Consumer Real Estate News


    • Seven Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

      28 September 2020

      If it seems to you that groceries cost more these days, it is not your imagination. Nearly every category of food has become more expensive since February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, with beef seeing the steepest price spike (20.2 percent), followed by eggs (10.4 percent), poultry (8.6 percent) and pork (8.5 percent).

      While there’s not much consumers can do to improve the supply chain or limit price hikes, there are many things you can do to help stretch your grocery dollars.

      • Make specials work for you - Build meals around the store’s weekly sale circulars, starting with the proteins. Look for sales on beef roasts, pork shoulders or whole chickens that can provide multiple meals. Choose seasonal produce and buy only featured sale shelf items.
      • Redefine dinner - You can save big by realizing that dinner doesn’t have to be traditional. Try breakfast for dinner, or fill up and save money by thinking quiche and salad or soup and sandwiches—even cleverly stuffed baked potatoes.  
      • Shop smarter - Keep your spend under control while shopping by sticking to a shopping list and keeping a running tab on what goes into your grocery cart. Leave the kids or other over-spenders at home.
      • Skip eye-level items - That’s where the more expensive attention getters reside. Look up or down for less expensive and typically comparable counterparts are shelved. Buy generic when possible.
      • Don’t buy anything pre-cut - Cut-up fruit platters, bagged salads and meats pre-packaged with veggies look tempting, but are rarely worth the price tag. You will save big by doing it yourself.
      • Shop dairy, not deli - Most of the meats and cheeses sold at premium prices in the deli can be found pre-packaged in the dairy section at a much lower cost. 
      • Use what you buy - Tossing unused food is throwing money away. Freeze whatever you can, even milk or half a loaf of bread, so they stay fresh until you need them. Make wilting veggies into soup. Use about-to-expire lunch meats in a salad. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Create Quality School Day Meals with Simple Shortcuts

      28 September 2020

      (Family Features) The seemingly constant rush of hectic school days and nights often leaves busy families feeling like there’s no time for a homemade meal around the table. However, taking shortcuts that don’t skip out on quality can mean more time together enjoying flavorful dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. 

      For starters, an easy yet filling breakfast like these Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins can help you begin your day the right way while calling for a simple list of ingredients and just a few steps. 

      Perfect for grabbing on the way out the door to power you through the day or enjoying at home as you manage double duty as parent and best teacher on the block. They’re made with ground turkey sausage, eggs, melty cheddar cheese and Success Tri-Color Quinoa, which is simplified even more by the “boil-in-bag” cooking process. Just add water to a saucepan, drop the convenient BPA-free bag into the water, boil for 10 minutes and remove with a fork for a no-measure, no-mess shortcut. 

      When the dinner bell dings at the end of a long day of learning, feed your family an effortless recipe that allows the oven to do most of the work. The array of flavors and textures in these Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls can bring warmth to your loved ones while requiring little effort. 

      Sweet and buttery flavors of maple-roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beets pair with the convenience, taste, texture and quality of Success Jasmine Rice, lentils, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette for an abundance of flavors that help recharge and refuel with loads of nutrients combined in one comforting dish.

      Find more ways to add ease to school day meals at successrice.com. 

      Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins
      Total time: 30 minutes
      Servings: 16

      • 1 bag Success Tri-Color Quinoa
      • nonstick cooking spray
      • 1 package (9.6 ounces) cooked turkey sausage crumbles
      • 2 cups prepared baking mix
      • 1 cup cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup milk
      • 4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
      • maple syrup (optional)
      Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Coat 16 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

      In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sausage, baking mix and cheese. Stir in milk and eggs; blend well.

      Pour 3/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup.

      Bake for 18-20 minutes.

      Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. 

      Substitution: In place of baking mix, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 pinch of salt.

      Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls
      Total time: 45 minutes
      Servings: 6
      • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
      • 2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
      • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
      • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
      • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
      • ¼ teaspoon salt 
      • ¼ teaspoon pepper
      • 2 cups peeled, chopped beets
      • 2 bags Success Jasmine Rice
      • 4 cups mixed greens
      • 1 can (15 ounces) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
      • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
      • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
      • ½ cup prepared balsamic dressing
      Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, toss together butternut squash, sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, thyme, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

      In the same bowl, toss the beets with remaining oil until well coated; add to the baking sheet with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.

      Prepare rice according to package directions; divide among six bowls. Top each with greens, roasted vegetables, lentils, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with balsamic dressing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Avoid Dry Skin

      28 September 2020

      Dry skin can make life uncomfortable and even unbearable. The itching and irritation can make it difficult to focus on important tasks and to get a good night’s sleep. Dry skin may have multiple causes. In many cases, it can be relieved by making lifestyle changes. 

      How to Keep Your Skin Hydrated
      Hot and dry air in your house can cause or worsen dry skin and make it itchy and flaky. You can prevent or alleviate that by using a portable humidifier or one attached to the furnace. Be sure to clean it regularly.

      If your skin is dry, it may be at least in part because of products you routinely use. Stop using deodorant soap and skin care products containing fragrances, alcohol, retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acid that can rob your skin of its natural oils.

      Household cleaning products have chemicals that can dry out your skin. Wear gloves when using them.

      Clothing made of cotton and silk allows skin to breathe, while wool can cause irritation. Avoid wearing irritating fabrics or wear a comfortable fabric underneath to prevent itchy skin. Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent that doesn’t contain dyes or perfumes, since they can irritate skin. 

      Use warm water (not hot)  when you take a shower or bath. Limit the amount of time you spend bathing so your skin doesn’t dry out. Use a mild soap that contains moisturizers, a gentle skin cleanser and a moisturizing bath or shower gel. Avoid products that contain fragrances, alcohol and antibacterial agents. Use enough soap or cleanser to clean your skin, but not so much that it creates a thick lather. 

