Simple Kitchen Tips to Save you Money, Time, and Effort

Featured

The kitchen is one of the most important parts of the home. It is where the food is prepared, dishes are washed, and some other chores are being carried out. This makes it a very important place that if well taken care of, can save the family and the home some money, effort, and time.

Below are some easy to follow tips that can any homeowner get the best out of the kitchen.

Preserving

The first part of the tip has to do with proper storage and preservation of food items whether raw or cooked. One needs no rocket science to know that when foods are properly stored, money is saved as well as the time and effort that could have been spent going to the store especially as you are able to buy the foods in bulk and store them for a considerably long time.

  • The freezer is a useful kitchen storage tool as it helps in preserving a number of food stuffs from bread to flour and the likes. You tend to visit the bakery less when you are able to keep your bread in the freezer for days and when it is needed to be consumed, you simply take it out and allow it to come down to the room temperature.


Weevils and other contaminants are prevented from your flour if it is stored in the freezer. This also prevents it from hardening or becoming lumpy.

  • When you want to store your vegetables in the refrigerator, endeavour to keep them fresh and a way of doing this is to wrap them properly in towels to avoid moisture getting to the vegetables. Your onions should also be kept in the refrigerator especially as helps to prevent you from shedding tears when you slice them.
  • For homes that usually have leftover tomato-based pasta sauce or such other leftovers, you can save yourself some good money by keeping them in the freezer and warming them in the microwave whenever you need to use them.

Cleaning

Cooking can fun but cleaning the utensils used can be sometimes stressful. The following tips can make the cleaning process faster and easier.

  • Use some baking soda when cleaning greasy pots and pans. All you need do is to add some baking soda to the liquid and your job is made a lot easier.
  • Use your old newspaper to save yourself the stress of cleaning after preparing your vegetables. Spread the newspaper over the work table and do your vegetables on it. You can easily roll up the newspaper and pack it up once you are done.
  • When dealing with stubborn stains on your pots and pans, fine sandpaper is a very effective tool to use.

Safety

Accidents cannot be totally taken away from the kitchen making it very important to always ensure the kitchen area is as safe as possible. This can be easily achieved with the following tips.

  • When you want to fry foods that splatter oil, turn off the heat before the food is placed in the oil and turn it on after placing the food in the oil. It will save you from getting burnt on the hands and even face.
  • Avoid overheating oil or fat as the can easily lead to fires.
  • In case you unfortunately get a burning pan, the first step is to turn the heat off after which you can cover the pan with its cover. Avoid throwing water into the pan.

You can never have enough of kitchen tips but the ones mentioned here can save you a lot and considering that they are easy to follow, there should not be any problem having a clean and safe kitchen and home as a whole.

Picture credit: Jennifer Grimes

Three questions to ask before you buy a blender

Easily one of the most flexible and multi functional kitchen appliances on the planet, having a proper blender in your kitchen is a “must-have” these days.

I love smoothies

I love smoothies!

Unfortunately, trying to body one of these small kitchen appliances can be a real nightmare what with all of the different options to pick and choose from. Almost every different blender available has its own list of special features and benefits that it brings to the table, which is why you’re going to need to know exactly how to choose the right one going forward.

This is definitely easier said than done, but hopefully this quick guide will provide you with all of the inside information that you’re looking for. I really think it’ll help you out!

What exactly do I want to get out of this new kitchen appliance?

You need to really try to figure out exactly what you want your new kitchen blender to be capable of before you even think about looking at different options.

Something to blend soft fruits and vegetables really won’t require all that much of an investment, whereas a kitchen appliance that is capable of producing perfectly smooth smoothies from nearly everything and anything is probably going to require you to drop at least $100 or more. For example, check here for the #1 best blender for smoothies.

green smoothie made with smoothie blender

Without outlining these expectations ahead of time, you always run the risk of spending too much (or too little) on the wrong machine for your needs.

Do not make this simple mistake.

Is the pitcher or jar capacity enough for my needs?

You also need to be completely sure that the jar or pitcher that comes included with your new blender is going to be able to handle the kinds of capacities that you’re going to be dealing with.

There are single serving style machines, compact machines, and volume-based machines (and everything in between), so you should be sure that you are getting one that makes sense for your situation, you’re available countertop space, and your day to day needs.

Will be blades be powerful enough to handle everything that I throw at it?

Lastly, it’s worth investigating just how many speed options are available on your new small kitchen appliance.

