Life is constantly changing. People retire, get married, go to college, form new relationships or send kids off to college and suddenly find themselves living in a very different way. Learning to cook for two after having children in the house or only feeding yourself without wasting food and ending up with an abundance of leftovers can be challenging. Fortunately, it’s not that hard if you remember a few tips.
Cutting Your Favorite Recipes in Half
Most recipes are written to serve from four to six people. Many measurements, such as one cup, are easy to halve. Some are not as easy. How do you halve a recipe that calls for three eggs? What is half of a ¾ cup? Is guessing OK? You don’t have to guess.
Here are some measurement conversions to help you divide the most confusing ingredient amounts in half:
Half of ¾ cup is ¼ cup plus two tablespoonsHalf of 1/3 cup is two tablespoons plus two teaspoonsHalf of ¼ cup is two tablespoonsHalf of one tablespoon is 1 ½ teaspoonsIf your halved recipe requires half of an egg, beat the egg until the yolk and white are mixed, let the mixture settle until the bubbles dissolve and measure out two tablespoons.Remember to halve your spices, too, adjusting to your taste.Use the original recipe’s cooking temperature, but be aware that the cooking time will likely be reduced to a little more than half of the stated time. For example, an hour cook time will probably be reduced to approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
Food Shopping for Two
Shopping for two requires a different mindset, too. Buy too much produce and it wilts before you can use it. Purchase too many pieces of chicken and it sits in the freezer getting freezer burn.
Here are some shopping tips to keep in mind when you shop for two:
Get to know your local market and butcher. Shop where you can buy individual pieces of meat, rather than large packages.Choose a supermarket that lets you buy individual pieces or make your own bags of produce.Learn to distinguish ripe fruits and vegetables from the not-so-ripe and choose the ripe. Ripe fruits and vegetables will have a definite fruit or vegetable aroma. No smell means it’s not ripe.Avoid larger, seemingly bargain-priced packages and cans. They are bargain-priced if you are feeding an army, but not for two people.
A New Take on Grilled Cheese for Two
Two grilled cheese sandwiches with soup make the perfect lunch for two. Gather two tablespoons of butter, four slices of white bread, two slices of American cheese, a sliced plum tomato and a chopped jalapeno and you have the ingredients for a not-so-typical grilled cheese sandwich. In a skillet, preheat oil over low heat. Spread butter on one side of two slices of bread and place them buttered side down in the skillet. Top each slice with cheese, tomato and jalapeno. Butter one side of the remaining bread slices and place them buttered side up on the jalapeno. When bottoms are toasted, flip and toast the other side.
Meta Description: Discover tips for buying locally grown produce, learn why it’s important to the economy and discover why certified humanely raised meat and poultry products are becoming increasingly popular.
Why It Pays to Buy Locally
The interest in buying locally grown produce is growing at a phenomenal rate. Today’s consumer is aware not only of the health benefits and delicious taste of fresh, locally grown produce, but also the benefits that purchasing locally brings to communities and local economies. Buying locally grown corn, beans, carrots, melons and other items also supports American farmers.
As soon as produce is picked, it begins to lose its flavor and nutrients. Large commercial farm produce travels an average distance of 1,500 miles by air or truck. In just a few days, plants begin to lose their cell structure, natural sugars turn to starch and changes in taste occur. Locally grown produce, on the other hand, is available just hours after being picked and is still fresh, flavorful and packed with nutrients.
Because locally purchased produce is taken home immediately, elaborate packaging is not required. Fresh products travel short distances with minimal fuel consumption, saving on energy costs and fuel emissions. America’s family farms now number less than one million. Purchasing local products directly from farmers cuts the middleman out of the process, giving farmers a greater return.
How to Find Locally Grown Food
So you’d like to start incorporating locally grown ingredients into your everyday meals. How do you find local produce in your community? Here are a few places to look:
Most communities have farmer’s markets, where local farmers gather and sell fresh produce and other goods, like honey, pies and freshly prepared foods. These are great places to purchase locally grown goods from family farms. Check your local supermarket. Supermarkets are increasingly providing food that is locally grown.Look for farm-owned country stores in your area. These quaint stores typically offer eggs, milk, bulk spices, regional foods and other items produced by local farmers and crafters.Many farms offer a you-pick option for some crops where you go into the field and pick your own produce. Blueberries and strawberries are popular pick your own crops.
Why Humane Farm Animal Care?
It’s true that many farms animals end up as food for humans. Others, such as laying hens and cows, produce milk and eggs for human consumption. A growing trend in farming is the move away from institutional methods of farming, where animals are caged their entire lives, to a more natural life until harvest. Large factory farms have been heavily scrutinized in recent years because of their inhumane treatment of animals. The Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) was founded in 2003 to improve the lives of farm animals. A non-profit organization, the HFAC inspects and certifies animal products with a “Certified Humane” label when farm animals are raised under its guidelines. Guidelines not only outline the treatment of animals, but also the food they eat. Animals fed natural diets, such as grass fed cattle, are healthier and the end product is safer food for humans. Family farms tend to raise cattle and poultry more naturally than factory farms. By buying humane certified meat, eggs, poultry, milk and eggs from a local farmer, you not only get a healthier and safer product, you support the farmer and your community.