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Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Condiment bottles in fridge (Plus: Cookbook giveaway winner announced!)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

The winner of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook Giveaway is:

leatha.arant@

Thanks, everyone, for your enthusiasm over Jessica's new book! :)

This week's kitchen tip is one I learned from Joshua's grandma. I noticed that the condiment bottles in her fridge all had dates written on them: The date each item was opened.

What a brilliant idea! How many times have I opened a carton of cream that says "Use within 10 days of opening" and I can never remember how long it's been open?! Having the date written on it is a great reminder to use it before it expires!

For salad dressings, writing the dates on them when you open them would allow you to easily see which bottles your family is using regularly and which ones take years to empty.

Hint: If something's been in your fridge for a year and it's only barely used, you could probably skip buying it next time it's on sale... ;)

More condiment tips:

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. 8 ways to save money on beverages + leftover beverages tip (Cooking Up a Sale)
2. Condensed milk substitute -- dairy-free (Whole New Mom)
3. Pie crust tip (Recipes Happen)
4. Flavoring pasta (Moms Frugal)

Eat Well, Spend Less: Time-saving kitchen tips

Eat Well, Spend Less series

Serve nutritious and delectable meals, have fun in the kitchen, and do it with limited time? This month the Eat Well, Spend Less team wrote about time-saving kitchen tips, and we're thrilled to be hosting giveaways for Jessica Fisher's book Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook!

Posts you don't want to miss:

How to save time and money grocery shopping :: What, not everyone has a husband who will do the grocery shopping for them? ;) I don't always enjoy grocery shopping but Jessica's tips will help! Enter her book giveaway here.

Save time on kitchen prep work :: Do it now, make extras, add it to your Sunday "to-do"s: Mandi has the scoop on food prep efficiency in a home kitchen!

5 crazy ways to save on kitchen prep time :: Katie K. has some great simple ways to save time! Enter her book giveaway here.

Time-saving kitchen tips :: Katie G. shares her favorite shortcuts in the kitchen. Enter her book giveaway here.

Slow-cooker to the rescue :: Amy reminds me to not let the Crock Pot gather dust in the cupboard. ;) Enter her book giveaway here.

9 tips for spending less time at the kitchen sink :: Dishes! Love these tips from Carrie on the routine, mundane, and ever-growing pile of dirty dishes at home. Enter her book giveaway here.

On batch cooking :: Aimee gives us tips on smart batch cooking techniques

5 ways to save time making family dinners :: Family dinners are a Big Deal to me, and Shaina shares her tricks for making them happen. Enter her book giveaway here.

And, if you missed it this week: My morning routine and a cookbook giveaway (enter here)! :)

Royal Berkey Water Filter Giveaway: Winner Announcement!

Royal Berkey Water Filter

The winner of the Royal Berkey Water Filter giveaway is:

Melissa, who says:

My favorite thing that More Than Alive carries is the Berkey Filter. We have a small one, but we could definitely use an upgrade for our family of five.

Congrats to Melissa! I've emailed you to get your mailing address so you can receive your Royal Berkey water filter!

And, a big THANK YOU to More Than Alive for providing the Royal Berkey for this giveaway!

The 10% discount at More Than Alive is still good through today, August 31, 2012. Use this code to receive 10% off any order from More Than Alive: TL7A6

Royal Berkey Water Filter Giveaway! (This week only!)

Our Royal Berkey

We love our Berkey water filter. One of my friends said we treat it like a member of the family. I guess Berkey is the guy we forgot to introduce... but you can't spend much time in our kitchen before you'll meet him! ;)

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you already know I can't stop talking about the Berkey! This week, I've got something more than talk: a Berkey discount code and a giveaway!

More Than Alive is generously giving a Royal Berkey Water Filter ($283 value) to one winner of this giveaway! I'm honored that they would offer this for readers of my website, and I'm thrilled that one of you will be blessed with a Berkey water filter for free! (See the end of this post for giveaway details.)

Our Royal Berkey is still going strong, with the original black filters that came with it when we purchased it 4 years ago. (I did recently buy a new set of black filter elements but haven't needed to replace the original ones yet.) The filters that come with the Berkey will filter 6,000 gallons of water -- bringing the cost per gallon to under 2 cents!

Sometimes the city water here (Seattle area) smells pretty good, but other times I am reminded again of how thankful I am for the Berkey. Along with removing all the yuckies we can't see or taste (plus colors we can see!), it totally takes away the chlorine smell from our water.

Seriously, one day Joshua picked up a jug of water on the counter and said:

"Did you put bleach in this jug of water?"

