Monthly Archives: November 2011

Home Cooked Holidays

Thanksgiving is here, so it is about that time to start preparing! Our food guru, Bobby (from blogchef.net) has provided GreatUsefulStuff.com with some great tips on a home cooked holiday.

HOLIDAY RECIPE

Bobby was kind enough to share his “favorite recipe for Thanksgiving,” which is “the classic green bean casserole.” According to Bobby, “the end result is amazing and everyone in [his] family loves it.” He recommends “using fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms” as well as ” two different types of cheese; parmesan and cheddar.”

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
6 cups fresh green beans (ends removed and cut in half)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 (10 ¾ ounce) cans low-sodium condensed cream of mushrooms soup
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 (2 7/8 ounce) cans French fried onion rings
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet melt butter and add mushrooms and garlic. Cook while stirring until mushrooms loose their moisture. Set aside.
Step 2: Add green beans to a large sauce pan and pour chicken broth over them. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until green beans become fork tender. Drain green beans (but do not  rinse).

Step 3: In a large bowl combine cream of mushroom soup, cooked mushrooms, parmesan cheese, pepper and onions rings, mix well. Gently fold in green beans. Pour into a greased 3 quart casserole dish. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top return to oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
(Makes 6 Servings)

COOKING FOR LARGE GROUPS

GUS has some tips for those of you who are cooking for the masses this season. Bobby says “If you are cooking large quantities of food, I would say the most important thing is trying to serve everything as fresh as possible. Since it is unlikely that everything can be done at exactly the same time, it is always a good idea to have methods of keeping your already cooked foods warm. A slow cooker is a great way to do this. A lot of slow cookers have a warm setting. You can also use the oven if you do not have anything baking in it at the moment.” Also, it is very important to remember to plan ahead when cooking for a large group. Make sure to make shopping lists and guest lists so nothing is forgotten. It also takes the stress off of being a host if you ask your guests to each bring a dinner item. Additionally, it is important to get all of your shopping and cleaning done ahead of time so you can designate the days before Thanksgiving for cooking.

PROTECTING YOUR RECIPES

Bobby gives GUS some final advice about Thanksgiving. He recommends keeping “Thanksgiving pretty traditional with roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, pumpkin pie, etc.” Save your recipes from previous years and don’t worry about repeating the popular dishes. Also Bobby reminds our readers that they “shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box. Trying new things is always great, and it’s a learning experience.” However, with all of the chaos that

iPad Recipe Holder

will be occurring in your kitchens, make sure your recipes are protected! All it takes is a little gravy to ruin your favorite recipe! To avoid this issue, Bobby recommends buying “lamination kits or get them done professionally for a fair price. This should be a good method of protecting your recipes from cooking splatter.” GUS has another solution to this problem! Our iPad Recipe Holder protects and stores recipes, and also is able to fit your iPad while viewing online recipes. Its a great item that will organize your kitchen and ease much of the stress for hosting the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving from GUS!

For more information about products and ordering, visit http://www.greatusefulstuff.com.

Putting an End to Your Tangled Chains

ORGANIZING YOUR JEWELRY

1. Minimize: The first step towards organizing your jewelry is the same as organizing any other part of your life: get rid of what you don’t need! Go through your collection of bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings and pick out the items you no longer wear. It is useless to have unworn items sitting around, taking up space, and getting tangled. Make the decision to either give away, donate, or sell your old jewelry.

2. Organize: There are many different organizing tools to help ease the process of storing your jewelry. Our expert for the week, stylist from Stella & Dot, Sandy Sloan (check out her website: http://www.stelladot.com/sandysloan or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Style.With.Sandy) gave GreatUsefulStuff.com some helpful tips on organizing and storing earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. For earrings,

Vintage Iron Jewelry Holder via PBteen

Sandy says “A separate earring tree of sorts is something that really helps a woman identify her different pairs and not have them hooked together. What a pain when we’re in a rush!” Sandy recommends this Vintage Iron Jewelry Holder for earrings and it is great because it “has room for studs and even rings!” For bracelets, Sandy some great suggestions. She says,

Wood Bangle Stand via NILE

“Bracelets can stand to be stacked together in a drawer of a jewelry box if the bracelets are made of leather or if they are bangles and cuffs, but a bracelet bar just makes it so easy for a woman to identify what she has, especially if she has delicates she doesn’t want to get tangled.  This also allows a quick view of your possible arm party options.”

As for necklaces, Sandy “definitely recommends storing” them “on hooks.” This keeps necklaces separated and helps avoid chains from get tangled.

At GUS, we have some of our own Great Useful Solutions to assist your jewelry troubles. While Sandy’s recommendations are all great, sometimes space is limited, particularly in dorm rooms and apartments. If you are living in a smaller area or if you just want to keep your jewelry out of a shared living space, our Hang-Hers Jewelry Organizer is an excellent option! The Jewelry Organizer comes with 6 top-access mesh pouches to store all of your jewelry and it can easily be hung in your closet. Also, the Hang-Hers Organizer keeps your jewelry secure and out of site!

Hang-Hers Jewelry Organizer

Also, for something new and creative, our Jewelry Tray organizes your jewelry by occasion rather than by type. The Jewelry Tray is made of woven grass cloth and is separated by jewelry for the day, night, and special occasions. Not only does the tray save time in trying to find the right theme of jewelry, but each compartment is also separated to fit necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more.

Jewelry Tray

3. Protect: What’s the point in organizing your jewelry if it won’t last? That is why protecting your jewelry is just as important as organizing it. Our expert, Sandy, advises our readers to store jewelry in enclosed items because “it protects the jewelry inside from the effects of humidity” She continues, saying “oxidation is what colors the jewelry whether it’s sterling silver or costume jewelry, so keeping jewelry away from the shower or other forms of humidity is important.” Also, Sandy adds that “as a general practice, [she] stores fine jewelry in a tarnish-resistant fabric-lined jewelry box. [She] separates gold from silver so that the metals don’t affect each other.

TRAVEL

Glam Jewelry Travel Case

Traveling with jewelry can be tricky; but, as a rule of thumb, always keep it with you in a purse or carry-on if you are going on a plane. Also, GUS has a helpful solution for traveling with jewelry. Our Glam Jewelry Travel Case is both portable and stylish. No more lost, tangled, or broken jewelry! The Jewelry Case has several pockets to protect and organize your valuable items and can easily fit right into a purse or bag.

For more information about products and ordering, visit http://www.greatusefulstuff.com.