Spring Refresh: Kitchen Hacks to Make Cooking and Cleaning a Little Easier

Cleaning-KitchenIt’s time to start thinking about giving your house a spring refresh. It’s a lot to take on, so we thought we’d start with the most complicated room in the house: the kitchen. Here are some kitchen hacks to make cooking and cleaning a little easier.

Dairy Dilemmas Dairy seems go bad a little too quickly, but there are a couple tricks to extend the lives of some items.

  • Dry Cheese: spread a little butter on the cut end to keep it from drying out (only works for hard cheeses).
  • Cottage Cheese & Sour Cream: to keep these items from getting moldy, once the seal’s been broken, turn the closed container upside when you return it to the refrigerator to block air from moving in — air is one of the things that contributes to spoilage.
  • Milk: Don’t store your milk in the refrigerator door. With all of the opening and closing of the door, the temperature fluctuates too much for something as delicate as dairy (and eggs); the door is best for long-lasting items like condiments.

Dishwasher Difficulties Dishwashers work really hard to clean up food and stains from your dinnerware — and some of that gunk tends to build up in the appliance: Here are a couple ways to clean it:Dishwasher

  • Vinegar: Toss a cup of vinegar in the bottom of your empty dishwasher. Run it.
  • Powdered Lemonade (unsweetened): Add the powder to your soap dispenser. Run the empty dishwasher.

The vinegar and lemonade work the same way to clean out extra food particles. If your dishwasher still isn’t cleaning your dishes, you may have to seek out a dishwasher repairman for help.

Messy Microwave Cleaning the microwave isn’t hard, but it’s annoying. To simplify it, try these methods:

  • Lemon & Water: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and a cut up lemon. Place it in the microwave and run it on high for about four minutes. Keep the door closed to let it steam up for two minutes and then wipe it clean.
  • Sponge Sense: Wet a sponge (well-soaked, but squeeze off a little extra water). Place it in the microwave and cook on high for two minutes. Let it steam up for a minute. Make sure the sponge is cool enough to touch and then wipe the microwave out.

Lemon Freshness Lemons and their peels do so much more than flavor our food! Here are a couple of their best uses:

  • Salt & Lemon: Use lemon half sprinkled with salt as a scrubber for your cutting board or marble to clean and disinfect them (it’s also the formula for a rust remover). Toss the used rinds in the garbage disposal and run it to refresh the appliance.
  • Repurpose Rinds: When you use a lemon for a recipe, rather than tossing it in the trash, toss it in your slow cooker with water and let it simmer to scent the air (you can toss in old tea bags and apple cores, too).


Vexing Vegetables 
Vegetables are susceptible to food waste because thekitchen-caddyy go bad faster than other foods. Here are a few ways to extend their lives.

  • Dark Leafy Greens & Herbs: If the leaves on your kale or cilantro (and similar produce) start to wilt, don’t throw them out, cut off the ends of their stalks and stick them in a glass of water to perk them up.
  • Paper Towels: If you’re storing fruit in your crisper drawer, stick a layer of paper towels in the bottom. The towels absorb the excess moisture that causes fruit to rot.

When you start your spring organizing, let LTD help you get things sorted! Whether you’re looking for tips for cleaning faster or you need new storage containers to get your bedroom organized, look to LTD for clever ideas and practical products.

Cocktails for Your Big Game Party

footballWe still don’t know quite yet which teams are headed to the Big Game,  but we do know that It’s the NFC vs. the AFC and we have some entertaining to do. In 2015, it was the Seattle Seahawks vs the New England Patriots, so we thought we’d use those teams to give you a little party inspiration for the Big Game no matter who ends up on the gridiron.

In addition to rich dips and crunchy chips, cocktails are a must for any Big Game party. Coming up with cocktails to match each team, is more simple than you might think.  Here are a few ideas for cocktails for your Big Game party.

patriots-flagBoston has a number of cocktails that bear its name. While the  Boston Cocktail (3/4 oz gin, 3/4 oz apricot brandy, 1 1/2 tsp grenadine syrup, juice of 1/4 lemon) is the obvious choice because of the name,  Ward 8 has deep roots in the city’s history. It was created in 1898 to honor Boston Politician, Martin Lomasney, and the ward he represented — Ward 8. Here’s how to make it:

  • 2 ounces rye whisky
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

It’s the cocktail for someone with a sweet tooth. If beer is your preference for snack accompaniment, Sam Adams is still one of the most preferred beers in the nation, but there are several Boston craft beers you can pick from to serve your guests.

seahawks-pictureIn Seattle, super fans of the Seahawks want The Last Word. By “The Last Word,” we mean the cocktail. It was originally created in Detroit in the prohibition era, but during a cocktail renaissance in Seattle, it found a new home.