You really don’t need any more than four or five speed options to blend most ingredients, though it should come complete with a full range that you can adjust on-the-fly to get exactly the kind of consistency you’re after.

Cook Like A Chef

Do you love cooking but doesn’t know and where to start? Are you afraid of mixing spices to taste your food better? Don’t be afraid of your knifes know what is the perfect knife to cut different kinds of food. Cooking is even more fun if you know how things work. Learn the basics in your kitchen and cooking.

Let’s start with the knife, it should be sharp to easily cut anything smoothly. There are different kinds of knife for chopping. Know the proper use of them to chopped foods neatly. The most common knives I have at home are bread knife, steak knife, paring, utility knife and chef’s knife. It comes with different blades. Bread knife and steak knife has a serrated blade for bread and delicate foods. My chef’s knife comes with a plain blade and its oval shape at the tip, and has a holes in the body to keep foods from sticking such as cheese or potatoes. Paring and utility knife has a plain blades, it is a little smaller that is good for peeling and cutting fruits and vegetables too.

pretty ideal kitchen

Next we go to the cooking conversions and measuring cups. If you cannot estimate exact measurements for the first time you cook, it is best to follow right measurements. There were times that you need to convert measurements from liquid to dry like litres to grams. Sometimes you want to divide recipe and only cook the half part of the recipe, so you need to measure all the ingredients into half. Let’s say 1 tbsp is equal to 20 ml or 4 teaspoon. Now you may know the equivalent of each measurements that you only need to use, if you have a proper cooking conversion and measuring cups or spoons. These are another important things that I can’t afford to loose in my kitchen. 

Same thing goes with the cooking time and cooking temperatures. If you want to have a perfect colour and crisps on your deep fried foods cooling temperature and cooling time should be monitored. Also be careful with roasted meat, to avoid over toasting. I usually have a kitchen timer and thermometer placed beside the refrigerator where I can easily reach out.

If you don’t have a dedicated space for oven or a gas oven, try to get one of the best countertop baking oven. A baking oven recipes are usually easy to do and clean up.

Familiarize cooking oils, and spices to achieve exact taste and moist of foods. There are spices that goes well with the foods, some just taste bitter or annoying. 

spices in the kitchen

These are some of the basics I need to have in my kitchen that can be seen and reachable. Providing perfect and well blended menus, plus a very creative presentation makes me feel like a chef. 

Image from Nancy

How to Adapt Your Existing Vacuum for Hardwood Floor Use

When it’s time for spring cleaning, I have to be careful not to let my enthusiasm for getting the house turn into scrubbing the finish off every surface. Winter is especially tough on floors where I live, and no matter how many times I damp mop, there’s a thin film of grit that gets tracked into the house that needs careful cleaning to remove.

I’ve had pre-finished flooring installed in almost all the rooms in my house, and I love the way it looks. I needed to adapt my vacuum for my new hardwood floors, but it was worth the trouble. Pre-finished wood flooring doesn’t like a lot of water on it. A mop and bucket is out of the question, and even a sponge mop puts down too much water. If I don’t use a vacuum to remove most of the gritty residue before using a damp mop, it leaves a greyish haze over the whole floor that’s hard to get rid of.

It’s important to use the right kind of vacuum for hardwood flooring. A regular carpet vacuum won’t do a good job on hardwood floors, and can damage them if you’re not careful. If you don’t have money in the budget for a new vacuum, you can do what I did and modify your existing vacuum for use on wood flooring. Here’s how I did it. But of course, if you have the budget, get the #1 rated best vacuum for hardwood floors.

The wheels on my vacuum are made from hard plastic. They’re made to roll over a carpeted surface, whether it’s low-pile or shag, but they skated over my wood floors, and they left scuffmarks that were difficult to remove. I bought inexpensive rolls of adhesive-backed felt tape and put them on the vacuum wheels. Not only did I stop the wheels from scuffing the floor, the vacuum rolled more quietly while I worked.

The next thing I did was getting rid of the beater bar head on the vacuum wand. Beater bars are necessary to get deeply embedded grit out of a carpet, but all you need for hardwood floors is strong suction to get the dust out of the cracks. Carpet wand attachments are almost universal in size, so I was able to buy a new wand at a department store that fit the metal hose extensions on my vacuum. I bought a wide one to cover more floor area.

best rated vacuum cleaner 2015

The bristles on the front of the attachment were still too coarse for my floors, so I pried them out with a screwdriver and then put some more adhesive-backed tape along the front nose of the attachment, and now it glides across the floor. The entire cost of adapting my vacuum for hardwood floor use was less than twenty dollars, and my floors have never looked better.

