Archives for February 2015

Expired Food: Can I eat that?

canned food





I refer to this article several times a month when friends and family are trying to decide whether to use a food item from the pantry. This article will help you and your family and friends.

Should you really toss something that’s never been opened? What if something’s been opened but barely used? Is it still good?

General Safety Rules & Guidelines

Now, assuming your fridge’s temperature is set between 38-40 degrees, the following rules apply per the USDA:

  • Milk: Good for up to 1 week past the “Sell By” date.
  • Eggs: Good for 3-5 weeks after purchase (provided you purchased them before the “Sell By” date, of course). Keep in mind that eggs should always be kept in their original container, not the plastic holders inside the refrigerator door! The plastic doesn’t allow eggs to breathe, which will cause them to spoil a whole lot faster.
  • Condiments: These can be kept up to one full year in the fridge. The exceptions are: Mayonnaise, which should only be kept for two months—maximum—after opening and Salad dressings, which can be kept in the fridge up to three months after opening. Unopened salad dressing is good for up to one year past its expiration date.
  • Meats & Poultry{It kind of goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway), perishables such as meat and poultry should be refrigerated right away or frozen for later use.}

If kept in the fridge, then the following rules apply:

  • Poultry – 1 to 2 days
  • Beef, pork, veal and lamb –3 to 5 days
  • Ground meat or ground poultry –1 to 2 days
  • Cured “cook before eating” ham –5 to 7 days
  • Uncooked beef, pork or turkey sausage – 1 to 2 daysFrozen meats:
    • Ground beef or ground poultry –3 months
    • Whole chicken or turkey—one year
    • Unopened bacon and lunchmeat—one month

    Now let’s move on to pantry items, shall we?

    • Grains purchased in boxes (think: rice, crackers, cereal) should be kept in air tight containers or plastic zipper bags for long-term storage. These babies are notorious breeding grounds for bugs.





10 Creative Ideas for Long-Distance Grandparents by Sharon Lovejoy

10 Creative Ideas for Long-Distance Grandparents by Sharon Lovejoy

A Grandma’s Bag of Tricks

The simplest conversations, letters, and traditions can keep the intimate bond between grandparents and children flourishing across the miles. Your time together may be limited to holidays or a summer visit, but as a long-distance grandparent, you can still play an important part in the life of your grandchildren. My book, Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars, offers these proven ideas.

Help Them Make Letters Fun and Frequent

When grandchildren sit in front of a sheet of stationery, they feel daunted by the prospect of filling the entire page. Go to the local arts-and-crafts store and buy blank watercolor postcards. They’re the perfect size, and they are great for the kids’ paintings or drawings. Address the postcards to yourself, stamp them, and send them to your grandkids. Ask their parents to encourage them to write or draw you something every couple of weeks. Even though you are out of sight, a steady stream of letters and pictures ensure that you’ll never be out of your grandchildren’s hearts.

A Birthday Card for Every Year

Years ago, Grammy Marilyn Brewer showed me a stack of birthday cards she was mailing to her granddaughter Kara. “On every birthday, I send a card for each year of Kara’s life.” What grandchild could ever forget a grammy who flooded the mailbox with cards? They can be homemade, so the only expenses are paper, envelopes, stamps, and time.

Celebrate an Unbirthday

Long-distance grandparents can’t always make it to their grandchild’s birthday. My granddaughter Sara May’s birthday comes in midsummer — the time of year when I live in Maine. She was always disappointed to have me miss her special day, but I solved the problem by making it a tradition to celebrate her birthday a month in advance. I make it festive, just like I do for the other grandchildren: decorations, a birthday banner, a fancy cake in her favorite color, party favors, and of course her gifts. She no longer mourns my absence — two birthdays a year is exciting for any child.

Photo Ops

Send inexpensive plastic cameras to your grandchildren and include pre-addressed, stamped padded envelopes for their easy return. Equipped with a camera, a child feels important and powerful and will gladly snap photos to share with Granny. When you ask your grandchildren to show you what their lives are like by taking pictures of their friends, pets, schools, or trips, you will surely get a response. Have parents mail the cameras back to you, so that you can get the film developed and share in their lives away from you. The next time the kids visit, you can talk about the pictures together.
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