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Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.

Friday
Oct142016

What to do in the kitchen after a power outage

Minimize your losses and stay safe when the power goes out. Use these tips to save or share as much food as you can. Learn from my experience after losing power for about 60 hours during Hurricane Matthew. If I'd acted more quickly, I wouldn't have lost 46 servings of pesto I'd frozen the weekend before. (Ai yi yi! That pesto was supposed to last all winter!) Given the power of this storm, I'm glad that cooking the Cook for Good way helps us make a difference by shrinking our carbon footprints and slowing climate change.

Related post: preparing for a power outage.

As soon as the power goes out

  • Label the refrigerator and freezer doors so no one ...

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Tuesday
Sep272016

How to save money on bulk and packaged beans and nuts

Save money on organic dried beans

With organic bean prices up 50% this year for many dried beans, it pays to re-check your prices. In general, you'll save money and get more variety by buying beans in bulk. At my local Whole Foods, all the store-brand bagged legumes now cost the same: $2.99 a pound. By just turning around and going to the bulk section on the other side of the aisle, I can save 33% on black beans, 20% on lentils, and 10% on pinto beans. But as the chart below shows, chickpeas and kidney beans cost the same no matter who bags them.  I didn't find any packaged beans that cost less than bulk beans, so if you don't have time to compare, choose bulk.

Even though bean prices are up, they are still one of the greatest food bargains available. You'll get about 10 servings a pound from dried beans. Even now, that's only 20 to 30 cents for a key protein part of a meal. You'll almost always save money and get better results from dried beans than you will from canned beans, but even canned beans are a bargain compared to cheese, fish, or meat.

chart with prices for organic dried beans packaged or in bulk

From 2009 to 2011, most organic dried beans cost between

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Saturday
Sep102016

Seven reasons why I loved staying in Airbnb flats with kitchens

This is the weirdest Cook for Good scrimp yet: rent apartments when you travel instead of staying in hotels. I'm just back from nearly a month in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. We had an amazing, healthy, and affordable trip, in part because we rented apartments with kitchens through Airbnb for all but two nights. This let us eat two meals a day "at home" for big savings and less hassle. Here are seven reasons why I loved renting apartments through Airbnb, with tips on saving even more. [Note: this is an unsponsored post straight from my heart with the hope that it will help your travel rock.]

1. The savings on food.

We saved at least $30 a day on food by eating breakfast and one other meal "at home." (Regular readers will notice that I packed cloth napkins.)

 breakfast in Berlin with tea, peanut butter, and toast

2. The savings on lodging.

Full apartments cost less than most decent hotel rooms, with an average of

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Friday
Aug262016

Gardening update: basil success, fall planting

The basil plants I started from the cuttings and roots of a bagged basil plant are thriving. The picture below shows the ones I started from the roots. This was two weeks ago, when I'd already pinched them back a few times so I could use home-grown basil in recipes. Pinch or cut basil stems just above a young pair of leaves to encourage the plant to form two new stems. You'll also slow down the flowering, which tends to make the basil bitter.

It's time to think about planting for fall crops. Remember that

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Friday
Aug122016

A weekend of international plant-based menus for a retreat

My mindfulness group is hosting a weekend retreat in September. Participants will get five meals, from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. In keeping with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and his Order of Interbeing, the retreat center will serve all plant-based meals. I was asked to help the caterers come up with appropriate meals.

Thich Nhat Hanh founded the Order of Interbeing, which has as a core insight

our happiness is not separate from the happiness of others

What better way to emphasize our interconnectedness than by serving meals representing people of many nations? You can use these suggestions at home to celebrate our interconnectness or the Olympics, too.

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