Monday, September 18, 2017

How to Process Tomatoes When You Aren't Ready to Use Them Yet

Okay, so you know how your garden tomatoes don't make it all convenient for you, and they turn red at different times? Or you have some that are RIPE, and some that are orange-ish and some that aren't QUITE ready and some sitting in the window sill and some sitting in the fridge? Eventually they get gross in the fridge. And when you have the time to make sauce or whatever THEY are not ready. Dang tomatoes. Also, who wants to make sauce and can stuff in the summertime when you can do it in the winter?

You can solve all this by just buying tomatoes at the farmer's market or you can do what my mother-in-law taught me to do! Check this out! By the way, it could not be any easier. If a Kitchen Moron like me can do it, anyone can!

Start with your gorgeous ripe tomatoes. I estimate that about 20-ish tomatoes might fill a gallon baggie.

Fill up a pot of water and get it boiling. Then put in about 8 tomatoes, depending on size. Watch them until they start to split. Then put them in your sink full of cold water.

Here is their home after they split. Don't feel sorry for them; they are fine. This is a sink full of cold water. If you have an icemaker, use it to fill up the sink with ice AND water. It shocks them and makes them easy to peel.

Peel them and put the peel in a bowl or something where you will also put all the innards. Core the tomatoes and don't be afraid to cut out green or yellow stuff and any bad parts. Quarter them and toss them into a baggie. Aron likes juice and seeds with his because he just processes them further later but you might want to take that gunk out depending on what you want to do with the tomatoes. (Update 2014 now I core them FIRST before putting them in the hot water)

Voila! The tomatoes you saw on the counter made these 2 gallon bags of tomatoes, ready to turn into tasty spaghetti sauce whenever you take them out of the freezer and have the time to do so.
Please leave me a comment if I've forgotten a step or something! Have fun and share this with your friends!

*Originally posted August 4, 2012 but I'm sending some beautiful tomatoes off to see Aunt Blanche today so thought I'd give this post some love.



The Benefits of High End Architecture For Luxury Retail Brands


If you live in or visit any major city – both in the US and overseas, chances are you will see some pretty incredible buildings that are actually shops or malls. While in the past, the most beautiful buildings tended to be churches, theaters, galleries, and museums, these days, a lot of the work a high profile architect does goes into designing flagship stores and shopping complexes, and the results can be quite breathtaking. Some stores belonging to top end designer fashion houses like Chanel have even won architectural awards for their innovation and beauty.

Of course, hiring a world class architect and creating an amazing building from scratch is a lot more expensive for a brand than simply moving into an existing location, so why do brands like Chanel, Dior, Gucci and Prada want to hire a luxury architect of the likes of Peter Marino to design their flagship stores?

Prestigious Buildings Signify Prestigious Products

One of the things high-end luxury brands sell themselves on is the sense of prestige people get from owning them. Whether it is a suit, a bag, a watch, or simply a bottle of perfume, part of what makes people want high-end goods is the sense that they have been designed by the best people in the world. These products carry with them that sense of exclusivity. By having some of the most beautiful and interesting buildings in a city, a brand can add to its sense of luxury and prestige, which carries over to its products.

Shopping Becomes an Experience

These days, many people shop online and it can be easy to find products from high-end brands for far less from online designer outlets than by going to the stores themselves. However, by having incredible, glamorous buildings that are an experience to visit in themselves, designer retailers can have a good hook to encourage shoppers to visit them and enjoy their customer service, allowing them to see the pleasant experience of shopping in store over buying online. This experience is often worth paying a little more for. Another benefit to making shopping feel like a luxury experience is that it can encourage visitors from other cities into your store, as every city's store is unique.

A Perfect Venue for Collection Launches and Other Events

Another reason brands benefit from having unusual and interesting buildings as their flagship stores is that they make excellent venues for star studded collection launches and other high profile events, where a lot of publicity can be garnered. It is difficult to imagine a glamorous celebrity filled launch at a regular store in a mall. However, at a beautiful building designed by a top architect, these events look a lot more special and can attract a lot more media interest.


It is interesting that commercial buildings, especially high-end shops, have become some of the most attractive and innovative building projects in many major cities, creating some amazing places to visit for fashionistas and architecture fans alike.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fun Activities For A Family Night In

Family time is a sought after experience these days, with busy work schedules, oodles of homework, and a lot of us needing some more naps in our lives. Yet before bed time rolls around, you should do something together as a family to have the maximum amount of fun together when you can. It can ramp us up for the next day or tire us out to get some fitful sleep. Below are some ideas on what you can do to have a lot of fun, (with a little bit of learning thrown in) with family activities!




