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20 Basic Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know

20 Basic Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know

Wise old women will tell you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but any experienced man will also tell you that one of the best ways to impress a lady is to cook for her. We all need some kitchen skills, from young students living alone to moms and dads feeding their family. If scientists are to be believed, our food choices are even linked to our character. While some may be naturally gifted, or have had the pleasure of growing up with some talented cooks who were happy to give them a few pointers along the way, there are a lot of people out there who shy away from the kitchen because they find cooking complicated, and even a little bit confusing.

Fortunately, there are tons of great little tricks that can help anyone greatly improve their cooking game, and perhaps get a few people interested in further developing their skills. Here is a run-down of some of the most useful cooking hacks that can benefit everyone, regardless of skill level.

1. Put ice cream in a bag before putting it in the freezer

Bagging ice cream

    Ice cream can get rock hard in the freezer and it takes ages to thaw out just enough that you can eat it. A simple trick to keep it just the right consistency is to put the container in a plastic zip lock bag before throwing it in the freezer.

    2. Freeze a banana to use as base for a healthy ice cream

    Frozen banana ice cream

      When frozen and then mashed up, bananas create a perfect creamy ice cream base that you can be mixed with other fruit and various toppings to create a super-healthy home-made ice cream.

      3. Mix pancake batter in a plastic bag to save time and make less of a mess

      Pancace batter in plastic bag

        A zip lock bag or a pastry bag can be used to mix up pancake batter. Make sure to make a small cut in a corner of the plastic bag if you don’t have a pastry bag. You have to clean up less afterwards, and you can make some very creative shapes.

        4. Cut softer foods using a dental floss

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        Cutting with dental floss

          Things can get messy if you are cutting a particularly large cake and only have a small knife, but even things like cheese and Swiss rolls can be difficult to cut precisely. You can use dental floss to make quick and precise cuts and avoid the trouble.

          5. Cook up enough food for several days on Sunday and store it in the fridge

          Prepping food in advance

            You can spend a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday and cook up enough frozen veggies, chicken, fish, steak, rice, baked potatoes or whatever else you like to eat, and store the food in plastic containers. Mix it up, and you will have quick meals ready to go for the next few days or the entire week.

            6. Use protein powder, almond milk, oat flour and frozen fruit for healthy snacks

            Protein pancakes

              People often view pancakes as a dirty pleasure, but you can make healthy and diet-friendly pancakes using protein powder, almond milk, oat flower, different fruit and other healthy ingredients.

              7. Freeze a fresh herb mixture in olive oil to add to your meals

              Freezing herbs in oil

                If you are the kind of person who likes to add fresh herbs to meals, you can stock up on herbs, chopped them up, put them in ice cube tray, cover them in olive oil and freeze them. Next time you are cooking something, just drop a cube in and have yourself a treat.

                8. Dry out herbs in the microwave

                Drying herbs

                  For a more permanent storage solution, you can buy a bunch of herbs at the flea market – make your own unique blend of herbs – and then dry them out in the microwave. Put them in for 20 second intervals, and keep turning them over until they are completely dry, at which point you can crush them up.

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                  9. Throw a slice of apple in with baked treats to keep them soft and moist

                  apple slices

                    Baked treats tend to get fairly dry and don’t taste so good after a while. A good way to combat this is to keep them in a plastic container with an apple slice, which will help them preserve moisture and stay yummy for much longer.

                    10. Let you eggs sit in the fridge for a few days if you want them to peel easily

                    Eggs with funny faces

                      Boiled eggs are sometimes notoriously difficult to peel, but that’s just fresh eggs. Week old eggs are perfectly fine to eat, but they are incredibly easy to peal, so make sure you buy eggs well in advance and let them sit in the fridge for a while before boiling them.

                      11. You can use a spoon to help you peel fresh eggs more quickly

                      Peeling an egg

                        In case you just have to eat some boiled eggs right now and you only have fresh ones, you can add a little salt in the water with them and then use a spoon to crack one ends slightly and start peeling the shell from the inside. It’s incredibly quick and simple.

