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6 Kitchen Hacks that Save you Time and Money

6 Kitchen Hacks that Save you Time and Money

Most people hate spending time in the kitchen. Whether you are cooking a meal or washing dishes, you tend to find yourself wishing you were somewhere else, doing something better and more productive with your time, if you’re like most of them. An hour spent baking, delicious though it might be, could have seen you reading a book or typing out a blog post.

If you were a millionaire, you wouldn’t hesitate to hire a maid and a personal chef so you would never have to spend time in the kitchen again. Unfortunately, you don’t have that type of money (yet!) So, while you wait for your fortune to accrue, you might as well want to have a glance at some kitchen hacks, which will help you spend less time in the kitchen.

So, what exactly is a kitchen hack? It’s simply a technique you can use that cuts out steps in a normal process or uses a tool in a way you never thought about before. Some of them will also allow you to save money by forgoing an expensive gadget. Most of all, they’re ways to save you time, allowing you to do more important things.

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Over the last few months, I’ve tested as many kitchen hacks I’ve come across as possible. The ones I found most useful are compiled below. Enjoy!

1. Make all your meals for the week in bulk

First off, this is probably the trick that will save you the most amount of time. Instead of cooking meals every night of the week, simply cook five dinners at once, pack them all into individual containers, and then stash them all in the fridge.

Begin by doing this: Every Sunday evening, make five lunches and five dinners. Vary the meals depending on your mood, but make sure usually each meal involves one serving of carbs, one piece of meat, and vegetables. You could cook a pot of rice, a pot of quinoa, and a handful of sweet potatoes—that takes care of the carbs for the week. Then bake five or so chicken breasts and broil five or so fillets of salmon—that would take care of protein. After that, bake a couple of sheets of assorted vegetable to round out a balanced meal. Mix and match vegetables, carbs, and protein into individual containers, and voila, you have meals ready to be microwaved whenever you need.

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Storing all these meals is the tricky part. You’ll have to invest in some more Tupperware containers – and also clear out some serious space in your fridge. But if you fully commit to this plan, and stay consistent with it, you’ll save an insane amount of time. Plus, it will keep you on a very healthy diet plan!

2. Have a flexibly-sized dining room

This one isn’t so much a kitchen hack – it has more to do with serving the food and entertaining guests. You may not have a big dining space, but everyone once in a while will want to have over a lot of people for a special occasion.

If you’re like me and have big dinner parties only occasionally, don’t invest in a big table to accommodate everyone. Instead, buy a smaller dining table that can convert into a bigger one. Experiment with diverse ideas on how to plan your dining space in a way that accommodates different configurations.

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3. Use floss to cut cake

Your knives may not be sharp, and if you use a dull knife to cut a cake, you might squish and deform your desert. Don’t do this! Instead, simply use a length of dental floss to cut the slices of cake. It cuts cake perfectly and gently, and it allows you to cut perfectly sized pieces, unlike using a knife.

4. Use a hammer and nail to open a wine bottle

We’ve all been in a situation where you really need to open a wine bottle but there’s no wine opener in site. What do you do? Go sober for the night?

Fear not. If you don’t have a wine opener, you can simply use a nail (or screw) and a hammer. If using a nail, place it with the head side flush against the top of the wine cork. Then gently strike the hammer onto the thin end of the nail. This will drive the cork down into the inside of the wine bottle. You won’t be able to get the cork out – or recork the wine – but you’ll now have an open bottle of wine. Drink up.

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5. Clean your microwave easily with lemon juice

If your microwave is anything like mine was, it’s probably encrusted with residue from dozens or hundreds of dishes. Bagel bite sauce that I never cleaned off caked onto the microwave’s ceiling. They become pretty disgusting – and they’re difficult to clean.

The easiest way I’ve found to clean the inside of a microwave is this: Take a bowl and fill it with one cup of water, then squeeze the juice of one or two lemons into the bowl. Microwave the bowl on high for three minutes. Once it’s done, the boiling lemon water will have done some magic to the surfaces inside the microwave. Now all you have to do is wipe the inside with a sponge or cloth to clean off all the food residue – no scrubbing required.

6. Ripen a banana instantaneously in an oven

Bananas are a fickle – though delicious – mistress. Often times in the store they’re an unripe green, at which stage they are hard, bitter, disgusting things. But after a few days, they often go sailing past the unripe stage straight toward the mushy, black-spotted overripe stage. It’s hard to get a banana exactly ripe when you want it.

There’s a quick fix for this! If you have an unripe banana, simply stick it into an oven set to 250 degrees F and wait around 15 minutes. It’s a little tricky to get the timing right (if you wait too long, it will hit that cloyingly sweet, overripe stage.) But when you do get it right, it will be a regulatory experience – a ripe banana whenever you want it.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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