"No, I just ran that from the tap and was going to fill the Berkey. Why?"

"Because it smells like bleach water."

He was right. The tap water smelled like I had poured some bleach into the jug. I dumped the water (thinking it couldn't possibly have been supposed to smell like that!) and ran some more water and smelled it. It smelled just as bad.

Royal Berkey

Thankfully, our Berkey works great and I don't have to drink water that stinks! Or drag jugs of water to and from the store. Or pay for it. (We recouped our Berkey water filter cost within a year of purchasing it!)

I'm pretty crazy about our Berkey water filter. And no wonder -- when I tracked my water consumption recently it was 12-18 cups per day!

Stuff from More Than Alive

More Than Alive is the Christian-owned company where we purchased our Royal Berkey (using a 10% discount code). Now, the Berkey is my favorite product they carry -- but they have some other great healthy stuff I love like herbal tea blends, SuperMom vitamins, and coffee. Hey, coffee is "healthy stuff", right? ;)

The Giveaway (open Monday - Thursday, August 27-30, 2012):

I'm going to give you multiple entries for this giveaway, okay? Here's what counts:

Go to More Than Alive, then leave a comment here telling me your favorite product they carry. (Be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you win!)

"Like" More Than Alive on Facebook (comment here telling me you did this*)

"Like" Tammy's Recipes on Facebook (comment here telling me you did this*)

Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook (sharing details on my Facebook page -- comment here telling me you did this*)

*Update 8/28 -- Your comments here are your entries; "Facebook Likes" aren't entries, per Facebook guidelines -- if that makes sense. ;)

Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday, August 31, 2012.

Update: This giveaway is now closed. See winner announcement here!

The Discount:

More Than Alive sells quality bulk herbs, bulk foods, and more -- including our favorite household necessity, the Berkey Water Filter. If you've been waiting to order a Berkey water filter, this discount will give you $28+ off your order!

Use this discount code to receive 10% off your order from More Than Alive Monday-Thursday of this week, August 27-31, 2012.

Discount code: TL7A6

Full disclosure, as usual: I have always maintained that any product review I write will be completely honest. I would never recommend that anyone purchase anything that I wouldn't spend my own hard-earned money on. After we purchased our Berkey, we loved it so much we wanted to review and recommend it to others. More Than Alive asked us to be part of their affiliate program, and we earn a commission on purchases made through the links in this post. Thanks for your support! :)

Mother's Day Giveaway Winner

Thank you all so much for the beautiful comments on my Mother's Day giveaway! Reading them brought tears to my eyes. My mom is a hard working, cheerful, content, and Godly woman. I miss my mom, too! It's been a year since our last trip to Ohio to visit my parents, and even though they came here to visit for 3 days in September, it just wasn't long enough.

One of the comforting things about my mom is that she's always busy doing something either fun or productive (usually productive) and she's always got good food to eat. She's told me that she gets tired of cooking sometimes, but one would never know that by the meals she serves. It's not always something fancy, but it's almost always completely homemade and/or home-grown -- filling and healthy. :) (Use the search box to look for "my mom's recipes" and you'll find a ton on this site!)

My mom also treasures and loves each new life! She had 6 children herself (after 8 years of infertility), and our children are all very loved by her as precious gifts. I'm so blessed by her encouragement and support in this, and in many other areas. :)

Anyway, now to the giveaway winner. According to random.org, the winner of the Mother's Day Gift Package is:

davidpeachey@

Thank you all for your enthusiasm for the giveaway, and thank you to More Than Alive for sponsoring it! The 10% discount code is still good through today, Friday May 11.

Have a great weekend! :)

Mother's Day Giveaway from More Than Alive! (2 days only)

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

More Than Alive put together a Mother's Day giveaway package for one lucky reader here! I was super excited when they emailed and asked to send me a gift packet and offer a giveaway and discount code this week!

Here is what the package includes:

Gift package from More Than Alive

1 bottle of SuperMom vitamins (I have used these for 5+ years and love them!)
1 bottle of peppermint essential oil
Jar of Laveshmint daily moisturizer
Book: Herbal Antibiotics
1/2 lb. organic raw cacao powder
1 Salt and Pepper Silk Scarf

You know we love our Berkey water filter from More Than Alive, and I drink their herbal teas almost daily. Their dried herbs are fresh and potent and their tea blends are fabulous! I'm not just saying this because they've sent me samples... I used up my samples long ago and bought more herbs and SuperMom vitamins, which I take daily. :)

Peppermint oil

I love peppermint oil, and it's one of my most-used essential oils. It's my second tactic for battling headaches (right after drinking tons of water from my Contigo water bottle!) and makes Ruth's favorite pink peppermint stick scented homemade play dough! :)

I don't normally use facial moisturizer (or anything on my face aside from water to cleanse) but I tried the Laveshmint that came in my package and it feels lovely! It isn't oily and smells pleasant.

