Weekly Food for Thought with how to eat better for less, the importance of eating with family, new beer labels for Flying Dog and more.

Folllow these tips to eat cheaper and smarter in 2012:


- Stop going out for lunch every day. The average deli lunch is close to $9 per day, while making that same sandwich lunch and packing a drink at home can cost less than $2.


- Cook extra food at night. When you make dinner, bring the leftovers for lunch, or keep them in the freezer for when you're in a pinch. Casseroles, soups and chilies freeze well and keep their taste when reheated. Most cooked dishes will last for two to three months in the freezer. Plus, cooking meals on your own ensures that you have the best ingredients and no hidden calories.


- Indulge at home. Skip the restaurant and have a romantic date night at home. Turn your kitchen into a restaurant with a white tablecloth, good dishes and candles.


- If you love a high-end dining experience, eat out for lunch instead of dinner. Many of the same dishes are offered at half the price. And instead of paying for dessert and coffee, which can add another $25, eat ice cream and brew a fresh pot of coffee at home.


-- ARA


Tip of the Week: Eat dinner with your family


According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, family meals help create a stronger bond and help increase self-confidence, vocabulary skills and academic scores in children. To get everyone excited about family mealtime, enlist both small and big kids for help. Parents can handle the entree while teens can prepare the salad and smaller kids can set the table. Make the most of your family dinner by turning off the TV and cellphones.


-- EatRight.org


Did You Know?


January is Apple and Apricots Month, Artichoke and Asparagus Month, Hot Tea Month, Oatmeal Month and Soup Month.


Food Quiz


What was the usual method of serving ice cream in America before the introduction of the cone?


A. By using a "sucker" similar to a straw


B. With a spoon and a mug


C. Piping it into your mouth


D. Licking it off of a glass plate


-- funtrivia.com


Answer is at bottom of column


Wise to the Word: Canola oil


[kan-OH-luh] The market name for rapeseed oil. It is Canada's most widely used oil. It's commonly referred to there as "lear oil," for "low-erucic acid rapeseed" oil. Its popularity is rising fast in the U.S., as it's been discovered to be lower in saturated fat (at about 6 percent) than any other oil. The bland-tasting canola oil is suitable both for cooking and salad dressings.


-- epicurious.com


Number to Know


850: The Grilled Chicken Caesar salad at Olive Garden is 850 calories.


 -- calorieking.scom


The Dish On …


"The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook" by Brent Ridge, Sandy Gluck and Josh Kilmer-Purcell


Welcome to Beekman 1802, in Sharon Springs, N.Y., the historic home of  Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" on Planet Green TV. Together, they have created a gorgeous cookbook that is “heirloom” in every sense of the word. They showcase heirloom fruits and vegetables; offer delicious heirloom recipes from the farm, family and friends; and they include a section in the back of each chapter so you can personalize the book with your own treasured recipes to hand down to your family.


-- Sterling Epicure


From the Beer Nut’s Blog: New art for Flying Dog


I love the artwork on Flying Dog’s labels, and I’m glad to see the redesign of its labels aren’t taking away from their awesomeness. Here’s the release:


Flying Dog is rolling out new packaging designs in 2012 to better reflect Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman’s original work for the brewery.


“Our goal was simplification,” Adam McGinnis, creative director, said. “Ralph’s work is insanely chaotic yet intricately detailed. Distracting from that would be an injustice.”


The redesign includes labels, 6-pack carriers, and new crown caps. The new designs will hit shelves this year.


To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.


Food Quiz Answer


D. Licking it off of a glass plate


GateHouse News Service