6 Tips To Reduce Produce Food Costs

Salad Greens

We are all feeling the inflation rise with higher prices for fruits and vegetables.

What Can You Do?

Fresh Strawberries

Here are some tips to help you make wise decisions when buying these items and also help you keep produce safe.

Choose Quality

It’s best to choose produce that is not damaged or bruised.

When buying pre-cut, bagged or packaged produce, such as salad greens or half a cantaloupe, check that the produce is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

Bagged Kale Slaw

Store Safely

Most of us know to always store fresh fruits and vegetables separately from raw meats, poultry and seafood when taking groceries home from the store. There was a case of raw blood from a torn hamburger meat package dripping onto raw salad greens which caused an outbreak of E. Coli! This was preventable if the products had been packed separately at the grocery store.

Separate For Safety

Use separate cutting boards for produce, raw meat, poultry & seafood

It’s very important to keep raw fruits and vegetables separate from raw meats and seafood, and also to use separate kitchen utensils for these items. When finished with food preparation, always wash the knives and cutting boards in hot soapy water or the dishwasher.

Saving Money

Raw Carrots

Tips To Follow

You can save money on produce with these helpful tips:

*Buy produce which is cold and refrigerate immediately when home.

*Use clean and sanitary utensils for food preparation.

*Cut away damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating.

*Do not wash fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent or a commercial produce wash as these steps are not effective.

*Even if you do not plan to eat the skin of fruits and vegetables, wash with water first to prevent dirt and bacteria transferring from the surface when peeling or cutting.

*You can use a clean produce brush to scrub firm produce with water such as melons and cucumbers which will also remove surface contaminants.

Salad with a meal

By following these tips, you will reduce produce wastage and reduce your food costs!

6 Facts About Cream Teas That You Didn’t Know!

A cream tea – Cornish or Devon?

It does seem like everyone drinks a large amount of coffee. However, tea is still popular too. My British parents drank tea with milk daily. Coffee wasn’t in our house as tea was the way to go! I always remember my mother, who lived through WW2, saying that she had to give up sugar in her tea, then milk and also get used to plain tea. She was so thankful when she could finally have milk back in her tea. One thing she never had was cream in her tea!

Cornish Cream Tea

What is a Cream Tea?

That brings me to cream teas. If you visit Victoria, you will have the chance for afternoon tea in various restaurants from the Oak Bay Tearoom, Butchart Gardens and even the Empress Hotel. Afternoon tea was introduced to England, in the year 1840, by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. She would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, which left a long period of time between lunch and dinner, so the afternoon tea was born. Others liked the idea and, before she knew it, the afternoon tea had become all the rage which included tea, dainty sandwiches and scones with cream and jam. Cream tea became part of the afternoon tea as well.

Cornish Cream Tea with Scones, Jam and Clotted Cream

Devon or Cornish – Which Is The Best Way?

Tea with scones and jam in Cornwall

What is the Difference?

Definitions:

The traditional cream tea, also referred to as Devonshire cream tea, is a specialty of Cornwall and Devon in England where a pot of tea is served with scones, clotted cream and jam. The scone is a single-serving unsweetened cake, with typical ingredients of flour, butter and milk. Clotted cream is a smooth, thick cream traditionally made in Devon and Cornwall. Unpasteurized cow’s milk is heated and left in a shallow pan for many hours which causes the cream to rise to the surface and “clot”.

Devon Cream Teas

The cream is like the butter. You wouldn’t put butter on jam.

Jam was expensive so you only needed a small amount on top.

You can get more cream if you place it on the scone first!

Devon Cream Tea

Cornish Cream Teas

It’s easier to spread with the cream on top and jam on the bottom of the scone.

You can taste the cream better on top!

You wouldn’t put cream on the bottom of a fruit salad.

Cornish Cream Tea

It Doesn’t Matter!

The main thing is to enjoy the cream tea or afternoon tea and use the cream and jam whichever way you like!

Afternoon Tea at Butchart Gardens in Victoria

I will be including a recipe for scones in my upcoming cookbook.

Travel Memories: Mykonos, Greece

A Popular Greek Island

Windmill on Mykonos

Another Greek island stop on the cruise was to Mykonos. The main town is called Mykonos too.

A Town By The Sea

Mykonos is a lovely town with some buildings and restaurants up to the water’s edge. It is nicknamed “The Island of Winds” due to the very strong winds which blow across the island which we experienced.

The cruise ship in the distance.

