RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

How to Safely Slow Cook

February 6, 2018 1:39 am

For those of us who live a busy life and still need to nourish ourselves and our families, slow cookers can be a huge help. Simply load up your cooker before work, set the timer, and go. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association, the popular kitchen appliance causes an average of 150 home structure fires per year. Erie Insurance offers these slow cooker tips for a safe slow-cooked meal.

Not everything is better with age. If you're just starting out and you've been "gifted" your mom's (or grandma's) old slow cooker, there's something to consider: age. While it might be in great working order, a vintage slow cooker from the '70s or '80s with an insert firmly attached to the heating element might need to be upgraded. Some older models also had vent holes or a notch in the lid for a spoon. Slow cooker lids should fit snugly. If it’s warped or has one of the above-mentioned features, steam and heat will escape.

Make the connection. It's important to regularly check the slow cooker's electrical cord. If there's any sign of wear or tear, it's time to buy a new one. Using a slow cooker with a broken plug or wire is a fire hazard.

Location, location, location. It's important to keep the slow cooker away from the edge of countertops, and this includes not having the cord dangle off the edge. The closer it is to the edge, the easier it is for a person (or pet) to bump it or knock it over.

Tips to simmer over. If you're curious to see if your slow cooker is in working order, you can do a simple water test. Older slow cookers may not work as well as they once did, and for temperature and food safety purposes, the water test (see below) will help you decide if you should keep it or toss it.

Fill the slow cooker 2/3 full with tap water (tepid water) and set it on the low setting. After eight hours, use a thermometer to check the water's temperature, which should be at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Every slow cooker is different, with varying specifications by make and model. Follow the manufacturer's directions and take heed of anything suspicious or concerning.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you pull out your slow cooker or any other small kitchen appliances.

Source: Erie Insurance  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


10 Tips for Making Healthier Choices, Year-Round

February 2, 2018 1:24 am

Many of us begin making healthier choices when a new year rolls around, but as February gets underway, these good intentions can often fall by the wayside. To help combat this, Giant's team of 11 nutritionists came together to share their 10 best tips for extending New Year's resolutions.

1. Find your motivation. Share your motivations with a close and trusted friend, coworker, or relative. They can cheer you on and remind you why you are pursuing change.

2. Make it fun. When it comes to fitness, find something you enjoy doing. Whether it's long walks, barre classes, martial arts, peaceful yoga or pick-up sports games, you're more likely to stick with it if you're having fun! Bored of the same routine? Try a new fitness class or meet with a staff member at your local gym or community center.

3. Amp up your hydration. This one is often overlooked, but it's key to overall health. Add an extra eight ounces of water to your day. More fluids will help you stay hydrated, and those extra walks to the restroom will increase your activity.

4. Try something new. Make 2018 the year of variety and trying new things. Start out by trying a new fruit or veggie each week before moving onto other food categories like grains or healthy oils.  

5. Load up on fruits and veggies. This rule is timeless for a reason. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and/or vegetables at each meal or snack. If you're indulging with a few bites of a less healthy item or snack, you'll still have a half healthy plate.

6. Find a buddy. It's no secret that working toward and achieving goals is more fun with friends. Plus, when you share a similar objective, you can keep each other up-to-date on your progress and encourage one another along the way.

7. Get cooking. Work on easing yourself into a healthier routine by testing out one new recipe each week. Swap recipe ideas with family and friends to stay motivated. This is also a great way to incorporate tip four as you work to create recipes using one new ingredient each week.

8. Keep yourself accountable. Make a list of the top three reasons why you want to improve your health and stick it on the refrigerator or another space you see every day.  This constant visual will reinforce your new healthy habits.

9. Shop smart. Fill your shopping cart according to MyPlate recommendations. You can't eat half a plate of fruits and veggies at every meal if you don't buy half a grocery cart of fruits and veggies.  

10. Plan for the unexpected. Pack a tote of nutritious snacks when on the go–nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies–so that you won't reach for less healthy snack foods. This is great for day trips with the family or even just a busy day of errands. You'll be glad you didn't need to rely on that soft pretzel at the mall. You can also keep a small bag of nutritious snacks at the office or in your car.

Remember to keep your goals realistic. It's not necessary to attempt all of these tips at once, so pick one or two that seem manageable for you.Source:  Giant Food of Landover, Md.

Published with permission from RISMedia.