Your ZIP Code Tells A Lot

Wow – so much information just from your ZIP code! Details from Gizmodo to

Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You’ll Buy

Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You'll Buy

Where you live says a lot about you—and nobody knows that better than marketeers. Now, though, you can take a glimpse at what they know, using this searchable map built by software company Esri.

Its Tapestry Segmentation project rolls together demographic data from the Census and marketing data from GfK Mediamark Research & Intelligence to… well, to terrifying effect. The results are sliced and diced into 67 profiles of American market segments, which are shown in percentage terms when you search by ZIP code. You can search for your own in the interactive map below (or on their full site).

Are your surrounded by “Prairie Living,” “Dorms to Diplomas,” “Laptops and Lattes,” “Las Casas,” or some other demographic entirely? Silly names aside, the descriptions will probably cut close to the bone. Go on, give it a try. [Esri via WSJ]

Foods You Shouldn’t Refreeze After Thawing

Good to know! We freeze a lot of things to reduce waste (empty nesters here), but I will look at these tips before refreezing! Great tips from Kitchn:

5 Foods You Should Never Refreeze

TIPS FROM THE KITCHN

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Freezing food is a great way to have meals on the go and food stashed away to avoid last minute trips to the grocery store or ordering delivery. It also helps us not to waste food and is, in a sense, an extension of our pantry.

But we’ve all been there. We rifled through our freezer and pulled out a few things to thaw in the fridge and promptly forgot about them. Can you put it back in the freezer? Here’s a list of five things that you should avoid giving a refreeze and why refreezing in general is a big no-no.

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What Happens When You Freeze

Freezing anything ruptures some of the cell walls in the product at hand. It’s why frozen food doesn’t taste quite as good as fresh and why oftentimes frozen foods aren’t as expensive as their fresh counterparts, especially meat and seafood.

What Happens When You Refreeze

When you freeze, thaw and refreeze an item, the second thaw will break down even more cells, leaching out moisture and deliciousness and changing the integrity of the product.

The other enemy is bacteria. Frozen and thawed food will develop harmful bacteria faster than fresh. It’s not something you can see, so it’s easy to brush off, but the threat is real. Once the ice crystals from your food are gone, your food starts the clock on developing these nasty buggers.

Freezing and thawing of foods is a big safety concern and there are legal restrictions for the restaurant and grocery industries to help keep us all safe. Applying these same philosophies in our own home will ensure the same!

How to Handle Thawed Food

Your best bet will always be to cook or utilize what you thawed and if needed, refreeze the cooked product. That said, there’s not always time to cook it, so if you’re in a hurry and debating whether or not to throw it back in the freezer, keep in mind these five things that should never, ever be refrozen!

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1. Raw Proteins

This includes meats, poultry and seafood. If they were thawed in a chilled environment that’s less than 42 degrees (like your refrigerator), then it’s safe to refreeze. But if they thawed on the counter or have an off color or smell, they’re done!

Don’t forget that a lot of seafood, especially shrimp, arrive at the grocery store frozen but are defrosted to be put into the display case. They’ve already gone through a first freeze, so don’t put them in your home freezer for a second freeze!

2. Ice Cream

If you left it out on the counter so that it was easier to scoop and then forgot to put it back in the freezer quickly, just drink it as a milkshake and call it a day folks. Refrozen ice cream will have a weird, icy texture.

3. Juice Concentrates

Fermentation occurs quicker than you think in fruit-based products, so don’t forget that this goes for blended smoothies too.

4. Combination Meals

Eat up your casseroles, pot pies, stews, pastas, and the like or bring it for lunch so that it doesn’t go to waste. After all, it’s cooked and ready to go so it’s the easiest kind of homemade meal to have!

5. Cooked Proteins

Freezing leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken is a great idea, but then you pulled it out for salads a few weeks later and forgot about it in your fridge. Call some friends over and put the chicken on nachos ASAP, because it shouldn’t be refrozen!

Don’t forget that there are also some foods that you should never freeze in the first place! Check out that list before you stock up at end-of-season farmers markets!

What to Look For When Buying Vegetables

I love vegetables (always have!) and it can be confusing when trying to buy the best. From Lifehacker we get a cool

Infographic Tells You What to Look For When Buying Vegetables

This Infographic Tells You What to Look For When Buying Vegetables

If you are unable to tell which tomatoes are ripe or if that lettuce is fresh, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a helpful guide on how to select vegetables at the supermarket.

We’ve talked about some of this before, but we figured it would be perfect to put it in an easy-to-scan, printable infographic format. Save it on your phone or print it out and take it to the store, and you’ll always have the freshest veggies. Check it out below.

This Infographic Tells You What to Look For When Buying VegetablesEXPAND

Other important advice while buying produce:

  • Handle produce carefully. Someone must pay for vegetables ruined by rough handling. In the long run, it will probably be you.
  • It’s a good idea to cook your vegetables as soon as you’re home, so as to make them last longer.
  • Don’t buy because of low price alone. It doesn’t pay to buy more vegetables than you can properly store in your refrigerator or use without waste. Most fresh vegetables can be stored for 2 to 5 days, except for root vegetables, which can be stored from 1 to several weeks.
  • Don’t shy away from irregular or misshapen vegetables, says WonderHowTo. They often have the best taste, according to Brian Everett of Jacob Farms/Del Cabo Organics.
  • If your tomatoes need further ripening, keep them in a warm place but not in direct sunlight. Unless they are fully ripened, do not store tomatoes in a refrigerator—the cold temperatures might keep them from ripening later on and ruin the flavor.
  • Is that corn or pumpkin ripe to eat? Here’s how to tell.
  • This infographic only covers vegetables, but we also have some advice on picking fresh, ripe fruit.