It’s Not the Bread Maker, It’s the Recipe That Matters

Having a bread maker is a great way to save money. Bread can get to be expensive. Many people turn to the bread maker investment to save more funds in the long run. Others think that buying a bread maker allows you to control the ingredients in the bread, making it healthier for you. The truth is, no matter how many bread maker review articles you read, it’s not the bread maker that makes bread healthier, it’s the recipe.

Banana Sour Cream Bread

Banana Sour Cream Bread

It’s true, making bread in a bread maker allows you to control the ingredients that go into it, but it’s actually those ingredients that make the difference in your bread. Some people have the notion that they’re going to make sugar free, flour free, bread to be more health conscious. The problem here is that flour is a required ingredient in bread. Yeast is also an ingredient. How about sugar?

Unfortunately, yeast needs an activator to rise. Sugar is that activator. There are some substitutes you can use, however when it comes down to it, sugar is going to be the healthiest, believe it or not. Sugar substitutes can affect the flavor of your bread as well as the consistency. Who wants to eat flat, flavorless bread? The point is to at least enjoy it a little bit!

The flour that you use is also going to be a major factor in how healthy your bread is for you. Using bleached (white) flour, which many recipes call for is going to completely eliminate any nutrients. The bleaching process removes all of the healthy parts of the flour. Even if you add a bunch of fruits, vegetables, or other ingredients to your bread recipe, you’re still taking in that high fructose corn syrup in flour.

beautiful bread from bread maker

Beautiful isn’t it?

The good news is that there are healthier alternatives to white flour that you can choose. You can use whole wheat flour, just be sure you don’t choose ‘wheat’ flour, which is just white flour with wheat added. Coconut flour is high in fibre and a good source of protein. Soy flour is great for a healthy addition to nutty flavored breads. Spelt flour has fewer calories than whole wheat flour.

All is not lost when making bread recipes that are healthy. Just be sure you aren’t buying a bread machine based on a bread maker review that claims it’s the healthiest bread maker available. It’s all about what you put into your bread, not what you make it in.

Photos by matthewfugel

How to choose a lovely cupcake holder

delicious

There’s just something about cupcakes that make them fun, interesting, and exciting in ways that traditional cake desserts simply cannot be. Because of their uniquely personal makeup – after all, cupcakes are created for just a single person and are the ideal size for a little dessert snack – it’s important that you package and present them in that same kind of way, while also making them easy to hold and enjoy.

This is where these unique cupcake holders come into play, allowing all of your guests to enjoy their cupcakes at their leisure without having to worry about them getting tossed, eaten, or manipulated in any way whatsoever. And that’s forgetting to mention they are fantastically adorable.


Snapware 6032 Large 2 Layer-Cupcake Keeper
Designed from the ground up to be as the most utilitarian cupcake holders available on the market today, at this specific solution is going to allow you to carry up to 24 cupcakes at any given time without having to worry about anything happening to them at all. Each and everyone has their own specific little place in the cupcake holder, and can take a little bit of jostling without getting messed up.


Progressive International Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier
Crafted out of BPA free plastics, these collapsible cupcake holders are allowing you to be just about as flexible with your desserts and their transportation as you could possibly conceive of. Holding up to 24 cupcakes – or multiple traditional cakes – all of the trays and layers can be removed or added at any given time to add more or less capacity as you need it.


Range Kleen Cup Cake Holders
When you’re looking for single serving transportation from your cupcake holders – while offering complete and total protection all around the cupcake – and then you need to look no further than these specific options. Designed to closely mimic cupcakes in their design, you’ll find that there is a base cup for stability as well as a topside late and that keeps your cupcakes 100% protected


Go Go Cupcake Holder Twin Pack
Similar to the options above, these cupcake holders are a bit more robust because of their plastic construction – but that only means that the protection you’re going to be able to enjoy is bumped up a little bit. Offering just a twin pack when you purchase them, you’ll find that you need to invest in more cupcake holders when you go this route – but they are relatively cost-effective and should be too terribly much there


20 Clear Cupcake Containers
If you’ve ever wanted to take home a cupcake from your favorite restaurant, the odds are fantastic that they gave you a system strikingly similar to this one. Resembling the same kind of cupcake holders that the food industry uses all over the world, you’re going to be able to enjoy the same kind of quality and consistency using these cupcake holders as you would in any fine restaurant.