Salt and Pepper Silk Scarf

I'm excited about this scarf! My scarves have always been purely functional and not at all cute. (In fact, I think both of my winter scarves are ones I've had for over 15 years!) Here in the Seattle area, we don't usually have super cold, snowy winters -- but lots of chilly rainy days (all year long...) so I think this scarf will be perfect. It's soft and delicate but feels pretty sturdy, too.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder, yum! We use lots of cocoa powder since it's a pretty affordable chocolate fix. ;) What have I done with mine?

Chocolate protein milk shake

Made chocolate protein milk! I used chocolate-flavored sweetened whey protein, milk, instant coffee granules, and a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder. I use my immersion blender (gift from Joshua's mom last year) to blend it smooth. The milk gets nice and creamy and the cocoa powder makes it extra chocolate-y! (Note: Actually I prefer this drink without the coffee.)

Want to win this Mother's Day gift package from More Than Alive?

This giveaway is open Wednesday and Thursday, May 9-10, 2012. One winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Friday, May 11, 2012.

How to enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post, telling me what you most appreciate about your mom, mother-in-law, or mentor! If you aren't logged in, make sure you comment includes a way to contact you if you win. :)

The Discount:

More Than Alive sells quality bulk herbs, bulk foods, and more -- including our favorite household necessity, the Berkey Water Filter. If you've been waiting to order a Berkey water filter, this discount will give you $20+ off your order!

Use this discount code to receive 10% off your order from More Than Alive Wednesday - Friday of this week, May 9 - May 11, 2012.

Code: TRMGPG

Channah Shalom
Channah Shalom (she's 10 weeks old now!) :)

Full disclosure, as always: When we purchased our Berkey water filter from More Than Alive several years ago, we were so thrilled with it that I signed up as an affiliate with More Than Alive. Purchasing through my links helps support this website! The discount code is valid with or without using my links. :)

I don't review something unless we would spend our own hard-earned money on it, and such is the case with the things we have purchased from More Than Alive. I'm delighted to be able to offer giveaways and discount codes for More Than Alive! :)

Giveaway winners from Cultures for Health and The Money Saving Mom's Budget

Ruth drinking kefir
Ruth drinking kefir :)

The 3 randomly-selected winners in the Cultures for Health giveaway this week are:

Carrie (wholesomewomanhood@)
Amy (chiltonthompson@)
Amy (amydeihl@)

Many thanks to Cultures for Health for offering this giveaway! :) If you were one of the winners, I've already emailed instructions on choosing a culture to try! :)

The 5 randomly-selected winners in The Money Saving Mom's Budget book giveaway are:

Angela (LibraryGirl@)
tlcmom@
Rachel (drhotalen@)
Shannon (jellybeansjunk@)
teeners9@

If you were one of the winners, I've already emailed you so I can get your mailing address to send out your book! :)

In the event that a selected winner doesn't respond to my email, an alternate winner will be chosen and will hear from me through email. :)

Thanks for participating in the giveaways, everyone! :)

My "Secret Ingredient" Biscuits (and a giveaway from Cultures for Health!)

I love to tease Joshua when he compliments my cooking. "I used a secret ingredient." ;)

And one of my secret ingredients? Homemade kefir. It makes a great buttermilk substitute and turns out the best biscuits and pancakes! And since kefir keeps so long in the fridge, I pretty much always have some on hand when a recipe calls for buttermilk (or even just plain milk, in baking recipes).

Making biscuits with kefir
Making biscuits with my kefir

I've also found that my kefir grains are pretty hardy. I'd been using my current kefir grains for about a year when I got pregnant with baby #5, morning sickness hit, and Joshua cooked dinner every night for a month. (Or two. I don't really remember because I was, umm, napping!)

One thing Joshua didn't do -- and I didn't do either -- was to care for my kefir grains. I know, I know. Those little "babies" I'd been tending, even taking them with me on the airplane when I went to visit my family in May... were then left in a jar on the counter for several weeks. Every time I thought about giving them some fresh milk, I wondered if they were even still alive and then just didn't touch them.

