Friday, November 8th, 2013
“When my daughter wakes up, she opens her eyes and asks ‘What’s for dinner?’”
“I wish I was kidding,” Alex Guarnaschelli laughs. ”By the time she’s eating breakfast, I better have an answer for her.”
Like moms everywhere, this Food Network star faces The Dinner Question. (And thus, trips to the market and food storage tasks.)
Alex, the author of Old-School Comfort Food and mother to a 6-year-old, is the executive chef at Butter in New York City. Last year, she became one of Food Network’s Iron Chefs, and she is a regular judge on Chopped.
Every morning Alex goes to the kitchen to plan her entire day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Making a plan of attack on your groceries will save time, money, and cut back on waste, she says, which is why she partnered with Glad for the Save It Sunday campaign. The movement, which encourages participants to protect and preserve food, centers on the Sunday ritual of grocery shopping.
“It’s the one day of the week when you can commit to setting aside time: for shopping, cooking ahead meals, and storing other items—it’s about starting the week on the right foot,” she says.
Alex does a lot of her cooking on Sunday, which is why the pledge really speaks to her. But it also goes a step further.
“Ironically, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook—because I’m doing it all day everyday and by mid-week I’m fried,” she says. “Taking that time on Sunday, and getting joy from it, is wonderful.”
A proponent of reducing waste, Alex is extremely conscious of the issue both at work and at home.
“When I talk to my team about how to prep and store 100 pounds of beans for the restaurant, the same thing applies when I go home and make braised short ribs for my daughter,” she says. “You have to be very proactive.”
According to a 2012 study by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out 25 percent of the food purchased—roughly $1,500 worth each year.
Try Alex’s tips for saving time, money, and reducing food waste:
• Make a meal plan.
“Figure out what you are going to do with everything you buy,” she says. “It’s a pleasure to have an agenda—you’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast one on everybody because it’s so easy!”
Read the Parents meal-plan guide to get started.
• Stop thinking about leftovers as, well, leftovers.
“Instead of looking at packaging as something that lets you recycle and throw back in the scraps no one ate, think about it as a new beginning,” she says. “And, by making a plan, you’re actually ensuring there aren’t any leftovers.”
Plus, “leftovers” can be better than the first time around: “Growing up my mom would make a big batch of meatballs and sauce and, to me, the sauce tasted better two days later,” she says. “It’s not a leftover—it’s something you created that got better with age or other ingredients.”
• Don’t be hard on yourself.
“Some weeks, I don’t have my act together,” she says. “As a busy working mom, there are nights when I have to say, ‘Guess what kid, it’s fried eggs tonight.’ And that’s okay.”
• Reorganize your fridge.
“The crisper can be the kiss of death. Don’t put your fruits and veggies in there,” she says. “Instead, fill it with club soda and put your produce on display. My favorite thing to do is put herbs in a jar of water on the top shelf, or sometimes right on the kitchen table.”
• Buy different ingredients.
“Challenge yourself to use new items—like a bunch of thyme or mint—by taking one little step each day for a week. In order to use it up, you’ll find creative ways to add the ingredient to dishes.”
To join the #SaveItSunday movement, visit glad.com. If you pledge, you’ll be entered to win a meal prepared by a personal chef.
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Friday, September 16th, 2011
Update Urged on Children’s Online Privacy
Aiming to catch up with fast-churning technology that touches children’s lives every day, the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday proposed long-awaited changes to regulations covering online privacy for children.
Number of Kids Poisoned by Household Medications Up 28 Percent
Every year, half a million kids age 5 and younger get into household medications and are poisoned.
White House Details Plans for More Digital Learning
The White House will unveil plans Friday for a research center that aims to infuse more digital learning into the nation’s classrooms. The center, dubbed “Digital Promise,” will aid the rapid development of new learning software, educational games and other technologies, in part through helping educators vet what works and what doesn’t.
Colleges Moving Away from Plastic Water Bottles
According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), 14 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have campus-wide bans on the sale of plain bottled water, while another dozen or so have bans that cover a portion of campus.
Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated
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Joshua and Jacob Spates, who spent their first seven months outside the womb as conjoined twins, are recovering in the pediatric intensive care unit of a Memphis hospital after a successful 13-hour surgery to separate them.
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Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
It’s the beginning of a new school year, which means lots of brown bags, plastic baggies, and other recyclable materials are being thrown away each day. We found a fun way to not only teach your children the importance of recycling, but also help out their entire school.
Keep America Beautiful is running a nationwide recycling competition, Recycle-Bowl, for elementary, middle, and high school students. The competition runs from October 17 through November 12, but registration is now open on the event’s website. Register your school for the competition and find lots of helpful resources about recycling. Schools participating in the competition division will record the amount of material they recycle each week. At the end of the contest, one school from every state will win $1,000, based on the most recycled material per person per school. An additional $2,500 will be awarded to the top school in the country.
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Monday, December 6th, 2010
Has your kid outgrown a board game? Or is there a stuffed animal collecting dust in the corner? Instead of throwing them away or holding a garage sale, swap them this year or all year round on ThredUp.com.
ThredUp.com is an online exchange marketplace where parents can conveniently trade gently-used clothes with each other to save money on items their children no longer need or want. This holiday season, ThredUp.com is encouraging parents to swap gently-used toys along with clothes–this way, parents can save time on shopping, reduce their shopping expenditures, and go green by cutting back on wasteful spending.
Members of the website browse for a box of toys and/or clothes they would like from another parent, then pay a flat fee of $5 plus shipping to receive that box. ThredUp.com then provides a shipping label and schedules an home pick-up of the box to be sent. Or the box can also be mailed at the local post office. ThredUp.com wants to help budget-conscious parents save $500,000 this year through the toy and clothing swap.
Finally, you can get rid of that fire truck with the annoying siren and find a more unique (and, perhaps, quieter) gift to give your kids this year.
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Friday, March 23rd, 2007
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Now that it’s finally, officially spring, you’re allowed to start thinking spring thoughts: skirts and flip flops, long walks around the park, and pretty flowers blooming all over your garden… sigh. So here’s the latest way to get your kids into the spring planting and sowing action—Plant-Me-Pets. These little creature are made of natural latex rubber, and their "eyes" are either melon, tomato, or pumpkin seeds. Once your kid gets tired of playing with his pet, he can shove the head into a pot of soil and the rubber will decompose around the seeds. Voila… a few weeks later Mr. Plant-Me Tomato has become Mr. Eat-Me Tomato. The best part? When you squeeze the pet’s body, it squeaks! So awesome.
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
Once in awhile I’ll read something that truly inspires me. When I was ten, I read, “The World According to Garp”, and decided I wanted to become a writer. After reading our March GREEN issue, I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle. The changes I’ve made to live a greener and more environmentally conscious life have been easy. I never brown bag it to work. Instead I use a water bottle and neoprene lunch tote. I never second guess an extra walk to a recycling bin over the trash can under my desk. Even my groceries have changed. I buy organic milk and as many fair trade foods as I can. One of my favorite online stores is Global Exchange. You can get great organic and fair trade toys, coffee, and clothes. Some of my favorite finds on the site are this eco-friendly caterpillar and these cute monkeys. You don’t need to change a lot in order to make a difference. So check out our March issue and take our quiz online to see how green you are – and to see how green you can become!
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Monday, February 19th, 2007
Our editors sometimes appear on the morning shows, and today it was my turn. That’s me, Kate, with Harry Smith on CBS This Morning. We talked about our March issue, which is Parents magazine’s first-ever Green issue. Watch the clip here here to find out some easy ways that moms can help the environment, then check out Parents for more ideas.
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Being on TV was a little scary, but Harry Smith is as nice in real life as he is on TV, so he made me feel really comfortable (and really short—can you believe I’m wearing my highest heels here?) We had a little trouble with the sink, as you can see in the clip, so go ahead and laugh at me. Then go do something green with your family.