Here’s how to make it:

  • ¾ oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz. maraschino liqueur, like Luxardo
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Just like Boston, Seahawks love their beer. There are plenty of Seattle beers to choose from but for football fans, the taste of the northwest your guests might be looking for is Rainier Beer.

No matter what teams make it to the Big Game, there are fun ways to mix up cocktails to honor each time and each city as you cheer them on.

You don’t have to have a favorite team to cheer on during the Big Game — football’s most important game can be fun for everyone with the right food, drinks and entertainment. Check out LTD for more products and ideas for your Big Game party!

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

We’re just a few days away from the official start to winter. It’s the season that lets us stay inside, curl up with a good book, play with our pets, and work on projects. With that in mind, we put together a list of products we think will help you enjoy winter. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.ltd-food-warming-cover

Fresh Feasts Keep fresh-from-the-oven food nice and warm with this Warming Food Cover. Great for potlucks, its quilted silver top with nonstick silicone backing keeps your dish warm and eliminates the need for reheating. Folds back for easy access to food. Not for use in the oven while cooking. 17-1/2″W x 10-3/4″L. Polyester and cotton. Silicone wipes clean with a damp cloth. Imported.frog-robe

Cute & Coordinated Your little one will look adorable wearing this Baby Embroidered Robe and Slipper Set. Great for keeping your baby warm after a bath, it has an appliquéd and embroidered design on the robe and matching slippers. The hooded robe features color-coordinated trim and an attached belt. The slippers have soft fabric-covered elastic at the back to keep them securely on baby’s feet. Fits babies up to 9 months old. Cotton. Machine care. Importedltd-sports-shelf

Showcase Your Talent Spotlight your achievements on a wooden Sports Shelf. Great for athletes in any sport, the Award Shelf (28″W x 7-7/8″D x 7-3/8″H) shows off trophies on the top, hangs medals from the 21 knobs at the bottom and displays pictures in between. Has spaces for two 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ and two 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ photos. The Baseball Shelf (18″W x 7″D x 12″H) holds trophies on top and 5 bats on the built-in metal rack. Hooks on both sides can hold baseball caps or medals. Assembly required; assembly hardware included. Hanging hardware on back.ltd-cat-tower

Feline Frolic Give your cat an impressive place to scratch, perch, nap and play. 4-Ft. tall multilevel tower is ideal for households with more than one feline. Its 7 sisal-wrapped surfaces will satisfy kitty’s scratching instinct while cleaning his or her claws. Several plush perches provide spots to lounge. The hide-n-seek tunnel has a decorative cat face on its peek-a-boo door. Vacuum to clean. 48″ x 26″ x 20″. Wooden construction. Assembly required; assembly hardware included.3d-car-puzzle

Engineer Envy Build your favorite car with a 1:32 Licensed 3-D Car Puzzle, then play with it! Detailed model is fun to assemble, and it also encourages kids to develop problem-solving skills. Approx. 5-1/8″W x 2-1/2″D x 1-5/8″H. BMW, 60 pieces. Lamborghini and Mini Cooper, 64 pieces. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.ltd-rosette-sherpa-throw

Cuddle in Style Take a room from simple to sophisticated by adding this 3-D Rosette Sherpa Throw. This beautiful item is an easy and affordable way to enhance the look of your living room or bedroom. The front is covered in appliquéd roses, and the back is sherpa fleece. 50″ x 60″. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.

 

 

 

Holiday Spirit: Product Picks for Games and Puzzles Week

games-chessIt’s time to get your game face on! Not only is it time to ramp up your holiday shopping, but it’s also Games and Puzzles Week! Games and puzzles make great stocking stuffers and family games, so we put together a list of our favorite games and puzzles to give you a little gift-giving inspiration.

