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5 super holiday or potluck take-along food carriers

Holiday gatherings and potlucks call for guests to bring favorite dishes, from casseroles to cakes, and from pasta salads to pies.

Whether you’re making and taking mashed potatoes, pecan or pumpkin pie, broccoli quiche, chocolate cupcakes, cranberry relish, turkey dressing, fruit salad, or the dreaded green bean casserole, you’ll likely want to carry your cuisine in a suitable container.

After all, hot dishes need to stay steamy, and cold items have to remain chilled. And no one wants to see a spill.

Sure, you could wrap your baking pan of lasagna in tin foil, covered with a bath towel or two. And you could stick your cranberry cheesecake in a cooler with a few bags of ice. 

You could hold your crock pot upright between your feet in the car and hope it doesn't tip, if you can enlist someone else to do the driving to your holiday gathering.

You might even try to fit your travel-cooled casserole in your host’s oven, once you arrive, even if the turkey or roast leave little space for it.

But none of those steps are necessary, if you have the right food carriers on hand.

Here’s an assortment of food totes we love – for hot and cold dishes.

CorningWare French White Anyware 3-Quart Oblong Portable Dish – Who says take-along food carriers can’t be fancy? This three-quart rectangular stoneware dish, complete with lid, is oven- and microwave-safe and table-ready. A hot/cold gel pack set and insulated handled tote are included.

Crock Pot Travel Bag – Constructed of thermal-insulated nylon, this tote fits four- to seven-quart round or oval slow cookers. The zippered-top carrier features an internal strap to hold a crock pot lid in place and prevent spills, as well as an outer strap for carrying.

Pyrex Pie Plate Portable – This nine-inch round glass pie plate comes with a snap-locked plastic cover with handles. Oven- and microwave-safe, the pie plate works for hot or cold foods.

Sculpted Round Baking Dish with Slate Blue Plastic Lid and Blue Tote – Serve up a super side dish or casserole in this two-quart round baking dish from Anchor Hocking. A fitted lid and insulated tote are included for protection and portability to your potluck or party.

Snapware Snap 'N Stack Cookie and Cupcake Carrier – With three stackable interlocking trays, this plastic cupcake tote can hold three dozen cupcakes without tipping or squishing. It even comes with a sturdy lid and handles.

Do you already have a suitable collection of take-along food containers for your holiday party or potluck contributions? Don’t forget to pick up a few Portable Hot & Cold Packs, so you can microwave the hot ones and freeze the cold ones in time for your next event.

Here’s a bonus.

These handy and washable food carriers are super for taking home leftovers from holiday gatherings as well … if there actually are any leftovers after the feast.

5 super holiday or potluck take-along food carriers
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Crowded Oven by Joseph Zollo - Creative Commons Licensing

Disclaimer: I am neither employed nor affiliated in any way with the product/s mentioned herein or anyone associated with it. I received no remuneration or compensation from the manufacturer/s for this post.

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Halloween Costume Roundup: Tons of cool do-it-yourself ideas

Are you ready for Halloween trick or treating? Do you need a creative costume for a Halloween party?

Here’s a huge assortment of do-it-yourself costume concepts.

Some are cute, while others are kooky. The list includes celebrities and superheroes, popular Halloween icons and politicians, cartoon characters and cultural figures. Bet you can find a costume that fits – or at least, find your own imagination inspired to create your own Halloween costume concept.

Have fun!

It’s easy to assemble your own Halloween costume – or even fun masquerades for the entire family. Maybe this list will set your creative wheels in motion. Many of these trick-or-treat get-ups are suitable for children or adults.

Boo! Don’t be afraid!

Most of these do-it-yourself Halloween costumes require little or no sewing or craft expertise.

Still hunting for haunting ideas or hilarious Halloween garb? Not to worry. Lot more follow – below!

More on Do-it-Yourself Halloween Costume Concepts:

And after Halloween, it pays to re-purpose those trick-or-treat costumes, if possible. Check out: 5 Ways to Recycle Halloween Costumes for practical ideas.

Happy Halloween!
Halloween Greetings
Vintage/public domain

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. Like this blog?  Check out Practically at Home on Facebook.

You are also invited to join this writer's fan page, as well as the Chicago Etiquette Examiner, Madison Holidays Examiner, Equestrian Examiner and Madison Equestrian Examiner on Facebook.



Cashier cash-back scam may be a sham

Have you seen the cashier cash-back scam warnings, flying all over Facebook and other social networking sites?

I just received such a notice, which already showed well over half a million Facebook shares. Maybe you saw it too.

What do the cashier cash-back scam alerts say?

Such an alert, which usually includes a photo of a customer’s store receipt, claims that a certain customer recently discovered an unexpected cash-back total on a store receipt. Many of the most widely circulated warnings point to WalMart stores in various locations, although other stores (and even gas stations) may be tagged as well.

The warning details how the apparently scammed customer never asked for a cash-back on the transaction, which most likely involved a debit card. (Similar stories may involve credit cards as well.)

Here, the cashier cash-back scam stories may go in two different directions.

1) The customer supposedly left the store without receiving any cash back, only to check the receipt later and discover the cash-back line item listed.

2) The customer reportedly noticed the cash-back line item on the receipt and pointed it out to the cashier, who either insisted on giving the customer the cash or claimed he/she would delete that from the transaction. 
If the customer accepted the cash-back, it would likely count as a cash advance against his or her own account, incurring steep service fees or interest charges. If the cashier did not actually cancel the cash-back, that might mean he or she pocketed the difference, according to the scam warning stories.

Is the cashier cash-back scam for real?

Are cashiers actually stealing money from checkout customers’ credit card or checking accounts?

Apparently, the cashier cash-back scam stories, spreading virally through social networking sites, are unproven and unsubstantiated. In fact, most mega-stores have security cameras over their checkout stations, so that every transaction may be monitored. (Look overhead in any Target, WalMart, or other big-box store. Those black balloon-like bubbles contain security cameras.)

Cashier cash-back scam rumors have circulated since at least 2004, despite the fact-checking efforts of popular  rumor debunking sites like as Snopes, Truth or Fiction, Urban Legends, and Waffles at Noon.

This does not mean customers don’t need to double-check receipts and guard cards carefully.
Just because actual cases have not been documented or proven does not mean it does not pay to be cautious. When actual credit card or debit card thefts or scams do occur, customers are expected to report them promptly. In many cases, banks hold customers responsible for the first $50 of the fraudulent charges, although account policies vary from one provider to another.

Smart customers will examine cashier receipts carefully. Savvy consumers will also fact-check viral warnings before sharing as well. Sometimes a little homework pays off.

WalMart Checkout
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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