5 Ways to Cut Cooking Time in Half

Cooking-Time

If you are a working mum and your other half doesn’t do any cooking, you might find yourself getting into the habit of buying convenience foods to cut down on your workload, especially in the hot weather when no one wants to be slaving over a hot stove. However, even though kids love junk food, it is really bad for their health and yours too, so how can you get healthy meals without spending every night cooking?

It is easy to cut your cooking time in half with a little organisation.

  • For a start, having salads means you don’t have to cook at all, unless you love to make your own potato salad from scratch. That’s okay; it’s easy to cube the potatoes and shove them in the microwave, then throw some mayonnaise over them. It hardly counts as cooking. Besides, you don’t actually have to have potato salad.
  • You can alternate a cooked meal with a salad; that’s one option. There is another one though. Cook twice as much and have the leftovers the next night. These can be either the same meal or made up into another kind of meal. For instance, if you have three cupfuls of cooked, diced vegetables left over, you can beat some eggs, add the veggies and make vegetable fritters to go with some salad. Even though you still have to cook the fritters, it is not as much effort as cooking meat and vegetables for a full meal.

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More Relaxation = Robotic Pool Cleaners

automatic-pool-cleaner

Nearly everyone who has a pool knows that an automatic pool cleaner is essential if they don’t want to spend half their leisure time in cleaning the pool. Pool cleaning is a big job and takes a lot of muscle if you do it manually. Not everyone can manage it physically, and most people prefer to enjoy their leisure time rather than using it to clean the pool, especially if they don’t use it all that much.

While automated pool cleaners will do a lot of the work, you still have to do some of it. Even lifting the cleaner into the pool is sometimes very difficult. You have to hook it all up and make sure it is working properly.  A robotic cleaner takes a great deal less work. Here are the pros of having a robot to clean your pool.

  • They do an even better job of cleaning the pool than automatic cleaners do
  • They require less input and attention from you
  • They work independently of the pool’s filtration system
  • They offer value for money, saving on the cost of chemicals, water and power
  • They clean the sides, bottom and steps of the pool with no dramas
  • They clean corners

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Local School Wellness Policies and Related News

One section of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires that all school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program have local wellness policies by July 1, 2006. The School Nutrition Association (formerly ASFSA) has put together tools to help assist the school community in dealing with this new requirement.

Well Done! School Nutrition Professionals Put Wellness Policies to Work
This spring 2008 publication from the School Nutrition Association provides inspiration and practical ideas for all in the school community who are committed to fostering healthy eating habits in children. School nutrition professionals from districts of all sizes and all across the country share experiences relating to gaining support from principals, teachers, parents and students; establishing cafeteria-based nutrition education programs; finding products to meet new nutrition standards; developing staff wellness programs and making operational changes.

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Which are the Most Sustainable Air Conditioners?

Sustainable-Air-Conditioner

The inverter air conditioner is one of the most sustainable air conditioning units available because inverter technology is eco friendly technology and reduces the running costs by around 30%. It is the ability to vary the speed of the unit that lowers the consumption of electricity.  According to air conditioning experts Holdens Electrical, the inverter models stay on all the time and simply vary the running speed once the selected temperature is maintained. This means they not only use less power, but are much quieter too.

By comparison, a non-inverter air con simply runs at the same start up speed all the time, switching on and off constantly to maintain the temperature. It is the constant starting up that gobbles up power and creates noise. If you are using an older model air con, it may not be an inverter type.

Another way the inverter air cons are eco friendly is in the type of refrigerant used. This is R410a refrigerant, containing HFC, as against the R22 refrigerant that contains HCFC, a chlorine component known to destroy the ozone layer.  However, some installers will still use R22 due to its lower cost, so it’s a good idea to check before your air conditioner is installed, and ask for the R410a refrigerant.

The disadvantage of choosing an air con with inverter technology is in the initial cost, but since they do save so much when running and are so quiet during their operation, it is certainly worthwhile paying the extra price. Remember, the lesser cost is due to decreased consumption, which translates to increased sustainability.

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5 Elements of Fitness You Can Do at Home

fitness-at-home

Most people have some idea that they should workout to keep fit both physically and mentally. The trouble is, life is hectic for most people, especially mothers who work outside the home and don’t get much support from their husbands. Now we are not talking about hard working people such as furniture removalists like Brilliance Removalists Perth or tradesmen, who mostly get plenty of exercise in their day to day jobs – but another reason people don’t exercise is they think it’s necessary to attend a gym and they either can’t afford it, or there is none available close where they live. However, you don’t have to go to the gym to get fit. You can easily do these 5 elements of fitness at home and be much healthier for it.