Greek Dining

We were able to sit outside and enjoy some Greek food while almost on the water.

My husband Al and myself sitting outside at Mykonos restaurant.

We had some Greek appetizers which included olives and hummous of course!

Hummous

They also brought us olives, bread and tsatziki.

Appetizers

We had to try the cappucino!

Cappucino

Greek Octopus

One thing we didn’t try was the octopus! This one was sitting outside on the bar all ready to go!

It was a fun day in Mykonos and well worth the visit.

Dining by the sea.
Mykonos Pottery showing the famous windmills.

I look forward to returning there again in the future.

Narrow streets in Mykonos.

Travel Memories: Santorini, Greece

A Trip to Santorini

How To Get There

Santorini is a beautiful Greek Island and was very popular with tourists when I visited on a cruise stop a few years ago.

Once the ship docks, there are two ways to get up the hill.

The first way is by cable car which is a steep ride up to the top with amazing views.

Cable Car up hill

The second way is to take a donkey ride or walk up the steps which takes a while. The donkeys must know the route by memory as they constantly walk up and down the steep slope.

Donkeys and tourists walking up the steep slope to the top.

I chose the cable car because it was fast and also a fun way to quickly get to the top.

Donkeys waiting on steps in shade.

A Special Greek Island

Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, around 200 kilometers from the mainland of Greece.

It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, and is a remnant of a volcanic caldera. A caldera is a caldron-like hollow which forms shortly after the magma chamber empties in a volcanic eruption. The walls of the volcano cave in resulting in the cauldron-like appearance of the island. It can also be considered a crater though it looks more like a giant sinkhole structure due to the eruption and the build-up of magma over time.

The Churches

The principal city in Santorini is Fira. The building is done in the cycladic style where the white buildings are built like an amphitheatre on the hillside. The blue domed churches really stand out against the white buildings built with narrow pathways between them. The churches were my favourite part of Santorini because they are so beautiful and I had never seen anything like them before.

A Return to Santorini

When it is safe to travel again internationally, it will be wonderful to go back to Greece and re-visit this amazing island with the beautiful views.

A church dome.

Social Media Is Really Anti-Social

When Social Media first came out, I thought the name wasn’t appropriate for there isn’t anything social about it. As human beings, we need to interact face to face with others so we can have conversations, watch our facial expressions and understand what we are saying to each other.

Using the Ipad for business

Are We All Addicted?

Social media has been a tremendous help with the pandemic. As we haven’t been social throughout this time, we have seen friends, family and participated in meetings, classes and ceremonies on-line.

Office Face-to-Face Meeting before Covid

From the time we wake up until we go to bed, we are constantly on our cell phones or other mobile devices. Addiction explains why people still drive and use their cell phones. They are addicted to know who is calling or they just have to make another call or send another text. Everyone knows not to use a cell phone when driving because the driver must concentrate on the road at all times. Addiction has taken over and people can’t stop using the cell phone when on the road which has caused tragic accidents and sometimes death.

On the cell phone while studying

I’ve also noticed people on cell phones when walking down the street sometimes never look up. I had a near crash with one person who wasn’t looking where she was going but madly typing away on her phone. Fortunately, we both didn’t get hurt but she should have paid attention to where she was walking instead of being so distracted.

The Proof of Addiction

Computers for Office Staff

A new book written by Adam Atler, a professor at NYU, is called Irresistible. He lays out the evidence for the hidden danger in our lives called behavioral addiction. From tracking social media “likes” to constantly counting our steps, we are being guided by the technologies we use.

Instead of letting addiction rule our lives, we can take steps to live more productively. This behavorial addiction is preventing us from forming meaningful relationships, raising empathetic children, and separating work from sleep and play. Who would have thought a decade ago that Facebook would attract 1.5 billion users? As the author suggests, many of these users wish they spent less time on the site. Also Instagram users spend hours uploading and liking sixty million new photos every day on the app. More than twenty million people daily count and monitor their every step with a small wrist-bound device.

Suggestions he makes include workplaces shutting down at six pm and disabling work email accounts between midnight and five am the next morning. Games, similar to books with chapters, can be built with natural stopping points. Social media platforms can demetricate which is removing the numerical feedback allowing damaging social comparison and chronic goalsetting. Children can be introduced to screens slowly under supervision instead of all at once. Our culture needs to make space for a work-free, game-free, screen-free downtime to make it easier to resist the lure of behavioral addiction. This will result in us communicating with others directly which will make us happier than any screen time or device could ever do!

SOURCE: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology And The Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter