementines. Pumpkins will be on sale. Seasonal vegetables include: broccoli, leeks, cabbage, squash, cauliflower, parsnips, celery chestnuts, shallots, turnips, yams and potatoes.

For even more savings, use your favorite grocery store’s loyalty card and app and pair coupons and other discounts with the seasonal produce. Some of these foods, like cranberries, pumpkin, and potatoes will help you save money on Thanksgiving dinner.

Food Storage Containers
Thanksgiving dinner produces plenty of leftovers! You are going to need to find a way to store them (or to send them home with loved ones). Fortunately, November is a month when food storage containers go on sale. Shop around and do some price checking before you make a purchase.

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Tips for Saving Fresh Produce

Posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Fresh fruits and vegetables can be healthy and delicious. Sometimes, they can also be expensive. It can be really discouraging to spend money on healthy foods and to have them rot before you can eat them. Here are some tips on saving fresh produce.

Potatoes: Store potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place. A temperature of around 38 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 degrees Celsius is the ideal way to keep your potatoes cool and out of direct light until you are ready to cook them.

Salad Greens: Store them in a plastic storage container lined with paper towels. Dump the lettuce leaves out of the plastic bag they came in and into the container. Don’t jam-pack the container. Put another paper towel over the lettuce leaves and tightly close the container. Put it in the refrigerator.

Bell Peppers: Store bell peppers in a plastic bag and put them in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator. They will last for approximately one to two weeks.

Onions: Store onions in a cool, dry, well ventilated area. Maintain a storage temperature of 45 degrees – 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store onions with potatoes or other produce items that release moisture. Keep onions out of direct sunlight.

Tomatoes: Store perfectly ripe tomatoes on the counter away from sunlight. Keep them at room temperature. Put them in a single layer without touching each other, and stem side up.

Strawberries: Keep fresh strawberries cold and dry so they won’t mold. Arrange the berries (without washing or removing the stems) on a paper towel-lined tray and cover them with plastic wrap. Put them in your refrigerator.

Bananas: Take the bananas out of the plastic bag as soon as you get home. Bananas stored at room temperature ripen slower and more evenly. Do not expose the bananas to direct heat or sunlight. Place them away from the stove, heater and window. Do not keep them in a bunch – separate the bananas.

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Ways to Save Money This Fall

Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Pumpkins from PixabayFall is a good time to make an effort at saving money. There are some extremely simple things you can do that will each save you at least a few dollars. Every little bit of savings adds up!

Reuse Last Year’s Decorations
It can be tempting to spend a lot of money on brand new holiday decorations. Before you do that, go through the decorations that you already have. Most, if not all, of last year’s decorations can be reused this year.

Start by digging out the boxes of decorations. Next, go through them and get rid of the ones that are broken. Begin decorating with what you already have. You may find that you don’t actually need any new decorations after all. Save money by not purchasing more holiday decorations.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte
Fall is the season of pumpkin spice everything. Those that like the pumpkin spice flavor are likely to be tempted to buy a pumpkin spice latte (perhaps daily). One seasonal flavored latte from Starbucks, or other coffee shops, might not break your budget. That being said, multiple purchases can add up to something more expensive than you may realize.

Instead, make your own pumpkin spice latte. There are plenty of recipes for it online. Or, you could by a ready-made pumpkin spice coffee mix.

Buy Seasonal Produce
The best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s when you can find fresh fruits and vegetables at the lowest price of the year. Woman’s Day has a long list of produce that is in season in October. Here are a few to shop for:

Fruit: apples, blackberries, cranberries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, tangerines

Vegetables: pumpkins, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash

Start Planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas
One way to fit expenses into your budget is to plan for them. If you are serving Thanksgiving dinner this year, start adding some of the food into your weekly grocery purchase. Spreading out the expense can make it easier than having to purchase all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner at the same time.

The same is true for Christmas gifts. Make a plan about what you want to buy for each family member. Spread out the cost by making a few purchases now, and a few later. Will you be traveling in December? The earlier you can buy flight tickets and book hotel rooms, the better. Prices tend to increase the closer we got to a holiday.