Go Classic The 10-in-1 Classic Wood Game Center is a great way to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. A variety of traditional games inspire friendly competition. This attractive set has a chess and checker board on top, 2 reversible slide-out boards and a storage drawer at the bottom for game pieces. The storage drawer also doubles as another game board. 13″W x 12-3/4″D x 6-1/8″H. For ages 8 and up.games-car-puzzle

Go 3-D Build your favorite car with a 1:32 Licensed 3-D Car Puzzle, then play with it! Detailed model is fun to assemble, and it also encourages kids to develop problem-solving skills. Approx. 5-1/8″W x 2-1/2″D x 1-5/8″H. BMW, 60 pieces. Lamborghini and Mini Cooper, 64 pieces. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.games-find-it


Go Complex
 The whole family will have a blast playing with the Find It Brain Teaser Game. This activity will keep everyone happily preoccupied on a rainy day or long car trip. A list of 48 items on Kid’s World and 40 items on the other choices’ lids gives players specific objects to find in a mass of colored pellets. Participants can shake, twist and tap the cylinder to complete their task. Additional obstacles presented on cards, such as a time limit, are added to the game to complicate your mission. The first person to find all the necessary treasures wins the game. Plastic. For ages 6 and up.giftcard-mazes

Go Double-Duty Add a new twist to the way you give gift cards or cash! A Set of 3 Gift Card Mazes challenges the recipient to guide the ball through the 3-dimensional, 2-level maze to the proper position to open the door and be rewarded with the gift card. Can also be used to hold cash, checks and more. 3″W x 4-1/4″D x 5/8″H. Plastic.licensed-pop-up-games

Go Home Family game night will be full of character with a Licensed Pop-Up Game. The race is on as you try to be the first player to get your four movers from start to home. Includes 16 movers and a game board (10-1/8″ sq.) with dice popper built in. Plastic. For 2 to 4 players. For ages 4 and up.

Holiday Spirit: Black Friday Shopping Tips

holiday-pajamasWhile turkey takes precedence this week, there’s no way to resist the temptation for a good deal on holiday gifts! Black Friday and Cyber Monday promise deals we can’t find any other days of the year. But there are tricks to making your Black Friday shopping experience simple. Here are 5 Black Friday Shopping tips you can’t ignore.

Avoid the Crowds Millions of shoppers are pumped to line up for good deals at 3am to get that must-have toy truck or that adorable doll, but not everyone is that committed to navigating the crowds so early in the morning. Lucky for those shoppers, retailers offer hot deals starting before Thanksgiving and expanding sales to cover days after Cyber Monday. So if you want to save time, energy and money, start looking on the off days of the sales to get discounts just as deep as the ones on Black Friday.

Get Social Start scanning your Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and Pinterest boards for sales and discounts from your favorite retailers. If you’re looking at just the right time, you may score on a gift you never would have thought of or stumbled on a coupon that pushes your savings to the max to keep you within your holiday budget. Tablet, phone or desktop, the deals come at you faster if you’re looking for them!

Straight & Narrochristmas-treeYou have to put your shopping blinders on for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure to stick to your holiday list. It’s easy to get off track when you have deals coming at you from all angles. When you see a good price on something you don’t need, it’s easy to justify buying it, but if you’re there for holiday presents, focus on those first and bend to your impulses when every item on your list is checked off.

Black Friday Fallout Before you start your shopping, know the return policies for your favorite shopping spots. It’s easy to put something in the cart when it’s marked 75% off, but no money is saved if you don’t actually need the item. Buyer’s remorse is part of the Black Friday phenomenon — knowing the return policy could be the difference between regret and relief this season.

presentsA Shopper’s Work Is Never Done The deals don’t end when the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday — there may be more discounts and deals waiting for you on the other side of the weekend. So if you didn’t get the right gift at the right price, you may be able to find it later in the week when shoppers aren’t so fierce about finding good deals.

You can find a good deal any day of the year at LTD Commodities. Whether you’re looking on Black Friday or on January 28, we always have a good discount on items you didn’t know you needed at LTD.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids

my-girl-wheelchair-dollThough we haven’t even carved the turkey, the kids are already counting down the days until they can dump their stockings on the floor and tear through gifts under the Christmas tree. Even if you’ve already bought the big gifts, there are still all sorts of little items to surprise your kids with, so we picked out a few of our favorite items to give you ideas. Here are today’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids.

Playing Doctor My Girl Wheelchair & Crutch Set has everything an 18″ girl doll needs to make a speedy recovery from a broken leg, ankle or arm. Each piece is designed to look like the real thing. The collapsible wheelchair has wheels that really turn and working brakes. The crutches are sized to fit an 18″ doll. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.build-a-fort

Playing Architect  Kids can build their very own fort with this complete Build a Fort Kit. Use the fabric panels (equipped with loops for stringing), rope, clips and suction cups to make a private playland. Once it’s built, kids can use the light wands to illuminate the area inside the fort for hours of imaginative fun! Kit also includes a handy storage bag. Adult supervision suggested during assembly. For ages 3 and up.workman-tool-playset

