Keeping Food Fresh Longer and Reducing Waste

Every year people waste thousands of dollars in food because it has spoiled. This is a considering fact because it not only wastes families budgets but energy as well. As the population becomes more conscious towards what is being thrown away it seems like food waste is the area where we can do the most good. With better choices and how we get our foods we could make a big difference towards reducing waste and saving money.

Plan it out

Our first stop at reducing waste is not purchasing unnecessary items. As a family on a budget it would be in your best interest to complete a weekly meal plan. A weekly meal plan allows you to have a grocery list that is specific and meets all of your needs for that week. This will cause less over spending as well as a focus towards healthy food. The weekly meal plan may take a little time to prepare, however, you will save time over the week because you don’t have to worry about what to make for dinner.

When you have a weekly meal plan you should also consider your left over food. Are you going to reuse that food by taking it with you to work for lunches or are you going to repurpose that food such as adding left over chicken to a fried rice recipe or turning into ravioli. Keep foods that need to be used at eye level so they are ready to be used and so they wouldn’t become a forgotten mess in the back of the refrigerator.

Focus on where and how you purchase

Many grocery stores are helping on the customers by providing locations of where fruits and vegetables come from.  The further the location that the food is from the less likely that it will last more than a few days in your refrigerator.  Your best bet is to find local sources for your food like a neighborhood farmer, backyard fruit trees, or a personal vegetable garden; the more local the source the longer it will stay fresh in your home. You may want to find a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group that you can receive fresh, in-season food items every week.

Know correct storage of food

In general a refrigerator temperature should be kept between 36 and 40 degrees F. to keep foods fresh but still avoiding freezing. Temperature is important because it helps food resist mold and bacteria growth. However, keeping meat at refrigerator temperature for an extended period of time can cause the meat to oxidize and cause the meat to spoil quickly. You can store bread items in cool, dark areas outside of the refrigerator if there is little or no fruit or vegetable items baked in, otherwise store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Fruits and vegetables have a lot of tips and tricks to keep them fresh longer but a few to keep in mind are:

  • Keep fruits and vegetable in the warmest part of your refrigerator, which is usually the bottom, to keep the flavor.
  • Cut up root vegetables like carrots and place them in water to keep their crunchiness and for quick eating.
  • Do not store fruits and vegetables in plastic bags.
  • Mold likes to grow on moist surfaces so wash and dry well any produce before you put in the refrigerator to be stored.
  • Berries should be stored in the coolest point in the refrigerator in a re-sealable plastic bag.
  • Store leafy greens in an open container wrapped in a paper towel.

Consider alternative food storage

Some food storage methods may be considered dying art forms, however, you may want to consider alternative methods of food storage for some situations. Canning is an alternative food storage method that could preserve food for up to a year in some cases. When buying end of the season produce you may be able to find a local farmer who is willing to part with less than perfect produce that you can turn into wonderful jellies, jams, or sauces for later.  Another food storage method is drying. Drying fruits and vegetables allow you to keep your produce longer and make great to-go snacks. Drying can be as easy as cutting the produce and place them in the oven.

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Concepts for Buying Your Next Kitchen Appliance

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Buying your kitchen appliance can be an enjoyable experience or a nightmare. Before you go to the store to buy your next kitchen appliance read these concepts to know what to look for when considering adding to your kitchen and your lifestyle.

Do some research

Hit the online search engines and written articles. The Internet, videos, retail store websites, books, magazines, and other sources have a wealth of information in order to compare different products and manufactures. You are also able to check product reviews from purchasers and sources like Consumer Reports. When you have plan that is backed up by research you will have less surprises from unexpected costs. During this time, it is in your best interest to determine what would be your budget will be for your expected purchase and installing the new appliance.

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Think about how much time you spend in the kitchen

Are you a person who lives on take-out and rarely cooks? Or are you a person who makes items from scratch and spends hours at time in the kitchen? How you spend time in your kitchen will determine how big of an appliance you need. Industrial sized kitchen appliances are slowly making their way into the home and becoming increasingly popular. If you rarely cook then you might not want a large, high capacity oven or a refrigerator when a standard size or smaller would meet your needs. However, if you are a person that spends a lot of time in the kitchen then you may have to consider other items such as appropriate cabinet and counter space.

