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6 Tips To Become A Great Cook In 1 Month

6 Tips To Become A Great Cook In 1 Month

So, you finally realized that you will have to do some cooking for yourself? You should feel glad that you are thinking about making this step in your life and that you have no fear about going through with it. A lot of people don’t have the confidence to try and cook something by themselves. They may have tried a couple of times before, failed, and now they think that cooking is something they can’t do.

If this has happened to you as well, think about it a bit more and ask yourself this: did you really prepare yourself for preparing food? The answer is probably no. Preparing for cooking a meal includes many things: getting the right ingredients, using the right dishes, mixing flavors, and actually cooking the food. I know that it may seem complicated, but making decent, tasty meals that are healthy and don’t take much of your time is not that hard.

Forget about professional cooks and their meals; they have been doing their jobs for years. Furthermore, you simply might not have the talent that they do. Still, becoming a decent cook is not hard, and with a learning mindset, work, and a bit of direction, you can do it. Here is what you need to know.

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1. Learn to accept failure

The first thing you need to do is to let go of the illusion that everything will go perfectly. Relax — don’t be such a scaredy cat. All famous cooks have thrown out, destroyed, or burned a lot of food before they learned to cook their meals right. Be prepared to make bad meals in the beginning, to fail a couple of times. Remember: you can learn from failure. For example, when you burn a certain ingredient, next time you will know how much heat it can take.

2. Switching tasks

Cooking includes a lot of multitasking and finishing small tasks in a short period of time. As a beginner, all of this may seem chaotic, but when you decide to make that bold move and make an effort to speed-clean your kitchen while cooking, cutting vegetables, and serving the food, you will realize that it’s not that difficult. When cooking, there is almost always downtime, like when roasting meat in the oven. These free windows of time should be used to either clean your workspace or prepare something else that goes along with the meal.

3. Get appropriate kitchen tools

When it comes to cooking a decent meal, you can’t actually make one if you don’t have the necessary tools for it. Some more complex meals simply cannot be prepared well if you don’t use adequate dishes. Furthermore, a low-quality dish can paste together your food and ruin the whole thing. And to think that all these years, you though that the meat you burned was your fault. Here are the essentials you need:

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  • Knives: A block full of knives may look nice, but you only need to have three different knives — a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, and a paring knife. Don’t buy the cheapest ones you find as it is worth buying more expensive knives. Also get an electric knife sharpener and you can rest assured that they will serve you well for a long time.
  • Cooking boards: Get two so that you can switch between them when cooking to avoid mixing flavors.
  • Mixing bowls: You should get a set of stainless mixing bowls as they can save a lot of space because they fit in each other.
  • Spoons and cups for measuring: Since you aren’t experienced in cooking, these items will come in quite handy for adding adequate doses of ingredients.
  • Cookware: Get non-stick skillets to avoid pasting food with the dish. You should avoid scratching the surface with metal objects.
  • Electric mixer: Baked food can be prepared much more easily with mixers.
  • Blender: With a blender, you can easily make salad dressings or smoothies

4. Get good, healthy, and simple food recipes

Find some decent, simple recipes with which you will start practicing your cooking. You can go with something that you find interesting and tasty as well. Before you start cooking, read a couple of cookbooks to learn simple cooking terms so that you don’t get confused in the middle of frying something. Furthermore, you will learn “the flow” of cooking a meal and in which order things go.

5. Shop for ingredients

Once you choose a meal that you want to cook, go to a nearby grocery store and get the ingredients you need for it. Try and find fresh ingredients only and avoid buying similar items. Ingredients are very important, and if you don’t stick to the recipe or they aren’t fresh, your meal won’t turn out as it’s supposed to. Still, like I’ve said before, you should go with some simple meals that require basic ingredients you can find at any local grocery store. After you get experienced with cooking, you will learn what ingredients you can change, but still make tasty food.

6. Prepare in advance

Before you actually turn on your oven or your stove, you should prepare things that can be prepared in advance. For example, cut all the ingredients, peel vegetables, and set aside all the spices, meat, and other ingredients after measuring them. This way, you will have time to check the cookbook and make sure that you’ve got everything covered. Simply follow the steps and add ingredients as you go. Forgetting about something or getting confused will be much more difficult if you have everything prepared by your side.

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Essentials in cooking

Learning a few simple techniques will help you prepare a variety of simple dishes.

Boiling pasta:

A lot of meals include pasta. To make it perfect every time, use a large pot and fill two thirds of it with water. The more water, the lesser the chance that the pasta will stick to your dish when cooking. For a gallon of water, add a teaspoon of salt. Wait until the water boils and then add your pasta. Stir and cook for around 13 minutes. Try it to make sure it’s cooked.

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Cutting vegetables:

Whip out your cutting board and knife, wash your veggies and dry them. Use your dominant hand to hold the knife and the other to hold the vegetable you are cutting. Curve your fingers so that you hold the vegetable with just the tip of your fingers. This way, you will avoid cutting yourself. Use the knife for cutting only and your other hand for handling vegetables.

Scrambling eggs:

Not only are scrambled eggs one of the simplest and tastiest breakfast meals, but once you learn what you can do with eggs, you will also learn how to mix them in other foods. The trick with eggs is to mix them just before you cook them. Use your mixer and mix them for 20 seconds to get that fluffy, yellow mixture. One you put them into the pan, mix them slowly. When you see that they are getting solid, when all of the eggs appear cooked, remove them from the pan. If you leave them too long, they will become dry and lose their texture.

Be creative and always try to learn new things when cooking. Once you cook your first meal, you will be amazed by how satisfying it can be — not just for your belly, but for your mind as well. It’s in human nature to cook and you will see how rewarding it can be to cook for yourself and your friends as well. Always make sure to taste your food and ingredients while preparing them. You can quickly learn by the color of the food or by its taste whether or not it’s well-prepared. Explore cooking and have fun!

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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