      When you get out of the shower or bath, pat your skin with a towel so you don’t remove all the water. Then apply a moisturizing cream, ointment or lotion that contains olive oil, jojoba oil, mineral oil, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, petrolatum, lactic acid or urea to help your skin retain moisture.

      Ointments and creams moisturize skin better and cause less irritation than lotions. You should also apply a moisturizer within a few minutes after you wash your hands or face, and use a thick moisturizer several times each day to keep your skin hydrated. 

      If you have very dry skin, apply an oil while your skin is moist to prevent water from evaporating. You can use an ointment that contains petroleum jelly at night to moisturize your skin. That wouldn’t be a good choice for daytime use since products with petroleum jelly feel greasy. 

      Don’t forget about the skin on your lips. Use a lip balm that moisturizes your lips without causing a stinging or tingling sensation.

      See a Doctor If Necessary
      Dry skin that is caused by lifestyle and environmental factors may be relieved by making simple changes. If these suggestions don’t help, your dry skin may be due to a medical condition. You may have to see a dermatologist who can prescribe a cream, ointment or another form of treatment.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Fix That Leaky Faucet

      25 September 2020

      The dripping of water from a faulty faucet isn’t really loud, but it can be so annoying that it seems deafening. Plus, every drip is a reminder that you’re wasting water, and money, which can make sleeping even more difficult.

      Luckily, fixing a leaky faucet is often an easy job that just about anyone can do. Here’s how:

      Turn off the Water
      Underneath your sink is a valve that brings water to your faucet. Turn it to the right to stop the supply of water. If by some chance there isn’t a valve here, turn off the water for the entire house.

      Remove the Handle
      Start by taking off decorative parts of knobs, which you can do with a flat-head screwdriver. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the screw underneath the cover. If the screw is behind the handle, use a hex key or Allen wrench to remove it.

      Take Out the Cartridge
      The cartridge is a part of your faucet that turns with the handle, thus controlling the flow of water. You can loosen it with a crescent wrench. Some faucets may require the use of a specialized tool to loosen the cartridge. Check your owner’s manual. If you no longer have it,  you can likely find information about your faucet model online.

      Install the New Cartridge
      Replacing the O-ring and washer may make the repair, but keep in mind that the new O-ring or washer needs to be a precise fit. Or, you can replace the cartridge itself. To buy the right cartridge, you should know the faucet’s manufacturer and model number. You can also bring your old cartridge to a home repair store.

      Reassemble the Faucet
      Tighten the packing nut with a crescent, but don’t make it too tight. Then put back the handle. Turn the water for the faucet back on and test the faucet, both hot and cold water, for a few minutes each.

      If, as you go along, you discover a different problem, or making this repair doesn’t end the leak, it may be time to call in a professional.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Build Heart-Healthy Behaviors for Preschoolers at Home

      25 September 2020

      (Family Features) A pressing concern like a global pandemic can quickly overshadow other important health challenges facing families. One is the issue of childhood obesity, a problem the slower pace of life brought on by COVID-19 could exacerbate.

      Numerous cardiovascular and mental health risks are associated with childhood obesity, and many experts expect to see increases in both mental health challenges and obesity as a result of COVID-19.

      According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity impacts 40 percent of children between the ages of 2-5, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma and depression. 

      Data from a study published in the “Early Childhood Education Journal” from the American Heart Association shows children diagnosed as overweight between 7-13 years old may develop heart disease as early as age 25. However, preventative steps taken in early childhood can help reduce this risk. 

      Keeping young children healthy while at home during the pandemic requires extra attention to their nutrition, physical activity and screen time. Programs like the American Heart Association’s Healthy Way to Grow, a national, science-based, early childhood technical assistance program, provide educational resources to help communities, educators and caregivers improve practices and policies for obesity prevention. 

      These tips from the program can help early childhood professionals and caregivers promote best practices into the daily lives of children.

      Nutrition
      Less than 1 percent of children have ideal diets, and under 10 percent have reasonably healthy diets, according to the American Heart Association. On any given day, 27 percent of 2- and 3-year-olds don’t eat a vegetable; among those who do, fried potatoes, which are high in fat and lower in nutrients, are most common. In fact, data shows kids eat less nutritious foods up to age 19.

      Children should consume a variety of foods daily, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairies, lean vegetable or animal protein and fish. At the same time, kids should minimize trans fats, processed meats, refined carbohydrates and sweetened beverages. 

      Consistently timed meals and pairing new foods with choices they already enjoy are two ways to help form healthy habits. Be aware that healthy choices should apply throughout the day, not only for meals but also snacks and beverages. Eating together as a family provides an opportunity to model healthy eating and encourage children to try new foods. Also make water available and accessible to children throughout the day.

      For infants, feeding provides nutrition for their physical and mental growth. Healthy babies usually double their birth weight between 4-5 months of age. Infants and children with congenital heart disease and congestive heart failure or cyanosis (blueness) tend to gain weight slower. An 8-ounce-1-pound gain in a month may be an acceptable weight gain for a baby with a heart defect.

      Physical Activity
      Only about 20 percent of kids perform enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. Whether you’re working with children in a childcare setting or at home, look for ways to incorporate lesson plans that offer learning experiences about healthy eating and physical activity, and ensure the daily schedule includes ample active playtime.

      The Healthy Way to Grow program recommends all children, including infants, have at least two outdoor active play times daily, weather and air quality permitting. Toddlers should engage in 60-90 minutes while 120 minutes of daily active play is recommended for preschoolers. Half the time should be structured and led by a teacher or caregiver while the remaining playtime should be unstructured and up to the child.

      Learn more about protecting the health and wellness of children in your home and community at healthywaytogrow.org.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.