Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

8 Tips for Scooping and Storing Ice Cream

Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

While getting any scoop of ice cream from container to eating vessel relatively intact is a triumph in its own right, there are simple tricks you can do to ensure maximum deliciousness. Neal Gottlieb, founder of Three Twins Ice Cream, should know; since 2005, he’s been building a name for his brand, which is innovating the organic ice cream trade with its homegrown approach and a host of deliciously unique flavors (think banana nut confetti, lemon cookie, and cardamom). Gottlieb shared a handful of tips on how to get the most out of your next carton.


To get the best scoop, “Wet the ice cream scooper with room temperature water,” suggests Gottlieb. “This keeps the ice cream from sticking to the scooper and allows for a nice smooth, gliding scoop.”


“Right-handers should scoop clockwise from the edge of the container,” advises Gottlieb. “Left-handers should scoop counter-clockwise from the edge of the container.”


“Ice cream softens from the outside to the inside, so the best place to start scooping is from the edges,” explains Gottlieb, who also cautions that you “always want to avoid having the melted ice cream on the outside fall onto the still frozen ice cream in the middle.”


It’s a fact, according to Gottlieb: “Any ice cream that has chunks will stay frozen longer and is more difficult to scoop.” Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try!


Though the terms “ice cream” and “gelato” are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. And as such, “gelato has a different scooping path,” says Gottlieb. “We recommend scooping in a straight line (not circular motion).”


Even the most seasoned scooper could run into problems if he or she isn’t following the best practices for ice cream storage. And Gottlieb has got some advice in that department, too. “Though there’s not a whole lot that can be done to save a pint of ice cream after the ice crystals form, it is easy to tackle the problem before it starts,” he says. “The easiest way to avoid this is by not letting the ice cream melt in the first place, as freezer burn occurs when melted ice cream refreezes and oxygen gets into the pint. So, basically what we are saying is that you should just finish off your pint of ice cream in one sitting (no shame).” If that suggestion goes against all of your diet rules, the next best option is “flipping the pint over in the freezer, that way the melted ice cream will drip onto the lid and refreezing can be avoided.”


This one’s easy enough: “The ideal temperature to store ice cream is –8 degrees,” states Gottlieb.


Sure, shoving a container of ice cream back into the freezer door might be the easiest option, but Gottlieb says that’s a “big no-no.” Instead, he suggests storing “ice cream at the back of the freezer. Because temperature varies so wildly, the back of the freezer is the ideal spot for your sweet treat.”

If You're an Android User, Your Phone Can Now Filter Out Spam Calls Automatically

It's not just you: Robocalls to cell phones are out of control, and being on the Do Not Call list probably hasn't kept you from fielding multiple spam calls a day. Thanks to technology that makes spamming easier than ever, the FTC now receives four times the number of complaints about automated robocalls a year compared to 2009. But if you own an Android phone, screening all those relentless spam callers is about to get easier, according to Lifehacker.

A new update to Google's Phone app allows you filter out suspected spam callers with the press of a button. If you enable the setting, your phone won't ring if a known spam number is calling. You won't get a missed call notification, either. But, in case it is a legitimate call—or you just want to know who’s spamming you—the caller can still leave a voicemail. In the event that a robocaller slips through (as they surely will) you can also mark specific numbers as spam and block them.

Two side-by-side screenshots of the Google Phone app showing a spam warning and blocking numbers

To enable the filter function, go to the Phone app on your Android device, then click Settings and Caller ID & Spam. (Google's Caller ID function identifies not just people in your address book, but numbers already associated with business listings on Google.) Turn caller ID on, then turn on the "filter suspected spam calls" function.

And remember: If you do accidentally answer a robocall, don't answer any questions. It may be part of a phishing scheme to record your voice.

[h/t Lifehacker]

How You Should Be Spending Your Money, According to a Financial Planner

It would be nice if financial rules of thumb applied to everyone equally, but that's often not the case. People in different income brackets have different priorities, which is why telling everyone they should be spending a flat percentage of their income on necessities like food, housing, and transportation doesn't always make sense. In his book Rules to Riches, financial planner Mark Baird accounts for this variation by adjusting the common percentage guidelines based on income levels, as CNBC reports.

In some spending categories, the rules stay the same no matter how much you're making. Baird recommends that every household earning between $25,000 and $300,000 annually save or invest 5 to 20 percent of their income each year, for instance.

Other financial areas have more variation depending on how much money you're bringing in, though. If your income is $25,000 a year, Baird says you should be spending 18 to 23 percent of your earnings on housing. But if you make $50,000 or more, you should aim to spend 15 to 20 percent. In general, people earning lower salaries should set aside higher percentages of their income for food, clothing, transportation, and medical bills, while those earning more money should plan to spend more of it on taxes, insurance, and charitable donations.

As is the case with any spending-related guidelines, these recommendations shouldn't be taken as law. The money you put toward housing, taxes, and transportation will vary depending on where you live. If costs are especially high for one bill, see if you can cut spending in another part of your life. It's not the end of the world if you spend slightly less on charitable contributions than Baird recommends.

Check out the guidelines for households making $50,000 a year below. You can head over to CNBC for the full chart.

Taxes: 20 percent
Charitable Contributions: 10 percent
Savings and Investments: 5 to 20 percent
Housing: 15 to 20 percent
Transportation: 8 to 10 percent
Food and Beverage: 6 to 10 percent
Clothing: 3 to 5 percent
Furnishings: 2 to 4 percent
Personal Care and Cash: 3 to 5 percent
Medical and Dental: 3 to 5 percent
Insurance: 6 to 8 percent
Education and Self Improvement: 1 to 2 percent
Installment Payments: 3 to 4 percent
Entertainment, Dining, and Gifts: 1 to 3 percent
Vacations and Holidays: 2 to 4 percent
Miscellaneous: 1 to 2 percent

[h/t CNBC]


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