United Fresh workshops 2

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Ceiling Security cameras — who knew the mining of data that groceries stores can get from their ceiling cameras? I know now–

Data+metrics= insight

  • Store Traffic
  • Shopping time from store entry to exit
  • Store “hot” zones Like end caps and aisle “blockers”
  • navigation time
  • Time spent in each store zone i.e dairy, floral, bakery etc
  • traffic flow direction
  • security
  • employee theft
  • shopper leakage ( those who come in to buy but leave without buying anything)
  • timeliness of fresh produce to the shelf for customer purchase
  • How often freezer doors are opened or do they just look though glass
  • customers using tastings, store flyers, coupons, fancier kiddie carts, etc.
  • and more….

 

Stainless Steel Spice Box part Deux

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Here I am starting to fill my spice tiffin. I used my handy dandy P-touch labeler to make my own labels for this, It works! It was easy to fill all my little cups. Unfortunately all these spices I bought at the Indian Grocery stores and they come in pretty big bags, about half a bag fit in this cup. The truth is I will probably never use all these spices fast enough for them to stay fragrant and potent. I am going to give away some of the leftover spice to my friend who bought 7 boxes for her family who also love Indian food and need spices. I should stress that I am planning to do all the rest of my  spices that I do not use everyday this same way?

Stainless Spice Box

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Here is Anupy and her wonderful stainless steel box, I have so many spices that I ended yup buying 6, I may need a few more. BUt imagine the convenience of being able to find all your Indian spices or Chili fix in’s or baking spices all in one spot. Plus, I like Anupy and her cookbook, I have already made several dishes in my crockpot from her recipes. These are her spices, Next post is my pics–

Oh yeah, These are available from Indian as Apple Pie. Also can’t wait for her new Indian Vegan recipe book!

 

 

Quick Potato Breakfast

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I love potatoes and on Saturday morning I was whining about not having something for breakfast.  Marian said she’ll whip up some cottage fried potatoes which is essentially a little olive oil, sliced onions ( I love onions), and thinly sliced potatoes thrown into a skillet.

We decided to use our stainless steel OXO mandoline, a wonderful tool, to slice up the potatoes and then a crazy idea to see if there is a difference between cooking them on cast iron or a non-stick pan.

It took about 10 minutes and the potatoes went from raw to on the table with some ketchup and I had my breakfast.

Cast Iron Frying Pan with Cottage Fries

I think the cast iron skillet won.  It seemed to get hotter and browned the potatoes so they looked more like hash browns.  The cast iron was harder to clean even though it was a properly seasoned cast iron pan.

We’ll talk about seasoning a cast iron pan in a later post.

Below is our first shot at taking a video… give us a break it’s the first one and I’m sure it will improve.

International Housewares Show

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Opening day, international housewares showIn Chicago at the International Housewares Show – very fun looking at all the new gadgets and appliances.  Seems like the trend is definitely towards healthier eating… some vendors figured that out and others are still pitching the same old diets that has got us into trouble.

We’ve seen some very nice new steamers, juicers, rice cookers, dehydrators, and wheat grinders.  I was surprised at the amount of juicers and dehydrators we’ve seen.  We’ll talk about several of these over the next few days.

We are looking forward to getting back to some home cooking.

The Corn Zipper

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I have have wanted one of these specialty tools since I read my first review.

corn zipper

I got one at the end of the season last year and just remembered I have it. Walmart had lovely yellow and white corn on sale for memorial day weekend.

Got out the corn zipper and …zip zip. Just 6 seconds and all the corn off the cob! I bet you know lots of folks who need one of these-

On the sad side, I just realized how much corn is on one cob. I better not eat 3 of these again.

Rice Cooker – Sanyo

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Sanyo Rice Cooker

I’ve done a bunch of research on rice cookers and there are a BUNCH out there.  You can pick them up pretty cheap at Wal-Mart or Target and they will save you a ton of work.

At the less expensive models they all work pretty much the same way and are pre-set to a couple of varieties of rice.  This works for most of us.  Just add water, use the measuring cup they give you as part of the package… don’t loose it… and about 40 minutes later you have perfect rice each time.  Much better than doing it on the stove.

What you have to be careful about is having rice stick to the sides of the bowl in the cooker.  That bowl needs to be cleaned real well.  If it’s a non-stick coating clean it right away by itself in the sink with a scrubby that won’t damage it.

I’ve been doing that and I’ve had the same rice cooker for years with flawless results.

The rice cooker that I really like is kinda expensive since it’s fairly sophisticated in how it cooks the rice.  It has sensors etc. to make it perfect.  I bought it years ago and the instructions were in broken english since it seemed to be the popular one used in Japan…. soooo… I figured they know a think or two about rice and it was rated very highly there I went and bought one.  It was pretty tough to find one.  I’ve now seem them at some local Asian markets but still you can find it online.

Sanyo Rice Cooker Action

The specs from the Sanyo site are:

  • Separate Inner Pots and Inner Lids for Rice and Slow Cooking
  • Titanium-Coated Extra-Thick (3mm) Non-Stick Rice Cooking Inner Pot with Round Bottom for Maximum Heat Distribution and Optimum Cooking
  • Multi-Menu Selections.  Ideal for White, Mixed, Rinse-Free, Brown, Haiga, and Sushi Rice, Quick Cooking, Slow Cooking, Steaming, and Tofu
  • High & Low Slow Cook Temperature Settings with 12-Hour Programmability
  • LCD Clock & 24-Hour Preset Timer Allows for Cooking Completion at a Desired Time
  • Keep-Warm Function Keeps Rice Warm and Delicious After Cooking
  • Tofu Function and Container for Preparing Nutritious Soft Tofu Ever Time
  • Steaming Function with Uniqe Tray for Preparing Healthy Steamed Foods
  • Retractable Cord
  • Measuring Cup, Spatula, Tofu Container, Steaming Tray, and Multi-Language Instruction Manual Included

 

 

Nipple Pot

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Nipple Pot Perfect for Simmering

I’ve been asked questions about what kind of pot was I using for making oats.  We call it the nipple pot since we are not sure what to call it.

It’s made by Fontignac in France.  We have a small 2 qt 8.5 inch pot that we really like.  We have another that is 8 qt.  Both are identical in construction, cast iron with a thick enamel coating. They are super to use.  It’s probably the most used pot in the kitchen.

They are unique in that the tops have little bumps where the steam condenses and falls back onto the food.  This makes it ideal for long simmering of foods and the extra weight of the cast iron.  We have recently bought one that was similar at Macy’s on sale.  It is the Martha Stewart line and has worked well for us.  It’s a little cheaper than the Fontignac line but a real good deal if you can find it on sale.

 

We highly recommend this kind of pot for slow cooking.

 

Plastic Bag Seal

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Binder Clip for Plastic Bag Seal

The problem we’ve had is how to seal the plastic bags after you open them.  I got tired of buying the stuff at the store with weak clips, plastic, etc….

I figured out a couple of years back … and maybe you guys already knew this… to use the office binder clips that are used for holding paper together.  These are ideal and come in various sizes and what I like the most…. they are way cheap and do the job wonderfully.

The bag in the picture is from our food storage that we vacuum sealed this bag of oats in 1999…imagine… they are still fresh and tasty when I broke the seal on the bag a week ago.  I put the date we seal the bag on the bag so I know to rotate these things around.  As you can imagine we got a little carried away buying a bunch of oats.  I probably still have about 5 bags left.