IQ-tips: Save at the pump

So if you haven't noticed, gas prices have been inching their way down again. After yesterday's news that, potentially, billions of barrels of oil have been found deep below the Gulf of Mexico, I guess we can expect gas prices to relax even further.

But just in case they don't, or, more importantly, if you feel like getting even more fuel for less, I bring you today's IQ-tip$, from an article that appeared in this past weekend's Parade magazine. (I ask you: what better way to pass the long weekend than with the latest copy of Parade?)

Gas prices usually are at their lowest at midday Tuesday and on Wednesday morning. Avoid filling up on weekends and during a big holiday, when lots of folks are traveling.

Gas is more dense when cold, so fill up at night or early in the morning.

Find the busiest gas stations. They're often the least expensive, and they're more likely to have fresh fuel, free of contaminants.

Avoid gas stations on toll roads and off the side of a freeway, where they can stick you with a stiff premium.

Don't "top off" your tank or try to round up to the nearest dollar. You might spill some of that $3 gasoline.

Check Web sites like gasbuddy.com to find the best local fuel prices. And at fuelcostcalculator.com, you can figure out how much that road trip you're considering will cost you.

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The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess
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Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

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Bone Collector
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