  • Always start with a warm up so there is no injury to your muscles or ligaments. An easy way to warm up is to go for a walk. If you simply can’t go outside, getting a treadmill or a stationary bike will really help.  Walking up and down the stairs is good too. 10 minutes is a good time for warming up.
  • Once you have warmed up, it’s time to do a cardiovascular workout. How? It’s easy; just walk or pedal faster, go jogging, do some aerobics with a video to guide you or skip rope, whichever sounds like the most fun. Make sure it gets your heart rate up. Try and to it for 30 minutes each time.

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How to Get the Best Cake

best-cake

Do you spend your days wondering what cake you’ll buy next, or dreaming of the delicious morsels of cake you had last time you were at Gran’s place? It is not easy to get good cake with just the right amount of moisture – and the flavour that you could die for.

Making a cake is a skill that not many people have, but it’s not impossible, so don’t despair. It is all the fault of the education system that took basic cooking out of high schools and replaced it with the science of cooking, a much more complicated subject in which students rarely did any cooking. When they did it was some amazingly exotic food that looked wonderful and tasted disgusting.

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Who can Have Botox Injections?

botox-injections

While cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections has been traditionally something that only women are interested in, the trend is certainly swinging to include people of both genders. Men are now looking to have their wrinkles removed with Botox, especially if they have a job that puts them into the public eye to any extent.

Just as you see certain males sporting hair styles that include additional colour, the younger men – and sometimes older ones – now realise that looking their best must sometimes include injections of Botox to remove the lines and wrinkles that occur with age – or sometimes with their lifestyle choices or simply their genes. Men who are on television or high up in the sporting world, singers and actors and other high profile people want to show their best face to the camera.

They don’t have to suffer looking older before their time if they get Botox treatment. But it is not only their looks that can be treated with this procedure. Men are known to sweat a lot more than women. Anyone who sweats excessively, such as drenching their shirt with sweat several times a day, can get relief from this unpleasant condition with Botox treatment.  If you have a job where you have to deal with the public such as salesman or even serving coffee, being drenched in sweat is a real turn off for other people. Having it treated means you will always look fresh and have much less BO. (more…)

Nutrition Advisory Council

18th Annual NAC Art Contest 

Are you looking for ways to encourage your NAC members’ creativity and talent? Participate in the 18th Annual NAC Art Contest. This year’s theme is “School Meals are a SMART Start to Good Health.”  

State associations are asked to promote, conduct and sponsor a state contest. Each state is to select three winners to be submitted for the national competition: one from grades K-4, one from grades 5-8 and one from grades 9-12.

Twelve national winners will be selected from the state entries, four from each category. Each of the twelve finalists will receive $75 from ASFSA.  The Grand Prize winner will receive an additional $100 from ASFSA, and the entry will be reproduced on a T-shirt.

Encourage your students to illustrate the theme in the most colorful and creative ways possible. Entries are due to states for judging by January 12, 2004. National winners will be announced in March 2004.

Right-Sized: School Meals are the Nutritious Choice on Campus

What’s on the menu today? Caesar salad, chicken teriyaki on a bun or cheese lasagna with marinara sauce & breadstick. And sides include fresh apple slices, jicama and baby carrots with dip or apricot applesauce. These are just a few of the options customers can choose from at over 99,000 locations nationwide. Welcome to the school lunch of 2004.

Every day over 36 million school breakfasts and lunches are served to America’s school children. Provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, these are nutritious, appealing, balanced meals, provided in age-appropriate serving sizes. A network of child nutrition professionals that oversee school nutrition programs on the local level – each of them members of the American School Food Service Association (ASFSA) – are available as expert sources to discuss the realities of school meals and the school nutrition business.

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President Releases FY 2004 Budget, Agriculture Appropriations

President Bush sent his fiscal year 2004 budget to Congress this week, asking for $2.23 trillion dollars in all. Funds for the Department of Agriculture remained close to FY2002 levels, when adjusted for inflation. Half of the Department’s budget supports federal nutrition programs including food stamps and the National School Lunch Program.