Play Some Association or Word Games


This is a game you can make up on the spot that doesn’t require any equipment or proper knowhow. However, if you really want to brush up on your english skills because you’re a very competitive person, you can check out sites such as the Effortless English Blog to find the best ways to improve your speaking and thinking states.


You can also develop your own little hacks to make sure you win the night. This can usually be done by writing everything down beforehand and finding ways to incorporate it in the activity. So clever, and this extra sneaky element is great to learn now and use later!


Have A Nice Late Evening BBQ


BBQs are always something to get excited about. Loads of good food on offer that you can always smell, and there’s something so novelty about hanging out in the back yard with smoky flavored buns and family. Yet, even though summer has left us, there’s nothing to say you can’t still have a good barbeque!


With the days coming to a close a lot earlier, it can be quite a magical scene. Hang up some fairly lights and put on a friendly tune and you’re guaranteed to have everyone enjoying themselves.


Throw Some Balloons Around


Not only is it fun to blow up a balloon and let it off without tying, it’s also fun watching people turn red as they try to use their own breath. Yet keeping the balloon off the floor is an age old activity that still keeps people riveted for a good while. Balloons are cheap and can be found in every good craft store, so pick up a packet on your way home and go wild with them scattered across the floor.


It also means you can make your own puppet theatre with a little bit of grafting and papier mache. This lets the younger ones really hone their creativity, and the older ones can try out their stand up routines. Make sure you’re ready for all the puns about to come your way!


Family time together can be anything, as long as it’s fun for all the family. It can be board games, making things up, even cracking out the old game console to have multiplayer teams. Consider a family night in when you next have some free time, and go the extra mile with participation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

$200,000,000 Swago PLUS Spin & Win (US)


The digital rewards site Swagbucks is nearing $200,000,000 in cash and gift cards given back to it members. Since 2008, they've rewarded members for things we all do online, like shopping, watching videos, discovering deals, answering surveys, and searching the web.

$200,000,000 is a huge number, and to celebrate they're holding a "Swago" promotion starting Monday, September 11th at 9am PDT! 

Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it. Here are a few tips:

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
     
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
     
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Tuesday, September 19th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
     
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will not be available to use until 9AM PT/12PM ET on Tuesday, September 19th and will end at 9AM PT/12PM ET on Thursday, September 21st.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus! That's enough for a $5 gift card in their Rewards Store to the retailer of your choice. 

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

4 Ways to Protect Your Family


If you are raising a young family, it is likely that you will give a lot of thought to the future.  When you are living the free and single life, it is much easier to ignore the demands of tomorrow. However, once you take on the huge responsibility of having children, it is important to always think ahead. Although it is horrible to imagine anything happening to your family, being prepared is the best way to keep your loved ones safe. You need to consider all of the risks that you are facing in order to come up with suitable solutions. If you are wondering where to start, you will need to read on. Below are four ways for you to protect your family.

Prepare a medical kit
In order to be prepared for an emergency situation, it is a good idea to put together a medical kit. You should have one for your home, and another in your car. It should be filled with all of the essential equipment that you might need. Nine times out of ten, you will just require a band aid and some antiseptic wipes. However, you should also be prepared for more extreme emergencies. If your children have any specific conditions, you should use your medical kit as a safe space to store their equipment. For instance, if your child struggles with asthma, storing their inhaler in a safe place is the best way to ensure that you always know where it is.

Protect your technology
When your children get to the age that they can use technology, it is important to take simple measures in order to keep them safe. You should use protective software that blocks certain sites. Some devices even allow you to set up passcodes so that you can visit areas of the internet that your children cannot. Don’t underestimate the threat that your family faces when using technology. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Invest in insurance
If you want to protect your family’s future, you need to consider your insurance. Don’t just settle for the first policy that you come across. Turn to Change Insurer, as they will help you to find honest, independent advice that you can depend on. Selecting the right insurance policy is the best way to achieve peace of mind. Instead of being caught out by life’s twists and turns, you will be prepared for every eventuality. If you want to protect your finances, and secure your children’s future, it is vital that you have a clear plan in place.

Secure your home

Your home should be a safe place for you, and your family, to relax in. Don’t allow your safe haven to be compromised. Make sure that your household security is extremely efficient. You should think hard about the ways in which your property is vulnerable. Then, you should work to find suitable solutions. Luckily, securing your home doesn’t have to come at a great expense. Instead, there are lots of simple, and cheap, ways to keep your household safe
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