Don’t worry about loyalty to a manufacturer

Just like finding the cheaper food option in the grocery store, you need to find the cheapest appliance that would work well in your home as well as fits in with your kitchen color scheme. Going back to the research, you may have found out that a manufacturer may specialize in making ovens but make poor refrigerators. You wouldn’t want to purchase an appliance that is made poorly. Different manufacturers offer similar finishes that would be able to easily meet your needs as well as make your kitchen shine and increase overall home value.

What are the appliance features you can’t live without?

If you determined earlier that you are a person who rarely cooks, you might not need the latest and greatest technology in the kitchen. It is easy to impulse buy added features in an appliance and get caught up in the excitement of having a new toy in the kitchen.Small features in new appliances can add up to a higher cost and the size of the machine. During this time of excitement do your best to remember your budget and your needs. You may want to explore different stores as tests before you actually buy so you don’t fall pray to the eagerness.

Think about changing family size

Home appliances normally have a long life expectancy. A lot changes could happen to your family such as marriages, babies, or kids going off to college. With each change could determine how you use your appliances. If you are expecting an increase in family within a few years of purchase you may want to consider a larger item to keep up with your family’s demand.

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Small costs add up

There will always be small surprises when it comes to adding to your home. You may have to have a professional install the appliance and they may have to add new plumbing lines, hoses, or bases, which could considerably add to your overall costs. The added costs could blow your planned budget, so it is important to know if your new appliance will be suitable for your home.

Buying a new appliance can have a lot of considerations that are unique to your situation.  Make sure that you are purchasing an appliance that you will be happy with for years to come.

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Maintenance Ideas to Keep Your Home Appliances Running Flawlessly

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Some of us has had the privilege of seeing an ancient Home business that is still running flawlessly to this day, long after we think that it should be in a dumpster. Each appliance has its own set of needs for maintenance in order to extend its life span and for you to be happy in your home. When an appliance stops running it could result in a large repair bill or the replacement of the whole unit. We all want our homes to run as smoothly as possible, so it is in our best interest to make sure our appliances are running effortlessly. With millions of appliances running every day there are going to expectations to every rule, however, here are some general strategies for keeping your home investment lasting longer.

Air Conditioners (room-size)

  • Change or clean air conditioner filters monthly during operating season. So you can breathe cleaner air and minimize dust.
  • Make sure that there is proper airflow around the air conditioner unit.
  • Clean around system and clear leaves, trash, plants, or other debris.

These items could help with the air conditioner running more effectively and not actively running as much to regulate the temperate. This means that you should have smaller electric bills and be more comfortable. When the air conditioner is not in use it is important to store the unit correctly by protecting it from the elements.

Furnace

  • Again, change or clean furnace filters monthly during time of high use or regularly when you are just using the furnace fan.
  • Clean dust build up away from all heat registers and from the air intake area.
  • Make sure that you are not storing any household items around the furnace. This could be a fire hazard

Dryers

  • Clean dryer vents on a regular basis or after heavy use. Clogged vents can a fire hazard as well as decreasing airflow and adding moisture to your house.
  • Clean lint filter after every use.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking the exhaust vent outside including bushes, leaves, or animal nests.

With a higher efficient dryer you are protecting your investment of in wardrobe. A clean dryer will dry your cloths faster as well as save you energy costs.

Washing Machines

  • Fill hoses can crack or become brittle, change them out every few years.
  • Turn off water supply hoses any time you are away for an extended period of time especially if you live in a region of the world that freezes during winter months.
  • When not in use, leave the door open or ajar to prevent buildup of mildew and mold. Mildew and mold will make your cloths smell as well as decrease their life expectancy.

Refrigerator

  • Clean the shelves inside on a regular basis. Regular cleaning will make sure there is little to no staining as well as decrease mold buildup.
  • Inspect the seals in the door. Make sure the seals are intact and free from holes, cracks, or slashes. Not having a clean door seal will allow cold air to escape into the room and you will lose valuable food and have higher electric needs.
  • Empty or clean drain pan on a regular basis.
  • Make sure that your food is not blocking the air exchange inside of the refrigerator. When food is blocking the airflow it could freeze half of your food and cause food to spoil that is closer to the door.