The President’s budget narrative includes analysis of the National School Lunch Program, with specific attention to the alleged over-certification of children in the Program. The narrative states,

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School Foodservice Directors’ Attitudes and Perceived Challenges to Implementing Food Safety and HACCP Programs

Food safety is an important part of providing school children with acceptable, safe, and nutritious meals. There is evidence that improvements are needed in the area of food safety in schools, and that few schools have implemented Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs. The purposes of this study were to determine the attitudes of school foodservice directors toward food safety and the use of HACCP programs in school foodservice and to identify the challenges to implementing food safety and HACCP programs.

A focus group was conducted to generate a list of challenges to implementing food safety and HACCP programs. As a result, a three-part written questionnaire was developed. For Part 1, school foodservice directors’ attitudes toward food safety and HACCP programs were determined. For Part 2, the challenges to implementing food safety and HACCP were investigated. For Part 3, demographic information about directors and their districts was collected. Questionnaires were mailed to a randomly selected national sample of 800 district school foodservice directors. A total of 461 questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 58%.

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Smith Becomes ASFSA President on Last Day of Conference

Are you looking for best practices to model your foodservice program after? Look to Polk County Schools and Marcia Smith for ideas. Do you need expert advice or comments on school foodservice and nutrition? Marcia Smith has plenty to say on the subject. Tell Marcia Smith you’ve popped a button and don’t be surprised that she has a sewing kit in her purse.

Is she Wonder Woman? Not as far as we know, but Marcia L. Smith, Ph.D., SFNS, isthe newly inaugurated President of the American School Food Service Association (ASFSA).

On July 18, during the Closing General Session of ASFSA’s 55th Annual National Conference, ASFSA Past President Marilyn Hurt, SFNS, handed over the Association’s leadership to Marcia Smith, SFNS. Over the next year, Smith will lead the Association under the theme, “Caring for Communities We Serve.”

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Cinco de Mayo

Introduction to Cinco De Mayo
Are you looking for creative ways to teach students about countries around the world? As teachers and school foodservice professionals, you can work together to make learning fun by combining food and history in the classroom. This is a sample lesson plan on how to bring Cinco De Mayo to life for your students.

Lesson Overview:
This lesson is designed to introduce students to the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo. Students will have the opportunity to learn about typical foods of Mexico and explore the history and origins of some authentic Mexican foods.At the end of the lesson, students can make their own healthy tortilla wraps.

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Children’s Books about Nutrition

Below are some recommended children’s books on food and good nutrition. Check one out at your local library today!

The Amazing Milk Book
by Paulette Bourgeois, Catherine Ross and Susan Wallace
This book describe milk’s chemistry, nutritional value, production and use as a component of cheese and other foods. It’s enriched with anecdotes and humor.

The Beastly Feast
by Bruce Goldstone
At the great animal feast, bears bring pears and mosquitoes bring burritos.

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Musical Chairs

Once upon a time, a high school principal in the Glendale (Calif.) Unified School District approached Rick DeBurgh, director of school foodservice. He said, “I want you to buy more study hall tables.” DeBurgh explained, “I don’t buy study hall tables.”

“Well, we need more places for students to eat,” argued the principal. Then, let the students eat on fastfood-type tables that feature school colors, countered DeBurgh. “But they also have to study there,” said the principal. And in a tale that ends happily ever after, DeBurgh showed the principal how students can study happily and productively on festive fastfood tables. “There was some initial concern, but after I met with the student group, the principal said, ‘OK, go for it,’ and the results have been wildly successful,” he says.

Not every school across the country boasts a separate space for its cafeteria, study hall, auditorium, gymnasium, school dance and meeting place. In fact, in many schools, one room must serve many functions. The result is the ubiquitous multi-purpose cafeteria, and its logistics can challenge even the most creative foodservice director. But with some innovative design or redesign, school foodservice professionals can find a wealth of solutions to maintain the cafeteria’s identity. The key is to get involved in the process early-before it’s too late and the music has stopped playing.

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Rediscover School Lunch

When was the last time you had a school lunch?

If you answered, “When I was in school, ” then it’s time for you to make a lunchtime visit to your child’s cafeteria. You’ll be surprised how much has changed!
Today’s school cafeterias provide much more variety and nutrition than lunchrooms of old. Here are just a few examples of what today’s school nutrition programs offer:

  • Salad, soup, potato, pizza and deli bars
  • Ethnic menus featuring Mexican, Italian, Greek and Chinese favorites
  • “Scramble system,” similar to the food courts you find at the local mall
  • “Offer vs. serve” plans where students may select from several choices in each food group

And today’s school cafeterias are much more fun to eat in, too! Many new and renovated school cafeterias are featuring:
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