Simple Kitchen How-to’s, just for fun

Simple Kitchen How-to’s

Ever wonder how to pick a cantaloupe or clean a baking sheet? Check out these tips for some of your common kitchen questions:


Freeze bananas

Ditch the individual bags or plastic wrap and just toss your banana in the fridge in the peel. Bananas out of their peel can also easily get stuck together, making it hard to dig out only one. When you are ready to use them, run the banana’s peel under warm water for 10 seconds, and slice the peel down the side. The banana will still be frozen but will slide out of the peel.

Make a Smoothie

Here is an easy guide to making a delicious smoothie; what you need: ½ cup to 1 cup liquid, 1 Tbsp to ¼ cup of a something creamy, ½ tsp to 1 Tbsp of a flavor, 1 to 2 cups of frozen fruits and vegetables, and a bit of sweetener to taste. Your liquid could be Kefir, juice, milk, or water. Your creamy component could be nut butter, yogurt, or avocado. Your flavor might be vanilla, lemon or lime, mint, or cinnamon. Your choice of frozen fruits and vegetables is endless.

Juice a Lemon

Maximize the amount of juice you will get by microwaving your lemon (or lime) for 20 seconds. You can even use this for cut lemon that has dried out in the fridge.

Store an Avocado

The best way to store an avocado is with the skin on, keeping the kit intact. The skin and the pit block oxygen from reaching the flesh. Limiting that contact preserves your avocado. Then, place plastic wrap directly on the flesh, so no air gets to it and store it in the fridge. You can also store your avocado in a container with an onion. The onion slows the browning process.

Picking a Ripe Cantaloupe

The best way to pick a cantaloupe is by smelling it. Pick up the melon and take a whiff of the stem end. There should be a sweet smell, but not too sweet. If you can’t smell anything, it’s not quite ripe. There are a couple of things to look for, as well. If it has a stem or green showing through, it’s not quite ripe. It should be firm, but not rock hard.

Soften Butter Quickly

Grate a stick of butter on the coarse side of a box grater. It will soften almost instantly.

Clean a Baking Sheet

Your baking sheet might seem impossible to get clean after roasting vegetables. Try using a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Spread it over the pan and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours).

Lisa Lewis is the author of Healthy Happy Cooking. Her cooking skills have been a part of First Place for Health wellness weeks and other events for many years. She provided recipes for 15 of the First Place for Health Books and is a contributing author in Better Together and Healthy Holiday Living. She partners with community networks, including the Real Food Project, to provide free healthy cooking classes. You can find her cookbook, Healthy Happy Cooking in the FP4H store here:


You Can’t Please All The People All The Time

Several recent blog entries have discussed the affect of alcohol on breastfeeding.  This question keeps coming up with new mothers.  They are embarrassed to drink in public because of the media attention on alcohol and pregnancy.  Others are harassed by those who believe all caffeine, even that in chocolate is dangerous for babies in utero.  Then there are folks who want to discuss every bite of food a mother eats. the supplements she takes, and what she drinks.  This kind of scrutiny is for your obstetrician rather than your acquaintances.

Pregnant and new mommies are already stressed to the max on their own.  They want to do their very best for their babies.  Everyone they talk to has a different opinion of what “the best” is.  Their mothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, work colleagues, neighbors, friends, uncles, pediatricians, the Internet, and on and on all weigh in on how pregnant and nursing mothers should behave.  Most often all these helpful people do not agree.  So mom, who wants to do her best learns the hard way ‘you can’t please all the people all the time.’  This is a painful and difficult lesson.

What is a mommy to do?  The wisdom of the ages says “Practice Moderation”.  More problems arise in extreme behaviors than in moderation.  There is the saying “Too much of anything can be a bad thing”.  So don’t do too much.  Having chocolate once in a while is probably much better for you than craving it incessantly and eventually binging and eating all the chocolate you can find!  The same can be said for coffee, other caffeine drinks, wine, even breads and citrus.  Our bodies are amazing things, they adjust when fed.

In my doula practice I seek to bring peace to the stress and confusion of life.  Too much information causes us to shut down and give up.  Too many rules or fears do the same.  For all of us, living under the COVID cloud has intensified the confusion.  Take a deep breath and let the stress flow from you.  For me, the best place to do this is sitting on the sand at a beach.  For you perhaps it is a park, coffee shop, or your own backyard.  Find your relaxed place and go there to think.  If you have little ones at home wait until they are resting or asleep and find your spot at home.

Pregnant and lactating moms, take the time to relax and think when making decisions about the topics above.  Do not feel pressured to respond as others think you should.  Find the best answer to each question for you.  Remember moderation and peace.

A Treat For Your Warm Summer Days!!!

4 Garden-Fresh Recipes for Summer
Mint Iced Tea by Luzianne
     We are fortunate to have a large mint patch in our back yard that makes flavorful iced tea. Fresh mint is the taste and scent of summer that reminds me of childhood, family reunions and hot summer evenings.
     Try this summer-inspired iced tea recipe to cool off. We typically use spearmint or apple mint, also known as wooly mint. You may easily adjust the amount of sugar to taste (we typically use less). Mint iced tea is refreshing for a summer potluck or backyard gathering.
     You can brew any tea.  If you are not in a hurry, make sun-tea.  Fill a glass gallon jar with fresh water, tie 6 green tea bags together and place them inside.  Cover the top and set it on a window sill in direct sunlight for the day.  Crush 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint and add to the bottle before serving.  Sweeten, you can use sugar, agave syrup, honey, your choice.  Pour into chilled glass mugs or glasses with ice and serve with a sprig of fresh mint.  So refreshing!!!
     We’d love to hear your favorite summer recipe or growing your own food story. Happy summertime to your family!

How long after birth do babies carry their mother’s immunity?

During the last 3 months of pregnancy, antibodies from the mother are passed to her unborn baby through the placenta.  This type of immunity is called passive immunity because the baby has been given antibodies rather than making them itself.  Antibodies are special proteins the immune system produces to help protect the body against bacteria and viruses.  The amount and type of antibodies passed to the baby depends on the mother’s immunity.  For example, if the mother has had chickenpox, she’ll have developed immunity against the condition and some of the chickenpox antibodies will be passed to the baby.  But if the mother hasn’t had chickenpox, the baby won’t be protected.  Immunity in newborn babies is only temporary and starts to decrease after the first few weeks or months.

Breast milk also contains antibodies, which means that babies who are breastfed have passive immunity for longer.  The thick yellowish milk (colostrum) produced for the first few days following birth is particularly rich in antibodies.  Premature babies are at higher risk of developing an illness because their immune systems aren’t as strong and they haven’t had as many antibodies passed to them.  As newborn immunity is only temporary, it’s important to begin childhood immunisations when your baby is 2 months old. This applies to babies who are either premature or full-term.  The first immunisation, given when your baby is 2 months old, includes whooping cough and Hib (haemophilus influenza type b) because immunity to these conditions decreases the fastest.  Passive immunity to measles, mumps and rubella can last for up to a year, which is why the MMR vaccine is given just after your baby’s first birthday.