Finally, probably about 6 weeks later, I pushed past the "I'm a bad kefir-mom" feelings and took out 2 little kefir grains and started giving them fresh milk every day. It did take about 2 weeks for them to revive, and even longer for my beautiful thick creamy kefir consistency to return. But it did! They're alive! I'm so glad. And next time "life" gets too crazy to make kefir, I'll put them in the fridge to rest like I should have done.

Giveaway this week (3 days only!):

Cultures for Health is a company located here in Washington state and they offer starters and cultures for a variety of different healthy foods -- like milk kefir, water kefir, sourdough, yogurt, buttermilk, kombucha and more! Cultures for Health also offers supplies for cheese making, sprouting, and other fun stuff.

Cultures for Health offers 9 different kinds of yogurt starters, including some that will culture right on your counter (like kefir), skipping the tedious warming of milk and monitoring temperatures. (I know some people say that homemade yogurt is super easy, but I beg to differ!) :)

The giveaway (3 winners!):

Go here to enter the Cultures for Health giveaway. Giveaway is open Monday, January 16th, 2012 through Wednesday, January 18th, 2012. THREE random winners will be given the opportunity to choose a culture of their choice from Cultures for Health! :) (Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Cultures for Health. But I love opportunities for you guys to win something I love!)

Use this code to get 10% off your order at Cultures for Health placed January 16-20, 2012: TR2012

New to kefir? Go watch my short video showing how simple it is to make!

I've also written about:

How I use kefir in recipes

Smooth and Creamy Maple-Sweetened Kefir (one of our favorite drinks!)

Photo tutorial for making homemade kefir

How to make homemade yogurt (and why I make kefir instead!) 

Smart Sweets Giveaway Winners!

Oh, I'm way behind in announcing the giveaway winners for last week's Smart Sweets giveaway!

Thanks so much to Katie, who is giving a copy of Smart Sweets to these 5 winners:

lilyofthevalleyt@
ronngc@
hsmamafl@
saharaneeley@
theburns.fam@

If you were one of the winners, you'll be contacted by email soon with your free ebook! :)

There is still a discount code for this book. Use this code to receive 25% off your order: Tammy25

Discount code is good now through December 19, 2011.

Giveaway: Smart Sweets ebook (and free apple crisp download!)

Smart Sweets ebook

Remember how much I liked The Everything Beans Book? I was excited when Katie told me she had another ebook coming out mid-November!

Smart Sweets is a healthy desserts ebook with 30 tried-and-true recipes and lots of "real food" tips for making yummy kitchen treats on the healthier side.

I received a review copy and enjoyed thumbing through it. Smart Sweets is packed with info, like all of Katie's work. If you're looking for healthier dessert recipes that have been tested and are reliable, Smart Sweets is a great resource!

I've been able to follow Katie's recipes without any problem and with good results. Sometimes a recipe is a little open-ended, as Katie says, "No one tells you how much pizza sauce to put on a pizza... right?" Ummm, I am that person who gives pizza sauce measurements in my pizza recipes! ;)

The handy FAQs at the end of each recipe stretch the recipes to 2+ pages in length, but will leave you confident that you're on the right track, even with making substitutions or variations on the recipe itself. Smart Sweets is 89 pages in all.

One of the recipes in Smart Sweets is for apple crisp. You can get a FREE download of this recipe here! I had fresh apples from Joshua's parents' tree and made the crock pot apple crisp version of the recipe.

I wasn't sure how apple crisp in the crock pot would turn out, but we all ended up liking it! Of course, it wasn't quite like baked apple crisp. We served it in bowls, with real whipped cream. I liked the spice combination and the topping was soft enough for Joshua to chew. And, it was kinda fun to make a dessert in the crock pot! ;)

Go here to get the FREE apple crisp download, which is an excerpt from Smart Sweets!

Katie is also giving away 5 copies of Smart Sweets to readers here!

How to enter the giveaway (5 winners!):

1. Go here and scroll down to see the table of contents for Smart Sweets.

2. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which recipe looks most interesting to you -- and (if you're not logged in) be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you win!

Giveaway is open from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 9, 2011.

Five winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday, December 12, 2011.

Discount code:

Katie has also generously offered a 25% discount on Smart Sweets! (If you're selected as a winner in the giveaway, you will receive a refund for the ebook you purchased.)

Use this code to receive 25% off your order: Tammy25

This discount code is good now through December 19, 2011.

Full Disclosure:

I received a copy of Smart Sweets for review purposes. I am an affiliate for Katie, which means your purchase helps support both Katie and me as bloggers! :)