• 25 things chefs never tell you

    By the Editors of Food Network Magazine
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    (Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)Do restaurants recycle the bread basket? Are most of us bad tippers? Food Network Magazine surveyed chefs across the country - anonymously - to find out everything we've always wanted to know.

    Chefs are pickier than you think.
    Liver, sea urchin, tofu, eggplant, and oysters, of all things, topped the list of foods chefs hate most. Only 15% of chefs surveyed said they'd eat absolutely anything.

    Still, chefs hate picky eaters.
    More than 60% said requests for substitutions are annoying. Some of their biggest pet peeves: When customers pretend to be allergic to an ingredient, and when vegetarians make up rules, like "a little chicken stock is OK."

    When eating out in other restaurants, chefs say they avoid pasta and chicken.
    Why? These dishes are often the most overpriced (and least interesting) on the menu. Said one chef, "I won't pay $24 for half a chicken breast." Said another, "I want

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  • By Chaya, selected from Networx for Care2
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    How many of these common lies do you tell yourself? Quite a few sound familiar to us!

    (Photo: Paul Viant/ Getty Images)(Photo: Paul Viant/ Getty Images)10. Lie: I'll get to it tomorrow.
    Tomorrow will be a good day. I'll spend all morning sorting, organizing, and disposing of all this stuff. I'll start with the bills and business stuff. First, I'll pick up some cute file folders and mark everything by bill type, and then...

    Solution: Setting your expectations too high is the demon behind procrastination and lying to yourself about clutter. Saying you'll tackle everything in one day is a set up for failure.

    Instead, start small. Instead of saying you'll create a filing system with custom folder labels, start by just opening the stack of bills that's sitting on your kitchen counter. You don't have to pay them now: Just open them. Baby steps.

    9. Lie: Well, I've been trying to give it away, but no one wants it.
    Seriously, I keep asking my friends if they

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  • By Morieka Johnson, Mother Nature Network
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    (Photo: Tetra Images / Getty Images)(Photo: Tetra Images / Getty Images)Question: My kids just started school, and I'm not looking forward to playing taxi driver.

    Got any tips to help me save gas when I'm dashing from ballet to baseball to the house several times a week?

    My car has seen better days, and we don't plan to upgrade anytime soon.

    Answer: Shuttling kids around to extracurricular events can be pretty taxing on car engines, as well as the calendar tool on your PDA. With gas prices inching up, it pays to try a few of these tips once the school bell rings.

    Create a game plan: Map out your route the night before. This will help you determine shortcuts, and maximize the trip. Of course, having kids guarantees there will be an impromptu detour for two dozen birthday cupcakes or some other last-minute emergency, but a good game plan is your best defense against wasted gas.

    If a ballet session is near the grocery store, check your shopping list for any items

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  • By Lori Bongiorno
    More from The Conscious Consumer blog

    (Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)It's hardly a secret that cooking fresh foods at home is better for your health, waistline, pocket book, and the planet than choosing packaged foods or eating take-out.

    Does that mean you can eat anything you want as long as you prepare it yourself? Unfortunately, most of us need to steer clear of high-calorie foods that contain too much fat and salt.

    But this doesn't mean that decadent foods are off limits. Below are 10 classic comfort foods that have been tweaked to reduce calories, fat, and/or salt. The best part is that they taste delicious, but you won't feel guilty or overly stuffed afterwards.

    Brownies: Substituting instant coffee and unsweetened coconut powder for some of the chocolate pumps up flavor and reduces the fat for these rich chocolaty treats by more than 50% and cuts calories by about a third.

    Mac and cheese: Pureed squash and low-fat milk create a creamy texture with fewer calories and less

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  • Five deals to shop for this fall

    By Dan Shapley
    More from The Daily Green News blog

    Everyone loves a deal when shopping, but what are the best deals for fall? The Daily Green talked to four experts to find out how to become a "discount druid," as Jeff Yeager, The Daily Green's Green Cheapskate, calls end-of-season bargain-hunting specialists.

    "They're the folks in Sports Authority trying on 50%-off Speedos right now, as the full-price winter parkas are being put on display," Yeager says. But there's a lot more to fall bargain-hunting than teeny bikinis.

    Cars, bikes, even boats

    (Photo: The Toyota Yaris is among the most affordable fuel-efficient 2010 cars, starting at about $12,000.)(Photo: The Toyota Yaris is among the most affordable fuel-efficient 2010 cars, starting at about $12,000.)

    September is when automakers will be rolling out out the next (2011) model year cars, so it's among the best times to get a good deal on a new 2010 model year car, Yeager says.

