Hey Laura, How Do I Get to Know My Neighbors?

Anonymous writes:

“You’ve mentioned a lot lately on Facebook about how awesome your neighbors are and prodding us all to get to know our own neighbors. Problem is, I don’t know how to do that! I feel weird just knocking on people’s doors, offering to be their friend!”

Oh, believe me, I know how intimidating it is to put yourself out there with strangers! But as you know, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to do so with your neighbors. You have the opportunity to create connections with people whose lives are proximate to you - people who can give you practical, real-life support if you need it. It’s great to keep up with Facebook friends, and to have close friendships that are maintained...

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Hey Laura, tell me about Manuka honey

I’m researching Manuka Honey, as the next thing I want to add to our daily health regimen and medicine cabinet. I already know that raw honey is a powerful antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibiotic…pretty much it’s a super hero in your cupboard! Manuka honey is even more powerful because it is especially high in the antibacterial component methylglyoxal. I want to upgrade to Manuka honey for immune boosting purposes; I’ll keep our local raw honey for eating (it’s relatively cheaper), but I’m hoping my children will take to Manuka honey better than spoonfuls of cod liver oil (although, I must say one of them actually loves her fish oil!).

Manuka honey is made from the flowers of...

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Hey Laura, what’s a good quality but inexpensive kitchen knife?

A friend asked me to find her “a decent santoku knife that will not cost me an arm and a leg?  A knife that will do the job but not a knife that will impress knife lovers.”

A good, sharp chef’s knife is a kitchen essential, but it amazes me how many people don’t invest in their tools! If you are serious about cooking, you will save yourself so much time, energy, and frustration if you invest in a good knife. You don’t need an entire block of high-end knives. Ideally, you should have three: A 8-10” chef’s or santoku knife, a 5-10” serrated bread (or “utility”) knife, and a 3” paring knife. You can get away with just the chef’s or santoku knife, though.

So here are my...

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Recipe - ACV Health Tonic

If you’re a hippie-health type person, you probably already suffer through your daily dose of apple cider vinegar. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably tried unsuccessfully to make your gagging kiddos quaff it down as well.

Why?

Well, there’s this whole thing about your body’s pH level. You want it to be alkaline, because that’s correlated with better immune function and overall general health. (Low alkaline levels were connected to inflammatory bowel disease, in this study, and immune function was impaired by acid pH levels in this study.)

You can read a bigger overview of the “Whys” as well as a list of acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods right here.

Your body maintains a...

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Hey Laura, how can I afford to eat in Brooklyn, NY?

My friend, Ben, just moved to Brooklyn and is experiencing NYC sticker shock at the price of groceries. Ben is cooking for two “vegetarian-types” on a budget. Not only does he need to find cheap sources for quality food, he needs some recipes for the daily come-home-from-work-and-make-supper-every-day grind. He’s asked about what kind of staples (like beans) can be made easily from scratch to avoid the higher price of canned convenience.

I’ve been working on this post for a while now, and it’s started to get too unwieldy. I’m just going to toss it out there as a starting point for Ben, because at this point, he needs the information more than he needs it to be perfectly presented.

Here...

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Hey Laura, do you have a mouthwatering flank steak recipe?

Anonymous writes:

Hey Laura, I want to impress my man with some meaty home cooking. Do you have a fantastic recipe that is relatively easy and inexpensive?

Oh, you are in luck, Anonymous! I just discovered the best recipe for making the most tender, flavorful flank steak strips you’ve ever feasted upon. I accidentally didn’t follow the recipe (what else is new?) and it turned out fine, so I’ll write down my adaptation here.

And, because I have a bad habit of not reading a recipe all the way through before I begin, only to find out there’s some crazy time constraint I didn’t know about that threatens to ruin my cooking plan…

First, note this! You need to start this at least 3-4 hours in...

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Hey Laura, how do I preserve my fresh garden herbs?

Kristina writes:

I have gobs of fresh basil and parsley still going strong in my herb garden. But the weather is cooling down, and it won’t be long before I have to pick all of it, or lose it to frost. What’s the best way to preserve herbs so that I can use them in winter?

Lucky you and your abundance of basil! My favorite way to preserve basil is in the form of pesto, which freezes very nicely in ice cub trays.

Alternatively, you can just freeze an herb (whole leaves or chopped in ice cube trays), either by itself or immersed in olive oil (I did that with rosemary and it is a great soup starter)! Once they are frozen, take the blocks out and store them in a bag or jar in the freezer....Continue reading