How to Buy Fresh Vegetables [PDF] | United States Department of Agriculture

To Rent or Buy Housing?

I get asked this question frequently. Thanks to the NYTimes, there is a cool interactive web page that helps to answer

Is It Better to Rent or Buy?

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

These are great! And ready for you to print. From Lifehacker we get the

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your PhoneEXPAND

Sometimes, a chart or infographic is the best way to communicate complex topics—like what the different types of cuts of beef are (and how to cook them) and how to fix common cooking mistakes. Here are some of the most save- or print-worthy food graphics we’ve shared on Lifehacker.

10. Foods That Keep You Full and Prevent an Energy Crash

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

This chart graphs foods based on how full they make you and whether or not they give you a sugar high (and subsequent sugar crash). Post it on your fridge to remind you to reach for oranges or apples instead of bananas, eggs instead of cereal.

9. How to Cook Anything on the Grill

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

It’s always grilling season, isn’t it? Keep this chart handy by your grill to get the timing right for meats and veggies. They’re approximate times and temperatures, but that’s still a whole lot better than just winging it.

8. Pick the Most Nutritious Produce

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Not all fruits and vegetables are the same, if you’re looking to improve a certain area of health. This colorful chart highlights the nutritional qualities of different vegetables at a glance, so while you’re planning your weekly meals or shopping in the store, you can choose wisely. (Eat the rainbow!)

7. Put an End to Wasted Food

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Spoiled food is a terrible waste—of our money and, obviously, fresh food. Without guides like these, though, it’s hard to know how long foods will last before you have to throw them out. The chart identifies the “prime” storage time for various foods, on the counter, in the fridge, or in the freezer.

6. How to Eat the Rainbow

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Many of us aren’t eating enough of different produce to reap their benefits. This graphic offers suggestions for getting your fill of each color, the benefits you can expect from doing so, and other miscellaneous facts like sneaking more “greens” in your diet with green tea.

5. Turn Pantry Staples into 20+ Meals

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Having a well-stocked pantry could mean all the difference between being able to whip up a quick meal or entertain last-minute and having to run to the grocery store or order out. This flowchart/graphic turns pantry staples into multiple meals.

4. Know How to Substitute Common Cooking Ingredients

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

No matter how well you think you’ve stocked your pantry, though, there’s a chance you’re working with a recipe that calls for something you just don’t have on hand. I mean, who has an endless supply of fresh buttermilk in their fridge? This graphicoffers substitutions for common and uncommon ingredients.

3. Know What You Can Turn into Compost

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

You’ve got kitchen/household scraps. Can you turn them into gardening gold instead of garbage? Instead of tossing food out, check out this graphic which highlights the many trash-headed items that could be used instead to improve your garden—even dryer lint, hair/fur, or fireplace ashes.

2. Learn How to Use Your Knife

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Perhaps the most important tool in your kitchen, the knife is one instrument you’ll want to master. This graphic highlights the differences between different knives, the different kinds of cuts you might want to use, and more knife-y tips.

1. Check Cooking Times, Weight Conversions, Meat Cuts, and More in One Cheat Sheet

Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone

Want just one cheat sheet to cover lots of cooking and shopping territory? Here you go. Useful for on your fridge and/or while selecting something to cook.

Bon appétit!

Buy or Rent?

Always a good question!

Rent vs. Own: Which Option Is Best for You?

It’s a question that millions of Americans face every year: Should I rent a place to live or should I buy one? The answer depends on an array of factors, including how much money you’re prepared to sink into your home.

To help you figure out whether to head down the rent or own route, we’ve created this infographic that covers some key considerations.

Fast fact: About two-thirds of Americans are homeowners and about one-third are renters, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

For more information about renting vs. owning, read this article on The SpareFoot Blog.

– See more at: http://www.sparefoot.com/storage-tips/rent-vs-own-infographic/#sthash.tlRHKvOn.dpuf

Courtesy of: SpareFoot

How Much is 100 Bucks Worth in Your State?

This is interesting. “Inflation” on a state-by-state (and a bonus by metro area) basis. From Lifehacker we can take a look at

<h1″>How Much $100 Is Really Worth in Every State

How Much $100 Is Really Worth in Every State
The face value of $100 is the same in all 50 states, but when it comes to actual purchasing power, your mileage may vary depending on where you are. These are the states that offer the biggest bang for your buck.

Update: Ask and you shall receive! The good folks at Tax Foundation have also put together a map for metropolitan areas due to popular demand. This map helps break down smaller regions a lot better. Check it out below!

The numbers on the map, from the Tax Foundation, represent the actual value of goods you can buy in each state compared to the national average—as calculated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Essentially, $100 that you earn in one state is actually worth more than $100 you’d earn in another. Some of the gaps aren’t that wide, but when you consider your salary, it can make a world of difference. For example:

The same amount of dollars are worth almost 40 percent more in Mississippi than in DC, and the differences become even larger if metro area prices are considered instead of statewide averages. A person who makes $40,000 a year after tax in Kentucky would need to have after-tax earnings of $53,000 in Washington, DC just in order to have an equal standard of living, let alone feel richer.

Of course, states where your money may be worth less also tend to have higher incomes to try and balance things—so keep that in mind. Still, it’s something to consider when you’re dwelling on places to move or open a business. For more information on the relative value of $100 across the states, check the link below.

The Real Value of $100 in Each State | Tax Foundation via Consumerist

The Real Value of $100 in Metropolitan Areas | Tax Foundation

How Much $100 Is Really Worth in Every StateEXPAND