    Consumer Reports agrees that September is a great time to buy current year-model cars, if you're hunting for a deal: "You'll save money up front because dealers want to clear old inventory."

    Yeager notes: "The same can be said for shopping for a new

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  • Six hidden dangers in your home

    By Lori Bongiorno
    More from The Conscious Consumer blog

    (Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)It's impossible to avoid all the potential dangers in life. But some dangers lurking in the home are easily avoided if you're armed with the right info.

    Below are six accidents-waiting-to-happen and what you can do to prevent them. What do you think is missing from this list? Share other hidden, but easily preventable dangers in the comments section.

    1. Mixing some cleaning products

    Toxic gases can form when you use multiple cleaning products at the same time. Chloramine gas, which can be highly irritating to your lungs, forms when you mix ammonia with chlorine bleach. Mixing chlorine bleach with an acid-based product (like toilet bowl and oven cleaners, drain openers, or vinegar) can release chlorine gas, another lung-irritating fume.

    Most household cleaners do not have ingredients listed on the label so it's hard to know exactly what's in a product. Chlorine bleach is often found in mildew stain removers and

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  • Ideal make-ahead Labor Day menu

    By Robin Shreeves, Mother Nature Network
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    (Photo: perfecto insecto / Flickr)(Photo: perfecto insecto / Flickr)

    Having guests over for the holiday weekend or just want to kick back with family? Enjoy the vacation instead of slaving in the kitchen by preparing lots of make-ahead dishes before the fun starts. Hit up the farmer's market on Saturday or Sunday for many of the ingredients in this ideal Labor Day menu. Fresh, seasonal produce and herbs are in most of these simple, but delicious dishes.

    With the exception of grilling the chicken, everything can be made long before people arrive so you'll have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy the party.


    BLT bites - Cherry tomatoes are stuffed with mayo, bacon, green onions, and more. Prepare the stuffing and the tomatoes separately the day before, and then stuff the tomatoes early the morning of the party.

    Garden fresh salsa - This basic salsa recipe has so many fresh flavors running through it, people can't resist. You'll definitely want to make

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  • By Chaya, selected from Networx
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    (Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)Perhaps the nation's "obesity epidemic" is something that can be cured by a few changes in home decoration. Well, maybe not cured, but certainly impacted.

    It's well-known that lifestyle choices, such as what you eat, and how often you exercise can have a big impact on your waistline and your health. But making healthy choices isn't always easy.

    Simple changes in how you organize your home can support your efforts to shed pounds. Here are nine home decorating ideas that could prevent obesity:

    1. Place your television in a room without a couch.
    This sounds ridiculous, I know, but it works. Laziness is something you can use to your advantage: If it takes effort or discomfort to sit and watch TV, you'll spend a lot less time doing it.

    Put your TV in your unfurnished basement or attic. You'll spend a lot less time sitting and watching it and you'll transform your living room. The focal point of a

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  • By Ann Pietrangelo
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    (Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)Are you one of those people who pour the milk down the drain on the expiration date?

    Expiration dates on food products can protect consumer health, but those dates are really more about quality than safety, and if not properly understood, they can also encourage consumers to discard food that is perfectly safe to eat.

    A recent poll of more than 2,000 adults showed that most of us discard food we believe is unsafe to eat, which is a good thing, of course, but it is important that we understand what food expiration dates mean before we dump our food -- and our money -- down the drain or into the garbage. On average, in the U.S. we waste about 14% of the food we buy each year. The average American family of four throws out around $600 worth of groceries every year.

    Which five foods are most often feared as being unsafe after the printed date? According to ShelfLifeAdvice.com, we are most wary of milk, cottage cheese,

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  • By Siel Ju, Mother Nature Network
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    dress for a dollar
    (Photos courtesy of Marisa Lynch)

    365 new dresses for $365 in 365 days. That's the happiness goal of sorts Marisa Lynch set for herself when, just months before her 30th birthday, she got laid off. Losing a job means hitting the streets with a resume to some, wallowing in grief for others. But for Marisa, it meant getting the sewing machine out and upcycling thrifted fashions. Every day.

    "I was just in this not-feeling-good, crummy kind of mood, and I didn't know how to kick it," says Marisa. That's when Marisa saw the movie, Julie & Julia. "[Julie] was finding something to do every day that made her feel great. I was jealous. I thought, I want to find that."

    Thus, New Dress A Day entered the blogosphere. The task: To make a new fashion piece a day - on a budget of a dollar a day - for an entire year.

    Think the uber-frugal budget and tight turnaround requirements can only mean shoddy, unfashionable duds?

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