Mushroom Tip # 4 – Start with a really hot Pan

Use a good quality aluminum or cast iron pan and allow it to come to temperature first. Add the mushrooms, but don’t overcrowd them in the pan. Place mushrooms in the pan, stir them around a bit (to get coated in oil/fluid in the pan) then let them cook for a bit. If you want crispy mushrooms, resist the urge to stir.

Mushroom Tip # 3 – Salt them at the End

Seasoning food often and early is a good rule of thumb, except when it comes to mushrooms. Salt tends to draw the moisture out of ingredients, so if you’re cooking mushrooms, salting too early will draw the water out and cause the mushrooms to steam. See Tip #2 for why it’s not a good idea to steam mushrooms. Season them when they’re done cooking.

Mushroom Tip # 2 – Dry them properly

Washing mushroom with water is up for debate. Personally, we wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel. If you do decide to wash your mushrooms, be sure that they are completely dry before cooking them. If they’re not totally dry, they will steam which can impart a rubbery texture to them. Place washed mushrooms on a towel and leave them to dry for 30 minutes or longer.

Mushroom Tip #1 – Don’t suffocate them

Take mushrooms out of the sealed plastic wrap container and place them in an brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Place a damp paper towel over the mushrooms to keep them from drying out.
The paper towel should be damp, not wet.

Strawberry Care

When you get them home, sort but do not clean them until just before you use them! Store the berries uncovered in the refrigerator in the original or a shallow container. When you are ready to use the berries, wash them quickly in cold water. Do not let them soak. Lift them gently from the wash water and drain them well before you hull them, and most importantly…..ENJOY!

Room Temperature Butter Tip

If your recipe calls for room temperature butter and you’re in a hurry, try this tip.  Put boiling hot water in a glass and let it sit for 30 seconds. Dump the water out and flip it upside down over your stick of butter. In a few minutes it will be soft and ready to use!  butter

Garlic Tip

Peeling fresh garlic can be a sticky and odiferous process. Try smashing a clove of garlic with the side of your knife insteadgarlic. It’s the quickest way to remove the peel. Place your knife flat on its side above the clove of garlic and carefully apply pressure until the garlic clove flattens. The peel and the flesh separate into two pieces, leaving the cutting board free of debris. 

Heart Healthy Baking Tips

Prepare muffins and quick breads with less saturated fat and fewer calories. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats.

Use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream instead of full fat versions. You can’t tell the difference.

Another way to decrease the amount of fat and calories in your recipes is to use fat-free milk or 1% milk instead of whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk. For extra richness, try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk.

Heart Healthy Smoothie Tips

Smoothies can pack a big nutritional punch but be sure to skip the high fructose juices.  Throw a banana (you can keep them in the freezer for weeks) into your blender along with frozen berries, kiwi, apples, grapes or whatever fruit is around. Add regular water, tea, coconut water or other juice and if you’d like fat-free or low-fat yogurt. You can get 4–5 servings of fruit in one glass of yummy shake.  Try adding baby greens to your smoothie for a dose of veggies too. Try getting your loved one to sip on a smoothie. It’s easy, cool, refreshing and healthy.

Canned Convenience – it’s not what it’s cracked up to be

Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for “low-sodium” veggies or try the frozen varieties. Compare the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label of similar products (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose the products with less sodium. If you buy canned, rinse veggies under cold water to reduce the level of sodium.