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5 Tips to Handle the “Heat” of the Kitchen

5 Tips to Handle the “Heat” of the Kitchen

    The kitchen is where the magic takes place. Whether one is sautéing onions, button mushrooms and traffic-light-colored peppers for that tofu scramble or enjoying a pear, rhubarb and cranberry cooler straight from the blender, nothing can be more exciting than preparing healthy and satisfying lean meals.

    It is difficult, however, to cook these scrumptious feasts all the time. A fully prepared dinner of Sichuan spiced eggplants, Kan Shao green beans, brown rice and a garden salad is a delicious combination of flavors. Would anyone like a scoop of homemade coconut sorbet? Most of us would love to eat this meal, but who has the time and energy to make it? Who wants to slave in a hot kitchen all day long?

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    The following suggestions will give you some ideas on how to “beat the heat” concerning time management and temperature in the kitchen.

    Restaurants and Take-Out

    There is an old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen and go to a restaurant!” Having someone else fix the meal can be heavenly. Before considering becoming a potential customer of a certain establishment, thoroughly investigate the eatery to be sure the preparation methods and the food are high quality. The best bet would be to frequent those restaurants that cater to vegan tastes.

    Raw Food Diet

    Many experts are suggesting that people should consume about 75-85% of their fruit, veggies and herbs in their natural, raw state, while the other 15-25% of food should be cooked. Some leaders in the vegan community believe that foodstuffs should be consumed 100% raw. As Dr. Aris Latham has stated, “All (plant-based) foods have been cooked by the sun.”

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    The key to accomplishing the goal of eating a raw, live diet is to have the proper equipment. Besides just putting the fruit or vegetable in your mouth and eating it, blending and juicing are wonderful ways to consume food. Raw food is fresh, has plenty of fiber and retains most or all of its vitamins and minerals. Dehydrators are very popular also. They can heat food to as low as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the nutrients stay intact, thereby qualifying the food as “raw” within the diet’s limits.

    The good news is, whether a person is using blending, juicing or dehydrating techniques, the kitchen is kept cool!

    Freezing Dinners

    Spending time in a hot kitchen seven days a week can be painful. How about limiting that time to a few hours on one or two days? The plan is simple: pick a meal or meals that take an enormous amount of time to prepare. Choose a day to shop for the ingredients. Choose another day to make the food. Label the finished meals with the days of the week, then place them in the freezer. When it is time to eat, pop a dish into the microwave to thaw, cook and eat.

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    Potluck

    Another way to keep the kitchen cool is to host or attend a potluck. Potlucks usually require each person to make one dish instead of a full range of appetizers, entrées, salads, drinks and desserts. Keep the cooking area really heat free, and volunteer to provide the salad, gazpacho, fruit or drinks!

    One-Dish Meals

    Serving one-dish or all-in-one meals may be one of the oldest forms of time management in cooking. Cut up all of the materials to be used, put them in a pot or casserole dish and fire up the stove, oven or barbie! To further cut down on the heat and time, use a microwaveable stack cooker system to fix everything from the main entrée to the dessert. Electric crock pots, although they take a lot of time to cook the food, are an excellent way to control the temperature of the environment.

    Healthy eating can be a challenge to maintain. Ultimately, it is a challenge that is worth taking on. Preparing meals in the home is the optimum way to achieve these goals, but the experience doesn’t have to be drudgery! Have fun producing vibrant and mouth-watering meals.

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    Featured photo credit: https://www.shutterstock.com/ via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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