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Martha’s Table Brings Healthy Food to Food Deserts

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 7:28 pm
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Fruit & Vegetable PlatterPeople who want to eat healthy foods may find that incredibly difficult to do if they live in a food desert. Martha’s Table believes that access to fresh, healthy food is essential for supporting stronger children, families, and community. Martha’s Table has created healthy eating initiatives to help families make healthy choices.

The USDA defines food deserts as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. Food deserts are often found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

Martha’s Table began in 1979 as a result of the partnership between Dr. Veronica Maz and Father Horace McKenna, who wanted to create a safe place for children to eat and read after school. Martha’s Table has expanded their services, in response to the needs of the community, since then. Martha’s Table is located in Washington, D.C.

Martha’s Table provides Healthy Markets. They are pop-up grocery stores where children, their families, and neighbors can shop at no cost for fresh, healthy produce and healthy pantry supplies. At least 40% of the food available at each market is composed of produce such as sweet potatoes, cabbage, and kale. Non-perishable staples range from peanut butter to whole-wheat pasta and beans.

Martha’s Markets program began in 2011 as a result of a partnership with the Target Foundation’s Meals for Minds program. Martha’s Markets are currently run in 7 elementary schools, two community centers, and at Martha’s Table, where the market is open to students and families in the Martha’s Table Healthy Start and Healthy Connections programs.

At the pop-up Martha’s Markets, families select from fresh, seasonal produce and healthy pantry staples at no cost every month. The markets also include chef-led culinary demonstrations designed to spread the joy of healthy eating.

Joyful Food Markets started in 2016 in partnership with the Capital Area Food bank. The purpose of the Joyful Food Markets is to increase access to and encourage consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables east of the Anacostia River. Joyful Food Markets are run exclusively in elementary schools. You can find a list of those elementary schools on the Martha’s Table website.

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Healthy Food Swaps to Try

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Want to eat healthier without completely missing out on some favorite foods? Try these healthy food swaps!How healthy are the meals you have been eating lately? What about the snacks? We all need to eat, and many of us seek out things that are convenient and that we are accustomed to. It is possible to swap out a comfort food with a healthier option.

Healthy Food Swaps

You can swap out a regular potato for a sweet potato in a multitude of recipes that call for potatoes. A medium sweet potato is only about 100 calories when baked in the skin. They also have complex carbohydrates, which are released at a steady pace for a constant source of vitality.

Make a batch of sweet potato fries. Eat a loaded sweet potato instead of a loaded regular potato. Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect time to serve a sweet potato casserole (instead of mashed potatoes).

Love pasta but don’t like the amount of carbs in it? Swap out your spaghetti noodles for some spaghetti squash. One cup of spaghetti pasta has around 200 calories. A cup of spaghetti squash has only around 30 calories.

Spaghetti squash is unique because it can be shredded into long, thin, strands that look a lot like regular spaghetti noodles. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Roast it at 400 degrees. Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Shred the warm spaghetti squash into noodles, and serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

Many of us start our days with a cup of coffee. You can get your daily dose of caffeine, for less calories, if you drink black coffee. It is super easy to make for yourself at home. A simple black coffee is usually the least expensive drink on the menu at a typical coffee shop.

You can do a lot with a cauliflower. Put the cauliflower florets into a food processor and turn them into a nice substitute for rice. The texture is similar, but the cauliflower offers a lighter taste and less calories than real rice would.

Got a picky eater at home that hates vegetables? Buy an orange cauliflower, break the florets into small pieces, and steam them. You can mix those veggies into a bowl of macaroni and cheese without making it obvious that there are vegetables in the dish. Doing so also lets you swap out some of pasta with vegetables.

Need a quick snack? Those that seek out crunchy snacks can swap out their potato chips or pretzels with cut vegetables. Carrots and cucumber are crunchy. They are fresh, healthy, and lower in calories than potato chips.

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