                        12. Soak eggs in white vinegar for several minutes when making poached eggs

                        Soaking eggs in white vinegar

                          To make perfect poached eggs you need to keep the eggs in a consistent shape when boiling them in water. A simple, trick to ensure that the egg whites keep a consistent shape is to soak the eggs in white vinegar for several minutes before breaking them open.

                          13. Weave bacon strips into a square shape and bake them in the oven

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                          Bacon weave

                            Bacon is actually cooked much more evenly in the oven than in the frying pan, and to go a step further you can weave them into a square shape first. It’s a great shape for sandwiches, and you won’t have chunks falling out.

                            14. Grill your fish on top of lemon slices

                            Grill fish adn lemons

                              Fish will tend to stick and even break up when placed on the grill, but if you put it on top of lemon slices and grill it like that it will be much easier to prepare, and it will get that nice zesty flavor.

                              15. Slap some wet paper towels on bottles of soda or beer to cool them much faster

                              Cooling beer with paper towel

                                You have guests arriving any minute now, and your beverages are all lukewarm? Well, have no fear, just take a few wet paper towels and wrap them around the bottles before throwing them in the freezer. It will cool your drinks down incredibly fast.

                                16. Make the perfect hash browns using a waffle iron

                                Hashed browns

                                  Making hash browns can be a bit of a hassle, but a very simple trick is to just throw them on a waffle iron and slam it shut. That golden brown color you are going for will be nice and even, and you won’t have to do much work at all.

                                  17. Microwave oysters for 10-20 seconds to make them much easier to open

                                  Opening oysters

                                    Oysters can require quite a bit of brute force to open, and you don’t want to be pressing hard on something with a knife and risk having it slip and hurt you. The simple solution is to microwave them for 10-20 seconds, which loosens them up and allows you to open them using much less force.

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                                    18. Run some water over stale bread and throw it in the oven to make it fresh and crunchy

                                    Loaves of bread

                                      If all you’ve got is a baguette or a loaf of bread that is getting a bit stale, but you don’t have time to run to the store and get some more, just run it through some water and put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. You can also wrap it in a damp towel and then pop it in the oven. It will be fresh and crunchy like you just baked it.

                                      19. Drip chocolate over a balloon to create edible dessert cups

                                      Chocolate bowls

                                        Melt some chocolate into a bowl and then dip an inflated balloon in it so that the chocolate sticks all around it in a semicircular shape. Once it has cooled down just pop the balloon and take it out. Voila! You now have chocolate bowls to serve your dessert in.

                                        20. Use two plates to slice cherry tomatoes in one smooth motion

                                        Plates and cherry tomatoes

                                          If you are making a salad and need to chop a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes in half, just trap them between two plates and slice through them with a knife. You can slice a dozen or more of them in one clean movement.

                                          Make sure to arm yourself with these great cooking hacks, as well as a little bit of patience, and you will soon become the master of your kitchen, cooking up decent meals and flaunting your new-found skill in front of others.

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                                          Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                                          Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                          To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                          All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                          There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                          With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                          What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                          1. Think Big

                                            From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                            “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                            There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                            Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                            Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                            Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                            Instead be ambitious.

                                            2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                              From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                              “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                              This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                              Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                              If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                              Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                              Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                              Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                              3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                                                From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                  From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                  “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                  There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                  Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                  His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                  He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                  Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                  Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                  If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                  5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                    From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                    “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                    This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                    It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                                    If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                    Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                    6. Be a Person of Action

                                                      From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                      “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                      Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                      Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                      When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                      You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                      All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                      Applying this to you?

                                                      Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                      7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                        From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                        The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                        The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                        People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                        This is key to good leadership.

                                                        It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                        But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                        What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                        As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                        8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                                          From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                          “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                          It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                          Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                          If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                          9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                            From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                            “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                            Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                            It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                            Keep dreaming!

                                                            10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                              From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                              “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                              Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                              Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                              If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                              However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                              11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                                                Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                  From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                  “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                  You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                  Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                  True success comes from work.

                                                                  You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                  Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                  13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                    From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                    In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                    If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                    It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                    Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                    What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                    Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                                    More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                                    Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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