Playing Handy Man The tools of this Workman Tool Play Set are perfect for your future contractor. The Tool Belt with Helmet has all the needed tools and proper protection, and everything fits neatly on the belt. The Realistic Sound Power Chainsaw (14-1/2″W x 4-5/8″D x 7″H) has a realistic rotating chain action. Requires 3 “AA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.

ball-petsPlaying Ball Roly-poly Ball Pets are plush balls with a surprise–they pop open to become a huggable furry friend. Roll it closed and it’s a ball ready to toss and catch. Open it up for a plush pet you’ll love to cuddle. Each character features a heart design on its stomach. Take it anywhere to play with open or closed. 5″ dia., closed. 5″W x 2-1/2″D x 8-1/2″H, open. Polyester. Imported.

 

bubble-stormPlaying Whimsically Delight kids with this Light-Up Motorized Bubble Storm. It comes with 2 different attachments, one for giant bubbles and one for tons of little bubbles. Easy to use–just dip the blaster into the tray of solution. A button on the handle controls fan movement and light-up designs. Comes with a jar of bubble solution to get you started. Includes 3 “AAA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.

Fall Warm-Up: Fall Casseroles to Try This Week

Now that it’s fall, we’re trading in our summer salads for meals to warm us up! One of our favorite things to make when it’s cold is a good casserole. Not only do they warm us up, but they also carry the convenience of a one-dish meal! That translates to easy to make and easy to clean up! Here are 5 fall casseroles to try this week.john-wayne-casserole

What Would John Wayne Eat? According to Cook’sInfo.com, actor John Wayne submitted (at least part) of a recipe for a casserole to Cooking with Love from Cara and Her Friends in the late 1970s. The recipe has since been passed on and modified by cooks across the country, but we liked the one Amanda’s Cookin put together. It’s ground beef mixed up with all the right ingredients for a delicious meal. With jalapeños and taco seasoning, it’s got a kick, but the cheese and sour cream cool it down enough to savor it.

chicken-dressingComfort Chicken Chicken is probably the best base for a good casserole — add dressing to it and you have your one-dish meal! This chicken and dressing casserole comes from South Your Mouth. It’s pretty easy to make — boil the chicken, saute the onions, toss in some cornbread dressing and bake! It’s more complicated than that and there are a few more ingredients, but the process is pretty simple. It’s the perfect weeknight meal the whole family can look forward to and you won’t wear yourself out putting it together.    reuben-casserole


Sandwich Casserole 
Bet you’ve never thought to make a casserole out of your favorite sandwich! Well, Winner Dinners did the thinking for you with this recipe for baked reuben casserole. It’s all of the ingredients of the classic sandwich chopped up, layered and baked for a very heavy one-dish meal. Winner, indeed.

meatball-sub-casseroleSince We Already Crossed That Line… Here’s a meatball sub in the form of a casserole! Bake at Midnite came up with this one. It’s pretty easy to put together if you like making meatballs. You just put them in a baking dish, line the edges with garlic bread and top with sauce and cheese. It’s all the magic of a meatball sub without getting too sloppy to eat in front of other people.  That means you can lose all the extra napkins and eat your sandwich with a fork and knife like a civilized human being.

Something Borrowed, Something chicken-cordon-bleu-casseroleBleu Chicken cordon bleu is Swiss in origin, but it’s been a favorite in the United States for at least a half-century. It’s ham and cheese wrapped in chicken to create a delightful surprise with each bite. Gonna Want Seconds took this idea and ran with it — she chopped the ham, cheese and chicken into bits and tossed in noodles to round it out as a one-dish meal. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the Swiss classic, the Americanized version is just as good and easier to make.

As much as we hate to say goodbye to warm weather, LTD is excited to get to all the things that make fall and winter fun! From casseroles to warm up our meals on cold nights to holiday gifts to make the snowy days brighter, look to LTD to make any season your favorite season.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Thanksgiving Dinner

covered-casserole-dishesYou have just over a month before your family digs into a plateful of turkey, stuffing and pie! Right now you have plenty of time to plan your Thanksgiving dinner — but don’t let that time get away from you! Thanksgiving requires a lot of work and a lot of tools to make the meal perfect. To make it easy for you, we put together a list of items you might need. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Keep It Covered Make a meal for a party, a few friends or just the two of you with this Set of 3 Covered Casseroles. The set comes in graduated sizes to fit the number of portions you wish to cook. Each stoneware piece has handles for easy carrying and comes with a matching lid. Stoneware. Dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe.

