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20 Kitchen Hacks You Need In Your Life Right Now

20 Kitchen Hacks You Need In Your Life Right Now

Still crying when you chop onions? Not sure what else you can do with that crazy kitchen gadget you got for Christmas? How about maximizing the refrigerator life of your fresh produce? If you can’t answer any of these questions, then Lifehack.org’s top 20 kitchen hacks isn’t just an necessity in your life—it’s a requirement.

1. Use your blender to aerate red wine.

If you’ve been pouring your red wine straight into the glass, then you’re missing a trick for ultimate drinking deliciousness. Exposing red wine to the air can open up the bouquet, as well as the flavor. Though this may look a bit odd, it’s the quickest way to ensure your vino is perfect.

2. Chop an onion without crying like a little girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i55IzJ0YXI0

You’ve probably heard all the hacks for preventing the tears from flowing when it comes to chopping onions. Stop looking like a chump and line up this method for the ultimate foodie satisfaction.

3. Give your eggs some radar love.

Everyone loves a hot, cooked breakfast. But who has the time anymore? Check out these quick hacks to have you scrambling, poaching and even making omelets with a little help from your microwave—all in under three minutes.

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4. Ripen bananas in a flash with your radiator.

When you buy bananas at the store, chances are that they’re just not quite ready yet. While this may work in the store’s favor, should you really have to wait a week to chow down? Of course not.

5. Get the right knife for the job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0

You probably, like most people, have a drawer full of knives but only end up using a couple of favorites. However, did you know that by using the right knife for the job you can seriously save time and hassle? Expert Alton Brown gives his top tips on what knife you should be using when in this handy video.

6. Chop those fiddly little cherry tomatoes in no time.

Cherry tomatoes are yummy, that’s for sure. But chopping them for your salads or sauces is a massive pain. Use this quick tip to slice fistfuls of the little suckers in no time flat.

7. Chop a watermelon up for salad in under a minute.

While obviously getting as quick as this chap is going to take some practice, we’re still intrigued. Whip up a quick summer salad without all the hassle with the help of a big knife and an even bigger sense of swagger.

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8. Open a bottle of wine with a shoe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ajCWI5q6iQ

Ever shown up to an event and there’s no corkscrew for that great bottle of wine you brought with you? Mastering this hack could, quite literally, make you the most popular guy at the party.

9. Seed a squash like a pro.

Stop bending spoons and hacking up your hand with a knife when you attempt to seed a pumpkin or butternut squash. That often neglected ice cream scoop can come riding to the rescue, making it quick and easy to clean your veggies.

10. Peel garlic quicker than you can say the word “garlic.”

Where has this hack been all of our life? Forget smelly fingers and fiddling with little bits of paper. With a few quick shakes, you can peel an entire head of garlic in seconds.

11. Chicken wings: you’re eating them wrong.

12. Whip up your own buttermilk.

Buttermilk is great for making pancakes and creating the perfect fried chicken, but who really keeps this stuff on hand? Save your cash by making your own at home using just a few simple ingredients you’re sure to have around.

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13. Clean your kitchen in about 10 minutes.

Cleaning your kitchen, particularly after a huge cooking session, is a drag. So how can you do it quickly and without using harsh chemicals? These ladies have got your number on how to get the grime out of your microwave and make your countertops sparkle.

14. The last mayo recipe you’ll ever need.

If you’re a cooking geek, chances are you’ve tried to make your own mayonnaise. Additionally, chances are fairly high that you’ve screwed it up once or twice. This kitchen hack produces top-quality mayo with no effort or room for screw ups.

15. Cut your avocados without making a huge, mushy mess.

Still trying to peel your avocados? Why? Doing so only results in a great big green mess. Check out this professional tip for the sexiest slices and cuts of avocado with very little hassle.

16. Freeze your meat the right way.

You probably already know that buying meat in bulk is a great way to save cash. However, most people aren’t maximizing their freezer space or ability to quickly thaw that meat once they’ve stored it in the freezer. Go flat, says this smart kitchen hack.

17. Get the maximum juice out of your lemons and limes.

Microwave them, squeeze them or cut them on an angle—you’re simply not going to get all the juice out of that lemon or lime. Throw down like a professional chef by turning to your old friend, the humble fork, for juicing satisfaction.

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18. Extend the life of your dairy products with the flip of a wrist.

Do you buy sour cream, cottage cheese or yogurts on a regular basis, only to have them go bad just a few days later? Stop storing them right-side up. It may look ridiculous, but it helps extend the life of your dairy products by several days.

19. Make the best roasted chicken with a bundt pan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsNGCvXSGJ0

You know those pans you bought for a particular recipe that you’ve never used again? The bundt pan is the king of these. However, you’ll be pulling it out a lot more for your roast chicken with this quick and simple hack.

20. Achieve dog nirvana on your barbecue.

With warm weather quickly approaching, it’s time to drag out that barbecue, and where there’s a grill there’s hot dogs. Give your plain old dogs a twist, as well as a delicious edge, with this quick tip. Not only will the fit in your bun better, but they’ll also be more receptive to toppings.

Featured photo credit: batterjob32 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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