Having a professional come in periodically to inspect the condition of your appliances is a great idea. Owning a home is a sizeable investment and decreasing your cost in your appliances is important to being happy in your home.

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How to get started on home business

Plan

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Being your own boss and defining your own schedule could be a dream job for some people. Getting started in home business can be daunting and down right scary at times. The pressure of success and finding a schedule that meets both home and family responsibilities can be overwhelming. The following are some guidelines to get you started on the right track of finding the best home business for you and for your family.

1. Find an engaging subject

When finding the right home business, you must find a subject of business that is interesting to you and that you can continue to grow for a long period of time. Find ways to utilize your passions to your best advantages and long-term business investments. To give an example, it would not make business sense to start a business as a travel writer because you want to see the world, if you don’t like to travel.  You will be miserable any time you have to do work and you will not be successful in your work.

2. Solve a problem

Often time new businesses start as a way to solve a problem that the owners see a need for in the community. It is a good idea to complete different types of research about this problem. Find out if someone has already solved the problem you are trying to address. If there is someone already in business could the community handle the competition between the two businesses? How do you market your product or service better than your competition?

3. Determine where you are in the supply chain

Now that you have a problem to solve, you need to determine where your solution fits in the supply chain. There are three areas of the supply chain:

  • Selling a good, product, or service
  • Supplying the goods or products to be sold
  • Accounting for the movement of the good, product, or service

Determining where you are in the supply chain will help you look at the business without emotion and make sound business decisions. This also helps you narrow your focus to find appropriate clients, as well as competition, for the business that you are starting.

4. Determine your value

Your time is valuable and making sure to pay yourself for your time while producing the product or completing the service is essential. Your overall well being and being successful in the future requires that you are able to pay your own bills as well as the business bills. Ask yourself how much am I worth? Also, ask yourself how much will someone else pay for my time? This might take some trial and error, but it will help you towards your business goals.

5. Have a plan for create demand for your business

Plan

Without customers, your home business with sink and you will be out of business very soon. Have a plan in place for your marketing. What will that drive your customers to call you, go to your website, or email you? If you are on the service or accounting side of the supply chain make sure that you are completing projects on time and with integrity.  If you are on the product side of the supply chain make sure that your products are well made, clean, and with quality packaging.

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How to succeed in the business world?

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Each year there are millions of people trying to find their place in the business world, but few find a foothold that would lead to wealth and job stability.  What does it take to succeed in the business world? Making your way in the business can be difficult. Here are five common ideas that allow you to focus on success.

1. Know strengths and weaknesses

Knowing your strengths as well as your weaknesses will allow you to apply for the right positions and seek out current businesses that would benefit from your strengths. Personally developing your weaknesses can let you become a valuable employee or business owner. Continuing your growth towards becoming a better person, overall, shows that you stay relevant and are responsible for you actions.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the people working around you is a major plus. With this knowledge you can develop the people that you are working with and give them tasks that play to their strengths rather than highlight their weaknesses, becoming an operational team.

2. Treat others with respect

No matter what sort of business you decide to go into you will work with people. Treating those around you with respect and letting them know how much you appreciate them will allow you to succeed. People in business will need to work well with others, and in teams, in order to complete work in a timely and effective manner.

Try with something small, such as saying thank you for everyday messages and information, or recognizing people for a job well done. Finding ways to work together will cost you less time and money in the future.

3. Utilize your resources well

Using the tools around you, whether it is the Internet or appropriate books and written articles, will allow you to gain knowledge and understanding to work more professionally and efficiently. Producing educated, quality work that many clients and employers are looking for requires information that is up-to-date and free from errors.

4. Communication

Clearly communicating your ideas as well as directionsis critical to succeeding in the business world. Communication also helps educate the team you are working with and working together offers a competitive advantage.  Collaborative ideas are often more valuable and useful then if it belongs to just one person.

meeting35. Make ethical decisions

If you have a history of being authentic, true, and honest then you need to keep this reputation throughout all of your business decisions. Ethical decision-making allows employers and clients to want to come back to you for future business or projects. Otherwise, news of your poor decision-making will spread by word-of-mouth which will push away any future clients and will cause your employer to not trust your work or even cause termination.

These ideas are just some basic thoughts to further your success in the business world. With these ideas you could develop yourself and your team to become a critical component to any company or small business to build profit and wealth.

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