Prepare Your Pantry for the Start of School

pantry essentials from hickory farms

An organized kitchen and a well-stocked pantry are essential for a smooth start to the school year. There will be lunches to fix, quick breakfasts to eat before school and then easy dinners to whip up before after school programs and sports. Here’s how you can prepare you kitchen and pantry to start the busy school year off right. First, clear out your fridge and pantry. Go through your refrigerator and freezer and purge them of all questionable items and give the appliances a thorough cleaning. Make sure that you are using space efficiently. Try to keep items in designated areas in your refrigerator and pantry. If necessary, arrange movable shelves to ensure taller and bulkier items like bottles of wine and gallons of milk are in an ideal spot. Separate large packages of meat into individual units and wrap them in foil so they don’t get freezer burn. Date and label all packages so you can easily find what you need and know when it’s time to cook or toss. Once you have a clean slate, you can focus on how to maximize your storage so you can stock up on all you need to cook up quick, delicious and nutritious …
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Best Kept Kitchen Secrets

hickory farms

Even the world’s most famous chefs cut corners in the kitchen. Today, we’re going to share some of the tricks that top chefs hide under their toques in order to save time and trouble in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor or quality. These six top chef shortcuts can help you go from an amateur to an at-home chef and entertainer extraordinaire.   Breadcrumbs make a great substitute for flour when you need to thicken a sauce. Allow them to simmer for several minutes to release their starch, and remember to strain the sauce before serving. Your sauce will be thick and flavorful with no floury taste. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut meat swiftly with no mess. They make it easier to get the exact sized pieces you want while keeping your hands clean. Kitchen shears are also a quick and easy way to mince garden herbs for your favorite recipes. Instead of starting from scratch, use a ready-made sauce or condiment to quickly add a zip to sauces, marinades and dishes to cut down on prep time. Fresh cheese is a must for authentic Italian and other dishes, but soft cheeses can be difficult to grate quickly and easily. One trick is to freeze …
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Celebrate Friendship Near & Far

hickory farms

The bond of friendship is truly transformative. Friendship fosters love, compassion, understanding and generosity. These are the values that have the power to make the world a better place. July 30th was International Day of Friendship, when we are encouraged to celebrate the friendships that unite individuals, countries and cultures across the world. As the United Nations reminds us, friendships that span international borders bring individuals and cultures together inspiring peace efforts and promoting international understanding and respect for diversity. The idea of designating a day to celebrate friendship was actually first promoted in 1919 by the founder of Hallmark Cards, Joyce Hall. But what started as a company campaign, ended up turning into something much more poignant. When the card industry eventually lost steam, the UN encouraged this annual celebration of friendship by naming Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship in 1998. Finally, in 2011, the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly officially declared July 30 as International Day of Friendship. We love the idea of encouraging kids to celebrate friendship. TLC has some great ideas for parents to help kids celebrate friendship with games like toss and catch and crafts like special seed bracelets. You …
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