non-stick-linerKeep It Clean Eliminate hours of scrubbing when you position a reusable , nonstick liner inside your oven. It catches all those messy drips, and because it’s made of specially coated nonstick fiberglass, it easily wipes clean with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Unlike aluminum foil, it won’t affect cooking time or browning. Works on gas, electric and toaster ovens and can be cut to size if needed. Lasts for years. 23″ x 16-1/4″.monogram-food-carrier

 

Keep It Warm Always be ready to share your favorite dishes with the Monogram Food Carrier and the Extra-Large Gel Pack. The Monogram Food Carrier (18-1/2″ x 11″ x 8″, fully expanded) has two insulated, expandable sections that let you pack a hot dish on the mylar-lined bottom (18-1/4″ x 10-3/4″ x 3-1/2″) and a cold dish on top. The wipe-clean polyester exterior sports a stylish monogram that identifies you as the chef responsible for the tasty treats. The 6-1/2″ double handles make it easy to carry, while the double-zipper closure makes it simple to take the food in and out. The dual-use Extra-Large Gel Pack can be used to keep food at the proper serving temperature. Put it in the food carrier to keep dishes hot or cold when you travel. Large, slim design doesn’t take up too much space. Easy-to-follow instructions are printed on the vinyl cover. Microwave and freezer safe. 10-1/2″ x 7-1/2″.

gourmet-kitchen-setKeep It Tasty Unleash your inner chef with the Gourmet Kitchen Gift Sets. The 5-Pc. Bread Dipping Set includes 4 decorated saucers and a 4-compartment plastic jar packed with seasonings. All you add is a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of olive oil for a delicious treat everyone will love. Each saucer (4″ dia.) features an olive branch design and raised edges to keep your oil from spilling. The seasoning jar includes Sicilian, Parmesan, Tuscany and Rosa Maria blends (0.6 oz., each). Plates, melamine. Dishwasher safe. Use a 4-Pc. Gourmet Set to spice up your favorite meal, as a marinade, or to add a creative twist to your cooking. Just mix the flavors in! Sea Salts, approx. 1.8 oz, each. Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oils, approx. 1.7 oz., each.

1-second-slicerKeep It Easy The 1 Second Slicer(TM) is an all-in-one food prep station. From fruits and vegetables to meats and fish, now you can cut everything with one handy gadget. Get professional results in a flash and then serve, seal, stack and store all in one compact container. The chop function even features 1-button cleaning. Plastic and stainless steel. Dishwasher safe.

 

7 Things You Can Do Today to Plan for Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingHalloween is next week and that means you can start your holiday planning right now! If you don’t want to run around frazzled, trying to get things done at the last minute, that is, but some of us do work better under pressure. For those of us who like to take it easy, here are 7 things you can do today to plan for Thanksgiving dinner.

Decor You don’t have to put your Thanksgiving decor up as soon as the Halloween decor comes down, but at least have it planned. Make sure you have your gourds, candles, leaves, and wreaths together so you can make your home warm and festive long before the guests arrive.

Guest List Send out any invites to people you want at your dinner. They may bring companions or family members — try to get a rough estimate of how many people you will be entertaining so you can accommodate everyone and then some.Thanksgiving

Seating Arrangements Think about how many guests you are expecting and how many places at the table you can accommodate. If there are more people than seats, you can start planning on the extra seating now rather than Tuesday before the big dinner.


Sleeping Arrangements 
If you have guests coming from out of town, now is the time to plan where they will sleep. Think about whether you have enough bed linens for the adults and sleeping bags for the children. If there’s not enough space, now is a good time to book hotel rooms to make sure your guests are comfortable.

Menu Make your list of items to serve for the big dinner along with all the ingredients. Keep this list so you can buy items little by little and tick them off as you go. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you won’t have to make a big trip for food when everyone else is doing it.

Special Requests Now is the time to get any special requests for your dinner. Whether guests have dietary restrictions or they can’t live without one particular dish, knowing what you need to do to adjust your menu now makes planning much easier than if you get the request a week or a day before the holiday.thanksgiving-decor

Kitchen Tools Not everyone has a fully equipped kitchen for big holidays. There’s always something a dish needs that you may not have. Go through all your recipes and make sure you have all the gadgets and platters you need to pull of the perfect Thanksgiving; the stores will be packed with procrastinators looking for the same things you need the week of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at LTD Commodities! We have ideas and products to make this Thanksgiving your best Thanksgiving.  

Autumn Elegance: Crafts to Do with Leaves

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It took a while, but it looks like the leaves are starting to fall! It is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it never sticks around long enough. The most enjoyable way to preserve its elegance … Continue reading