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How to cook like a Chef without breaking the bank

How to cook like a Chef without breaking the bank

Eating out brings certain benefits; someone else prepares the food for you and there are no greasy dishes for you to deal with. But, there are also some drawbacks; eating out is often expensive and not all that healthy. It is always a better option to prepare your meals at home, and there are ways to make your cooking both cost-efficient and healthier. With a little planning and several simple techniques, you will have a chance to cook like a chef, preparing cheap and healthy meals with ease.

Do Some Planning

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    You can easily sabotage yourself if you do not plan ahead, but don’t be afraid, planning meals for the whole week does not involve long shopping lists and complex spreadsheets. Try cooking homemade meals a couple of days a week and then plan to repurpose the leftovers into new meals, like reforming a leftover salmon into a salmon cake. If you are purchasing ingredients like herbs, consider how you can add them into other dishes during the week, so that you can eat them all before they go bad.

    If you want to extend the life of your herbs you can wrap them in a paper towel or put them in a jar of water in the fridge. When you are going grocery shopping, divide your list into three categories, where you will list fruits and vegetables on the left side, rice and pastas in the middle and foods from the freezer section on the right. This way you will easily circle your way around the grocery store and won’t zigzag back and forth.

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    Opt For Double-Duty Foods

    When you are browsing the shelves in the supermarket, aim to purchase foods that can be reused in several ways. For instance, instead of buying lettuce to add crunchiness and greens to your sandwiches, opt for spinach.

    You may wonder why. Well, spinach is more versatile than lettuce; you can use it to top your sandwiches and cook it into a dinnertime side dish, mix it with stir-fry vegetables or add it to an omelet. And the extra lettuce will, on the other hand, just slowly turn to disgusting brown goop in your freezer.

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    Make a Room in Your Heart for Leftovers

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      Make a commitment of repurposing the meals you prepare into fresh dishes later in the week. For instance, make a homemade marinara sauce or taco filing on Monday. That same taco filling can be turned into a salad the next night and a nacho topping on the third night. Also, homemade pasta sauce can be used for making a pizza and then the next night be folded into lasagna.

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      Stock Up Your Pantry

      Having several ingredients on hand will make it easy to prepare a good meal instead of hitting a fast food joint or overpay already prepared meals. Always have a carton of eggs in your fridge and if you mix them with frozen peas, rice, hot sauce and a couple of spices like cumin and curry powder, you can prepare a tasty fried rice dish in no time. Ingredients that last long time like potatoes, onions, shallots and lemons are good to always have on hand and the best part is that they can be used in many recipes.

      Always keep canned beans in your pantry, because they can go into almost anything and are a great source of protein. The majority of these ingredients can be found on coupons and vouchers, so go online to find them and save a nice amount of money on your grocery shopping. Make sure to get enough frozen vegetables like corn and peas, because you will be able to easily integrate veggies into your meals without having to buy fresh ones all the time.

      Even if, in some cases, it may seem like a pain to cook by yourself, you need to remember that the skills you learn by cooking regularly will rub off on your partner and your kids, and the best way to save some money in the kitchen is to learn how to cook.

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      Tanvir Zafar

      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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      Last Updated on May 15, 2019

      How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

      How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

      As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

      “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

      When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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      Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

      We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

      But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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      So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

      It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

      1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

      Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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      2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

      This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

      You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

      3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

      This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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      4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

      How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

      So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

      If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

      And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

      Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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